The first thing I did after we pulled my truck into the garage was install a shop light overhead. Then I started taking the stuff apart that you always take apart: Air filter assembly, coolant tank, etc.
After a little while, I remembered I needed to drain the coolant so we pushed the truck back out and drained it in a semi ******* manner. I emptied the AC and then we pushed it back in. Sam's bumper on his four wheeler was just the right height to match up with my hitch so it wasn't too bad. Disconnected the batteries and pulled them out. I decided the bed was a good place to store most of the bulky parts for the duration. I had also bought a couple folding tables which I set up on the side of truck for arranging the more sensitive stuff. By the time I got done, I'd covered the floor of my bed, both tables, the floor under my tables, and had started spilling over into Sam's shop next door.
I only had about 18" from the front bumper to the wall but that actually turned out to be a blessing because I needed to push off the wall occasionally for stability when performing various operations. I was a little worried about scuffing up their wall, but then I realized there was a solid line of hand prints from the little units that are impossible to keep up with. I kept a couple 4 foot ladders to work off of. The children would climb up them and walk along the front of the truck like cats. Eventually that activity lost it's luster after they fell off a couple times, but fortunately they were holding on to my hood so they had something to stabilize them when they fell. I may have forcefully told them to stop.
I pulled the air box out which was a pain. I recommend removing the transmission and oil dipsicks early on. The tranny stick gets in the way of the airbox removal. I put a plastic bag affixed with rubber band over the stub of pipe the tranny dipstick tube goes into to keep debris out. The oil dipstick requires a plug of some sort for the hole. I waited until the project was finished to drain the oil in hopes that any floating debris would flow right out if I got any in during the project. I think that may have been ineffective but I'll never know since I never found any debris in the oil or the filter which I changed after a couple heat cycles once I got it running. HVAC box removed = easy access to passenger side of engine, maybe climb in there stretch out and take a nap. HVAC box in = don't even think about doing anything under the valve cover.
If you've read any other head stud write ups, you've seen plenty of pictures of an engine bay so I'll spare you most of those. One thing you won't want to skip is plenty of pictures of your own engine bay. If you take two months to get yours done like I did, you'll need reference material for putting it back together. If you do it in a weekend, you'll probably still need reference material. When I was almost finished I was at the dealer getting a couple things and I asked if they could print the exploded parts view picture we were looking at. They printed it right out. I wished I'd done that a little earlier. I'd have had pages and pages. The biggest questions I had where where to put the studded and non studded valve cover bolts. I took a lot of pictures but none were of the right angles. I also wish I'd taken more pictures of the vacuum tubes, and various brackets and assemblies above and around the air box. Be carefull pulling the air box out not to bend the freon tube. I was sweating a little bit hooking it back up because I'd moved it so much. I didn't have any leaks and we'll see if that remains true.
One of the things that is nice about doing this project is that I know everything that is going on with my truck. One of the things that is less pleasant about doing this project is that I know everything that is going on with my truck. I still need to fix the overhead display or some component that helps it to function. I actually want that one so I will do it but money is required for the next thing. I also need to decide whether auto 4X4 is important or if I just want to lock the hubs manually. I'm leaning towards not fixing it since I've had a tendency to remove auto hubs in the past and put manual ones on. This system is a combination of both and I think I'll leave it manual only.
If I ever buy an X and do this procedure again, I'm going to have a tool tray right next to my grill. I had a lot of tools accumulate on the tool shelf in front of the radiator. As I was getting ready to start it, Sam asked how many of my tools I thought I was going to lose the first mile. I then asked him how many of his he thought I was going to loose the first mile. I'm only buying him 2 wrenches and one pair of needle nose pliers. Anyone got a craftsman combination reversible ratcheting end wrench in 9/16 or 3/4 or a pair of craftsman needle nose pliers for sale?
More to come.