Last fall, I bought an $800 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that hadn’t run in 12 years. After months of wrenching, in March, I drove with my coworker Andrew Collins on a grand journey from near Detroit, Michigan to the off-road trails of Moab, Utah. Here’s video of that trip’s first leg—the Jeep’s first highway voyage in over a decade.
To be honest, I thought this trip was doomed from the start. I hadn’t driven the Grand Wagoneer, dubbed Project Redwood, more than about one mile since purchasing it, and yet, I was tasked with taking it on a 1,700 mile (one way!) trip that included off-roading.
As you can see in the video, the brakes were giving me so much grief, I had to delay the trip by two days. I had a leaky front caliper, which was brand new, I broke both rear brake lines, and the rear brake hardware was off by just a bit, causing the adjuster screw to bind with a spring. After being unable to find a part that worked, I just bent the spring by hand, slapped it together, and called it good.
This first leg of the trip represented the first real test of all the wrenching my friends and I had done over the winter; had we ironed out all the bugs, or was this thing going to flounder? If you followed our series earlier, you’d know that the Jeep kicked butt, even in the snow, thanks to solid junkyard-sourced Michelin tires and Andrew’s great driving skills.
But in part two of this three-part series, things won’t go so hot. Actually, they will, and that’s the problem.