Faux strarter probelm

No start but not a starter problem

Our 99 XJ Cherokee was stranded in the middle of the driveway when I can home yesterday.  Turning the key made the solenoid click but did not engage the starter motor.

The battery voltage was fine so I assumed the starter had failed.  I tried the normal hammer tapping method but still got no start.

I had to pull the starter in the driveway. With it off, I took it to the shop to test. It tested fine. I was puzzled so I reinstalled it on the Jeep.

Still the solenoid would click but not starter motor activity.

I then checked the voltage at the wires and they both had 12 V.

I then wiggled the cables at the battery and tried again. This time it started up fine.  Somehow the crimp of the wire that leads from the battery to the starter had corroded and would show voltage but not transfer any current to run the motor.

I used vise grips to recrimp the connector and the Jeep started up just fine.  Hopefully, it will continue to remain connected.

Grading the Driveway

Since I daily drive a Jeep Cherokee XJ, I often don’t notice the condition of the driveway. I live at the end of a dead end road and I have a long gravel driveway.   Instructions to my house include, “when you get to the end of the paved road – keep going”

When I drive one of my sports cars however,  the ruts and bumps in the droveway become very apparent.  The Porsche and the RX7 do a fairly good job at grading the center of the drive but it is hard on the air dams.

Grass in center of the driveway

So occasionally I have to get out my antique tractor and attach the grader blade.  Like today that usually involves working on the tractor first.  Today I had to remove and clean the carburettor before it would start.

I began by setting the blade at an angle and cutting the gravel that gets pushed to the sides of the road back to the middle. This creates a big hump in the middle of the road.  So I have to be prepared to finish once I get to this state.

I learned this method growing up on gravel roads in rural Mississippi.  I would watch as the county road graders came by once a month or so and smoothed the roads.

Back drag

After the gravel had been pulled back to the middle, I flipped the blade around backwards to do a back drag.  Allowing the curved part of the blade to ride on the pile of gravel smooths it out nicely.

Finished Drive

Now I am ready to take the Porsche for a test drive once I reinstall the brake cooling ducts.

RX7 exhaust flange gasket

Replacing the exhaust flange gasket on RX7

Our newly acquired RX7 track car has had a small exhaust leak under the car. I suspected this was contributing to the huge backfire I got every time I went into turn 1 at Atlanta Motorsports Park. (Update: this turned out to not be the case.)

The car has what looks like a Racing Beat header and two into one pipe adapter.

I began by soaking the very rust bolts in PB Blaster. I also did the work with the pipe just a little warm form driving the car into the shop.

What fell out surprised me.

These actually did a pretty good job of sealing. But I dug around in the spares we got with the car and found the proper gasket.

RX7 Exhaust gasket

I replaced all the nuts and bolts with new stuff from ACE hardware. The car is just a bit quieter now without the leak under the floor.

RX7 exhaust

XJ LED dash light upgrade

XJ cluster LED

Adding LED dash lights to the XJ

I recently swapped in a used cluster to replace mine where the odometer has=d stopped working. The bulbs in it were pretty dim. I decided to try using LED bulbs.

i bought these from Amazon:

The listing gave me a a warning that these would not fit my 1991 Cherokee. But since the measurements were correct I gave it a chance. They turned out to be the right bulbs.

XJ cluster LED

The trouble with the LED bulbs is that they are polarized while the originals don’t care how they are installed. Also, the LED bulbs were not marked for + and – that I saw. So I rigged up a test set up using my 12V jump box and some alligator clips.

XJ cluster LED

Now you can trace each of the copper traces on the board and see what is positive and negative, but I decided to just use trial and error. That technique got me through engineering school it can get me through five LED bulbs.
I hooked up a lead to the ground that is handily marked on the board. I touched the positive lead to the solder joint that powers the lights to test each one. See the photo:

XJ cluster LED

To make sure the bulb lit up, I removed the one next to it and peeked inside:

XJ cluster LED

If it did not light up, I just turned it around. It did not take long to get all five in the right way around.

Once the cluster was back in the Jeep I am happy with the way it looks. I also took some time to clean it all up while it was out.

XJ cluster LED
XJ cluster

RX7 1st gen brake racing brake pads

How to install racing brake pads on a 1st gen RX7.

Easiest brake pad swap ever!

Our race team recently obtained a RX7 track day car. It has a 13B swap and a mostly stripped interior and an Autopower cage. S0me minor work has been done to the suspension.

We fitted a set of Hankooks and took it to Atlanta Motorsports Park for Track Night in America.

The little car is well suited to the tight twisty turn of AMP. However after a couple of brisk laps we had to let the brakes cool for a lap before going all out again. We had thought that since the car had several other mods it would have better brake pads but that seems not to be the case.

So today I swapped in a set of Hawk Blue pads.

Begin by removing the wheel. Thn remove the one bolt holding the caliper in place. Flip it up and let it rest on the rotor center. Pull one of the old pads and use it for a spacer against the piston. Use a C clamp to press the piston all the way in.

SInce the rotors looked nearly new, I did not change them. Since they have the bearings as part of the unit this would have added some time to the procedure.

Drop the new pads in place and slip the caliper back over them. Tighten the one bolt and your done!

Put he wheel back on and do the other side.

The Hawk pads require a specific bedding in process. It is not hard to do on the road in front of my shop. But it is important to follow the instructions from Hawk carefully. You will feel the pads suddenly bite in when they bed in. Be careful as sometimes one side will come in before the other making the car pill to one side while braking for that one or two stops.

Looking forward to see how they do at the track. I will update after the first outing.