So heres the gist of our last contest: Whats the worst mod youve ever made? Did you try and fit 44s without a lift? How about an engine "upgrade" youre still trying to learn to live with? What about a homemade widget that wasnt worth the effort? The best worst mod winner would score a pair of Mechanix Wear gloves! So who won and why? It was Bruce Robinson
"I listened to a buddy who told me to use the stock Mopar factory air conditioner as an air compressor. I added an air tank off a semi, put on a pop-off valve from one of those cheapy Freon tank-conversion kits, and used hydraulic hoses for the air lines. It worked alright until one day, I forgot to shut it off. As I went down the road, I found that the pop-off valve couldnt flow as much as the compressor could put out! I discovered this when the compressor locked up at about 3,000 rpm on a busy road in the downtrown district of the town I lived in.
"After the smoke cleared, I replaced the compressor, put a larger flow valve in, and wired an amber light hooked through a flasher unit. Then I mounted it on my dash so I would always be reminded of when it was on. No more problems after that.
"Oh, by the way, when I checked the pressure gauge after the compressor locked up, it was sitting at a little over 300 pounds of pressure! Lucky me!"
Our runner-up, who scores a pair of Four Wheeler license plates and a sticker, is Rick Beckett, who says: "To make a short story long, the day came when it was one of East Texas' worst ice storms. The tires I had on my Jeep didn't give any traction. So, after a small party around the bonfire, we came up with the stupidest idea I have yet to come up with. I used to do contract labor for chicken-house builders, and I built feed bins. I had a box full of long washered sheetmetal screws, so we decided to make "ice tires." I got the idea from those guys up north racing motorcycles on frozen ponds with spiked tires.
"We used crimpers for the point sticking out of them to make a tight seal, and decided that those and two tubes of ATV tire sealer would hold the air. That seemed to work fine for the first mile or two. But then as we were driving around, a sliding car bolted right in front of us and my first impulse was to stomp on the brakes. With that hard brake, I ripped some of the bolts out of the front tires and lost all traction. I missed the car that was in front of us but then hit an unsuspecting salt truck.
"All that, and I also got a ticket for driving on illegal tires."
And then we have other notable worsts we wanted to mention:
"We did lots of fender work to fit 35s. My dad and I cut and welded for a couple days, then went and actually bought the new tires. But we didnt have nearly enough room to steer the beasts, so after wed welded and primed everything, we had to get out the saw and start again." --Bryon Bromley
"My dad wired my exhaust pipe to the leaf spring and axle on my Bronco, and one of the U-bolts cut some good gashes into my tire. I didn't find out about this until I went mud-riding. The pipe got completely crushed and caused a short loss of power, and it took about 45 minutes to get the pipe unstuck--while I was in mud!"--Jason Christie
"I temporarily had the wires for my off-road lights running through the sliding rear window, hooked up to a switch in the dash. When I flipped on the switch, not only did I notice the lights not go on but the wires began to pop and smoke. By the time I reached for the switch it was too late--the wires were melting and the drivers seat was on fire. Im glad I checked the lights then and not while I was driving!"--Nick Woolsey
And now, for the new contest. Complete this sentence: "In a pinch, I used...."
This could refer to the most creative on-the-trail repair, or a temporary fix that has lasted for five years. It could be clever usage of a Hi-Lift, a Vice-Grip, duct tape...well, you get the picture. Up for grabs is the 2001 Top Truck Challenge video series and Four Wheeler plates, awarded to the best usage of something used not as intended by its maker.
E-mail your submission, including your name and mailing address, to: In a Pinch, I Used... (you can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, but you must make your subject line "In a Pinch, I Used...").