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Jeeping Across America Part 3

Posted in Features on July 9, 2015
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Photographers: Rick Péwé

A little adversity never hurt anyone, much less a true Jeeper. Rain, snow, sleet, dark of night, or even breakdowns and stucks never stop us from wheeling or getting somewhere. Of course when major mechanical failure gets in our way, we reconfigure the situation and persevere.

Such is the case with our Jeeping Across America saga from Georgia to California in a loaner XJ Cherokee. A carpet fire in Alabama from a too- close to the floorboard muffler was extinguished and dealt with, but the death of the auto transmission was serious. Ultimate Adventure cronies Keith Bailey and Sam Gillis came to our rescue a mile from Mississippi and hauled us back to the Off Road Connection in Birmingham for a diagnosis.

Since the engine was flopping around without a tranny, we decided to replace the hashed motor mount on the left side. It's not supposed to be a two piece design as shown here.

The stock front control arms were all bent and mangled from the stolen Jeep jump-fest. While structurally somewhat sound, Keith replaced these dead units with good used ones from his abundant stock of used parts. It could only help the directional control and ride.

While we were underneath, Wayne noticed that the catalytic converter was plugged. He cut it out for a test tube until a cat could be sourced. We checked the muffler too- it was intact so it was moved an inch away from the floor.

Back at the Off Road Connection, Keith had assembled an army of after-hours help, as well as sourcing a junkyard tranny. Within a half hour the old tranny was out and displayed like a trophy trout.

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