Wrenching

Forecast was too windy to go to the cabin yesterday. Thursday afternoon would have been the day, but I had errands to run.  My friend Mike passed away recently, and the truck I’d given him I got from his widow.  It barely made it home it was running so rough. At first I thought I’d take it to Greg, my mechanic, but thought I’d just check the easy thing – the rotor and distributor cap – and when I popped that off, I could see right away that was the problem.  Changed those out, and had to get a new battery, too, but it seemed to run fine, and I got it over to Lt. Lance after our monthly SA board meeting, where I got some jam and jam making tips from a fellow board member.

The forecast on Thursday looked good to go on Friday, but by Friday the forecast was a gale so I thought I’d better stay in town.  I hunted up behind the garage after doing some maintenance on the skiff, which also involved putting the chains on the truck as the wet snow had made the driveway too icy to get the skiff back up to it’s spot, even in 4WD.  Didn’t see any deer up the hill.  Been a long time since I have seen one, up there, actually.  I saw some older tracks and a person track following the freshest deer track I’d seen, so I went up the hill and stood on a high stump for about an hour.

The snow dump turned to pouring rain, so I thought I’d tackle the jeep gas tank today.  I nearly killed myself when I put a muffler on the jeep, and the tailpipe nested next to the plastic gas tank.  Next time I went to fill up there was a baseball sized hole in the tank, which we noticed when the gas started pouring out the hole.  I tried patching it but nothing would hold.  Put out a feeler on Craigslist and the local buy-sell-trade for a gas tank after finding none from any of the junkyards, and got a tank in good shape from a local guy.  I dropped the old tank today, but in doing so realized the front support for the tank was attached to a cross member between the body frame, and that crossmember had rusted nearly through.  So then I came inside and thought about just selling the jeep as is rather than try to fix the cross member.  I looked on Craigslist to see what other vehicles were available, then had a cup of coffee by the woodstove.  That’s when it struck me that I could just run a bolt down from the inside of the jeep to replace the crossmember, and I was back in business.

I seated the new tank into the skid plate that holds it to the frame.  The bolts in the hold down straps had both busted off when I tried removing them, so I drilled a hole a half inch up the strap from the end and ran a long bolt through it and bolted it to the skid frame.  I changed over the hoses and used my floor jack to position the tank under the jeep.  I got the back of the skid plate bolted to the bumper.  Then I lined up as best I could the front holes with the underside of rear of the jeep, then from the top drilled a hole.  The first one was off by about 3 inches, so I drilled another and that one worked.  I got the other side close enough on the first try.  I put a piece of hose for a shock absorber washer under the bolt head,and used a piece of fuel hose scrap left on the used fuel tank as another shock absorbing washer under the nut.  When everything seemed pretty tight, I cleared the area out, put 5 gallons of fuel in, and the jeep started.  I let it run for 10 minutes to be sure I was okay, then added another 5 gallons of gas.  The fuel gauge might not be working now, but I can live with that.  It’s always satisfying to do the home repairs not so much to save money but for the satisfaction and as a learning for the times you are out on your own and have to fix things yourself.