Show Us Your Winter Wrenching Setup

It’s 24 degrees in the godforsaken wasteland that is southeast Michigan, so it’s a good thing I’ve got all my winter projects in a nice, warm, insulated garage. (I do not).

See the Jeep Grand Wagoneer in the image below, beyond the dishwasher that I ruined, and to the right of the J10 that I’ve neglected for years? Well, it’s only a matter of time before my loins lose their gird-ability, and I can no longer stand wrenching on the Woodie out in the yard.


Anything above freezing, and wrenching outside is fine. But as soon as the temperature drops below 32 F, I find myself running inside to warm up far too often. And that’s just wasted wrenching time. So I need to get Project Redwood into my garage soon. Which brings me to the picture at the top of this post: my garage is full.

On the far side under the tarp is my brother’s 1966 Ford Mustang, which I refuse to subject to harsh Michigan weather—it must remain indoors. The other vehicle, the 1948 Willys CJ-2A, I would happily throw out into the backyard, but there’s a little problem.


As you can see in the image above, the steering has been taken out (well, the tie rod, drag link and bell crank). So basically, my Willys is a shopping cart right now, except worse, because there’s no caster to keep the wheels straight. That means towing this thing out of my garage would be a pain in my ass, so I need to get the steering fixed like, now (I’ve got to press out a sleeve in the bellcrank—that’s what’s holding me up).


But even if I did fix the Willys’s steering, and got it towed out of the garage, and also got the Grand Wagoneer running so it could drive into the garage (pushing that thing is impossible), fitting a giant SUV into the spot is going to be tight. I did it before with my J10, which is built on the same SJ platform, but there was basically no room to wrench. The Woodie is a few feet shorter than the truck, and has a narrower track width, but it’s still going to be a struggle working on it in that little garage.


Add to that the fact that my two-car garage isn’t insulated, and my heater options are seriously limited, and I’d say my winter wrenching setup isn’t quite optimal.

Here’s my weak-ass electric heater:


Here’s a kerosene heater that may or may not work:


So I’ve got a little ways to go before I’m ready for the winter, and even then, I’ll be working in close and cold quarters. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy with it. Let’s see what your winter wrenching setup looks like; make me jealous with your insulated, heated workshops.

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio