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How I thanked my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars



Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Illustration: Jason Torchisnky

In June, the city of Troy, Michigan, sent my landlord a letter stating that If I did not fix and register the 11 cars on my property by July 31, bad things would happen. For the next six weeks, I was screwed as hard as possible, and even though I had an engine to rebuild and a front axle to fix, I somehow pulled it off.

The following letter from the city of Troy sent to my landlord stated that I had too many broken and unregistered cars on my property, and that I should do something about it. otherwise. Apparently a neighbor did not like the look of my dilapidated fleet and complained.

Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Picture: City of Troy

I called the city inspector, got an extension until July 31 and went out to work.

Here is the complete list of cars I owned at the time:

  1. 1948 Willys CJ-2A
  2. 1966 Ford Mustang
  3. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle
  4. 1985 Jeep J10
  5. 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
  6. 1991 Jeep Comanche
  7. 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd
  8. 1992 Jeep Cherokee car
  9. 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd
  10. 1995 Land Rover Discovery
  11. 2000 Jeep Cherokee
  12. 2003 Kia Rio (total)

The seven bold ones broke the ordinance. I would just fixed Willys engine with a freshly ground crankshaft, but the vehicle did not drive. The Golden Eagles engine compartment was motorless, with a green tarp that placed the hood. The Free Grand Wagoneer and $ 500 Comanche both ran, but neither of them got the title in my name. The mysterious discovery drove or did not drive, and it did not even belong to me. And Kia was a giant junk that lacked its front end (due to an unfortunate recovery incident in the garden), do not drive, nor with the title in my name.

Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Photo: David Tracy

With the help of my friend Brandon, I was able to start Willys’ Go-Devil engine, which had some ground problems that caused a sparkling condition from time to time. When Willys shot nicely, I handed it to a reader named John, who expressed interest in buying Project Slow Devil.

Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Photo: David Tracy

John drove up to Michigan from Pennsylvania, bought a Jeep for $ 3,000, and even beat Kia to the garbage can, which put a generous $ 145 offer on the table for the rusty, crashed little sedan.

It was two down.

Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Photo: David Tracy

The 1995 Land Rover Discovery was a bit of a tricky situation that I managed to solve by simply towing the vehicle to a place where I think it can sit for a while without caring. I informed the owner about the location of the vehicle, and hopefully he will pick up the machine in his spare time. As for the Grand Wagoneer, a reader named Sean – a soldier currently living in Italy – brought me $ 4,000 and had a truck arrive at my house to pick up the Jeep and drop off the vehicle at his mother’s house in New York.

Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Photo: David Tracy

It got four down and three to go.

Registering for Comanche was just a matter of finding a time slot with the Michigan Secretary of State. I was lucky and succeeded in this, despite serious scheduling difficulties due to COVID-19 workplace restrictions. In fact, I managed to hold two meetings, one to watch the Comanche and to register it and the rest of my vehicles (which would soon be delayed), and once to watch the 1991 Jeep Cherokee.

Titles on five-speed Cherokee was a wonderful moment, because I had bought the machine from Indiana with a rescue title in Illinois and was worried that this could lead to complications.

Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Photo: David Tracy

The single biggest complication was the wrench. The vehicle had been assessed as total by the insurance company after it had been involved in a side collision. This bent the front axle and based in the outer fender. Replacing the shaft meant that a number of other components were replaced, including shaft seals on the leaking sensor shaft.

The seals were a huge pain in the ass to replace (I think I broke four seals that tried to install them), as well as the seized ball joints and U-joints. Finally, thanks to lots of help from Jalopnik readers, I replaced the Jeep’s entire front axle and driver’s side guard. With this done, I got my job watched by an official inspector in Michigan State and then I was ready to get the car back on the road with a Michigan rescue title in my name.

The 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle was an even bigger job – so big, in fact, that I skipped a lot of it. Instead of building Jeep’s original engine, I just bought a rebuilt engine that was sold by a friend to a friend.

Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Photo: David Tracy

After attaching the engine, I had trouble getting the pistons to slide in the bores. This setback and the fact that I felt deep down that the engine really deserved a complete rebuild rather than just new bearings and a hone job, made me install a newly built engine. It cost me $ 849, but it just felt right.

Pull through the videos in the embedded Instagram post below, and you’ll see that I did not just chuck the engine in the Golden Eagle. First I replaced the rear main seal, the oil boiler seal, the valve cover gaskets (and I painted the valve covers, because orange is not the right color for an AMC engine), the water pump, the oil pump, the intake manifold gasket, some freezer plugs and a number of other seals and parts. After all, I would have felt like a fool if I installed the engine, and it started leaking. Especially after the engine had been right there on the motor stand, with everything easily accessible.

Unfortunately, the day before the deadline, the engine was still on the stand, and I had no one to help me install it.

So in the middle of the night I installed a 500+ pound AMC V8 engine in the 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle alone. I simply lifted the engine with the crane, lowered it onto the engine mounts and used a few extra long bolts and a four-inch extension to set up the engine with the gearbox.

In the end, I got the AMC 360 into the engine compartment and installed the hood and grille. Again, I did it myself, and it hurt my ass, as you can see in one of the clips above. But it made the Golden Eagle look a little more presentable:

Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Photo: David Tracy

I drove a Jeep Cherokee in 1992 that was sitting in my yard in the driveway, and with that I now have five functional vehicles and an “aesthetically functional” vehicle nicely lined up in front of my house.

  1. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle
  2. 1985 Jeep J10
  3. 1991 Jeep Comanche
  4. 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd
  5. 1992 Jeep Cherokee car
  6. 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd

There’s also a 1966 Mustang in the garage and a 2000 Jeep Cherokee in my brother’s house, which means I’m down to eight cars in total, with only six visible from the outside.

Kia, Willys, Land Rover, Grand Wagoneer are gone, Cherokee 2000 is my brother at the moment, and who knows, maybe the Golden Eagle and 1991 XJ will find new owners in the not so distant future, giving me a total of six machines.

That would be a more normal car number, right? (OK, if you add manual, diesel 1994 Chrysler Voyager which I am currently fixing, it would do seven, but this van is on another continent, so it does not count).

I reached out to the city inspector to make sure I was good to go, especially since the Golden Eagle may or may not know exactly yet, and he replied with this:

The regulation states that it must be fully capable of being operated. If all the tires are inflated and all the cars are plated, I may not be able to see if the car is drivable from public property.

So I should be fine. Inflated and plated – it is a term that my co-worker Jason Torchinsky clung to, and I will now use it as a phrase to represent the smallest standard of car ownership. Here is an example to help you use the word properly:

Person A: “Hey, you’ve seen Dave’s cars right? How are they? “

Person B: “I put it to you this way: His cars are far from collectibles or even rough-and-tumble daily drivers. Dave is more of an “inflated and plated” type of car owner. “

With this little victory in hand, I was still not quite done. This is because the backlog that followed from my hard-fought battle against the city’s deadline led to a mess on my driveway. There were tools and car parts strewn everywhere, and even though my cars now complied with the regulation, I now had a new problem:

Illustration for article entitled How I addressed my city after it gave me six weeks to fix and register my fleet of broken cars

Photo: David Tracy

Damn.

The good news is that, just before flying to Germany to take ownership of diesel, manual minivan of my dreamsI spent a few hours cleaning the driveway, removing tires from the roofs, putting bent axles and water pumps in the bed of my Comanche to later be taken to the scrap heap and organizing the tools that had been lying all over the driveway. The place looks legitimately good now.

If my house does not meet city standards, I would be surprised. And screwed, because I’m 4,000 miles from my house.

Gulp.


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