It’s been an interesting time around here, hence the lack of updates. Let me give you the rundown…
I drove the Jeep and the Sylvansport Go up to Virginia to pick up my KLR (motorcycle), which was being stored in a friend’s basement (thanks, Rob!). While there, they got their first decent batch of snow.
After spending a couple days with friends and getting the KLR loaded up, I headed back home and made it with no troubles. I then rode the KLR to work for a few days, but switched to the Jeep on a day when I had to take a bunch of equipment into the office. On the way home, I noticed a rather odd noise from the transmission whenever I was slowing down in gear (like every time I have to come up to a stop light). I checked it again later that evening when I got home and it was noticeably worse. Not good. 🙁
Luckily, my step-father has a nice Chevy Avalanche 2500 that’s big enough to pull the Jeep. I used it to flat-tow the Jeep up to Lake-Sumter Tranmissions, a company that he has used numerous times over the years. The rapidly started to rip the guts out of my Jeep and strip down the tranny, so I left it with them to deal with. Diagnosis: Unsure… it definitely something in the transmission, but they have no idea what until they disassemble it. :S
So that left us with a KLR as transport and no real estimate on the damage to the Jeep or the time it would take to fix it. We decided that it might not be a bad idea to look for alternative solutions. We managed to find a 4-door automatic 2009 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon on Craigslist for a reasonable price… in Atlanta.
The only way we could think of to quickly and easily get it was for me to ride the KLR up, get the new Jeep, then arrange to fly or take the bus back to Atlanta and ride the KLR back later. The ride up was miserable. It was right at 32 degrees almost the entire time. I had ot get real creative with heating solutions… garbage bags in the boots, Glad-wrap on the gloves, etc. It wasn’t fun.
I arrived at about 7 pm, after riding through snow flurries in Atlanta. :S The dealership closed at 8, so we got right down to business. The Jeep was in decent shape and the price was reasonable, so we did the deal. During the paperwork, they asked if I had a trade and I jokingly offered up the KLR. They looked it over and had no problem taking it on trade. We were planning on getting a much smaller bike anyway and that saved me from having to go back to Atlanta to pick it up, so it all worked out pretty good.
I grabbed a hotel in Atlanta for the night and drove the new Jeep back the next day. It’s a little "shorter" than I like my Jeep to be, but we’re working on that. ;) We actually have some work to do on it before it’s ready for full-timing behind the RV. It’s going to need a new bumper that’s capable of being used to attach to the motorhome, plus some electrical bits for the tow lights and a few other small things. I’m working on that, but am having a hard time finding a bumper that will do the job. On this new body style, a lot of the aftermarket bumpers are weird shapes and the frame attachment points are exactly where I need to mount the tow bars to the bumper. That makes it pretty difficult to find one that will work. I’m hoping to go look at a few in a shop in Orlando this weekend on the way back from picking up something we snagged off Craigslist.
Of course, the old Jeep is still around for now. The shop called me last night to tell me it was ready and I’ll probably go pick it up tonight. The work wasn’t cheap, but it’s WAY less than I expected it. Most shops charge twice what I’m paying just to pull a transmission, let alone rebuild it. I can’t recommend Lake-Sumter Transmissions highly enough! They were extremely helpful, they let me come get a few things out of the Jeep that I forgot, they didn’t mind any of my aftermarket skid plates and they showed me all the transmission bits that were all over the workbench. From everything I’ve seen and the way I’ve been treated, they do excellent work. I’ll post a followup once I get the old Jeep and see how it runs, but I don’t expect any problems at all.
So, we now have two Jeeps, an RV and no motorcycles. Oh, I also brought the bicycles back from Virginia, so we’ll have something to toodle around on at campgrounds and parks. 🙂