The penguin's motorcycling and Jeep blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The downsides of wrenching late at night

I got the new spark plugs into the Silver Demon tonight. I was going to ride down to the nearest NAPA auto parts and get some NAPA goodness, but they went out of business :-(. So I kept riding down El Camino Real until I passed a Kragen's on the left, at which point I got over into the left lane and did a U-turn. I asked the parts guy to give me the best plugs he had, and he started scrolling down the list on his computer. I stopped him on the Bosch plugs and got the best ones he had. Six of them for $6 apiece isn't bad at all for plugs you don't have to gap and the Krauts know how to make good shit, hell, I got a German transmission and German rear brakes (Bosch rear brakes, believe it or not!) so those plugs ought to feel right at home in my Jeep.

So the next problem was getting the coil-over-plug rail out of the way. I had to figure out how to get that $#%! connector off the end of it without being able to, like, actually *see* the bloody thing because the tabs are facing the firewall. But I figured it out eventually, and figured out a way to wiggle the coil-over-plug rail so that I could get it out of there. Six teats in a row, remember? That reliable old 4.0L I-6 engine might date to 1964 in many of its details, but that coil-over-plug rail is state of the art as of 2003. o that's a long, long coil-over rail, and a PITA to wiggle outta there.

The OEM plugs were semi-frozen in the heads (30K miles on'em), but a big 1/2" ratchet worked. The one on the end, in the indentation of the firewall, I had to grab my cheater pipe and a metal bar to get it out. But I got it out, and anti-seized the new plugs and put'em in and torqued'em to 260 inch-pounds (comes out to something like 29.7 n/m, the spec says to put'em to 30 n/m, close 'nuff already), wiggled the rail back in and hooked it back up, and then headed out to test-drive the beast. It test drove fine. Seemed to be a bit smoother, but that may have just been my imagination.

So anyhow, it was only 9:30PM by this time, so I started the next task on my list -- rotate the tires and check the brakes. I do a five-tire rotation, that way I only need one jack, besides it helps keep wear down on the locker up front to have all the tires be the same general wear level. I inspected the brakes while doing so this time because the brake fluid is looking a little low. So the spare went onto the rear driver's side. While it was off, I looked at the brake pads (rear disks). Damned things looked new -- they were freakin' half an inch thick. So I put the spare on and torqued it down to 100 ft/lbs (in stages), rolled the former rear tire to the front of the Jeep, and jacked that wheel up and took it off. That brake pad looked considerably more worn, and I found another oddity: My factory service manual has no minimum spec listed for the friggin' brake pad thickness! However, I do have a Chilton manual around and it said 0.125 inches. Well, I grabbed my micrometer and the brake pads are considerably thicker than that, probably half-worn, so that was that.

So next thing I realize is that, with my wheel off, all my zerks are right there in front of me instead of me having to crawl under the car. So I grab the grease gun and start pumping grease into zerks. One... two... three... four -- oops, what happened to my grease pressure?! Turns out I managed to run out of grease. Darn, and I just put this grease cartridge in there a year or so ago, wonder what happened to the grease given that I only use it to pump grease into my Jeep?

So now it's 10:30PM, and I'm out of grease, and I go look for grease on my lubricants shelf. I find a vat of grease, but no friggin' tube. Oh come on now, I know I had a spare tube of grease! Oh yeah, that's right, that's the empty tube of grease that I just took out of the grease gun because I did not buy another tube of grease when I put my spare into the grease gun! GAH! And it's 10:30PM. Nothing open. I wish I lived in a real city that didn't close down at 9PM!

So I put the rear tire onto the front, and roll the former front tire to the back for tomorrow, and wrap everything up for the night. Tomorrow I'll ride the Nightstrom to Kragen's again and buy a couple of tubes of Mobil 1 grease for my grease gun (*gonna buy that spare this time*!) and a new air filter because my air filter looked dirty too and I've already knocked sand out of it enough times that I'm starting to get dubious about its integrity (you can whack an airfilter on your fender only so many times before it starts getting a bit, well, mushy). That's what happens when ya drive around in the desert a lot eating the dust of other Jeeps, heh!

So g'nite, all. And the continued saga of the Silver Demon's 30,000 mile service shall, well, continue, 'cause I still got the other side of the tire rotatin' to do, as well as the air filter, add some brake fluid (checked and yeppers I still have a sealed DOT3 container), and finally, change the oil... not to mention finish greasing all those damned zerks!

Oh yah: Before taking tires off:

  1. Put yer emergency brake on.
  2. Put the transmission in first gear, or park if it's an auto. (Or if your reverse is lower than first, put it in reverse, but my 1st is lower).
  3. Put the transfer case into 4-Hi (if you have 4wd of the part-time type)
  4. Block the wheels with wheel chocks that are opposite the side you're working on.
Safety counts. I'm using the OEM jack which fits up under the axle and is mechanical in nature (it's a screw-type jack) so it's pretty much bullet-proof, but you're darn tootin' that I ain't gettin' under that Heep without jackstands even so. I ain't interested in being a flat penguin, nosirree...

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

1 comment:

Gordon said...

Don't throw the empty grease tubes away! You can refill them. Keep at least one.