Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Frustration meter is high

Lil' Blue update.

Remember that all this started April 27th. Lil' Blue (our Jeep) died on the trail. After many attempts at revival we had no luck at bringing her back to life. So thanks to Leyman and Jane, who we were Jeeping with that day, drug Lil' Blue back to town. You have heard of the "walk of shame", well being pulled off the trail is the "drive of shame".

We took it to one of the local Jeep places here in Moab. The 4X4 Outpost is the name. That is all they do is work on Jeeps. Who better to bring Lil' Blue back to life. We thought it would be an easy fix. A new distributor or maybe a coil. They had Lil' Blue for a week and they finally called me to have it picked up. They could not get it started. What? They replaced the distributor, the coil, crank sensor, ignition leads and finally a new re-built computer. That is all they get is re-manufactured ones is what they told me. So now we have $770 worth of new parts on a Jeep that still does not even start. At least they had the decency not to charge me labor.

So we picked up Lil' Blue and trailered it to Price, Utah. We were told that the place we took it to had great troubleshooters. That was May 5th. I called them on Monday because I have not heard anything from them and do you know what they told me?


They have narrowed it down to the computer. Really? They said that they would order a new one from Jeep and then take it to the Jeep dealer in Price to have it programmed. They think that the 4X4 Outpost didn't program the re-manufactured one correctly or it was just a bad computer.

Now the frustrating part. When we chose this lifestyle we knew there would be compromises. Like if things break down on the road where do you take it. It is a big crap shoot, that's for sure. You really have to put a lot of faith in strangers. When we lived in Fargo, we had built up relationships with with our car dealership and what not. In fact when we are in town I always go visit the salesman that sold us our last two pick-ups.

So when we took the Jeep to Price I had noticed that on the pick-up the exhaust pipe was broken behind the muffler and was just hanging there. It took me a couple of days to tell Lisa especially after the Jeep fiasco. Being in a small town is tough when things break. So I went to O'Reilly's auto parts and ordered a new tail pipe. They are not cheap. $218.00 for a 3 foot pipe. Wow. It would take a couple of days to get it to Moab. Fine.

I am looking at this job as being super easy to replace that. It is just held on by a clamp. A half hour at the most. But  that is not the way my life is. It is never as easy as it should be. First of all I had to take the old clamp off right? I have a socket set and I bought a new deep socket just for that job. It would not budge. Crap. I am going to have to cut it off then. I go back to O'Reilly's to see if they have a cut off tool to rent. No. But they would be happy to sell me one. Crap again. So I go back to the camp ground to see what tools they have there. Ron the owner was gone and I didn't feel right about raiding his work shop.

Then I had the idea to get a half inch to a 3/8 inch adapter and use my big breaker bar on that little f****** nut. So back to O'Reilly's I go. I get back under the truck and presto. The nut turns. Life is good again. I figured that the clamp would come off. It would have if they hadn't welded it to the muffler. Also there is a piece of old pipe in the muffler that needs to come out of there. I get the vise grip and pull. Nothing. So I then get the tool that is the universal answer to all mechanical questions. The hammer. I new it would be rusty but rusted solid as if it were welded in there. Crap, crap. I need a screw driver to use as a chisel. My mechanical guard training is kicking in now. That pipe is getting a serious ass beating now.

The pipe won that round. So I head back into town and buy a real chisel this time. I then get back to the ass beating for round two. I think that I have all the rust busted loose now. I grab the vise grip and start working it around the whole pipe. Finally. It pops out of there. I grab the new tail pipe, slap it in there, tighten the clamp and I am done.It only took 4 hours.
This pipe got an ass whooping!

New tail pipe.

Now I said that we made compromises when we started this lifestyle. One big one is that I had a garage full of tools and a garage to work in. I don't have any of the tools I would need for any kind of maintenance at all. So when this kind of thing happens I have to go out and buy specific things to get what ever job I am doing done. I could have bought a cut off tool for $50.00 but I would have only used it once. It wasn't practical. So I struggled a little harder but still got the job done. Besides time is what we have most of in this lifestyle.

Well it is Miller time now that I have worked so hard today. :-)


  1. Sorry to hear the news of Blue still not working, but glad you got your revenge on that clamp and pipe! Miller time indeed!

  2. Everybody should beat on a pipe once in awhile.

  3. Hey...I know how you feel Dino. This is kinda what usually happens to me. Also have my truck in for the 9th time for a squealling sound when the exhaust brake engages and a knocking sound when the truck is cold. Told today they couldn't duplicate these issues so come pick up your truck. ughhhhh! Good luck!

    1. It can be frustrating at times. At least when Jim's pick-up died, he had lots of advice.

  4. So if you are bored you can read some of our past posts about the crap that we've dealt with concerning truck repairs. I swear we've paid enough for a new one!

    1. I am sure. I guess it goes with the territory.

  5. Frustrating is right! At least you got the job done on the truck so you can put that behind you. I brought a very limited number of tools with on this trip and already had to borrow a couple from Steve when we were together last week. I think no matter what you bring you will be missing the one you need!

  6. I've got to say it - you are more generous than me - $700 and they didn't even fix it?! Wow! I think I'd have to go a bit "Jersey" on them!
    Hoping the new "fix" works!
    Bill, I believe, attempted once to work on an exhaust and that was it - never again!