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I first got started in Jeeps because my friends, Paul and Jason, had a couple of 4x4's, and took me on a trail ride. That ride, along with a bit of urging from my friends, convinced me to buy a Jeep. Unfortunately I didn’t know anything about Jeeps, So I bought the first deal I found. I had wild dreams in my head. I bought a 78’ CJ-5. It had a 6 cyl 232 engine, manual steering, a 3-speed and no back window on the hardtop for $900. While not a bad Jeep, nor in bad condition, I quickly decided it wasn’t what I wanted, for a few reasons:    

large product photo My First Jeep    

 

First, It was to hard for a guy my size to hop in and out of. CJ-5’s have those “Hip Knockers”

Second, Larger tires would really have required power steering. It was hard enough to turn the wheel with 30" tires.

Third, though the 6-cyl 232 engine isn’t bad, I didn’t want to dump $ into an engine that I would always want to get more power out of than it would provide.

Fourth, I wasn’t sure about only having a 3-speed. I doubt the thing could have gone faster than the 80MPH that the Speedo maxed out at. Lastly, though it was in good shape, it would have needed a lot of work to make it more aesthetically pleasing. (Body work, rust, and painting). But I played with that Jeep a little and bought pieces on Ebay mostly for it. I bought many different things I thought I’d need. Seats, trim, tail-lights replacement body panels stuff like that till I had a pile in the garage.

   

Ebayjeep

 

So, it happened one day I was surfing about on Ebay, and happened across an auction for an 87’Jeep Wrangler that nobody had bid on, starting at $2500 with six hours left to go. Assuming the pictures were as they seemed, it was going for about $1700 below book. So I threw in a bid after reading all the policies on Ebay because I was wary.  Turned out nobody had bid because the title of the auction varied a little from the standard format decreasing it's listing views.  It cost me about $600 bucks to have it shipped from New Jersey. Luckily it was as it was described.  Though the brakes were worse than was mentioned, it took about $150 bucks in parts to replace them.

   

 Next I noted the springs were shot (as described in the auction) but I didn’t realize how bad. The Jeep was riding on the Bump-Stops. This wasn’t good, though it wasn’t a big deal since I’d planned to install a lift kit. The first order was to get it registered, which turned out to be an ordeal, Not because it was an out of state title, but because it didn’t pass emissions. Turns out the altitude difference combined w/ some serious vacuum leaks were the cause. Another $100 bucks to the dealer, and it passed emissions. After going around with the MVD here a few times, I got it registered.  A couple nice surprises, though, apparently the engine had recently been rebuilt, and it came with near brand new tires.

Two days after I got it registered, I got to drive on my first Jeep Trail Ride with The NM4W Four wheel drive club www.nm4w.org.  It went well until we got out on the snow, and on the first hill found out, my front axle wouldn’t lock in. This is explained here. Fortunately the NM4W guys happily helped fix my Jeep. And soon we were back on the road (albeit bumpy as no suspension at this point).  It did wonderfully. Though I really had zero experience.

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