So, a few off-roading trips, a Jeep show and many conversations with those in the know
has led me to reevaluate my original thoughts on the perfect Jeep for me. I once had high hopes and strict guidelines that seem to relax a little more each day. I wanted to revisit that original list of requirements and update you on where I stand with each now...
The original list, then & now...
TJ:The thinking then
: Despite Mike's undying love of his XJ, I want the openness of a Wrangler. I just can't afford a JK. I don't think I have the skills to restore and modify a CJ, but someday I will. So, the decision between TJ and YJ came down to the TJ's move away from the leaf spring suspension -- coils just provide a much smoother ride on the highway. Less importantly, I prefer the look of the round headlights.The thinking now
: I still want a Wrangler -- 4-wheeling for me serves the same purpose as backpacking or kayaking, getting outside and enjoying nature. It's more enticing to have an open top and no doors. I still can't afford a JK. I'm loosening up on accepting a YJ or CJ into my life. I assumed that all CJ's would be pretty little collectors' item -- no abuse allowed. There's only a limited number left and you have to take care of the ones still in existence, right? So wrong. I have gotten to see some beautiful CJ's tear up the trail and no one cares if they get a little trail pinstriping. They are also not all in such bad shape that the offer of beer and pizza to anyone who wanted to help couldn't get one trail ready.
On the matter of YJ's, they certainly can be found for a lot less money -- a big plus in my book right now. I can also learn to live with the differences in suspension. My Subaru will still be responsible for most long-haul trips, like visiting my sister or brother in Boston. The Jeep will of course, do most of the short hauls. I can live with a lesser suspension over a few miles. As for the 2-3 hours it takes to get to a good off-road trail, I can suck it up. A girl can suck up just about anything on a trail ride day! I have also grown really fond of square headlights. Maybe it's because of some things I've seen YJ's do on the trail, maybe it's my new love of classic Jeeps. Whatever it is, they just look cool -- sometimes you don't need to think about things any more deeply than that!Manual Transmission:The thinking then
: Definitely a personal choice thing. Lots of people on different boards swear by their automatic transmission, but there's just so much more control with a manual. NB: Automatic transmission are more expensive to replace.The thinking now
: Alright, so not everything's changed. I still feel like a stick is where it's at. I've watched my JonFund friends do some amazing things just by manipulating the clutch and never touching the gas or break.Never Been Off-Road:The thinking then
:If you've already beaten it up off road, I don't want it. I want to be the one to beat it up! I've become extremely wary of tow hooks and lifts, even if I know they were only added for show.The thinking now
:Was I completely mental or just naive? Money's tight and modifications are expensive. Yes, I have some good connections that can get me parts at a discount rate. Yes, I know people who will give their time to help do work in exchange for beer and pizza
. Unfortunately, even the cost of cheap parts and victuals adds up. My first rig -- and all subsequent rigs, of course -- but especially my first rig will get beat to hell as I really learn how to drive off-road. All the observation hours in the world won't actually get me ready to drive on my own. There is no limit to the amount of beatings a good Jeep can take, especially if it gets a little love in between. I'm over it. Not to say that someday, when money springs eternal, I won't take a pristine, stock Jeep and modify the poop out of it, then gladly showing off each and every piece of damage like it was a child I had produced from my loins. I've said in the past that I like a car with some history, what's better history than a lifetime of wheeling?6 Cylinder Engine: The thinking then
: Bad ass girls drive bad ass toys.
Enough said.The thinking now
:Other than the correction you all gave me about I vs. V, this one hasn't changed either. The difference in power really can be the deciding factor between owning an obstacle or the obstacle owning you; I've seen it first hand.