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September 2008 Trail Head - Editorial

Posted in Features on September 1, 2008
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I'm an opinionated ass when it comes to Jeeps. And some of it doesn't make any sense at all. I mean, I'd rather have wrinkled and dented body panels than a smooth paint job hiding an overabundance of body filler. I hate excess in the form of doodads and trinkets but I love mechanical excess like big tires, Rockwell axles, and 1-ton transmissions. But there are some Jeeps that I simply don't like, and it's not because they came ugly from the factory, it's because the owner made them that way. So here's a list of things I hate and things I like to see on a Jeep.

Do: Run full sheetmetal on your Jeep and a bed on your pickup.
Don't: Build a flatbed or back-half and tube-out the rear of your Jeep. It never looks as good as the factory lines.

Do: Build a vintage Jeep.
Don't: Put a vintage Jeep body on a modern 4x4 chassis.
Really don't: Put a car body on a Jeep chassis.

Do: Swap in an auto tranny in place of a weaker factory transmission.
Don't: Replace a perfectly good manual truck transmission (T-18, SM420, SM465, NV4500, and so on) with an automatic tranny. Jeeps are supposed to have manual transmissions.

Do: Run a small lift and cut the fenders to fit bigger tires for a low-slung stable Jeep.
Don't: Run the biggest lift you can get to keep tires from rubbing your uncut fenders.
Really Don't: Cut and lift so much that it leaves enough space for roaming gypsy midgets to have a picnic in your wheelwells.

Do: Install a well-built rollcage in your Jeep.
Don't: Build an exo-cage.
Really don't: Use Schedule 40 or any pipe for that matter. Pipe is for poop.

Do: Add subtle, tasteful, and useful exterior accessories to your Jeep.
Don't: Bolt on a bunch of crap that you don't need or even use because you think it looks cool.

Do: Name your Jeep if you feel the need to do so.
Don't: Paint or sticker the name across the hood or on the tailgate.
Really don't: Paint murals on your Jeep or spare tire cover. Especially the kind that have your Jeep in them.

Do: Match your tire height to wheel size.
Don't: Run wheels larger than 17s unless you're rolling on 44-inch or bigger rubber.

Do: Add beef to your Jeep where it's needed.
Don't: Randomly overbuild and attach obese accessories like train-rail bumpers unless you really plan on hitting 1,000-pound animals.

Do: Keep tasteful stickers to a minimum.
Don't: Plaster your Jeep like a race car.
Really don't: Slap on fake bullet holes or stickers that say, "If you can read this roll me over," especially if you've never been shot at or upside down in your Jeep.

Do: Add the proper stinger bumper to protect your grille in a rollover.
Don't: Put a huge stinger on a near-stock Jeep.

Do: Add thicker material to potentially dented areas like rockers and corners.
Don't: Use diamond-plate, it's for loading ramps on trailers.

Do: Send hate mail about my list.
Don't: Bother trying to convince me I'm wrong.
-John Cappa

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