Now things were looking pretty good, except for the fact that
I needed a body. My plan was to either try and find a decent
used tub or get a new fiberglass tub (new metal tubs are
quite pricey.) One day I sold my engine to a guy and something
cool happened. Some dumb person got their car stuck over
in a field near my apartment complex. Since the guy that was buying
my engine was a nice guy and had a jeep, he went to try
and help the stranded dummy. Well, his jeep almost got stuck as
well and one of my apartment neighbors came to help w/ his 4x4. Well,
me and the neighbor got to talking and I told him that I had a jeep
and that I was looking for a tub. Guess what? This guy knew of someone
who had a tub for sale. I go find this guy and look at the tub... needs
some body work, but the darn thing is in pretty good shape. I buy the
'82 tub (with roll bar) for $200. Got the thing sandblasted, primered
it, and I was ready. Had my boy Slouffman help me paint the bottom
of the tub and put the thing on the frame. Things were looking pretty good.
You ever notice how when things start looking good, it's probably just because your overlooking something? As I put the rest of the body parts on, I found out that things weren't lining up for crap. Come to find out my frame was crooked. Dog gone it, I just bought this thing. At this time I decided to just put everything back together temporarily until I got back to Cincinnati (it was time to head back to school.) I get the Jeep all packed up and tow it on a dolly back to Cincy with my truck (I still have my truck at this point.) When I did get back to Cincy, I found out that the nut that holds the trailer ball on had broken off. I was fortunate that the trailer ball didn't come off - that would have made me pretty unhappy.
Once I'm back in Cincinnati, I have some friends who can help me out and I have time (when not in school) to work on the jeep. I put in my new Centech wiring harness and finally get enough stuff hooked up to run the engine. Talk about being nervous. When I was trying to get that engine to come to life, I was shaking. Primed the oil pump, double checked everything. Piston one is a TDC. All the wires look good. Prime a bit of gas. She doesn't start for the first few times, but finally "Kiss the Rain" comes on and the jeep comes to life! I was one happy camper.
The rest of the jeep goes back together but one thing is preventing me from driving. I need these stupid brake hose to caliper attaching bolts. There was a guy in Pasadena, TX who wanted to sell the bolts for $20 a piece, but after much time I found a place in Canada called Gemini sales. They sold them to me for $10 a bolt which wasn't too bad after the exchange rate (I ended up paying about $16 after shipping.) Finally the day comes when I receive these bolts and I got really excited. I had my front axle shafts out because I was replacing the ujoints plus I was replacing the wheel bearings, seals, and rotors so I had to put all this stuff back on, put the brake bolts on, bleed the brakes, do a system check, and then I would be ready for the road. I call up my friend Ben and ask him if he wants to do a work-on-the-Jeep marathon when he gets off work (at 10 PM.) He says he'll do it and we work and work and at 3:30 AM, the jeep leaves the driveway to go get gas.
As weeks progress, I'm able to tune the carb, get the timing correct, reseal my leaking headers (using hi-temp rtv copper silicone,) and even lost my brakes one day - that kind of sucked. I was using my Jeep to go to school and while me and Chris were on our way back to school, I felt my brake pedal getting closer and closer to the floor. At a traffic light, a guy pulled up next to me and told me I was leaking water - I realized I was actually leaking brake fluid. By the time I pulled into the school parking lot, my brakes were gone and so I just stalled the engine as I pulled into a parking space to stop. My problem at this point was that I didn't have the wrench I needed so after I shopped around the campus area in a friend's car, I gave up my search for a wrench and went to evening class (I was only 15 minutes late.) When I left the class (early) I called my friend Brian up and he brought over his wrenches and I was able to tighten the loose brake line.
So as school progresses, I find myself sitting in class thinking about frames. You see, the used frame I had purchased proved to be crooked and my plan was going to be to have it straightened. As I sat in my Electro Magnetic Fields II (they made a sequel) class, I pondered the idea of a brand new frame. After talking it over with dad and other people, I decided to go for it. I order my Matkins frame and about two weeks later it arrives. Well, the neat thing about this is that I'm in Cincinnati and since the quarter of school is over, it's time to go to Houston in 6 days for my co-op term.