Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Final 3

Repairs, that is. The last three things I'm doing to/for the Eagle before... gulp... putting it on the market. I've vacillated back and forth about what to do, but it's become clear that with both me and Lydia having reduced hours at work for the summer, we simply have to have the money.

So, the last three repairs are going to be:
1) Alignment
2) Fix the Select Drive system, which allows the driver to change between 2WD and 4WD, while the car is moving, using a switch on the dashboard.
3) Put in new lift supports for the rear hatch. Using a broken ski pole to hold it up won't look too good when trying to sell the thing.

This one was the easiest but most expensive repair, at $50. I put new wheels and tires on the car, as you may recall, and a new CV axle on the drivers side, so the alignment was way out of spec. It doesn't affect driving very much, but this probably falls under the category of a "the right thing to do" repair because of the effect on tire service life and possibly handling. I went down to the place I always go for alignment on Saturday morning, and sat in the waiting area watching their TV. There was a cheesy kids' show on the Jesus channel, then they changed it to the news, and then the car was done, and that was that.

Select Drive system
This repair was much more bewildering, and as with many things I've found on this car, I'd love to know the story behind it. Long story short(er), the system is operated by routing engine vacuum to an actuator on the transfer case, which moves a lever, which moves a fork inside the transfer case to the 2WD or the 4WD position. The vacuum lines have to be uncompromised in order for it to work right. After I fixed the actuator, I thought the system would work normally, and was surprised when it didn't.

I followed the vacuum lines from the actuator to the engine, and found that they had been cut off, and were hanging loosely on the passenger side of the engine bay. After a while, I found corresponding vacuum lines on the driver's side. They should have been connected all the way through, and why they were as I found them is a mystery. But, no matter. Some new rubber vacuum hose to bridge the gap, and then everything would work, right?

Well, not so much. With the car up on jack stands to let the wheels spin freely, the select drive switch still didn't do anything. Blargh.

By this time I was worried that I might not be able to fix it, or that doing so would be more trouble than it was worth. I took a break at that point and came back to it on Monday morning, since I had the day off. I dug a little deeper to find the source of the vacuum pressure that was supposed to be being routed to the switch, and from there to the actuator. For some bizarre reason, the place on the engine where the system gets its vacuum from was modified and plugged up in various ways with reducers and such, and so by the time that the vacuum pressure got into the actuator lines, there was hardly any left.

Lucky for me, it was as simple as hooking things up a little more directly, to get greatly increased vacuum pressure into the lines. A couple of tests confirmed that it was now fixed, much to my relief. That system alone is where a significant portion of the car's value is. The question of why it was intentionally disabled is still beyond me.

Lift Supports
On the day when I decided once and for all to sell the Eagle, I ordered the parts from my good friend Rock Auto. They came yesterday, and I put them on less than 10 minutes. They work great, so I do believe that, well... we're nearly done here.

The next entry most likely will be a For Sale announcement with the same text I'll be posting in other areas of the internet, and pictures too, to make up for the lack of pictures lately in these posts.

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