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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-06-2005, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
Junk Yard Genius
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Do you have a \'Jeep\', or a Dedicated Vehicle?

Is your vehicle 'Dedicated' or 'General Purpose'?
I've been debating posting this subject for a while and this weekend was the deciding factor...

I went to the local reservoir this Monday just to take some time off...
Went on a trail ride, and had to listen to the self-appointed 'Trail Gods' about what I should do or shouldn't do with my Jeep.
These are the local guys that buy every gadget that comes down the pike...
Complain because the bead lock rims they bought ruined their tires when they street drove them, have huge, expensive directional tires mounted backwards, and have no savings, no retirement, no kids collage fund, but have $60,000 in a 15 year old 4WD whatever...

First off,
Let me say I'm not a trail snob.
I stop and fix things for people that need help, or at least ask if I can help if there are several people standing around a down Jeep.
I don't take labor money, (but I will take money for supplies used, often $30 to $50 every trip out sure adds up!)

I pull out, pull up or let down anyone stuck if I can.
Some vehicles I drive don't have a winch, and some vehicles are just too damn big for my vehicle and winch to handle.
Again, I don't leave people stranded, I'll at least give them a ride out to civilization if I or others can't help them on the spot.

If asked, I might make suggestions, but I never initiate the conversation, and I NEVER just walk up to people and tell them what 'THEY NEED TO DO IS THIS OR THAT'...

I recently bought a little '73 CJ-5, and I decided to make it a dependable on and off road driver, and nothing more.

This is NOT a dedicated Rock Climber.
This is NOT a dedicated Sand Buggy.
This is NOT a dedicated Mud Bogger.
This is NOT a dedicated Barbie Jeep with every bolt on accessory known to man.

This is going to be a simple, moderate trail capable Jeep that has reasonable road manners.
I DON'T need a 5 to 1 reduction transfer case.
I DON'T need an all aluminum engine.
I DON'T need Sequential Port Fuel Injection.
I DON'T need Supercharger or Turbocharger.
I DON'T need custom built long arm suspension.
I DON'T need super slinky coil over shock conversion.
I DON'T need 3 feet of suspension travel.
I DON'T need Dana 70's front and rear.
I DON'T need Divorced hydraulic ram steering.
I DON'T need $2,000 apiece wheel & tire combinations.

What I do need...

Seat belts. (safety!)
This vehicle has 32 year old seat belts in it! Need I say more?!

Brake Upgrades. (safety!)
Small four wheel drums just don't stop the little Jeep satisfactorily.
Therefore, front disc brakes (a bolt in from later model CJ Jeeps), and maybe 4 wheel disks are in order.
Larger, aggressive pattern tires also make it harder to stop, so this is a safety issue.

Emergency Brake. (safety!)
The running joke around here is about the foot long piece of 4"X4" wood most of us have for an emergency or parking brake...
I think that a cable brake is a MUST, and a T-case mounted brake isn't a bad idea either!

Good Gauges. (preventative and maintenance)
As far as I'm concerned, a good set of gauges should be the first thing installed.
The factory gauges are 'minimal' at best, and misleading at worst.
This is the best $40 (and UP!) you can spend on your vehicle.

Fuel, Air & Oil Filters. (longevity)
I have an old engine, and it's tired. It doesn't make sense to abuse it...
Good oil, air & fuel filters are a MUST.

Upgraded ignition system. (reliability & power)
Ignition system upgrade was a must in my case. '73 has breaker points, and I'm just not going to do that to myself.
This is WWII technology, and I intend to make use of the last 60 years of technology upgrades.

Two Groove Pulleys. (redundancy)
Either carry a spare belt for alternator & water pump, or use two groove pulleys.
If you are going to upgrade the alternator, make sure it has a two groove pulley and run two belts.
Built in redundancy never hurts a thing!

Dual batteries. (redundancy)
Just two plain old economy 24 series batteries from the local discount auto parts store.
I'm never stuck with two batteries, and with two batteries you can even stick weld.
This means building a dual battery tray and doing some additional wiring, but this is easy, and we've covered this all before here on the BBS.

Good alternator. (multi-purpose)
With a good alternator you can charge your batteries, or weld, or run an inverter/converter.
These are lying around in salvage yards just waiting for some Do It Yourselfer to pick them up for little or nothing...
Some people use two alternators, one for charging, and one for welding, ect.
I prefer one over built alternator with controlled ground to do everything.
(controlled ground allows you to weld in straight polarity or reverse polarity, meaning you have the ability to stick, mig or tig weld)

Dual engine fans. (redundancy)
With two fans, you WILL NOT have a fan failure that will keep you from getting back.

On Board Air. (self sufficiency)
Air tools, airing up tires, blowing up float toys at the lake, supplying an on board plasma cutter!...
I don't care if you have engine driven (if you have enough engine bracket space) or an electric compressor (with upgraded alternator, why not?)

Shackles Or 'D' rings. (safety issue)
I see so many of the so called 'Experts' still don't have solidly mounted closed shackles or 'D' rings.
They still use chains wrapped around bumpers, or worse yet, the ends of bumpers or open hooks...

Winch. (self sufficiency)
A good quality winch of sufficient size is a requirement if you off road alone.
It should be rated with enough LIFTING power to lift the vehicle.
Most winches are rated for "Rolling Load", and this is unacceptable.

Reasonable Trail Tool Box. (self sufficiency)
So many of the people I have to help have gadgets like CD players, GPS locators, lap top computers, loads of extra lights, tons of built in battery powered coolers and built in consoles, thousands of dollars of wheels and tires, lift kits and custom tops, but not $10 worth of tools, hi-lift jack or jumper cables...?

The tools don't have to be anything fancy or expensive.
If your budget allows, Sears Craftsman tools are plenty.
If you are broke, basic ratchet and socket set, basic combo wrench set, screw drivers, pliers, adjustable wrenches, allen wrenches and a hack saw to name a few...
All under $50 at the local Wally-World with a lifetime guarantee...

A word on common sence...

If you are less than 15 miles from home, on trails with a club or group of friends why a GPS?
If you are east of the Mississippi river, you are probably wheeling close enough to a highway or town to throw a rock and hit a street light...

Why a laptop? Cell phone? PDA?
Can't you go without that aggravation for a few hours?
That's the reason I go out to the lake or wheeling, so no one can bother me...

Why 8,000 extra lights when you almost never go wheeling after dark?
Wouldn't one or two been enough for low speed trail riding?
Did you install alternator, batteries, relays, fuses, disconnects for those lights to operate for an extended period correctly?

What's the difference between a $1,500 custom made billet aluminum wheel, a $350 cast aluminum wheel off an assembly line, and a $45 stock type steel wheel?...
---The steel wheel can be bent back out and run home after impact with rock, tree or whatever...
Ever tried to straighten out an aluminum wheel?
---The aluminum wheels are now scrap and future beer cans in Japan...

If you have been wheeling with a Dana 44 and/or Ford 9" for the last 10 years without a failure, why do you think you need $5,000 worth of Dana 60's all the sudden?

If you have been using a T-18 trans, why do you suddenly need $4,500 worth of NV-4500?

If you don't have any problems with the Dana 300, why do you need one of the new 'Wonder T-cases' at $3,500 a pop?

If you mostly do light to moderate trail riding, farm work or use as hunting vehicle, why do you think it's a 'Requirement' to have a fuel injected V-8 all of the sudden?

Back to the orignal question...

Even if it says 'Jeep' on your title...
Rock Climbers are not 'Jeeps'.
Desert Racers are not 'Jeeps'.
Monster Trucks are not 'Jeeps'.
Mud Boggers are not 'Jeeps'.
Pulling Trucks are not 'Jeeps'.
Show Jeeps are not 'Jeeps'.

A 'Jeep' is a General Purpose, On & Off Road Vehicle, suited to nearly any climate or terrain.
(Take note of the word 'Nearly'... and 'Off Road' not 'Off Highway'...)

Do you have a dedicated vehicle that just happens to have a 'Jeep' title...
Or Do You Have A Real 'Jeep'!?
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