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.
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!