Rolling Violation #12 - rv12
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1986 GMC S-15 Jimmy 4x4 Back: rv11

click for a higher res pic
    GM 2.8L V6
    Throttle Body Fuel Injection (TBI)
    125 hp @ 4800 rpm
    150 ft-lbs @ 2200 rpm
    5 speed manual transmission, part time four-wheel drive.
    0-60:  ~13 seconds.
    1/4 mile:  ~18 seconds
    Top Speed:  ~100 mph

    (It's a truck... it may be slow, but it can carry over 30 cases of beer.)

    Introduced in 1983, the S/T-Series Jimmy is based on the S/T-Series pickup truck.  Produced for 12 years, they were available in a bewildering array of options: two/four wheel drive, two or four doors, 2.5,2.8,4.3L engines, etc. etc.  My personal favourites of this body style are the GMC Typhoon and Syclone, which had a turbocharged 4.3 V6 making 280 hp.
    A slightly frustrating observation:  The "correct" name for the 2wd models is S-Series, the 4wd's are T-Series.  Why is this even an issue?  When you're parts shopping, some places separate the vehicles, some do not.  Some parts of the vehicle, such as the front suspension, are completely different, and obviously so.  Some parts, like the radiator, are also different between the S and T, with no real apparent reason why.  So, if you're trying to order parts for an "87 GMC T15," some places have a listing, and some don't know what to look for.  It doesn't help that these are usually the parts places with minimum wage parts guys who don't know the difference between drum brakes and disk brakes.

Modifications and Improvements:
Ugly running boards are gone.
Steering wheel replaced with one a LOT smaller.
Tachometer installed.
Driving lights - I even aimed them!
Rockford Fosgate CD player.

1999: (as always, click the pic for a bigger one...)

I purchased RV12 from a used car dealer in late 1999 for $3700 CDN.  It was a fluke that I even bought it - when I first looked at it, it had a small coolant leak at the thermostat, and I decided "thanks but no thanks."  Later that day, we (Darren and I) were passing by the dealer's again after test driving a couple other Blazers and Jimmys and decided to see if they had fixed it.  Amazingly enough (it was a Saturday,) they had.  I took it for a test drive, and immediately liked it better than many others I had driven, and better than any others in that price range.

When I started to negotiate, I found some interesting stuff about the truck.  It had a salvage title, as it had been stolen and the engine blown.  I thought that might actually be a good thing - the used engine in there had about 150,000 km where the odo read 235,000.  It also meant it probably had a new clutch and would have to be in decent internal shape.  I decided to risk it.  I picked it up a couple of days later.

I made it one day before something broke.  Another leaker.  This one also had a gas tank that was leaking.  (RV11 also leaked.)  After a nasty phone call, it was agreed the dealer would provide me with a free gas tank and I would install it myself.  Did I mention that this somehow passed a safety?  If you kept the fuel below 3/4 of a tank, it wouldn't leak, so I did that - I was in no big rush to change the tank.  Unfortunately, I should have.  It was almost a year before I decided to do the tank - I then discovered they had given me a FORD tank.  It looked like it would fit, but it was from a Ford truck.  Grumble grumble... I bought a new tank.  It only took me another year to install that one in the winter of 2001.

The rest of 1999 passed relatively uneventfully with RV12.  Super handy for Christmas shopping, especially in a blizzard.

Apart from horrendous fuel economy, RV12 soildered on in 2000.  It received a new Rockford Fosgate CD Player in the summer, as the factory tape deck (which sucked anyway) finally blew up.  Oil changes, new headlights, and fresh fluid in the diffs pointed to a nice uneventful ownership.  Now if only it had more (any) power...
Of course, the truck waited until -40 before breaking.  This time it was fairly serious - three lugnuts came loose, and two studs broke right off!  Fortunately I was able to tighten the wheel up and made it home with only three studs.  $5 and some hammer pounding later, the wheel was carefully torqued back on.  I was also kept busy trying to get the rear defrost to work more than twice without breaking the wires in the back window.

I also learned how to tow a trailer in 2000.  We bought a small utility trailer and I learned how to turn and back up with a load.  I probably went through 5 years of clutch lining trying to back into my driveway with the trailer, but I eventually did get it.

2000 ended on an ominous note - the alternator blew up the week before Christmas, and then I started having problems with the belt becoming chewed up and weird noises coming from underhood...

2001 continued my annoying tradition of blowing up my main winter vehicle.  I'm not sure what weird cosmic force is behind it, but I always seem to spend January fixing the car (or truck.)

What started out as an intermittent squeak from the alternator ended up as a major repair, sidelining the truck for quite some time.  The alternator went, so it was replaced.  The belt lasted another week before getting chewed up, so it was replaced.  The tensioner seized up shortly after, chewing up another belt.  During the tensioner replacement, Darren and I noticed there was a pully alignment problem.  Unfortunately, it's not possible to align the pulleys on this truck - it has a serpentine belt system and the only adjustment is the belt tensioner.  Despite all our efforts to "adjust" the alternator mount, it's hard to bend 3/4" thick aluminum.  After many tries and many many belts, we shimmed one bolt on the back of the A/C compressor with three washers inbetween the block and bracket.  Total shadetree mechanic stuff, but the truck FINALLY stopped pitching the belt.

RV12 didn't see much action in the summer of 2001, as RV13 arrived on the scene.  I did manage to go off-roading once, and it cost me $100 to get towed out.  It would be less embarassing if it wasn't in the parking lot of the local dirt track oval... I decided to take a "shortcut" via the old pit road, end ended up getting the truck stuck up to the doors in mud.  4 wheel drive doesn't mean much when the frame rails are sitting on solid mud.

In the fall of 2001 I decided to put RV12 up for sale before the Manitoba safety ran out.  Unfortunately, the only serious offer came from a guy who wanted me to do monthly payments.  Argh.  Thanks, but no thanks.  Instead, RV12 remained in my possession to be abused for another winter.

Actual Auto Trader Pic
Check back soon for the continuing saga of RV12, now with 254,000+ km...

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