Working on the Jeep
It’s been a while since I have posted anything, it has been a busy week. Work has been very stressful, my son Kyle graduated from high school on Tuesday, and last night I had a lacrosse board meeting (yes, I know the Spring season is over, but I am still on the board until August). As the end of the work day drew nearer today I felt more and more excited that the first weekend of summer is here with the Memorial Day holiday. I realize it is not technically summer yet, but mentally it is. School is over, the grass is green, and the trees are full of leaves. I don’t usually head to the mountains on Memorial Day weekend since everyone and their dog does, so I will do some fishing in places close to home. My goal is to hit Waterton Canyon, Chatfield Reservoir, and Eagle Watch Lake on successive days over the next three days. Thrown in with that will be some house and yard work, but that shouldn’t take long.
To start off the weekend though, I had a task to take care of with the Jeep. On Tuesday night I gave Kyle my Jeep for his graduation present. It is a 2003 Wrangler with 60,000 miles on it, and it is in very good shape. After I got that Jeep I made a ton of modifications to it, and that has been my favorite vehicle for a long time. It is great for packing up and taking camping, four wheeling into remote places, putting the canoe on the top rack and heading to the lake, and it is just a fun car to drive. It is a little sad for me to give it to Kyle, but at least it stays in the family, and I will borrow it once in a while. Kyle was very excited and grateful to receive the Jeep as his graduation gift, and the look on his face when I gave him a card that had the key taped inside was probably worth all the fun I ever had in the Jeep.
But being a 17 year old boy, I knew that a two-seater was not going to be ideal for him; he has his friends and his girls to drive around, and he needs to be able to have more passengers. One of the modifications I did was take out the back seat, put a lower cargo rack and cover over the bed, and saddle bags on the sides for extra storage. It only took a couple of days before he asked if we could convert it back, so I wanted to get that done this evening.
Kyle enjoys working on cars, as I do, so I knew it was going to be a fun bonding experience for us. Last night I got the original top, back seat, and carpet down from a storage shelf in my garage where I put those 9 years ago, and I found the hardware in the box where I have kept all of my Jeep related parts throughout the years. It was then I realized I had no idea how to put all that stuff back together.
The first job was to take everything apart, and we had to partially take apart the overhead cargo rack so we could get the top on. Kyle started on this task, and within minutes broke the first bolt he attempted to take out. Rust had eaten away at those bolts over the years, although it didn’t show from the outside, and he broke three more of the six bolts he had to take out. While he was doing that, I took off the bikini top, the bed cover, and the lower cargo rack. After an hour we had it all disassembled, and I sent Kyle to the hardware store to get new nuts, bolts, and washers while I put in all the interior carpet and the back seat.
[nggallery id=21]All that was left to do was put the original full top back on, and after we were about a third of the way through the process, Kyle asked “Don’t we have a top that just covers the roof all the way back?” A little agitated, I said “You mean like the one I just took off?” “Oh, well never mind” he said. We compromised and decided to leave out the back and side windows, saving Kyle’s life in the process.
The whole job took about three hours, and we had a good time working together on the Jeep. Kyle even said “Dad, we ought to buy old cars and fix them up, I like doing this stuff with you.” Those words were as good as gold to me, because within minutes he was off to the gym and then a movie and I won’t see him for the remainder of the night.