We last left our Cheap Truck Challenge CJ-7 project ("Reviving a CJ-7," Mar. '05) with a smoking engine and a few empty Corona bottles, but with a balance sheet showing only $32 spent for a running Jeep. Of course, I have a long way to go and only $1,468 left in the budget, but as usual, the plan didn't come about as I hoped. Lack of time is my biggest problem, but an hour here and there let me fiddle with stuff on the Jeep, and sometimes make it worse. I finally realized that certain items should be addressed, which meant spending some cash. Ick.
Time was also running out, as this pile had to lead the Cheap Truck Challenge, and I was nowhere near ready. I still needed an interior, a cooling system, front sheetmetal, a front axle, a major tune-up, some serious bodywork, and safety items. Not only that, the adapter between the trans and transfer case was broken so the mount was gone, and the tranny was full of Pepto Bismol-looking sludge. But a wheeling trip is worth any sacrifice, so I dug into the mess I had created to finish it, and make it to its first official run. Not only that, I still have some room in the budget for more Corona, just in case I need to pay off some buddies when it breaks down.