The idea was simple, if somewhat nutty. Take our ’01 Wrangler, Project Red, that hasn’t been driven for over three years, put it back on the road, drive it to, and take it over the Rubicon Trail for the 60th anniversary of Jeepers Jamboree event.
If we were responsible adults, what we would have done was chosen one of our other, closer-to-ready Jeeps, changed the oil, tossed it on a trailer behind a comfy tow rig, and cruised up there. But that’s just not how we roll. Instead we took the Jeep that needed lockers plumbed and wired, the winch installed, and the T-case linkage fixed. Then we needed to add a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and a Hi-Lift Jack, per Jeepers’ regulations. Once that was done, we realized our front springs were too short for the added weight and the bigger-than-planned-for tires were eating the front fenders. And did we mention we had completely redone the entire suspension and fuel system?
But wait, there’s more. Trasborg gets in his Cherokee and takes a road trip of the West. Of course, the Cherokee pukes out a power steering pump resulting in a delay getting home to the Wrangler. So the plan became: get home late Thursday night, begin work Friday, get it all done by Monday, pack the Jeep Tuesday, pickup copilot on Wednesday, and hit the road to cover the 500 miles for the event check-in. If all went well by Thursday we’d be on the ’Con far away from computers, deadlines, and stress to enjoy a four-day Jamboree, which is kind of like summer camp for adults. That was the plan, anyway.
Thrashing Days 1 Through 4
Prior to going to the ’Con, here’s some of the stuff we had to get done. Over the course of four 100-plus-degree days we were able to get it all completed with the help from a few friends. And this is just before we leveled the Jeep out.
- Rewire ARB Air Locker control switches
- Replumb ARB air lines running from the solenoids out to the axles
- Install winch
- Fix T-case linkage because it was too short due to taller engine mounts and high-clearance belly skid
- Remount two MT/Rs that the tire shop put on backwards Add rear tow point per Jeepers’ regulations
- Replace shot stock steering linkage with Currie Currectlync stuff so we’d still have a tie rod after the ’Con
- Perform at-home alignment and center the steering wheel
- Figure out a mount to attach the Hi-Lift Jack to the front bumper
- Find a place in the already-crowded interior for first-aid kit and fire-extinguisher Dig recovery straps and D-rings out of M-715
The 60th annual Jeepers Jamboree had 520 vehicles registered. Due to the increase in participation, there were three different options you could choose from. There was a three-day trip, a four-day trip, and a five-day trip. Food and entertainment was provided from breakfast the first day on the trail to lunch on the last day as you departed. If you are interested in participating next year, there will be both three- and four-day options. The three-day will be from July 26 through July 28, 2013, and the four-day will be from July 25 through July 28, 2013.
Day 7 brought a calm time hanging out at Rubicon Springs. Well, as calm as we could get between shooting event coverage. We opted for the 4-day trip, which got us a day to wheel in, two days of unscheduled downtime, and a day to wheel out. During the downtime, you can go wheeling, participate in one of many activities, or just hang out in the water. At night there was a band and a raffle.
Day 3 and 4 Continued
We’d set the Jeep up for 33-inch-tall tires. But then we ended up with a set of 35-inch-tall Goodyear MT/R take-offs from another project and threw them on. With all the added weight to the front of the Jeep, the bigger tires ate the front fenders flares and the rear of the front fenderwell. We liked the ride of our existing TeraFlex parts, so we swapped our 3-inch springs for 4-inch springs to level the Jeep. We also went from 8-inch-travel shocks to 10-inch-travel shocks, and installed TeraFlex’s new Speed Bumps because the polyurethane bumpstops were rattling our fillings out.
Because of the added number of attendees (many with ill-prepared Jeeps), breakdowns in inaccessible areas caused lots of traffic, and even though we hit the trail at 7am, it was after 6pm by the time we made it in to camp. We are happy to say, we weren’t ill-prepared, although our ’01 Wrangler’s factory-installed power steering pump was giving us problems and the engine began taking multiple tries to start. We put it down to heat soak.Daniel Hunt of Ventura, California, had no such problems even pushing 40s with his CJ-7, its 350ci Chevy V-8, and full PSC power steering with ram-assist.
It was Day 8 for us, but for everyone else it was day 2. The vendors set up and showed their wares at the vendor show. Also, since this was the 60th year for Jeepers, there was a grassroots push to bring in 60-year-old Jeeps which meant a lot of flatfenders showed up. Flatville was setup for four hours and anyone with a flatfender was welcome to bring it, display it, and swap stories with whoever wanted to stop by.
Day 5 and 6
We packed the Jeep with all of our camping gear sometime after midnight on Tuesday. Then at first light Wednesday morning, we got it re- re-aligned, picked up our co-pilot from the airport, and hit the road. The first 500 miles went fine and we got to the trailhead in time to check-in. On Day 6 (Thursday), we hit the ’Con. One of the nice things about Jeepers Jamborees is that they have all kinds of people stationed along the trail from spotters to mechanics and every once in a while something nice to look at.