The penguin's motorcycling and Jeep blog

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Six Million err Thousand Dollar Jeep

"We have the technology, we can rebuild her."

As readers of my blog know, someone ran a red light in front of me and I t-boned him a couple of weeks ago. The right front corner of my Jeep was a mess and the steering box Pitman shaft sheared right off. But never fear, the Silver Demon is back on the road again:

Because the bumper was toast, I bought a cool Warn bumper. It cost the same amount as the OEM bumper but is much stouter. The fender is a new replacement, but rather than the OEM fender flare I bought some Bushwacker flat fender flares to replace the OEM's, this gives me more clearance under the fender for bigger tires and also some trick side running lights (DOT certified so they're street legal, don't worry). The fog light on that side was toast, so I bought some Hella 500 fog lights rather than an OEM replacement light, they actually use the same reflectors so that wasn't a big deal. I had my mechanic do most of this work because a body shop would have been utterly clueless.

I brought her home Thursday evening, and have spent most of this weekend going over her making sure everything's okay. I swapped out the lower control arms with some new JKS control arms and checked the OEM's to see if the impact had caused damage to the bushings, no, it hadn't. Doesn't appear to have hurt anything else either, the Jeep drives the same as it did before it got whacked. Jeeps are *tough*. Well, except for that OEM steering box, but I'm wondering if that fault line might not have been there on purpose so that if the wheel ever got a whack like that, it wouldn't cause the steering wheel to spin and break my fingers.

The shop mostly did things okay, but two things were wrong -- the wiring for the marker lights was reversed (so it would not blink when the lights were on), and the right marker light was hard-wired rather than having connectors (because the original wiring had been sheered off by the fender when it was crumpled). Easy fix for both. And the alignment shop did not center the steering wheel, grrr, but that was an easy fix too, just grab the spinner near the pitman arm and spin away (it doesn't affect alignment, just the centering of the steering wheel)... took me two tries, the first time was a little too far, the second try was successful, the only way to know whether it's okay is to drive it down the center of a straight road (so the crown doesn't make it want to go one way or another) and see whether the steering is straight, clearly the alignment shop didn't do that. Oh well!

Now to put the new (well, used, bought from someone else) Old Man Emu front springs on her to deal with the sagging front springs... I was going to do that today, but discovered that the new (well, used, being thrown away by work) workbench I'd put in my garage was too big and didn't give me enough room to jack the front of the Jeep up. I remedied that by shifting everything around to put the workbench in the corner, where it's now out of the way... but that ate up a bunch of my time, I have too much junk in my garage (for a definition of "junk" that is "tools and supplies"). And of course once I do that, I'll need to align the Jeep *again* and re-center the steering wheel *again*. Meaning I wasted my time centering it the first time, but what the hey, ain't the first time I've wasted my time ;).

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

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