The Commando Build Continues
I did some more work on the 72 Jeep Commando this weekend on the never ending quest to get it ship-shape. When I first bought it, I replaced the two front shocks. The steering was VERY squirrelly, and improved considerable. One of the adventures of driving it was that if I had to slam on the brakes, it would skid to a long stop. When I went through pursuit driving in the police academy 20 years ago, it was pre-ABS and I had to master the art of pumping the brakes... but at least they were powered. Not too easy with the manual brakes on the Jeep. The shocks were so worn that the rubber bushings were not actually in contact with the bolt sleeve, so they slid freely about. They also had no expansion tension.
Anyway, this week I picked up new rear shocks. The old ones were much easier to get off than the front ones were. Those took a breaker bar and a ton of penetrating rust buster. The rear ones got a quick squirt of rust buster and a regular sized wrench. I did run into one snag. The body hung down bit past the edge of the nut on the top of the shocks. On the first one, I used an open end wrench, and had to use a bottle jack resting on the leaf spring to get it lifted enough to get the new one on. On the second one, I used chunks of 2x4to brace under the leaf springs. That gave the bottle jack enough support to lift the body so that I could use a ratchet wrench on the upper nut.
I got the shocks done and took it for a spin. The ride is much smoother, and I was able to come to a sudden stop with no laying of the rubber. I guess the improved down pressure lets the tires get better traction and they are less likely to skid and bounce along. The other improvement is that the lifted the body about 3/4 to one inch higher.
All told, I spent $92 on the four new shocks. I'm sure it would have cost me $75-100 for labor if I went and had it done. So, not only did I save some decent money, but I also expanded on my automotive skills.
I really encourage you to learn to do more on your vehicle, whether changing to oil on your daily commuter, or changing out the U-joints in your old pickup that you use on the homestead, anything you can do on your own will save you money, make you more self-reliant, and could be of use after SHTF.