Thursday, January 23, 2014

Well There's Your Problem

I got the 4WD actuator off and partially disassembled. I wasn’t able to move the plunger, but I was able to hear a piece of something rattling around inside the actuator, which doesn’t bode well for its non-brokenness, and finding a replacement for under $100 is not easy. On the forums a couple guys have just wired the drive selector in place in 2WD for daily use. Maybe this will have to suffice for the present.

Before I got the car, one of its known issues was that the transfer case had leaked most of its fluid. I don’t think the location or cause of the leak was known, but I do believe I may have solved that mystery, and it has something to do with this hole right here. 

The hole itself is somewhat baffling as well, since it’s not threaded to accept a bolt or anything. Once I got the transfer case up on the table, I noticed that a few drops of residual fluid had been dripping out on that side, and that’s how I noticed the hole. In a fix that may qualify for endorsement by the Red Green Show, I found an extra bolt from the transmission rebuild* that fit into the hole, applied generous amounts of RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanizing) sealant around it, and called it good. 

I’ve used this sealant to stop several oil leaks in the past, so I’m confident this should work. I’m calling the transfer case done for now.

The exhaust system is the next beast to subdue. A previous owner ditched the catalytic converter and this involved replacing a good portion of the exhaust system. This was fine, since emissions testing wasn’t required in the Eagle’s native mountain home. Problem is, this car doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of passing Arizona emissions testing (and therefore getting registered) with its current setup. Other problem is, the replacement stuff didn’t fit exactly like the factory pipes, so some amateur welding and other metalwork was in order, where simple screws were originally. Now, that’s all got to be undone and replaced.

I’ve made a couple of cuts to undo most of the exhaust system, and the more I think about it, the more it looks like all the pipes will have to come out and be replaced. The tailpipe is the victim of amateur welding and is more rust than steel at this point. Sections up toward the front are also rusted and I think may have been modified as well.

This is way less of a big deal than the transmission was, though. Once the exhaust system is complete, I can put the transmission and transfer case back in. New U-joints will go on the driveshafts, and as long as the transmission repairs are good, the car should be mobile again. Numerous smaller repairs will be needed after that, but for me, right now is where things are starting to get exciting.

*Don’t worry, it’s not something I forgot to put back in. The new pump came with two new bolts, and the bolt in question is one of the old ones.

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