Deadlines are brutal. Deadlines don't care whether you're tired, hungry, happy, sick, or healthy. Relief sets in when a deadline is successfully met, but the relief is short-lived - another deadline looms in a week or less. All too often, we find ourselves slaving to satisfy the demands of the deadlines and having to neglect what we'd rather spend our time and energy on: our project trucks.
We've got several projects in various states of tune and usefulness. Some are driveable, while others are laid up for major surgery. Rather than present a full-blown feature on each of our projects, we wanted to bring a brief rundown to this month's pages. With every issue, we'll expound on each project as it progresses. Our ultimate goal? We want each and every one of these trucks ready to capably hit the dirt on any given day. If this reports seems too brief, forgive us - we've got a deadline to meet.
Phil's Project YJ WranglerWe have four truck projects going on, so we thought we'd do a Jeep Wrangler project to appeal to those who like to go slower on trails. Phil found a derelict '94 YJ Wrangler sitting with non-matching tires (31s and 225s), ripped seats, broken seat bracketry, a broken steering column, numerous electrical problems, and a few dents here and there. Someone had stolen the top and all the top paraphernalia and even took the half doors. In other words: It's perfect!
The YJ is equipped with an MPI four-cylinder and an automatic, which make it laughably slow on the highway. At least it gets really bad fuel economy. The plans at this time are for a Generation III Chevrolet V-8; 4L60-E automatic; Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case; Dynatrac ProRock 60 front and rearends; Warn heavy-duty axles and other pieces; Rockworx suspension that will change the leaf springs to a linked suspension with coilovers; new seats, bracketry, and numerous other parts from 4 Wheel Drive Hardware; and so on.
Phil repaired the non-functioning brake and taillights, as well as got the engine running fairly well (it was gummed up and had clogged injectors from sitting so long). The battery and cables were in bad shape, so they were addressed. The steering column is being repaired with OE parts from Mopar. While great things are in store for this Jeep, it's a blast to drive right now. Actually, we'd forgotten how much fun you can have with a stock Wrangler that you really don't have to worry about. Can you say t-h-r-a-s-h? Anyway, when it's done, this YJ will be a world-class Jeep that will work great on- and off-road. Keep reading as this project gets going and we even think of a name for it.