Things aren’t always so simple.
If you’ve ever blown an engine, you know it affects your confidence. Assemble the new lump in a clean room from 100% new components. It will be a while before you stop worrying about every “new” noise under the hood. That ticking noise, for example. Is it just a lifter, an exhaust leak, or a rod bearing about to let go because you weren’t hyper-vigilant enough during assembly? The irony, of course, being you bought this older machine for its relative simplicity. Things aren’t always so simple.
And yet, they are.
I’m 3/4 through my third tank of fuel after replacing Rocinante’s engine. A spun main bearing early last month. It’s one thing to lose an engine. It’s another thing to lose an engine because you were slacking, ran the engine low on oil, and spun a main bearing. That hypothetical ticking I just mentioned? It’s a reality I face every time I start my truck.
I’m starting to think it’s a lifter. It sounds and acts like lifter tick. The old engine never had lifter tick. Using Rotella always cured it in my 4G63s, but I’m running lighter weight Rotella and a less than desirable filter, here. Because that’s all Autozone had the night I went out for supplies. Once warmed up and moving, the noise is gone, so I’m betting on lifter tick.
It is what it is.
Three weeks in, I’ve decided I’m done working on the truck for now. I’ve scavenged all the odds and ends I wanted from the Dukar, the ’87 Pajero I bought for its engine. I’ve got a new (to me) Mitsubishi steering wheel, locking rear windows, and a bouncy, suspension seat. And the engine runs stronger than ever.
On a whim, V and I decided to pack up little P and escape the heat this past weekend. Neither of them had been to my “secret” campsite up on the rim and, since it was less than 2 hours away, we set the cruise control as close to 90 as we could up I-17 and then made our way across via Camp Verde.
How you know you’ve got a good truck.
We took the Juke for this trip. It’s still a little too hot for Rocinante (without AC), and we were after a quick escape from the heat – not an adventure in it. The Juke did great as always. We got within half a mile of the secret, cliffside campsite before I felt it too risky to continue in a FWD Juke on 55R17s. I parked us on some grass just off an “obstacle” bypass and we setup the chairs.
The Juke regularly impresses me. In 3 years, the only shortcomings I’ve found have been related to interior room. It’s just a little too small if you need anyone – including a toddler – in the backseat. Otherwise, I love the Juke. Still, as much as I loved having a quiet conversation at 90mph uphill with the AC running, I really missed my truck.
It’s hot (soon to be cold – the heater core sprung a leak), slow, noisy, and there isn’t enough room inside to stretch out and sleep. And it’s entirely possible I’ll have another major mechanical failure before spring. It’s okay, though. I love my old truck. I love driving it. Aside from my JDM dream, I really can’t think of anything else I’d rather be driving these days.