Jeep Fixins

My 1979 Jeep CJ7 has been treating me well.  I have had almost no issues.  Then after locking the hubs after a bad snow I discovered that I had a bad u-joint in the drive shaft.

My brother helped me remove the drive shaft (which is a pain off of the quadratrac transfer case) , and after disassembling the driveshaft I discovered that the double-cardon joint had some issues.  The main part is called a Center Yoke (or Link Yoke) and got chewed up pretty bad:

I found a place online selling a replace for around $90, and I’m going to do some more checking.  I picked up some u-joints and the main ball-joint like part at my local NAPA.  I have to say they were extremely helpful up there.

I did find someone who did a walk-through of a double-cardon rebuild for a ZJ:

I also picked up a complete window washer pump/reservoir at NAPA for a little under $40.  My daily driver is becoming more and more complete.

Barakel Men’s Retreat 2007 – part 1

This weekend was probably the last bit of fishing I will do the rest of the year. I may get to do some winter steelhead fishing later on, but I am not sure yet. Anyways, I got to be out on the river for a little bit, and I spent a whole lot of time on a private lake up north.

I went to the Men’s Retreat at Camp Barakel this weekend. It is a yearly event I always go to, but this time was especially warranted. I had an amazingly busy and long week leading up to the retreat. I was working on some new things at my new job that kept me late a little bit, plus everything else going on, I was trying to pack for the weekend as well. But the two events that really made the week busy were my Jeep and my masters project.

On Tuesday morning, I was driving to work and my Jeep died. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Something got sucked into the oil pump, and then into the distributor, and the shear pin in the distributor busted. So, my timing went all haywire making my Jeep run extremely rough. I had to get a new oil pump, some hoses, and a shear pin for the distributor, but it is running like a champ again. I was able to rent a pretty slick Ford Taurus for a couple of days which was fun though.

My masters course work finally came to an end on Thursday afternoon when I gave my capstone presentation. I did a usability study of Microsoft Excel versus OpenOffice Calc to finish off my Masters Degree at Oakland University. I had to wrap up some last minute items for my project and presentation, so that added some more items to complete this past week.

So, between, work, church, family, friends, school, a vehicle in the shop, and trying to get ready for my trip up north – it was a busy week.

My Pastor was gracious enough to go up to camp early with me and he even offered to drive his vehicle. We went fishing on the private lake that morning and it was the best fishing we’d both had at the camp ever. Between the two of us we had over 40 fish caught before lunch – mostly blue gills with a few bass mixed in.
Bluegill on the fly

Bass like worms


Friday afternoon I was able to visit the North Branch of the Au Sable river. I caught no fish, but just being on the river was enough. My Pastor drove the “car-less” fisherman, and he read a book while I waded in the river. Shortly after starting, a fellow who was probably just a bit older than me came along and said he was from the local TU. He was heading up a habitat project the next day and would be dropping some logs along the stretch I was in. Here are a couple glimpses of the river:
On the river

A look down the river

That night I talked my friend Jose into coming out to the lake before it got dark, and we fished till we couldn’t see anymore. He had some good luck:
Jose fishing at Barakel

Saturday, I fished in the morning off of a dock with no luck. I headed out with my friend Cal in a row boat after lunch and he said he would read a book while I fished. I told him I had a spare fly rod, and he said he’d give that a try. He didn’t read – the fishing must have been too fun. We were having no luck at first, and then I noticed a big log sticking out of the ground and just barely breaking the surface of the water. I said let’s try fishing around the log and see what happens. Next thing you know, we were reeling them in one after another. All on my hand tied pan fish flies to boot.
Bass at Barakel

Cal Fishing at Barakel

I didn’t fish the rest of the weekend, but I did enjoy the outdoors. I’ll write up another post about the spiritual refreshment I received from the weekend.

The Jeep Top Has Left the Building

Today, I took off the Jeep hard top for the first time since I bought it! Jen and I took a ride with River up to the Park and took him for a walk. It was awesome. I am going to check the weather in the morning, and if it looks good, I’m going to try and drive it without the top to work. Right now it says rain in the evening. I’ll pack my Frogg Toggs…

I built a nifty top holder based on some web sites I have seen. So far I have invested about $15 is eye-bolts, $4 in a 2×6, and $20 for a set of black tie-down straps at Wally World.

I put four eyes bolts spaced out the size of the hard top into the joists in my garage ceiling. I have a dry-walled garage so it looks like a pretty clean install. I run the 2″x6″ under the back end of the hard top and have two more eye-bolts on each end of the 2″x6″. I then tighten the tie downs by hand, and walk around the Jeep, giving it about 3 or 4 cranks and moving to the next strap.

Eventually, it is hanging high enough to let the Jeep roll out from under it.

Here are some pics:

Jeep Top Holder 2

It is a little crooked, I’ll have to work on the whole balanced raising:
Jeep Top Holder 3

And yes, I can even park under it!
Jeep Top Holder 1

I’m going to get some zip ties and hold the excess straps up in the air and make it look a little cleaner. My next step is to install my Besttop Supertop…

Jeep Problems

I am having Jeep problems right now.  I am a far cry from a shade-tree mechanic, but I am pretty good at figuring things out.  So, I am hoping I can fix this one myself.

My transmission is leaking pretty bad through a compression fitting on the way to the radiator.  I posted a message up to try and get some help.  Hopefully I can don’t mess it up more than it already is, if I go to fix it…

Here’s my post over in the CJ Offroad forums: 

Home waters – April 6, 2007

Today Jen and I went to the park near the cider mill and she took river for a walk and I jumped in the river for about 30 minutes or so.  There are supposed to be steelhead moving, so I tried a purple egg sucking leech until it got stuck in a near by tree. I then swapped in a nuke egg and fished that until it also got stuck in a tree.  I think I need to practice my casting a bit.  I didn’t see anyone with a fish, and there were a bunch of folks fishing there.  The cool part was I saw several guys fly fishing.

It was very cold and snowing fairly decent, but we all had fun. You can also see my Jeep in the picture there.

Fishing yates...

Getting on the waders...

Jeep News

Well, I thought I’d give a Jeep update because it has been a long time since my last post.

Way back in November I got my 1979 CJ-7  back after investing more into it than what I bought it for.  The crankshaft was scored, and it was recommended that I get a new block for the engine.  I did this, and along the way was talked into adding power steering, an electronic choke carb, and an HEI distributor.  Things tended to add up quick, but I have a pretty reliable CJ-7 now…

Probably the worst part is that I discovered the rebuilt engine that was swapped in is the smaller version of the inline 6.   Then I asked for the warranty paperwork from the shop because it was supposed to be from ATK Engines, and I am still waiting on the paper work.  I should probably pester the people up there more, but I called them almost every day for two months just to get my vehicle back, and I am tired of chasing them down.

Then in a very interesting twist, the other day on Great Lakes 4×4 forums, I noticed a thread that said the current owner of the shop that did the work on my Jeep was arrested on drug charges and was sentenced to jail.  That would definitely make things interesting arround the shop.

The latest news is that I bought some new tires that actually would get me through the snow we’ve had the last few weeks.  I got 31″ Toyo Open Country AT’s on some nice new rims.  I’ll have to take some pics.   I’m hoping now that the rust doesn’t start to eat away at the steel.

I alo bought some rubber engine mounts, and I’m going to try and install these sooner or later.

Jeep Good. Chrysler Lease Bad.

Well, I thought I would post about the Jeep because it has been about two weeks now that the jeep has become my primary vehicle. I turned in my leased Dodge Ram, and I thought I would share my story.

When I leased the vehicle, I was sitting with my sales rep at the dealership and he had a call come in from someone who was getting their newly leased vehicle serviced. He lied to the person on the phone right in front of me, and I should have gotten up and walked out right then, but I had an employee discount combined with a good deal and felt trapped into continuing. When wrapping up the paper work, I told the sales rep that I wanted to buy extra miles because I knew I would need them. The sales rep messed up the paper work, and had to have the head salesman approve the new mileage. I was really confused at what happened, especially for something that seemed so easy.

Anyways, I wanted a silver Dodge Ram Quad-cab, and to get one they had to have it delivered from another dealership which seems like a common thing that happens (at least around the Detroit area). I was told it would take several days to get it from a dealership that was about two hours away. I figured they needed time, and I did not have a problem with that. The day it was to be delvered my sales rep called me and told me that the truck was involved in an accident during the delivery and they would have to find a new one. Mysteriously it seemed that the truck I picked up later was the same one, and I am sure he was just making up an excuse for the delay in making the trade for my vehicle.

When the truck finally showed up late, it did not have the free bed liner I was promised in the deal. At this point, the problem was I did not have a vehicle and could not wait any longer, so the sales rep said if I came back within a week they would put one in for me. So, a week later I went in and after about 30 minutes they had the thing in. Thus began my two year lease of my Dodge Ram.

I never had a problem with the truck until almost exactly one year later, the check engine light came on. I called up the same dealership and was told that they do not schedule appointments, and just to bring the truck down when I want. I went down on my way home from work, and I was told that they were extremely busy and that it probably wasn’t anything to worry about. For some reason my sales rep was working in the service department that day, and said to just bring it back within a couple weeks. I was slightly mad, but the whole thing was under warranty so if it broke it would get fixed for free.

Well, several months down the road I called a different dealership that actually took appointments. I was in and out in 25 minutes, and it was no big deal. I decided to never deal with my previous dealership again, but decided I would still turn in the vehicle there because it was more convienent. I turned the vehicle in a couple weeks ago, and then got my lease end statement yesterday.

The lease end statement said I was 5,000 miles over my mileage limit, and also charged me a different rate per mile than what was stated on my lease. There is also the turn-in fee that is never mentioned when you lease a vehicle. Basically, you have to pay the dealership to take the car back that they already own. Chysler was nice enough to give me a coupon to wave this fee, but only if I leased another car from them. No thanks. I had to call the financial department and they said it was a billing mistake, and that they would send out another bill shortly.
I now own a 1979 CJ-7 with no monthly payment, low insurance rates, and it gets just as good as gas mileage as the truck. Ever since I had the engine rebuilt on the Jeep I have not had any major problems, and for the past two weeks it seems to run better every time I drive it. It has some quirks that I am trying to take care of, but overall I am very happy with my Jeep. I will never lease from Chrysler again. I might buy a newer Jeep vehicle some day, but I think I am done with leasing.

My Jeep News

While I was in Newberry, Jenny and I were driving around the town looking for First Baptist Church of Newberry so we knew where to go to on Sunday morning.

Down one of the side streets I saw this…

Yes, that is a CJ. Yes it is sad. No front wheel. Rust all over the place. However it looked like it had a really nice hardtop. That is too bad.

On a good note, before I left for vacation I took my Jeep into Five Star Auto – The Jeep Outfitters. I had heard good things about them on the message boards, and from a coworker. They sounded very good at what they do, and specialize in Jeeps. I told them about both the little things that needed work anda couple of big things. They said they would get back to me with a quote.

Yesterday I heard back from them with a quote for $2100. At first I was taken back, but then I went over all the things it needed. They said the axle was about to fall off and needed new brackets and u-joints. The steering column needed to be replaced. The brakes had to be replaced all around. The oil pan and transmisson fluid pan both needed new gaskets. The engine needed a full-tune up with plugs and cap. The gas guage needed a new sending unit. So, I gave them the go ahead, and I should be getting my Jeep back within a couple of days. Woot.

Christian 4×4

I am very excited because I found a new Christian 4×4 web site and club based in Michigan:

The forums are awesome. Some of the other 4×4 forums I’ve been on can get pretty nasty at times. They talk about some great stuff on here other than 4 wheeling too. I am hoping I can get my Jeep fixed up a bit so it is ready to go off-roading…

Right now it needs several things urgently:

  • Quadratrac Transfer Case rebuild
  • Seal Leaky oil pan (possibly leaky trans too)
  • On-Road Tires (instead of the current 33″ mudders)
  • Engine Tune Up – it idles bad
  • Soft Top Installation
  • Fix the Fuel guage so I know much gas I have.

There are a bunch of little things too, but these are the important ones….