Funny story...I was driving an FJ Cruiser as my daily rig and my 98 TJ was retired to weekend top-off duty. After 130K miles of year round use in New England, the hinges on my tailgate were frozen solid and the doors weren't doing much better. I decided to spend some time and money on the TJ...planning to build up a more trail-ready rig. As most of you probably know, the Torx hardware used to assemble Jeeps were manufactured and installed on the 7th level of Hell to assure that anyone who tries to remove them will be eternally damned as they will assuredly curse God, Jesus, their children, and the family dog during the futile removal efforts. Those things suck!
After exhausting every possible method of removal, I finally managed to remove all of them by welding Grade 8 studs onto each and impact driving them out. My build was off to a rocky start and I was already starting to think that a less weathered model might make a better starting point.
So the kids and I are off to Fastenal in search of some high grade stainless replacements for my Torx...we're driving past the local Jeep dealership...and I see a bright ass yellow 2 door sitting in the showroom...maybe I'll stop in...just to look...not to buy...never sat in a JK before. While I was drooling over the 2dr, the kids were climbing in and out of an orange 4 door. They implored me to come check it out, but I wasn't interested in that. Besides, an Unlimited was way more than I could swing for a weekend trail rig. If you have children, you know they can be relentless, and they were today. They hated the FJ Cruiser...suicide doors and rear windows that don't roll down. The saleskid hears me and the kids discussing the issue and asks if I'd be interested in trading the FJ for the Unlimited. I told him that wasn't my intention, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to hear the offer. He goes out to see the Toyota and to talk to his boss. The Unlimited is growing on me more and more. Kid comes back and offers me nearly as much as the FJ cost new...it had nearly 30K miles on it...hmm...
Next thing I know, I'm driving home in my new orange Unlimited with a box of stainless hardware to fix my old TJ.
Wife comes home...sees the new Jeep...pissed
She's driving a Honda Pilot that was older than my FJ and she expected she would be the next person to get a new ride.
Sensing my own impending doom, we load up and head out car shopping for her new ride. I'm guessing a sporty car with lots of amenities like heated leather and nav...she's hated every Jeep I've ever owned. After driving a dozen different vehicles, she tells me that she would like to try a Jeep. I'm stunned. Next thing I know, she's driving home in a red ragtop JK with the top open. The Jeep dealer just about traded here even for the Pilot. The saleskid is stoked...his biggest day ever.
A week goes by and I'm still planning to build a trail rig out of my tired TJ. Crawling around underneath and I actually poken my finger right through the frame rail near the rear shock mount. Rot sucks! Of course I'm still thinking about the yellow 2 dr that I wanted in the first place and how much easier my project would go with a pristine, rot-free starting point.
So I decided to cut my losses, sell the TJ, sell my BMW GS, and buy the yellow JK. I call the saleskid at home and he's beside himself. He comes to meet me on his day off and we make the deal.
Three JKs in the driveway and some crazy-ass looks from the neighbors. I blew all of my build budget getting the new one, so it's going to take quite a bit longer, but it's not too hard to live with in stock form. The payments on our daily drivers actually went down substantially after the trades so I'm claiming a savings of sorts. Jeep enthusiasts need to really hone their purchase justification skills...I'm working on mine