Chapter 7: Telling the Kids Apart

Homer & The Deuce

One question I always get is: how do you tell them apart? Now I understand how the parents of fraternal twins feel. I swear it is easy.

The Deuce sits higher, has black fender flairs, comically knobby tires, a double roll cage hoop, and somehow just looks… angrier? Homer just looks like he is out to have some fun.

When I finally got the two CJ jokers side by side in the garage, I slowly started to understand just how different they really were. Almost nothing important really matched up. Seems I bought a late early-CJ5 and an intermediate CJ5. While quite a bit of hardware can mingle on both sides of the garage, most of my issues seem to highlight all the differences.

Here are some of the differences I noticed initially:

  • Axles. They both have Dana 44s in the rear, but the diff is centered on the 75 and offset right on the 71.
  • Steering systems, Homer’s is mounted by the firewall while the Deuce’s is up in front of the axle, however both are sloppy
  • Pedals, lower vs upper pivot
  • Master cylinder, frame rail vs firewall
  • Engine, obviously, which all the accessories including cooling
  • Heater, Homer has none

Here are the similarities :

  • wheels/tires
  • front bumper (important!)
  • seats, maybe

Beyond the mechanical differences, they acted very differently. While they both wandered down the road, due to worn out parts, the steering felt rather different.  Homer was lighter and more nimble where the Deuce felt as big as she looks. Both were non-power steering boxes, so slow steering was tough. Luckily, the stock giant steering wheels helped.

The original suspensions were both shot. Stiff, old leaf springs and dead shocks. Both rode like skateboards. Hard on the kidneys. They just bounced down the road and would randomly change directions after hitting bumps.

The Deuce had the added benefit of wobbling like a top when you got out. And while you drove. It was fun, in a drunken boat ride kind of way. Since a few of the body mount were rotten, that probably didn’t help.

The Deuce had a ton more power with the V8 vs the V6. It would just leap out of the way. Homer was definitely slower but that was greatly improved after the carb rebuild and actually setting the timing. Still, it was nothing compared to the Deuce’s 304. Too much power and random steering changes added a rather kamakazi approach to passing people.

For brakes, they both initially sucked. Of course, they might be better when adjusted right. Luckily, both would slow down greatly just off throttle. And they both behaved much better after repairs.

Now for the seat-of-the-pants feel… literally. The seats in Homer were low backed and caused a bit of back pain where the seat ended. Some of that was due to where the seat was mounted. As far back as possible, but sitting high the adjusters. So I removed the sliders and mounted the seat lower. That helped the steering wheel to gut distance, but made my knees stick up rather high. Oh well, it was slightly better. Meanwhile, the Deuce had higher mid-back seats. Which would be more comfortable if they weren’t worn out.

When it comes down to it, they are both fun to drive. The Deuce is definitely more aggressive and takes a bit more focus. Homer likes going slower, mainly due to the gearing. They both put a smile on my face.

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