New Toy, Jeep not Toyota

So, I wasn’t looking for another Jeep.

After a strange set of communications, I finally got in touch with my neighbor at Tahoe. He had a Jeep he wanted to sell and was looking for help with pricing it and where to advertise it.

I tried to tell him it was worth more than he thought and to start high with a price. You can always negotiate down but not up. Before I had time to find him some local comps, he had put it up for sale on Craigslist. He started low.

When I finally got on the phone with him, I said if it’s still available on Friday, I’ll pay your asking price. This was Tuesday. It was priced WAY low and I had no reason to think it would still be available.

He started getting calls and email from all over. The first one was a scam from the east coast. They even sent a bad check for him to cash.

On Wednesday afternoon, he called me and told me all these stories. He said he didn’t want to bother with returning the calls and emails. If I still wanted the Jeep for his asking price, he would hold it for me. I had to say yes.

Okay, I needed a third, yes third, Jeep like I needed a hole in my head. I mean look at it. It’s a toy. It’s tiny. A sagging stock suspension and 28″ tires! I was embarrassed to drive it in public. The previous two Jeep are in the background. The trail TJ and the project CJ.

In comes Extreme Terrain. A 2.5″ Rough County lift kit. It’s only eight pieces, how hard can it be?

Like any other Jeep project, it fought back. I figured a 2.5″ lift wouldn’t need a spring compressor. I had a coil compressor if needed. Well, I needed it. But mine was an internal coil spring compressor. A quick trip to Harbor Freight and I had a spring compressor.

With the help of a good friend and fellow Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo, we got the lift kit installed.

I had a set of 33×10.5 BFG All Terrains on steel rims on hand so we drove around the block on those and called it good for now.

When I finally got around to installing the BFG Mud Terrain tires on the stock alloy rims, I noticed the lift kit had shifted the rear axle a little too much to the right. It happens with the lift and a stock track bar. No problem, I’ll find an adjustable track bar and throw it in.

Well, I lucked in to a deal on a Rough County adjustable track bar, but the install was not straight forward.

The first bolt I went for was holding the track bar in the bracket on the axle. It takes a Torx bit, but the socket I had it on was so long I could not get a wrench in it because the gas tank was in the way! Another example why every automotive designer should spend three years working as a mechanic before being allowed to design a car.

With a 10mm box end wrench around the Torx bit itself, and a rather long cheater, I got the bolt loose. Upon assembly, I put in a grade eight hex head bolt.

Without instructions, I had it in backwards the first time and upside down the second time. But I finally won.

The stock front bumper was replaced with an aftermarket one that came with the Jeep and matches the rear bumper. Both have a 2″ receiver built in.

The carpets were removed, tub cleaned, carpets vacuumed and reinstalled. New radio, seat covers and shifter boot. Then the cleaning of the exterior.

Everything looks great except for the hood. The previous owner had some kind of chemical spill on the hood and had to repaint it. He used not only a spray can but he chose FLAT black instead of gloss.

Although I will repaint the hood, someday, the flat black does reduce the glare you usually get off the gloss paint.

What’s your next project?


Rubicon Ronin

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