Last: Christmas Tree Run
January is not really a time to go out and explore but it's a good time to make repairs and upgrades to get ready for spring and summer. When I went home for Christmas I built a storage box that fit in the back of the jeep. I filled it will lots of spare parts, tools, oil, etc. It looked a lot cleaner and kept things organized better than what I was doing before which was just throwing some milk crates full of stuff in the back to bounce around. This was so I could leave everything in the jeep, lock it up and be ready in a minutes notice to go somewhere. Anyway, the space that the box was is where I used to have my extra 11 gallon gas tank so it was definitely time to store it underneath between the springs.
I already had everything I needed and even found a big piece of square 5" steel tubing for a rear bumper. All I needed to do was cut some stuff apart on the back and weld things back up. Most of the project was done at Don's house in his barn and things went pretty smoothly compared to normal for me. We cut off the rear bumper and some supporting stuff, measured, cut, checking the fit of things, then Don welded my rear bumper on. He wanted to make sure it was on really good if we had to give it a good yank and pull me out of something. I wanted to weld but really didn't get a chance to try things out until a later project. The rest of the installation I finished up at home since I needed to find some generic filler tubing. After searching around a bit I found the tubing at CarQuest but it was pretty pricey. $1.40 an INCH pricey. Anyway, after a little squeezing, swearing, pounding I got everything in place and hooked up. The big test was at the gas station for the first fill-up. No pro
With my new bumper my spare tire really didn't fit on the back right anymore and it was also a pain the butt to get into the storage box in the back with the tire bolted to the tailgate so my next project was to build a rear swinging rack to put the tire and my extra 5 gallon gas can on. Along with my bumper I also found some 1" square tubing that I though I could use for the rack. Well, it was about 1/16" thick and really hard to weld without burning through and it was not that strong. I gave up real fast on that stuff and dug around in the industrial area of Ballard for a metal supplier. I found some 1" square stuff 1/8" thick and welded things up in Don's barn. Don also found me a old military spare tire which was a lot smaller, narrower, and lighter than my old spare. This rack was really fun to build and was my first real big welding experience. I need a welder now then I could build a lot of cool stuff.
Next: Elbe Hills