Final summer season, I drove 500 miles to choose up a Jeep reader had provided to offer me without spending a dime. However as an alternative of coming house with the additional iron, I fastened the faculty pupil’s Jeep and returned house blissful to assist. A number of individuals learn that article—heck, even Adam Savage from Mythbusters tweeted about it. However as nice because it was on the time, the story has a darkish ending.
All of the Jeep wanted was its flex plate bolts threaded again in, and it fired up like a allure. The engine sounded nice, and the Jeep drove completely. I used to be blissful, Matt—the faculty pupil who misplaced hope and thought he’d have to surrender his first automobile—was blissful, and so have been readers!
Every little thing appeared nice till September, after I acquired an e-mail from Matt. “I received the Jeep registered and it reclaimed each day driver standing in mid-August. I put near 1,000 miles on it with no hassle in any way,” the e-mail began, “that’s till this Thursday.”
“I began it up and the four.Zero was operating like unadulterated ass, lacking, shaking and stumbling after operating completely the day earlier than, albeit with normal low oil strain when heat (30 psi at 2000-2200 rpm),” Matt continued.
Then he made what many would contemplate a questionable transfer, and determined to drive the Jeep anyway so he might get to work on time. After driving solely a single mile, Matt parked the XJ and later returned to a “dinner plate sized puddle of oil on the bottom,” considerably larger than “Gamecube recreation” dimension puddle he was used to seeing.
“As a result of I’m a reckless fool,” Matt advised me, “I then drove about 30 miles on the freeway that night whereas the oil strain gauge confirmed 12-15 psi. The Jeep smoked so badly I couldn’t see out the rearview mirror and it needed to keep in third gear to keep up 65 mph.”
Apparently the engine wasn’t knocking, and the oil degree appeared okay after the drive, however the subsequent morning when he took the Jeep out, the engine rapidly “coughed and popped and shut off because the oil strain dropped to five psi.” He needed to have the Jeep towed again to his residence.
The engine cranked, the gasoline strain was positive, and the crankshaft place sensor checked out, so the offender was a thriller. That’s, till Matt eliminated the cylinder head to search out what you see within the picture above. Right here’s a better have a look at cylinder one, which is lacking a giant chunk of its piston:
God that appears horrible. It makes my AMC inline-six-loving coronary heart sink.
However there’s a bit of fine information to this unhappy story, particularly the truth that the aforementioned freeway drive he took previous to the carnage had a objective: he was testing a used 1996 four.Zero-liter inline-six engine with solely 142,000 miles on the clock. Nicely, that’s what the vendor claimed.
However the vendor additionally mentioned the Jeep from which the engine got here needed to be parted out resulting from transmission issues. Because the AW4 automated tends to be invincible, Matt discovered that declare “doubtful.” However the engine—which the vendor had purchased for his personal Wrangler venture, however rejected in favor of a four.2-liter—solely value $175, so after rotating the crankshaft damper by hand and testing the valvetrain, Matt went for it anyway.
The alternative engine now sits on Matt’s porch; he plans to take it aside, do a lightweight rebuild, and—after he finds time to yank the mangled four-liter from the engine bay—chuck it into his 1992 Jeep Cherokee Briarwood.
Matt graduates faculty in Might, after which he needs to take the Jeep on an epic journey on the Dalton Freeway in Alaska. I believe it’s protected to say that, for that to work out, Matt’s luck goes to must do an entire 180.
Both that, or he might simply carry one other spare motor within the again.