Derelicte: Tale of a beater.


Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2005
Don Atari can probably best describe this truck:


"It sucks; I don't like it, dude... Why would I do this to myself... I love it"

Hence the name: Derelicte

I guess life is boring when all your vehicles are functional. This thing presents enough challenge to keep my mind occupado for a bit. The end game here is unknown really... Have some gear head fun on the cheap I suppose.

Here's where it starts:

1986 MJ, mid 80's Mercedes OM617 conversion, not running, rusty floor boards, no headlights, battery, parking brake, AC, speedo, radiator fan, but the punisher decals make up for all that.

Getting it running wasn't all that hard really. A fuel system prime and a charged battery did the job, but you could fumigate the whole block with the amount of smoke it was putting out at idle.


So next up in the tale of Derelicte is remedying the heavy smoke at idle.
time for an overlander build.

A key trait of an overland vehicle is reliability. Derelicte has none of that.

Case in point, it hadn't even made it off the trailer before it broke down. One of the rear brake lines (a.k.a rust tubes) blew out on the first brake stroke.


To my surprise, I was able to loosen both flare fittings and all the bleader valves with PB and heat, so it was a quick fix.

Nothing like a truck that's been parked in the ocean...

10,000 points for the Zoolander theme!

You should send it to the Derek Zoolander center for trucks who can't run good and want to learn to do other things good too.
On second thought, before I delve into the smoke, here's a few shots of the nar nar bo bo wiring.




Pretty sick when you considerthe the engine only has six wires attached to it.
And since it is a Mercedes diesel after all, I had to stock up on the essentials:


About the smoke though... Black smoke at idle is a strange thing. Incomplete combustion with no RPM increase with no load; sort of a rare problem to have. So rare in fact that a Google search for "OM617 Black smoke at idle" turns up a thread on Peach Parts about a guy that also has the same problem with his OM617 swapped Coman... Wait it's the same truck.

So I learned a bit about the truck from that thread. The swap was done back in 2014 with an engine that apparently had a cracked head. The head was replaced with a JY unit with a new timing set after it sat in the barn for 5 months and this problem appeared afterwards. Dude only posted two or three times and went ghost. I tried to PM him to gather more info, but no response.
So rare in fact that a Google search for "OM617 Black smoke at idle" turns up a thread on Peach Parts about a guy that also has the same problem with his OM617 swapped Coman... Wait it's the same truck.
Haha, not quite the same, but I hate it when I search for a specific topic, and out of the entire Internet, I end up at a thread I posted asking the same question a few months or years earlier.
On that Motor do you have to pull the injection pump to replace the timing set if so he probably got the pump in advanced how hard is it to start

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
@BIGWOODY knows a thing or two about Mercedes. Maybe he has an idea.
On that Motor do you have to pull the injection pump to replace the timing set if so he probably got the pump in advanced how hard is it to start

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
It was hard to start, but the situation is much improved now.

First a small rant about timing marks: the cam has a collar with a notch that is supposed to line up with a notch on the cam support tower when the engine is at TDC. So why would you put two keyways in it when the cam only has one?


The PO has installed it 180° out, which may have contributed to his confusion. It certainly did to mine for a bit. It's now reinstalled in the correct orientation.

To check to see if he had installed the pump 180° out as well, I opened the port on the side that can be used to lock the pump in place during installation. It should have a tang visible at 15° ATDC, but I could not see one there or at 195° ATDC for that matter. I pulled it out, indexed the pump with the locking pin and reinstalled it, and it fired right up. Now I've got light white smoke at idle, but it's good enough to let it be for a for the time being while I work on some other garbage.
You need to set the drip timing on the pump and the smoke will go away. The locking pin just gets you close to where it's suppose to be. I've built 100's of those motors over the years and have a pretty massive stock pile of parts if you're needing any.
I was assuming that a drip time would set it straight, but I'm tired of touching it right now. I ended up having to remove and install the IP twice because the the boss that holds the idle adjustment screw, which had previously been broken off and shoddily welded back on, broke off again. Check out the high quality weld:


I flap wheeled the reminder off of the case and made a bracket to hold the adjustment screw:


And because cluge-y fixes like that weld are all over the truck, I expect I'll be taking you up on that offer sooner or later.
Let's see if I can get caught back up to where Derelicte sits now.

Honestly, one of the more concerning things about the configuration that it rolled off the trailer with was the lack of a fan. There was no wiring that would indicate someone robbed the electric unit from it, and there's definitely not room for a mechanical fan.

I had a Taurus fan in the garage, but it was too deep to fit. A pruse through the junkyard, and I found a Hyundai Elantra unit that worked well.

I also schemed on what to do with the battery and intake plumbing. The battery box area was rusted out and I don't really like the cone filter pulling air from directly over the hot side of the turbo
I had to buy a battery anyway as I had just robbed one from another car to get Derelicte going, and I needed to make new cables because the negative was actually a positive cable from the Merc donor car so it didn't property tighten. I decided to move the battery to the bed and get something big and cheap. Enter group 31 - 1000 CCA's for $105.


That gave me room to move the air filter. A $5 elbow from some random junkyard Chevy car makes a perfect "rust hole cold air intake"

I also cleaned up the wiring. This cost basically no dollars to do, just some time and tie bands... So why are people so adamant and shittily wiring things?

A bunch more de-shitifying today...

What was the name of that Malaysian Air pilot that crashed the jet a few years back? Oh yeah, Ho Lee Fook:


Not like Jeep under dash wiring is good to begin with, but damn. Here's the Carnage pile of things that weren't connected to anything or no longer functional:


What it looks like now. Notice the new switches at the top; Fuel shutoff and glow plugs.

While I was in there I spent some time diagnosing the wet-noodle steering column. Apparently there are bolts that aren't supposed to be loose that backed out in the tilt mechanism

And yes, I did have to break the plastic to get to them and half ass retighten them. The replacement boot is made from duct tape (first usage on the beater) which is visible in the picture above.
There's a good condition 86 XJ at my local pull-a-part, so I've been slowly robbing parts for cheap fixes.

First was a grill. There was one in the bed when I bought the truck, but I was either broken or I broke it driving around with a bunch of scrap parts rolling around on it. It wouldn't have fit initially anyway bucause of the hydraulic hoses turned oil cooler lines. I relocated the cooler lower after cutting airflow holes
I started on fixing one of two remaining FullerFab situations. The original transfer case was vacuum shifted, but a later model lever shifted case was swapped in with the diesel. I'm not sure what it was native to, but it didn't fit underneath the sheet metal, so PO decided to go the sawzall route.



The major issue with this is the unbearable amount of hot air that blows in from the open hole when driving around. I'll be closing it all up and cleaning up the console trim tomorrow.
Some Thief will a Surprise when he tries to Steal your Tool Box!

Btw, why are there 4 holes in the lid, on the ends?

The holes there to vent the byproduct gasses of lead acid battery charging, which can be explosive in high concentration.

New upgrade from the brown truck when I got home from work: seat covers.

And I'm still not quite done with the center console rebuild. The TC shifter still needs a linkage, but the interior work is done
I set aside some time for some for some booty-fab this weekend; it ended up being used on putting the front bumper back on.

The front bumper that came with the truck hadn't been on since I cursed myself with this thing, and it wouldn't fit with the oil cooler in front of the cross-member. I mocked it up with just spacing the bumper out... but it looked like shit. I decided to make a bit of a grill guard to allow me to bump the center section out. Starting with the brackets on Friday night; it took some high level fab to pull these off:

Saturday morning first thing I made some strip steel uprights and grill guard out of poop pipe:

Way too much time later, the wings were welded back on, and an under run bar was and push-bar straps were added :

And this afternoon, painted and reinstalled:
CL find of the day:
Kustom drop trakk bars brakit
Pefekt 4 Rat Rod $375