Love/Hate relationship

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AmBraCol
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Love/Hate relationship

Post by AmBraCol »

What vehicle have you had a love/hate relationship with?

Back in the late 20th Century the need for better transportation manifested itself. The bicycles got us around town and we could load them pretty heavy when need be, especially my old '79 model Monarch frame that I'd built into something similar to Pat McManus' "mountain bike". Single speed, coaster brake, heavy duty spokes front and rear, reinforced front fork, handlebar with a cross piece for reinforcement and the best bits and bobs I could locate for the mechanical part. But for getting out of town to where we were ministering we needed something motorized and that could carry me, my darling wife and our boys, along with who/whatever else needed hauling around

So 800 km (500 miles) north I went to the city of Belém where my folks lived at the time. A city of over a million had a lot more to pick and choose from than our little backwater town. Perusing the classifieds and poking around yielded some different options, but a VW Kombi pickup would be a bit underpowered for the load capacity and the other options just didn't generate much confidence. And then there it was, a 1975 Jeep built by Ford with a Ford four cylinder engine, a beautiful "Amazon Green" metal flake paint job and a new soft top that could be collapsed to the back for a semi-topless cruise or pulled forward and the sides rolled down for attempting to thwart the invasion of the rainy season torrents.

Money was exchanged, paperwork was pushed through by a friend of the family and I headed south happily, little knowing the education that was about to commence. My folk would soon be heading to the US for their home service so Candy the boxer bitch was loaded up to ride "shotgun", my bag with spare clothes and such tossed in back and off we headed towards home. The top was down the 80 kmh breeze kept us relatively cool and everything went swimmingly until we stopped for fuel. It was amusing to see folks crowd around to see the Jeep, keeping a respectful distance as Candy gave them the good ol' stink eye. Full up, ready to roll - and the Jeep wouldn't start. Whirrrrr, whirrrrrrrr, whirrrrrrrrrrrr... not even a hint of a try at firing. Fuel, Spark, Air - what's the problem? Full tank, carb full of gas, no spark. Why? Well, there wasn't much of a tool kit in the Jeep yet (THAT was in for a change soon) so the assistance of a local mechanic was sought. He soon pinpointed the problem to the rotor. Spark from the coil was great. Points in good shape and properly adjusted. But no spark off the tip of the rotor - the crazy thing had busted inside. And there's no O'Reilly Automotive out in Boondockville Brazil along the Belém-Brasilia highway - even today, much less thirty odd years back. But never fear, brown neck can see your red neck and raise you double the value. He soldered a bit of coper wire at the center of the rotor with a bit of solder holding it at the tip and voilá, we were on the road again! We got home in find shape and it was great to see my wife and kids reaction to the new wheels (15" chrome rims - 10X32 rubber) and the rest of it as well.

But soon after we had our first run to the back of the middle of nowhere. 5 miles or so of questionable blacktop followed by about 60 miles of "main highway" (called high way because of the altitude reached between bumps) and then 5 miles or so of one lane track. And then turn around and back home over the same marvelous byways. And that's when I learned about the beauty of body putty applied over cheese grater like body panels. Cheese grater due to the amount of rust that was covered over. It's lovely - as long as you don't take it off the pavement. We eventually replaced about 40% of the body metal, plus a big portion of the floor boards.

I bought every set of points for that Jeep that were available in town. Same for the mufflers. The problem was it was all old stock and the mufflers were great rats' nests where they'd indulge in all kinds of rat behavior including the application of rat urine, which leads to interior rust which leads to mufflers that don't, muffle that is. We didn't even have to tell folks we were there when we headed out to the interior. They'd show up on their own. "I heard the jeep as you came off the main rode, figured we'd find you here this evening."

We learned to drive that Jeep without a clutch, without brakes, without a clutch OR brakes and only got it stuck once. Twice we had to leave it on the side of the road. Once when the center of the clutch blew out. The other time when it tried to kill me. I ran it with a double fuel filter for a long time to try and keep rust out of the carb. A new set of points (if available), a "serviceable" set of points (sanded fairly smooth), a bit of sand paper, a make shift feeler gage (although I got to where I could set points by eye), a condenser, spare rotor and a host of other bits and bobs were always along for the ride. An old screw driver and pair of pliers rode in the door pocket, easy to hand. I could stop and pop the hood, clear the jets in the carb and be back on the road in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

There was the time we were tooling down the freshly graded (for once) dirt "main highway" one time when smoke started billowing out from under the hood. I hit the brakes, skidded to a halt, had the ignition off and the extinguisher in my hand as I popped the hood with dust billowing around - to find no more smoke. 100* heat with the tropical sun beating on the back of my neck as I looked around for the source of the smoke didn't improve the mood any. Finally found some melted wire in a bundle that was taped up. Followed the melted bit back to find there was an unused live wire left from ???? - and it had shorted. That lead to a complete rewiring of the old Jeep. "One wire to each necessary point, properly ground all connections, replace those dinky back lights with some off a Mercedes truck" were the instructions to the electrician, a friend of ours. Said and done and worth every penny.

Our boys got to where they could tell things weren't right, probably by the white knuckles gripping the wheel. "We don't have brakes, right Mommy?" they'd ask. "That's right." she'd answer. "Well, let's pray for safety." and they did, and their prayers were answered. We never had an accident due to malfunctioning safety equipment, but there was that time the right rear tire came off on a curve, along with the axle. And the time the float came off the flapper in the carb (soldered it back in place using a bobby pin from one of our passengers, held it in a small fire using a pair of pliers).

The REAL fun was one of the times I COULDN'T get it back to town - because it tried to kill me that time. As we neared the end of the single lane track before the "main highway", the old Jeep was back to her tricks. I'd try to accelerate and she'd choke, sure sign of a clogged jet in the carb. We reached a wire gate, the guy with me hopped out, opened it, I nursed the jeep through, climbed out, popped the hoot, cleaned out the jet and reassembled everything. But to make sure I got it right I started it up to make sure it would accelerate now. But why climb back in when the ignition is open, the Jeep's in neutral and you've got a screw driver in your hand? Just short the starter, accelerate by hand, close the hood and you're on the way. And it all went marvelously - until the whole "accelerate by hand" thing. Vroom, VRooom, VROOOOM POW! as I was swiveled around 180 degrees by the impact of a fan blade that busted off and caught me on my wrist and then walked up my arm. To this day I can't stand in front of a car that the engine is being revved on...

The guy with me (a miracle there, usually I was hauling some nearly defunct older person or a pregnant woman) said, "I'll be right back, they moved the cattle out yesterday, I'm sure I can find a fresh cowpie to put on that." to which I replied "Get back here and get into my suitcase in back and fetch me a clean handkerchief." He favored his cowpie, but I convinced him otherwise. Once he got me patched up as best he could (not very good, but better than I could with my left hand) he took off to see if he could get help from the ranch headquarters up by the highway. I sat there in the drivers side, nursing my arm, chugging child's Diclofenaco (the only pain killer/anti-inflammatory that I had left from doctoring other folks) and wondering if I was going to lose my right hand. So I pulled the Rossi 38 out of the side pocket and concentrated on some weak hand practice as an additional means of distracting my brain from the pain. My passenger finally returned, together with a tractor and some help and they towed the Jeep back to their headquarters, where we found one of the company trucks overnighting due to an electrical problem. As daylight was breaking the next morning we headed in to town where I was able to send word to my wife to call off the search party.

We rebuilt the engine (sleeving it back to standard) and the transmission and transfer case (having to have a gear or two rebuilt), redid the metal work (as mentioned above) and redid the brakes so often we almost ran out of brakeline. When we sold the old heap it had just started a leak from the water pump...

The pics below are from the trip when the front spring broke free from the frame. Some friends were going by and stopped to help. They loaned me their jack to help get the spring down and the frame up (needed two jacks for the operation). I cut a small tree down with the machete and flattened the trunk on two sides, then held it in place with the rope that always rode along with us. It got us the rest of the way out there and then back home.

She's long gone, but I kind of miss the crazy old contraption. My wife says I've lost my mind.

Image

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Paul - in Pereira


"He is the best friend of American liberty who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion." -- John Witherspoon

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JimT
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Re: Love/Hate relationship

Post by JimT »

Good times, my friend. Good times.
Driving the trails in the bush always produces "good times" .... :lol:
I have fond memories of roadside repairs in Africa. Stressful at the time, these days they are fond memories indeed. I once took a Toyota 5-speed transmission apart with a Leatherman Tool and a vice-grip pliers. :D
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AJMD429
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Re: Love/Hate relationship

Post by AJMD429 »

Definitely a vehicle meant to be owned by someone unafraid to gamble on his backyard-mechanic skills...😅
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AmBraCol
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Re: Love/Hate relationship

Post by AmBraCol »

JimT wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 5:16 pm
Good times, my friend. Good times.
Driving the trails in the bush always produces "good times" .... :lol:
I have fond memories of roadside repairs in Africa. Stressful at the time, these days they are fond memories indeed. I once took a Toyota 5-speed transmission apart with a Leatherman Tool and a vice-grip pliers. :D
Breakdowns were always a good excuse for an impromptu picnic or short exploration of the immediate surroundings. One trip my dad took (to where we later lived) he had six flat tires. Every tire went flat, plus the spare and one of the tires went twice, fortunately it happened at intervals that allowed for repairs at the frequent (relatively speaking) tire repair stops. Five bent rims on that trip, too. The brought back the sister of the man who was with him, the first time she'd ever ridden in a car. She sat in the middle of the back seat with her eyes wide open and holding on for dear life. When they finally got back to the highway and Dad could shift past second in the little VW bug, she sat back and relaxed as they sailed smoothly down the highway. "Thank you for slowing down", she said, as dad popped it into 4th and nudged it up to 80 Kmh.
Paul - in Pereira


"He is the best friend of American liberty who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion." -- John Witherspoon

http://www.paulmoreland.com
http://www.pistolpackingpreachers.us
http://www.precisionandina.com
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AmBraCol
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Re: Love/Hate relationship

Post by AmBraCol »

Another good item to have on hand was two part epoxy putty. One can clean around a gash in the gas tank with toothpaste then plaster a glob of two part putty over the hole and get on down the road after it hardens.
Paul - in Pereira


"He is the best friend of American liberty who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion." -- John Witherspoon

http://www.paulmoreland.com
http://www.pistolpackingpreachers.us
http://www.precisionandina.com
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JimT
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Re: Love/Hate relationship

Post by JimT »

We used epoxy to fix cracked radiators. They held... for a time. An old innertube cut into strips held back leaks in radiator hoses.

We took a load of Mozambicans from their village to the nearest town .. about 30 miles. The ladies who had never ridden in a vehicle puked the entire trip. We probably got up to 30 KPH at times! :D
octagon
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Re: Love/Hate relationship

Post by octagon »

Paul I had a 75 CJ5 that had a dead short I could never find and had to keep a large supply of voltage regulators under the passenger seat toolbox. It roadwalked badly at 50 mph, water pumps, fuel pumps etc...
Once I had been hunting 4 or 5 days and was coming home with 2 deer and a turkey in the back, and needing a bath and a shave badly, I stopped to help some chick with a flat. While putting on her spare tire, a Highway Patrol stopped and looking at me, asked the lady, "Miss, is this guy bothering you?" No, she said, this gentleman is helping me fix a flat! He watched a minute and said, "Miss, are you SURE this guys not bothering you?" Sir this gentleman is HELPING me! The cop left, very disappointed, i left, relieved, sure he was waiting up the road...he was not.
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AmBraCol
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Re: Love/Hate relationship

Post by AmBraCol »

octagon wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 7:25 pm
Paul I had a 75 CJ5 that had a dead short I could never find and had to keep a large supply of voltage regulators under the passenger seat toolbox. It roadwalked badly at 50 mph, water pumps, fuel pumps etc...
Once I had been hunting 4 or 5 days and was coming home with 2 deer and a turkey in the back, and needing a bath and a shave badly, I stopped to help some chick with a flat. While putting on her spare tire, a Highway Patrol stopped and looking at me, asked the lady, "Miss, is this guy bothering you?" No, she said, this gentleman is helping me fix a flat! He watched a minute and said, "Miss, are you SURE this guys not bothering you?" Sir this gentleman is HELPING me! The cop left, very disappointed, i left, relieved, sure he was waiting up the road...he was not.

... and Smokey had a Ford... :lol:


A friend of mine in college had a CJ5. He pulled my Fairlane coupe out of a few bad spots over the years. It was the closest thing I had to an off road vehicle, and I could take it places other guys wouldn't even try in their pickups. And sometimes I'd get away with it.

For those who don't get the reference above... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7UNFEiQPys
Paul - in Pereira


"He is the best friend of American liberty who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion." -- John Witherspoon

http://www.paulmoreland.com
http://www.pistolpackingpreachers.us
http://www.precisionandina.com
Walker
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Re: Love/Hate relationship

Post by Walker »

78 MG Midget. Bought it while stationed in San Diego. Kept a couple of the ships engineers in beer to keep it running. Fun driving up and down the coast with the top down though.
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OldWin
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Re: Love/Hate relationship

Post by OldWin »

Haha looks a lot like old Festus here. A 59 CJ5, and my first Jeep. Only time it really left me afoot was kinda my own fault. I KNEW that drivers front wheel bearing was getting bad but "I wasn't going far.........."
I was driving along when I noticed a wheel go by and then out into the bushes.
Then I realized it was mine.
Now, old Festus did have some brakes. Right up until that wheel separated and pulled the brake line with it.
I also learned that day that a T90 3 speed ain't synced up all that great when it comes to downshifting.
Normally, I wasn't too crazy about going 45mph everywhere. That day it seemed plenty fast!

Wish I had it back.
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