Your Tech Questions Answered
Worthy of Willie?
I got a few comments to make on some stuff in the August issue (which, by the way, was quite good).
Piggy the tool truck must weight truly a “ton” more than it originally did with all the gear and tools on it. However, it did make for a good exercise in stuff one “might” want to carry. My wife and I have spent a lot of trail time without another vehicle accompanying us, even deep into Baja with three daughters and a large lab. (The dog type, not the meth type.) Instead of a complete tool kit, we go around our vehicle with wrench in hand checking just what things may need fixing or tightening on the trail and then only carry those sizes. No reason to have a 17⁄32-inch socket or end wrench with you if you don’t have anything to fit it on. A big and small adjustable wrench is nice to have, but keep in mind they may not be, let’s use the word “compact” enough to fit in the work area. And darn if I didn’t have to go out and buy a metric one when we bought our new JK!
I won’t bore you with what I carry, as the list is pretty strange. I have broke some strange stuff and figured out some even stranger repairs to get us home. While I carry a can full of various sizes of nuts and bolts, I learned a great idea from a Baja rancher/mechanico back in the late ’60s. All thread. It is a life saver. You can even find them in Grade-8 quality. I carry three sizes, 1⁄2-, 3⁄8-, and 1⁄4-inch, as well as lots of nuts for them in both regular and locking style. Double nut one end and cut the other to the right length and you have the correct length bolt every time. Just be sure to have a nut on both sides of the place you’re going to cut the rod at so it will clean up the threads as you turn it off. And water. No such thing as having enough water with you—you need more than enough. If you should have to do a walk out, you had better have a way to carry it. We take along with our survival gear two back packs, one of which is just for water.
Now on to the Motorcraft 2100 carb tricks. I used to run one on my Bronco back in 1972 or so. I liked it fine, but haven’t even looked at one for 40 years. What has me a bit confused, which doesn’t take much anymore, is the “side hill baffle trick.” You got a hole in the gasket on the driver side, but then you say he plugged the driver-side vent. Not quite sure what is going on here. Is there a space between the gasket and the bottom of the carb’s top that air can vent from one side to the other?
Thanks for the kind words. It is much appreciated. I am happy that someone who I have always looked up to is actually reading what I write! I have read so much of your writing over the years that you can definitely take credit for influencing my career in 4x4 writing. (If you care to—if you are embarassed by my writing, you can deny any influence!)
I love the all-thread trick. I’ll add that to my carry list for sure, It’s a great idea, and I had no idea it was available in graded strengths.
And good point about that 17⁄32-inch socket! I have been carrying metric and standard tools for too long, as even my ’49 CJ-3A has a late model even-fire Buick V-6 with some metric hardware on the accessories, etc. My TJ, XJs, and WJ have also been a mixed bag of metric, standard and Torx. I probably never used the 14mm, but darn it if I haven’t toted it all over the country. It’s probably is redundant to have that 13mm and a 1⁄2-inch box end wrench too...hmm. Also, I curse the pet poodle of the Jeep engineer that introduced Torx head hardware to an otherwise fine vehicle brand. Not because they don’t work, because Torx fasteners are fine, but because now I have to carry an extra set of Torx sockets with me on the off chance that one bolt on whatever has failed and will have a Torx head from the factory!
I agree that you can’t have enough water. It would really and truly suck to become human jerky in the desert because you ran out of the wondrous fluid. The backpack for H2O is also a great call. I’ll add that to the list also!
As for the 2100, the side hill baffle trick only works because there is space for the air to vent side-to-side over the gasket in the top cast part of the carb. Also, this mod may be overkill, as most people to whom I talked about 2100s before and since the article printed never seemed to remember having any kind of fuel sloshing issues on sidehills, or even when a Jeep was accidentally flopped on one side. Still, the idea is cool from a tinkering aspect, and having both vents open allows way more air than necessary for these relatively small carbs. Another friend of mine said he planned to build a crossover pipe between the two vents with a centralized vent hole after thinking about this trick. Then you really would never have to worry about fuel draining out the vent unless the Jeep was basically upside down and well after oil starvation would be a more major problem. Again it’s debatable that any of these modifications are really necessary as long as the float is set properly and the carb is in good shape.
Speaking of odd breaks and repairs, next time we meet and have some time, I’ll buy you a beer, soda, or a coffee and tell you the story of the beach trip with the broken throttle cable and how a friend and I used a Bic pen, the draw string from a bathing suit and a flashlight to get back on the road.