with Scott Rossow

Is Bigger always Better?

Look around, everything seems to be getting bigger than ever and somebody has to stop the madness!  Airplane seats are bigger, mmm okay, I can live with that.  Big Macs are available 40% bigger in some markets, mmm, okay, I guess.  I never really understood why anybody ate those anyway, so bigger will do.  Supersize the rest of the meal and everything gets bigger, the fries, your waistline and their profits.

Click through for a closer view...Click through for a closer view...Vehicles are getting bigger too.  Look around next time you drive through town.  Bigger cars, trucks and SUVs, theyre everywhere.  Energy crisis?  Not from the looks of the drivers and their vehicle of choice where I live.  I even read recently that the little econo-cars are growing.  Toyotas cute little RAV4 is growing three inches.  Based on those observations bigger must be betterit sure does sell!

Let me get to the point before I start ranting more about the fattening of America.  

Click through for a closer view...Click through for a closer view...I trail ride--a lot.  I try to get out in the woods in my Samurai a least a couple of times a month.  During a good month I get to go every weekend.  That is a lot around here because it has been hard to find a core group to go with on a regular basis.  Actually, I have gathered a pretty tight group of friends that want to go with very little fuss or drama.  Wheel?  Hell yeah, lets GO! 

This is where my bigger is better dilemma begins: you knew this wasnt about Big Macs.

Click through for a closer view...Click through for a closer view...You see, I have the smallest trail truck of the bunch, by far.  True, I have the only Sammy, and I do hold my own on the trail but 33 Swampers look so small compared to those 39 beasts.  Sure I am locked front and rear, but so is everybody else.  The next smallest truck is a 1980 Toy pickup on 35 mudders.  Thats good, but he just bought 4 lift springs and has plans for 37 Boggers.  Thats badfor me.  The next smallest truck is already on 36 Swampers, but its a jeep, it needs all the advantage it can get.  After those two it is 39 inches or bigger.  So you can see why I began to wonder about bigger being better. 

I recently came into possession of a complete set of 2 inch lift springs for a CJ.  I put them in the shop along with the other miscellaneous leafs out there and didnt think anymore about them.  Except, they kept calling to mebigger, bigger, you know you want toooooo.  

Click through for a closer view...Click through for a closer view...Just to get those springs to stop calling I pulled them back out and measured and planned and messed around and before I knew it they were on the Samurai.  Holy kamolie!  It was UP THERE, 34 inches to the body under the door.  Now it will easily clear 36 tires.  I know, I put the ones from the jeep on it to see.  Of course I dont have 36 tires, but hey, thats what credit cards are forright?  (Dont tell my wife I said that.) 

Well, the springs are on it, lets wheel!  Oh wait, I dont have drive shafts that fit anymore.  I've got a set from an early 70s FJ40 that will fix that.  Hmm, the front one wont clear the crossmember and the rear one is at a pretty extreme angle.  Oh well, it will work for a quick test drive, right? 

I think I chipped my teeth and probably will need back surgery after that test ride.  Not really, but it did ride a little too stiff for my tastes.  I am pretty sure that solid steel blocks in place of those springs would have had a more forgiving ride.  But I want to be bigger so maybe I could live with it.

Click through for a closer view...Click through for a closer view...Then I got to thinking of finishing up this project.  New front crossmember, those new tires and wheels.  Fancy high angle drive shafts.  Just a matter of time before the axles fail, even in the slippery Florida mud.  Then I will need Yota axles and new lockers and another set of wheels, probably a complete rebuild too, andwell the list just keeps on growing, yet my credit card seems to have disappeared (my wife must have read that earlier comment about needing tires).  Reality sucks.  This lift project just hit a wall, pretty hard too.  Almost as hard as it was hitting those bumps in my driveway that chipped my teeth. 

So what did I do?  If you read this far you may actually want to know!  I pulled the CJ springs back off and then apart to mix and match some lift leafs in with the already mixed and matched springs I was using.  I managed to get a little more lift, and a ride that I can live with.  Got a pretty nice yota driveshaft out of the deal too.  33 inches is not that small, not on a Samurai.  Let them laugh at me, I dont care.  Besides, I know the secret of Samurai Zen!

 Is bigger better?  Sometimes, but not for me. 

08/11/10 15:24


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