A Point to Ponder

Found this in the archives over at Possum Living, one of my new favorite blogs.

A Point to Ponder

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I'm a new Ford hater!

A friend of mine came over yesterday to help me with my Escort (I need to pull the head and see if it's OK. If it is, I'm putting a gasket in). I have to say that it is remarkably poorly engineered. It took us about 30-45 minutes to pull the alternator.

That's because the quarters are so tight the only way you can get it out is by unbolting the power steering reservoir, pulling it out of the way as far as you can, and yanking the alternator out, while praying that you don't break the power steering reservoir. We couldn't believe that was what we needed to do so we spent that time looking for another way to get it out.

The alternator was just the first of several things we ran into. You have to unbolt a motor mount just to get to the timing belt. Suffice it to say if I put this thing back together it's getting a new belt, because I sure don't want to go through all this again.

My friend is a long-time Ford hater, and I see why now. I'm just learning some of the deeper stuff in the engine; I've replaced accessories (alternators, water pumps, etc) on other vehicles before, but I've never done anything further in. It boggles the mind that I would need to put another essential component to safe driving (the PS reservoir) in danger to replace an alternator. I can't imagine trying to do that on the side of the road.



The Jeep is running

Well, after my little car suffered a severe failure of the head gasket (if not something more serious - I haven't troubleshot it yet), the Jeep suddenly got moved to the front burner. The simple reason is that I don't have the $200-$300 needed to take care of the little car right now and I had most of what I needed for the Jeep already.

As given to me, the Jeep had a significant overheating issue. The previous owner informed me that his mechanic told him that he needed to run some Cascade dishwashing detergent through it, flush it, and fill it with a non-water based coolant. After consulting with some other friends who are more mechanically inclined than I, I ended up doing the following:

- Pulled thermostat and tested for flow: Flow OK.
- Used some Prestone Radiator Super Cleaner for a couple days. The thermostat was still out, and the temp didn't even approach 150 (for obvious reasons).
- Drained the system using the lower radiator hose (nothing comes out when using the petcock - presumably clogged ). I bounced on it and got a little more out of the system.
- Installed a flush/fill tee and bypassed the heater control valve (it was leaking).
- Installed a new 180 degree thermostat and new gasket.
- Backflushed the system - it took about 15-20 minutes for the water to run acceptably clean.
- Filled the system with 50/50.
- Installed a new radiator cap.

After some further consideration and advice, I think I'll go back to the 195 degree thermostat next time I change the coolant; the Jeep is supposedly happier closer to 210 degrees. I should try to get a new radiator for it since I can't drain it properly, as well.

Then there's the list of other things that need to get done. The Jeep is drivable in its current state, thankfully, but there are some issues that need to be taken care of.

- The HVAC ducts don't appear to be hooked up. Defrost works fine, but nothing comes out of the vents on any other setting.
- There's a poor quality aftermarket alarm installed. I managed to get it into valet mode, but it needs to go.
- The door locks have some kind of aftermarket power assist on them so the alarm can lock/unlock them, but the passenger side is jammed and can't be locked. Since there's no button to operate the power locks, I'll just remove the jammed actuators.
- Needs a car stereo (gotta have some tunes, and more importantly, news).
- Change/fill all fluids and filters
- Add anti-rust additive to coolant.
- The defroster/heater doesn't get as hot as I'd like; I think the heater core is to blame. That's a big job, though, so I'll put it off for now.

Finally, the wish list:
- Swing-away tire carrier/bumper
- Aggressive front bumper w/recovery points and receiver.
- CB/2M rig
- 2" or smaller lift
- Bigger tires (nothing too obnoxious - just a little extra clearance)
- skid plates
- rocker guards
- etc.

The MPG in the XJ will likely be about half of the little car, which is really going to hurt at the pump. I need to put some money away so I can get the head checked out to see if I should dump the car or not.


Happy New Year!

This one didn't happen near me, but "Charlie" qualifies as one of the good guys.

When police arrived, Charlie had the suspect on the floor. "(I) just held him until the police got there. (I) put my foot in his back and the gun to his head.