What a Trip... What a Truck! (1 Viewer)

Oct 15, 2020
Hey Mudders!

I'm assuming you don't have to try very hard to remember the day you brought home your first rig... and perhaps more vividly than you can recall the details of other major life milestones, but let's not think about that. - I became a rig owner for the first time this past weekend and, much like yourselves, will never forget the experience. I am relatively new to the obsession, and have been searching for an ideal family heirloom cruiser. This is a homecoming story, maybe you can relate.

Chapter 1: "Viva Las Vegas"

Fellow Mudders @satchel and @1tiredpapa have been helping with my search, and when the right rig popped up in the forums, they pounced. @satchel was going to buy it regardless, because one of us had to own this machine, but he gave me first dibs because he is the kind of friend I hope you all have someday. The problem is, I didn't carry my phone with me on the job that day, so when these guys found it, I didn't know until I finally checked my phone. 4 Hours later.

So I discover 90 unread text notifications, and only 1 from my wife which stated, "I just got a call from @satchel's wife, she said you guys are buying a truck and wants to know how you wanna work it out..??".
So yeah, I had some catching-up to do.
Followed by some explaining, for sure.
Yeah, absolutely some explaining.
(spoiler alert: wife's reaction was "Go get our new truck, See ya Sunday!")

Here's the low-down:
  • 1997 LX450, 206k miles (head rebuilt at 170k)
  • Factory 3X Lockers
  • Slinky 3" coils w/ 1" spacers
  • 35" A/T Falkens on Raceline wheels
  • Original interior and dash components
  • Constant preventive maintenance all around (we'll get to that in a moment)
So the journey starts out pretty straight-forward - great road trip convo and tunes with buddies, great scenery, and straight-up junk food. Lots of garbage going into our bodies at this point. Which is ironic that we're the types to research the best fluids and components to keep our rigs healthy, while punishing our own bodies with processed beef jerky and energy drinks. But I digress.

Just after dark, we meet up with @allan man, who, and this is true, is one of the greatest sellers of all time. Upon browsing threads, it's obvious that some of you have spent time on the trails with him, swapped parts, talked shop, and taken advice from him - he's the real deal, a great dude who took preventive maintenance to the next level with this rig, inside and out. There's nothing a buyer appreciates more than this type of TLC.

For example:
  • Radiator (Koyo)
  • Waterpump (Aisin)
  • Thermostat (OEM)
  • Upper/ lower radiator hoses (OEM)
  • Spark plug wires (OEM)
  • Spark plug (OEM)
  • Front/ rear brake rotors (OEM)
  • Front / rear brake pads (EBC greens)
  • Wipers front / rear (Rain-X)
  • Fuel filter (OEM)
  • All vacum hoses under intake (OEM)
  • Vacuum switching valve (OEM)
  • All belts (OEM)
  • Complete knuckle rebuild (CruiserOutfitters) kit (Koyo)
  • Slinky 3" coils w/ 1" spacers
  • TJM 9 way adjustable schocks
  • 315 75 16 AT falkens (5k miles)
  • Raceline wheels
  • OEM wheels (yep, he threw in the originals as part of the deal... I told you he was great)
  • Coolant flush within last 500 miles
  • Oil change within last 500 miles (first thing to do once we get home is switch it out from a Nevada-friendly 5w50 to a Colorado-friendly 5w30)
  • New battery 2 months ago
  • New fusible link
  • New fan clutch (OEM) with 30 cst.
  • Transflush within last 500 miles
Massive shout-out to @allan man and everyone who had hands on this rig before me.

After the hand-off, we stay overnight in Vegas. The next morning, it's a clear day, and the bonding begins on the 800 mile journey home. .....but first, I wake up before the others and take a spin for some photos to remember the day and give the rig one last victory stroll on the Vegas strip as a nod to it's heritage. @satchel wakes up, looks outside, notices the rig is gone, hyperventilates, experiences severe nausea and stomach cramps, but collects himself when he realizes that I'm also gone. Must've been the beef jerky.

The drive is awesome, and the driving experience is absolutely incredible.
We stop for photos a time or two. All is pure bliss. Like I said before, you know and remember the feeling.


We couldn't stop staring at it.

Chapter 2: "4 Seasons in 8 Hours "

Enter the Centennial State, where weather rapidly transitions from bright and clear to extreme winter in, from what I can recall, a brief instant. Low visibility, high winds, icy conditions, cars in ditches, plows are all-hands-on-deck, and the flow is roughly 30 mph. The rig handles extraordinarily well, no slip, great grip. I let @satchel take the wheel through the harsh stuff, he's got a decade of experience in the Cruiser cockpit versus my several hours, and this is not the time to take chances. I-70 promptly shuts down from Grand Junction to Georgetown (a 200 mile stretch of freeway that spans the ski towns). The rig may hold it's own in these conditions, but the other cars spinning out of control around us do not, and we find ourselves in their paths on a number of occasions. Each time turning my stomach a little tighter. We decide to stay put for the night in Grand Junction for a number of reasons, and getting the rig home in one piece is at the top of that list.

Early the next morning, the freeway re-opens, and it's a slow, lazy drive back to the front range outside of Boulder, with the traction law and commercial chain enforcement in full effect for anyone on I-70. The flow is still very slow, and the mood is best described by
<insert your favorite 80's hair ballad about "going home">.


....Like watching a Husky run in the snow.

9 hours later (that's twice as long as it's supposed to take) we arrive back in North-Central Colorado, in one piece, (thanks to patience, nerves, and a whole lot of truck) where my wife & kids rush out to greet us and insist on an immediate joy ride. To which I oblige!.... but first we check for leaks and anomalies. All good in that department.


So now begins the next chapter in this rigs life, I'm amped to make plans for it, and thankful for this crazy useful hub of information we call Mud, and such awesome people like @allan man, @satchel and @1tiredpapa who helped make this homecoming a memorable reality. One that perhaps resonates with some of you.

Mar 31, 2019
DFW Texas
Congratulations. I take objection to a few of your comments. First about remembering the first time you drove your rig home, and who is the best seller. My seller drove it over and dropped it off at my house like two weeks ago. :D

Seriously, nice truck, and it's always nice to have that first adventure to get to know it on the way home. I'm jealous of your local wheeling terrain too. I'll be following your posts as I have a little steering to tighten up as well.

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