Saturday, June 26, 2010

To hell with all that other shit to talk about, JEEP!

I know it has been a shit ton of time since I posted anything original on here. All sorts of completely mind blowing and life changing things have happened to me over the last few months... but I don't want to talk about any of that. I have a jeep to tell you about.

That's right, after about eight months of work I have finally put the jeep on the road again. It is running for the first time in what I estimate to be about 40 years.

In the last few weeks I had finally gotten the the whole thing put back together. The engine and all the running gear was in. Everything was hooked up.

Rebuilt engine going in:

Engine as I found it:

Engine after being rebuilt:

You can imagine the anticipation as I was about to hot wire the thing and it was going to turn over for the first time. In my head I am thinking about all the things I might have put together wrong. The things I am pretty sure I did right but don't know for sure. About all the things that I will have to redo if I fucked it up...

With Chestocrates as my able-bodied assistant I connected the starter for the first time!



What the fuck?

"That is not enough noise. The engine isn't even turning."

The guys who had rebuilt the starter had put the wrong direction drive in it. When I connected it, the gear didn't engage the flywheel at all.

Another week.

OK. Now it is all back together. It should turn right over. So, I connect it all up again. This time when I engaged the starter.... it went


That's it... and some sizzling sound from the starter...

Obviously something is still wrong. No problem I try various things and figure out that for some reason the starter is not powerful enough to turn the engine over. I had just rebuilt the engine so maybe things are a little tight. I consult Amateur-Sophist and a few other experts... Most seem to think the starter is still the problem.

I take out the starter again and have the starter shop look at it again. They say the did it right this time... and imply the size of my battery cable is insufficient to get the job done.

I assure them that that is not the problem...

Eventually I end up back at my house stumped. I built the engine totally to specs (I think), I didn't leave a wrench in there... what the fuck is the problem.

The transfer case mid-rebuild:

Finally I have an idea!!!!

Obviously I need more power!!! The easiest way to do that is to up the voltage to the starter. The jeep is a 6 volt system. I decide to take the battery out of the Buick and try that. It is 12 Volts, Don't worry, the internet seems to say it should be OK for the starter. So I took that battery that I got for turning a cold V-8 Buick in Montana and put it in the jeep. We are talking 4 digit cold cranking amps here!

It was like a wild animal loose in the house!

It worked quite well. It worked better than I could have ever expected. Sort of like when you discover the right tool for the job and that tool is a chainsaw... and the job is cutting up phone books!

Assume there was maniacal laughter!

It is running in this picture: (You may just have to trust me on that one.)

Soon after that the engine was running great though with the Buick battery in it. There was some other small quirks to work out... and now that it is a little broken in and lubed up on the inside, it only takes a reasonable 6 Volts to get her started.

As some of you may remember... success will soon follow. "Who thinks I can make it through that puddle?"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Email from my Dad

Appropriate for Father's day, I got this email from from my dad today. I have posted it here with his permission...

Also, I will be posting again myself soon:

"Well we knew this would happen, I finally got to see the inside of a Saudi Police Station. It’s ok, I’m out now. Some little misunderstanding involving me, a tanker truck with no brakes, an excitable truck driver from Sudan, 6 squad cars, and a mystery arab.

There I was, driving the site, having warm thoughts of success as I observed a road crew with hard hats, retro-reflective vests, shoes, safety cones, (the works). Just then, a fully loaded tanker truck blew through at about 100 kph leaning on his horn. I was somewhat incensed so I took off after him to slow him down and give him the old impromptu safety lecture. I pulled in front of him an began to slow down. He moved left, I moved left. He moved right, I moved right. Still at a high rate of speed with horns blowing and arms waiving. I finally got him slowed down after another mile or so… I stopped my car in the middle of the road to get out and enlighten him when, BAM!!! He hit me!!. If I wasn’t excited before, I sure was now. I met him as he was climbing down the steps of his semi truck. The conversation was made easier because he only spoke Sudanese and I only spoke arm-waving, sputtering English. After a bit of this, he reached into his truck and showed me that he had very little in the way of working brakes on the truck. Great, I just threw myself in front of a speeding tanker truck with no brakes. I’m lucky the guy didn’t drive over me. By now, having looked at my somewhat shorter car, I’m beginning to rethink things.

He reached in his pocket and drew out his cell phone and I drew mine… he was quicker though. He got his manager at Saudi Ready Mix Concrete Company, I got a wrong number. But then, I called the Xxxxx’s Director of Safety and Traffic Management so I trumped him by a mile.

Two seconds later, about 6 squad cars showed up and easily a dozen police jumped out and surrounded the poor Sudanese guy. One of the cops walked over to me and said, “don’t worry, he’s guilty”. By now I figured I would be home for cocktail hour. No such luck.

A little custom over here is that everybody gets to go to the police station to settle things and pick up a police report (no police report, no repair shop will fix your car).

So off we go, me, the cop, and the truck driver to the nearest police station on the other side of about 30 miles of sand dunes. 45 minutes later, we roll up to a rundown beige brick building with a bunch of barefoot guys in uniform sitting on a rug smoking and drinking tea. They looked at me and went on with their work. After a bit, a guy who had 3 stripes got up and told me to sit down. He had to remove a pair of black socks from the chair and kick some sandals out of the way, I thanked him for his hospitality. He asked me what my nationality was.. believe me, I ran a few possible answers through my head before I answered USA. Then he asked if I worked for Xxxxx… yes I do. Saying you work for Xxxxx around here is like “open seseme”. The skies opened up, the sun shone, bluebirds began singing, etc. All the cops disappeared and I was there alone. Got a little creepy after 30 minutes. Then a rather highborn Saudi guy in white thobe and checkered guthra walked in, said “How do you do.” (not a question really). He disappeared. After another long wait, he reappeared. He asked me if I would allow him to pay for all damages and repair my car. Uh, sure? “Thank you, good bye.” He grabbed the Sudanese guy and they both disappeared down the street. A lot of disappearing going on. Now I’m standing in the cop station all alone again, the sun is going down, call to prayer starts and not another person in site. I walked out of the station and my car was there with all the papers and the keys. I did the obvious and jumped in and went home.

I learned today that I don’t have the authority to stop trucks and yell at the drivers. That’s ok because I don’t feel much like doing that again anyway.
That’s more or less what happened.

I am looking forward to coming home in 7 days… I will be on my best behavior until then."