Saturday, September 11, 2010

The first time I tried this...

I didn't just let the Jeep sit there untouched all those years I had it.  About a year and a half ago, I decided to try and make a stab at getting it running, having very little idea of exactly what I was getting myself into.  As a mechanical novice, I figured I would get the engine started and voila!  But, as anyone who has a project Jeep knows, that was *REALLY* wishful thinking, and the kind of naivete that can get you in trouble, both physically and financially, in a real hurry.  I figured, hey, I drove that thing up onto the trailer in New York twelve years ago.  What could have changed since then?

The initial plan of attack was getting fresh, clean fuel into the system.  As I wasn't going after a full original restoration, I decided rather than mess around with the old tank, I would just order a new one.  After doing a little bit of research, I purchased a plastic reproduction under-seat gas tank, replacement filler neck grommet and cap.  When it arrived via Brown Santa, I tried fitting it in and was very disappointed to see that the neck wouldn't fit through the filler hole, and it sat in the tub cockeyed.  I returned it for a metal tank.  Originally, the thought in my feeble mind was that if I were to put in a plastic tank, I would never have to worry about replacement due to rust or whatever.  What I hadn't fully processed is that the original tank lasted well over thirty years, and doing the math, I thought that with a little extra care, a metal tank should certainly last me the rest of my days.

I wasn't able to get the old sender out of the top of the old fuel tank, as the screws had permanently mind-melded themselves in place.  I ordered a replacement.  In retrospect, that was lucky, as my Uncle Terry had converted it to 12V from 6V during the time he had it, and had just not bothered replacing the sender.  So, the first time he started it up, the fuel level sender probably had a very brief bit of shock, and was then silent forever.

Nifty New Tank 
(dusty now -- remember that this is the back story!)

So, new tank in place, I optimistically poured a gallon or two in.  Turning on the ignition, I was delighted to see the fuel gauge needle move.  That would be the extent of the positive events for that day.  I sprayed a bit of starting fluid into the carb, and surprisingly, after a short time trying, she fired up!  Well, I was so pleased, I decided to drive to the corner gas station and fill 'er up!  (I lived in the city then, and it was only a few blocks).  I hopped in, belted up, and started pulling forward.

Just then, I had a thought which might have saved my skin, and certainly saved my insurance rating.  I pushed down on the brake pedal just to make sure they were working.  Blam, it went straight to the floor.  Uh oh.  I put it back in neutral, and hopped out.  Wait, I smell gas.

I looked underneath, and saw fuel dripping from the fitting which goes into the tank.  I guess that fitting wasn't seated properly after all.  I pulled it, and drained the fuel back into a gas can.  I was defeated.  Obviously, this wasn't going to be a simple fill 'er up, fluid swap, air the tires kinda project.  I was in the middle of home renovations at that point, and so I wasn't able to really devote the time to the rebuild at that time, so I shelved it, until now.

Now that I am in a new home, with very little on the "honey do" list for the most part, I decided I wasn't going to wait any longer.

(to be continued...)


Post a Comment

<< Home