I need professional help.

No, not that kind. It’s been tried, I’m far past hope.

But both modes of my transport have taken it into their collective head to fail simultaneously. Granted one has been coming on for a long time and one had a lot of help.


The pressure hose on the Jeep’s power steering system has been marking territory for over a year. I should have had it fixed when the Jeep was in the shop over the winter, but they’d already taken so long on the transmission and anyway it’s only a hose: I should be able to fix that.

I even have the hose. But it was bound to be an unpleasant job so I kept putting it off, and when the hose failed almost entirely and I was forced to get off my ass it turned out not to be something I could reasonably fix in my (very muddy at the moment) driveway. On some Wranglers, allegedly, you can just barely get to the hose fitting on the top of the steering gear: That does not happen to be the case with my Wrangler. Okay, heavy sigh and annoyed grunt, I know how to drop the gear. Except that the skid plate under the gear will not come off the Jeep. Far as I can tell, the welds broke on a captive nut and one essential bolt just spins it. There is physically no way to get a wrench on that nut, which is why I assume it must have been spot-welded before the frame was assembled. Forced to it and in the absence of a cutting torch I suppose I could curse and sweat for hours while I hacksawed the bolt, I’ve done it before. That was on the order of forty years ago, though. I don’t bend so good anymore. And a hoist would help.

So I’m forced to admit that I must take the Jeep to the shop in town. Which took months last time. Of course last time was a transmission rebuild.

Unfortunately, just as I’m driven to that conclusion my ebike broke down.


Tuesday we hit some unexpected deep mud and took a bad spill. I wasn’t even scratched but to my horror the bike was totaled.


Electrically it stopped working entirely and I haven’t yet figured out why. Something like this happened two years ago and it turned out to be a cold-solder joint in the battery tray that shook loose for no reason. I have to say, Radrover was great about it: I sent them a short video explaining the problem and they sent me – free – ALL THE PARTS that could possibly cause my problem. I was seriously impressed, and I guess I’m going to end up doing that again. If the bike is still in warranty, which I’m a little afraid to check. Anyway I didn’t learn for sure about the cold-solder joint until I unpotted the battery tray looking for the specific problem, after I already had a new one in hand. I still have all those other parts.

Then there’s the matter of the derailleur…


…which doesn’t appear to be bent but is certainly misaligned. In any speed lower than third the chain now rubs the tire and eventually hops right off the gear and locks between the gears and the wheel. Probably a bike shop could clear that up without breaking stride but I can’t even see specifically what’s wrong.

Which, since I already have to take my best pistol to a gunsmith in the big town about 50 miles away, makes me wonder if I shouldn’t research bike shops in the same town – there’s bound to be at least one – and bring the bike along in the pickup when I can finally go. I’m not convinced I can fix it this time.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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6 Responses to I need professional help.

  1. Ben says:

    A RadRover derailleur hanger will probably fix your alignment problem for less than a bike shop would charge. Those hangers tend to be bike model-specific and often get bent in falls because everything is so exposed, which is why I keep a spare hanger in stock for my own (totally different) bike.

    Because your bike took a blow in the area of the derailleur, look carefully at the wires that come out of your rear hub for any obvious damage, and follow them to the plug that connects the hub to the E-bike wiring harness. Unplug that plug (do it in good light because it’s hard to get the pins to align) and put it back together to ensure that it’s properly seated.

  2. Ben says:

    Regarding the Jeep bolt, if you have access to a die grinder and cutting disks, they can be very handy for cutting beads off of reluctant bolts. They will do the work of a cutting torch, but with less collateral damage.

  3. Joel says:

    Hm. I didn’t even think about using an angle grinder. Good thought!

  4. Robert says:

    Good luck, Joel!

    “die grinder” Hadta google it. I may have to stop being a faithful Gulch Reader ‘cuz y’all are blowing my know-it-all attitude straight into the toilet. My metaphors may be mixed, yes.

    Ben: “bead” = “head”? Or welding bead? My ignorance embarrasses me.

    Mr. Hacksaw and a new blade may be your friend, but power tools rule. On a personally-related tangent: project board and copious duct tape conceal a plethora of gone-awry home projects. Kids: pay the craftsman, it’s worth every penny.

  5. Terrapod says:

    I do believe you own a sawzall. That and a good metal cutting blade will make short work of it. Let me know if you need a blade, those are air mailable 😉

  6. sevesteen says:

    I’ll second the derailleur hanger–they are usually designed specifically to be the weak link, so you replace those instead of the whole frame. If it’s the derailleur, it’s a fairly easy and obvious swap, make sure the one you get has a “max teeth” equal or more than the number of teeth on your biggest rear sprocket, and it’s made by Shimano in your case. (There are a few exceptions to this…but they all cost more than sensible people will pay)

To the stake with the heretic!