“I’m glad you called. Roger needs to talk to you about the Jeep….”
Those are words you never want to hear your mechanic say.
I told Jenny that taking your car to the mechanic was like going to the doctor….no matter what you tell them is the trouble, they’re liable to find something else wrong that needs attention.
Yesterday, an expensive job turned into a really expensive job.
When you have a Jeep that’s falling apart, something is bound to be wrong with it.
That’s one of the laws of the universe.
I needed to replace the steering gear box (the old one was leaking…and binding) , and because my vehicle is used for mail delivery and is RHD (Right Hand Drive), parts can be fairly pricey and hard to come by.
I ordered a rebuilt steering gear from an outfit out in Washington State….and, in addition to the one ball joint that I knew was bad, took the Jeep in to have it replaced.
What the mechanic wanted me to know when I called him to check on the vehicle was that all the ball joints were bad.
All of them.
Of course, when a ball joint goes bad….really bad….it’s hard to control the car.
Worst case scenario, one of them breaks and the wheel starts flopping around and you can’t steer at all and you go flying off the mountain.
Even worse, all of them could break and you pray that your vehicle would turn into a hovercraft as it soared high above the trees, becoming one with the scenic vista as it rose and then fell, becoming one with the beauty of it all….becoming one with history and what “used to be”.
That, of course, would….suck….worse.
So, it’s important to fix all that stuff.
It really is important. No matter how cheap I am, I know how important it is to be able to steer and to be able to stop.
They called me later and told me that all the power steering lines needed to be replaced, too.
The nuts around the lines….the ones that go into the steering gear, had rusted (to the line) on both of the lines.
(What does Homer Simpson say? What’s that noise? DOH!!!?)
So….I can buy the right hand drive version of what costs 20.00 for a LHD Jeep….for 116.00….and then scrounge the metal fitting that the low pressure return hose clamps onto and hope that we can figure out something that works.
Oh…back in the shop, I asked about the U-joints at the axles that were laying on the floor, part of the Jeep’s front end that was eviscerated and spread on the cement under the lift, and when I picked them up to check, both of them were bad.
Those parts were cheap, though.
And because everything was ripped apart already, they weren’t going to charge me a lot to change them out.
I do almost all our work on the vehicles out in the gravel….but I’m glad that I took the Jeep in to have it worked on.
It’s a lot more pleasant when you can put it on a lift and move it to where it’s a little more ergonomic to work on it.
When I saw that it was all the ball joints that needed to be replaced…and that the lines were frozen solid….and that the u-joints were all bad (again) , it changed my luke warm enthusiasm for learning how to fix something new on the Jeep to “stone cold enthusiasm”.
I wasn’t even remotely excited about struggling out in the cold anymore….trying to save us some money.
I’ll go through a lot of pain trying to save us some money….but it’s good to let someone else struggle with it all sometimes.
This Jeep is going to be fixed and I’ll go out and deliver the mail again….but it sure is easier not to work and not to worry about all this stuff like busted Cherokees.
That’s life, though.
We live….we work…we worry.
Sometimes, we worry about stuff.
(The Jeep in the picture isn’t mine, but it’s a front end picture that’s pretty horrible. Can you tell that something’s wrong with this Jeep?)