Rustbucket needs a tracheotomy, STAT!

I decided to pick up a repair manual at Advanced Auto so I could get started on giving Rustbucket a proper tuneup while my wallet recovers from purchasing her. On looking over everything, I discovered that the air filter had become an oil filter. After blowing into a brown paper bag to get my breathing back to normal, I decided to research what this means. I was thinking worst-case-scenario, blown engine, time for a rebuild! It turns out that this is called blow-by, and it is very common for the 4.0l inline 6 used in jeeps. It is usually caused by a loss of pressure in one of the vacuum lines from the manifold to the valve cover. As mentioned in the Haynes repair manual (should have gotten the Chilton, BTW), I removed the vacuum tube from the valve cover while the engine was running and put my finger over it to feel if there was suction. Nope.

So I decided to remove the CCV (Controlled Crankcase Ventilation) from the valve cover and take a look at that. There was gunk all up in my CCV! It was completely clogged, so I cleaned it out with a coat hanger, and inspected the vacuum tube for gunk inside of it. I was going to clean it out with a length of wead-eater line, but discovered that there was a big hole in one of the ends. If you've ever tried to use a straw with a hole in the side, you know it doesn't work very well. So I decided to go check my local parts store (which isn't very big), and they didn't have it. Rats! Well, we were heading over to the mall to go pick up Dani a new iPhone 3Gs, so I decided to stop in and check with the dealership. They had the CCV, but they had to order the vacuum line, but that was going to come in a day later (today). Total for parts: $18. I could have prolly saved a few bucks, but still, $18 isn't bad.

I stopped in the dealers on my way home and picked up the parts today. Right before I was going to hook up the vacuum tube to the manifold, I noticed the the nubbin on the manifold was clogged. I took my trusty coat hanger and started to remove the grime from the nubbin. Man, it was really clogged, it went about a whole inch down. I finally broke through and cleaned out the hole as best I could. Then I hooked up the vacuum tube, started the engine, and checked for suction. Not only that I had suction, but the engine sounded much, much healthier! Man was I excited! I decided to run out to Walmart and pick up a new air filter, but ended up coming home with oil, an oil filter, spark plugs, but no air filter! Neither Walmart nor Kmart carries an air filter for that year wrangler. What's that all about!? oh well, I guess I am going to have to go pick one up tomorrow on my way home. In the meantime, I went ahead and installed the new spark plugs. It's purring!!!

I took it for a short spin around the block, and It ran strong, even up hills. This is a big improvement to the performance of the engine, can't wait to get a new air filter and change the oil in it to start cleaning out the mung! I still can't tell if it's the clutch that is making the high whining noise when downshifting, or if it's the transmission. I still haven't stuck my pinky finger into the transmission to check the transmission fluid level (I know, I didn't believe that's how it's still done either), maybe that will be my next adventure!

What did I get myself into?

So, I bought an old 1993 Jeep Wrangler YJ off eBay. Since I didn't use my old blog at all, I've hijacked it, and am trying to use it as a means to document all the times I bust my knuckles trying to get this jeep from the sad shape it's in, to hopefully a nice rock crawler.

To set the record straight, I am not much of a mechanic. I know how to change oil and tires (though I did have a $360 bill from the last time I changed a tire last week, but that's another story), but I get squeamish anytime I open the hood to a car. One thing I hate about taking my car to a shop is not knowing anything about what is wrong, and not knowing how badly I am being taken advantage of. So I am going to try to do as much shade tree mechanical work as possible on this thing, hopefully learn in the process, but most of all, have fun with it.

Mike and I got to the dealer's home in Pasadena (MD) around midday on Monday, and gave the jeep a brief one-over. Like I said, we're not mechanics, so we didn't know much of what to look for. The body and tires seemed in decent shape, and the motor started right up. So I handed over the money, got the signed title, and went to the MVA to get temporary tags so that I could drive it home. The first thing that we did before making our journey back to Carrol County was to remove the top. It gave a new meaning to "Ragtop". Driving it home was quite possibly one of the most terrifying hour of my life. I felt like it may collapse, and I would die at any moment. But it didn't, and I survived.

When we got it home, Mike discovered that the rear corner of the frame where the suspension connects to it looked like someone did some patch work and spray painted over it to hide the work. I started freaking out about this because (a) it could have collapsed on my way home, and (b) a new frame would cost about $2500 for just the part, and (c), that would involve pretty much building the jeep from the ground up... way more that I bargained for.

I took the jeep to a body shop at the suggestion of a friend, and the guy that gave me an estimate told me that they could just weld on some metal, and it would be as good as new. And it'll only cost about $400, and it should only take a day in the shop to complete. Boy was I relieved! I am planning on getting that taken care of when I buy the new suspension for it (Rubicon Express Extreme 4.5" suspension lift kit) so that we can make sure everything fits properly.

Well, that pretty much catches me up to today, here a few more pictures:

The 4.0L inline 6

Leather seats, but they smell pretty bad (mold). Dani told me that I had to replace them if I want her to come wheeling with me because she's allergic to them.

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