Let me preface this by saying I did have another Jeep years ago but it was a large one like the “Wagoneer” type. To own another would be too big and too costly to maintain and would not be able to get me into all the nooks and cranny’s of the deep woods. In this case smaller is better.
This is a 1989 Jeep Wrangler, Sahara edition. It only has 100,975 miles on it and appears to be mostly stock. There are no scratches or dents to the underside so I don’t think it’s ever been abused off road. The suspension has been lifted approximately 3″ and the tires are slightly oversized, but not enough to affect the stability.
The seats are worn, the carpet nonexistent, but what do you expect for a 29 year old Jeep! I see some patches on the floor pan but when I stopped by my friend Tony Bernatche’s auto body shop for an assessment he just shook his head and said how great it’s condition was overall. There were no visible concerns with the frame or body other than a few minor surface rust spots.
We decided he would power wash the complete underside, clean up any minor problems and completely undercoat the Jeep. We also discussed the very faded paint and said he could sand it and then “Clear coat” the paint to stop anymore deterioration from the elements and help prevent anymore rust. It will be shiny again but all the dents and scratches will still show. I am going to pound it up and down the Golden Road so I’m not too concerned with scratches!
The back of a Jeep is quite small if you leave the back seat in. I will coat the entire floor pan with the same type coating used on truck beds, and remove the back seat to make way for a “Kitchenette” as it were. Drawers at floor level with a slide out top with stove and racks for cookware along with a small 12 volt fridge. These items will provide the necessary means of cooking. Even with that I will still have room for clothing and some tools and spare parts.
The engine is a 4.2 liter inline 6 cylinder, one of the best engines they made, mated to a 3 speed automatic. Not a speed demon but very dependable. Simple and easy to maintain is what I need. It will take some time to clean up the engine bay, add another battery and other accessories, but it will be worth the effort.
As an added bonus it came with a brand new 12,000 lb winch and reinforced bumpers for those “Oh crap I’m stuck” days that inevitably will come! I can’t call a tow truck up here! If your going to venture into all the tiny unused roads as I want too you must be prepared. Where I’m going I may never see anyone for days or longer so I need to be able to get myself out of trouble. I’m planning on having a satellite communicator called an “In Reach” by Garmin, but calling someone in to help would be very expensive.
All in all I think I made out pretty well. I have a good base to start from and plenty of time to finish the modifications by spring. I plan to go out once more this fall for Vinny’s last camping trip during leaf season, then hunker down for the winter and get it ready for next year. I’m pretty excited to get started but tomorrow I will go see mom and put together a yard swing I bought for her. Know your priorities!