Category Archives: Trucks

The EZRed MR34 Extendable 3/4″Socket Wrench is a Beast With Two Quick and Easy Tweaks

I have both SAE and Metric 3/4″ socket sets that come out once or twice a year when I am working on big bolts on cars and trucks. As you may know, the longer the wrench, the more torque you can apply. Back when I was younger would would slide a piece of pipe or heavy wall tube over a ratchet or breaker bar to get even more mechanical advantage. We definitely snapped some socket wrenches while doing this as we exceeeded their design specs.

You see, a ratcheting socket wrench has limits as to how much torque the mechanism can handle before something either bends or breaks. Quite often, the rathchet pawl would bend/crumple and no longer be able to engage the teeth of the gear. When that happens, we’d toss the cheap wrench.

This is why breaker bars were made by the way – they have no ratcheting mechanism and, thus, can handle more torque. There’s one problem though, there are times where you can’t get the breaker bar into position because you can’t turn the handle relative to the socket. So, what is a person to do when they need a ton of torque and a ratchet mechanism?

The short answer is to get a wrench with a long handle that is designed to handle a ton of torque. A ton of companies make socket wrenches with longer handles. I have a couple of these but what I find really handy are wrenches with extending/telescoping handles. When you are working in a relatively tight space, you may not have room for the fully extended handle or you have need to work it into position before you can open the handle.

The EZRed MR34 Wrench

So, when I need a ton of torque and mechanical advantage to help me get there (I’m at the age where I need to work smarter because my body doesn’t support harder any longer 🙂 – I break out the wrench I affectionately call “The Beast”. It is a beautifully made and chromed giant 3/4″ ratchet wrench.

The wrench is sold in the US by a firm called “EZRed” with a lifetime warranty and, like many things, is actually made in Taiwan. When you do some digging around, there are a lot of guys using this wrench for heavy equipment, farm equipment, trucks, steam pipes and more. After reading about the real world experiences with the wrench, I ordered one in.

Here is the wrench closed and you can see it is about 24″ overall.
Here is the MR34 fully open and about 40″ long overall.

The first things I noticed was that it’s a big wrench even without the handle extended. Next, it’s a heavy wrench and weighs in at about 8.5 pounds. I have to be honest, I don’t usually pay much attention to looks but the chrome finish is gorgeous.

Pull the collar down and a detent is released that allows the handle to telescope out. The handle then locks into position in the next available hole. The locking feature is definitely nice.

I use this for 3/4″ sockets and also have a SunEx 3/4 to 1/2″ reducer for those times I want to apply a ton of torque to a smaller bolt.

Here’s the wrench with a SunEx 3/4 to 1/2″ adapter.

So far, I am very happy with the wrench. As you can tell, I haven’t used it a ton yet but for the few quick jobs so far, it worked great.

Two Big Tips

A fellow recommended apply Blue Loctite to the head screws and grease the wrench while it was open. He was spot on – the screws were surprisingly lose. Even though they have blue thread locker on them from the factory something seems odd and guys have reported losing the screws. I really think if Ihad not followed the fellow’s advice I would have already lost mine as well – they are that loose.

The screws come out and then the head is very serviceable. You can see the two pawls and their springs plus the selector in the middle. What you don’t see is any lubricant! I must say I am a bit surprised.
You can see the faceplate and the 24 tooth geared head.

So, I used a brush and lightly applied SuperLube grease to everything, reassembled the wrench and put Blue Loctite on the two head screws before tightening them down. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes start to stop including taking the photos.

If you ever need it, the EZRed sells a rebuild kit – part number RK34.

Summary

I really like the wrench. It’s worked great so far but I really haven’t done anything super stressfulso far – just breaking some very rusty 1/2″ diameter carriagle bolts free off my plow. It’ll definitely get used this upcoming summer a lot more.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


EZ Red RK34 Head Kit for MR34 Monster Ratchet

$23.54
End Date: Wednesday Apr-24-2019 8:30:58 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $23.54
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ-Red - 3/4" Drive Telescoping Monster Ratchet

$89.38
End Date: Monday May-20-2019 9:03:39 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $89.38
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red 3/4 in. Drive Extendable Monster Ratchet MR34 New

$94.99
End Date: Friday May-3-2019 12:38:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $94.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ-Red MR34 - 3/4" Drive Telescoping Monster Ratchet

$97.87
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 7:55:44 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $97.87
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red 3/4 in. Drive Extendable Monster Ratchet MR34 New

$108.89
End Date: Monday May-6-2019 15:27:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $108.89
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ez Red MR34EA 3/4" Drive 25-39.75 Long Extendable Ratchet

$110.86
End Date: Thursday May-2-2019 11:32:57 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $110.86
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red 3/4DR EXTENDABLE RATCHET EXT TO 40 INCH MR34

$110.95
End Date: Wednesday May-1-2019 2:00:23 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $110.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red Monster 3/4" drive Extendable Ratchet, 24" to 40" Long #MR34

$114.39
End Date: Tuesday May-7-2019 12:03:22 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $114.39
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red 3/4" dr Extendable Locking Shaft Ratchet, 24" to 40" Long #MR34

$123.19
End Date: Sunday May-5-2019 20:08:49 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $123.19
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

E-Z RED (EZRMR34) 3/4" Drive Extendable 24" to 40" Long Firm Grip Ratchet New

$127.99
End Date: Monday Apr-29-2019 13:00:00 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $127.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

REPAIR KIT (EZR-RK34)

$35.18
End Date: Sunday May-19-2019 16:26:41 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $35.18
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

E-Z Red EZR-RK34 0.75 In. Replacement Head Kit

$33.63
End Date: Saturday May-18-2019 10:39:48 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $33.63
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

3/4" Replacement Head Kit E-Z Red RK34 EZR

$38.41
End Date: Wednesday May-8-2019 6:54:30 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $38.41
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

E-Z Red RK34 REPAIR KIT

$32.68
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 20:16:51 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $32.68
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

3/4" Replacement Head Kit

$29.13
End Date: Saturday May-11-2019 4:06:33 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $29.13
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Do It Yourself Cold Weather Mechanic Work Gloves That Are Insulated But Still Allow You To Work

Here’s a quick tip for you when you need to turn a wrench outside except it is really cold but you still need to feel what you are doing or can’t wear bulky insulated work gloves.

What you need to do is real simple – put on nitrile gloves first. This layer next to your skin insulates and protects you from both the wind and your hands getting wet. This is a big deal when there is snow. The second layer is your regular thin mechanics gloves. I have several brands of work gloves but Mechanix is probably the brand I use most followed by Ace.

I meant to write about this last year but forgot. Yesterday I had to work on my plow and it was +9F. The above worked great. Of course there is a limit and I don’t want anybody getting frostbite so use your common sense and play it is safe it is super cold.

At 9 degrees Farenheit, holding steel tools and moving metal parts around is a recipe for frostbite. It was this kind of work last year that led me to experimenting with putting Nitrile gloves under my thin Mechanics gloves.

I buy boxes of 5 mil Nitrile gloves whenever they go on sale at Harbor Freight. I think the sale prices tend to be around $5.99 and there are 100 in each box. I use a ton of them with my plastics work but also when working on cars. Any brand ought to work but I think the Harbor Freight gloves are a great deal when on sale.

I settled on 5 mil thick gloves because thinner ones fall apart very easily and thicker ones start to be bulky and mess with your sense of touch. I tried both 7 and 9 mil gloves before going back to 5.

I like 5 mil. It’s neither too thin nor too thick in my opinion. Note, they are meant to be disposable so you may or may not get more than one use from them.

The outer gloves are just basic Mechanix brand gloves.

I literally snapped this photo on my way out to work on the plow in 9 degree snowy weather.

I hope this little trick helps you out! I set up some Amazon product links for you below this post in case you would like to buy gloves.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Be Careful With the DBPower 1200A Portable Jump Starter For Your Car or Truck – They WIll Not Hold a Charge Long

In August 2016 I bought a DBPower 400A DJS10 Peak jump starter amd found it handy. At the end of August 2018, I bought two of the bigger 1200A portable jump starters. I was busy and the units sat until some time in November when I tried to charge them. One was dead on arrival and would not charge no matter what method I tried (USB or their supplied charger). I contacted the seller and they were cool about immediately shipping a replacement. I charged it no problem and put both in our cars as a “just in case” measure.4

So, fast forward to February 1, 2019. Michigan was in the grips of an arctic freeze with ambient temperatures ranging from -8 to -12F and windchills under -20F. It was this way for two days. On the first, I went to start my wife’s Camry for the first time in several weeks and the starter could barely turn a few times before the solenoid clicked. The battery read 11.17 volts.

I thought myself lucky that I had the foresight to buy the batteries as I would not have to move my truck around to jump start it or run an extension cord out to use one of my Noco Genius chargers. The DBPower unit had been in the card and it was about +9F at the time. The whole point of these things is to store them in the car, right? It was fully charged when I put it in there.

Guess what? The DBPower read “Lo” voltage on the LED display when I turned it on and tried to charge the battery. It didn’t help the cart start at all. I was pissed. These things were $72.99/each. I felt like I had wasted a ton of money on junk. That is not a good feeling.

So, I decided to run an extension cord from my shop and hooked up my big Noco Genius G2600 charger to the battery and set it to the 30 amp quick charge setting that runs for five minutes.

This time around, the story ends a lot better – the car started right up. My wife used her car to run errands and I let it charge all last night with the normal charging cycle on the Noco.

4/16/19 Now, DBPower did make things right and replace both units and told me I have to change the units every two months to have reliable power. If you open a unit up, you will find out they have Lithium Polymer (LiPo) power cells. These can hold a big charge and discharge quickly but they lose the charge as they sit – typically in about two months.

Bottom line, if you get DBPower jump starters for your car, plan on charging them every two months. Don’t make my mistake of charging them once and thinking they would be good to go all Winter. Now that I’ve had the DBPower and the Noco jump start unit, I’d recommend the Noco.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


NOCO Genius G26000 Battery Charger

$199.95
End Date: Monday May-13-2019 13:28:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $199.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO GB40 Genius Boost HD 1000 Amp 12V Gas/Diesel UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

$99.95
End Date: Wednesday May-15-2019 6:18:32 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO Genius G15000 12V/24V 15 Amp Battery Charger Maintainer Jump Starter

$159.95
End Date: Sunday May-5-2019 11:49:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $159.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO Genius GEN Mini 2 8A Onboard Battery Charger - 2 Bank - GENM2

$99.95
End Date: Wednesday May-1-2019 12:07:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO Genius G3500 6V/12V 3500mA Battery Charger

$59.95
End Date: Saturday Apr-27-2019 20:44:27 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $59.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NEW - NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

$94.00
End Date: Saturday May-18-2019 12:56:39 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $94.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO GB20 Genius Boost Sport 400 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Battery Jump Starter

$73.00
End Date: Thursday May-9-2019 6:09:28 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $73.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Noco GENM2 2-Bank 8-Amp Waterproof On-Board Marine Battery Charger

$99.95
End Date: Monday May-13-2019 15:48:12 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $99.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO Genius GB20 Boost Sport Jump Starter - 400A

$69.99
End Date: Monday Apr-29-2019 17:55:36 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $69.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO Genius Boost Sport GB20 400 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Battery Jump Starter

$79.95
End Date: Thursday May-9-2019 13:59:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $79.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

What to do if your 1996 Landcruiser’s Shifter Will Not Come Out of Park – How to Release the Shift Lock Button

Have you ever noticed that things go bad at the worst time? In my case it was during heavy snow. I was plowing wet snow out of the way and had a few hours to beat when the temperatures would drop and turn the melting snow into a block of ice.

My plow truck is a 1996 Toyota Landcruiser that has a rear mounted plow made by a long gone firm named “Super Plow”. It works pretty good when snow stays under 18″ so I plow a few times during a storm to keep it knocked down.

I was plowing, put the truck in park and got out to see what I needed to touch up. I got back in and it would not shift out of Park. I could tell that the shift lock button was not going in as far as it should. First, I tried turning the steering wheel left and right – no luck. The lock would not release. I then put the truck’s transfer case in Neutral and rocked it some – nothing. I dropped the blade to make sure there weren’t any stresses – nothing. Well, that meant the selector solenoid wasn’t moving out of the way. Argh!! Of course I was stuck right in the middle of the driveway.

I called my buddy John Freehling up who is a real mechanic and will forget more about cars than I will ever learn. He told me that there ought to be an emergency release somewhere near the lever and to do a quick search on the Internet to find out just where, which I did.

You get access to the emergency release by using a blade screw driver, knife or something, to pry the little rectangular lid that is located to the upper left of the shift console. You then can insert a screw driver to gently push down and release the shift lever.
Bingo! Problem solved. I then got the truck back to my garage and went in and read on the computer instead of my little phone screen.

The access plate is at the upper edge of the console. You can see the small plate sitting in the boot of the transfer case lever. You need to reach in and press the release each time you want to take the lever out of park.

The Work Around

Now, it is literally subzero weather right now and I’ll work on permanently solving the weather this weekend when it warms up. Until then, I found a great solution on the web – cut a carpenter’s pencil off so it sticks up slightly – just the body – you don’t need it to be pointed. I put my pencil in and gave myself about an inch protruding and cut it off in my bandsaw.

Getting out of park takes two hands – I push down on the stubby pencil with my left hand, push in the lock button like normal and pull the lever down with my right. Again, you just need it to move the shift lever out of park – not all the time. It works just fine. I was able to finish plowing my hose and my mother-in-law’s no problem.

What might the problem be?

Troubleshooting and fixing this one ought to be pretty straight forward when it is warmer. Here’s what I am going to try in order:

  1. Push down on the brake pedal. If the lights turn on, then the brake pedal switch is good. If they don’t then the problem is most likely the brake pedal switch. I read an interesting post where the guy said unscrewing and removing the brake pedal assembly makes it very straight forward.
  2. If the brake lights come on, make sure they all come on. If not, one blown bulb could potentially cause the problem.
  3. Related to #2 – Check brake light fuse and replace if blown.
  4. If the light all come on, check for power at the solenoid because odds are the solenoid failed.

So, we’ll see what the final fix is but I hope this helps anyone stuck and unable to get the shift lever lock switch to depress and let them shift out of park.

2/3/19 Update: It blew the fuse — As you see, the truck’s plow is on the rear. I smashed the trailer light hookup assembly pretty good and it must have shorted somewhere. This summer I’ll use a hole saw and cut the rear bumper to install a trailer electrical assembly that is better protected vs. under the bumper. So, the truck’s brake lights and shifter are working again.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Genuine TOYOTA LandCruiser FJ80 Center Diff Lock Switch

$66.51
End Date: Saturday May-11-2019 22:18:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $66.51
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser FJ80 Rear Left LH Door Weatherstrip Moulding CHROME

$48.24
End Date: Friday May-10-2019 17:37:57 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $48.24
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Genuine TOYOTA Landcruiser FJ80 HDJ80 HZJ80 without Rear Wash Windshield Washer

$64.29
End Date: Saturday May-11-2019 1:11:27 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $64.29
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser FJ80 FZJ80 HDJ80 HZJ80 Lower Front RH Door Hinge

$52.21
End Date: Thursday May-9-2019 2:15:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $52.21
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser FJ80 FZJ80 HDJ80 HDJ81 Door Courtesy Light Switch

$19.45
End Date: Monday May-20-2019 1:39:38 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $19.45
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Genuine TOYOTA Landcruiser FJ80 HDJ80 HZJ80 Fuel Line Return Solenoid Valve

$149.82
End Date: Wednesday May-8-2019 0:32:13 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $149.82
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser FJ80 FZJ80 Front Right Fender Guard Apron Cover Seal

$38.62
End Date: Wednesday May-15-2019 18:19:41 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $38.62
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Genuine TOYOTA Landcruiser FZJ80 FJ80 Left Vertical WeatherStrip Back Barn Door

$23.24
End Date: Friday May-17-2019 22:43:37 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $23.24
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser FJ80 FZJ80 Windscreen Washer Bottle Tank wRear Washer

$68.30
End Date: Monday May-13-2019 16:35:19 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $68.30
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

TOYOTA LANDCRUISER FJ62 FJ70 FJ75 HJ75 HJ79 FJ80 BLACK DOOR PINCHWELD 4M

$21.45
End Date: Thursday Apr-25-2019 19:09:34 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.45
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

These are the Correct Weatherstripping Clips for 1996 Toyota Landcruisers (80-series)

I did some bodywork on my 1996 Landcruiser (an 80-series Landcruiser) this past summer and had to replace the weatherstripping clips on the bottom of the driver side door. I did some digging and found that these clips are the correct size (5mm with a 15mm head) and they worked great for me. The one guy complains that these are green so he only scored it three stars. My originals were a pinkish color so green didn’t matter to me at all plus once installed, you can’t see them.

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B004E6A1X2″]

I popped the remaining originals out with a removal tool. If you don’t have one, they make a world of difference in the removal of clips. In a truck this old, I try to replace old plastic clips when I can as often find them to be brittle and either break during removal or re-insertion.

Here is a clip removal tool. The green clips under it are the brand new replacement units.

The tool you see in the above photo came with the following replacement Toyota Trim Clips package that has helped me out a number of times such as securing drooping engine bay plastic shields on a 2002 Toyota Camry.

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B01HU057CS”]

Here were the remaining original clips. Note the lovely pink-ish color thus I really didn’t mind what colors the originals were as long as they worked.

Here is the end result – I worked the clips into each hole in the weather stripping and then simply pushed them into the body holes. I think I installed a total of five to six clips. The drooping problem was solved.

The heads securely fit in the holes in the weather stripping and into the body.
No more drooping weatherstripping!

In Summary

These clips worked great. I just did this post to try and save anyone trying to find clips specifically for an 80 series Landcruiser.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


80 Series LandCruiser 3rd Row Cup Holders (1993-1997)

$45.00
End Date: Friday May-3-2019 13:26:00 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $45.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE LandCruiser 80 Series Rear Side Right Weatherstrip Moulding Chrome

$39.26
End Date: Sunday May-12-2019 20:35:44 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $39.26
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

GENUINE Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series Front Rear Inner Right Door Bezel Grey

$13.27
End Date: Wednesday May-8-2019 21:28:07 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $13.27
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

91-97 Toyota 80 Series Landcruiser Gray Cloth Sun Visor Set Left

$199.00
End Date: Wednesday Apr-24-2019 6:29:53 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $199.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

LAMP CONTROL RELAY p/n 054700-0131 1996 Landcruiser R257132

$31.63
End Date: Monday May-20-2019 6:56:28 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $31.63
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RESISTOR FUEL PUMP p/n 23080-66030 1996 Landcruiser R257346

$25.70
End Date: Monday May-20-2019 6:59:12 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $25.70
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

SEATBELT WARNING MODULE p/n 85991-16050 1996 Landcruiser R257126

$22.84
End Date: Monday May-20-2019 6:55:09 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $22.84
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

3Row Aluminum Radiator For Toyota Landcruiser 80 SERIES FJ80R FZJ80R 1993-1997

$172.96
End Date: Tuesday May-7-2019 23:56:10 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $172.96
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

FOR LANDCRUISER 80 SERIES FJ80R FZJ80R 4.2 4.5L 6Cyl 1993-97 Aluminum radiator

$178.00
End Date: Monday May-13-2019 20:13:46 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $178.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Genuine Toyota Landcruiser 80 93-97 Exhaust Manifold Heat Shield Set FZJ80 LX450

$160.00
End Date: Tuesday May-14-2019 8:53:26 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $160.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list