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Blog Archives for October 2004

Cherokee Lean-Surging Problem

Saturday, October 23rd, 2004 - Comments (0) in Cars, Life, Projects

Status: FIXED!

This was by far the most irritating problem I've had with this car. The car was very mushy; it had no power and generally ran like shit. You hold the accelerator steady (with clutch in) and the RPMs bounced around. It was sometimes difficult to clutch out (the RPMs would suddenly drop when loaded) and when driving at any speed if you step on the gas the just didn't go anywhere. It struggled to keep up 35 MPH on a flat road.

This is how the car sounded when idling (at the exhaust pipe): exhaust.wav (142 KB)

Original Diagnosis - Vacuum Leak

Right from the get-go this problem seemed like a vacuum leak. All sorts of things on this car depend on vacuum to operate properly: power brakes, 2/4wd selection, climate controls and a bunch of other stuff you'd never think of. What confirmed this theory was spraying something flammable near the vacuum hoses at the intake manifold. I shot the hoses with brakleen and all of a sudden the engine would speed up and sound much better for a few seconds. Obviously the leaking hoses would suck the flammable brakleen in and it would make the fuel/air mixture a little richer. Even though the car did (and still does) have a little vacuum leak, it wasn't the root of the current problem

Secondary Diagnosis - Ignition

It was about time for new spark plugs anyway. I bought a new set of plugs, wires and a new distributor cap and rotor. Wasn't the problem.

Tertiary Diagnosis - Exhaust Restriction

exhaust bypass

Cat basically disconnected from exhaust pipe.

If you can't exhale as fast as you inhale, you're not going to be able to run a mile right? At the time the catalytic converter on the car was falling apart and making noise, so perhaps it broke up and clocked the pipe. So I unbolted the cat from the exhaust pipe and bolted it back on to the opposite side. This way the exhaust gas would completely bypass the cat and muffler. I went for a really loud spin around the block, and found the problem was still there.


Final Diagnosis - MAT Sensor


At room temperature this should be reading 3500 Ohms.

Over the couple months I was trying to fix this problem I came across a sensor that wasn't reading correctly. It was a temperature sensor mounted in the intake manifold that monitors the air temperature and adjusts the fuel mixture accordingly; the colder the air the richer the mix. Even though I found this problem pretty early on, I was unable to find a replacement. The problem was that everyone had their own name for this part, some (Jeep) called it a MAT sensor and some (Advance Autoparts) called it an air charge temperature sensor. I was finally able to find a replacement and the car was better instantly.


Magnetic Oilpan Heater

Saturday, October 23rd, 2004 - Comments (0) in Cars, Life, Projects

Early in 2004 the Cherokee began getting difficult to start. It would be very lumpy when starting below 20°F. After sitting for a few minutes (while trying to keep RPMs around 2500), the engine would warm up a little and start running right. In hindsight I can see this problem was actually my lean surge problem in its infant stage.

At the time it seemed like a good idea to get an oilpan heater to make those really cold mornings (below 15°) starts easier. This heater did aleviate the lumpy starting.


The heater!


This is the heating surface. Those two lines are the magnets.


You'll notice the plug peaking out in between the bumper and grill. When I want to use it, all I have to do is plug an extension cord into it.


This is how I "fixed" it to the oilpan. I used aircraft cable around the exhaust pipe on one end and a bungee cord to a motor mount on the other. The cables are only really for keeping the heater from sliding around. The magnets in the heater are what is really holding the heater to the car. If the bungee cord ever breaks, the cable around the exhaust pipe should hold on to it.

Cherokee Subwoofer Enclosure

Saturday, October 23rd, 2004 - Comments (0) in Cars, Life, Projects

Ever since high school I have used a dual 12" sub box for my car stereo. When I aquired my Cherokee, I simply put my original box in the back. But to utilize the ability to move large objects or large amounts of stuff in the Jeep, I would have to remove the subwoofer. This got real annoying real fast. I also had my car broken into during the summer of 2003; I guess they were looking for a nice system to steal, but luckily my subs were out of the car because I was helping my friend move at the time.

The solution was to build a box into the side of the car. I got a single 10" subwoofer with a very shallow mounting depth (3 inches). This way I could make a box that was camouflaged just like another body panel of the car and the geniuses that break into my car again won't notice there is a subwoofer there.


My buddy Dave helped out with making the templates for the sides of the box. Then once they fit if place I just used Bondo to seal around the edges. I also used camper weather stripping around the whole opening to seal against the front cover where the driver is.



Once the box was totally sealed it was lined with this rubber stuff Dave "found" at a construction site at RIT. I believe it's a vapor barrier to go under sidewalks. Whatever it is, its thick, adhesive backed, and excellent for keeping the body of the car from vibrating from the sub.



Then I cut the holes for the speaker and terminal, soldered the wires in (12 gauge from the old lighting mults at TechCrew), slapped it on there and added a little fluff.



This is how it currently looks. Eventually I will be making a grill to cover the whole thing and make it look like there is nothing there.


Jeep Cherokee

Friday, October 22nd, 2004 - Comments (0) in Cars, Life, Projects

I currently drive a 1986 Jeep Cherokee. It's kind of rare because it the 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine. I've only seen 1 other Jeep with that engine in person, but I've heard of a few on the internet. I'm hoping this car lasts for a long time; it's very fun to drive, comfortable and it was cheap. For a few years I didn't drive it to work everyday, which saved some miles, but now that I live about 8 miles away from work, it's a daily driver.

I consider this car a project because it is very old and going to need attention to ensure it continues to run.

My Sexy Car

Thursday, October 21st, 2004 - Comments (2) in
Today was a pretty slow day. Nothing catastrophic happend at work. Not many phone calls or emails. It gave me a chance to get a quite a few tickets finished. Another one of the HP Deskjet 3820's died recently in the Art lab. So Sam picked up the printers that were getting fixed and setup one of them. It needed a new color cartridge (#78) but I ended up going through 3 cartridges before I got one that worked. The first two didn't do anything. And the last one had green ink instead of blue in it! This is really starting to get annoying. Especially since those things are like $50 each.

Monday, October 18th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
OMG I was ready to kill today at work. I was trying to install some music dictation program in the music lab, but of course I couldn't activate the software because I am behind a firewall. Do they really expect most people to not be behind a firewall? So I had to jump on the horn with these guys and spend 2 hours instead 2 minutes installing this stupid software.

Saturday, October 16th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
Mouse #1 is officially terminated. Rachelle and I were watching tv when we heard a loud SNAP. He was snooping around the silverware drawer again and got a nasty surprise.

Friday, October 15th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
The mouse is REALLY starting to piss me off. Two days in a row he has cleaned all the bait off all the traps without setting any of them off. Perhaps I need to get some better traps

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
My dad called today and said he was thinking about buying a Porsche Boxster that just so happens to be for sale 3 miles down the road from me. He wanted me to go check it out and take pictures of anything worth noticing. The owner has zinged every wheel in at least 3 places, and chipped 3 out of 4 tires.

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
There's a mouse in my house! We keep finding mouse turds in the silverware drawer, so Jason and I went to Chase-Pitkin and bought some mouse traps. We set up the traps in some of the cabinets and one on the floor in the kitchen. This morning the trap on the floor was on the other side of the kitchen (minus the peanut butter) stained with some blood. I've never seen a mouse win against a trap. Go figure.

Tuesday, October 12th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
Jason sent me this link just now: WTF is wrong with these religious people? I realize there are people crazy enough to not believe in things like birth control, but who the fuck gave this guy the right to deny it for someone completely unrelated to him!? He is a pharmacist, they fill prescriptions, they don't get ANY say in the matter (unless there is a problem with the prescription). Man people are fucking stupid.

Monday, October 11th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
Oh yeah baby, no work today! This is why I love working for a get all those stupid holidays you can never remember off. We went to Wegmans today instead of yesterday and it was totally dead. A nice change from the total zoo it is every Sunday. Last night Rachelle and I went over to her friend Christina's house. They had a bunch of people over for pizza and drinks. And then we all went to some bar in Fairport. Rachelle got hammered. It was pretty fun

Thursday, October 7th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
Today wasn't a terrible day. Work was ok. The middle school decided that the teachers need to be emailed with the attendance list. This is great, but that report is generated as a PDF file, and most of the MS teachers don't have Acrobat Reader installed, so I was pretty busy today installing it. When I got home I got started installing a deadbolt on the back door of the house. I did this because there wasn't a deadbolt on there before, and we didn't have a key for the knob on that door. So now we can get into the house from this door when its locked.

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004 - Comments (3) in
The ladies in the lower school threw a little birthday party for the nurse, foreign language teacher and me this morning. It was very nice. On a less happy note, I have to go back to the dentist today. :(

Monday, October 4th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
I just got back from the dentist :( and I have a cavity! I've only had 1 other cavity in my life, so I guess I was overdue.

Monday, October 4th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
Yeah so it seems two people were shot over at RIT this morning. They are both alive and ok, but that really sucks.

Monday, October 4th, 2004 - Comments (0) in
Happy Birthday to me! I'm officially a quarter of a century old!! ugh.

Blake's B-day

Sunday, October 3rd, 2004 - Comments (0) in Life

I lead a pretty boring life. But I guess someone might get enjoyment by reading about it. So yesterday Rachelle and I went to Barffalo for her second cousin's 5th birthday party. It was pretty fun. I like the parties her aunt and uncle throw.