We’ve been crazy busy catching up on household tasks after getting back to Florida from our summer in New Mexico. After three weeks back in FL, I finally got around to doing an initial survey of the Red Jeep.
I haven’t touched a single bolt yet but, oh boy, the things I’m finding! Somehow the various “mechanics” in Mississippi that have been working on this thing for the last several years have turned a smooth running, 20mpg, quiet little Jeep into a obnoxiously loud, 5mpg, spitting and sputtering nightmare destined to be a derelict!
The check engine light was on so first I plugged the ODBII code reader in and got multiple codes including errors on both O2 sensors, hmm, let’s have a look. Why did they cut the front flange off the nice shiny new cat-back exhaust system I installed before we gave it to Bill? Why is that piece of pipe welded to the front of the exhaust? Where is the catalytic converter?!?! WHERE ARE THE O2 SENSORS???!!!??? Yep, a straight pipe where the converter is supposed to be and just dangling wires in the vicinities of where the sensors used to be. Oh yeah, this going to be fun! Like I said this was an initial survey, I quit and walked away mumbling expletives and shaking my head. I’m actually scared of pulling it into the garage and tearing into it; who knows what hidden “Hack Mechanic” wonders I have yet to find! Since Bill does not have the mechanical skills to diagnose and repair the problems with the Jeep, he was at the mercy of the automotive “professionals”. To be fair there are good mechanics out there, but unfortunately they can be hard to find sometimes. Ultimately, Bill tried several different mechanics before he finally, out of pure frustration, replaced the Jeep.
Besides the basic belts, hoses, brakes and fluids routine, (as well as a new exhaust system and O2 sensors!) I have figured out a few things that will be going on the Jeep. 235/85/r16 mud tires of yet undetermined brand, although I’m leaning towards either the Mastercraft Courser MXT like I put on the Dodge, or the Federal Couragia MT. The wheels will be late 90s era Ford, Crown Victoria, steel wheels . They will look very similar to the wheels that I put on the Dodge last Spring. All in all, I’m going to “try” and keep this a fairly low budget build with at least one exception. After the success I had working with Ryan at AccuTune Off-Road on the Dodge suspension, I’ll once again be tapping into his expertise on the Jeep suspension. His initial research indicates that a combination of Fox Performance Series shocks and Pro Comp 2″ lift springs will give a smooth controlled ride on the New Mexico back-roads without blowing the budget too badly.
As I dig deeper, I predict there will be more expletives and head shaking to come, but that’s how “projects” work…right? I’m sure The Red Jeep Project will not disappoint in that regard.