After 7yrs and 90k miles it was time to say goodbye to our beloved JKU. After a great deal of thought and introspection I realized I wanted something a little (okay, a lot) more civilized that could still do a forest service road and boondock with that my wife could actually drive and stand to ride in for more than an hour. Sacrificing comfort and driveability for an activity that consumed maybe 5% of my life behind the wheel wasn't worth it anymore, at least in the near term. My choice is a little unorthodox and unconventional, but after a few subtle mods it will suffice and allow us to enjoy the entire journey more as we pull our tear drop further than we would have with the Jeep. So what did I replace a heavily modded JKU with you ask? A Mercedes ML550. New wheels and tires get installed next week, the 1.5" lift arrives early next year (some crazy Russian actually came up with one), and skidplates should be fabbed up this winter. I am under no illusion of the significant downgrade in off road capability but life is all about trade-offs. It's going to be an interesting journey as I discover its limits while saving up for a well sorted G-wagon.
Decided to move on to a mellower pasture. My Power Wagon was starting to nickel and dime me to death with an electrical gremlin and I was getting tired of hanging out at the dealer. On my last trip I noticed a lonely looking new 2018 2500 CTD Laramie sitting all by itself on the dealers lot. It turns out this one was the last 2018 model year, old body style on the lot and with almost 20k slashed off the sticker. The numbers worked, I got an OK trade in value on the Power Wagon..even with a check engine light on and a slew of other glitches and now I get to start over. So far the only thing I really miss on the Power Wagon is the winch. I'm really impressed with the almost doubling of the fuel mileage and air conditioned seats for those long trail days. Now I guess I have to schedule my appointment to get that Cummins life tattoo.
I buy too many cars. Working at Roger Jobs Porsche/Audi/Vw I am always tempted to buy trades. Well this 2001 Diesel Beetle car came in barely running. I love this era of diesels and mk4 chassis is very good. So here is my story. Would barely make it home. Intake and egr so sooted up. Pulled that apart and cleaned it. New timing belt, water pump and car runs fantastic. Son had the car in Oregon for 1.5 yrs for college. Got it back couple months ago and started in. There is a growing trend to lift these cars for fun. You can buy spacers and different springs and what not but I found an ultra rare set of H&R springs dune buggy coil overs. Designed to lift this chassis. Super good quality. Installed them and got about 1.5" lift. Bought a skid plate from diesel geek for this car and will install soon. Took the car to a tuner friend and did a stage one tune. Power is now up from 90hp/150lbtq to 112hp/190lbtq. Huge difference. Car is fun to drive now. As expected the increased power made the clutch slip so stage one ecs clutch went in...good for 250lbft. Will soon go for the stage 2 tune. 132hp and 230lbft. That takes new injectors and a re-tune. The torque makes these cars very fun to drive. Still have some more lift to go in the front but the rears are pretty much maxed out. there some solutions for that but we will see. Tires will coming soon. Probably go with a 205/75/15 AT tire. Or a 215/65/16. Still reading specs on them. All said and done it will have about 7”+ of clearance under the skid plate. Good enough for most forest roads. WABDR here I come. :) This will be a great daily, gravel road runner, trail head hiking and quick day trips to Mazama for Mt biking. It is silly but I like getting 40mpg.