Leaving the Jeep better than I received it
So to be sure, it has been a massive blessing to have borrowed my friend Andrea’s Jeep – but I am ready to be back to my car and the stick shift’s far finer control. As I send the Jeep back, the hood struts have been replaced (so the hood can remain open by itself) and the tailgate lock actuator (so now the gate can be opened from the outside AND locked). I also ran Lucas fuel additive through several tanks of fuel, and both improved the fuel efficiency as well as brought the idling RPM from 1100 down to approximately 575 or so. Definitely a fun vehicle to drive (and to think, I didn’t even get the chance to off-road with it), but too expensive per mile for me to drive any longer!
Thusly, given that this week saw me move to pushups on a 45 degree incline at physical therapy, and then on Thursday I received the permission of the surgeon, I have returned to my beloved MFALCON.
But I was not idle during my convalescence. I planned out, and as of very recently, did the work involved in a couple of modifications and additions to the vehicle.
Fog lights, replacing the turn signals
Initially back in August, I recognized I would eventually want to install fog lights on my car – the extra light is a good thing for safety, but I also happen to think that fogs which are tinted look damned sexy whether on or off! :3
The assembly comes as a set (the stock assembly is a turn signal, a reflector, and then a fake fog light lens reflector), and thus I had to purchase replacement assemblies with the real fogs, as the sizing on the middle reflector is different.
And let me tell you, it was REALLY enjoyable to do a project even as simple as this, ordering and then cutting to size amber (turn signals) and yellow (fog lights) vinyl tint. Having been incapable of doing much of anything for months as my arm healed, this was a really viable project for my still-healing arm while also being very practical and not too expensive.
Fabricating winter fronts for the upper and lower grills
A few weekends later, being optimistic that the surgeon would indeed clear me to drive my car again, and bearing in mind my home town of Chesterland Ohio is functionally the central Antarctic frozen wastes, I realize that my poor diesel engine will have a tough time warming up and staying warm while driving at home for a month (not as a flaw from my personal vehicle – diesels in general produce far less waste heat). So taking a cue from school buses and semi trucks, I wanted to figure out some sort of winter front for my car. There is a recently-released professional winter front available from ID Parts – but I do not want to spend $100 for this addition to my car’s winter time capabilities.
The solution was obvious, then: TO THE INTERNET!! I looked up various materials, even things like Lexan and Optix (various strength grades of acrylics) as backing materials; while using my friend Tom’s suggestion that the visible portion ought to be leather, for cool looks. I ended up deciding on a lauan back board, with material taken from a $5 faux leather lady’s coat (thanks Good Will!!!) as the cover; the covers would attach to their respective grills using Velcro.
Without the CEID at Yale, I would have had to buy a bunch more tools (particularly on the fabric cutting and working side of things) – even still, I did pick up a titanium circular cutting tool and am VERY glad I did. The overall cost was slightly over $50, so that is half the cost of buying a premade one.
Though the brown coat material doesn’t look half bad, I decided I wanted an accent color to really pop against the Storm Grey of my car; Burnt Orange it was!!
Additionally, even though this is faux leather (and thus a petroleum product), I want to try and protect the paint as best I can from the elements. I looked into the options for leather conditioner + water sealer, and I found Aquaseal.
Traveling home to Ohio for Christmas and the 2013/2014 transition
So, these mods done, I got some help from a friend (for the sake of my poor shoulder) to get the Thule roof box atop my car, and then loaded – since last spring, I decided that each trip I take home will see my car loaded with things I do not want to get rid of, but do not need here with me in New Haven… so that eventually, when I depart this place in May 2014, the moving experience then will be easy (and almost solely furniture).
Also for the sake of my shoulder, I decided to split the trip into two days of travel – I will drive first to my friend John’s house in Rochester NY, to visit and board game with him. Then, on Sunday, I will drive the approximately 4 remaining hours home. Apparently big winter storms all across New England and New York starting tomorrow, so this should be interesting!