Building a Jeep and Character. (total success)
like many lucky father and sons- we do work on cars together in the garage. Oh, the fun we’ve had.
Most stuff ends up working- not all ends up the way we expect- at one point I decided our garage motto should be “Not Fixed, – Just Different”
Then there is the funny Dad/Son thing where the dad does all the work (there is a movie called ‘Down and Derby’ (trailer) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sutDTlmq5ZM about a ‘pine wood derby’ and 3 Dads and the dads don’t let the kids build the cars- if you watch it you probably won’t think you are as bad as the Dads in the movie are- after all its a family-comedy… So when I asked my kids, ‘do I do that?’ They were like, ‘THIS IS TOTALLY YOU’) (sheesh)
So- my son has this Jeep and it is like a fathers dream come true- we both have Jeeps and we do stuff together, like last Columbus Day we got up and kinda spontaneously drove from our house (on Cape Cod) up to New Hampshire and summited Mount Washington and back (we stopped at Five Guys of course) all in one day and we got back before midnight, with both Jeeps- My son did it without doors or a roof. We froze a little, got rained on a little, broke down a little and ate a lot!
Since he has had the Jeep it has needed quite a bit of welding (not his fault, Jeeps do rust)(everything does) So the last time the frame needed welding- He was like, “you have to teach me how to weld….” (reality check. -GUILT. Why hadn’t I already taught him..? Fear. Fear of being replaced- of not being needed? -probably gets a lot of us. It’s not good. When you realize this, try to teach- do your best, make this opportunity count- fight that fear- and you will be happy. It’s not easy- but its worth it.)
This last repair was not really the one that I could show him how to weld (it was too extensive) BUT this was the perfect time to take the body off the Jeep and teach him how to weld and fix the frame right- we had $200 and one month… how hard could it be?
a quick google search said that there were only ten bolts holding the body to the frame and five for each fender. We started on a saturday afternoon at about 4. Roof, Seats, Carpet, Hood, fenders. Then Sunday it was steering, wiring harness, brake and clutch linkage, gearbox linkage and body bolts.. but we only found 8 of them. Monday night we made some phone calls and 4 strong dudes later.. we found the 2 other bolts that hold the body on and … then the body was off.
we spent about $100 on two 20 foot pieces of 4 and 3 inch 3/16″s steel and I was teaching my son to weld (I learned from a guy who had learned in prison… but got out on good behavior and did not complete the course… so I am more of a guy with a welder… than a real welder, but I have gotten better) (we did learn a few things* see bottom of post)
The floor also needed repair and the motor needed a harmonic balancer- so that stuff was all my sons part. I made some replacement brackets for the rear control arms and the whole thing went so well that we started to think we could do this each winter…. buy a jeep, fix it… you know- dreams.
Most importantly we wanted to fix it a right as we could so that we could sell it with a good conscience. We did everything right, we painted everything withrustoleum and made sure it would be safe on the road or in a crash. And in less than our 1 month goal, we were done! Once it was back together, we got some new jeep t-shirts and had our picture on Instagram with more than 1700 likes (fame!)
My son is planning to go to college and will need a car to commute- so selling his Jeep became an option… he had been driving it and all was working fine- so he decide to sell it. He made sure ALL was working before he sold it. -and that was him, not me telling him- and it sold. He was happy. (and I was proud)
this one was “Fixed, not just different” and somebody got a great little Jeep. (and I got the tire cover!)
I am very proud of my son and I tell him often- we all want our kids to do more and greater things with their lives than we did- The hard part is letting them begin….
p.s. I have two wonderful daughters- and I am also very proud of them. (but they don’t read my blog!) (ask them!) (ha ha!)
*stuff we learned: 1. Do not turn the steering wheel when you have it disconnected from the steeringbox- it has a little spring that connects the horn and airbag wires and it will break if you turn the wheel more than 3 turns in either direction. ($180) 2. the new fangled welding helmets with thesolar powered auto darkening do not work below 40 degrees fahrenheit and you will go blind. Keep your trusty analog helmet handy for those cold nights. 3. you can weld a drill bit backtogether- it won’t last long but it is possible.