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Old 06-05-2019, 09:47 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: USA
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Jeep - '97 Jeep Cherokee Sport
90 day: 19.36 mpg (US)
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Sorry to hear that the explorer isn't really working out. Personally I would probably want an older silverado or something to go off road and tow. An older Ram diesel truck wouldn't be bad either. My dad's truck can get up to 25 mpg mostly highway driving.

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Old 11-15-2019, 11:11 AM   #42 (permalink)
Lurking Eco-wall-o-texter
Join Date: Dec 2015
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Still have it, driving it.

Hello all,

Bit of an update, since it's been a while. Still have the Ford - no hitch, no towing, don't want to discuss that part right now.

Swapped out the front and rear axles, including swapping in lift shackles and regular gas-charged shocks in place of the leaky air-lift shocks that were on it before. Swapped out front hubs with ABS sensors, mixed and matched "best of" half-shafts in front, rebuilt and reinstalled the front driveshaft with new CV joint and u-joint. Mixed and matched "best of" parking brake parts, cleaned up and greased the actuators, etc. Also got the transfer case skidplate swapped over. Couldn't get the parking brake adjusted properly, but otherwise it was working OK. ABS no longer groans and mis-applies when stopping on dry pavement, so at least one of the old front sensors was bad.

Remaining issues: 4WD/LOW lights are blinking, and I had binding in the front end (see below though) so I yanked the transfer-case plug again since it felt like the driveshaft actuating electromagnet wasn't releasing properly. It's likely a sensor issue, so I need to figure out how to yank them and clean them without breaking the plastic housings. I got the parking brake adjusted well enough to hold at the lower slope of the top of my driveway, but then drove off with it applied so it needs adjustment again. I need to check whether there's supposed to be a brake warning light. I know there is a brake warning light on the dash - it lit up when I lost the rear brake line integrity - but I don't know if there's a switch on the parking brake actuator or not. Would be nice if there was.

Biggest issue: despite using a torque wrench on everything, I had a problem: It first showed up as intermittent clunking, that would go away after any braking in the forward direction. Then there was a loud thump as something hit the floorboards under my feet while driving. The clunking got a bit worse, but otherwise did the same. The truck seemed to not want to coast as well. Then I started getting an odd intermittent rythmic scraping, but couldn't tell if it was driveshaft or wheel speed related. Yesterday I pulled out of my driveway backwards and got a bit of binding in the frontend when I hit the brakes and turned the wheels, but it seemed more like the symptoms the old front axle had when it had puked the gear oil and I knew it would do OK for a while longer so I went to work. Once I got there, when I went to back into a space, the left front wheel locked up. When I pushed the clutch back in, it let go. It did it again when I backed up again. A few repeats and I was in the space. Didn't see anything obviously wrong, so went in to work. When I got some time, I went out and pulled the left front wheel. Surprise! Upper caliper bolt was MIA, lower caliper bolt was loose, caliper was able to move around a lot, and had obviously rotated up away from the rotor and gouged the inside of the wheel. I got dang lucky it was the upper that was gone. If it was the lower, the wheel lockup would have happened at speed on the commute to work. Got permission to scavenge a bolt from work and borrowed a torque wrench, got everything put back together. Checked the right side - it was loose, so tightened it up too. So, this weekend I will pull the front calipers off, grab a spare bolt, clean everything, apply thread locker, and torque to spec again. Found a nice NASA test document: so space-approved blue threadlocker should help. They note that it is a secondary method of keeping bolts from backing out. Primary is the preload applied by torquing it down.

The 4.11 gears will take some getting used to. I'm in 5th by 45mph. ~2200 RPM at 55, 2500RPM at 60, ~2600 at 65. Truck's louder too with the revs. No issues so far with the LSD rear diff, even being in 2WD while I figure out the transfer case. Now that I know the binding was a caliper bolt, I will probably plug the transfer case back in and see how it does. I should still be able to get 4WD, assuming it isn't a wiring/electromagnet fault. I could not get 4WD Low in previous testing - presumably the sensors' bad info is telling the computer I'm still moving, so it won't shift. Hopefully that and not a bad shift motor, though I have a spare. I have spare sensors, too, but the plastic disintegrated when I tried to get one out. Fuel level is more consistent on the gauge since the rear end isn't at random heights all the time from the leaky air shocks, but it will take a few tanks to get a feel for the "new normal". Once I have the braking and transfer-case issues sorted, I may try out the 32x11.50 mud tires. Taller, so lower revs, but wider and heavier so might end up a net loss for mpg. Mostly I want to see how badly they do on winter roads. I keep hearing how bad mud tires are on road, but have never personally experienced it. Fine time to try. Plus, it "looks cool", so maybe someone will say "Hey, I like it, how much?" and I can give them a ridiculous offer and get it sold.

If anyone's still reading after that wall-o-text, I have a question about my little white Chevy. I stopped driving it because I was smelling exhaust, and I was tireder than usual, and had more headaches than usual, and when I put those things together and told my wife "I think my car is trying to kill me", she rightly told me to not drive it anymore. It's been parked since. I know I flubbed a donut gasket installation in the exhaust - I can hear it. Other than replacing the exhaust or center pipe entirely, what's a decent way to stop that leak? The stock gasket is just a donut - flat, spiral-wound thing, not the big crush-type. It's held in place with a V-band type clamp, royal pain to get the donut in there as it is ~2" inside the mating pipe, which is how I flubbed it before. I can think of a few options: try again with a new donut gasket, measure the parts and see if I can get a crush-type in there instead, back-fill the joint behind the gasket with some kind of sealer, cut out the joint and use an appropriately sized/expanded adapter and two standard muffler clamps to replace it, cut out the joint and use one of those stainless-steel band clamps with a sealant inside. Any ideas? I see exhaust putty and exhaust system sealer, usually silicate based and dry hard as a rock. There's a "mastic" type from Walker that sounds like it wouldn't dry hard, but not a lot of info on it. RTV sounds like a bad idea on exhaust just downstream from a catalytic converter. This is a real beater of a vehicle, not worth sinking much money into, and I just want to patch it up enough that it doesn't gas the driver. Not going to replace the entire exhaust for something that might fail due to excessive rust anytime in the next few winters. Oh, also, any decent rusty floorboard sealers? Might be a path in. Can't see any holes, but that doesn't mean there's no pinholes.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:10 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Location: Evensville, TN
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Deep Blue - '94 GMC Suburban K2500 SLE
90 day: 23.75 mpg (US)

Griffin (T4R) - '99 Toyota 4Runner SR5
90 day: 25.43 mpg (US)
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What a post! On the chevy,(i dont remember what chevy you have) can you just weld up the exhaust?

On the ford your 37s will cost you MPG, the aero drag and rolling resistance overcome the gearing advantages.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:55 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Louisiana
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About those mud-grips: they ARE terrible on hardtop roads. Dare I say dangerous, unless you adjust for their foibles: slipping on the wet, skiing on the ice, skidding on the curves, sliding through the yellows-turned-red. Besides all that, there is the noise, the noise, everywhere the noise. And when you pull out your credit card to fill-up at the pump; expect more noise, this time in the form of whining and whimpering and wondering what the hell have I done.

But as soon as you turn off that hardtop and into the mush, muck, mud and mire: all is forgiven. The angles start singing. The sky turns blue. All negatives turn positive. Whatever could I have been thinking on those man-made, artificial, ecology-busting blacktops back there? These knobbly things are beautiful!!
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Old 11-18-2019, 12:17 PM   #45 (permalink)
Lurking Eco-wall-o-texter
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: MPLS, MN area
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About ready to give up on the whole thing.

Hello aardvarcus,

There's a reason I changed my nic to "Eco-wall-o-texter"...

I don't have a welder. Any thoughts on the ethics of selling White Car dirt cheap as-is with a warning about the exhaust leak?

The mud tires for Green Truck are 32", not 37". I haven't taken a sawzall to the body to fit 37" tires, and I'm not willing to pay $250+ per corner to get them either! I figure they won't be good for economy, but might not be as horrible as they otherwise would be due to down-revving the engine more. Plus, I already have them, they are "free".

Hello MeteorGray,

Hence my desire to try them out. I hear all the time about how bad mud tires are on pavement, but I've never experienced it. I have the chance to do A-B-A testing. I've dealt with rock-hard economy high-mile-life-at-the-expense-of-traction tires that push on corners in rain, let alone snow/ice. Also RWD on ice/snow and the resultant fishtailing. So I can go into it with appropriate caution, at least.

Other notes:

Just spent an entire Saturday under the truck. The first few hours was fine - got the front caliper bolts/brackets all cleaned up and threadlocked and torqued to spec, plus re-torqued the rear bolts (not loose). After lunch was a disaster. I noticed the parking brake cable was too long. I thought "Oh, yeah, I mixed in a few cables from the Black Truck ('97 vs. Green Truck is 2000), so maybe I need to swap the primary and intermediate cables". So I did that. 5 hours and much swearing later, the parking brake cable is now TOO SHORT. Grr. Also noticed that the rear leaf springs are starting to take an S-curve shape. Probably due to over-tight lower shackle bolts, preventing rotation of the spring in the shackle. No hardware store locally had long enough replacements.

So I'm looking at ~$150 in sensors, ~$52 in parking brake cables, unknown in bolts/nuts and another weekend swearing under the truck. I also ought to seal up that leaking thermostat housing. The housing itself is fine, the manifold has pits in it, so I need to drain, clean, add RTV, and re-seal. After Thanksgiving, because I've got stuff to do to prep for Turkey Day.

White Car needs the aforementioned exhaust work or a warning to buyers. Need it gone. Might call and see what I can get for it as scrap. I can pay $50 to Craigslist and maybe get $400 and a lot of hassle for it, or sell it cheap as scrap for a lot less hassle. Hate to scrap a useable vehicle that gets over 30mpg that just needs a few bucks worth of parts, but the hassle-factor is getting to me.

I'm just about "done with" all this. Taking up all my time, and not really giving back anything. Loud, smelly, rusty, and when I look at what all I've spent on Green Truck, I could have paid for a 3-4 year old used econobox by now - and gotten a lot more around the house stuff done. I can't sell it as-is without fending off low-ball offers all day long because no 4WD in winter. If I get the 4WD and the parking brake working, I can probably private-party it for $1k. Still a big loss, but it'll be GONE and someone will be driving it rather than it being scrapped. Black Truck can be winched out on a flatbed and scrapped. Not sure if I'll get anything for it or have to pay or whatever. There's a scrapyard not far out of town, so I'll probably call them.

No more rusty vehicles. I'd say no more internal combustion, but my "must get to work" requirements involve "surprise, you have to drive an extra 45 miles today in -20F weather in the snow and there's no charging/block heater plug at the alternate location", and I can't afford a *new* EV with sufficient battery capacity to handle the cold-soak - and none of the used ones at a reasonable price point can hack it.

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