I have had my Jeep for just over 5 years now. Those five years can be broken into a few chunks of time:
1) Bought what shoulda been a parts Jeep, spent way too much time and money getting it running and through smog so I could register it in CA. ~1 year
2) Struggled to keep it on the road and spent way to much time and money on it, hardly drove it because it was always broken/leaking. ~1 year
3) Got it through smog a second time and then tore it apart and spent WAAAAAY too much time and money getting the engine rebuilt, swapped out a bent chassis, added EFI, limped it back onto the road to let my son drive it and damage it while it became a huge burden on me. Got it through smog a 3rd time. ~2 years.
4) The last 5 months. Re-rebuilt my engine again. Spent way too much time and money again to get oil pressure sufficient, get the EFI to work correctly, and some other odds and ends.
With all that said, I went off-roading once before this. I talked about it here:
My first off-roading trip
It was awesome. Then I went again yesterday. Went with the same dude but he brought his F250
Day started with loading tools, parts, and spare fluids.
1) a stock FSJ SUV (at least mine) has no places to tie down your crap. They need pad eyes or something in the trunk
We met for coffee at 7am in Camarillo and headed up to Fillmore CA. There is a dry river bed where we could bomb around in some soft sand and shallow creeks. I refilled my gas tank and calculated 10.9MPG out of the last tank! YESSSS!! I was hoping for at least 10MPG. ANNNND my tires are about 7% taller than stock so that calculates to 11.6mpg! In that tank, I drove pretty aggressive so I could get good data for my EFI tune and oil pressure. I am hoping it is a consistent 11'ish after this.
We pulled off the road in Fillmore/Lake Pyru area and got out to lock hubs and shift into 4wd. I turned my QT switch....nothing.
2) You should test out things like this a few days before you go.
There was no vacuum signal at my shift motor. I used my hand vacuum pump, laid under my truck, and was able to shift my case into 4wd. After applying 20" of mercury, my custom 4wd light went on on my dash! Woooo hooo! That is the first time I have seen that light light up since 2018.
As I was laying down there trying to get into 4WD, Ventura county Sheriff came along and very politely asked us to leave. He said it was private land and we could not go nuts down there.
We hit the road again looking for another place to pull into the river bottom. No luck. We decided to hit an area my buddy knew about in Thousand Oaks. it was a guaranteed place to play but it was about 20 miles from where we were.
Cruising there was GREAT! It was about 70 degrees and sunny. We cruised 75mph on the freeway and my truck ran awesome. I also mentioned once before about the 101 grade (here
). My truck cruised up the grade again and went from cold to normal temp but not hot, stayed in third gear, about 1/3 throttle the whole way and no downshifting.
Got to our spot and pulled off the road.
3) When the lowest part of the back of your truck is plastic, it is going to brake off.
The entry to this area has about a 4 foot tall burm. I went up, then down, drug my hitch and broke my cute little 3rd brake light off the receiver. Again. Did that last time I went off roading, too.
It was AWESOME out there! We played here for about 2 hours. Climbing hills, exploring, etc. I spent the whole time in 4-low. I have talked about how loud and obnoxious my exhaust can be. Off road it sounds EPIC. I will not be changing it. It sounds like the beginning of Dirt Every Day extra right before they pull the logo off the screen.
I was AMAZED at how many places my truck would go. I was amazed at what I could climb with 2 open diffs.
My buddy took some videos for me, too. Of course, the videos never look like what it was really like, but couple here:
Then on this relatively mundane climb:
If you watch that second video, through gap between the front fender, wheel and ground at about 9 seconds you see this happen:
We played around for a little while longer but in 2WD before hitting the road home. Here is the only other "Casualty"
That's a chunk of rusty flare. My passenger rear tire rubs on it's flare at full compression too, but that's because the flare is munched. I'll fit it later.
Made it home by 11:30.
I put about 100 miles on my truck yesterday and it performed like a BEAST!!! It was soooooooo fun! The only true "casualties" were my front drive shaft and my receiver brake light. Next weekend I am going to drive it to my brothers house (about 90 minutes from here, via the 405 South which is guaranteed to be trafficky).
Now to circle back to the beginning of this post:
Time chunks 1-3 have pretty much sucked. Way to much money spent, way to much time spent, with almost no return. Time chunk 4 has been pretty fun because I have been able to just wrench when I want doing what I want. I feel re-charged!