Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Been a year since I've updated.  I still have the Jeep, but haven't driven it in quite a while.  Here's the short version.

After it was repaired in my last posts, I ended up daily driving it to work for about 2 months.  It really sucked driving in the heat of Atlanta, GA... but it was a Jeep!  I could drive with the doors open.  It was cool.  I didn't care about sweating my ass of on my way home.

I ended up taking it to a Jeep get-together that is put on every year by Southern Jeep CJ sales and enthusiast group on Facebook.  Had a great day showing off the only DJ5 that was there.  Here's some pics from that day...

So on the way home from that gathering, about 1 mile from my house... something loud clanged in the engine and then it started banging and running rough.  I managed to drive it home and get it into the garage, but I was fairly confident something in the bottom end broke.

I ran a compression test on each cylinder and they all checked out good except for one that had maybe 15-20 lower than the others.  The sound only occurs when the engine is under pressure.  If I remove all sparkplugs and spin the motor with the starter, the clanging sound is not there.  I pulled the valve cover off and couldn't see anything wrong in the top end.  The sound for sure sounds like it's coming from the bottom end.

So..... the Jeep sat in the garage for almost a year since I knew the motor needed to be pulled and possibly rebuilt.  We're trying to get out of debt at the moment, so it didn't make sense for me to dump more money into this now.

I contemplated doing many things with it over the year:
  1. Pull the existing motor and rebuild it myself...great learning experience for me.
  2. Pull the existing motor and have a shop rebuild it
  3. Have a shop pull it and rebuild it
  4. Pull the motor myself, sell it for cheap on Craigslist as a rebuildable, and pick up a Chevy 250 I6 which is a directly drop-in replacement for my I4.
  5. Pull the motor myself, sell it for cheap on Craigslist, and pickup a cheap Chevy 350 to drop in its place.
  6. Pull the motor myself, ,sell it on Craigslist, and convert the Jeep to an electric vehicle.
And reasons for / against each of em:
  1. This is probably the one I'm going with.  I have the time, it's probably the cheapest option, and I can learn a lot from this process.
  2. This would be quite a bit more expensive, but cheaper if I pulled the motor myself.  I know it would be done right, but I'll pay a ton for that.
  3. This will just cost a lot more than #2, but probably would get the Jeep back on the road the fastest.
  4. This is also a very cheap option, and honestly faster than #1.  I'm still considering this.  If I can find a freshly rebuilt, well-running Chevy 250 that I can snag for a good price, I may still go for this since its the fastest to get done, it's very cheap, and it would be a decent upgrade from the 4-cylinder.  Trouble is I was looking to possibly drive the Jeep to/from work on occasion.  A 6-cylinder would impact gas mileage (not that it was all that great with the 4-cylinder anyway, but still.)
  5. This would be moderately expensive depending on the price of the SBC I find.  If I get one that's just pulled from a Chevy truck but still running, that would be pretty cheap...but may not have much life in it.  I could find a "built" SBC and drop that in, but that could easily be a few thousand dollars for the motor.  Plus I'd need to figure out how to mount the damn thing. Custom motor mounts and whatnot.  Not sure I need this much power in this Jeep.  I'm not looking to race it or do any serious offroading or anything.
  6. This would be awesome for Atlanta commuting and short driving around town.  The simplicity of the components and low maintenance would be ideal.  But the limited driving distance and insane cost of doing this makes it unreasonable.  The batteries alone for this conversion would cost minimum of $4000-6000 (but could be up to $12000 if I went with lithium ion).  Pretty much cost prohibitive with little gain other than it's "electric" now and needs no gas.