Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Jeep is Never Really Done... but ours is.

A Jeep is Never Really Done... but ours is.

Not much to say about it except we muscled up and knocked it out before Kassie left for college in September. (Ya, I know, I'm late in posting this!) We had Alice painted Solar Yellow - a stock Jeep color, put on a new soft top, replaced the front windshield, hooked up the heater and she was done.

Here is what we bought over a year before...
and this is the finished product (without the full top on)...
 And here is Alice in the snow in Utah...
I'm sure that the Alice Story will continue on in our family for many years to come, but for now, I feel my daughter and I are closer than ever, and we got a really nice Jeep outta the deal.

The Breakdown:
Project Jeep:           $600.00
Parts etc:               $4000.00
Paint:                      $800.00
Total:              $5400.00

A great relationship and experiences with my daughter: Priceless. 

Love you Kassie.

Special Thanks to AutoZone, Pat Mulroy, Kyle Meyer, Craigslist, Jeepforum.com, and my wife Diana for letting me see this through.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Kassie and I successfully applied our Monstaliner kit to the interior floors and surfaces of Alice recently. It went very well, and the results are a rugged, non-slip, rust preventative floor for our little Jeep. Here's the story in Pictures:




Looks great, washes out easy, super durable, and NO RUST!!!

Thanks to Magnet Paints and Monstaliner for such a great product!

Stay tuned!!! Alice is getting Painted!!!! Updates coming soon!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Having A Blast!

What's going down in the hood?
Old nasty burnt up paint, that's what!

 Our original hood was bent up beyond repair. So I contacted Pat, the Jeep guy in Long Beach, and he had a hood off of a Jeep that had caught fire. The metal was pretty much straight, but the multiple layers of paint were scorched and cracking. The whole thing needed to be completely stripped and fresh primer laid down before we could paint it. If not, the new paint would eventually crack and flake off. A lot of work,  but for $75, how could I pass it up?

We started with Kassie and I removing the hinge bolts and then lifting and carrying the hood to our home-made sand blasting booth.

Once we got the hood off, we found a nice little surprise.. RUST! Under the hinges, where the original owner of the hood had forgot to primer after the paint burnt off, was rusty.

Here you can clearly see the cracked paint we had to strip completely off.

I borrowed the portable sand blaster from my work, bought some play sand, and was ready to blast away at the old paint.... silly me.The sand I had bought was Play Sand and much too "wet" to use in a sand blaster. It was late, so I decided to go back to Home Depot in the morning to get "dry" sand.

Saturday, I made it to Home Depot, got 100lbs of med grit construction sand, filled the sand blaster, fired up my compressor and we were off to the races!

It wasn't as easy as you would think.


Left: Here's a picture of the rust that had formed under the hood hinge on the replacement hood.

Kassie and I took turns blasting away at the paint. On a 90 degree day, with mask and goggles, it was hot, sweaty, sandy, dirty work. Eventually, we got all the paint of the top and underside of the hood.

 <= Me!
(my best side)

Kassie =>

After all is said and done, we probably spent enough on sand and primer to have paid for a body shop to do the same thing. But where's the fun in that? Here's the Before and After Pics:

The Finished Product!

 Straight, Clean, and ready to paint. Mounted it back onto Alice. Looks great IMO!

More to come.....

Friday, July 6, 2012

 Where the Rubber
                Meets the Road

Finally got my act together enough to find a used set of Jeep Ravine Rims (Thanks to a nice CHP officer I met through www.JeepForum.com) and set about finding the best possible value on tires.

The local 4x4 Shops have awesome tires, but they are really designed and priced for a real off-roading enthusiast. Looked at used tires, but this Jeep is for my daughter, so used was eliminated as an option very quickly. I found a great deal on a set of Goodyear Wrangler Radial All Terrain tires at my local Wal Mart. An hour or so later, and Alice was back on the road.

Still need to work on the body to get Alice ready for paint, but I did order a Monstaliner kit from Magnet Paints. As soon as the kit comes in, we are seting out to Monstaliner the interior floor surfaces.

I'll post a blog with pics after we complete the Monsta install.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Almost Done....

Need Tires, Shocks, and cosmetics..

Monday, April 16, 2012

(part 5 of the series)

Catching Up...

Where we are and where we are going.

It's been quite a while since my last post. The project took on a new perspective and slowed to a crawl as the funding dried up. Yes, the project is "over budget" but in all honesty, we all knew this was going to happen, and it's not about the money..really. 

Since last I posted, we've experienced the ultimate squeaky belt, rain without a top, cold of winter without a top or heater, grinding brakes, unexplainable high engine temps, a leaky transmission, what we call the Turn Signal Incident, and a cracked windshield. Ya, I know, sounds bad.. I keep thinking Money Pit as well, but hey, it's fun too. The good news is that Kassie has been an absolute stud and driven the jeep as-is for the entire time now. She loves Alice (the Jeeps name) and has vowed never to sell her.

In the next few blog posts, I'll detail what I can here to get you all updated to where we are now. Stay Tuned! 

Them's the Breaks

The Jeep needed brakes desperately. Kassie, her main man Kyle, and I set about to install new rotors and Pads. Kassie has done the breaks on her moms van (with my supervision) before, and was now going to teach Kyle how to install brakes (again, with my supervision).

To the left you can see the badly scored and rusted out rotor on the driver's side front.  The pads were down to the metal and had torn up the rotors so bad they needed replacing. 

See all that rust on the rotor face? It took a lot of elbow grease to remove the rims after all that rust had formed. We got them off, but they were the hardest rims I've ever tried to take off.


We cleaned off all the dirt and spiderwebs, inspected the lines, caliper, and slides. Removed the old rotors and replaced them with brand new ones. 

To the right, you can see just how bad the old rotors were - pretty sad. 

The new rotors were all shiny and full if awesome. Only problem was, they looked out of place on the jeep. Too new when compared to the pitted, dirty suspension components around them. 

Below is the new rotor on the old jeep. 

Kyle did most of the work, directed by Kassie who consulted with me. So in that respect, we are a lot like the American Auto Industry... 3 people for a 1 man project. 

Once we had the new rotors installed, we greased the slides, compressed the calipers, and prepared to install the pads.

Side Note: 
We use a product called Zep SuperPenn, it's a penetrating oil used to loosen rusted bolts. Without this can of Zep, nothing on this Jeep would have ever come apart. We've come to refer to the aerosol can of Zep SuperPenn as simply "Zep Juice".

If you look closely, you can see the blue can in the picture of Kyle to the right. 

Zep SuperPenn is the MVP of this project! 

Here's a shot of the old, worn pads. They were thin as thin can be. If you look closely, you can see that they were worn down to the rivets holding the pad material on. OUCH! 

Out with the old and in with the new.  Thanks to our friends at Autozone, these thick beauties will help our Jeep stop when it should.

I'm amazed it stopped at all before.  

Pleased to announce that the brakes work great! 

No Squeaks or grinding noises - 

Great Job Kyle and Kassie!!! More to come!

Like, Share, Tweet, whatever! Thanks for reading. Stay Tuned for the next update.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

If Momma Aint Happy...

Part 4 of a series

Pushing $600 worth of used jeep parts into my driveway after having been gone for about 6 hours was a sure-fire way to make my wife, Diana, unhappy. Fact is, my wife didn't even come out to see the car once we got it home. She was so mad that I'd "bought the car without even asking her opinion" that she was literally boycotting seeing the car. Her idea was to buy a nice used car (for $2000) and all would be right in the world. Having looked for a nice use car for $2000, I can honestly say they are really hard to find, and if I was going to spend money and time wrenching on a car, I'd rather do it on one that not only my daughter likes, but that I felt would hold it's value.

Jeeps, as I am learning quickly, are relatively easy to work on and hold their value very well. In fact, I couldn't find a running Wrangler for less than $3800. Again, my math and exit strategy work well on this car (see post #2) and would not work very well on a used Neon or Buick.  Diana would hear none of it. She still, to this day, doesn't like us trying to fix up the car.

I think that now that it's here, and she sees improvements as we work on it, it's becoming OK with her I think, but it still doesn't run at this point. That is an issue about the Jeep we both share.

Blue, our Chocolate Lab, gave his seal of approval on day 1. He jumped up and in, ready for a ride, the first chance he got.
The fine line between a car, and a 2000lb radio.

We rolled the Jeep into the driveway and started cleaning it up. I reconnected all the electrical around the empty battery compartment while Kassie pulled the battery out of my car to try and start the Jeep. We got the battery hooked up, turned the key, and nothing. *crickets*

We had bought the Chilton's book on the Jeep and I set about looking at the wiring diagrams and such. Let me perfectly clear: I am not, in any way, qualified to even look at a wiring schematic. It's all lines and squiggles to me. What I could see was a section marked Clutch Position Sensor. Hmm..

I knew the clutch had zero pressure when applied so I checked the hydraulic reservoir, and it was empty. OK. Put the battery back into my car, drive to Autozone, buy clutch fluid, come back, take my battery back out (ya I'm too cheap to buy a battery until I know it'll run) put it in the Jeep, fill the reservoir, bleed out the line, and oh my..... It was leaking from inside the housing. The hydraulic throwout bearing was shot. I called around and got a price for a clutch job - $800, and then went into the house to get something cold to drink and weigh my options.

Paying $800 for the clutch job would kill our budget. I had done a clutch on a Fiat X-19 before, but never on a Jeep. Maybe I should just try and sell the car now. Then it hit me. This is a project car. I should be working on it. I should not be paying someone to work on it. Why the hell would I buy a $600 car then NOT expect to do all the work on it I could? With that, We dropped the transmission.. well in like 4 hours we dropped the transmission.

 Kassie, Kyle, and I spend the day wrenching on the transfer case bolts to free it from the engine. Please note the "man-hands" Kassie is sporting in the picture. It seemed like forever, but after only 4 hours, we had the entire transmission free from the car. That time included a break for lunch as well as driving back to Autozone for some vehicle ramps. Not too bad considering I let Kassie do a great deal of the work.

There's the culprit! to the right of the arrow is the bad hydraulic throwout bearing assembly. It appeared that whomever had done this work before, neglected to secure it inside the housing using the pin and lock provided, and it rattled itself to death. We would not be making this same critical error.

Transmission laying on the driveway.

Ya, our neighbors love us.

If you give a Pig a Pancake...

The throwout bearing was $84.00 from our friends at Autozone, but... If you have the transmission out, you might as well replace the clutch... and if you are replacing the clutch and throwout bearing, you may as well replace the clutch master reservoir and hydraulic hose to avoid contamination of the new part... and you should remove the flywheel and have it resurfaced.. and you should replace the pilot bearing. Uggg... Let's remember that we are on a tight budget. So while I'm saving the $800 by doing it myself, I don't have the money to do all that. As such, we (I) decided to replace the throwout bearing, the clutch plate and cover, the guide bearing, and call it good. The flywheel didn't have any cracks or checking so it should be fine. The reservoir was empty, looked clean, and the line looked visually fine. It's gamble, but a small risk that many DIYer s would take in my position.

To all the actual mechanics out there: Please don't judge me. I'm doing the best I can. 

So all totaled, we put $175 into new clutch parts and set about to install and reassemble it all.
The reassembly went very smoothly up until the part where I broke the Transfer Case Vacuum Switch (on accident). $25 later and a trip back to Autozone, and all is well.  We got the transmission back int he vehicle within 2 hours of starting, and went to bleed out the hydraulic clutch to try and start the Jeep.

If anything can go wrong... Turns out that the hydraulic hose from the reservoir to the throwout bearing had a leak. There are no new hoses available anywhere, and no one makes and sells an aftermarket part. Great.  Just great.

I ended up contacting a hydraulic hose manufacturing company, and I am currently waiting for them to create a custom hose for our Jeep. This should run anywhere from $40 up to $100. I won't know until tomorrow exactly how much. Great... just great.

Expenses so far:

Jeep:                                    $600.00
Book and Misc Cleaners:    $50.00
Clutch Kit:                         $175.00
Ramps:                                 $50.00
Vacuum Switch:                  $25.00
Total                                    $900.00... and it still doesn't run!

New clutch!

Craigslist FTW

I am a big fan of Craigslist. Not for the pure comedy of the personal ads (they are awesome too though), but for the resource it has become for us during this project. We needed a new front drivers side fender, Hood, Grill, and Bumper. I posted an ad up on Craigslist, and within a day had the front fender and bumper for $100 - new parts would have cost roughly $500.

We removed the grill, which had been pushed in and dented, removed the dented up fender, and slapped on our new-used fender. Also installed the new-used bumper. Ill post more pics later.