We weren’t planning this but it seems like July has become “Jeep Month”, so we’ll probably keep it that way. This’ll be the third Jeep we feature this year with many more likely to happen. Since first featuring Jon’s Jeep (we’re proud of that guy) I’ve learned some things about Jeeps. I’ve learned that although they are simple, rugged, and honest transportation, they have a tendency to break weird stuff repeatedly. I’ve learned that they aren’t the greatest when it comes to gas mileage. I’ve learned that they are probably the quintessential beater, or at least it’s turning out that way.
When we started this blog we thought w’d be getting old Corolla’s and Fiero’s that were reduced to rolling rust piles, but we have’t gotten those. We’ve had some pretty interesting vehicles over the last couple months. Land yachts and mini-trucks are sweet, but those Jeeps just keep coming in! Jeeps are iconic Americana, right up there with apple pie, the Yankees, the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Corvette. So, its only right that Jeeps would be favorited among commuters and enthusiasts alike.
Check out Jeep: Part Deux!
· When did you get your beater? I got my YJ in Early April of 2015. I’d decided that I wanted a Jeep, but was having an absolute dickens of a time finding one in the St. Louis Metro for less than $5000– in any condition. My sister’s boyfriend at the time had this ’91 YJ hardtop with 200K+ miles on it, and he needed to unload it fairly quickly. So I picked it up for $3500, and the rest is history. It’s now got 266,000 miles, and it hasn’t missed a beat. Well, almost…
· What do you like about your beater? The typical Wrangler allure– open top freedom, no doors, no frilly BS, No F’s given. The 4.0L I-6 might be the best engine AMC ever designed, and the torque curve is hilarious. It’s either bored stupid from 1100RPM to 2000, or really coming alive about 2200, and then it’s a beast on the highway. Until you hit 70, and then it falls flat on its face. The Jeep itself has tons of dings and wrinkles everywhere along with two rusty holes in the floorboards next to the body just for the character, they amuse me. The whole Jeep reminds me of that old, grizzly looking, bearded veteran that you see in a VFW Post that’s actually fairly well read, but is an absolute riot when shit-faced. It’s forgiving and friendly. I’ve also NEVER got the roof or doors on it, except in the winter.
· What do you dislike about your beater? The horn’s broken (watch for finger, heh) and every once in a while, the AX-15 5-speed likes to get a little cross-eyed. The driveshaft is out of balance, which means I’ve had to install 3 rear U-joints in the last year and three months. The previous owner also installed a 3-inch shackle lift without shimming the transfer case or adjusting the angle of the rear axle, and I’ve not had the time to fix it yet. So, I really have to take it easy while off-roading or on funky, broken back roads, because the slip yoke might bottom out, and blow the U-Joint. Also, the stereo currently isn’t working, but that just involves replacing the speakers.
· What is the funniest thing that has happened in it? I currently work as a laborer for a local prestressed concrete firm, and as a purveyor of concrete and concrete accessories, we can’t really work in the rain.
One day we were sent home early because of a torrential downpour that lasted most of the day. Think 10am. Well, I’m rolling down the highway, sans doors or roof, in the middle of this big-ass storm. And well, apparently a local decided that was hysterical, because he apparently took a picture of me chillaxin’ with my foot out the door, laid back with my mind on my money and my money on my mind. I’ve not seen this picture, but it’s apparently made it around the Alton, IL facebook circle.
· Do you have any good roadtrip stories? Not really, I’ve been so damn busy in the last year or so, that all of the roadtrip opportunities that I’ve had, I’ve had to ignore unfortunately. The longest trip I’ve taken it on is from Edwardsville, IL to Bloomington-Normal, IL. About two hours. That said, I’ve taken it with some friends down a shit-ton of trails that we probably shouldn’t have been on…
· Has it ever broken down on you someplace unpleasant/sketchy? Not really. It’s been pretty reliable for the most part. There was one time a tensioner pulley up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T while I was going to have dinner with my friend Sami, but I limped it to the closest parts store, and replaced it in the parking lot with tools that they loaned me. I started packing my tool-kit with me everywhere after that. Bolted to the floor, naturally…
· What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to fix or take it to the mechanic for? The steering column started getting this weird wobble that I’d never experienced before. The tilt function was basically not locking, because it really wasn’t connected to the column itself. Come to find out, the same steering column is in my ’90 Cadillac hearse. (I’ve got a hearse too. That’s a fun story…) Well, apparently that wobble is called a Saginaw wobble. The hearse started doing the same wobble. It’s now perfectly fine, connected and functional.
*all photos credited to Meg Fairless of Megyme Productions.