Yeah, I'm one of those, "sitting on Dad's lap and learning how to off-road" kind of guys. The smell of chaparral is one of my earliest sense-recognitions, and I've been devoted to the enjoyment of off-roading ever since.
Although my family has run the gamut of off-road vehicles through the years (Blazers, Broncos, Travel-Alls, Scouts, Suburbans, pick-ups, buggies, rails etc...), we have now officially returned to our roots by managing to own a trifecta of Jeeps. Three Jeeps in the driveway (well, when I come by to visit the old man anyways, and yes, the neighbors are starting to get nervous).
First, is my old man's 93 ZJ. He was practically waiting in line for it, and I was travelling across the country at the time, so I was a bit shocked to come home and see a white Limited Grand Cherokee residing in the former footprint of his 87 1 ton Sierra Classic Suburban. Since then he has added the compulsory Rancho 3" lift with RS9000's and some 31 x 10.50 Goodyear A/T's. Also included are a K&N filtercharger kit, a Jet chip (which I think is a better choice than the Mopar computer upgrade because of needing to tow in another Jeep, and it really runs well on 89 octane, but that is up for argument), Dynomax ceramic Street Series headers, hi-flo cats, a stainless Ultra-Flo with a big fat dump tube, Air Lift bags in the rear, big fat Hellwig bar for the rear, Energy poly everywhere else, Mopar swing away carrier, Clarion audio (for all that hick country he listens to... ugh!), Truck Vault in the rear cargo, and a pine tree air freshener. There may be some other mods, but its his Jeep, not mine... so there.
I have recently been graced with the debt of a white 99 XJ Classic. I was looking for a used Grand Cherokee (in succumbing to the fact that keeping my 89 CHP Mustang SCCA/PDC racer was not going to prevent me from getting tickets). And lo and behold, as I was walking off the dealer lot, I spied this little white booger peeking its headlights out from a row of 2000 ZJ's. Well, it was loaded with all the great options (minus all the gay foo foo and fah fah the Limited has) and after much sobbing and begging, Chrysler Credit let me drive off with it for 22K (down from 27K mind you, AND they threw in a 6 disc CD changer, upgraded alarm, and paint and fabric protection for free!). Now since the monthly payment is doing wonders to my debt to income ratio, the mods are coming along slow. I've installed the 3" Rancho lift with RS9000's (yes, that includes new rear springs, not that Add a Leaf stuff), RS5000 stabilizer, custom ram-air intake with conical K&N, a set of Michelin LTX M/S in 31x10.50 (I know, I know... but they were sitting in the backyard, and they were free except for the spare I had to purchase. Say what you want, but these things have some nasty tough sidewalls on them. Just get it above 95 and your kidneys will agree), Mopar molded mud flaps, bug shield, a pair of Hella 550 driving lamps, a factory service manual, and that's about it so far. The saga shall continue on this one!
And finally that brings us to the co-build of our little billy goat. It's a 51 CJ-3A Wilys. Under the hood lies the fabled 289 Ford Hi-Po V8 (which has NEVER overheated on us), complete with lots of chrome, a Holley 650 4bbl (which really gets upset with 45 degree inclines), dual batteries, dual remote oil filters, flex-fan and most importantly, a Borgenson steering shaft needle bearing u-joint. We actually had Great American smoke outs from grease melting out of the stock unit and onto the header daily. Thank you Borgenson! All that mess is mated to some mysterious old Ford truck 3 speed toploader with what feels like a 600LB Zoom clutch. Advance Adapters headers each have their own Super Turbo to spit into with side exits ahead of the 31 x 11.50 Goodyear AT's. Out back its the Dana 44 with a Detroit clamping onto 4.27 gears and free-floating axles. Up front is another 44 with the ARB part-time and the same gears and axles protruding out to the Warn manuals. Helping the transfer case is the Warn overdrive with all the granny gear we could ever ask for. Suspension is all Rancho and I think now it is sporting the 6" springs (even though there are three other sets stacked in the garage), with Con Fer shackles in 2", I believe, and Con Fer dual shock mount/ skid plate combo spring perches all around. All stock components (the few that were left) were replaced with new OEM units (thank you Four Wheel Parts Wholesalers!). It is fire-engine red and has dents and crumples in all the correct locations. Trail assist is provided by a Warn winch (I think the model number is 87124 or something. Its the big over/under worm gear unit, and it has NEVER been used), a Hi Lift jack, rear seat with cargo box below, home built swing away carrier for the spare, two blitz cans and another cargo box. Bikini and full soft Bestop's give us options with the exposure. Oh yeah, by the way, I had to learn how to drive a stick-shift with this thing, as it was the only mode of transport I had in high school. Can you say, "Oh my God! We're turning on three wheels again!", class? Maybe that's why I'm racing cars now, nothing could ever be tougher to finesse than this Jeep! There's a lot of other stuff on this little rock humper, but I am really getting tired of writing, and my tail is getting a bit sore. Hope you enjoyed my Jeep story as much as we enjoy our Jeeps!
P.S. I don't have a digital camera or a scanner, but I'm working on getting the photos up, okay? Later...