Everyone Loves a Good Jeep Project, Even the Kids!

Recently we have been running a contest for Ugly Truck Day here at Eastwood. The person that submits the “ugliest” truck, gets a $100 gift certificate. We’ve found that some enter their project.. not because they think it is necessarily the ugliest.. but because they could use the gift certificate for Eastwood supplies that could be used on their “ugly” truck. Craig E’s Jeep was a perfect example. Nothing was overly horrible about it, but when I was viewing his submission, I was delighted to see that his 11 year old daughter “Mira” was getting heavily involved! Yes, she was disassembling, and even grinding and cutting! To think if some of us were able to start that young; how ahead of the restoration game we’d be! I decided to contact Craig and see if we could get the full story! Below are some highlights from his response. We could all take some notes from this story to use in our daily lives.

Craig has been a long time Jeep fan, and his daughters (now age 8 & 11) have watched their dad part out, assemble, and restore 50 or more Jeeps over the years. When Craig was offered a free Cherokee from a local friend, he jumped at the chance to start another project. While planning the project, he asked his oldest daughter Mira if she wanted to help rebuild the Jeep. She was delighted to be involved, and asked “Can I weld on it?”. No more persuasion was needed, and Craig and Mira started a project plan on an Excel spreadsheet; tracking costs, work that needed to be done, and even money saved from parting out other Jeeps.

Not only was Craig delighted to have some help and bonding time with his daughter, he found a few “life lessons” that could really help Mira in the long-run.

1.Learning about Jeeps/cars, as well as having pride in, and respect/responsibility for her vehicle. He knew after the project is done, she was going to have a vested interest in her first car.

2. Fiscal responsibility. This will teach her about budgeting and making good financial decisions in the future.

3.Learning how to drive a stick shift vehicle. Mira’s Jeep will have a 5-speed transmission to help a little with fuel economy. Craig (I’m the same way!-Matt) is a firm believer that everyone should know how to drive a stick, it’s shocking how few people do these days!

4. Learning more about using Microsoft Excel, this will give her a jumpstart into the world of powerful business tools that she will definitely need when becoming an adult.

So after setting up a plan for the project, Craig set off on the long journey from Michigan to Kentucky to pick up the Jeep. Once he fabricated tow brackets on-site, he was back on his way with their new water-filled, windowless Cherokee project.

After they got the project home, they began to dig into the Jeep to see the severity of the corrosion from the truck sitting with no windows. They found it was savable, but would need rust repair in the floors.

Craig and Mira recently began picking up cheap, local parts-donors for $3-500, and picking off the parts they needed, and selling the rest. The result is that they are into the project for only a little under $300, and they have about 95% of everything they need to finish the build! Craig did spring for some Eastwood paint and supplies, as well as some donations from local Jeep enthusiasts, and Ballistic Fabrication, have kept the project rolling forward on the “cheap”.

Right now the specs and future plans are as follows:

1993 Jeep Cherokee Sport 2-Door
4.0L HO engine with 157K miles…runs well
AX-15 5-speed transmission
NP-231 transfer case
Dana 30 front/Dana 44 rear axles (3.73 gearing with limited-slip in the rear)
4-wheel disc brakes
OEM Jeep Ravine wheels
31″ BF Goodrich KM2 Mud-Terrain tires
JCR Offroad rear bumper
(planned) Iceland Offroad high-clearance flares (no suspension lift planned for vehicle)
(planned) Custom-built front bumper (built by Mira and dad)
(planned) Rock sliders (JCR Offroad, or custom-built)
(planned) JCR Offroad transmission skid plate
(planned) Later-model seats
(planned) Synergy Green exterior paint (OEM color on the new Camaros)

Along the way a number of products from us here at Eastwood have been used:

Sheet Metal Gauge
Poly-X, Paint & Rust Removal Disc 4.5in Cup Style
EW Rust Converter New formula Aerosol
Eastwood’s Gel Rust Dissolver Quart
Pre Painting Prep Aerosol 11 oz
Extreme Chassis Black Primer 14 oz Aerosol
Extreme Chassis BlackSatin 14 oz Aerosol
Underhood Black Semi Gloss Aerosol 11 oz
Diamond Clear Satin/Metal Surfaces Aerosol 11 oz.
Aluma Blast Paint Aerosol 12 oz
Rust Encapsulator Black aerosol
Underhood Black Semi Gloss Aerosol 11 oz

Their next plans are going to entail tackling the engine paint and starting on the bodywork. They definitely have a lot of work ahead of them, but at the rate they are progressing, I’m sure it will all happen pretty fast! We hope we can help with more products along the way, and are eager to see the finished product.

Thanks for the inspiration Craig, and most of all Mira! Check out the rest of the pictures in the gallery below, and for the full saga check their build thread on the Great Lakes 4×4 Forums

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