The Mysterious Jeep

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

No Doors!As you can tell by reading this blog, I bought a Jeep. It’s an older Jeep, a 1998 Wrangler SE. It has been a helluva fun vehicle to drive in and man was the snow fun.

Now when the snow started falling and the temperature dropped it became difficult to start the Jeep in the mornings. A quick post at Wrangler Forum and I was given a trick to get it started. You see the theory from there was the fuel pump wasn’t keeping fuel in the engine and by my cycling the ignition switch from off to on and back before starting I was temporarily fixing that problem. Everything was fine until Sunday

 

SUNDAY

I go to help my sister in law out with moving furniture. On the way to her house the engine sputters and almost stalls at a red light. It sputters again while driving through Valley Forge while climbing hills. The rest of the drive was fine.

It’s a beautiful day so I put the top down and head back home. On a particularly steep hill the engine starts sputtering again. But then the problem doesn’t return. I get home, take the doors off and cruise around the neighborhood a bit. At dinner time I take it through a drive thru much to the surprise of the window jocky.

I head home, put back on the doors and top in anticipation of the rain and storms expected Monday.

MONDAY

The weirdness begins…

I had the day off for a dentist appointment. I go out in the wet morning to start the Jeep and go to my appointment. I had my mother in law set up an appointment to have the sputtering looked at in the afternoon. The Jeep wouldn’t start. No surprise, I expect that type of thing to happen. So I kept trying. It still wouldn’t start. Nothing was working. I ended up killing the battery and let out a low grown just as thunder boomed overhead and the skies opened up. (and I am not making that up, mother nature had impeccable timing here).

I secured use of my mother in laws Subaru, went to my appointment and came home. I tried to start the jeep one more time. Nada. No Go. I growled again but mother nature wasn’t giving me another brief thunderstorm of doom in response. I went inside and phoned AAA, ate my lunch and awaited the tow truck.

When triple A says within the hour, what they mean is sometime in the next two hours. So, an hour and a half later a flat bed tow truck shows. The tow dude seemed to know a lot about Jeeps and tried a few tricks of his own to get it started. He attached a battery pack to the battery and tried to crank it. The Jeep gave a pitiful cough but didn’t fire. He had me turn it over while he banged on the fuel tank. Nope. Checked plug wires and wiring on the throttle. Nope. He did notice a smell of gas which told him that the engine was indeed getting gas and that the sound it was making indicated that we flooded it.

So we towed it to the garage. They couldn’t look at it then but would try and diagnose it on Tuesday.

TUESDAY

So we come to today. Borroed the MIL’s car and went to work. Got an email from my MIL and it seems that the garage couldnt get the Jeep not to start. It started every time for them. Here’s the quote from the email:

I called for you awhile, and Dan said the jeep has been starting right up all day, and they are trying to get it to act up!
Can you believe that!!! That jeep has some personality.
So, Dan said they’re diagnosing, and are finally getting it to misbehave a little.
He asked me to relay the message to you. He thinks it’s amazing too, as you had to tow it in yesterday, and today it’s fine.

So that’s the story so far. I am pondering if the garage can even find the problem. If not, I am going to call Car Talk.

 

I will keep you posted. (yes I see my stats I know there are one or two of you)

 

UPDATE 3/2/2011:

Well Dan called. The Jeep needs a tune-up bad. The sparkplug wires are visibly arcing at the distributor as is the points on the coil. It took them actually making the engine moist for it to start doing this. I feel like a moron a bit since it did this before I even bought the Jeep. I lost a bit of confidence in Lansdale Jeep I suppose. Well he is going to give it a tune-up, new coil plugs wires and distributor. With parts labor and diagnosis, it will come to almost $300. When I acted shocked at the price Dan said he could see what he could do on the price, but ouch there goes my bonus. (looks like no new TV for now, sigh). He did say I should see a major improvement in gas mileage and the vehicle should perform much better and is warranted for 35,000 miles. If luck is on my side, hopefully this will be the last major repair to my Jeeper for a while. He should have it done today.

 

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