|My love of jeeps probably started when I was a young boy growing up in
Nyack, New York. My uncle, Tom Murray, collected and sold old surplus
jeeps from World War II. There were always a few jeeps on their property,
so I was exposed at an early age to these military style vehicles and it
was cool. While serving in the U.S. Navy, I rode in a few M-151's in
Olongapo City in the Phillippines while serving on Shore Patrol which I did
a few times. The military then was still driving a lot of M-38's as well.
|Currently we own a 1997 Wrangler I bought new from Suresky's in
Goshen, New York. What I wanted to do was improve the vehicles
capability, so we started modifying that first year with a basic 2"
suspension lift. Now, thirteen year later, I'm on my sixth suspension
set-up, always searching for the better system.
In 2002, I had a major upgrade done by JD's Offroad in Brewster, New
York. We re-geared to 4:56 from 3:07 and added ARB Air Lockers to the
axles plus beefed the axleshafts with Warn chrome alloy shafts. A hub
lockout up front and a full floater kit in the rear were also added. We're
currently running 35 inch Goodyear MT/R tires. These improvements
made the jeep a tank as far as traction went. We use this jeep for offroad
work including trail jobs.
|Our current project is a re-build/modification of a classic jeep truck, a
1951 Willys Overland jeep pick up truck. The plan is to use this as a daily
driver for the landscaping business. I located the truck in a garage in
Westtown, New York in 2007. It had been inside the garage for twelve
years with the previous owner's intention to re-build the truck stock. One
day I stopped by and asked about it, and he sold me the truck for $200. I
did not want the stock engine, an F4-134 four banger, the tranny and
transfer case which were on the floor out of the truck at the time. So we
trailered it home to Pine Bush for a complete frame off.
The engine is a 1996 Chevy 4.3 Vortec, 4L60E tranny and NP233C
transfer case out of a '96 Blazer. The Willys axles were ditched for a Ford
Bronco Dana 44 high pinion up front and Chevy 14 bolt rear. The front 44
is open, as I do not plan on doing rock crawling with this classic truck, but
we added a Detroit Tru-Trac in the rear 14 bolt for extra traction. Axles
re-geared to 4:88. Frame was boxed and lengthened for a winch.
Custom rock bumpers were welded to the framerails. A Saginaw
steering box from Advance Adapters was set up on the frame tied into a
high steer tierod system. Rubicon Express spring over leafs for a jeep YJ
were welded in for a seven inch lift. TRC Offroad in Slate Hill, New York
did the fabrication and axles.
Engine installation, sandblasting the cab, fenders, doors, grill and hood
and all body work/painting was done by 191 Rod and Custom in Pine
Bush, New York. New window rubber, felt and new glass was also
installed. We have the engine running and are near completion.
Since we won tires in 2009 at the Catskill Mountains Jeep Jamboree, we
selected Goodyear Kevlar M/TR's in a 37 inch size. This will produce a tall
truck! We are now in the final stages of getting the truck to run, so more
UPDATE: In September, 2011 we drove the truck home from 191 Rod
and Custom in Pine Bush, New York. 191 Rod and Custom brought the
engine back to life and with headers and straight pipe, I drove it the two
miles to my house with no license plates. Officially on the road in
November, we currently have about 400 miles on the re-build. Turbo
mufflers have been added. A fitness report would read : Suspension
spring-overs are softening up. Truck tracks nicely, no bumpsteer or
wandering. After some electrical problems with the fuel injector plug in
the plenum, the engine has plenty of power. The 4L60E shifts great.
Steering is controlled and consistent. Rear disc brakes are maybe the
best upgrade of the project. Boxed frame is solid. Truck overall handles
great, but it's still a truck. Still plenty of work to do. It's been on many
landscape jobs already, used mostly as a tool hauler.
UPDATE: March, 2013. Closing in on 2000 miles. Truck is very reliable,
quick starts in any weather, plenty of power. Driven it all over the county,
had it on many jobs. In 2012, did four car shows, may scale back on that
this year. A real attention getter. Got the heater/fan working in the fall, and
the truck has killer heat/defrost. Plan on getting the doors lettered. Plenty
of work yet to do.