Don't you just hate it when you don't follow your own advice.
I had the jeep back together and it was about time to try it out again. I was also craving some more mud. You would think I was scared of mud but I had done enough fixing that I was confident even a deep mud hole wouldn't break anything. So where better to find some mud but back to Elbe Hills.
We talked at one of our monthly Cliffhanger meetings about going on another run somewhere. Well, we didn't really get to explore much of Elbe last time we were there so that sounded like a good idea.
Through this web site I had also had some people in this area e-mail me asking if they could go on a run. In the beginning it looked like a lot of people might show up, but in the end, the only non Cliffhanger to go was Trayson from Vancouver, WA. This was a little bit of a drive for him but it was sort of inbetween Seattle and Vancouver.
We agreed to meet at Southcenter mall at 8 am, and leave at 8:15, hopefully getting down to Elbe around 9:30. Also for the first time I had 2 passengers, Ted and Carter. I could finally use my little jump seat in the back.
Oh, to set the stage a little, a week or so before this Don came over and we looked at some stuff that was bothering me about my engine. I was having some clicking noises that I thought were my valves but adjusting them didn't really make the noise go away. Also my oil pressure was pretty low and I though it was just a crappy gauge. Don brought over a SW oil gauge and we hooked that one up. The oil pressure was still real low. At idle when it warmed up it was about 8 psi. Damn. Don asked if I checked my engine bearings when I had the crank out to replace the rear main seal. Uh, not really. Were they copper? Uh, maybe. Shit, shit shit. Well, it was all back together, lets just drive it to Elbe and deal with it later.
Well, back to my house that morning. We drove down to Southcenter and as soon and I got off the freeway and could hear again (freeway driving is really loud in an old jeep) I heard it. Knock knock knock. Shit, shit, shit! It definatly wasn't the valves. Why, why, why. The engine only had about 4,000 miles on it, why would the bearings be toast already. Well, I limped to the parking lot and we decided to leave my jeep there and we would split up between Don, Dale, and Lee. Scott never made it because I think his alarm didn't go off.
We headed on, leaving my poor jeep in the parking lot next to Nordstroms. We made it down to Elbe and meet up with Trayson, then continued on to the trail head. Trayson hadn't done much four wheeling, at least like we do, so I road along with him to give him some pointers. We aired down and started up the trail we had gone on the year before. The beginning was about the same, but later on, where the big mud holes were was all patched up. In about 5 minutes were were past what took us 3 hours before. I think maybe the big difference was this was October and the ground was not saturated like it was in March. So anyway we continued on. We did find some mud holes that you really didn't have to go in but of course since I didn't have my jeep here I could goad others to take a dip. Dale tried one but it was pretty deep and he was afraid of having the "fan thing" happen to him since he still had a flex fan. Lee tried the same hole but got stuck/highcentered/wegged in it and we had to pull him
We found another hole but the same thing happened. I think most mud holes were made by something with really tall tires, so when you try and go in the with 32", or even 35" tires it doesn't really become a traction problem, it becomes a high center problem.
We skipped most of the other holes but did encounter other trail challenges. Trayson was doing pretty good for not having any lockers. We did forget to drop his sway bars which probably would have helped a lot in a couple of instances. He did get stuck in a big mud hole that he sort of slipped into and we had to winch him out.
The day continued on, and on, and on. This time we had a map so we sort of knew where we were going. But the trail still seemed to go on forever and it was starting to get late. After a couple of wrong turns and some winching to get out of some slick root type areas, we finally made it out.
We ended up covering about 2 miles in 6 hours. There was still about another 6 miles more to explore. The only major damage for the day was Trayson's bumper which wasn't attached very well, and I think Lee ripped his top a bit trying to squeeze under a tree. Other than that it was a fun run and I'm sure we will be back again.
We said goodbye to Trayson, who I think had quite an experience, and drove back to my jeep. Don hitched it to the back of his jeep and we towed it back to my house and back into the garage.
So, here I am again with a broken jeep, having to take out the crankshaft, again, because I didn't take my time and check everything out when I had the chance. I'll learn someday...
Next: The Second Rebuild