All posts tagged TJ

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.

A little back story: back in 2000 I bought “The Red Jeep” for Pamala, used, with 14,000 miles. She drove it regularly until 2004 when she got a new Liberty, but prior to this, we trailered it to New Mexico and she drove it home to Florida visiting friends and relatives on the way. While visiting my father-in-law Bill, he fell in love with the Jeep and said he wanted to buy it if we ever wanted to sell it. After Pamala got the Liberty in 2004, “The Red Jeep” saw very little use for the next two years.  My father-in-law visited us in 2006 and we ended up giving it to him, with the stipulation that we would purchase it back from him if he ever decided to get rid of it. Fast forward nine years and a total of 90,000 miles, the Jeep was starting to show it’s age mechanically. Unfortunately the mechanics he was using in Mississippi, including a Jeep dealership no less, couldn’t seem to keep it running properly. In frustration he ended buying a car and the Jeep was destined to sit most of the time. Rather than let it sit, and since we needed a second vehicle in New Mexico, he returned it to us. So now I have another project. I needed that like a hole in my head! We are grateful for the gift, however and with a little TLC it will be back in service and better than ever.

So why “The Red Jeep” moniker? This was our driveway in 2005. With three Jeeps to choose from, it needed a name.


In NM in 2003.

Jeep by Windmill

As it was in 2006 when Bill got it.


All loaded up and ready to come home.


Bill having second thoughts about giving up his “baby”.


As it sits now.


This will be a mild build for use as a short range, dirt road/mud, run around vehicle. No crazy stuff here. I’ll “base line” it and get it running right first, then mild lift, mud tires, basic heavy duty bumpers, winch, and auxiliary lighting.