Jeeps and the KISS principle!

by Larry H. Morton

F-16 Cockpit

F-16 Cockpit

Am I alone or does any other Jeep person out there have a problem with the new Jeeps (and just about every other vehicle produced) being more like the space shuttle, with computer guided digital controls and sensors to the point of having the vehicle almost drive itself?

Okay a gross exaggeration, but just look at the new Grand Cherokee.

Fly by wire in an F-16 fighter jet makes plenty of sense when in combat, and the pilot's life is on the line with all of the complexity that entails.

However, do we really need the kind of technology in a Jeep that requires a degree from MIT to diagnose and fix what used to be some simple mechanical part? I don't think so.

I believe that the more complex (read more expensive to own and operate) that cars and trucks become, the less fun they will be to drive.

Why do you think more and more people are turning to restoring older cars and trucks.

The classic Jeep market is booming, and most pre-2000 Wranglers, Cherokees and CJ's are in great demand.

I'm kind of tired of having Silicon Valley design our Jeeps, and would prefer getting back to the KISS principle which says, "KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID".

I would also like to be able to work on my Jeep, diagnose and fix a problem, without having to consult HAL the computer from "2001 a Space Odyssey" for directions.

Makes that early CJ3A, or a CJ7 look mighty tempting as the newer Jeeps just get more and more complicated...and cushy...ugh!

Any comments pro or con? Or, am I really alone on this one?

Comments for Jeeps and the KISS principle!

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I Agree...for the most part
by: Smitty

You bring up a very interesting and possibly charged subject, depending on whether you want to work on them or have someone else do it for a small fortune.

It does seem that the more tech they put into vehicles, the more expensive they are to own and maintain while justifying the higher cost to you as "conveniences".

I've had three J's now and by far the best one I had was my 1977 AMC 401 powered Wagoneer I bought from my Mom. I put on headers and installed the air tubes into them to keep it legal while warming up the motor with an RV cam and putting on an Edelbrock aluminum manifold with a Carter spreadbore carb. And I didn't have to change a computer setting anywhere and still managed to scrape 14 MPG on the highway.

Now I have a 2000 TJ with the sluggish 242ci(4.0L) fuel injected engine instead of the venerable 258ci (4.2L) with TBI. I'd gladly give up direct port fuel injection for throttle body injection any day.

However, I have come to appreciate the OBD-II and EOBD-II diagnostics systems. Diagnosing problems is, admittedly, easier than it seems. QuadraTec has a programmer/reader for use in these types of systems that give you a fair amount of flexibility.

Increased tire sizes are now a matter of telling the computer the number of revolutions per mile it makes and it figures out the corrections to make the speedometer/odometer work properly among other things.

Since my TJ only has a 3 spd automatic, I don't have to worry about a computer controlled transmission like the 4 spd. Then again, I lose the benefit of better fuel economy on long trips too even though 18 MPG isn't too bad.

So there are points, good and bad, for and against, tried and true versus tech for the sake of tech. Personally, think about the last time you went to buy something in a store with computerized cash registers just after the power went out. Nobody can ring up a sale on paper because they don't know how or it's against company policy. What did people do when their covered wagons, then the high-tech mode of moving across country in the 19th century, broke a wheel? They sure as heck didn't wait for service shop to send a truck to change it.

I applaud those who pursue the interest in maintaining and restoring older vehicles! I also encourage those with computers to buy and learn to self-diagnose their vehicles that need it.

Using tech can be a good thing, so long as you can live without it when it breaks down.

HAL 9000, EPA and other forms of artificial intelligence...
by: Andrew Savidge

Funny you mention not wanting to consult HAL 9000 to fix your Jeep. If you recall in the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey the HAL 9000 is more than a computer, it is artificial intelligence.

Yet the very reason even the most basic new Jeeps these days are burdened with so much electronic wizardry is due to another form of artificial intelligence, the EPA. And let's not forget the EPA?s hubris creators, Congress.

In the movie HAL 9000 begins to malfunction and attempts to shut it down cause it to lash out. If you recall the EPA has now set its self above the authority of its creator, congress, and now creates laws and alters regulations without congressional approval.

Until we ?unplug? or ?defund? the EPA expect more and more electronic gizmos and do-dads on your future Jeeps. But don't worry, you won't need a Jeep in the near future anyway, where are you going to drive it?

Politicians are closing off more and more land every year to off road driving. If Obama and the Dems are re-elected in 2012, by 2014, quality time on the weekend with a Jeep will consist of jumping into your new Nissan Leaf and quietly whooshing over to your local auto museum.

If that is not your idea of a weekend ?odyssey? (like how I brought it back full circle?) then get out and VOTE!!!

Larry's Response: Well said Andrew. Couldn't agree more.

Need Help
by: Jamie

What is the last year that Jeeps were made without computers and computerized parts? Am looking for a vintage Jeep that will be simple to maintain on our farm that is miles from the nearest service station where service and parts may or may not be available. Would love to find a CJ or Wrangler style that is as recent as possible in good shape. Hope ya'll can help!

Good article
by: Howard


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