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Show Us Your Winter Wrenching Setup

Illustration for article titled 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).

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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.

Illustration for article titled Show Us Your Winter Wrenching Setup
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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.

Illustration for article titled Show Us Your Winter Wrenching Setup

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).

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Illustration for article titled Show Us Your Winter Wrenching Setup

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.

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Illustration for article titled Show Us Your Winter Wrenching Setup

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.

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Here’s my weak-ass electric heater:

Illustration for article titled Show Us Your Winter Wrenching Setup
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Here’s a kerosene heater that may or may not work:

Illustration for article titled Show Us Your Winter Wrenching Setup
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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.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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DISCUSSION

Seems like a good place to put that.