Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Truck #5 - it will be a Jack of All Trades, Master of ALL!

After having my 4Runner locked up in divorce jail for over 2 years, I finally had the means to replace it.

Scanning Craigslist, I found a 2004 WJ Grand Cherokee Special Edition. It was charcoal, black/grey interior, CLOTH (no leather!!) and all the power goodies, but the seatbacks used a hand lever and the climate control was the less problematic version.

With no intent to buy it, I set out to look at it. It came with a cracked windshield, and - tho lifted - the tires rubbed when turned. While they said 285/75R16 on the sidewall, they were considerably shorter than those on the 4Runner - which measured a true 33". But it ran good, drove well, and - most importantly - only had 105K on the clock. The stereo was obviously upgraded (not just the deck) though the rear amp/speaker box were missing. They just take up space, so that was fine by me. The V8 made this much better to drive than my 2000 Cherokee (4.0 six) was.

The price started out higher than I wanted, but I found myself talking to a motivated seller and the price soon reached "If I don't buy this, I'm going to kick myself for years" levels. We struck a deal, money and title exchanged hands, and I was now the new, proud owner of my 5th offroad truck.

What had I done? LOL

Over the next few weeks, I found myself driving that truck everywhere. I've racked up 20K without trying. It's a great truck.

It came with about a 3" lift in the front and 2" spacers in the back.

Here's the vision and what I plan to be building - it needs to be a vehicle that will
- maintain creature comforts (AC, PW, PDL, etc.)
- perform very well on paved roads, including twisty roads.
- perform very well at high speed on race-level surfaces offroad
- perform very well when doing low speed offroad trips (rock crawling, etc.)
- seat 5
- pack all their gear in the back
- get reasonable MPG (15 or better in town, ideally 19+ highway)
- be reasonably fast

I'm sure I'll add to this list as I go, but that's what I've learned I like from my past trucks.
Happily, I still have the winch that graced 4 of them.

The blog starts well after the work did, so I have some catchup to do!

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