Taurus and Jeep “No Start” Round 2

My father and I regrouped the next day (Mon­day) to try again.  I had pushed the Tau­rus out onto the dri­ve­way the pre­vi­ous day, so the Jeep was still on in the garage — to be tack­led first.  Since there was the pos­si­bil­i­ty that we would have need­ed the Jeep’s ser­vices, Rebec­ca and I had dropped it off the jack­stands — and recon­sid­er­a­tion of this point was key.

Since both cars were laid up and her car pool­ing friend was not work­ing that day, my wife left on the grand exper­i­ment: to get to work on pub­lic tran­sit.  This took the form of bus, bus, train, train, bus, bus.  Two hours and twen­ty min­utes, I’m told.  Not fun in this heat.  The pres­sure was on to make some (any) vehi­cles work.

One of the prob­lems with the Jeep starter is that it is hemmed in by the low­er con­trol arm, the exhaust and the engine/transmission itself all on the pas­sen­ger side.  On Sun­day, we had the jack stands on the frame — mean­ing the front sus­pen­sion is dan­gling … which inter­fered with both get­ting under the jeep (the axle and pump­kin were low) and with get­ting at the starter (the con­trol arm was low).  On Mon­day morn­ing I decid­ed to use the scis­sor jack on the low­er con­trol arm (to com­press the sus­pen­sion) and then put the jack stands under the axle.  Both parts of this pro­ce­dure are impor­tant.  If you’re going to put the jack stands on the frame, it’s impor­tant to jack the frame as com­press­ing and uncom­press­ing the sus­pen­sion will leave the car in a low­er posi­tion than (in that case) jack­ing the frame.  Sim­i­lar­ly for the sus­pen­sion — if you jack the frame (in this case), then the sus­pen­sion will com­press on the way back down leav­ing the vehi­cle low­er than you can achieve by jack­ing the sus­pen­sion.  I’m a lit­tle more ner­vous putting jack stands under live sus­pen­sion mem­bers, but the sol­id front axle of the jeep feels very depend­able.

Now I’ve said to a few peo­ple that hav­ing dad around (and I know he will read this) can be a bit of a bull-in-a-chi­na-shop expe­ri­ence.  It’s not that he is care­less — far from it — but he brings a lot of brute strength and deter­mi­na­tion to the job and that was help­ful here.  I recall an ear­li­er Sub­aru repair where he ham­mered var­i­ous wrench­es attached to a bolt that he even­tu­al­ly round­ed — there­in lies the chi­na shop.  But the Jeep is no chi­na shop … it is com­posed of sur­pris­ing­ly large and stur­dy chunks of met­al and the Bull was just the right thing to intro­duce.

The starter for the Jeep is affixed by two bolts: one that is removed for­ward and the oth­er that is removed aft.  The bot­tom bolt (removed for­ward) was tricky, but Rebec­ca and I did man­age to remove it.  There’s very lit­tle room to swing the wrench down there, but I man­aged to break the fric­tion and sub­se­quent­ly Rebec­ca removed it.  We had put that bolt back in (in case the Jeep was need­ed) so it was not the prob­lem.

I was pret­ty sure (as I wrote last) that we’d have to drop the exhaust to remove the starter from the Jeep.  Dad, in his amaz­ing deter­mined way, man­aged to remove the top bolt by (as he tells it) rotat­ing the rachet as far as was pos­si­ble, remov­ing it from the bolt, advanc­ing it one click and then replac­ing it on the bolt at a dif­fer­ent rota­tion — in this way achiev­ing rough­ly one half-click of rota­tion for each appli­ca­tion.  It may also have helped that Dad was the one to final­ly get the Heisen Bolt into place to fin­ish putting the exhaust back on last time — that mem­o­ry is moti­va­tion.

The new Jeep starter was appar­ent­ly from a 1999 Jeep Grand Chero­kee and looked phys­i­cal­ly as rusty as the one we removed, but the impor­tant part was that it worked.  The Jeep has a won­der­ful tone when it fires up and this tone has become extra spe­cial to my wife and I as the Jeep has had trou­ble start­ing.

Since the Jeep could remove itself from the garage under it’s own pow­er, we set to work on the Tau­rus next.  The Tau­rus is a bit of a jour­ney­man job com­pared to the Jeep and even to oth­er Tau­rus repairs.  We didn’t have to remove the intake plenum, for instance.  There is a cov­er that seems to be for air resis­tance (under the bumper), but it is easy to remove.  The only real­ly dif­fi­cult parts of the Tau­rus repair are work­ing in the tight quar­ters around the front frame mem­ber and the 3D tetris jock­ey­ing required to remove the part after unbolt­ing it.  Ford also seems fond of stud-bolts that hold a wire with an addi­tion­al nut — which they use here in the most incon­ve­nient of spots — the top bolt that you can­not see.

2002 Ford Taurus Starter Motor

2002 Ford Tau­rus Starter Motor

With the old jeep starter and both Tau­rus starters in our hands, we returned to Stan­dard to return the parts. This turned out to be straight for­ward and they were quite help­ful. The new starter we got for the Tau­rus was appar­ent­ly from a Lin­coln LS.  It was also in far bet­ter phys­i­cal con­di­tion and most impor­tant­ly: it worked!

Com­ing back from stan­dard, we caught an all day break­fast, returned a bro­ken sock­et u-joint at Princess Auto, got some parts for Dad’s sander at Maki­ta and ordered parts for a pos­si­ble third repair of the day (to Dad’s Sube).

The starter went into the Tau­rus large­ly as planned.  I had for­got­ten that I  had removed two of the spark plug wires to accom­mo­date insert­ing the new com­put­er and I must say that the car ran sur­pris­ing­ly well on 4 out of 6 cylin­ders.  With those replaces (after a Doh! moment), how­ev­er, the Tau­rus was back in top form.

With two suc­cess­ful repairs under our belts, we couldn’t help but start a third (as it was only 1530).  Dad need­ed to replace the mid­dle sec­tion of the pas­sen­ger tie rod on his Sub­aru before the shop would do an align­ment.  We’ve poked around in there a num­ber of times recent­ly, so that too went well.  The boot was all cut up … and our part didn’t come with one — so that’s some­thing that Dad is replac­ing by him­self up north… but the jist of the repair we accom­plished here was good, so that’s 3 for 3… a pret­ty awe­some record for my shop.  It almost com­pen­sates for the month-or-so I’ve been work­ing on the Tau­rus no start issue… almost.

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5 Responses to Taurus and Jeep “No Start” Round 2

  1. DaD says:

    Well, I have to report suc­cess in the instal­la­tion of the boot on my inner tie-rod. The most dif­fi­cult thing per­haps was get­ting the boot on, because the small hole in the end in its relaxed state was about half the diam­e­ter of the shaft it was to fit over. But forc­ing down with a sock­et did that trick. And under the car, slip­ping the large end over the steer­ing box took a bit of finagling, but was only dif­fi­cult in the awk­ward­ness of the loca­tion. Assem­bly and dis­as­sem­bly of every­thing else was easy enough. I do wish Part­Source had cared enough to look up the boot and sup­ply it for me so I didn’t have to repeat the oper­a­tion.

    • dgilbert says:

      Well… to be hon­est, Part­Source prob­a­bly didn’t actu­al­ly have the boot. In price, here in oshawa, it usu­al­ly goes Car Quest (most expen­sive) -> Part Source -> Parts Man. Now Part Source keeps more in stock and can get things faster than Parts Man and Car Quest keeps the most inclu­sive cat­a­logue — thus they had your boot (or could order it). Part­Source also keeps the longest hours.

  2. DaD says:

    Yeah, but the guy in Part­Source just shrugged his shoul­ders and didn’t even *try* to look up a boot to cov­er that part. I think that if he had, he could have sup­plied one along with the tie-rod. And then only one dissassembly/reassembly would have been need­ed, and I wouldn’t have had to com­mit best part of two half-days to the oper­a­tion. And don’t care about price if the part can be made avail­able quick­ly.

  3. DaD says:

    Refer­ring to Christine’s “exper­i­ment” in get­ting to work, when we lived in Agin­court, I was first assigned to the HFC office in Bramp­ton. That was even more than 2–1/2 hours away via tran­sit for me. TTC bus zone 2, bus zone 1 (old city of Toron­to), sub­way from War­den to Isling­ton (all there was in those days), then Grey Coach from there to Bramp­ton. Yes we had the Khar­mann Ghia in those days, but Mom had to have it to fer­ry you around. For­tu­nate­ly, that post­ing didn’t last long, and I was soon trans­ferred to the office at St Clair and Duf­ferin — *only* 1–1/2 hour TTC ride.

  4. Pingback: Quick Taurus Fix: 134a A/C Recharge - Random Scribblings ...Random Scribblings …

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