Form following function
December 13, 2014
I purchased this truck (it's on a frame, not a unibody) new in 1996. It had been sitting on the dealer's lot for 18 months, and I got it for well below sticker. That weekend, totally misunderstanding the depth of our insurance coverage, we took it onto Strawberry trail in the Sierras - a serious 4x4 trail near its more famous sibling the Rubicon. It was rail buggies, modified CJ's, and us in our white freaking yuppie SUV that still had the cardboard placards for license plates! Lol!
We camped two nights, crawled our way out, and knowing what it could do, I've trusted the Trooper ever since - often heading down roads where I didn't know what was ahead, but knew I couldn't turn around if it was bad. Only had to back out once that I recall.
It's been from Port Hardy to Key West, driven on the beaches of the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf, and has the mass and features which provide my family with a degree of safety that no economy car can match.
Which is to say the mileage S-U-C-K-S! 13/16...
Two tips that can save you a lot of $$$ in repairs:
1. If the brake light fuse blows, the transmission will go into limp mode. This is easily mistaken (passed off) as a bad transmission
2. If the engine starts making a loud slapping noise that goes away over 2500RPM, it's the timing belt tensioner pusher, and not a thrown rod.