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Day 42 – Apr. 30th: R&P 4WD and Herm

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<– Day 41 – Apr. 29th: Ann Flies the Goose | OVERVIEWTrip End –>


Rich & Paul (aka R&P) on the left. John and me on the right.

Today is out last day of travel and visits. Tonight we will stay at Ann’s aunt and uncle in Vancouver, and tomorrow, we head directly home.

Ann and I spent the morning with R&P 4WD. In the evening I visited with Herm (AKA Herm the Overdrive Guy) and his son Marty Tilford. In between, Ann’s uncle lost his grandkids dog (still missing), so we spent several hours looking for the dog. On the plus side, I got to know her aunt and uncle’s neighborhood really well!


Our drive from our motel in McMInnville to R&Ps location in Oregon City, Oregon, took about an hour. What surprised Ann and I about the drive through the rolling landscape of small farms was the large number of wineries in the area. We both agreed that there seemed to be more wineries, more signs for wineries, and more tasting rooms than both Sonoma and Napa combined! Or, maybe we were just thirsty?

2014-04-30-rp4wd-doorFiguring it wasn’t quite time to drink, we landed at R&P thoroughly sober and ready to look at parts! Rich and Paul, who started R&P in the 1970s, and John, who joined them a few years ago, greeted us warmly. R&P provides a variety of drive train services, including tranny/tc rebuilds, axle builds, brake products and more.

After some pleasantries, we dove into their newest items. They recently developed a bolt-on dual master cylinder installation kit especially for trucks and wagons. They had a nice demo until to show us how the adapter attached to the frame:

2014-04-30-wagon-brake1 2014-04-30-wagon-brake2They also demonstrated their new tow bar adapters and their disc brake kits. R&P was even kind enough to donate a disc brake kit for testing on Biscuit, so I’ll be doing a full write up on that when install them (thanks guys!).

Next we got a tour of their garage and parts area. Not surprisingly, there were a bunch of different axles, transmission and transfer case gears and more. Ann faced the biggest challenge during this portion of the tour as she’d put on a dress so she could enjoy the sun, not realizing she’d be inside a garage (though I’d mentioned this fact to her . . . ). She’s a good sport and did her job taking photos, risking grease spots on her dress at every turn.


We also spotted John’s CJ-6, which is undergoing some work at the moment. It seems he’s as busy as I am, which explains the state of both of our jeeps.


After that we wandered outside to look at a few more jeeps. Each of these has a variety of upgrades to meet the challenges of northwest jeeping. One update that really interested me was the vintage Offenhauser Buick V6 valve covers in the CJ-5. They got my attention. Boy do I have valve cover jealousy.

2014-04-30-offy-covers1 2014-04-30-offy-covers2

Here’s another look at some of their jeeps:

2014-04-30-jeepsWe also took a look at a few of their projects.


2014-04-30-rp4wd-projectAfter our exploring the R&P shop, the guys Kindly took us out for lunch. Yum!

With our bellies were full from lunch and a temperature of 85 degrees (pretty high for this time of year in Portland), we drove north across the Oregon-Washington border.

As we crossed the Columbia river and entered Washington State (exactly six weeks after we left it), Ann got a message from her uncle: “Can you help me find the dog?” It turns out Uncle Bob and Aunt Debbie, who live in Vancouver where we planned to spend the night, had been watching their grandkids and their new dog, Bradley, who’d been a shelter rescue. Despite Aunt Debbie telling Bob not to let the dog off the leash, Bob wanted to train the new dog, so he’d unleashed him for a moment. Bad idea. Bradley took off into the woods. Since we had some extra time before meeting with Herm, we offered to help.

Bradley had only been missing a few minutes when we arrived at the Fohl household. We immediately began to troll the neighborhood with it’s parks, tall trees, underbrush, and windy 1970s suburban developments.

Ann and I split up to cover more ground. She wandered through a local park while I cruised the nearby junior high and high schools. It was at this point that I realized how awkward this could prove to be. I’m some middle-aged man slowly driving through school parking lots asking young boys and girls if they’d seen a lost dog. Even worse, had somebody asked, I couldn’t exactly describe the dog, since I’d never seen it! The words “stranger danger” kept cycling through my head . . .

Thank goodness for Herm and Marty, because after searching for two hours, I got a call from Marty letting me know they could meet with me. Though I had to leave Ann behind to continue the search, I couldn’t drive away fast enough!


Herm’s CJ-5 with a a few M-38A1 goodies on it. The hood has special louvres that Marty made. Herm says it really does help cool the engine. He runs terra tires on all four wheels.

Many people know Herm on the web by his internet name of ‘Herm-the-overdrive-guy‘. While he’s definitely a go-to-guy for overdrives (for servicing or for purchasing new or rebuilt ones), he also supplies many more products and services than that. He’s been involved with jeeping, jeeps and parts for decades and can has earned a wealth of knowledge from that experience.


I asked Marty why his dad painted the trannies different colors. I figured there might be a system. If there was, Marty said he didn’t know it.

Herm and his son Marty gave me a peak ‘behind the curtains’ of his home-based operation, which allows him to be around his family. One good reason for working at home is that the business keeps him very busy. He says he can work on larger items like transmissions in the afternoon, then in the evening have a seat at his work bench, turn on the tv, and rebuild overdrives. He says he’s thought about retiring, but he loves what he does and doesn’t know what he’d do if he retired.


Always nice to have a few parts hanging around. Lots of cleaned parts ready for sale.

He also continues to develop new products, several of which he explained to me. He was very excited about them. He feels he has an opportunity to fill some small vintage jeep drivetrain niches, to satisfy needs for which there are currently no solutions. Since I didn’t explicitly ask to share those ideas, I won’t get more specific here.


Herm’s got a few winches for sale, too.

Unfortunately, because I abandoned my wife to the dog search, I didn’t take too many photos. It’s too easy to get talking and forget to take them. But, I’ll make sure to bring her along next time so we can get an updated photo of Herm, Marty and I. Meanwhile, I did take a photo of the home made Elk/Porl bacon that the Tilfords gave me [Ed Note: this was great tasting!]


This is some elk/pork ‘bacon’ that Herm and Marty gave me. Parts are all fun to look at, but you know me and food. I can’t wait to try this!

So, thanks to Herm and Marty for taking the time to meet with me. And, many thanks for the elk/pork bacon. We’ll eat that for breakfast with some North Coast duck eggs. 🙂

For those wondering about Bradley the lost dog, the story ends happily. The search was given up while I was gone. The grandkids were told the dog was lost and they were sad.

But, don’t despair, because at 10pm, as I was going outside through the garage, I spotted a dog peering around the corner of the house. It was Bradley. He’d found his own way home!

Tomorrow we head home for some rest. All this ‘vacationing’ has worn me out!

<– Day 41 – Apr. 29th: Ann Flies the Goose | OVERVIEWTrip End –>


3 Comments on “Day 42 – Apr. 30th: R&P 4WD and Herm

  1. Marc-Flyingfish

    Is the como colour/color scheme of the CJ-2A/3A in the first photo painted or vinyl wrap. Looks interesting though.

  2. Buz

    I really like the “4 wheel drive” lettering across the hood of the red jeep. Neat idea.

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