An Op-Ed article from contributor Asa Lee Meadows on the built versus bought dilemma.


It was January 2, New Year’s day off (Observed).  Having just moved up to Michigan a few months ago and noticed the greater number of deer present I decided that it was time to switch out my ARB stubby bumper for a full-width AEV bumper that I used to run on my 2012 JK. With the 2014, I had thought about just trimming the fenders myself, which would have looked better with the stubby. I’m glad I waited a few months to see how I liked the stubby before proceeding with the fender trim. Actually, it was over a year, but I wanted to be sure, and with a new baby, I never had time to really wrench on the jeep.

jeeps in winter
The Jeep Running In The Winter

Back to my day off plans. I informed the wife that I would be in my fortress of solitude (garage) for most of the day taking off the old bumper, and reinstalling the winch & winch plate, bumper, and front skid. After refreshing myself of the install procedure that I had done 4 years ago with the help of my friend James I decided that maybe I’ll let a shop do the swap for me this time.

A few reasons went into this.

  1. I still haven’t cleared the garage all the way out after moving here. I have most of the tools in my toolbox, but there are boxes of other tools still packed. I know my anti-seize is packed away and my friend Reid would be freaking out if I didn’t apply liberal amounts of it to everything with threads on it during the install. I have no idea where my wire loom is if I have any left over for the fog light wiring extension.
  2. I have enough room in the garage for both my jeep and the wife’s car with about 4 feet of room in the front of the jeep to work on. But it’s still crowded in there. I need to really clear out the garage.
  3. My wife is 6 months pregnant and we have a 20-month-old. Our son George is really active and in this stage of her pregnancy she’s exhausted when she wakes up in the morning. So watching Geo all day solo would be a strain on what is also her day off too.
  4. There’s also a couple other modifications I’d like to do, like switch out my wire rope for synthetic. That’d also mean that I need a different fairlead than the roller one. That would be easiest to do when I put the bumper on.
wearing the red dirt
Wearing The Red Dirt Proudly

Taking all of these things into consideration, I decided I’d rather let a local shop do it and spend my day with George. I took him to the Chippewa Nature center where he likes to play. While there, I saw a posting for a snowshoe hike for beginners. Something that I’ve been wanting to try and will be part of my overall Michigan Overlanding adventures.  Had I spent the day in the garage, I would have missed out on that. In two weeks, we’ll be going on vacation for a week. That gives me plenty of time to get my checklist for what I want to be done and price it out from a couple of places. It also gives me ample time to have the work done while I’m gone.

out playing in the dirt
Out Playing In The Dirt

So yeah, this time I’ll be a bought person. The last Jeep I put on all the bumpers, cut the frame mounts for clearance, installed the lift kit, etc. Like with anything, everyone’s own personal priorities, budgets, and life circumstances will dictate what happens and when. It really shouldn’t be a matter of saying whose rig is better than whose.

I think the important thing for our sport (off-roading) or recreation (overlanding) isn’t how people get out there, but how many people get out there. The more inclusive we are to other people who share common interests the better for us all. The more places we’ll have to wheel. The more public land use areas at our disposal. Those are the things we really should focus on, not who turned a wrench more.

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