Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Aetna Mountain off road

This weekend I went with some friends to Aetna Mountain near Chattanooga. The recent rains made the rails very slippy. Even the main road up and down the mountain was a huge challenge to navigate. Places that can be accessed by car when dry were nearly impassable. I was very happy with my Maxxis Buckshots. Since trailer parking is limited and not secure, I drove the 50 miles to the trail head. I did not want to air down too much since I had to drive back. The Buckshots were amazing even at 25 psi.

We met some very interesting folks in he woods and had a great time. I was very appreciative to the guys it he Cherokee who showed us a shortcut out and to the guy in the Toyota who pulled me back straight when I got crossed up in the ruts on the way out.

Here is a video of Jenny playing on a waterfall climb: My favorite part of the video is the narration by her three year old son Hunter.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jeep No Start update

I just thought I found the problem when I found the bare wire going to the distributor. The next day when I was needing to leave my office to go to a very important meeting, my Jeep would not start. I used up most of the battery trying different wires and connections that might be bad. I finally borrowed Jenny's Jeep and made my meeting.

The computer was again showing code 54 - no sync. This sensor is mounted inside the distributor. Since I had a spare distributor, I elected to change the whole unit instead of just the sensor.

Working in the parking lot between rain showers, I carefully marked the direction of the rotor for the old distributor. Installed the spare making sure the rotor ended up pointing at the mark I made so that it would be indexed the same as the old one.

I reconnected the wires and even with the low battery, it fired right up.

I am happy to have it going again. Maybe this will cure this very annoying intermittent problem I have had for a while.

Monday, December 15, 2008

More electrical gremlins

I have been fighting some more electrical gremlins on White Jeep for the last few days. It would suddenly cut of and then restart while going down the road. I had trouble cranking it Friday and got codes from the computer.

Code 54 turned out to be no sync signal from the distributor. Sunday afternoon I went to move my Jeep and it would not start again. finally I had the no start condition at home where I could work on it!

The code 54 was back. After a lot of searching and running the battery down trying to start it, I found that one of the wires coming from the distributor had a bad place in the insulation and was grounding out against the engine. I put some tape of the wire and the engine started right up.

I am noticing that alot of the insulation on the wires near the engine is starting to crumble. That was what had happened to this piece of wire.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Air horns

I have not had a horn on White Jeep for a couple of years. I had thought there was a wiring problem or a bad relay so I never really looked into it. However, recently, I was testing a horn for a friend and I found that the wire to my horn was hot. The horns just made no sound.

JeepGirl and Harbor Freight to he rescue. For my birthday she got me a set of air horns. I hooked them up last night. I fished the wire from the driver's side horn back into the engine compartment. I hooked it to the positive terminal of the compressor which I mounted where the air box used to be. I had to add a ground wire from the compressor to the body. I stuck two of the trumpets through the hole where the air box normally breathes and let the other trumpet rest under those.

Now I have a real attention getting horn.

Labels: ,

Jeep repairs - seat belt latch

Last night I did a few repairs to White Jeep. My seat belt latch has been giving me trouble for a while. The little spring that forces the catch into the tang of the belt broke. I managed to get by for a long time by just shoving the parts of the spring back to together, but eventually that failed as well. I then stole the spring out of the center seat belt in the rear as the rear seat seldom gets used. However, the driver's side front buckle is slightly different from the rear in that it has a switch in it. I had to cut out the switch to get the rear parts in. This has worked well for a couple of months with the exception of being hard to disconnect.

Yesterday, it failed again. Part of the plastic from the old switch jammed the mechanism and bent the release mechanism.

I have made all the previous repairs with the seat belt still attached to the tunnel because I had not been able to get the bolt loose. Well last night I decided it would be much easier to make the repair on the bench so I used my air wrench to remove the bolt. It came out easily with the torque of the thunder gun.

Once it was out and I could see and move parts around, I cut out the remaining plastic from he switch and made the mechanism work smoother. I had to bend the tabs on the release button back into the proper position. After a few tries I was able to snap the cover back on and have every thing stay in place.

I have thought of buying a new belt but when I found the price was over $200 for the belt, I decided to fix mine again. It is amazing how motivating saving $200 can be.

It is nice to have a seat belt that stays fastened and comes loose when I push the button.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

300,000 miles

My daily driver know affectionately as White Jeep turned over 300,000 miles recently. This Jeep has really been a very reliable vehicle. The oil gets changed occasionally and it gets driven a lot.
It has been raced, rallied, rally crossed , run off road, towed trailers and generally been well used. It has even been overheated severely a couple of times.

Over the years I have had to change the alternator twice. I have installed a half dozen or so sets of spark plugs. Changed the plug wires a time or two. I have changed the rear oil seal once and installed a new harmonic damper and seal in the front.

I have swapped the radiator a few times and had the head cleaned out by the dealer due to overheating issues.

The front control arm bushings were replaced with poly years ago but it is still running the original track bar. I have swapped the front wheel bearings more times than I can remember and installed several sets of high performance brake pads.

The leather seats are getting a bit ragged and I have worn out three steering wheels. The Ac compressor recently quit but otherwise this Jeeps runs and drives great. I could not have asked for a more reliable and fun truck to drive.


Wooly's Off Road Park

On the day after Thanksgiving, Scott and I were getting bored sitting around waiting for our wives to return form shopping so we took Janice's Jeep to a place near Lewisburg called Wooly's off road park.

We felt a little out of place in her stock Jeep with her Motives Cosmetics ads on the rear hatch but we knew that a stock jeep is very capable of running mild trails.
The folks there were very nice and friendly and told us which trails they recommended. We signed the waiver and paid our $10 entry fee.
I drove around a bit and explored the east side of the park. There was lots to see there. We watched a couple of wranglers tip toe around on some of the rocks there.
As we were getting ready to cross the road to the west side of the park Scott was driving when we spotted the Wranglers working their way down what looked like a tricky hill. I quickly scouted it and saw it was easily passable in JeepGirls Jeep and I waved Scott on. He made it down with very little drama.
In fact remarked how easy it was. So I told him to turn it around a go back up. Even with both sway bars installed, and full street pressure in the tires, he made it up the hill. He only stopped once but a little bump got him over the rock. Not a Neal Hoover bump, just a little bump.
We explored some of the west side of the park but we got confused at a five way intersection. It was starting to get dark so we turned around and I let Scott drive back to the parking lot.
Wooly's is defiantly due for a revisit. It looks like a good safe place for Scott to drive his Woody Wagoneer. There are also some very interesting looking hills that I want to try Scuffy on.
I guess I will have to fix my winch before Christmas.