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Unread 04-10-2013, 03:02 AM   #1
ukjeeper
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1991 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Essex, UK.
Posts: 85
Hoping to make the best of a bad situation.

Took a big step closer yesterday on a slow path I've been taking toward acquiring a particular SJ.

Our local Jeep Club used to have a regular visitor at the monthly pub meets in Ben, a young guy with an '82 Chief that had been passed around the family (Dad, Uncle, Ben) that he was restoring. As I've had a few SJ's, we'd hang out and talk about what needed to be done to his rig and how best to proceed.

Then he stopped coming to the meets. Months went by, until last September, when he showed up again. Glad he did as no-one else did that evening.

Turned out the reason he'd not been coming was because he'd been in and out of hospital for months. He'd been diagnosed with, and was being treated for, Aplastic Anemia, a form of Leukemia. Which basically means your bone marrow stops making blood cells.

So we spent the evening talking about his illness, Jeeps, Harleys, and general BS'ing. The next month i tried getting in touch to see if he was coming, that's when i found out he had lost his fight against his illness a few days before.

Unfortunately i was not able to attend Ben's Funeral as my Mother In Law passed at about the same time, also from a long term illness, and we had to go to California for her funeral.

I waited a few months before trying to reach out to his family to find out what their plans were for the Chief. I finally reached his Mum on Facebook, through his page, and explained who i was and what Ben and i had talked about. Got her reply yesterday:

Quote:
i'm so glad to hear from you. The meet he turned up to was two days before he went to b arts (Hospital, UKJ) and never came home. He barely made it home that night. He kept blacking out, but refused to let my husband chauffeur him or come get him. He was so stubborn, he spoke about that evening as he said you had said about helping him. I had to cancel the order from the States, but he had been getting bits from various sources. The reason I was trying to find the Jeep Club was I had hoped to do just as you've said. Ben so wanted it finished, I couldn't bear for it to just waste away.

We called it the family heirloom as all of us had passed it around free, except for the large bills for whatever ailed it at that time. I would be grateful if you would come and look at it and discuss our options. Ben had two other projects, his Harley and his Fiesta. The Fiesta is a project his friends in the Ford club want to do, and his Harley will be going to Italy in September to a Harley meet with one of his friends. My phone no. is xxxxxxxxx or mobile xxxxxxxx. No rush but when you want to come look let me know and we can discuss the options. My main aim is for Ben's projects to be finished and loved.

Loraine
Read her answer to my Wife last night, who of course started bawling as it reminded her of her Mom passing. And she DEMANDED that i follow this through. For Ben, for Ben's Mum, (and for her Mom).

No pressure then!

I'll update the thread when i've been to see the Chief, know better what needs to be done, and whether i'll be helping them restore it, buying it or 'brokering it' to someone who can. I have said that a condition of sale to anyone else will be to restore it, and not part it or scrap it (though i have yet to see what shape the bodywork is in, my three were all FUBAR'ed by the tin worm).

ben.jpg  
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Unread 04-10-2013, 03:17 AM   #2
revelc
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1985 FSJ Wagoneer 
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tyler, Texas
Posts: 663
You should adopt the orphan, restore it, auction it off for research whilst just recouping what you'd need to cover the parts you purchased. I'm sure you could rally some Jeepers together for a helping hand and raffle it or auction it after sharing its background and where the money is going to.

Just an idea.
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Unread 04-10-2013, 08:04 AM   #3
super98lsc
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Join Date: May 2006
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Ill donate to that cause! I have an old Stingray I purchased for my little brother while he was in high school. Later he couldnt afford to fix/keep up with the old Vette and it sat under a cover for years and years. I bought the car back from him with a secret plan of restoring it and returning it to him as a suprise and driving on the Hot Rod Power Tour together. Sadly he lost his life at only age 30 due to a heart attack. I am just now starting to work on the car again to finish it. Guess I lost my motivation for a while but I know he would want it done.
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Unread 04-10-2013, 08:29 AM   #4
revelc
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1985 FSJ Wagoneer 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by super98lsc
Ill donate to that cause! I have an old Stingray I purchased for my little brother while he was in high school. Later he couldnt afford to fix/keep up with the old Vette and it sat under a cover for years and years. I bought the car back from him with a secret plan of restoring it and returning it to him as a suprise and driving on the Hot Rod Power Tour together. Sadly he lost his life at only age 30 due to a heart attack. I am just now starting to work on the car again to finish it. Guess I lost my motivation for a while but I know he would want it done.
A heart attack at 30?!
That is wild, Super. That's so young :0

I am sure it will be cool to see the corvette have a second chance.
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Wag Rebuilt 360, 260H, 727, Locked 44, AMC 20, 208, 31" M/T's, 4" Rustys, 2.5" Duals. SOON:SOA SF, 496, T400, Doubler, D60's, 37" M/T's <-TOY
Cherokee Rebuilt 360, 2" Duals, mostly stock. SOON: Hot Street 401, 4'' Rustys, 33" BFG A/T's maybe a T-case to get rid of Q-Track <-TOW RIG
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Unread 04-10-2013, 05:34 PM   #5
Saul32
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1988 FSJ Wagoneer 
 
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Quite the story. I hope you can find someone in the UK to help you restores Bens Cherokee. Keep us posted and bmp let us know how we may be able to help as well.
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Unread 04-11-2013, 02:13 AM   #6
ukjeeper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by super98lsc View Post
Sadly he lost his life at only age 30 due to a heart attack.
Lost my Sister when she was 25. Know where you're coming from.
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Unread 04-11-2013, 02:15 AM   #7
ukjeeper
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1991 YJ Wrangler 
 
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Location: Essex, UK.
Posts: 85
Thanks all. I'll know more when i go and see the Chief.
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Unread 04-16-2013, 01:53 AM   #8
ukjeeper
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1991 YJ Wrangler 
 
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Location: Essex, UK.
Posts: 85
Been out to meet Tony and Loraine (Ben's Parents), looked over the Chief, and had a long talk with them about what the future holds. The result of this is that they have now given me Ben's Jeep (AKA "Freddie").

Quite a bit to be done, first of which, and most important is to repair the roof. It has several rust holes that will need to be cut out and patched ('filler' is not an option). The roof bars and strips are not on the Jeep, and the area's around the bolt holes are quite well rusted. Also the edges of the roof above the drivers and passenger door, along with a small area at the front over the windshield are dissolved.


However... All of the bodywork below the gutters and down, is pristine. The fenders, wheel arches (inside and out), door frames, tailgate, and floor pans are perfect. No visible damage. Underbody still has good underseal, the fuel and brake lines show no corrosion, frame is good (except a bit of surface rust at the front frame horns). Chrome bumpers have no peeling or bubbling. Weather strips around glass is good. Rear window goes down, AND UP without tilting (though i didn't go all the way down). Rubber strips along bottom of drivers, rear, passenger windows is perished though. No visible bubbling around tailgate hinges, but didn't get chance to check hinge "stickiness" as we didn't move the Jeep from out of the garage (no battery).

As there wasn't a battery we didn't get a chance to fire it up, but the history of the engine is that it was basically rebuilt a few years back after a shop screwed up a rebore. There's Edelbrock parts bolted on (valve covers, air filter and probably carb. Two barrel).

Looked though the 'new parts' box. There were two of the window bases (that the windows sit in), but no guides, a fuel guage sender unit, and new (square) headlights. Looks like he was planning on going HID as well.

Must have been a 'base model' perhaps all three windows are hand cranked, not electric (rear window handle chrome is also good). Drivers seat fabric is split, but he has a pair of Recaros to go in there.

No pics unfortunately (yet) as the garage has about 18" on one side, and 12" on the other (UK garage size!), so not enough room. Once i find a body shop willing to take on the work, and drag it outdoors, i'll get the camera.
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Unread 04-16-2013, 06:56 AM   #9
88wood
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 76
Good luck with the new project. I am sure that his family appreciates all that your doing to rehab the Jeep. I will be following your thread to see the progress. Good luck.
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Unread 04-16-2013, 02:25 PM   #10
ukjeeper
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1991 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Essex, UK.
Posts: 85
Went back today to take pics:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukjeepe...7633258586275/

There's a hole in the top of the left front fender that i didn't notice the first visit, as well as a small hole in the base of the wing. However neither hole has gotten into the seams/joins, so should be easy to fix...

Also tried to start it. Unsuccessfully. Something clicks under the hood, but it's not the solenoid . Not enough time to troubleshoot. Ben's Mum is on crutches, but came to the garage to unlock it, and was standing there while i poked around.
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Unread 04-26-2013, 07:36 AM   #11
ukjeeper
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1991 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Essex, UK.
Posts: 85
Updates:

Someone swooped in and made a cash offer on an Ebay Golden Eagle SJ , 5 hours before the auction finished. Was going to use the roof and left front fender to repair the Chief (was of the GE was toast).

However, the seller has given my email address to the buyer. They only want the engine, so bodywork is still possible.

Also, have another roof being offered (from a '78 Cherokee 4 door). Have a 500 round trip road trip to to get it though.

Going up over the weekend to help Ben's Mom dig out all of the paperwork and misc parts and maybe work on the Jeep.

Going up again next week with the Jeep mechanic mate to get it started if i fail at the weekend.

And finally, moving it to another friends place, much nearer to me (big barn, with electricity). Just have to find a car transporter. (selling my Cherokee at the weekend, hopefully, so i won't have a hauler for the trailer i normally use).

No big updates, just FYI.

Tim.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 11:39 AM   #12
WNC-84CJ7
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1984 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: 35*3'15"N 83*12'8"W
Posts: 802
Awesome, sad, but awesome story. Glad Freddie is going to someone who knows its background, and will respect the project. Good luck Tim.
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