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This Old Jeep

Submitted by Listener John Gamble


I purchased this from Brad, not his real name. He had it as his first "car", so he drove it through high school and College, and two years into his first job. His grandfather had bought it new in 1999, to use in Nebraska where he lived. When Grandpa passed, grandson had just turned sixteen and got his wheels.

Brad worked in finance, next to my group in the office. I used to give him crap about his old flip phone. At some point he mentioned he’d needed to get rid of the Jeep to get something that got better mileage. He said he was going to a dealer to see if he could get $500 for it. At first I was trying to convince him to put it on Craig’s List or something, as I knew it was worth more by at least 10x. Flustered, I was telling my wife that evening that I ought to get my brother in law to buy it. My loving wife was kind enough to to remind me how I was always looking at those Wranglers, CJs and older Jeep Trucks, then said "dumbass, the moneys in the bank and we’ve the space for another wreck around here, do something for your self for once and just go buy it." Brad was reluctant to sell it to me because it had problems, and he didn’t want me coming back at him, at work, over its issues. I told him as it ran, and for $500, it was worth it to me even if I had to get a new engine. He sold me the Jeep and he was in work the next day with a new iPhone.


So in summary, initially the muffler was blown at the side seam, check engine light was intermittent, the instrument cluster entirely was intermittent, AC/heater did not work, dome light was out, and there was a hole in the dash where the radio had been. This was 8 years ago this November. It is a 1999 Sahara, no dents, or body rot, 4 liter, 3 speed automatic. Dana 30/35 front rear, the rear had a limited slip.


First order of business was the exhaust, oil change and major tune up. Next we pulled the back seat and removed a huge bass amp and preamp, and took out the 2 gage wire running under the carpet direct from the battery. Then disassembled the dash, removed a car alarm and fixed a lot of hack splices in the wiring harness. At this point I also found the main instrument cluster connector disconnected but touching the leads. I guess it was yanked hard when the radio was stolen. Funny they didn’t get the amplifiers. I installed a Pioneer Supertuner3, this was just because a buddy of mine in high school had an original Pioneer Supertuner in a Kaiser CJ 5 that he rocked back in the day.



About a year later I installed a 3.25” Rough Country lift. Then came 32” BFG all terrains to replace the tires that didn’t match in make or size. My point of reference in what tire was right was a little dated.


My wife named the Jeep ‘Otto’. This catches us up to about 6 years ago. There more of this story to tell.

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We are The Trailchasers Podcast, a weekly audio production show that highlights people, products, and services in the offroad and overland communities. We want to inspire you to go outdoors and chase your adventure. If you have a story to tell, we want to hear it.