All my Jeep friends, enemies (screw you too), and lovers, I came to bid you a welcome and stand here alive after my first experience! 'Tis a tale of anger, fury, failures, and success!
A story for those new and old to Jeeps, to crawling under their own rig, wanting it all to be their own!
My day started out a'ight, some French Pressed coffee, a broken toe from the night before (man, that was a *****), a good read on the toilet, and a stop by the farmer's market for some good beef. I expected celebration was in order tonight, afterall.
I made a few other quick stops, the hardware store to grab a few crescent wrenches I had been eyeing, and a mallet - just in case. I also stopped by the auto store, needing some Anti-Seize for those sexy Full Traction Front-LCAs. I stopped and took
a long glance at a few 2-Ton jack stands and pump jack but skipped them thinking what I had would be adaquate. Cocky, confident, and sure that I am diving head first and more ready.
All was set: I had my Anti-Seize, my cordless Impact Gun came the morning before, my socket set, a few cresent wrenches, a breaker bar (just in case), and my torque wrench. Not to mention my Synergy replacement bolts. I am locked and loaded.
I lay out my equipment near the front wheel of my Jeep that's sitting in the parking lot of my complex, crawl under my Jeep, that sexy beast she is now just you all wait, and set the jack under the front differential.
But, let's stop the the current progression, and move to a little history - the one about me and my relationship with my Jeep. Every Jeep owner can relate; we love our cars, and we expect them to love us back. We treat them right, give them great parts
treat them to massage spa washes, wax their exteriors, buff their interiors, scrub their under bellies, and take them to our favorite places with our favorite people. All we ask for in return is for them to love us back. My relationship as it were, started
off great, maybe a little temperamental on her behalf. She is quick, sexy, and likes to play some great tricks on me - like bouncing lanes on the freeway all by herself. Unfortunately, this little disagree went a little too far; we began to argue. I could not
tolerate those kinds of jokes! So something had to be done, I had to make this right. At first, I could not figure out how to right this wrong Roses weren't going to work for this one. Oh no, she was way too special for that. Alas, the answer was right in
front of me! Give her some better parts! Being eager to appease her sensibilities. I immediately ordered some ordered her some top of the line parts made by Full Traction! "That should make her happy I thought."
That is where we stand now. I bought all the tools I could (or so I think) and brought all the ones I had in my arsenal to make her experience and mine perfect! Nothing was going to ruin this one.
I crawl under her, gazing on her magnificant belly and that engine. WOW. What a sight. Her arms were kind of stubby though; something I looked over - but were going to fix that. Full Traction saw to it. Since that's what the one thing I REALLY wanted to
change on her, that's where I started. I started removing her driver's side front lower control arm, gracefully inserting the socket over her bolts. Twisting, torquing, wrenching. "Son of a beech," I thought. "Who's the idiot who stuck this bracket RIGHT HERE.
And why do I already feel like I'm splunking. God. She better friggen love this." So, splunking I went! Splunking was going fine, but I was under the impression that something should be amiss; she hasn't gone this long without a trick up her sleeve.
Thor's Hammer fell from the sky and hit me in the eye! Stunned, I wonder, "Where the hell did the come from?" Kick her, say a few swear words, and hold my eye for a second thinking she was channeling her inner Mike Tyson a little too much. I need to get her out on the dirt more.
She's too fiesty otherwise. Sitting under her still, 10 seconds pass, I get over my eye hurting and realize that that bolt slipped out of the upper arm WAY too easily to have been an accident. I continue onwards anyway knowing I've taken a harder hit to my eye - that one time I decided jumping off a rock in a squirrel suit was an awesome idea.
I am struggling a tad to get the lower portion removed in such a small space.
"I should have just found a real lift to do this, seriously," I mumbled aloud. Pretty sure the people in my complex think I am crazy. Even the bums digging through the recycle bin are staring at me and they mumble to themselves incomprehensibly. Oh well, we love each other too much for it to matter.
Off came the first arm! "AWESOME!" I think. That stubby arm looks so bad; almost like a T-Rex. I'm glad I was getting rid of it today. On to the next one! This one was a little easier, I could use the impact gun, there was more space! YES!
I was making sure to stay the hell out of the way this time though. No more tricks from my mistress. I wonder why this one is twisting funky and getting stuck after getting the nut off, then I realize: Some idiot installed this, no wonder the last one was such a pain. They didn't even align the arms
up correctly. The bolts are in crooked!
Off came the T-Rex arm, and down she went! Stunned, I thought, "This is it; I shouldn't have told Ken I was going to the be the wicked witch of the west." I open my eyes, all is well. The axle a little further away than it was before. "Why didn't that jack keep the axle from moving... Hrm.. Whatever. That's ok girl," I whispered. "You're not old
enough to sag yet. No you haven't gained any weight, you don't look fat to me. You're perfect still. I swear!"
I look at the T-Rex arms again and curse them and stare at The Twins. Shiny, new, amazing looking. I glob some Anti-Seize on me; I swear it looks like smelly glitter and wonder if I could smear this all over ke$ha (God, you guys are dirty). Afterall, it's win/win. The warning says, "Do not touch to skin or swallow." She'd do both.
I rubbed a lot of Anti-Seize onto the threads get those giant nuts up the bolt end. I was convinced that I blacked out and some glitter obsessed smurf raped my hands. One of the twins was being a pain or had gained some weight. It was hard getting one bolt all the way up where it needed to be. I thought, "I hope it goes onto the arm a lot easier." I need to stop thinking these things; I'm
some kind of crazy forebearer. Try and try, transforming into the Hulk, calling out Jesus' name a few too many times, asking for the lightning of Zeus, and pretending I was Lionidas helped to no avail. I could not get one of the arms all the way onto the bolt. After a few choice words ["That little $$%@#@!"],
I set it down and decided to take a break from torquing out my arms. Afterall, I couldn't find a crescent wrench in the area that would go to at least 2". The Bay Area sucks for tools.
I get back to my splunking, trying to install the one of the new Twins to the passenger side; it dawns on me. I measured this at about 23", but the axle is WAY off from what the other arms were at. It dropped. "#$@*!" I need to go get a better jack to help get this thing up. Wait, I can't drive my Jeep. Oh man,
no one's in the area that I can bother. I text one of my best friends who's in the area about an hour area seeing her parents. She doesn't answer for a while. I sit in the splunking position thinking of solutions. I know! I'll get a rachet strap and pull the axle up. Nope. Ok, let's try this again. What the hell am I doing wrong?
She's playing a mean trick on me again; and I have no idea how badly I might've screwed up the caster. Did somebody shrink this cave? It feels smaller. Why do my hands still look like I jerked off a smurf? I give up for a bit, grab myself a coke with my smurf hands. I never drink coke - things must be going bad. I go back to the evil
twin and try to screw the head all the way in, contorting to positions they haven't even written about in the Karma Sutra; I try to summon my inner Hercules. Nothing. I figure this twin must be my brother - he'd do something like that. Bastard. Giving up for a bit, biceps buldging from the exercise, I sit in the sun hoping someone will
call me back.
My mind is racing through a million thoughts - pretty normal - but these are all about the b*tch. She's turned on me, bad this time. She must've not liked my idea. Ungrateful she is.
It's getting late. I'm not going to get the other bolts in at this rate; I just need to get the original LCAs back in before it gets dark.
My friend calls me back! "WOO! I'm saved! I can get a better jack to help me out!" We drive down to auto store, I grab a few jacks, we get to work. Well, I get to work. But she's handing me tools. Way better off than where I was last time I was splunking. Conversation's better too. Especially since SHE is giving
me the silent treatment for not liking her arms. I told her she wasn't fat, what else does she want?
After a few more struggles, some more choice words, and having my friend crawl under the Jeep while I push on the tires to realign; we are good to good. Everything back to normal - sort of; and the front LCAs have new bolts. My win for the day.
So I sit here, whiskey in hand, having written this story for you to laugh, cry, sympathize, and hopefully learn something: always do work with a few and be prepared.
For those of you who are new and really want the executive summary:
What I Learned:
* Always do your first mod with a friend. Really. I cannot recommend this enough. Just pushing the tires in this one would have helped immensely.
* Anti-Seize makes it look like you jacked off a ke$ha-esque elephant
* Go to Jimbo's - when I decide to do heavy duty work - worst that'll happen is we'll shoot something.
* Buy jacks, at least 2-Ton.
* My car hates me
* I can take a hit to the eye and keep on ticking. Don't mess me or I won't pity the fool.
* Go to Jimbo's
* Do not do something when you're on a bad luck streak. Seriously. Don't. Do. It.
* Read, read, read some more - make sure you have all the tools. Really ALL the tools. Not 99.99%, everything.
* Have a friend there or a Jeeper/new friend from here.
* Be prepared to roll some things back or do it in steps.
First, gather your facts; then, distort them at your leisure.
— Mark Twain