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Spinoff: Shitbox Shenanigans

posford

:flipoff2:
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Trying to not derail the Motortrend thread.

Stories of trying to limp some shitbox further than you should, whether it was a fail or a win. I'll start.

Bought a parts Ranger in Conway, NH that was supposed to be have been towed to me. They wadded up the tow dolly so I went up with plates and slapped them on, paid and drove it to Wakefield, which should only be 30 minutes. Throttle kept sticking open, would stay at 3000 rpm. I'd shut it off at stop signs and restart it in gear so I didn't destroy what was left of the clutch. Got it back and the frame was rotted in half under the driver side and flopping around.

Or the $300 Ranger that a friend was getting back on the road, had no brakes but we "had" to go test the new clutch. Pull up to the stop sign and dude driving shuts it off in 3th and wonders why we keep coasting into the intersection. Keys fell out of the ignition and we roll into a blind intersection. I grabbed the keys and jammed them back in and turned while he was still in shock. Truck pops to life and we just bomb thru the rest of the intersection.

Wound up taking that truck to Houlton Maine for some 37" humvee tires. Door jamb switch was busted, so the chime always was dinging, so we pulled that fuse, which killed the entire dash, including the wipers. Somewhere up on I95 it starts raining, I'm steering from the passenger seat while the driver has the door open at 60 trying to fish the fuse back in so we can run the wipers. Next hour or 90s Ford door chime and it stops out of the blue. Great! Trans starts whining worse than when we left, stop off and find a Carquest, friend opens the door and the dinging was back, idiot! By the time we made it home the cooling system had given up, the trans sounded like a 8-71 blower, but my buddy had tires for his F250 so he didn't care
 
Long ago (high school) the trans in my buddies 78 Chevy lost forward gears. Luckily it still had reverse and we were only 10 miles from home. He was a crappy driver going forwards so the ride home in reverse was terrifying with the truck screaming at 30 mph backwards, swerving all over. We got pulled over once by the cops and took out one mailbox.

His dad helped us put a junkyard trans in it later. His dad helped by yelling and throwing wrenches at us. Shit got done fast but sloppy.
 
My old '69 International pickup used to break valve springs for whatever reason. Had some aftermarket cam in it from the '80s with probably the original springs. First time it happened I nursed it home on 7 cylinders. Grabbed some "new" springs from the junkyard and swapped the first one in my driveway. To keep the valve from dropping I pushed a bunch of small diameter rope in the spark plug hole and turned it over by hand to compress it in the chamber. I think I replaced about 6 or 7 more springs this same way on the side of the road on various trips.

Another International story, this time a '70 Travelall. Got the thing on the road after sitting for 10 years or so and immediately put it to service towing a car trailer from So Cal to Tuscon AZ. Going through phoenix at around 1am it just dies after I get off the freeway in a sketchy part of town. Check fuel, yep, check spark, nope. At this point a bunch of thugs are starting to circle around my truck while I am troubleshooting. Would have been no big deal but I had my girlfriend with me and didn't want any trouble. Battery is starting to die and I am starting to get nervous I am going to have a confrontation with these sketchy dudes so I just start shaking the wiring harnesses and bam she lights up just as the battery gives its last crank. Haul ass outta there. Made the rest of the 900 mi trip no problem.

Thinking back, they were probably more scared of me than I was them considering the tweeker shit show I was driving:

FullSizeRender%2011_zpsq907fqzv.jpg
 
Jeep XJ.

I had spent the day out on the trails and on the way home I slowly stop all forward motion. Trans had lost most of it's fluid, It was late and nobody around so I started thinking. I ended up running the hose from the windshield washer to the trans dip stick and pumped it full of water, it moved again YAY, for a while anyway. Stops again and out of water, oh wait is that a puddle yup.

I made it home on some muddy ass water in an AW4, flushed it out, fixed the leak and it still worked for a few more months.
 
350 swapped 1987 FJ60. Throttle cable snaps in a main intersection of Laconia, NH. I eventually got it out of the intersection (I don't remember how), fixed it with 2 zip ties and a set of needle nose pliers. Got me 10 miles home after stopping at the parts store for a universal throttle cable kit. The dude at Auto Zone said "It's universal, so it's got to work" :homer:. Made it work.

That thing looked ok from 30 feet, but was an absolute rotted toilet. I took it on trade for a beat to shit Tracker.

IMAG0302.jpg
 
Jeep XJ.

I had spent the day out on the trails and on the way home I slowly stop all forward motion. Trans had lost most of it's fluid, It was late and nobody around so I started thinking. I ended up running the hose from the windshield washer to the trans dip stick and pumped it full of water, it moved again YAY, for a while anyway. Stops again and out of water, oh wait is that a puddle yup.

I made it home on some muddy ass water in an AW4, flushed it out, fixed the leak and it still worked for a few more months.

:laughing: Fuckin awesome

Another Ranger story. First time out wheeling in my 91, Easter Sunday. On PR78-16 Buckshots that had broken belts, but I was young, poor, and stupid. Drained the talent tank quickly and half flopped in a ravine, other guy with us winched me up. Apparently that killed the factory 260k motor mounts, the shifter was flopping around like a fish in 4 low, bad enough it would disconnect the vacuum line to the booster. Wheeled the rest of the day with a piece of gorilla tape and a zip tie over the vacuum port for the booster. Got out to the road and back in 2 high, popped the vacuum hose back on, and babied it home.
 
I was driving from Pittsburgh to Yellowstone park to start my job as a cook at Grant village lodge in April 95 or 96 on 80 near Sioux Falls when some yahoo in a S10 cut me off. I slammed on the brakes and the brake line hidden behind the fuel tank blew. I found I had 2 brake appliances before the fluid got too low to stop. Then it was parking brake and downshift.

I didn’t have the tools to fix it so I drove to Yellowstone where I found a long list of things that could stop my truck after downshifting to get down to 5-10 mph. Things like shutting it off in gear and pulling the parking brake. Or if I needed to stop faster, shifting to reverse and letting the clutch out a bit. Also, 20 foot snow banks and herds of Buffalo.

I checked in for work on time at the Grant Village Lodge and told them about my brakes. Someone knew a mechanic in Bozeman so it was off to Bozeman with no brakes. They fixed me up and the old Toyota was as good as new.

I had a blast banging hippie chicks and exploring the area around Yellowstone until the snow started in September.
 
Late 90s I was in Vegas with some friends. We were drinking in a hotel bar for a couple nights and got chummy with bartender who was also a car guy. He events offered us his extra 88 4runner that needed some minor work for a grand. I bought it. It was a loaded sr5 V6 auto trans. Looked good but had bald tires and needed some maintenance.

instead of flying back, I drove it back to Sacramento. I left at night for some dumb reason and it was loving the cool desert night air, cruising at 80+ mph. Until it dropped out of overdrive. I stopped and checked the trans fluid and generally looked it over. Nothing was obviously wrong and when I got back in, overdrive worked. Repeat this a couple of times until I realized that it needed a coolant temp above 180 to go into overdrive and the thermostat was stuck open. As soon as I drove a bit, it over cooled and came out of overdrive. So I said fuck it and drove back with the cruise set on 80 at about 4K rpm. I could barely hear the radio. And wishing a few miles of home the plastic fan blew up. Not sure if that was related to the long drive at high rpm.
 
The junk ass transmission in my focus went out in the parking lot at work, but I made it 70 miles home
 
As a pair of desperate teenagers (before the day of cell phones)... my brother and I, on Thanksgiving Day, drove 5 hours to Richmond VA to pick up a '74 CJ and drive it back to PA, knowing it had a few 'minor' issues. No top, no heat, no doors, 25 degrees, 33's and spooled,( tires seemed huge at the time). Opened the garage door where the Jeep was stored: huge puddle of trans fluid under it, and a bad wheel cylinder. Tops trans off, replace wheel cylinder, bleed brakes, pay the guy and we're off!

I'm driving my brothers 89 yota, he's got the 'new' Jeep. Made it 1/4 mile to the first gas station. He pulls in and I see fire coming out the wheel well, yank a fire extinguisher out of truck and put it out. Wire against the header. Melted a birdnest of other wires in the fire too. We scab some wires together with butt connectors and head on our way up Route 95. I look back in the mirror and white smoke rolling out of the cowl! Blew the bottom radiator hose off. Park Jeep and fetch water and hose clamp, and a few more gallons of trans fluid at the next exit.

Made it into Maryland and brakes were non-existent. Find leak at wheel cylinder we replaced. Tighten tube nut and snap! Brakeline is now busted. Find a garage and beg the guy to re-flare the line in short order. That took 2-3 hours and $150. Dusk sets in and lights draw battery down, I see lights dim on Jeep and it shuts off. We pull over and hook jumper cables from Yota to Jeep and charge it back up. We had to stop every 20 miles or so to charge the battery. Finally make it into PA, hop of the highway and have another half hour to go, and get pulled over for a taillight out. No title, registration or insurance at this point. Cop was sympathetic and very generous, and let us go with a warning.

Finally made it home around 9 PM. Missed Thanksgiving dinner. Parents sure were glad to see us home though! We spent the next several months getting the Jeep in good order. That project turned out to be the best thing for the development of our limited skillsets, both mechanically and wheeling. We wheeled that Jeep at Paragon and Rausch Creek many times. It's gone now but my love of wheeling isn't! Wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
 
the kratuwagon has only left me stranded one time, but when it did it went all in.

300 miles into a 600 mile trip I pull over at the maryland welcome center to piss.
I get back to the car, I hit the button, nothing happens. So I do some troubleshooting, and we determine that the starter has failed completely. not a hint of warning. just done.
Well shit.
I AAA tow it as far as I can towards my brother's house, walk a 1/4 mile to the only auto zone in the area that says they have a starter and stay in a hotel. My brother drives up and the next morning it's change a starter in the hotel parking lot.
So the next morning it's 30 mph winds and rain. Fuckig sweet. Off to the walmart to buy a pop up tent.
Remove the intake, and all the shit we've never done in a BMW to get at the starter, get the starter off, open the box, the wrong starter is in the right box.
FML.
Go back to the autozone, convince the counter droid to Look up the PN on the starter and go look in that starter's box. Success. Right starter in that box.
Go back, install starter, reuse all the use once bolts and gaskets, start it up and continue the drive.

The autozone starter lasted three years, and then failed completely and without warning. The morning I was taking my semen sample to the lab.
So imagine yourself, a bottle full of gizz in your pocket that needs to get to the hospital in less than an hour and you walk out to your car and push the button and it doesn't start.
It's like it literally fucked me.
at least it was in my driveway already.

so yeah, starters suck.
 
Bought a cheap XJ for $1000 and didn't really look it over good before handing over the cash. Paid the lady and took off in it. It hit a deer recently so the driver's side fender and grill were a bit crumpled. It was pulling to the right so I had to drive with a constant left turn and had blown shocks which made it feel like a boat in rough waters. A couple miles on the freeway and the hood pops open and slams on the windshield blinding me. I had to pull over and ratchet strap it down. Made it two hours home and next day I find it had barely any oil, muddy coolant, blown ball joints and tie rods, and some crusty wheel bearings. It also had mold in the HVAC system which did it for me and I ended up selling it after fixing the critical shit.
 
'65 Jeep J-200 when I was 18 years old.

Lost all forward gears while at girlfriend's house. Drove it home in reverse, through town, in the correct lane for direction travelled. Stopped at traffic lights and signalled and everything.
 
Went out to grab lunch and my truck wouldn't start, inertia switch likes to trip randomly, quick reset and it starts right. :laughing:

Not 100% fitting but the timing was ironic
 
Ok here's one.

Got a 75 Monte Carlo with a 454 for 250 bucks from a friend that thought the motor was going out . He had already bought a different shitbox and I also had let him use my car to take the driving test to get his license back after losing it from a DUI.

Played with it some and eventually figured out the ignition module was fucked and the timing needed advanced. It ran so well then that I completely lost interest in the 70 Maverick I got for 100 Bucks and put a 302 in.

I blew out 2nd gear in the Turbo 400 stoplight bracket racing down in Denver but still drove it to California and back not getting passed up any hill with just 1st and 3rd. Then I blew out the rest of the gears and put the 454 in a truck.
 
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Didnt buy it but...


Was driving past a bar in the middle of nowhere and saw an early 60s ford truck with a for sale sign in the window. Went in and found the owner... "it runs great but only has reverse".... "you drove it here in reverse?"....... " yep 13 miles each way every day, how else am i going to get to the bar?"
 
My best friend was doing about 30mph on some ice in his 93 w150 when the 9 1/4 drops the pin and locks up, throwing the truck sideways.

I kinda freaked out.
I'm not sure how freaked out he was. But I was on the inner tube holding the tow strap at time still doing 30 heading towards the truck:laughing:
 
I bougt a subaru wagon back when I was around 18

Clutch was so bad that I remember a dump truck full of gravel beating me from a traffic light

All it did was slip.

I drove it for about a year like that
 
Early 2000's had a 78 Wagoneer, valve seals were so bad when I bought it, you could lose it in the smoke cloud from across a parking lot. Drive til the lifters start collapsing, get out, dump in 2 more quarts of motor oil and you were good for a few hundred more miles. Decided stupidly to use it as a tow vehicle, the fuel line was partially clogged, would barely hold 30 with the trailer, but would still run 80 without. Last tow trip, the vacuum modulator on the TH400 sprung a pinhole leak, made it home in a new cloud of smoke. Living in Iowa at the time and sold it back home in Illinois, my dad and uncle came out to drive it home to the new owner. They went through a case of ATF in 350 miles. Drive until it started to rev up, pull over and add a couple quarts and go again. Pulling over and dumping more oil in seemed to be a theme for that shitbox.
 
My old '69 International pickup used to break valve springs for whatever reason. Had some aftermarket cam in it from the '80s with probably the original springs. First time it happened I nursed it home on 7 cylinders. Grabbed some "new" springs from the junkyard and swapped the first one in my driveway. To keep the valve from dropping I pushed a bunch of small diameter rope in the spark plug hole and turned it over by hand to compress it in the chamber. I think I replaced about 6 or 7 more springs this same way on the side of the road on various trips.

Another International story, this time a '70 Travelall. Got the thing on the road after sitting for 10 years or so and immediately put it to service towing a car trailer from So Cal to Tuscon AZ. Going through phoenix at around 1am it just dies after I get off the freeway in a sketchy part of town. Check fuel, yep, check spark, nope. At this point a bunch of thugs are starting to circle around my truck while I am troubleshooting. Would have been no big deal but I had my girlfriend with me and didn't want any trouble. Battery is starting to die and I am starting to get nervous I am going to have a confrontation with these sketchy dudes so I just start shaking the wiring harnesses and bam she lights up just as the battery gives its last crank. Haul ass outta there. Made the rest of the 900 mi trip no problem.

Thinking back, they were probably more scared of me than I was them considering the tweeker shit show I was driving:

FullSizeRender%2011_zpsq907fqzv.jpg

Did that silver notch stay in Tucson?

I wound up buying one a few years back that came from California, with Idaho registration. It was a roller drag car, sold it to a pirate and shipped it to the bay area, last I heard it was running nearly 2k work of HP via boost on junkyard 4.8s:laughing:
at last contact it was still undefeated:smokin:
 
Going down the road in a ‘90 Toyota pickup and hear the rear end getting loud. Any time I am on the gas it grinds, so I think just don’t put any power to it right? Had some tools with me so parked in the shade at a strip mall so I pulled the rear driveshaft and threw it in the truck bed. There, no power to the rear.

Locked the hubs and put it in 4 hi so it was front wheel drive the rest of the way. That thing pulled to the right hard every time I shifted, was way past time to refresh the steering parts I guess :laughing:

There were some good chunks of teeth missing from the pinion gear when I pulled it.
 
First toyota I bought was an 86 reg cab shortbed, got it with the head and timing set in boxes in the bed, 'rebuilt' the head with new valves and timing set, rolled a new set of rod bearings in it and called it good. The 22r sounded like a diesel because I cut the valve seats too deep in the head and fucked up the valve geometry, got them close and ran 20w50 in it for 2 years driving it back and forth to school. Same truck was hard to shift when temps were in the 20s and 30s, old timer suggested I drain a qt of gear oil out and replace with some 30 wt, worked like a champ. rear springs were soo cooked I put a 2 inch block in the rear to get it to sit level, sold the truck after 2 years for 500 more than I had in it.
 
I got a few.
I was in the city on 4th of July in my 79 sub. I broke the shift for for the 2nd/3rd in the sm465. Its normally about 30 minutes on the freeway but I had to take backroads. All the back I would alternate between cruising at 10mph and redlining it at 30 than coasting back down to 10 than back up to 30 and so on. It took 2 1/2 hours to get home. I was dumb and left the trans tunnel cover off too so it was a HOT drive.
Clutch sleeve collapsed on samurai once, drove home from work in 2 low so I could shut it off at stop signs and get going with the starter. bang shift the rest of the time.
I didn't realize there was a leak in the rear housing under the spring mount on that Samurai. Everytime I turned left it spilled gear oil but never leaked sitting so I had no idea. Rear diff dried up and R&P seized. I swapped in another but drove home in front wheel drive. Luckily I broke a front shaft the weekend before so I actually drove it in left front wheel drive. It was all over the place, good thing it was midnight and no one else was out.
In high school I bent a tierod screwing around in my 77 Maverick. I drove it to school for about a month with the tires eithers pigeon toed or pionted at each other. Those tires went from 50% to nothing fast. You could follow my tracks all over town though, everyone knew where I had been.
 
Speaking of shit-box.... Drove one of my topless pig Jeeps from New Jersey (yeah it sucks) in the rain to New York to pick up a cheep used hard-top. It was cheep because it was being used as a fucking chicken-coop! Myself and the Jeep reeked of chicken shit for a week afterward.. :smokin:
 
I was moving to college and pulling a utility trailer with my '84 XJ. Somewhere around Gaylord, MI the Jeep started loosing engine power. It would only stay running above 2500 RPM, thankfully it was a 5spd, and had a terrible exhaust smell but no smoke. Driving in 3rd gear wasn't too bad, but the Mackinaw Bridge toll booth attendant wasn't amused during our transaction. The Jeep made the torturous ~2hr drive, but failed to start after shutting it off in the driveway. The engine had seized.

Later on the same shitbox developed an interesting condition (Jasper long block installed after the above incident). Power would suffer until it backfired, then all would be well for a while. I was leaving an off-campus party at U-Detroit Mercy (hood, but you probably assumed that being in Detroit), when the Jeep lost power, then it backfired rapidly twice sounding like a shotgun. The party goers and neighbors freaked out because they heard a vehicle start, slow down, two "gunshots", then a vehicle speeding away. Fortunately, nobody fired back.
 
Blew the motor in my wheeler, put up a post on fb, buddy says "I've got one you can have free! Comes with a whole truck!"
"Sick! What's The catch?"
"It's in the camp in Kitimat."

Kitimat is about 1600km away.

He gives me the pitch on it, strongest running 22re he's ever driven, manual, xtra cab 3rd gen, super rusty, good tires.
Ok. I'm in. So I fly up, sleep in a ditch, hitchhike to the truck, go through some sketchy shit to get into and out of the camp, quick fluids check, and off I go. I have about 250km ahead of me to Prince Rupert, where I have a reservation on a ferry back to the island.

Now I was warned that it was missing a stud on the exhaust, but the exhaust leak seems REALLY bad, and it's way down on power. Like way. Like I'm fully expecting to have it die and I'm gonna have to just walk the fuck away.

I get to Rupert, get some dinner, and decide I'd best give it a once over. One plug wire is full blown missing.
Not there.
I didn't notice while doing the fluids check, check, but I drove it quite a ways on 3 cylinders. Found the wire dangling over the motor mount. Plugged it in and HOLY SHIT it's a rocket ship!

I got the ferry to the island, got drunk and slept it off twice before we got to Port Hardy. On the drive down island the rear end went. By the time I got home (another 650ish km) I had to start off in 4low, run up to 3rd, then bang it to 2 high, 2nd, and away we could go. After driving for a few minutes it would loosen up and roll fine, but stop at a light and it was trying to lock up again.
 
Lost the starter in my very rough running 4 speed swapped daily driver K5 blazer in a tollbooth in Chicago. Well it died at the booth while I was fishing change out of the door pocket. It was dead flat in that spot, no chance of a rolling start to get going again. The tollbooth people called the maint guys and I talked him into push starting me with his truck. Popped it, and moved on out. Was on my way to pay for a Uhaul and a car trailer to get my ass moved back to Texas. Left the truck running, tires turned into a curb cause no parking brake of course. Took my rachet extension and deep socket shifter in with me to make the payment. What kind of car are you hauling? S10 blazer....no not that one, I'd never put a truck like that on one of these trailers. That truck was pure sketch to drive in Chicago, dented to shit, a bit rough mechanically, soft top, removable doors on 37's but people got out of my way, that's for sure.
 
Pretty tame, but it was a memorable adventure.

It's mid August, I'm in central AR, my buddy Brian is in northern AR, so Brian messages me, "I I think I've found 'the' Jeep, but it's in Colorado, you interested in a Roadkill-esque road trip?" After he described the Jeep to me, a totally unknown soft top, 2.5l, 5 speed, TJ on 35" tires, with 4.88 gears, 8.25" rear axle swapped from an XJ, stock springs, cut fenders, 4 link rear, and no sway bars, in the Colorado mountains, I'm pretty sure I don't want to drive/ride in the thing 1000+ miles. I leave it at, "let me think about it, I'll get back to you." I then tell Julie about Brian's crazy idea, and she doesn't hesitate, "I think you should, go." Pretty sure Julie just wanted the house to herself for a few days. Two against one...

I pick Brian up at his house, on a Wednesday afternoon, we spend the night at my aunt & uncle's place on the Lake, much closer to the airport, party hard with them, get about 2.5 hours of sleep, on the road at 4:00 AM, for a 6:00 AM flight. Great way to start a 48 hour road trip.

We fly to Montrose, CO with a stop in Chicago on the way, the seller meets us at the Montrose airport, the Jeep is mostly as advertised, money and title is exchanged, and Brian owns a Wrangler! Lunch in Montrose, obligatory stop at Harbor Freight for road trip tools and supplies, and we're headed east. Highway 50 between Montrose and Pueblo is gorgeous! Drove up to the peak of Old Monarch Pass, amazing views, realized how out of shape I am, trying to walk up hill in the thin air. Highway 50 follows the Arkansas River through some beautiful canyons and valleys. The Arkansas River sure looks different on that end.

We made it to Clayton NM, around 12:30 AM on Friday morning, spent the night at the, not so Super 8. Breakfast in Dalhart, TX, and then met my cousin and some friends in Amarillo for lunch!

Stopped at an Advanced Auto Parts outside of Amarillo, TX for some A/C refrigerant. The seller might have overstated the Jeep's A/C's abilities, especially on a 99° day in Amarillo.

From Amarillo to Oklahoma City it was business as usual, just a few stops for gas. We hit Oklahoma City just in time for rush hour, that was fun.

About 10 miles east of Oklahoma City the "check gauges" light comes on, on the dash. We were concerned, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. A few dozen miles later, we decide that the volt gauge is slowly dropping. We turn off all electronics, radio, A/C, etc. and Brian scrambles to look up the closest parts store, thank goodness for smart phones. There's an O'Reilly's a few miles ahead in Bristow, OK. O'Reilly's employee tested the battery it's down to 11.5 volts, more or less confirms our suspicions, the alternator isn't charging. O'Reilly's doesn't have an Alternator in stock, and the only other parts store in Bristow is closed. Bristow folks tell us there are more parts stores in Supulpa, OK about 20 miles east.

We get back on the road, Brian calls 2 more parts stores in Supulpa, and the Autozone has an alternator in stock. We pull into the Autozone parking lot, and put the Harbor Freight tool kit to work. Swapped the alternator out in about 20 minutes, and were on the road again.

We had a minor hiccup going through the toll both on the east end of the Cherokee Turnpike, we didn't have correct change, or any small bills. We held up traffic long enough at the toll booth, digging around the Jeep for change, that some really nice person (or perhaps really annoyed person) came up to the Jeep and handed us 3 $1 bills. We think the Colorado tags on the Jeep probably helped.

Brian and I made it back to my car at the airport, we parted ways, and made it to our respective homes around 2:00 AM Saturday morning.

Quite an adventure!
 
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