This one has served the family faithfully for 15 years. Now it's time to turn in into the funmobile. It's narrow, nimble, and already has old paint and dings so some desert pin-striping will just add character.
The 215/60-16, 26 inch diameter Pirelli tires came off after
the car went up on jack stands so I could remove and replace the leaking steering rack and upgrade the struts and springs on all four corners.
The various boxes of parts arrived faster than I expected.
The standard springs and 130,000 mile plus struts were swapped out for new KYB Excel struts already assembled with all new parts and new King extended springs. These springs are about 30% stiffer and stand 1.3 to 1.4 inches taller.
The tires were replaced with General Grabber AT2 tires. I don't know what I'll put on when these wear out since they just quit making them, at least in the 215/70-16 size. These tires are a snitch over 28 inches in diameter - the biggest tire that will fit without getting into extensive mods. That gives me another inch of ground clearance.
As long as I was at it, the cracked plastic drip pan under the engine was replaced with an engine skid plate from Primitive Racing. They were my source for the struts and springs as well.
The last thing to do was to get the wheels aligned since removing and replacing the struts and steering rack changed everything. I called a recommended local shop and they could get me in after lunch.
Nothing like having the right equipment instead of rolling around on the floor.
I wasn't surprised that most everthing showed red, but I was surprised as to how close it was considered I'd just literally eyeballed it. Twelve minutes from when it rolled on the rack, it was all aligned and I was ready to go.
Needless to say, I needed to "test" it by visiting a road I'd never tried before. If I'd stopped 8 inches sooner for this picture, it would have had two wheels in the air. With over 11 inches of ground clearance and reasonable approach and departure angles, I'm expecting this will be a very effective desert rambler.
Guess this says it all. Now I'm dreaming about the White Rim Trail...