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January 1998 Reader's Rigs

1997 Jeep Wrangler Tj
Posted January 1, 1998

Load Of Rad Rigs

Best Photo Award
Barry Kenimer could well work for Toyota, the way he speaks about his " '94Runner,'' but the Montrose, Colorado, resident has a completely different job. While the wagon looks relatively stock (very easy to see, thanks to the way-good photo), Barry included a chock-full spec sheet. Mostly, it contains "all the good stuff,'' such as synthetic lubes, gearing, high-angle CV joint boots . . . things that aren't necessarily visible, but can make a big difference in performance and longevity.

Instant Heroine
"I don't know if people are more surprised about seeing a new TJ on the trail, or a woman behind the wheel,'' writes Hilary Pounds of Las Vegas, Nevada. Many of the mods on the '97 are the proven ones as shown on Four Wheeler's Project "Teal J,'' and Hilary claims to have done most the work herself-except welding on the exhaust. We wonder if the vehicle is really quiet now, which would explain the windshield decal.

Comfy Cruiser
After only a $4,500 investment, Jaren Paulson may have a luxo four-by that puts the new, ten-times-more-expensive SUVs to shame. With a '78 Lincoln Towncar perched atop Dana 44 front and 14-bolt rear axles, with an NP 205 in between, there's certainly enough mechanical beef. Moving all the leather and electric everything around Gratiot, Wisconsin, is a built 460 and a C-6. If that's not enough to make some high-end SUV owner envious, consider also that Jaren mounted the trunk lid with pins to enable using the fifth-wheel hitch.

From Rust To Ready
Hancock, Michigan, winters probably played a role in the need for Todd Sturm to fix up his '87 GMC. Replacing rust with fresh metal and paint was but one aspect of Todd's "What I did on my summer vacation'' project. Now sporting 4.11:1 gears (rather than 3.08:1s) in the 10-bolt axles, the Jimmy's mildly tweaked 350, TH 700R4, and NP 208 are surely much happier turning 35-inch tires-and the need for the Warn 8000 should have diminished accordingly.

Still Going Strong
Almost seven years ago, David Cox of Odon, Indiana, refurbished his $1,400 CJ-5. Since the 304-motorvated '78 still looks very clean, David and his father-in-law must've done a good job. What really caught our attention was that this near-restoration (wheels, Rosser seats, and a dual exhaust deviate) was sent in when David was 58 years old. Happy 59th, David, and many more for you and your Jeep.

Pet Of The Month
Robbie is one lucky dog, getting to ride in the cush bed of Ken Svercl's Ram 1500. A 60-gallon auxiliary tank makes long drives from Rawlings, Wyoming, more feasible, and the fiberglass shell atop the 360-powered '96 keeps the 3-year-old Lab comfy and confined. According to Ken, her favorite destination is Snowy Range, where there's snow to play in all year long for the proud pooch.

White Sand, Maybe
With North Miami Beach, Florida, as a home address, you know that Alejandro Berlusconi had to travel a bit to get snow under his '90 Toy. Sure enough, the photo was taken in Tennessee, back in '96. Although Alejandro had already attached numerous add-ons and extras, we doubt the 4Runner would approach the 10-ton limit of the bridge. But if it did, there seems to be sufficient sound equipment on board to bop it back up on the road.

Sub Zero
Happy Suburban owner David Bruckner submitted this '86 for Readers' Rigs, posed in the fluffy white stuff covering Omaha, Nebraska, last winter. David is the second owner of this Chevy, which still runs fine with over 135,000 on the ticker, thanks to good maintenance. However, the dismal 3.08:1 gearing (behind a 700R4, even) is on its way out in favor of 4.10:1s for better mileage and towing performance.

Snow Service
It'd been hard for Billy Fries to photograph his '92 Montero on anything but snow. Stationed in Keflavik, Iceland, Billy is probably almost sick of it by now, but he's having fun with the V-6 Mitsu, taking advantage of the available 'wheeling. With five psi in the 32s, he made it to near the top of Langjokull in the spring '96. Here, the four-door is shown about three feet above the permafrost.

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