I own a 2006 Jeep Liberty with the wonderful VM Motori 2.8L CRD engine. It was an odd product of the short-lived Daimler-Chrysler marriage: An American SUV, with window controls in the center like a Mercedes-Benz, and a one-off Italian tractor engine. Mind you, a big-bore four-banger with a über-high-pressure common rail injection system that turns amazing fuel economy – Sue drives the wheels off the thing and regularly and consistently sees 29 MPG from the frugal Italian Diesel.
For years we fed it my home-brew, which made the economy all the sweeter.
The only problem with owning an oddball vehicle like this is occasionally it is hard to source parts. Sue’s CRD has 160,000 miles on it and is in need of a timing belt change. I know a great independent mechanic here in Bend who I trust the jobs that are beyond my limited skills and time. We took an impromptu vacation over the holidays after Sue’s Dad passed away, and I scheduled the time for the CRD to get the maintenance done while we were gone. We dropped the Jeep off and I ordered the parts online, delivered straight to my trusted mechanic. All good, right?
Nope. The water pump was on back-order.
I searched around online and found a few websites that listed as “in-stock” and tried ordering from them. No dice. Their published inventory stats were a bald-faced lie. I did a bit of googling and found out that I was not alone – many other Jeep CRD owners were reporting the water pump status as unobtanium.
I figured that since this was a European item that I’d have better luck looking in the EU. I had some of my car-buddies in the EU look around for me. I had extensive conversations with a VM Motori distributor in the Netherlands who in the end, could not find one for me. Of course since this all happened over the xmas/new-years break the communications had huge latency, even with the wonders of the Transmission Control Protocol. Eventually I turned to eBay and found one in the UK – bought it, and here it is, heading my way. Already in the USA, it should be here within 36 hours or so.
I love living in the future.
Makes me want to buy an Alfa-Romeo or something. 😉