The Tow Pig

A major part of the team, and a total pre-requisite to this project.  Our ancient jeep.  I love having a machine that I don't worry about reversing into trees or getting caught in the snow :-)  I converted it to LPG myself and on a long motorway journey I now average between 12p and 14p a mile.  Not too shabby!  Its great to work on as everything is so accessible, and its pretty simple so a dork like me can generally speaking get by without having to resort to the dealer.  There may be one or two more projects for the jeep to make her suitable for any major future towing, such as a larger transmission cooler and a new more powerful inlet manifold.  I would also like a trailer stabiliser link for the towbar, and attachment points for breakaway chains.


The battle bus I like canoes 3,2,1 Pull!


Maybe one day I will replace the ZJ with a sexy black WJ! - I'm a keen follower at


20th July 2011

Lots of changes and repairs of late on the ZJ.  New Tyres, exhaust reworked and re welded, new drop links on the front, new sway bar bushes, had to replace a CV boot which was great fun, and so on and so forth.  Planning on getting a 2" lift for it soon as I got supremely chunky AT tyres for it and it looks a bit silly at stock height, plus I fancy a bit of off roading!  Also built a bike rack for the roof rack - some pictures to come!



2nd August 2011

I thought I would put my new found fabrication skills to the test and build myself a bike rack for the Jeep!  I prefer having bikes on the roof if I can, as I usually need access to the boot, and I don't like having the bike too high, so I prefer rack designs that allow you to remove the front wheel and lock the front fork dropouts into something...  Looking online these styles of racks are rather expensive, being anything from £90 to £150, which is a rediculous for such a simple thing.  Maybe the price pays the manufacturers insurance incase a bike falls off a rack and causes a massive pileup on the motorway... who knows.

Anyway, I designed and fabricated this:

Bits just painted Closeup General view

Total cost of bits as follows:

  • 5mm plate - 100mm x 1000mm - £12 delivered
  • Front QR axle - £4 delivered
  • QR spindle - on hand already
  • M8 nylock bolts - on hand already
  • Red straps - £4.99 at Halfords
  • Hammerite gloss black spray can - Halfords - £5.99
  • 1mm Welding Rods for detail work - £9.99 - Halfords

Total Cost for 1 rack: £36.97  (note that I have enough steel & paint to fabricate 1 more when Naomi sorts her bike out!)

Time for fabrication: 4 hours on a nice evening



20/12/2011 - The New Tow Pig!!!

New Jeep!

Finally invested in the Jeep I should have bought! I have always wanted a WJ, so I got the best one I could find/afford... a 2003 WJ 4.7 Litre V8 High Output Overland Edition in gunmetal grey!!! I found it at 100k miles, and it is was in need of its first scheduled major maintennance, which the 1 previous owner has clearly opted not to do, and instead has sold it.  Funny how some people work.  Not without faults, the blend doors need doing, but I got a huge discount for nearly walking away from the deal when I found out!  Everything is fixable though, I have already done the transmission service, which has sorted a sluggish initial engagement of the automatic transmission, and further fluid changes will continue to improve things.  Nothing untoward was found in the tranny pan.  New tyres are on it now to replace the 4 different tyres on each corner.  I have also just done the front discs and pads and bled the brakes with new fluid, which has completely fixed the slight pulsation from the brake pedal.  The kit for doing the blend door fix through the glove box has been ordered and will be arriving from the states shortly, and we will have heat again soon!  Also got the roofrack sorted out.

On the cards are the usual replace all fluids of used car... something I always do.  I am going to do an LPG conversion too with a fully sequential system this time.  My previous LPG setup was single point on the ZJ, which was fine, but the multipoint will be better this time.  Also the tank will be in the spare wheel well, meaning I retain a full load space!  The load space feels much bigger on this too.

I have to say this is an awesome Jeep... the engine really shines.  It has enough power to not need to drop out of overdrive when at cruise speed on long motorway journeys on cruise control, which the 4 litre in the ZJ suffered from.  Its also a lot more refined and quieter, which is a nice change!  Its also scary fast when you floor it!

So still to do:

  • Source and fit a tow bar, preferably with dual electrics
  • Fix small oil leak on rocker cover
  • Fix Blend Door issues
  • Fix Heated Driver Seat
  • Usual Fluid Changes
  • Sell the old Jeep!



01/01/2012 - Blend Door Fix

So the WJ Jeep suffers from a common fault.  There are two "doors" that control passenger and driver side heat.  Mine was broken and delivering only cold air to the passenger side.  Also my recirculation door was broken, so that was limiting the volume of air that reached the heat exchanger.  The result of this was the Jeep did not heat up sufficiently to prevent hypothermia in winter!  A fix was definately required, but the typical dealership repair is to remove the entire dash to access the HVAC box for repair.  This costs in the region of £1500 to £2000 at a typical UK dealership, and is likely to be one of the contributing factors to the previous owners decision to sell.... Knowledge is Power!

I managed to negotiate the seller down considerably owing to this fault, but I have been lurking on the Jeep forums long enough to know that this is a common fault, and there is an easy fix out there.  I ordered up the repair kit from and proceeded as per their excellent instructions.  the whole repair took about an hour and the functionality of the HVAC is now restored 100%  - see pics and video below!

First cut into the HVAC box - Glovebox removed First cut into the HVAC box - Glovebox removed Faulty Blend Door - far away passenger side flopping down onto the cold delivery side


Faulty Blend Door - Broken plastic of the blend door... tut tut Chrysler! Everything out ready for new doors New Blend Door from the Blen Dor Store installed


Taped up and ready to give some heat! Recirculation door fixed up into the outside air position now giving ample air flow!