Everything looks better in red even shocks

I’ll be the first to admit shock absorbers are not the most glamorous part on a Jeep, but this week that’s exactly what were talking about. A little while back I put a fresh coat of emergency-red spray paint on my shocks. Why red? Everything is more glamorous in red. Yes, even shock absorbers. I’d been…

On rust patrol, going to war on the red rot

4x4s are designed to take a beating; for this reason, most are still made from steel. Steel skid plates protect vulnerable parts like your engine and fuel tanks from rocks and other hazards. The problem with steel is, if left unprotected, it rusts. When the bare metal is exposed to the elements, that gritty-red rot we call…

The Wrangler is back with a new heart

Project Wrangler is back, complete with a new factory-built engine banging away quietly under the hood. My Jeep has a new heart. After almost three weeks of extensive engine repairs, Fiat Chrysler had finally authorized the new engine. Within days of receiving authorization, I had my Jeep was back. No more ticking, tocking or knocking,…

Is the Wrangler dead? Repairs threaten project’s future

No, the Wrangler isn’t dead, at least not yet, but Project Wrangler is on hold. It’ll stay in a state of suspended animation until I get my Jeep back from the dealer. The last two weeks it has undergone extensive engine repairs, thankfully all under warranty. The dealership has been great so far, but it’s a slow process…

The dreaded Pentastar tick makes a ruthless return

The Jeep is back at the dealer this week where it is undergoing open heart surgery for the second time in three months. The tick, tick, tick of my Jeep’s ill-fated Pentastar returned Monday, louder than ever. While out on an assignment for the paper Monday, I felt the engine shudder and heard the faint…

Is less more? Why downsizing can the be right solution

The space in my trunk where a great big footlocker containing all my camping gear, tools, and other equipment now sits empty. Actually, I can’t remember the last time my trunk was empty that thing was always in there. Removing the foot locker was a difficult decision. Throughout my childhood, this same footlocker, packed with everything…

How much did we accomplish? Project Wrangler 2016

My Wrangler has changed quite a bit since we first drove it off the lot back in March 2016. Costly maintenance put a damper in my plans for a small lift, bigger tires, steel bumpers and a roof rack. Countless trips to the dealership and mechanics revealed a laundry list of repairs. Some of the repairs…

Project Wrangler to focus on overland travel in 2017

I’ve learned a lot in the last few months, I’ve made some mistakes, like when I almost put my Wrangler into a ravine, or when I found myself surrounded on either side by mud-bogged Jeeps during a trail ride. Obviously, I still have a lot to learn and plenty of mistakes to be made. Probably…

The terrible tick – I’ve got the dreaded Pentastar tick

“Tick, tick, tick, tick,” this is is the sound my Wrangler’s engine was making this week when I dropped it off at the dealership Wednesday. I was concerned my Jeep had developed the notorious Pentastar tick, a loud knocking sound that resonates from the left side of the engine. Reportedly the left cylinder bank was…

Project Wrangler: Swapping the springs

Last weekend, I manged to complete the suspension overhaul on my Wrangler I started back in August. Ever since I got my Jeep back in March, I’ve had no end of suspension trouble. I’ve had everything from bad shocks to bent steering components. With the availability of perfectly good take-off parts available on the cheap, I…

How I rebuilt my Jeep’s suspension on the cheap

This summer, I started picking away at my Jeep’s suspension. When I bought my Wrangler this past spring, with a little over 50,000 miles on it, I knew that there was a good chance I’d need to do some work on it before long. I never thought I’d end up doing so much work on it…

How we found the best off-road bumper for our rig

It wasn’t until recently that I started thinking about swapping my Jeep’s lightweight plastic bumper for one better suited for the off-road abuse I was likely to experience while wheeling. I wanted something that looked good, would improve my clearances and allow me to modify my Jeep in the future. Before we go any further, I…