Preparing the Jeep - OR - Does it really need all of that Off Roading Equipment?
Because we already had it the first step was: Preparation of the Jeep
Bill has spent a good amount of time since the beginning of the year making modifications to the 2005 Jeep Liberty (that we call Willie because of the spare tire cover - I keep threatening to paint braids on it) that we will tow with us.
We actually bought Willie last year to tow behind us while we toured the eastern United States for the summer. But once we started talking about driving down the Pan American Highway again he thought of several things he would like to do or add to it
We had already put the black sheep skin seat covers on and had tinted the windows with limousine tint (very very dark - legal here in Vegas.) I watch people look at us and wonder what crazy person is driving THAT. The decals on the side were done before last summer’s trip too, they match our Alfa motorhome - they won’t be changed as they are close enough to the design on the Mirada motorhome.
The CB and antenna had already been installed and used last summer.
One of the first things he wanted to change were the tires, he wanted more “aggressive” ones. But then he thought about it and decided that he wanted bigger tires too. So that involved several trips to the off-road store = Bill's toy box. He talked himself into putting on a three inch “lift kit” this would be needed to accommodate the bigger tires. Then they would need mud flaps to protect the traffic behind us.
With the lift kit and new tires Willie now needed heavy duty off-road shocks.
And of course while at the "toy box" Bill picked up one of their catalogues and brought it home to study.
One nice calm day Bill came up to me catalogue in hand and said, “Look at this, they can install skid plates and put a metal case around the gas tank to protect it. That would be good to have when we're off-roading.”
“Do we really need something as drastic as that?” I foolishly asked.
“Well remember that road in Arizona we took to go to the Indian ruins. The one you said wasn’t supposed to be bad. It had rocks on it big enough to punch a hole in a tank.”
“Yes, but you just drove around them remember.”
“Now I won’t have to.” was the response.
After some days of drooling over the catalogue he took it back and had a super charged intake manifold put on it. And with that there was a new exhaust system installed too. Now it growls as we start down the highway. A nice throaty growl. He says it has more power too. Me, I just like the sound of the growl! Also added the skid plates and gas tank protection. While it was already there.
It rides good and sounds good now - so what else was in that catalogue. Hmmmm.
Ah, a set of four PIAA off-road light set on a light bar over the front bumper. Then of course fog lights and new back up lights. Then the back up lights had to have guards around them. Don’t want to break them when we pass through the dense vegetation as we are off-roading.
Off- roading - humm - that could scratch the paint couldn’t it. We needed to protect the bumpers and fenders. How to do that? Oh check out that TV commercial for the stuff that is put in pickup truck beds. It coats and protects . Wow! Check the phone book for a place that does it and ask if they can do the Jeep.
Yep they sure can. So now we have bumpers and fenders protected by a coat of black anticorrosive polyurethane. They will probably still be standing when the rest of Willie rusts away. Kind of like Twinkies.
Now he has discovered an internet site that sells stuff to "trick up your vehicle." Oh look, Walnut-like trim for the interior dash and doors. Definitely need that. It does look nice.
And what about an air horn, we really need that with the traffic down there. And might as well add a PA system; never know when it will come in handy. And a horn that plays music - it’s a nice touch - we can now play taps and la cucaracha among others. Soon they came in the mail.
So what did I think of the finished product. Well - I couldn’t get in it - it was too high.
No problem, after another trip to the off-road place running boards were quickly added.
Since then I have hid the catalogue and shudder whenever he gets on the internet - but actually I don’t think there is anything else he can add. By now we must have one of everything!
Oh yes, we also had to buy towing lights as the electrical on the motorhome did not match the wiring harness on Willie.
Our Next Trip South 2007