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Old 04-09-2012, 09:14 PM   #1
oregonhunter92
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Default toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

About a month ago i bought a used 1988 4runner 3.0 v6 with 113,000. At the time of purchase everything seemed great ran strong didn't appear to leak (just a tiny bit around the cam seals), test drove fine and was VERY clean. I drove it once to work after that (6 miles total) and it blew a coolant hose and is now leaking lots of oil from who knows where, after fixing the hose i did a coolant flush because i found the heater blows cold and WOW was it a mess (heater still doesnt work) and after all this i am filling the radiator and it starts foaming out, it has a cracked head gasket . I contacted the seller and he was no help telling me its my problem now and that he SWEARS the heads were just done which is bs. I've dropped 3600 on it so far and the cheapest head gasket repair i could find was quoted at 900 just for the heads who knows what else will be found. Does anyone out there have any advice places to go, engine swaps or even if you've got a shop and tools and wouldn't mind showing me to repair it (would have to have experience with these engines) I'm a broke college student, i need transportation and right now im up *#%^ creek without a paddle. Any advice you can give me will help THANKS!


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Old 04-09-2012, 09:41 PM   #2
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Cheapest way to go is find a wrecked yota that has low miles buy the whole truck or 4runner for about 1000 (my buddy just got one for 800 off craigslist) swap out motors and sell the wrecked truck back on Craigslist with your blown motor for maybe 500 if your lucky. If your handy it's the best way to go but if your not or don't have time I would spend the extra money and take it to a well known shop that deals specifically with toyotas. That way it gets done right and you can go another 115000 miles no prob
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:27 PM   #3
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3.0 motors are notorious for oil leaks. If you do an engine swap , go with a 3.4 engine . Better engine IMO.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

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Originally Posted by oregonhunter92 View Post
About a month ago i bought a used 1988 4runner 3.0 v6 with 113,000. At the time of purchase everything seemed great ran strong didn't appear to leak (just a tiny bit around the cam seals), test drove fine and was VERY clean. I drove it once to work after that (6 miles total) and it blew a coolant hose and is now leaking lots of oil from who knows where, after fixing the hose i did a coolant flush because i found the heater blows cold and WOW was it a mess (heater still doesnt work) and after all this i am filling the radiator and it starts foaming out, it has a cracked head gasket . I contacted the seller and he was no help telling me its my problem now and that he SWEARS the heads were just done which is bs. I've dropped 3600 on it so far and the cheapest head gasket repair i could find was quoted at 900 just for the heads who knows what else will be found. Does anyone out there have any advice places to go, engine swaps or even if you've got a shop and tools and wouldn't mind showing me to repair it (would have to have experience with these engines) I'm a broke college student, i need transportation and right now im up *#%^ creek without a paddle. Any advice you can give me will help THANKS!
Are you sure you know what's wrong with it? The 3.0 v6 is not Toyota's best work for a lot of reasons.

I'll tell you a story about a 3.0 toyota that will make you think. I bought a clean 90 4runner from a young man for $400, "blown head gasket, yep, I'm sure, blowing coolant smoke everywhere, etc." Wouldn't start it for me, etc. OK - bad motor, fine. I'll do what others here suggested, put a used motor in it.

Turns out the coolant recovery tank overflow pipe dumps right on to the driver side exhaust manifold. There was some kind of burp in the coolant system, pushed coolant out the overflow onto the exhaust manifold! Huge cloud of coolant smoke - blown head gasket. NOT! THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS RIG!

My brother and nephew used it for 10 days here on a deer hunt, then I sold it for $2400.

Just saying, MAKE SURE YOU FIGURE OUT EXACTLY WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT before you eat a big loss or spend a lot of money on it!!! It might not be as bad as you think.

If you're around central oregon I'd come take a look at it with you.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

thanks guys- I've looked at doing the 3.4 swap i just have to find a reasonably priced one to drop in.

I've looked pretty thoroughly at it and i'm not an expert but i talked to a few and that's what they think it is, there's air bubbles in the radiator and when i was doing the flush when i would start it up there was lots of steam in the exhaust for five minutes or so then it was dry. the coolant system is dry now so if it is a head gasket i don't thin my oil too much while it sits and the couple times i've fired it up no steam, unfortunately i don't think ill be as lucky.

oh and im in the portland area but the offer is greatly appreciated, exactly why i thought to post on here
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

If your blowin bubbles out the radiater its a head gasket.Or head. I did a gasket set on a 91 with the 3.0 and it was a nightmare.Extremely tight spots to work on stuff. Took 8 hours just to get down to where I could start taking the heads off.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:59 PM   #7
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Head gasket all the way.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

Another vote for head gasket. Nature of the beast...... They just do it 'cause they can't help it....
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

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Originally Posted by oregonhunter92 View Post
thanks guys- I've looked at doing the 3.4 swap i just have to find a reasonably priced one to drop in.

I've looked pretty thoroughly at it and i'm not an expert but i talked to a few and that's what they think it is, there's air bubbles in the radiator and when i was doing the flush when i would start it up there was lots of steam in the exhaust for five minutes or so then it was dry. the coolant system is dry now so if it is a head gasket i don't thin my oil too much while it sits and the couple times i've fired it up no steam, unfortunately i don't think ill be as lucky.

oh and im in the portland area but the offer is greatly appreciated, exactly why i thought to post on here
There's a couple guys here on the board that do the 3.4 swap. I think they're in Eugene. You could find it here with a search.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

DJ Chaser is a very good wrench, working out of his home in Portland now. Send him a message, see if he can help.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:03 AM   #11
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look.... i am a mechanic and have been swinging wrenches for a long time. first of all the 3.0 is known for a few problems- head gaskets and oil leaks. but don't condemn it just yet. first of all when filling the cooling system they will get air locks in the motor, you must purge the system when filling the motor or you will have problems. the best way is to remove the 3/8" coolant hose that runs from the top of the intake manifold to the throttle body. you want to be fairly careful that you don't damage the hose when doing this.that will allow the air to purge out when filling the cooling system.fill the radiator until coolant starts flowing out the fitting, once it is reinstalled you can then top off the radiator.as far as the heater goes, the way it is designed they usually won't blow hot air until the engine has been run with the radiator cap installed and under pressure. some times after a flush it will take a couple of drive cycles to finally purge the heater of all the air. next.. oil leaks- first of all they all leak oil. the 3.0's are known for leaking oil at 2 places, the valve cover gaskets and the oil cooler gaskets. they are relatively easy to replace. the odds are that it was leaking before you bought it, it is part of buying a used car. as far as a 3.4 swap goes yes guys do it. the 3.4 is a much better engine, but it is NOT CHEAP and not something that a novice should attempt to do. try doing the fill procedure and run the truck for a while and see what it does and hopefully that ends your problems. keep us informed with your progress and good luck.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:07 AM   #12
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

3.0l and head basket problems go hand and hand. Not to mention the 3.0l is kind of a turd. 3.4l is a much better engine but if you don't know how to properly repair a blown headgasket I would not recommend doing a motor swap either.

I would not recommend a backyard repair. Pay someone who knows what they are doing and will offer some sort of warranty on the repair. It will cost you less in the long run to do it right the first time.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:36 PM   #13
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I loved my 94 Toyota PU 3.0 v6. 262k miles on it many of them off road deer hunting. Like any Toyota the key is to get one made in Japan, or the drive train made in Japan.

Not one problem, just regular maintenance and replacing worn parts. Radiator, water pump at 200k belts and hoses.

Had a woman pull out in front of me a few months ago which totaled that truck or it would have went well over 300k.

My wife’s Honda is made in Japan and has 158k on it with no problems.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:27 AM   #14
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

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look.... i am a mechanic and have been swinging wrenches for a long time. first of all the 3.0 is known for a few problems- head gaskets and oil leaks. but don't condemn it just yet.
Will the fact that it's a gutless fuel hog, in addition to the other issues allow us to condemn it?

Some of them will run forever without a problem. A guy at work had one with just short of 400k on it, a 1991, no major repairs. At the same time, Toyota had an extended warranty on some of the 3.0s for 10 some odd years because the head gasket problem was so bad. Toyota decided that replacing the engines was cheaper than fixing them, as the head gasket leaks usually eroded the block surface, making machining (lots of labor) necessary. I believe the problem with the gaskets was they went away from asbestos and the new material wasn't up to the task.

The 3.4 swap isn't that difficult. It's not a bolt in, but if you are familiar with working on vehicles it won't be a problem. Don't put money into a 3.0.
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:18 PM   #15
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thanks guys! looks like a buddy and me are going to undertake it in his shop in a couple weeks, will pay VERY close attention to detail and need some good guidelines so if youve got good links to any info of relevance please send me a link, ill post our progress when we get goin.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:28 PM   #16
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Will the fact that it's a gutless fuel hog, in addition to the other issues
This is the truth, I had a your exact same 4runner back in college, 3.0 V6. Also had a oil leak dripping on the manifold and it was a head gasket issue. Paid what seemed like a fortune to get it fixed, I was a broke college guy. This motor drank gas like a V8 but had the power of a econo box 4cy car.

After I graduated, got a Tacoma with the 3.4 V6, what a night and day difference in power and mpg. If you could get a 3.4 dropped in there, it's worth it!
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:54 AM   #17
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With Toyota trucks its real simple, if its made a the NUMI plant in Fremont Ca its a very good chance its going to have problems.

Look on the door at the country of manufacture.
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:16 PM   #18
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l have a 89 runner with a 22re and 192000 on it,just came back to boise area from long beach peninsula yesterday on less than 100 fuel,dont know how much harder it would be to put one in yours but they are the"bulletproof" toyota motor.I stopped for fuel in madras and all 3 employees of the station/coffee hut were drivin pre tacoma pickups with 4 bangers the,attendant said"we can run am all over this country and get 20 mpg doin it'' I tow a 14' boat and a couple small trailers tho not a powerhouse.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:21 PM   #19
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As another tech, I would make a recommendation NOT to do a head gasket job on a 3 liter that old. I know I will be met with an amount of criticism on this, but this is where I'm coming from... It was a shop policy that we generally didn't do headgasket jobs. It was a high end shop in NW Portland and we had a healthy mix of clients but more on the wealthy end due to geographic location. It became a general policy because of a combined 100+ years of experience among the 4 techs and 2 SA's. Its not a good way to do business because its an expensive repair and a gamble.

The next shop I worked at I was at short term because it was a friend of a friend attempting to get started (and has since failed). He was a "I can fix anything cheaper than anyone" kind of guy (as opposed to a we can fix it right, but at the cost of more expensive parts, better techs and higher end location). He insisted I do not one but two headgasket jobs on 3 liter yotas. I was as good as the bid essentially. He refused to have the motor flat checked or surfaced, only the heads. Both jobs came back, luckily I had him set the gaskets and torque the heads to clear myself.

While doing a bit of research on the project the first time around I got the impression that theres a general theory going around that when the head gaskets go they do so slowly. This increases the chance of compromising the mating surface. Generally I found that if the leak returned it was in the same spot.

If you did a head gasket job on the rig, you will have the motor completely torn down anyway, yank the whole thing out and take both the heads and the motor to a good machine shop like Steves machine on 72nd (tigard). It will be worth your trouble in the end.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:04 AM   #20
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I have an 88 4runner (3.slo) with over 300,000 miles on it. To this date, there has been no major work done. Eventually yes, but for now she still runs great. She is slow, and gutless, but lets face it...it wasn't designed to be a race car/truck. Its a 4 wheeling machine. As far as gas mileage...I get 16-18. Considering the age and miles on the motor, that's not too shabby. Oh yeah, and no oil leak either!

Toyota 3.slo will always have head gasket issues due to poor engineering. Just having the gaskets replaced etc..is a band-aid fix. You could solve this problem a couple of ways. You could replace with a different motor like a 22r/22re (gutless too), or the 3.4. Even though I haven't had any head gasket issues, I'm going with headers. In my research, headers take care of the 3.slo's HG problem, and give it a little more power too.

I don't mind driving slow anyways with gas prices on the rise.

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Old 04-18-2012, 01:57 PM   #21
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

I cant imagine how headers would eliminate a head gasket problem.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:33 PM   #22
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I cant imagine how headers would eliminate a head gasket problem.
If you go to any Toyota pick-up/4runner forum you'll find this to be a major topic (v6 HG issues). The suggestions vary. As for myself, I like the header solution as it would give me a little more HP all the while preventing me from paying an ungodly amount of money every 150,000 miles (if I had a HG problem).

Here is a couple of snippets from some grease monkey toyota boys I found:

"The US mandate to remove asbestos from gasket material made everyone's head gaskets in the late 80's-mid 90's weak. Including the 3vze. Also, the crossover pipe superheats the #6 cylinder's valves & head area, causing the gasket to fail quickly & generally head warping."

How headers help: "This solves the heat build-up problem which causes the head gasket to fail."

So, it sounds like headers redirect the concentration of heat away from the problem area.

Link to a thread on this issue: http://www.toyota-4runner.org/classi...ification.html

Also, there is a recall on the V6's for this HG issue. It wouldn't hurt to google it, and/or call Toyota, give them your vin# and see if your V6 is included in the recall. I called and my truck was not.

In addition to the all the great advice in this thread, here are a couple of great Toyota pick-up/4runner sites where you will find all the help you'll need for any job, DIY writes ups, etc..
http://www.toyota-4runner.org
http://www.yotatech.com

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Old 04-18-2012, 07:50 PM   #23
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

That makes sense. I guess I never thought about the heat issues with the crosover tube.I knew about the asbestos issue. Fortunately I am able tolearn something new almost everyday.

Thaks for enlightening me.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:36 PM   #24
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That makes sense. I guess I never thought about the heat issues with the crosover tube.I knew about the asbestos issue. Fortunately I am able tolearn something new almost everyday.

Thaks for enlightening me.
No problem, I'm learning too

Since buying this 4runner I've learned a lot. In fact I just learned about the header fix a couple of days ago, glad I could share.
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:46 PM   #25
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

Just wondering if anyone has done the 3.4l swap? Or knows a place that does them?
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:59 PM   #26
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I ended up just getting a rebuilt short block for mine but the place i got it from is called NW Team Yota they have a website and are located in la center, small operation but very helpful guys and i believe he said they would do a 3.4 swap on a manual for a little over 3 grand, for an automatic it was closer to 5 grand. I want to say that was for parts and labor. Hope this helps!

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Old 12-26-2012, 03:16 PM   #27
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Just wondering if anyone has done the 3.4l swap? Or knows a place that does them?
Could probably get on yotatech and other toyota forums and find out how do it yourself. Ive never messed with the newer motors, but from what I have read it isn't that hard to do a swap.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:08 PM   #28
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l have a 89 runner with a 22re and 192000 on it,just came back to boise area from long beach peninsula yesterday on less than 100 fuel,dont know how much harder it would be to put one in yours but they are the"bulletproof" toyota motor.I stopped for fuel in madras and all 3 employees of the station/coffee hut were drivin pre tacoma pickups with 4 bangers the,attendant said"we can run am all over this country and get 20 mpg doin it'' I tow a 14' boat and a couple small trailers tho not a powerhouse.
22RE. Best motor ever built from what I hear. Bulletproof. I've had a couple and the one I have now has 149000 and a valve cover gasket is all she's ever needed.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:24 PM   #29
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Default Re: toyota engine problems (3.0 v6), solutions? PLEASE HELP!

22re is bullet proof, but it lacks power which is why guys swap in a 3.4. If i had the money/time i would replace my 22re which i blew a HG with the 3.4.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:24 PM   #30
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Could probably get on yotatech and other toyota forums and find out how do it yourself. Ive never messed with the newer motors, but from what I have read it isn't that hard to do a swap.
Read up on it and don't have the time to devote to that kind of project. Looking for people that have done the swap or had it done so I can get options on swap locally.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:43 PM   #31
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You need some redneck friends, you would be amazed what can happen in a garage over a weekend with a case of beer and some pork rinds.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:11 PM   #32
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You need some redneck friends, you would be amazed what can happen in a garage over a weekend with a case of beer and some pork rinds.
True Dat!
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:31 PM   #33
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I ended up just getting a rebuilt short block for mine but the place i got it from is called NW Team Yota they have a website and are located in la center, small operation but very helpful guys and i believe he said they would do a 3.4 swap on a manual for a little over 3 grand, for an automatic it was closer to 5 grand. I want to say that was for parts and labor. Phone number for the place is 360 263 6750 owners name is mike definitely give them a call. Hope this helps!
I have always wondered about those guys they are pretty close to me.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:06 PM   #34
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You need some redneck friends, you would be amazed what can happen in a garage over a weekend with a case of beer and some pork rinds.
Yep! I agree! I have always been blessed to have some educated redneck friends in my life.
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