My name is Nelson and I drive Jeeps. It has been described as an addiction, an unhealthy habit. Now that the holidays are over I have found myself wanting to drive my Jeep and get back out on the trails. Now most people think that the off road season ends when the snow flies, and that may be true for most trails, but there are forest service roads that are open year round for fire access routes. So the off road experience is only improved by the challenge of snow. There is a trip being coddled together in the next few weeks for a snow run so stay tuned for that.
Now back to the history of a simple Jeep episode 3!
As a recap, we now have 4 wheel drive, a top, doors, and heat. Now things are looking up, I have been driving the Jeep daily for a few months now as I start to experience some very strange oil pressure problems. Now as you probably already know oil is pumped through the engine by the oil pump, which draws oil up from the oil pan and pushes it through many passages through the wrist pins, pushrods, lifters, and eventually back down into the oil pan to start the ride all over again. So the oil pump is mechanically driven by the cam shaft. As the engine revs higher (more RPM) the faster it turns everything. So in theory as you accelerate or increase your RPMs the oil pressure should increase. This was not the case in my Jeep.
As I accelerated the oil pressure dropped in my engine… this is needless to say counterintuitive. I drove for a little bit with it acting up before I decided that I had to start the process of elimination of diagnosing the problem. I started by checking the gauge in my Jeep that was reading the confusing numbers. So I bought a new oil pressure gauge and tested it with no change, oil pressure was still falling during acceleration. So now I had to really start getting my hands grimy. At this point I had no idea just how grimey.
There was nothing for it I had to pull the oil pan off the motor. I was now in the poorly heated, poorly insulated and kind of holie upper barn at the farm and it was a vast improvement over the unheated open door lower barn. After I had removed the oil pan I was able to see that the pickup tube for the oil pan was clogged to some degree. I pulled the oil pump off and tried soaking it in gasoline to break up the hardened oil. To no avail I ordered a new oil pump and just opted to replace the entire unit. I also learned that the oil pump has a gasket… I had to order the gasket from the dealership as no auto supplier that I tried could get one. The following evening after work I had plans to go by the dealership to pick up my oil pump gasket. It was a fateful day that would be the start of so much more than I could have imagined.
In front of the dealership on a two lane road I was waiting to turn left. The cars approaching had a large gap coming up so I was in no hurry to make my turn. I was then periodically glancing into my rearview mirror and saw some headlights approaching, it wasn’t until the gentleman approaching behind me was closer that I realized he was going way too fast and didn’t realize that I was stopped. When the last car approaching me had passed I gave the 5.9l turbo diesel everything it had to make the left hand turn. It wasn’t enough. He hit the back right corner of my truck and it sent him into a 180 degree spin. *sigh* God damn it. A moment, 3 inches would have made the difference. He barely hit me, but it was at such a speed that his driver side mirror smashed his driver side window, and it dented my tailgate, smashed my tail light, wrinkled the bed, and scuffed the bumper. By the time it was all sorted out the dealership was closed so I couldn't pick up my gasket and I now had to deal with the insurance on getting my truck fixed. I drove my truck home that night, parked it and called it a night.
The next morning, my truck wouldn't start. The fuel pump had given up the ghost. It was dead, the Jeep was in pieces in my garage. I was SOL. I called my friend and boss at the time Zach, to let him know I wasn't going to make it to work. Being a good friend he drove down to Castle Rock to give me a ride to the dealership to get my gasket. I knew that the Jeep would be easier and cheaper to repair. After I got the gasket I made haste and got the Jeep reassembled. The Jeep was working again, just one day after my truck had gone down. This was not the first time that I had to swap a non working vehicle with a vehicle that I had just finished repairing. It is far from my favorite version of musical chairs. I was now in the Jeep full time, the truck just wasn't gonna get fixed, between the truck payments, and all the other life bills I had to pay I just couldn't afford the fuel pump.
Shortly after this experience I had driven to my mother's house in Evergreen and had no oil pressure issues what so ever. I felt very good about this, until it came time to go home. I didn't even make it a mile before my oil pressure gremlins were back. I had to turn around and head back to mum's house. I got on the horn to NAPA and located an oil pump at a store in Denver that I could pick up that afternoon. I also located another gasket at a dealership. Now all I had to do was borrow mum's car and pick them up on my way to the farm. I had to go to the farm to get my tools, and god forbid I forget a tool that I would need, so I loaded all of them.
Back up on the hill I unloaded all of my tools and parts, pulled the Jeep into the garage and got to work doing the exact same repair that I had done a few days/ week earlier. There was one stipulation for my use of the garage. Not one drop of oil could hit the concrete floor. I laid out the largest cardboard box I could find and got started. At the end of the night I had the oil pump replaced and not a drop of oil was spilled. It being the second time I had done this procedure I was exceptionally fast and efficient. I cleaned up and drove home. To be honest I don't remember if it was a problem free drive or if the oil pressure problems continued, but at any rate I had made it back to the farm. I nursed the Jeep around for another week or so, still not able to make sense of the oil pressure problem. Then one night after a get together I was driving home. It was about 2-4AM and my drive was about 45 minutes. On I-25 south of Denver climbing a hill I shook myself awake and realized that the Jeep had very little power and was making some alarming noises and showing 0 psi of pressure. I had officially starved the engine of oil and had burned something up. There was a distinct knock in the motor and I knew I had just killed my Jeep. I barely made it but I nursed the Jeep home. The one redeeming quality of this tragic event was that I had enough adrenaline to finish the drive without nodding off again.
Now the Jeep has a knock in the motor, When I got home that night I went straight up to the upper barn and parked it in the shop. It was now time to get my truck running, as it was now the cheapest and easiest to fix.
I found a replacement fuel pump for my truck and then found out that it was the wrong one, then I found another correct pump and got that installed. While I was under the truck I noticed that the u joint on the rear driveshaft was completely knackered. Infact, if the fuel pump had not gone out the u joint would have failed catastrophically in short order. Now with the fuel pump and the u joint replaced the truck was running again.
We have come to the end of this episode. This was a difficult episode to write about. It was at this time in my life that I can’t remember the exact chronology of my vehicles and what broke when and what was bought and sold when. It is actually a very strange feeling for me to not be able to remember all of the details of the automotive portion of my life. It is a testament to just how distracted and busy life had become. What I do know is that there were many character changes and challenges. In the next episode of “History of a Simple Jeep” there will be a rise and fall of a new star and the demise of another main character, as well as the rebuilding of the Jeep’s engine.