Friday, February 14, 2014

Homestead Ready Vehicle

The time finally arrived for me to sell my BMW and buy something more practical for use on a homestead in the sticks. I was glad to see her go in a way, but sad in another. She had high mileage and her starter was going. However, she was still a zippy little car and fun to drive.

A co-worker recently decided to purchase a new car and sell his SUV. We struck a deal and I bought his 99 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. I love it. Now, I know it is an older vehicle, but it is large, in great shape, and has all the bells and whistles on it, including a tow package. I already used it to go pick up my new "vintage" electric range and it drove like a charm. There are only two issues I needed to address: First, I needed to put a new water pump in it, which I knew in advance, and, two, I need to replace the headliner which has dry rot and is tearing in places. I would love to put in a better stereo and new speakers, but other than the two mechanical fixes, it is a great vehicle and the stereo can wait. This vehicle will definitely come in handy when I move to the country.

I spent last Sunday watching and learning how to put in a new water pump, serpentine belt, and hoses. It was very interesting. Turns out Jeeps are a ton more easy to work on than a BMW. Because I like to be more self-sufficient I figured now was as good a time as any to learn how to pull apart the car to replace belts and hoses and even a water pump should the need ever arise again. Chris, my friend and mechanic, was very patient as he described all the steps and helped me trouble shoot potential problems.

Here are some shots I took as we went along:

Bad Hose. Melted from heat of engine. 
Water pump has a leak above it from the melted hose.
Old water pump had seen its better days. 

Skilled hands made this look easy.
The headliner is the next job, but I am waiting until Spring Break to tackle that project. The interior of the car is pristine, with the exception of the headliner. It looks simple enough on youtube, but I want to giver myself time should something not go as planned. Spring Break gives me a week to fix any rookie mistakes.

There is just nothing quite as awesome as new car, even if it is used. Now I just need to name her. I am open to suggestions. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below.