Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Michelin LTX M/S2 tires for the Tahoe

Back in 2008, we bought a set of Goodyear Fortera TripleTred tires (pictured at right) for our 2001 Chevy Tahoe.  We absolutely loved those tires.  They were quiet, we never got stuck in the Nebraska snow, and you couldn't hydroplane them even if you tried (and I did).  Unfortunately, they wore out after just 4.5 years and 48,000 miles, which was far less than we'd hoped to get from such a pricey tire.  I spent more time researching their replacement that I probably needed to.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tracking the elusive 1977 Wagoneer starter

The same day that we hauled our Tahoe to the mechanic to have its fuel pump replaced, the starter on my 1977 Jeep Wagoneer started making a horrible screeching / grinding sound when I started the engine.  I immediately assumed that the nose gear from the starter wasn't retracting back into the starter after the engine started running.  I had replaced this starter 12 years (8000 miles) earlier, and the new one had a lifetime warranty, so I expected this would be a free, one-hour fix.  I should know better by now.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Repairing a split fiberglass hard top

For the second time in the 17 years I've owned my Wrangler, the inner and outer shells of my fiberglass hard top separated due to the force of a failed window strut.  This can be fixed--or at least patched--with a little bit of 2-part fiberglass repair epoxy and some clamps.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Broken soft top zipper pull

My '95 Jeep Wrangler came with a factory hard top.  After a couple years of lifting it on & off with every weather change, I bought an old, used Bestop Supertop that was designed for a CJ-7.  It works on my YJ, and the price was right, but it's showing its age.  Some of the zippers that hold the vinyl windows in place are getting a little stubborn & probably need to be lubed.  Recently, the metal zipper pull tab on one of the side windows broke off the zipper body (it had been bending for a while, and it's only made of pot metal).  The solution was easy & nearly free.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The death of a fuel pump

Back in April, I wrote about our 2001 Chevy Tahoe chugging, as if it wasn't getting quite enough fuel.  I suspected the fuel pump might be at fault, but replacing it is neither easy nor inexpensive.  Instead, I replaced the fuel filter (which was long overdue), and the problem went away... for four months.  Last Friday, my suspicions were confirmed when the fuel pump died quite suddenly and completely, leaving my wife & five kids stranded on the side of the highway.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Repairing a pop-up camper shell seal

When we bought our 1997 Coleman Santa Fe pop-up camper a few years ago, I knew there would be a few things that needed fixing.  One of the items on that list was the rubber weather seal along the bottom edge of the top shell.  It keeps the innards dry when the camper is packed up for travelling.  It's a two-part seal, with one half that adheres to the shell and another half that does the actual sealing.  Both halves occasionally have trouble staying attached -- a problem when I remedied recently.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New cat-back exhaust for the YJ

Over the last few months, my 1995 Jeep Wrangler started to develop an annoying rattle from the exhaust whenever the engine was running. Crawling underneath to do a little shaking and beating indicated that something was rattling around inside the original, 17-year-old muffler.  Time for a replacement.  I wanted to get a full stainless steel replacement cat-back system, but it just wasn't in the budget.  I opted instead for Pacesetter TFX Kat-Back system made of aluminized steel.  It probably won't last as long as a stainless system would, but it cost only 1/3 as much.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Running lean in a Tahoe

On the way home the other night, our 2001 Chevy Tahoe started chugging and hesitating, as though it didn't have quite enough fuel to perform as requested.  Plugging in my OBDII scanner indicated that, sure enough, two diagnostic trouble codes had been triggered that indicated the engine was running leaner than it should.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On the road again

My 12-year old son has been riding a pretty cheap, 20" bicycle for a few years now.  It works, but it's not fancy.  He's dreamed of having a suspension bike, but chooses to spend his money elsewhere.  Last week, I was out at my parents' farm, and saw my little brother's old Mongoose full-suspension mountain bike sitting beside the barn with other discarded bikes, where it had sat in the rain for at least a couple years.  Dad was going to take the lot to be recycled, but asked me if knew anybody who'd want the Mongoose.  I almost didn't let him finish his sentence before I loaded it into my truck & brought it home for my son.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

High strength tire patch

As we were cleaning up our Tahoe the night before leaving for a 300-mile road trip, I noticed that the right rear tire was nearly flat.  Closer inspection found two nails embedded in the tire.  I swapped on the spare that night, but didn't want to leave town without a functioning spare.  With only a few hours to fix the problem the next morning before we were to leave town, we had some trouble finding a solution.