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Jeep Cherokee XJ - That Time Of Year - 4Word

Posted May 1, 2005

A few days ago, as I laid down on my creepy crawler and slid under my Cherokee, I had the opportunity to think about a few things. Foremost on my mind was how wrong I had been to ever laugh at people who have heated garages. I admit that I've somehow always considered such a luxury to be, well, a little weak, as if a person who had such a thing must lack a certain toughness of mind and body.

Well, as I pulled myself up under the Jeep, dressed as I was in long johns, wool socks, Levis, hiking boots, a turtle-neck, a sweatshirt, a ski hat, and insulated Mechanix gloves, all in a valiant effort to stave off the freezing temperatures in that ice box I call a garage, I realized I was wrong. Having a heated garage does not come from weakness of character; it arises from having had to work in really cold garages with numb fingers, chattering teeth, and aching bones.

That settled, I got to work draining the oil and then pulling out a bad fuel pump. It's slow work that gives you plenty of time to think about things, if not to work up a sweat to fight off the cold that continues to seep past layer after layer of clothing. So, I naturally started making a mental list of all the things I needed to do on the old XJ before the spring four-wheeling season arrived.

Aside from all the preventative maintenance that I like to do on a regular basis, there are a number of parts sitting frozen in my garage right now that I need to get around to installing. There's the mostly built (but not quite) 44 rearend sitting in a corner that calls to me every time I walk by it. So far, I've managed to ignore it, though, pleading warmer days to my nagging conscience. There's the long-arm suspension, which I'm really looking forward to trying out, just as soon as it's all bolted on. And then there's the set of new seats that I feel certain will be far more comfortable than the current ones, what with the springs poking out and all. Of course, I haven't figured out how I'm going to bolt them to the stock seat mounts yet, or if that's even realistic.

But, as I write, spring isn't for another couple of months. So, I have time to think about what will work best and where I'd like to start. And if by then the weather has warmed a bit and that concrete floor isn't like a block of ice, well, I'll just have to learn to live with it.

Or I'll finally have to get that heated garage.

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