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Old 08-04-2004, 07:46 AM
Alan Hamm's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Kensington, MD
Posts: 461
Need ideas, non Mercedes or Diesel

You guys are great, both at problem solving and being helpful. I am a Scoutmaster of a Troop in MD and part of a scouting community which also tries to be helpful to each other. With that in mind, here is a partial post from a Scouter in PA who has a son with a delimma in New Mexico.

"I need some advice for my son on how to get his car home from Philmont.
My son, Josh Neff is a first year Ranger, this year. The engine on his 1996
Explorer is locked-up and it appears that it needs replaced. Josh would
prefer to get the car home (central Pa.) and take care of the engine
replacement here..

Josh asked me to help coordinate a trailer rental so he and a fellow Ranger
can tow it home. Sounds simple - right?
So far, it looks like UHaul will not rent them a trailer, as the towed
vehicle is about the same weight as the towing vehicle (a Jeep Grand Cherokee).

I am going to verify the trailer rental and see if there are any other
truck or trailer options, from the national chains.
Even if I can solve that, I am a little concerned about two 19 year-olds -
towing for the first time and towing with an under-sized vehicle...
If we continue to look at hauling by trailer (and cannot rent one), I am
considering moving my planned purchase of a "car-hauling-type" flat bed
trailer up and wondering about trying to purchase it in New Mexico via
phone or Internet????

Another option is to hop in the truck and drive out - to do the towing with
a bigger vehicle and an experienced driver. I am not thrilled with this
option for several reasons - 1-tough getting off work as I already went to
Philmont this summer; 2-this could cost a $1000 (for fuel and related
expenses); 3-it would be an unpleasant, whirlwind trip; 4-Doing this would
diminish my son's experience of "solving" this problem himself....

I am looking for other options and ideas.
Do any of you know about shipping a car by train, or by hired truck, or
some other method?
Or perhaps, personally know a reliable mechanic in the Cimarron area?

BTW - these two finish up and plan to leave on August 10th.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Also, thanks for tolerating a non-trek related question.

Your in Scouting (and parenting),
Rick Neff
Scoutmaster, Troop 31
State College, Pa.

FWIW - the engine died when it consumed some water in through the air
intake system. The engine became hydra-locked. It is unclear how much
damage was done. At this time the engine will not turn over. Josh reports
that a volume of water came out of at least two cylinders when he removed
the spark plugs....."

Since you guys have experience buying a moving cars and diagnosing stuff, if you have ideas, that would be great.

Happy to have you PM me or e-mail direct at

Thanks for allowing the interruption.
Alan Hamm
'87 300SDL 277K Miles
'89 560 SL 68K Miles
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Old 08-04-2004, 09:32 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 171
for consideration

Many factors at work here.....

If he removes all the plugs and spins the motor, water removed?
With a good carburetor spraying, water displaced?
A change of the oil and filter after squirting each spark plug hole with Marvel Mystery Oil (or diesel fuel water displacer) and rolling it over a few more times, followed by squirting 5W30 into the plug holes.... quite a smoke cloud for a few minutes, but I got a GTO running that way some years ago.

Assuming he has some time available, this is a sort of problem solving exercise that is possible if he has some tools and if he has access to a credit card/ cash.... Pep Boys has all that stuff... assuming a parts store is available. Sounds like something he/they could take a crack at without too much risk. Any effort short of your roundtrip hassle would be an experience. Of course, getting it home would also be a good trip, assuming they can handle the details you describe...... no input there. Good luck- my dad was an Eagle Scout!
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:21 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 5,440

Get a tow bar and tow it on the ground with the Jeep. Just remove the rear driveshaft if it is an auto transmission.

Leave a long distance between the Jeep and anything in front as the stopping distance will be twice as much as usual.

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Old 08-04-2004, 07:45 PM
phantoms's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 794
There are a ton of companies that transport vehicles, try searching google for "auto transporters" ( ). Never used one, but thought about it one a recent purchase. Decided to fly out and drive home though.
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:11 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Blue Point, NY
Posts: 25,396
PEH has the safest and least costly solution, short of getting the engine running again.

I can confirm that I towed a Dodge Dart from Detroit, MI all the way across Canada past Buffalo and down to NYC using a rented U-Haul tow bar behind a 1972 Ford Mustang, at the ripe old age of 24. As long as your son realizes the stopping distances are nearly tripled with the weight of the Explorer, he should be fine.
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