>Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
(The information is listed consecutively and contains partly very interesting details. Just scroll through for more details.)
(…carried out during the Corona forced break / May and June 2020)
The extra wishes and change ideas are probably endless for every motorhome and there is always something to improve. Others have to be replaced after a certain period of time, because lightweight comes before durability.
Our renewed stay enabled us to start some important work right away. Although the Corona crisis made it difficult for us to obtain the desired parts, or they were not available in Europe.
The biggest “chunk” was at the rear gate, where the heavy weight of the spare wheel put an extreme strain on the door hinges and caused the gate to drop a few millimetres every time we opened it.
With this change we lost some hard earned Euros and had to rebuild everything back to the original condition after the assembly. The newly mounted hinge from Rugged Ridge would have been very solid and designed for a lot of additional weight, but the extension of the Gazell kit did not tolerate the additional weight and gave way even more than with the original hinges.
Too bad for the complex assembly work and the parts that are now lying around unused in the basement.
For Switzerland and the bordering countries we mounted, between the spare wheel and the hinges of the rear gate, a jack holder.
The front lateral mounting of the jack is not allowed due to collision reasons (e.g. pedestrian protection)!
The communication was always a problem where we would have liked to have a mutual connection. A connection possibility for advance scouting or for briefings during difficult driving maneuvers are only a few keywords for this further upgrade. The mobile phone serves good purposes, but in some remote areas it usually fails in terms of area coverage.
A simple walkie-talkie (PMR) would be perfectly adequate and cover our needs. After further consideration we decided to use CB radio, which has a few more advantages over PMR, including the fact that other subscribers can be called and this radio can be used in almost all countries without a license.
In the car we installed a fixed device, which was supplemented by a mobile device. The mobile device can be operated in another car with an external antenna and enables independent and fast communication when driving together.
In order to deface our car with not too many antennas, we installed an additional crossover and so the new CB antenna can be used for normal radio use.
Through the large openings of the radiator grille already flew various solid objects and the correspondingly slight damage to the air and water radiator behind it testifies to this deficient construction of the manufacturer.
We backed the typical Jeep radiator openings with an appropriate grid plate, so that larger objects such as stones, etc. can no longer damage the fine radiator fins.
For our further adventures far off the beaten track, we prepared our “RuGa-li” for longer distances (Australia), where we have to manage without fuel supply for more than 1’000 kilometers.
On the right outside of the Gazell cabin, where today the red sand plate from Maxtrax is mounted, we fixed a self-constructed frame to hold two 20 litre jerry cans. Now we hope that the polyester construction of the Gazell will be able to withstand this load on the upcoming slopes. Of course, the frame has been appropriately backed on the inside to support and distribute the load accordingly.
On the frame there is also a holding device for a larger shovel, so that we can better handle upcoming shovel actions.
The control and monitoring of the auxiliary battery has been moved to the “driver’s cab”, so that we can also access and influence various functions at any time. Until now, these functions were not available, could only be influenced to a limited extent and could not be determined immediately (e.g. state of charge, charging current, etc.).
The long stay in Greece without driving operation suggested this change to us, where our batteries were often at their performance limits.
A new mixer also required amplification of the internal 220-volt network. For the new inverter, the 12-volt supply lines also had to be retrofitted for the greater power requirement.
Many small changes suddenly lead to bigger jobs!
August 8/9/10, 2019; engine block failure (dormant) and no power above 1,500 rpm; 247,230/247,723 km; Hwy 23 / Hwy 1 (BC)
After the first light up, immediate power reduction and over 1,500 rpm no more power, i.e. a “snail’s pace” on all mountain climbs.
During the first engine check I noticed that the air hose after the air filter was loose and possibly led to an air intake after the flow sensors. Due to my reset of the error display (reset), it was no longer possible to read out the data afterwards.
The error occurred again after another 50 km; same effect.
Data readout in Salmon Arm by a Jeep workshop. According to the error code the cause is the fuel supply. As the workshop had too little data, but also no experience with this diesel engine, the error could not be located exactly. Nevertheless, they suspect damage to the injection system and the corresponding cost estimate for a possible repair was around 3,500 CN$. Since the engine has a high mileage and is very old, the workshop would not assume any liability in the event of failure of the repair.
(The spare parts would come from Chevrolet Colorado, which also has a VM Motori 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine installed.)
July 30, 2019; mechanical grinding / rattling noise from front axle; 245’818 km; Backroad Bowron-Lake to Barkerville (BC)
At first, damage or mechanical noise could not be located correctly. Extensive control tests, whether noise comes from gearbox, or intermediate gearbox. Could, however, be limited to front axle. Possibly worn out universal joints!
Coincidence or not; have in the front differential about 2.5dl. refilled with oil. (Automatic oil). The noises had disappeared for the time being when driving on.
The next day the noises occurred again in 4×4 operation.
Later, these noises occurred only in 4×4 operation, i.e. with normal rear drive again quiet driving.
July 15, 2019; renewed oil loss at cardan shaft/input differential housing and handbrake; 242’863 km; Haines Junction (Alaska-Highway)/Yukon
Oil check on differential; 2,5dl. Oil refilled. (automatic transmission oil)
Adjustment of the handbrake train (>wheel hubs); laborious work that brings almost nothing. Handbrake still doesn’t pull properly!
July 13, 2019; tyre change; 242’336 Km; Tok (Alaska-Highway)/Alaska
After the 11th of July breakdown, we changed the tyres, i.e. from the right side to the left side, from the left side to the right side, keeping the direction of rotation. The mileage is already over 23’000 miles.
The local mechanic didn’t fully understand my wish, but did the work according to my instructions.
Effect: The tires have on the outside again a respectable profile and run super round again.
We also hope that this change will enable us to drive a few thousand more miles. We would like to replace the tyres only in the USA for price reasons, since the same set of tyres in Canada would be around 450 sFr. more expensive for us.
July 11, 2019; strong shock in the whole vehicle, extreme unbalance of the wheels; 241’923 km; Glenn-Highway (to Palmer)/Alaska
The day before I dismantled the rear wheel on the right and mounted the heavily worn tyre again, which served as a spare wheel for a short time.
The shocks occurred unannounced at about 85 km/h and the vehicle could only be kept on track with great effort. Only under 40 km/h the vehicle calmed down. With a re-acceleration again the same vibrations!
Check the front wheels for axle bearing play (jacked up). The steering arms showed play on both sides; right side relatively large play.
Greasing the bolts to the steering arms – oh wonder, there are 2 grease nipples on both sides.
When driving on, the phenomenon had disappeared, i.e. the faster the car was driven, the more stable the car was.
Note: The tires all show increased wear on the outside; on the right more than on the left. (?)
July 10, 2019; replacement rear lock; 241’785 km; Anchorage/Alaska
Already several times we could not open the tailgate! Twice we had to “crack open” our vehicle and in the meantime we are real professionals in opening jeeps. For a long time we didn’t know anything about the reason why we couldn’t open the tailgate anymore. Whether we were outside or inside; it was always in the stupidest moment and led to acrobatic exit exercises, resp. opening attempts.
By chance we noticed that the electromagnet on the tailgate, which is excited by the central locking system, did not always function correctly and got stuck in an intermediate position. Therefore, it was no longer possible to open the gate. The possible cause could be dirt (sand/dust) as well as age.
After the exchange in Anchorage everything worked fine again and we don’t have to use our car breaking skills anymore. 😉
June 28, 2019; malfunction engine block (yellow fault lamp/resting); 238’948 Km; Denali-Highway (Roosevelt Lake Yalley)/Alaska
Cause of malfunction unknown, but certain suspicion that it could again be the probes in the intake manifold after the air filter. The nearest workshop would be in Anchorage, about 300 miles away!
We cleaned and blew out the two probes (after air filter). Since the fault indicator was still active, we disconnected the circuit from the battery. Afterwards the fault message was no longer active! (Reset?)
June 25, 2019; renewed oil loss at cardan shaft/input differential housing; 238’408 km; Fairbanks/Alaska
Oil loss at the rear differential again during oil checks.
Round 2dl. Oil refilled. (automatic transmission oil)
May 28 2019; oil loss at cardan shaft/input differential housing; 233’773 Km; discovered before Whitehorse/Yukon
During the weekly vehicle check I discovered oil traces at the rear end of the cardan shaft, at the axle unit that protrudes from the differential housing, at the two bores. The surrounding parts were all covered with oil.
In Whitehorse we went to the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep workshop to find out the possible cause and to get some advice.
The technicians, respectively the customer contact persons did not know further and also the schematic exploded view gave us – me and the technicians – no further support. The drilling made no sense for us and, according to the workshop, the Simmerring would not lose oil there.
I filled afterwards about 2dl. oil in the differential. (Automatic oil)
White adhesive tape attached in the area of the holes/cardan output differential, so that further checks are relatively simple.
May 27, 2019; engine power loss; 232’938 Km; Robert Campbell-Highway/Yukon
Strange air noises from the engine compartment and no more power when driving uphill! After initial diagnosis, the air loss in the air hose between turbo and charge air cooler could be located. Up to 2000 rpm the drive could be put forward. On the Canol Road (Hwy 6) with the steep ascents the engine power was insufficient and forced to repair (Km 233’003).
We could repair the air hose with ResQ-Tape® and install it again.
In order to maintain the accessibility to the air hose, the air filter and the supply of the intake air to the turbo had to be dismantled beforehand. In this connection I discovered that the air filter installed in Billings/Montana/USA did not have the correct dimensions! I.e. that the air was supplied unfiltered by a small triangle directly to the turbo and engine. Actually a big lapse of the mechanic at the last service in Billings. This would have had to determine the error, i.e. the wrong dimension with the assembly immediately.
4’089 Km (approx. 2’550 miles) without filtered air over many gravel roads; hopefully the engine and turbo didn’t take any damage!
With a lot of handicraft work I tried to seal the open triangle with a piece of my isolating mat accordingly, so that the entire intake air is pulled by the filter mat. Hopefully it will hold; the streets are quite dusty here!
May 14, 2019; great service for our Jeep after 228’849 Km
In order to make our stay in Billings/Montana as short as possible, I registered our request with the Jeep workshop and ordered the necessary spare parts such as engine filters, diesel filters and the air filter in advance by telephone. Surprisingly, all filters were available for our European diesel engine.
After about 5 hours all desired work was carried out and even a 3rd car key, requested in vain in Europe, could be made by the workshop in a few minutes.
Jeep workshop in Billings/Montana, which reacted very obligingly to our situation and was very helpful.
On our arrival we almost had the feeling that they – the employees – were looking forward to our diesel jeep from Europe.
April 30, 2019; brake hose to the right front wheel torn off!
In the undergrowth of a forest road a branch tore off the brake line at the brake caliper! After a makeshift repair, i.e. sealing the hose stub of the brake line accordingly, it was possible to brake again, i.e. 3 wheels braked for the return to civilization.
The Jeep workshop in Sault St. Marie/Canada did not have a suitable original hose available, but Chinese duplicates. During the work, the mechanic discovered a damage on the left front wheel of the brake hose and replaced it as a precaution.
By the way; for original parts you have to wait up to 2 weeks in Canada!
Jeep workshop in Sault St. Marie/Canada, very attentive mechanic and helpful, so that we could continue driving as soon as possible.
April 2019; small modifications in Pembroke(ON)/Canada
During our break, we separated from the two mountain bikes. We drove them through the American continent for 9 months and used them 3 or 5 times.
The load on the extended bike mount on the vehicle frame was very high. Beside the bikes, the steel material of the swing arm and bike rack was relatively heavy.
The trailer hitch was extended to the rear for the hook mount, so that the Gazell-Kit is not damaged during towing work.
Due to the elimination of the bicycle rack, we had to find and install a new holder for the propane tank. At 4WheelParts (.com) we bought carrier arms from Bestop. With imagination and craftsmanship we could install the propane bottle outside the vehicle at the desired location and won a small transport area above the spare wheel.
The interior (shelves) changed in Padre South/Texas was made more transport friendly by small changes, so that under certain circumstances nothing is rubbed through at the aluminium profiles.
In the interior of the Gazell there was a new carpet, which should contribute to more warmth as well as cosiness.
March 2019; Hi-Lift-Jack (Oklahoma)
The hydraulic Jack was replaced by a Hi-Lift. This is more usable for us and should be, according to the manufacturer, very versatile.
The Jack was mounted outside the driver’s door, which is probably only allowed here in America. In any case, the Americans find this type of mounting very nice!
10 March 2019 / Km 217’220 / Navajo Indian Reservation/Kayenta (AZ)
The “engine block” indicator light lights up again! But here there is nowhere a Jeep workshop, where we could solve the problem as fast as possible. In Gallup/New Mexico, 300Km away, was the next place to go to work on the problem.
According to the Advisor’s explanations, they don’t have much experience with European diesel engines. Nevertheless, an extensive engine check was carried out.
Our jeep stood 4 hours in the workshop!
The cause was again the dirty air filter and sensor, which caused the malfunction. Since no replacement was available, the faulty parts were cleaned and the malfunction was reset.
We found the costs for this engine and vehicle check of US$250 to be a bit too high; plug in the diagnostic computer and limit errors. In Port Arthur this work was done in one hour and as a service by Jeep-Chrysler free of charge.
Jeep workshop in Gallup/NM; at the beginning a bit clumsy staff, but towards the end very friendly and helpful.
6 March 2019 / Km 216’676 / Flagstaff (AZ)
At the left suspension (link) of the Sway-Bar the ball head bearing broke, also the screwing at the torsion bar was loosened.
The Chrysler workshop wanted to have the jeep repaired for 3 days and the foreman showed no understanding for our situation that we were using this vehicle as a camper.
I bought the spare parts and changed the two suspensions (links) myself. Thanks to the help of Craig (friend and neighbour of Ed Percock) I was able to finish the work successfully.
Unfriendly Jeep workshop (Advisor) in Flagstaff!
12 February 2019 / Km 213’061 / El Paso (TX)
The alternator ordered was already in the workshop for installation and was replaced free of charge as a warranty service. When the alternator was replaced, an additional roller or ball bearing was discovered to be defective. These rollers are not available for our European diesel engine. The workshop looked for an alternative and found an identical part, made of plastic, in another type of engine. It fitted and worked; what more does it need? Bravo and thank you!
The frozen windshield wiper water was noted in the workshop, but here in the south antifreeze would never be used, because it would not be necessary.
Therefore all oil levels were checked.
A super Jeep workshop in Sunland-Park/El Paso, imaginative craftsmen and foremen.
2. February 2019 / Km 211’602 / El Paso (TX)
We made up for the missed gearbox oil change in El Paso. I’m also worried about the increasingly louder alternator and had this checked as well.
Whether the work ordered, such as checking all oil levels and the anti-frost, was done, is beyond my control. These works are not visible on the invoice!
Therefore the alternator exchanged in Florida was judged as damaged and can be replaced on warrenty. It is good that we entrusted the problem to an official jeep garage there and are thus able to benefit from this service.
Jeep workshop in El Paso.
January 16, 2019 / Falcon State Park (TX)
Our Jeep is in the living part so far well furnished and for eye wonderful. But certain things couldn’t be stowed away as desired and a lot of things were lying around in the middle space.
We decided to rebuild a part of the interior and with a differently designed structure we can organize our order, or even disorder, a little better.
In the front right corner we dismantled the fixed cupboard and created a simple shelf, which reaches around the corner into the middle aisle and integrates the following existing shelves.
So we have a little more space available and also the daily access improved.
12 January 2019 / Km 208’971 / Brownsville (TX)
Big service (200’000) without toothed belt (done in CH); engine oil incl. filter, transfer gear oil, 2x differential gear oil, air and diesel filter replaced, new rear brake pads.
The transmission oil was not exchanged! When I asked why this required work was not done, I got the following answer; this was connected with the transfer gearbox and so everything was changed. Perhaps these foremen and mechanics should consult the manual better! Or had my order not arrived correctly?
Jeep workshop and employees with Mexican temperament; helpful, but not always clear what they mean. The work they did was all right.
28 December 2018 / Km 206’937 / Port-Arthur (TX)
The “engine block” indicator light, which had been on for a few days, worried me again and I had to visit the workshop again. The error was quickly found: Fault in the air supply!
The air filter could not be replaced, because not available, but was cleaned, as well as all sensors in the intake duct. The malfunction was thus repaired.
Costs: None! = Service from Jeep.
The workshop was ready to help and tried to find a quick solution to the problem. (Jeep workshop)
22 December 2018 / Km 206’050 / Baton-Rouge (LA)
A set of new tires (4x); now the same tires are mounted everywhere and the tread pattern is right again for the mud/snow.
For the other adventures we bought a winch (Smittybilt X2O, 12’000 lb) and further recovery material. I assembled the winch myself in New Orleans.
All material was bought at 4WheelParts and the tires were mounted there. One valve was damaged and the tire lost air.
15.December 2018 / Km 205’736 / border Alabama-Mississippi (Hwy90)
Clutch could no longer be operated! At the bottom, between the engine block and the gearbox block, little liquid dripped out of the bleed opening of the clutch. I was not immediately aware of the operating principle of the actuation and that this was brake fluid. By means of engaged gear and starter motor the ride could be continued up to the Presley’s Outing.
Presley brought the Jeep to his friend (AL), who replaced the master cylinder as well as the slave cylinder of the transmission (pedal clutch). In addition, he checked all oil levels with the exception of the gearbox, as a special key was needed for this work.
Mechanically safe, very competent and only changed if defective. But not very talkative towards me.
19. November 2018/ Km 202’065 / Titusville (FL)
For quite some time there was howling and noise from the engine room; the bearings of the alternator were probably at the end of their life. Also the pulley next to the alternator did not make the best impression and had considerable bearing play.
The alternator for our diesel was available ( 🙂 ) and replaced within an hour, the technical advice from the workshop regarding the idler pulley was a bit poor.
Very helpful and nice people, but as a specialist workshop a little more advice should be possible. Too bad! (Jeep workshop)
22. October 2018 / Km 196’743 / Pleasantville (NJ)
On the way I noticed a loss of oil on both sides of the wheel bearing! On closer inspection I found out immediately that this oil had to come from the inside of the axle or from the cardan drive. This time we drove to a Jeep workshop in Pleasantville (Atlantic-City).
The damage was quickly located; when the wheel bearings were replaced, the internal radial shaft seals (sealing rings) were damaged. When the sealing rings were replaced, patina was found on the bearings in the cardan housing and – since they were already open – also replaced.
The costs in New York were a bad investment!
Very competent and helpful workshop. (Jeep workshop)
October 12, 2018 / Km 196’429 / New York (Brooklyn/Jamaica Bay)
Axle bearing fracture front right. The car could only be moved at walking pace under deafening noise. After the weekend the jeep was transported to a nearby and independent workshop (Rockaway/Queens).
Within a day’s time the jeep was fitted with new axle bearings at the front and for about $1000 we were able to receive the keys again.
For the first time audible noises from the front axle bearings. Straight-line driving on straight roads and at high speed was increasingly impaired.
When visiting a specialized Jeep Wrangler workshop, the boss recommended that we change the tires once, i.e. the rear tires to the front and vice versa. This tip brought only limited remedy and I feared already bad!
September 28. 2018 / St. Martins/Sussex (New Brownsville/CA)
The car battery (AGM) said goodbye with a loud bang!
Reason: Overheating (engine compartment and off-road use)
Replacement by a normal battery at the Jeep dealer in Sussex.
August 16, 2018 / Km 188’082 / Pembroke/CA
Regular service; engine oil and filters, transfer gear oil, 2x differential oil.
The garage refused to change the transmission oil, because – according to the factory – this is a lifetime filling and never needs to be changed! (…according to the maintenance book this was changed with 168’700 km, i.e. no original filling anymore. The garage did not go into this argument.)
The diesel filter could not be changed either, because it was not available in Canada!
Nice people, one of them speaking German; made some things easier. (Jeep workshop)
In order to make our jeep with diesel engine fit enough for the next x thousand kilometres on the American roads, we had the most important engine parts such as timing belts, etc. replaced in Switzerland, where the mechanics are more familiar with the diesel engine than their American colleagues.
Thus we could take our Jeep of the shipping company on 5 July 2018 again in possession and start our journey with 177’668 km in Halifax/Canada.
>Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator