As promised, here are some before/after/during shots of my brake work. Not very glamorous, but well worth the time & effort I put into it.
I took the TJ in bone stock form (with a few small pieces of armor) out to Rausch Creek and I’d like to say it did really well save one issue that revealed itself. The bushings in the rear control arms are all so shot that the rear end jiggles something fierce on off camber trails and the rear locker won’t kick on (pretty sure that’s a shot vacuum pump). Other than those issues, it actually did really great! Can’t wait to build it up a little more b/c it really needs a smidge more clearance.
When you wheel a non lifted Jeep, every thing that hangs down from the frame is going to take a beating and the lower control arm mounts are no exception. The stock mounts (left) are not the strongest metal to begin with and it only takes a few rocks to cause enough damage to make changing out a control arm a challenging task. So, before you go, armor those LCA mounts up! I’ve selected a set from Synergy Manufacturing. This weld on skid comes as a pair of angled steel plates that protect and strengthen the LCA mounts. I touched them up with a little rattle can black after the welds cooled off and was ready to hit the trails!
After almost 2 months of being Jeepless, I could take it no longer so I took to the internet, and wouldn’t you know it… a 2006 bone stock TJ Rubi popped up in the search only a few hours from me! After a few phone calls, I grabbed a trailer and went to take a look in person. Despite a little surface rust (it’s only surface rust, right? Right?), the body looked good, the motor pulled strong, the transmission was solid, the clutch didn’t slip, the t-case shifted smoothly, and the lockers kicked on (well, the front one did. The rear… that’s hopefully an easy project tracing some loose wiring), the tires are brand spanking new, and its SILVER! After a little haggling, we agreed on a price (I still think I overpaid TBH), the seller helped me load it up and I hit the road with my new rig in tow!
It feels good to get back to basics. Older Jeeps are so simple and utilitarian that it’s honestly quite refreshing. No dig on the JK/JKU, they are fantastic machines, but they are a much more complicated animal. Sure, this is an older Jeep and there are bound to be a few things here and there that I’ll need to fix, but it’s an 11 year old vehicle so some repairs are to be expected. All in all, I’m excited about this new project and already have a few small mods in shipping!
Just in case I haven’t mentioned this before, this thing is AMAZING in the snow! I did a few good deeds pulling people out of ditches, up hills, out of snow drifts, shuttling to hospitals and dropping off stranded travelers during the recent snow storm. I only wish the snow was around longer. Love the stuff!
Let it be known that I love snow. A fresh snowfall makes even the most drab locations look amazing! Luckily for me, my local off-road park got dumped on the week leading up to this last wheeling trip. With wind chill at a balmy 4 degrees below zero, we set out to break ground on the fresh snow.
Wheeling anything but green trails quickly proved futile, as you can see below. I was the first to break out the winch to pull myself back up this short hill climb. There was simply no room to get a running start at the bottom of the hill and once on the incline, there was no traction to be had. Little did I know that was just the start of our winching for the day. Everyone’s (mine included) winches got quite the workout today.
I won’t bore you with hours of trail details and winching, but needless to say it was an amazing day of wheeling and recovery. Only one trail break (an LJ sheared off a good chunk of their front U-joint) makes for a killer day in the woods.