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95 Jimmy...rehab!

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Old 02-13-2012, 09:54 PM
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Default 95 Jimmy...rehab!

Okay so, in my landing post I mentioned that my new-old Jimmy was abused and neglected and needed a bit of work - and it does. Let me take some time here to explain what's wrong with it, and what's not. *Long post follows.

Keep in mind when I explain all this that I paid a little less than $500 for the truck.

1995 GMC Jimmy SLE, four-door, 2WD. Firstly, I was told up front that the owner had no door keys, only a single ignition key; and also that it could not reverse. I tried it and the transmission just doesn't seem to engage when shifted into R. So I planned on picking up a used transmission from a local pull-it-yourself yard whose price is reasonable. So far so good.

So what's wrong with it? Well, grab yourself a coffee and sit awhile...

It's difficult to start on the first time starting it on any given day. The engine turns good and fast, but it almost seems like it doesn't get any fuel. I have discovered that if you tweak the ignition just enough to get the fuel pump working (you can hear it run and shut off after a few seconds each time), giving it about four "charges" of fuel in this manner before normally cranking it is enough to get the engine started; after this is done, it starts normally for the rest of the day with no trouble. *

In addition to the starting issue and reverse not working, the transmission slips a bit between 45 and 55 mph, but settles into and stays in gear fine beyond that - doesn't really matter as I'm changing out the transmission anyway. Also needs new brakes. Aside from those issues, the engine runs beautifully and within parameters. Good power, no lagging, no coughing, sputtering, knocking, ticking, or unusual vibration - thing purrs like a kitten. Seems to use up more fuel than it should, but hard to tell as below half a tank the gas gauge seems to just kinda wing it. Reasonably quiet exhaust as well. No road vibration; no creaking or squeaking sheet metal or interior trim panels or glass; thing is solid as a rock. Steering is a tiny bit loose, but not enough to be annoying and I figure I can just tighten the steering box a little if it starts to bug me. That's why despite these couple of important mechanical problems, I'm convinced the truck is a keeper and worth saving and fixing up. All the other problems are mostly cosmetic in nature or deal with nonessential functions.*These include...!

Except for the instrument cluster itself, not a single interior lamp functioned - no dome lamp, cargo lamp, rearview map lights, or even vanity mirror lights - either by opening the front doors or by using the dimmer switch. No glove box light either. Additionally, the rear glass would not open - not by pushing either the lock cylinder button or the button on the dash. *The owner had cut the interior trim panel open and was working the release mechanism by hand:



The reason I mentioned these things first is that I've already fixed them by replacing a single fuse. Now the glass unlatches fine and some of the interior lights work! The cargo lamp and both rearview map lights work properly, as does the glove box light. The dome light needs a bulb. Only one of the vanity mirror lights on the driver side shade works; the passenger side mirror doesn't even have a cover, so just as well its lights don't work. I haven't checked the ashtray light yet, and the owner's manual has a bulb listing for a nonspecific "courtesy lamp" which I'd check if I knew where it was actually supposed to be. Non-working interior bulbs in a used car aren't anything to get a cramp over, but I'll confess I'm a little ticked that I've got to replace that tailgate trim panel because the former owner couldn't think to try changing a fuse. Oh well, what can you do?

Now the cockpit.



No radio, although what looks like an aftermarket bezel is installed in the radio slot. I think I'm probably going to buy a factory radio and stick it in there if I can find one. The climate controls seem to work great, although they don't light up (should they?) and (expectedly) the A/C could use a recharge. The transfer case switch is missing, which wouldn't be strange since its a 2WD truck, but as you can see the little plastic cap that should be there isn't. For what it's worth, I found a single toggle switch in the glovebox and I suspect that at one point it had been installed in that slot to control...some custom thing or other. The instrument cluster itself is okay except for the constantly-on ABS and airbag indicators which I'll have to address (no SES light though, hooray!). Also, [email protected]"CHECK GAGES". How long did it take them to realize they spelled "gauges" wrong? Its even misspelled in the owner's manual. Ah well. The left side of the dash:*



I'll probably replace the light switch because that one is all greasy and faded. Other than that nothing wrong over here...except that curious flat spot above the Rear Hatch button. I'm almost positive there's supposed to be a fog lamp switch right there. Tsk tsk, I guess I'll just have to get one! The door lock/window/mirror controls are in good shape but there are issues - the lock operates the rear doors and rear glass fine but not the front doors *which is okay as I don't have door keys right now...which reminds me to ask - can I just give the dealer the VIN and get the keys made, or am I going to have to try and get a full set of lock cylinders from a junkyard? All the window switches work, but the mirror switches don't - though I don't think it's a switch problem as the driver-side mirror is definitely loose and the passenger side mirror's whereabouts are unknown (I've filed a missing mirror report). The power seat controls work perfectly!

The seats front and back are in pretty good shape but the carpets in the back seat and cargo areas are horribly stained and filthy. All of the jack equipment is missing (except for the laminated "how to use the jack" tag!), and so is the spare tire...gulp! The neato-keeno sexy-cool cargo cover is there, clean, working, and latches in place with no trouble.

Moving outside - on the rear of the vehicle there's no real problems at all, except perhaps that it needs a license plate bulb.*



The LR door is missing some trim, should be easy to replace. I need a new window-rain-visor-thing for the driver's door. *That's it. *So let's move to the front and...wat???



Something is wrong with this picture. That's not a Blazer, that's a Jimmy; putting a Blazer grill and headlights and hood on it just seems wrong to me somehow. I realize that the Blazer front is all chromed up and stuff, but I'm not all big on chrome anyway and besides, it's a Jimmy. I want a big red GMC on the front and it's MY TRUCK NOW! Also, the person who put it on is dumb. Look closer.



He put the Blazer grille on but tried to stick the Jimmy bumper back on, which as you can see won't work. Sorry, but the Blazerness in this case is going to have to go at some point. I need to change the lower bumper valence because somehow the fog lamps and their holes and brackets have rubbed off or something and that just won't do at all!

Lastly, a look under the hood:



I'm gonna skip the part where I ask what possessed this guy to paint that plastic manifold cowl neon lime green and just point out that the engine compartment is for the most part clean and in good shape. *Exceptions include the air cleaner hose and casing, which looks like it had been removed at some point and recently replaced a little carelessly; a nasty crack in the big HVAC unit cowling on the right side, and the fact that all the front windshield washer tubing is completely gone - cut off right near the fluid tank and capped with a screw. The hood light wasn't plugged in either, but I did so and it works properly. The air intake grill (the plastic part around the windshield wipers) is heavily damaged and half-missing. The brake booster looks old and a little rusty-looking but is in working order. Everything else looks good.

So that's the scoop so far. It's a good running truck that has not been cared for. If I do keep it, and I strongly suspect I will be, my intentions are to fix it up and turn it more or less back into a stock Jimmy. It's not a lack of imagination, it's just that I've seen photos of brand new mid-90's Jimmy's and I really like their design the way it was. Now okay, I'm not exactly a purist in my aspirations - for example, this SLE did not come with fog lamps and I intend to put some on (the stock style looks perfect to me, which is why I'll be using them and not aftermarket lights). I also am intrigued by the idea that I might be able to find and successfully install one of those roof consoles that some of the Jimmy's came with. And as for the front...I'm at least open to considering the possibility of installing a 98 front end rather than a 95-97 front end, if the parts are actually compatible with that frame. If I get it repainted it will be a 1995 stock color, but I'm not going to insist on the pinstripe.

Questions, comments, suggestions? I'm particularly interested in fuel economy suggestions (besides "get a different vehicle") as this will be a daily driver, not a show truck.
 

Last edited by melliferal; 02-13-2012 at 10:07 PM.
  #2  
Old 02-14-2012, 07:52 AM
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Your first starting problem is probably due to your fuel pressure bleeding off over night. Looks like a good project truck. Also you mIght want to look into the 98+ envoy front conversion. That bumper cover has round fog lights and in my opinion is the best looking front end upgrade. To swap the front end to a newer body style you need a new core support along with all the cosmetics.
 
  #3  
Old 02-14-2012, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by cochran07 View Post
Your first starting problem is probably due to your fuel pressure bleeding off over night.
ummm... no.
It's not that it's bleeding off overnight it's WHERE it's bleeding off.
I'm pretty freaking sure if I left my Bravadiva with a fuel pressure gauge attached overnight it would read zero. Yet it always starts in the first second of cranking.
I would suspect the fuel pump check valve or slight leak in line or filter coupling.
If the regulator had a slight leak and was bleeding into the plenum it would probably start just fine in the morning, but have a hot-start problem

Looks like a good project truck. Also you mIght want to look into the 98+ envoy front conversion. That bumper cover has round fog lights and in my opinion is the best looking front end upgrade. To swap the front end to a newer body style you need a new core support along with all the cosmetics.
 
  #4  
Old 02-14-2012, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by pettyfog View Post
ummm... no.
It's not that it's bleeding off overnight it's WHERE it's bleeding off.
I'm pretty freaking sure if I left my Bravadiva with a fuel pressure gauge attached overnight it would read zero. Yet it always starts in the first second of cranking.
I would suspect the fuel pump check valve or slight leak in line or filter coupling.
If the regulator had a slight leak and was bleeding into the plenum it would probably start just fine in the morning, but have a hot-start problem
Um didn't you just give the causes for fuel pressure bleed off ?
 
  #5  
Old 02-14-2012, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by atvwarrior View Post
Um didn't you just give the causes for fuel pressure bleed off ?
Yes I did. But not all of them.

It's difficult to start on the first time starting it on any given day. The engine turns good and fast, but it almost seems like it doesn't get any fuel. I have discovered that if you tweak the ignition just enough to get the fuel pump working (you can hear it run and shut off after a few seconds each time), giving it about four "charges" of fuel in this manner before normally cranking it is enough to get the engine started; after this is done, it starts normally for the rest of the day with no trouble.
I'll say it again.. It is not that the pressure is bleeding off.. it's WHERE it's bleeding off.
The big question..
Where would a bleedoff result in the supply line filling with air?

And AGAIN.. I would bet a beer my trucks fuel pressure reads zero after 8 or so hours and it always starts in one second or less wiht no time spent on prime.

I will not 'draw you a map'
Aww, hell, maybe I should..


Here's a troubleshooting tip for the OP. Check pressure in the AM before turning key.. will read zero or close.
Run ONE prime cycle.
With shop rag press 'pressure release' will hiss for a while, be almost all air, maybe a little fuel. Whatever was in the gauge line probably.

Else use shop rag and small screwdriver at the test Schrader itself. All air and drop or two of fuel.

In a properly operating fuel supply line and after filter has been installed a while, depressing the schrader needle will result in very little fuel escaping because it's all liquid.
 

Last edited by pettyfog; 02-14-2012 at 11:18 AM.
  #6  
Old 02-14-2012, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cochran07 View Post
Looks like a good project truck. Also you mIght want to look into the 98+ envoy front conversion. That bumper cover has round fog lights and in my opinion is the best looking front end upgrade. To swap the front end to a newer body style you need a new core support along with all the cosmetics.

As long as the radiator support is the only thing I'd have to change in order to put the 98 cosmetics on, I would be okay with doing that. And that Envoy upgrade does look very nice - I checked out some photos; I do like the round fog lights. But I am confused on a couple of points. First - I thought the fog lamps on 98+ Jimmy's were integrated in the composite headlight cluster; does the Envoy upgrade have special headlights without them or does it just not use them in favor of the bumper-mounted ones? And second, is there any place where I could obtain the Envoy trim besides hoping I run across it in a junkyard? GMC for some reason doesn't seem to list the Envoy trim and molding, only the regular 98+ Jimmy molding, unless it's hidden somewhere and I'm just not finding it.
 
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pettyfog View Post
Here's a troubleshooting tip for the OP. Check pressure in the AM before turning key.. will read zero or close.
Run ONE prime cycle.
With shop rag press 'pressure release' will hiss for a while, be almost all air, maybe a little fuel. Whatever was in the gauge line probably.

Else use shop rag and small screwdriver at the test Schrader itself. All air and drop or two of fuel.

In a properly operating fuel supply line and after filter has been installed a while, depressing the schrader needle will result in very little fuel escaping because it's all liquid.
I don't have a fuel press gauge; I'll have to borrow or rent one.

In the meantime, I tried just opening the Schrader. After one prime cycle, no air at all - only fuel.
 
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:28 PM
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Perhaps a little more detail than I provided in the OP might help.

The owner told me it was hard starting in the morning. He said his "trick" after turning the key to ON was to run the windshield washer pump for a couple of seconds before turning the key to START. In point of fact this actually worked the first couple of times I tried it; but it makes no sense whatsoever and in any case it doesn't seem to work any more since I've been using my "four-prime" method.

Simply turning the key without doing anything else turns the engine at a good, even speed and that's it. Tweaking the ignition a couple of times as I described, and then turning the key regularly gets an initial second or two of "sounds like it's catching" but it doesn't and goes back to simply turning - and the "almost catching" is there every time you turn the key thereafter without adding any more "tweaks". *

Adding a fourth or fifth "tweak" before turning the key again usually gets it started, but the engine seems to gasp for fuel; a couple of seconds of pedal and the engine catches it's breath and runs fine - no starting or running issues for seemingly the rest of the day (I haven't yet experimented to see how long it actually takes for the truck to require the "tweak-charging" again after shutting off). The fact that it's running the fuel pump a few times that seems to help, along with the fact that the engine once started initially acts starved for fuel, is what suggests to me this is a fuel system issue.

Hope this gives you some ideas.
 
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:02 PM
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Since I know you guys love pics, I decided to take a few more; after all, they're free.

Here's an example of general condition of the vehicle's carpeting:



Luckily that cargo cover works:



...and the seats aren't in all that bad condition. *

This morning I went back over the vehicle lighting, interior and exterior. I replaced the passenger area dome bulb and finally located the vaguely-named "courtesy lamps", which it turns out are under the dash and illuminate the floor. They are replaced now as well. I discovered I was in fact mistaken about the ashtray lamp, it is burned out so I'll have to replace it, but that will have to wait as some dash disassembly seems necessary. Of course I probably wouldn't go through the trouble at all just for the ashtray bulb (come on, I don't even smoke) but I will need to replace the bulbs that illuminate the climate controls and while I've got that area open I may as well replace that bulb too. The cigarette lighter and both accessory power sockets work, by the way. *And yesterday I did forget to mention that I'll be needing a new hood latch cable:



Luckily a pair of old pliers works fine for now.

Outside, I replaced a front turn/parking bulb, confirmed that the license plate light is burned out, and discovered that the CHMSL doesn't work - and it seems like that's gonna be a dealer-only item, so I'm going to have to wait until I can bite the bullet on that.

Curiously, as bad a shape as everything else seems to be in, aside from a few scuffs on the vinyl case the Owner's Manual is practically pristine:



I even have the now-completely-useless warranty booklet - and nary a single maintenance log or note marring a single page anywhere in either book (surprise surprise).

I did run into something of an enigma on the front end that I thought was curious enough to warrant mention. It was my understanding that (aside from the bumper issue) a Blazer grille should mount just fine on this vehicle, am I not correct? And yet:



The passenger side fender is damaged. It doesn't look like collision damage to me; it looks as if the fender was deliberately cut and bent in order to make room for the Blazer grille. That doesn't make sense - that shouldn't have been necessary. *But that's not the only strange thing.



This is wrong, wrong. That air cleaner bracket isn't bolted to the core support, it's zip-tied (with very heavy-duty ties). None of the mounting holes match up with any holes on the support - which means that either that's the wrong air cleaner, or that's the wrong core support for this vehicle. There's also some kind of vacuum hose wedged into the air cleaner hose which doesn't look right - not sure what that's all about - but the painted number and the fact that the fender seems to have been damaged to accommodate the grille mounted to this support suggests to me it's the wrong support. The radiator seems to bolt to it fine, but the fan cowl is missing if there's supposed to be one:



...so that might even be a non-Jimmy radiator. *

So fixing the front end will be more than a matter of switching grilles and bumpers. I'm going to need a new core support and a new fender at the very least; possibly a new radiator and a fan cowl. This is already sounding fun - but I've gotta get in there and see what else the dweeb might have done to this poor, poor innocent truck. I feel like I've just rescued one of those beaten and cigarette-burned kittens you see on those Animal Planet reality shows and now I've got to bring it back to health.
 
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:40 PM
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Not that it's much of an update, but thanks to the brilliant tibby, I managed to solve another pesky little problem. In his headlight conversion thread, tibby was kind enough to illustrate that he made sure to mount his old airbag sensor module on the new core support before he installed it. Remembering that my airbag light is always on but I'd as yet failed to determine the cause, and considering what I'd mentioned above about how I'm nearly certain the previous owner of my truck had put a new core support on for whatever reason, I was suddenly inspired to look...

Sure enough, there's no airbag sensor at all. The plug is just hanging there, looking forlorn. I'm certainly not going to trust an airbag sensor from a junkyard, so it looks like yet another dealer part - hope it's not too much.
 

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