Troubled Child at the entry to Grizzly Lake, in Colorado
My Jeep, Troubled Child, is a 1986 Grand Wagoneer built up to be an exploration vehicle for camping, fishing, and four-wheeling on 8/10-rated trails.

The emphasis is on balance, not extremes. Subtlety, not excess. The truck's many virtues lay hidden to all but those who carefully inspect and the few who have driven it...

I purchased the truck used in 1997 as my very first four wheel drive vehicle. Heavily into landscape photography, I wanted a vehicle to drive on dirt roads to take better pictures. I also wanted to do some fishing.

After my first $200 repair bill for a bad alternator I vowed to never take the truck into a shop again. I've only done so on very, very rare occasions and have touched nearly every bolt and part on the truck since it's purchase, learning a heck of a lot along the way.

First fishing trip, August 1997
The name? On one of my early Moab trips the truck kept breaking down unexpectedly and was named by the folks I wheeled with. TC lived up to its name experiencing lots of failures and exhibiting many quirks. Over time it's gotten better but you never know what TC has in store next.

Meanwhile, driving on dirt roads quickly turned into a passion for four-wheeling that led to a number of vehicle upgrades. Along the way, I insisted on building a mildly capable off-road rig, comfortable to drive hundreds of miles to trails, with enhanced reliability. After all these years I've arrived at what I think is a pretty good balance.


Stock, 360, installed in 2007
  • Stock AMC 360 V8
  • GM TBI fuel injection system
  • High performance TFI cap and rotor
  • 8mm Borg-Warner plug wires MSD Blaster 2 coil 
  • Autolite spark plugs
  • 3" custom single exhaust with Magnaflow muffler and high-flow catalytic converter
  • Carter electric fuel pump
  • 4-row radiator
  • B&M 14,000-19,000 GVW auxillary transmission cooler
Gold Bar Rim, 1999


  • Rebuilt Jeep A727 with TransGo reprogramming kit
  • Custom-built 1100 rpm low-stall torque converter
  • Widetrack Dana 44 Front; ARB Air Locker
  • Widetrack AMC 20 rear with stitch welded tube/housing, cast-iron cover, Powertrax Lock-Right
  • Differential gears are Precision Gear 3.73:1
  • New Process 208 transfer case

TC scores around 500 on a 28° ramp


  • 4" Skyjacker all-spring lift
  • Rancho RS9000 shocks
  • Warrior anti-sway bar quick disconnects
  • 33x12.50" BF Goodrich Mud Terrain Tires
  • GM extended length brake hose
  • Valvoline synthetic brake fluid

Electronics and Electrical

  • Icom 2134H 2m/70cm amateur radio, 18" Larsen NMO mount dual-band antenna
  • Alinco DR6M0 6m amateur radio, Larsen 6m NMO mount antenna
  • Uniden Pro 520 CB radio, 30" Hustler permanent mount CB antenna, PA system (actually quite useful off-road, honest)
  • Ancient Lowrance GlobalMap 100 mapping GPS with external antenna, Radio Shack electronic automotive compass, internal/external digital thermometer
  • Pioneer CD/CDR/CDRW/AUX/iPod
  • Boston Acoustics FX5 5" 2-way speakers (4)
  • Infinity Reference 1032W dual voice coil 10" subwoofer
  • Painless Wiring 7 circuit auxilliary fuse block custom mounted in glovebox
New shoes in prep for 2002 FSJ Invasion


  • Grant custom steering wheel
  • Besttop sport seats with manual seat brackets
  • Steel Horse center console
  • Rear map light conversion
  • Steel cable and carabiner cargo tie-down system

TC on Engineer Pass, 2002 Ouray FSJ Invasion

Off-Road Goodies

  • On-Board Air with converted York, 4WD Products air tank, and ARB solenoid / locker
  • Valley Industries swing-away spare tire carrier / jerry can holder
  • Wilderness safari rack, dual gas can carriers, hi-lift, and shovel mounts
  • Killer32 front and rear dual-tube steel bumpers
  • Warn 2" receiver shackle, rear; tow hooks, front
  • Warn XD9000i 4.6hp winch and winch kit
  • Delco Remy 94A HD alternator
  • General Electric "High Output" halogen headlamps
  • Warn 610 spot lights and 620 flood lights, front; Warn 520 flood lights, rear
  • Hi-lift jack and ancient, free junkyard shovel
Holy Cross, 2004

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