Heap Of A Jeep

Jeeps are like the Chickenpox.  Its seems as if everyone has owned one (or a mid-90s Corolla) and everyone gets the chicken pox. unlike the ‘pox though you don’t just a get a Jeep once. Most people suffer from multiple Jeep infections sometime of various mutations (Cherokee, Wagoneer, Comanche) throughout their lifetime.

I used to think of Jeeps as rugged almost indestructible vehicle when i was a tot, but after befriending Jeepers and reading several of your submissions it seems otherwise. I’m sure most of them are great vehicles, but I’m not sure they would have the kinds of stories their beater brothers have.  You gotta love a Jeep!

This week’s Beater Feature comes all the way from Rockford IL. Tom works at a Jeep dealership, so naturally he has a Jeep. This one is a bit special. It’s pretty , not a rust bucket, but somehow keep breaking on him! If you’re anywhere near Rockford Illinois stop by Andersen Jeep and check out his heap of a Jeep:

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“My name is Tom Perrin and I come from Rockford Illinois. I drive a 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ that was purchased about a year ago with more rust than paint. This isn’t my first Wrangler, not even my first TJ. Call it a midlife crisis, call it reliving my youth, call it whatever you want. This Jeep stuck out to me on my quest for a daily wrangler. It was ugly, cheap, and pumped full of miles. What’s under the hood will make just about any Jeep owner cry, but I love it. The AMC based 150 cubic inch 4-banger that kinda can. Reliable, simple as all get out, and makes the most annoying sounds, especially at idle.

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My first car, a YJ wrangler, was also equipped with this iron paperweight, but it still got me around. As of most Jeeps of this era, she is a project. Cooling system has been upgraded a bit, 4in Skyjacker lift, some random “heavy duty” AutoZone clutch, 31in Cooper mud tires (yeah, I know), 1-ton steering components from Spicer, and a few other stuff tucked under the triple bedliner coated frame. No mid-life crisis is complete with a nice audio system. Kenwood head unit, overhead speakers, compact subwoofer and amplifier in the “trunk”, along with a 301 piece mechanic’s tool set just in case.


Since I’ve had her, and after sitting for 3 years prior, she has had her fair share of breakdowns. One of which was the water pump which let go on the coldest day of the year. Nothing like being stranded at 11pm at a gas station waiting for my very understanding girlfriend. After a fun day with our son, we thought a little missing adventure was in order. Well, being instantly sunk up to the headlights literally 6 feet off of the road wasn’t a fun time. $200 tow bill and way too many embarrassing pictures later, we finally got her out. I love my Heep of a Jeep and our family will continue to love her forever. This one’s a keeper. Well worth every penny.”


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Zen And The Art Of Beater

blue carI’ve shared my Sentra with you guys several times (you’ll hear about it a bunch). In a sense it is one of the biggest inspirations for this blog. It was old. It barely ran. Sometimes it even had oil in it. The pictures don’t show it too well but when I bought it there was a very noticeable scar on the passenger side.

At one point in its previous life with its eastern European family before me, it had been in an accident and was shoddily repaired, I assume, in the driveway. Not unlike any of the repairs I had to do on it. In the early years of ownership, the honeymoon period, I tried my best to keep it clean inside and out. I would take joy in spending hours detailing every crease and crevice. Invariably I would get to the bondo’d scar and then sigh because I wouldn’t know where to start. To be honest, looking back I should never have bough the car in the first place with a patch job like that so hastily smeared on the side.an side

As the honeymoon period wore off and detailings grew to be more and more infrequent, a sort of zen-like state grew over our relationship. I stopped caring about the Sentra’s outward appearance. I knew that it could handle pretty well, that it got incredible gas mileage. I also knew that it wasn’t quick or fast or even peppy. I didn’t care about these. I also stopped caring about the dings and scrapes and scratches that come with everyday car ownership. I no longer cared if someone ran their shopping cart into my car. As long as it started up when I had to leave again.

Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work which will be a material reflection for others to see of the serenity at the center of it all.” -Robert Pirsig

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Now, you could argue that this state of being calm and at peace with the chaotic world of grocery store parking lots was because my priorities were in check (as long as it started up I was happy), but I don’t think priorities had anything to do with it. I still rarely changed the oil in the thing. That’s a big priority. I went almost an entire year with a clicking front CV joint. Only repairing it after it disintegrated on me while I was changing the shocks out. I don’t think it was a case of priorities. I believe it was because I knew that whatever was going to happen out there on the road, as long as the car started up, I was fine. It’s looks couldn’t get any worse, could they?

Every person should own a beater at one point in time. Be it your first car, or fiftieth. Buy a beater. Bounce it off other beaters, and experience the zen of being within its existence. Pretty soon you’ll have that peace of mind. Pretty soon you’ll have reached Beater Enlightenment. I promise you, that you’ll be a better person for owning it. You will appreciate you “new” car more.  You will appreciate you life more.

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