My little big adventure with a Jeep, a water pump and a cold night in Prince Frederick

I’ve always said life is full of adventure and they will present themselves at the oddest moments, and while this is one adventure I could of done without, it was certainly a life experience. So how did this all start?

Over the last couple of weeks my normally bullet proof and pretty amazing Jeep has been exhibiting a number of odd noises, clanks, and an annoying squealy squeak from the pulley area of the Jeep. Investigation shown it to be the pulley over the water pump, and much research I narrowed it down to a pulley out of alignment. Then the poor vehicle started to leak fluid, not much just few drips when it was parked, again investigation looked like the return pipe had a slight leak at the top. Something to fix, but not a huge priority. Really should have known better…

Then Friday night rolls around, this is the night on the weekend that I have to drive halfway across Maryland to pick up my children for our far too short visitation. It is a long drive about 2 hours and at times traffic can really snarl it up. Luckily this time the traffic was fairly light and the Jeep squeal even went away – seemed a good run fixed the alignment issue. Then disaster strikes… About 30 miles out from arriving to pickup my children, we hit the first piece of serious traffic at a light that normally has no queues. The voltage gauge drops to half, the engine squeals, lots of steam appears from under the hood, the voltage gauge drops to zero and I know something really bad has happened. Thankfully I was just outside Prince Frederick and their Wawa and I pretty much manhandle the Jeep into a parking space just as the temperature gauge spikes. I then get out, left the hood and watch in growing despair as the engine disappears into cloud of steam and takes a huge coolant piss all over my parking space… Yeah… This was not good.

Nothing to do but investigate the leak, so with flashlight app activated I swing under the Jeep just as it really starts raining around me, and I get a huge mouthful of coolant as I see the huge leak just under the Water pump. It had gone, the gasket had gone and there was no way I was going to be able to limp the Jeep the 60+ miles back to Baltimore.

A flurry of phone calls follow, most to my wife Jean as we try to figure out what to do, get the Jeep to a local shop and figure out how to get myself home. I got a promise of a lift that looked like a pickup and a chance to also continue my journey to get my children, but that fell through. As even that lift was a long shot I had only one action left locate a shop as at this point I am stuck in Prince Frederick, unable to afford a Motel room because our meager budget which was obviously going to repair the Jeep now.

I limp the Jeep the mile to the shop we choose to repair the vehicle at and the night was then spent being uncomfortable, swapping between being really cold, really stiff and actually a little panic – those front seats are really uncomfortable for sleeping in. I felt I let my children down, risked a journey with a vehicle that was obviously not suited to the task and now this was my payoff. A cold, hungry night with no guarantee that the morning will bring any relief.

The night passes with odd noises, (you hear a lot and I mean a lot of sirens in Prince Frederick) a huge rain storm, a temperature drop that even I felt and the time comes for the shop to open. Get the news it would cost me $40 just for them to look at it and diagnose the same problem I noticed. I get the estimate, it isn’t great, but we can just about afford it and sit back. Nothing left but let the Jeep be repaired.

The shop is quick on their feet, I get the new pump fitted and the Jeep is now running stupidly cool and sounds like the Jeep I know, the vehicle that is simply an amazing feat of engineering (just wish the gas mileage was a lot better.) All that is left is I get my children and complete what is now 12+ journey into mystery.

And that is that… This day is now run… I have my children with me which is good…  Been a bit of a day though… So now, my story of my little big adventure is complete and now I sleep.

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About Nick

Just an Englishman lost in the USA who happens to write now and again... Anyone got a cup of tea?

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