Saturday, September 20, 2008

A funny thing happened when I went to Europe, and came home to find the rednecks have nearly taken over. No, don't get me started on the election.

Wow, it's been months since my last post. I've been working overseas, and busy as a ... well, busy.

One of the strange twists of fate about this project has been that I didn't want my car to sit around. So I gave my mom my 05 Audi a4 special edition. It's been tinted out with custom wheels. Just the thing for a 70+ lady to hit the AKA and Boulé meetings in. That's my mom for you - she loves to see the jaws drop.

Anyway, so I came back earlier than I thought. I wanted to get back around Thanksgiving, and pick up a sports car, but life kind of got lived there for a minute, and here we are. So we needed something now, and we actually settled on a Jeep.

I used to build 4x4s for fun a long time ago, and I'd forgotten why I got out of it. Now I remember - it's the assholes. I went looking on Petersen's forums for some build tips, and got so frustrated that I wrote the following diatribe - I was/am so upset that I figured I'd repost here, thus this entry


I've got to say I hope most of this is just some testosterone fueled chest beating, and we'll get back to the learning part in a minute.

I grew up with willys, broncos, power wagons, and harvesters. I've wrenched K5s, and SJs mainly, and admit to owning a couple of xterras. They were all good at different things. The garage is a tool-box - you get the tool you need to do the job. If you don't have it, you ask a friend.

What I'm hearing is that we've all kind of forgotten that we don't all have the same jobs to do, and so it's kind of a my hammer's better than your hammer thing, when my hammer's not a hammer at all, it's a screwdriver. Or maybe even a level. I'm also hearing that we may have forgotten that we just need a claw-hammer, not necessarily a sledge. Lastly, I'm hearing that we've all gotten fed up with ALL the manufacturers for selling us tools, for whatever purpose, that are cosmetic and unreliable.

All of that to say this - I'm the guy you're all getting down on. With a lot of hesitancy about Chrysler, I just bought a new ( to me ) jk 4x4, and I do think it's softer than I remember. I've got a day job, and I haven't been anywhere but down some powercuts yet. However, it's hard enough to get me and my kids to the camps, and I'm finding a lot of parts. My wife loves it. Time and spirit willing, it'll get me and my family out into the woods, and back again, and that's what it's supposed to do. So no, I probably wont build another crawler or mudder with it - I'll just drive it and replace the things I don't think are making the grade until it becomes the tool I need.

That's what I came to the forums for - to find people that know more about it than I do, so I can find the parts and techniques I need to make the truck do what I need it to do. If it's not capable, or I made a poor tool selection, I'll get something else. But unless someone misrepresented the capabilities of the tool I selected, you wont hear me complaining about that company. Nor will you hear me bad mouth anyone else's selection in return because it doesn't fit my needs.

One final thing before I get off my soapbox and we get back to learning - I haven't been around forever, but during my years, I've noticed that there is always someone that's better at "it" than I am. I can recall a particularly humbling experience where I couldn't get a jacked xterra up a narrow rocky arroyo. I tried a bunch of lines and none of them worked. My mechanic was out that day, and took my x through with no problems, then had me take his stock CJ through with him spotting the same line. I thought the jeep made it look easy, and I told him so. He told me the reason it looked easy from the jeep was because he'd been able to see me blow the line 6 times in the x and had figured it out.

Can we get back to figuring it out now ?

all works subject to copywrite. Anything here just reflects my mindset, not that of my friends, relatives, employers, etc.

1 comment:

David said...

Your spot on about the hillbilly 4x4 culture but in everything in life there is a snob class.

- There are the beer snobs "your drinking Budwiser???".
- The motorcycle snobs "I ride a Harley Davidson.".
- The Jeep snobs "I have a CJ... YeeHaw!".
- And the geek snob "I am a UNIX admin... I'm S000 L33t!".

I don't understand why Jeepers think the CJ is such a great vehicle other then nostalgia. The leaf springs outright suck, the 4 wheel drums suck, don't even get me started on body and frame rust problems. They are simple to work on, no computers or custom tools (What's up with all Torx screws on newer jeeps?).

On a different note, we should hit a few trails. I can give you coordinates to the Etowah indian seats. I just got my second set of Goodyear Wrangler MT/R's... got 50k miles on my last set, not bad for Mud Terrian tires.