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Long-Term Updates - October 2012

Posted in How To on October 1, 2012
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Go Ahead—Ask Us!

What do you want to know about? Is there something we tried out in the pages of this magazine that you would like to know more about? Send an email to and we’ll make sure we get you an answer.

Earthquake Impact

We picked up this inexpensive 1/2-inch impact gun from Harbor Freight about six months ago. It’s still running strong…and more notably running strong for us at night. You see, there is not much that can be more annoying to neighbors at 10 p.m. than an air compressor and an impact gun (we’ve heard the complaints). This Central Pneumatic Earthquake impact gun is a lot quieter than conventional impacts guns—quite a bit quieter, actually. In fact, we haven’t heard a peep out of our neighbors since we switched over to the Earthquake impact gun for night use.

$3K Thrillride XJ

After our $3K Thrillrides stories, we got a lot of great and positive feedback. In fact, we plan to do it again soon…just as soon as we find a few bucks and a bunch of time to pull it off! In the meantime, we thought you might be interested in how the $3K XJ is doing. Our ’88 Jeep XJ that was built nearly two years ago was made topless. Living in the desert Southwest affords us plenty of mild weather to make this practical. We did fabricate a simple bikini top for those warmer summer months.

The 4.0L engine and AW4 auto tranny just keep plugging along and we’re pleased at how well they turn the BFGoodrich 33x10.50R15 All-Terrains with the factory 3.55 axle gearing. The 3-inch suspension lift provides decent ground clearance and articulation in the dirt so mild trails are not a problem. The XJ also cruises on the highway at 65-plus mph with no problem. We’ve done some maintenance, as one might expect on a rig with 150,000 miles, but the need hasn’t been excessive. We had a water-pump failure and chose to replace the radiator at the same time to update the cooling system. We also replaced all the aged front suspension bushings and tie rods to tighten up the frontend as we were starting to get some vibration over stutter bumps.

Older Jeep Cherokees are still widely available for under a grand. We think our modified XJ project shows this Jeep model continues to be a good candidate for a budget build, yet still has plenty of future upgrade potential.

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