I decided to go ahead and install my newly rebuilt carb on the Jeep since it is nice and pretty and the show is this weekend.
No big problem installing – just had a fuel leak that was fixed by tightening the fuel inlet elbow one more turn. The Jeep fitted up quickly and idled better than ever! Gassed it and it had NO hesitation! I decided to go for a ride.
I started out local – 2 miles one way and back. Then I branched out – 5 miles, side road to the highway, highway for 10 miles – turned around and headed back. It was running so good and smooth that I decided to keep going.
OH CRAP – I forgot my phone! Too late to go back and get it now – I kept driving. I got to the next town over and took a country road that led back to a highway that led to the house. The road ended up being a little longer than I remembered – will I have enough gas? Surely I will since I had only driven about 5 miles in Denton and about 30 so far today. I finally reached the side road leading back to the highway – this one ended up being longer than I remembered too! After about 5 miles I saw a driveway of a friend and knew where I was. I started up the last hill to the stop sign and felt a sputter – then another – then she cut off and I coasted to the side of the road at the stop sign to the highway! OH CRAP!
I tried to restart – NOPE. All I could think of is NO PHONE – I’M A DUMBASS! I got out and opened the hood. THINK. Check for fuel and spark. I stuck my hand down in the gas tank – plenty of gas. I grabbed the tool kit from under the seat and removed the gas line. Cranked it over – getting plenty of gas. I pulled a plug out – not wet, but a nice tan color, so it’s not flooded. I laid the plug wire next to the manifold and cranked it over – the sun was too bright to see a spark, but I could HEAR one. I reinstalled the plug an’s wire.
THINK damnit, THINK! DAMN it’s hot! Plenty of cars and trucks passing by, but none even slowed down to ask if I need help. I guess I can walk back to Sydney’s house if all else fails.
I pulled the distributor cap off. There was a little carbon buildup on the rotor and cap. I pulled out the trusty ol’ Leatherman and filed them down. Put it back together and tried to start – NOPE!
I pulled the intake hose off the carb to have a look. Hmm – gas at the opening. AND fairly strong gas smell. Maybe it IS flooded? I left the intake hose off and tried cranking. I cranked for 15 seconds and got a hit. I owned the manual throttle and tried again – SHE STARTED! I threw the tools in the floor and slammed the hood – took off down the highway. I am still 6 miles from the house!
I drove about 4 miles and could see the main highway – then she sputtered again! I pulled over right before the stop sign and she was dead AGAIN! I opened the hood and saw gas at the carb throat. It MUST be flooding. Or could it be valor lock? Or maybe the coil is overheating? After about 5 minutes, I tried cranking and she fired up. I took off down the highway and turned on the last road – almost home! One of the other M38a1 owners was at the town hall in his M38a1talking to someone and threw his hand up. Can’t stop – gotta get home, I yelled! She sputtered again – OH CRAP! I Pushed the clutch in and gassed it. She ran until I was close to my driveway and sputtered again. I Pushed the clutch in and gassed it again. She ran smooth down the drive to the house.
Three lessons learned: 1) take a phone, 2) have tools to work on your vehicle and 3) know how to use them! If you are getting fuel and spark she should fire. If it’s vapor lock, you’ll have to figure out a different way to get gas until the fuel line cools. If it’s a bad coil and you don’t have a spare, you’re screwed – but you wouldn’t be getting a good spark with a bad coil.
Getting stranded is one of my fears and keeps me from driving the Jeep more than I do. Maybe this little adventure will help me realize that I know how to fix the simple stuff and to know what I need to add to my toolkit.
When I got home, I jumped in the car and ran back to where I saw the other Jeep owner. I explained that I wasn’t being rude – just having carb problems and had to get home. They were at the town hall – I forgot that election day was today and I needed to vote anyway.
My goal was to put 50 miles on the Jeep today – I made 49.