Either way, the facts were these:
- During the Eagle's week-long tenure as a daily driver (see last post), I noticed that the starter wasn't cranking the engine with the same gusto as it used to do.
- I took it to Auto Zone, where the battery was warrantied, and had them test it. It tested bad.
- They didn't carry a replacement, but the location a few miles away did.
- I went there and got the fully-covered replacement.
- Somewhat worryingly, the new one is rated at a couple hundred amps lower than the old one.
- Turns out that they don't even make the old kind anymore.
- The new one doesn't quite fit exactly, but it's close enough for government work.
- The alternator tested good, so why the battery failed is a mystery. Could it be from that one time when it sat outside for months?
The 4WD actuator came off the transfer case months ago when I was working on the drivetrain. The plunger that changes the drive selector was stuck, and wasn't moving for love or money. I thought it would have to be replaced.
Evidently, though, I was just using the wrong motivation. Some PB Blaster made it a little mobile, and a good soaking in soapy warm water helped even more. What happened, not surprisingly, was that the mechanism had gotten full of sandy, nasty grit, and so the moving parts were frozen. After rinsing out the inside of the actuator lots of times, I think I got all the grit out, and the plunger now moves freely. This SHOULD mean that it will operate properly on the car. Time will tell.
* "Iron Maiden?? Excellent!!" - Bill and Ted