I set out to build a new bumper in 3 days. I got nearly done, rushed to mount a solenoid on the third day and drilled a hole in what I thought was my radiator. Panic. Call Dad. Rush to nearest Autozone with radiator in stock 20 miles away. Return home. Open box. Tear down half the truck. Got stuck. Got confused. Phoned friends. Nearly disassembled and the parts aren't the same. Duh. Right part but the wrong thing was damaged. I drilled through the A/C condenser coil, NOT the radiator. The truck will run without AC. No problem. Disaster averted. Button up truck. Return part.
Driving around and alternator is screaming. It dies and the truck dies. Call Dad. Pushed into McDonald's lot. Tear down the truck. Swap out with spare that I kept in the back. 5 hours later, it is back running. Great. 5 hours because it is dark and it started snowing. God wanted to punish me for not heeding early warning that alternator was unhappy.
A few weeks later. On a trail showing new guys the ropes. Crash through frozen water crossings. Ice packs up and cracks the radiator at the bottom of the mountain. I get dragged up and back down the mountain. Call tow truck. Wait several hours. Get towed home. No one is happy with me. I'm not happy with me. Really rethinking things.
Epic snowstorm Jonas approaches. Order new radiator and AC coil. Tear down truck. Much more confident now since it is literally the third time in 3 weeks I have removed the air intake and other components. Rip all the guts out. Repaired some bent things. Put new guts in. Jury Rig a new bash plate. Finish truck in time for snow. Save everyone and dig out tons of snow.
That's the short version.
Here is the longer version if I can get through it before either the baby, or the dog, or the wife beckons.
I had to beg, borrow, steal a lot of time from friends and relatives to cover some of my Dad duties so I could make up for the mistakes, short-sightedness, and just plain bad luck I've endured over the past few weeks.
The last FULL post before this one, I see that the truck is still white in the beginning and the first run post camo is covered at the end.
Nick, Dave and I ran trails another weekend and linked up with Ian and Saul down in GWNF. It was good times. I still didn't have bump stops, but those would be coming soon.
So I had one concept of how I was going to redo the bumper. I finished the job that nature started, removing the actual frame horns. And then what I actually saw behind those plates changed my approach. I only had 3 days from start to finish to get something done before my wife's work schedule intensified.
Wednesday night, a small clipper system breezed through and completely paralyzed our area. It was embarrassing because it was literally 3/4 of an inch. I was in my dad's Pilot that he loaned to me, and it took all of my learned offroading skill to keep it on the road and avoid others who were haphazardly revving and spinning wheels. I knew I had to get Veronica back at whatever expense was necessary.
I ordered replacement radiator and condenser coils and worked all morning Thursday to get ready for the snow. I had no assurance she would even start for me once I got the parts in, but I had to try. Friday, in between bouts of snow, I worked up a temporary bash plate to block the void that had allowed all of the ice to logjam into the engine bay. In between bouts of shoveling snow, I readied the first prototype and took her on her first maiden voyage. I wanted to test to see if the added strain of operating 4WD in heavy snow might cause the temp to spike. Fortunately then and all this week, she's maintained steady operating temps.
I took her on a short road trip back up to see Dukes and buy the Titan half shafts off of him. No temperature spikes or erratic operating the full way up or back.
I've got a few emissions codes to clear and some general, preventive maintenance to knock out. But I think she's back. And I'm glad. This is the year of our epic return to Moab. And I want to make sure that the first truck to introduce me to offroading and escort me to Utah the first go round is ready and able to make her triumphant return 4 years later.
Wish us luck.