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Built, Not Bought - Catching Up (With Katie)

Levi JansmaPhotographerKatie JansmaWriter

I may or may not have this pet peeve. Alright, I do. I have seen many Jeeps that are built like if they don’t put everything on them, it will kill someone, and I have seen some that you know will get there, but they are taking their time. My question to you is do you build it or buy it? I personally think it should be built, not bought. I like having that pride in the back of my head, “Yeah, I did that”, not thanks Jack or whomever I sent it to. Yes, I have in the past sent my Jeep to be worked on by a shop and it cost me a lot more money and took longer to do in the end. If you have that kind of cash, you can go out and buy all the parts you want, have some shop install it, and the Jeep would still be awesome. Well, that gets into a whole another conversation. Cool, you worked hard for your money, but sending it to a shop is, well, a girl move. Please don’t tell me you don’t have the “time” to do it yourself. I work two jobs, raise two little girls and keep up with my “house wife duties” all at the same time. If you want it bad enough, it can happen.

Owning a Jeep is a never-ending project. We say we are done and then a company comes out with something cool or you know you need new shocks. My Wrangler has gone from “It will only get 35-inch tires” to “OK, I guess 37-inch tires will work.” This leads to more work and needing more things to finish it as a project. My Jeep is an extra kid, I swear. To fit 37-inch tires on a ’12 Wrangler, if you didn’t know, is a good afternoon worth of stuff to do. I had to cut my factory sliders in order for my rear tires to clear. I just used a chop saw and did a quick and simple cut. I then waited for it to cool off and filled off the rough edges. To finish them off, I spray-painted them to protect the bare metal from rusting. With the new wheels and tires from Pro Comp getting ready to be put on my ’12 Wrangler, I had a call into Metalcloak about taking a step more with my lift from them. Now for me a step more means new shocks. I ended up going with a set of Old Man Emu’s Nitrocharger Sport Long Travel Shocks. These shocks have an 18mm rod and a high-density polyethylene dirt shield, which is needed in my area! They also have a triple lip-check valve seal, 35mm high-flowing piston, and six-disc cylinder-end compression stack. Once I got them, I made sure to check their installation instructions to double check nothing has changed and that it would be a simple switch from factory shocks to the upgraded ones. I haven’t looked at them since I installed my lift last year, so seeing their new instructions for the first time was outstanding! Quick and simple.

I have heard people saying I can’t work on my Jeeps in my heels or I’m not a real Jeep girl. Well, let’s straighten it all out: I most certainly do work on my Jeeps, just not always in my heels. Yes, my husband has been known to help me out. Why you ask? I didn’t grow up with a Jeep family; I married into one. In the long run, I’m still learning, but at least I’m willing to learn and not being a stuck-up girly girl. Yes, I make funny faces when I get grease or gear oil on me—no one is perfect. In the end, I get the job done, whether it’s changing a tire or cutting something off my Jeep. The job is done, and all it cost me was my time.