The Jeep at 9k

I just passed 9000 miles in the Big Green Jeep, and figured with that many miles and a couple of months with it beneath me, it was time to lob some of my thoughts into the ether.

Handling. In 2WD, this thing corners like crazy! I absolutely feel like I can turn it on a dime, and it feels solid as I make turns with some speed. As I discovered this last weekend, the turning radius in 4WD isn’t quite the same as in 2WD. That’s expected, so I’m not disappointed in that by any means.

Suspension. This thing is stiff. I’m convinced that if you ran over a bug in the road, you’d feel the bump. 🙂 In reality, I like that better, but it does force me to slow down for advertised bumps in the road, lest I lose all the fillings in my teeth. In the TrailBlazer, I didn’t worry about the bumps too much, as they were dampened out pretty well. I don’t mind this though, as it makes me feel like I’ve got a better sense for what’s under my tires.

Cabin annoyances. Generally, I like the way things are laid out. But… (and there’s always a but)

Anytime you raise/lower the soft top, or install/remove the hardtop front panels, you have to use the latch hooks at the top of the windshield. Unfortunately, you have to move the sun visor out of the way in order to have access to the latch hooks. Were it me, I would’ve changed the design somehow to keep from having to do this.

I love running with the doors off, but there are some caveats. With the doors off, there is no chime to let you know that the headlights are still on after the engine’s off and key’s removed. That hasn’t bit me hard… yet.

That same thing also affects the radio to some degree. With the doors on, once you’ve killed the engine and removed the key, the radio shuts off as soon as the door is opened. With no doors installed, you can either turn off the radio manually, or just wait for the regular timer to turn it off after a few moments.

My guess is that both of these are tied to unplugging the wiring harness between the door and body when the doors are removed.

My only other cabin complaint surrounds the power windows and door locks. The lighting for these switches is abysmal, both on the front and back console (for the windows switches) and the door switches for the locks. In the dark, they are not very easy to find! Were it my design, I would’ve put the door and window switches on the doors. I mean, if you’ve opted for the power door/lock package, you’ve got different doors anyway, so why not put both switches in those special doors. I’d also have added a power option for the side mirrors. I know, I know… real Jeeps don’t have power accessories… but it really would make things a little nicer on the inside.

Radio. While we’re on the radio… I really don’t like Sirius. There’s no option for XM, and I really prefer it. The XM birds are in geosynchronous orbit, and I’ve never really had much problem with hearing them. The Sirius birds use a tundra orbit configuration. Dunno if that’s the issue, but I get pretty frequent dropouts with Sirius, especially crossing under bridges or across bridges that have an overhead suspension system.

And one more thing about the radio. Chrysler has moved to using a single electronic harness for a lot of the onboard systems. Unfortunately, this means that you can’t just swap out the radio for something else. Oh, you can put another radio in the Jeep, but you also have to drop a Benjy on a special harness to interface with the Chrysler electrical plumbing. Urgh.

Overall. I really have no major complaints with the vehicle, and after a lot of miles in a short period of time, crossing long highways and rocky trails, in dry and wet, I can’t imagine having a different vehicle beneath me… except maybe a Rubicon. 🙂