Last: Deep Mud
The shoestring trip was about it for the season but the weather was still pretty good so I started driving the jeep around just for fun. You can never drive an old jeep around just for fun and not be worried that something might break. Whenever I'm driving around, I'm always listening. By now I have most of the rattles fixed and those that I don't, I know what they are so I don't worry about them.
It was one of these nice days when I was driving around that I heard a real faint clicking. As I drove around more it got a little louder. When I stopped the clicking stopped. Hum...troubleshooting time. Does the clicking go faster with the wheels or the rpm of the engine? The wheels. Time to turn the engine off, put the transfer case in neutral and coast down a hill. Still happens. It's either something in the drive shaft or the rear end.
I went home and dug out the tools and drained the rear end. Some metal flecks came out with the oil so I knew something was wrong. When I popped open the diff cover nothing seemed wrong at first. Then I got out the flashlight and started looking around some more. Way up front something didn't look right. It was my pinion and it looked like some teeth were missing. Great this is going to be a pain in the butt to fix.
Luckily Don was getting ready to replace the R&P on his Wrangler and needed somebody to practice on, so I volunteered. I shopped around for a new R&P and of course the best place to get it was from Richard and Paul down in Portland so on one of my trips down there for work I picked up a new set and limped the jeep up to Don's barn.
Getting things apart was pretty easy since I had done most of it before (pulling the axles, etc). We got the rear end up on the bench, pulled the bearings off the carrier and popped out the pinion which looked pretty sad. About one third of the teeth were chipped up. Upon closer examination of the pinion I found a date stamped on it and yes, you guessed it, 5-12-52, original equipment. No wonder it wore out. I have a special place for it above my fireplace, can't throw out that treasure.
Anyway, we started putting everything back together again and measuring out the backlash and stuff. But of course nothing ever goes right the first time and we found out that my carrier was warped. Well, haven't replaced that yet, why not and while we are at it, lets put in a real locker instead of the powerlock.
So I made another trip down to see Richard and Paul to get an open carrier and a Lock Rite. Also, while I was down there I decided to pick up the full floating axle kit they had as well, what the hell, impulse buy.
Everything went back together fine and I was back on the road again. The Lock Rite drove a lot different than my Powerlock and my rear end seemed sort of sloppy loose and going around corners slow was real fun (jerk, jerk, jerk) but I got used to it and later on the trails it worked much better than my powerlock. One problem that didn't go away was the high temperature of my rear diff. We thought that because my carrier was warped that might have cause the hot rear end but with everything new, it still got really hot. Oh well.
All this happened around the time of our annual Christmas tree run and I wasn't able to drive the jeep but Monica and I still went and got a tree. There wasn't much snow so it wasn't anything like the previous year so I didn't miss any fun.
Next: Lake Cavinagh