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The Need For Bubble Wrap - Trail Head

Posted in News on December 22, 2014
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This editorial might be kind of gruesome at the beginning. You might want to skip ahead if you are squeamish, but I find the whole thing sort of funny. I haven’t been OK to go to a public pool for as long as I can remember. It has to do with that “no open wounds” clause in the rules (that’s not the gruesome part). You see, it has been decreed by basically everyone that knows me that I am no longer allowed to get out of bed without first wrapping myself with bubble wrap and putting on my helmet. Apparently, a padded room wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

The problem is I have this tendency to hurt myself. Often, it is just a cut or a scrape, but it happens so often, I hardly even notice anymore. OK, that’s not strictly true. I usually never notice until someone asks why I’m bleeding, and it doesn’t even have to be strictly working on Jeeps. However, if I’m spinning wrenches, it is almost guaranteed I’ll cut myself open at some point between taking the wrenches out and putting them back away again. I accepted it a long time ago and basically pay no attention to it until I see a blood trail. As you might imagine, I buy Band-Aids in bulk. I can also, more often than not, accurately judge how many stitches a particular wound is going to require if one were to go to the hospital.

The reason I bring all this up is that, as you know, when wrenching on your own junk, things rarely, if ever, go as planned. Let me tell you, it gets even worse when you are photographing and taking notes at the same time. But, the point being, this past weekend, I got to squeak a few hours in to spin some wrenches on some of my Jeeps. I replaced the power steering line in the ZJ and fixed the overhead thermometer. I found the loose lower control arm in the JK and fixed it. I re-spooled the winch line on the TJ and even messed with the steering and radiator on the flattie.

I don’t know about you guys, but any time I set out to do multiple small projects like that on a given weekend, I find myself frustrated at the end of the weekend, because I only actually accomplish a small fraction of what I set out to do. Maybe the winch controller went missing (by some miracle that wasn’t the problem this time). Maybe the power-steering hose was the wrong one (it was, but I made it fit). Maybe you chase that lower control arm, but the rear arm you were so sure was going to be loose turned out to be a front one that was really the loose one (it was, but hey, I needed to make sure they were all tight anyway).

Over the course of two days, I cut open three knuckles, split my lip, pulled a 3⁄4-inch-long piece of metal from under one of my nails, and split my shin open on a trailer hitch. But for all that, I actually got done what I was trying to get done. Who cares if a little blood is spilled on the Jeeps when the wrenching schedule actually goes according to plan? So for me, that was a good weekend of wrenching. I got everything done I set out to do.

That all kind of segues nicely into a few of the stories we’ve accumulated here for you all this time around. Simons overcame his incorrect rocker arms and got the Pig Truck engine back up and running for a 47 percent increase in power before tuning. Mansour picked up a new-to-him LJ from the rusty Southeast and uses it to show you guys some things to look for when buying a used Jeep. He also has a piece on how to deal with rusty Jeeps, with some tricks and tips about how to work on them.

We’ve got the Disposable Hero, the Garage Built Flattie, and Wicked Willys all back in this issue. And, if that wasn’t enough, you have event coverage from me freezing my stones off out in Colorado in 16-degree weather with 50-mph winds. Maybe you like seeing me suffer as much as my friends like laughing at my suffering. If so, enjoy. Catch you all next time.

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