Monday, March 15, 2021

"I Like This One", She Said

 Yes, that's how it began.

It was a normal evening we were spending in the living room when she came over from her couch showing me a picture on her cellphone. This picture.

First I thought it was a new car, I mean new like brand-new, but it wasn't.  I have to admit that I liked it too. We have had 2 Jeeps in earlier years and had only good to say, mind you, they really were new vehicles.

Contacting the seller, he used the word "MINT", in his description. 

So we ended up driving there to take a look - and a short drive. It seemed fair enough and the price was reasonable for a "mint" (rustfree) vehicle. "Rustfree" in our area is definitely a big temptation as many vehicles end up in the scrap yard after 5-7years. Our winter roads with tons of salt and on top the salty air here at the coast, can just about kill any car in record time.

In this case the Jeepster is 15yrs. of age and would not have been among us any longer, if the first owner hadn't kept it in the garage every night.

But that's not a good enough reason to write about a vehicle purchase.

The story really only begins at our local mechanic's shop who was tasked with giving the car a prescribed provincial inspection plus putting new front brakes on it. When he was done and the car was ready, he wanted to drive it out of the garage again, but the vehicle refused to start. It didn't even turn over, nor gave it a click, nothing, just playing plain dead.

The following technical investigation went over several hours with no result. The next day he had spoken to an online help desk engineer and the conclusion was that the bord computer, also called PCM (Power Control Module) had failed and was to blame. The mechanic ordered a replacement unit at the sweet price of one thousand Dollars. He called again on Sunday with bad news. NAPA Autoparts couldn't get it. 

That was when I went online and found a shop in North Carolina offering refurbished units at USD 298. The company had tons of good reviews so an order was made.

A week went by, but one day the unit arrived. Next morning our mechanic put it in, said a little prayer before turning the key and  ---- it ran. It actually ran again. What a relief.

Yesterday I took the SUV out on some park roads and, just for testing, put into low gear, drove a few yards and wanted to put it back in high. But it refused to do that. I tried over and over, but to no avail.

Nothing  else to do than drive it the few miles home in slow motion.

Now our mechanic is enjoying another challenge in his profession.

Of course I searched the internet for solutions, but came up empty-handed. Except that a stuck-in-low-gear seemed to be a much common problem with all kind of 4X4 Chrysler products. I would never buy any Chrysler product, except a Jeep, which after all, is a popular SUV everywhere. My mechanic could also confirm that stuck-in-low gears are a common occurence in Chrysler's 4x4 vehicles. What are these Chrysler folks building in their factories? 

So what did we learn from this? Well, "Mint" is not the one and only criterium for purchasing a vehicle. Reliability would be another. Unfortunately, the Jeep Commander does not excell in that category. In fact the Commander model had 5 factory recalls, all of which had been fixed on ours years ago. It was only built over 4 years from 2006 - 2010. Main reason being the totally messed-up 3rd row seating arrangement where only dwarfs might be able to enter the 3rd row. We are gonna throw them out to make some room. Whether Dixie will ever be able (and willing) to get into that car is an unknown. She is kind of picky that way as she is spoiled with the low and easy entry into our vans. "lifting" her into it is impossible unless you are Hercules and capable of lifting 95pounds of fighting dog. Besides, we don't want to traumatize her. She will never forget.


  1. Lift the tailgate and put a dog ramp down for Dixie. As for Mr Mint,I think I might want a word or two with him about the repairs.

  2. The vehicle is really very high so it would have to be a long ramp. Dixie would not step onto it. Stair steps might work better. She is just such a cautious dog and won't step on any unknown-to-her surfaces. It took weeks of training to get her to enter the travel trailer.

  3. I had a number of old jeeps back when & had the same issue often- stop, reverse & shift to the higher gear- for some reason that relieves the bind. All the best,Spring is near.

  4. So frustrating and sad when the vehicle turns into such a money pit. Maybe A James solution will work for you. Dogs do have their phobias. But at least ours are only 15 lbs so we can lift them over their roadblock. Goid luck with sweet Dixie.


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