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.
Verne Is Full of Hot Air
I was just browsing your article on air compressors in the August ’13 issue. For what it’s worth, I have been running a Harrison R4 compressor as an air supply for approximately 8 years on a ’79 CJ-7 with a Chevy TBI 350ci in it. It is just now starting to go out and sounding like it is going to seize. I use an air tool oiler in front of a check valve on the intake side and feed it air tool oil or a 50/50 mix of motor oil and ATF. The compressor has worked very well on the trail, so well that I wanted to add a Kilby setup on my ’06 LJ with A/C, but I waited too long and the guy in Burbank sold the company. Instead I went with the dual motor ARB electric compressor that seems to work pretty well, but the jury is still out on it. It fits well next to the master cylinder, and it was easy to make the needed brackets. I still think that for size and space you can’t beat an engine-driven system. Most electrics are a joke in comparison. A friend of mine has been using a Sanden style A/C compressor converted to air on his stock ’86 CJ for about nine years with no problems.
Phew! I put a lot of time and energy into getting the Harrison on the Buick V-6 in my ’49 CJ-3A working to compress air for on board air. It’s good to hear that it may last more than a few trips to the desert, and honestly I was worried. I’d say if you have to toss a new or rebuilt compressor at it every eight years, that’s alright. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not great, but on a trail rig that gets used, eight years of service from a major component is not too bad (your tires won’t last that long). Yeah, engine driven compressors sure move a lot of air, and they are fairly easy to set up in most vehicles (unless you are trying to retain the factory A/C). To steal your sentiment above, I am still a bit worried about my Harrison R4—the jury is still out, but hearing that you had success with one is good to hear.
I recently bought an ’81 CJ-7 Jeep with an inline six-cylinder engine. I noticed it was running hot, so I changed out the thermostat and the water pump. I checked both parts and they seemed to be functioning, but I changed them anyway since I had already had the front end torn apart. I also put in a new flex fan because the one I had was pretty chewed up. The gauge still moves to hot fairly quickly just sitting idle. The radiator and coolant get hot as does the top hose, but the bottom hose stays cool and so do the hoses going into and out of the heater core. I turned on the heater, and it only blows cold air. I’ve ordered a new sending unit for the temp gauge, but I’m not convinced that it is going to solve my problem and I’m running out of ideas. Have you seen this before, or have an idea what I should do next?
Well, Brian, it sounds to me like you are headed down the right road. Your description of the heater hoses and lower hose not heating up as much seems to suggest that your Jeep is not actually running too hot, but rather that the sending unit or gauge are giving false info. I’d say that if the new sending unit does not resolve your problem, the next step would be to get your radiator re-cored or replace it with a new radiator. Also, you could add in an aftermarket mechanical gauge. One last thing I’ll say is that generally I don’t like flex fans. The blades are designed to flatten out at higher RPMs and then don’t move any air. Not only that, but they tend to block air movement at higher engine speeds. I really think an old-school factory fan with a functioning fan clutch, fixed blades, and shroud are better at moving air at all RPMs than most flex fans.
Short and Sweet
I am looking for a rollcage for my ’51 CJ-3A.
Try www.extremecustomparts.com. They sell weld-together rollcages for various new and old Jeep models, including your CJ-3A. Also check out the company’s optional upgrades.
Best 350 for a Jeep
What is the best Chevy 350ci engine, transmission, and transfer case swap for a ’55 Willys Jeep pickup, assuming there are prefabricated ready to weld mounting brackets? What year pickup/suburban one can salvage these parts from? Where should I look to buy these parts?
I’d look for an L31 5.7L Vortec engine from a ’96-’99 pickup or Suburban and a 4L60E or NV4500, depending on if you prefer an auto (former) or manual transmission (latter). The T-case you run really depends on what front axle you are gonna use. If you are keeping the passenger-drop axle, I would look to adapt a Jeep Dana 300 or maybe a GM NP205 if you want to run big tires and build the small-block to breath fire. Also, a Chevy NP241 from an early ’90-’91 Blazer before IFS would bolt right to the back of 4L60E’s 27-spline output shaft. If you are gonna run an axle with a driver-drop differential, you should be able to run a NV231J or NV241 from a Jeep or even from a commonly available IFS GM pickup. I’d start scouring your local area for pick-a-part style junkyards. Also, you could search www.car-part.com for a Chevy 1500 4x4 or Suburban, and when you call on the part, ask if they also have the transmission and maybe the transfer case. Last place to keep an eye on is your local Craigslist. Search for “Chevy 1500 parting” or “parting Suburban.” You’ll probably come across a few trucks or Suburbans being parted out.
What Is That?
I remember reading an article recently about all the differences in different Jeep year models. It included information on how to tell the differences between all the Cherokee models. What month was that issue? I’ve been looking through my back issues and can’t find it.
Check the May ’13 issue. It has an article written by Pete called “Cherokee Nation” that covers most if not all of the differences between the XJs models that were available.
Crate Engine Sputter
I’ve been a Jp readers for years. I’ve owned three Cherokees, and I absolutely love them. My current one has the 6.5-inch Rough Country long-arm lift with some other cool stuff running 35-inch Kevlars. It looks good, but I use it too much. I recently put a new ATK crate engine in it thinking I would be good with a new engine and not have any problems. But eight months later, I still can’t get the engine running correctly. I have taken it everywhere, and nobody can fix it. I have done all I can do to my ability. Lately I’ve been replacing everything it could be with no luck. I’m running out of patience and money with this. It’s very strange. The engine spits and sputters like the cat is clogged up, but it has straight pipes with a Super 44 muffler. It doesn’t do it all the time, and usually only does it if I’m staying in the throttle or on the interstate passing people. It has plenty of power until it starts sputtering, then I can’t even keep up my speed. Please help. Any advice would be awesome, as I’m at a complete loss.
Editor Hazel is our engine guru, so I am gonna let him field this one. Here is what he recommends:
It sounds like a fuel delivery problem to me. I’d start by checking and replacing fuel filter(s) first. Then if the problem is not resolved, check the fuel pressure with a remote gauge. The 4.0L wants about 48 psi. If it’s dropping below 40 psi at any point, either your fuel pickup is clogged or your pump or regulator is bad. The ’95-earlier OBD1 Cherokees used an external regulator, while the ’96-newer versions have the regulator built into the fuel pump.
You need to get a pressure gauge on the fuel system and monitor what the gauge is doing when the problem occurs. If the gauge keeps a constant reading, then you can move to injectors (may be misfiring or plugged/dirty). If there’s no pressure drop and the injectors are fine after you send them in for cleaning (many local shops do injector sonic cleanings), then you can move to ignition, but to me it really sounds like a fuel problem.
More Love for Shrinky
I saw the Shrink Ray TJ project while I was stationed in Korea last year, and it really stuck with me. Recently I was persuaded to sell the various Jeep carcasses I have accumulated over the last 20 years, but I managed to make a counter offer on an ’01 TJ replacement with the 2.5L and five-speed! This new Jeep will not be a daily driver, and I really loved the concept of your project, because I really hate how large Jeeps are getting these days. I’m planning a slow build with your Jeep as a template, so if you have time I would really appreciate any input you may have about what you would do differently, and I would really like to see how you fit everything under the hood. I’m planning on using a Ford 8.8-inch for the rear once the Dana 35 goes, and possibly an NV3550, mostly because I have one and I don’t trust the AX5. I’m planning a SYE, so the input will get swapped then. As I said, any input you may have would be great. It’s an awesome idea that I’m looking forward to adapting. Keep up the good work! I always enjoy your candid writing.
David, glad you liked Shrink Ray. I am very happy with the Jeep myself. I like your thought on getting rid of the AX5, but I think I would look to swap to an AX15, as I am not sure you can swap to an NV3550 with the 2.5l. I know my AX5 is living on borrowed time, and they are not exactly known for their strength or durability. The only other thing that I might recommend is trying to get a little lower gearing if you plan on using your Shrink Ray TJ in heavy rocks. Also, here is a picture under Shrinky’s hood so you can see how everything fits!
Dubious Oil Pressure
I own an ’87 Jeep YJ with the 4.2L engine and I keep having trouble with my oil pressure. I’ve already replaced the oil sending unit twice and the pressure on the gauge keeps dropping. Could this be the oil pump going out on it or could it be another PCV valve? I’m stumped and have no idea. I do know for a fact that it is a mechanical gauge and everything, but should the pressure really read the line before 0 psi at interstate speed? Help me out!
Plant City, FL
First, it is possible that your oil pump is dying, but before you go pulling the oil pan and replacing the pump, I would hook up an aftermarket mechanical oil pressure gauge and see what it tells you. It will either confirm what your old gauge is telling you or prove that your old gauge is no good. If the aftermarket gauge reads low, it’s time to replace the pump or it may be time for an engine rebuild. I’d bet it’s the factory gauge telling lies.
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