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4x4tographer

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4x4tographer last won the day on May 7

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About 4x4tographer

  • Rank
    Trail Blazer

Basic Info

  • Rig
    2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JL
  • Location
    Peoria, AZ, USA

My Details

  • First Name
    Ryan
  • Experience Level
    Intermediate
  • Preferred Trail Rating
    Moderate
  • HAM Call-sign
    WRKC290
  • Website
  • About Me
    Joined ORP in 2016 after the "last ever" Cinders Gala. Been addicted ever since!

Recent Profile Visitors

6,464 profile views
  1. Those are on my wish list! Heard nothing put good things about them.
  2. Seems like upgrade central around here as I get prepped for the Rubicon later this year. A more "long term liveability" upgrade was a new Mopar OEM hard top. After 6 years of ownership, and with the dawn of permanent work from home, I don't drive the Jeep as often as I used to and rarely have the top down on the Jeep. I've been trying to up my game in terms of interior storage and a lot the solutions I've been exploring (shelves, molle panels, etc) are all restricted by the inner mechanics of the soft top. The hard top really opens up some more options to maximize that unused space around the C-pillars and above the rear deck. Additionally, getting into the rear of the Jeep is a heck of a lot easier with a lift gate, as opposed to needing to unfasten the soft top every time I open the rear. Finding a hard top has been a bit of a chore, as they are constantly on backorder. Most retail sites, like Northridge and Quadratec, have 6mo backorders on them. I was able to work with Joe @ @OnPointOffroad to order one through one of his suppliers with delivery to the shop. From order to delivery it was only 28 days! WAY faster than I thought it'd be. I pre-stripped the soft top components and then rolled over to Joe's, where he graciously let me use a little space in the shop to install the top's latching hardware. The crew there helped me lift the top up and into position (WAAAAAAY lighter than the JK hard tops), and away we went! The difference in ride quality is pretty major - much quieter than the soft top. I'm also looking forward to the extra A/C comfort during the summer scorchers this year! Just 2 days later I headed out for the Hole in the Rock overland trip, where it rained like cats and dogs two of the three nights. Zero leaks! And I stayed nice a cozy. The Premium Twill Soft Top has been great all this time. It's proven to be extremely durable and has put up with numerous scratches from tight trails, low tree branches, an encounter with a rock wall squeeze on Smasher Canyon, and even being hit by a drunk SxS driver on the Backway to CK. ๐Ÿ˜ My only "serious" damage to the top was a puncture by a pointy tree branch that I backed into that pierced a hole in the rear window. I've had some tape over it for about 2 years. All this time I've had minimal issue with it. My only real complaint is the related to the stitching coming loose around the bottom left and right sides of the rear window panel from repeated openings/closings over 6 years (probably well into the THOUSANDS of cycles). My only other complaint is how "tight" it gets in the winter cold when the material shrinks a bit - it can make it difficult to get into the rear or stretch it for a secure close - but that's just the nature of soft top life! I love the functionality of the soft top - it's EASY to drop the top on a whim. I can have the three rear windows removed and the top fully retracted in just a few short minutes. The track system Jeep devised for it with air struts makes flipping the top back a 1 handed operation, with a second handle making retracting the roof into the boot a breeze. I also like the multi-functional "modes" you can put the top into. You can run with the full top, just the front flipped back, the front flipped with the rear panels removed, "bikini mode" with just the rear panels removed, and of course, fully retracted. I've never had any issues at highway speeds in any of these "modes". For the moment, I'm holding on to the soft top. I just need to give it a good, respectable cleaning, and find a good way to store it in the garage. Until then - I'm loving the utility, quiet, and "coolness" of hard top life!
  3. We'll see! I'm about to do my first oil change since the oil cooler was replaced. I'm hopeful there won't be as much oil loss this time around. Dip stick measurements have been spot on ever since.
  4. We's high tech 'round these parts! ๐Ÿ˜ It sure is nice with these little handhelds. They held-up pretty well in the rain too! That reminds me - @theksmith I determined that the battery died on the unit I gave you - It was totally dead until I charged it up - though I had fully charged them prior to departure - I might have to replace the pack in the future - they're a little long in tooth. Jacq you've really outdone yourself with this video - I love it! Really great camera work and the sound track is..... The thumbnail for the video it epic in and of itself. Love that massive waterfall just below our "shelter in place" camp ๐Ÿ˜ณ 100% this ๐Ÿ‘†. That shot really put that obstacle into perspective and the repair. I was wondering how "deep" they drove that rebar into the cliff to stack up all of those boulders/dirt. As she panned the camera by you can really tell how far of a drop it was to the bottom.
  5. A few videos! Here's the waterfall ledge, headed down. Here's @theksmith helping @Bradywgn71 navigate the sketchy washout: Here's the tailgunner's view of the storm as we made the climb onto Grey Mesa. (Note: it's in real time, and about 10 minutes). You can see waterfall start to blossom, hear K's instructions over the radio, and see the rain start to build. Here's a video with a montage of clips showing the waterfalls and flooding that developed:
  6. Here's some from my haul! A mix of Fuji and iPhone for your viewing pleasure. ๐Ÿ˜Š Massive thanks to @theksmith for putting together a truly epic and enjoyable adventure for everyone! You can click on any of these images to open a high resolution copy. You can also access these photos, a few videos, and more on my Google album. Feel free to download whatever you want! The drive up in Flagstaff Stopped for a quick look in the rain in Monument Valley. It was DUMPING when I was climbing the Moki Dugway Some of the booties I got to chase on the trip, like @squinko's! An allergy blizzard! The "Giant Washout" Climbing back out of the wash with @Bradywgn71 @J2DXPLR's exceptionally equipped rig Awesome signage day 2 Extremely interesting geology at our lunch spot on Day 2. @Ladybug we we're thinking these impressions or "shadows" might be plant life or coral. Dinner! @Rawhyd showing off that AAL Navigating the labyrinth Our fearless leader @theksmith exploring an abandoned half-track truck. @gearhead's bulletproof YJ @kaspily showing some leg Mt. Navajo dominated the horizon for much of the trip "The Brothas" checking things out from on high @J2DXPLR taking a light stroll Grey Mesa and the Sheep Path. You can see the steps and wagon path cut into the righthand rock face I think I found the hole in the rock! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ณ We didn't make it to this point, but I hiked up to the top of Grey Mesa to check out what might be ahead. The 10%: If you know, you know. Camp Climbing Grey Mesa Our 10% turned to 10,000% rain. The sketchy part: Headed back to camp: The ladies of ORP: Last night at camp: The 10% strikes back: @gearhead makes questionable parking choices: How'd he even get up there? A parting glance.
  7. Wrapped up another smaller project related to adding some power to the rear of the Jeep. Ran 8 gauge power from the battery to the rear Added a fused power distribution circuit Upgraded connectors from the standard 12v cigarette plugs to some Anderson PowerPole connectors Added a hard mount ground point While the JL has a 12v outlet in the rear, the wiring is very thin and can't carry a lot of current. I need to be able to run my fridge back there, while also running some higher amperage items, like my RoadPro portable 12v oven without burning up the factory wiring. Here's a shot of the power circuit from Blue Sea. It will support up to 100 amps, which is overkill for my use. For the moment, I have it zip tied to a molle panel from Molle Panel Solutions that I already had. Eventually I'll relocate it somewhere more permanent. Power runs down the driver's side trim and pops out at the grommet designed for the Jeep's hard top wiring and washer tubing. There's a ton of slack at the moment as I'm not entire sure where I want this thing to permanently live. An 8 gauge ground is run to a nutsert/rivetnut I installed in a panel with a gap behind it. Just needed to unsnap the carpet and peel it back a few inches. Got this idea from @theksmith who did something similar on his rig for his fancy new house battery solution. It's a nice durable grounding solution. Here's a photo of the Anderson PowerPole connectors I wired in. I replaced the 12v connectors on my RoadPro oven and my fridge with matching powerpole connectors. These are MUCH more secure than the 12v connectors which can be a little finicky and tend to unplug themselves on washboard roads. To plug anything it, I just need to reach behind the driver's side rear seat. With the Blue Sea circuit, I've got space for up to 6 total connectors/devices in the rear of the Jeep now.
  8. I recently picked up Rough Country's knock off of the ARB Twin - while the design and features are very similar, the build quality might be a little suspect. K recommended swapping out the two relays inside as his burned out shortly after installing his twin compressor. When replacing mine, I discovered the manufacturer did a shoddy job with their soldering and heat shrink. I also recently took a few interesting (at least to me) tire measurements to compare the Yokohama Geolandars to the Toyo R/T Trails, mostly because I was curious. I also was interested in seeing how quickly my new air compressor could air up my tires from the typical off-road pressures I normally run. Yokohama Geolandar G003 | 35x17x12.5 Tire height with vehicle weight @ 36psi Fronts 85cm / 33.46โ€ Rears 85.5cm / 33.66โ€ Tire height with vehicle weight @ 13psi Fronts 83cm / 32.67โ€ Rears 83.5cm / 32.87โ€ Air Up Speed Test: 11psi to 33psi: 6min 35seconds 13psi to 35psi: 7min 3 seconds Toyo Open Country R/T Trail | 37x17x12.5 Tire height with vehicle weight @ 30psi Fronts: 90.5cm / 35.62โ€ Rears: 90.5cm / 35.62โ€ Tire height with vehicle weight @ 19psi Fronts: 89cm / 35.03โ€ Rears: 89.5cm / 35.23โ€ Tire height with vehicle weight @ 13psi Fronts: 88.5cm / 34.84โ€ Rears: 88.5cm / 34.84โ€ Air Up Speed Test: 14psi to 30psi: 5min 35seconds With the new tires I was surprised they didn't loose as much height when aired down to "trail height"... they really only lost an inch! If I had the presence of mind, I should have measured ground clearance at the axle and differential, since that's probably a more meaningful metric.
  9. Met up with @theksmith tonight over near Lake Pleasant to do a little flex test to check clearance with the new 37's. Pretty good at full flex - some rubbing in the front fender liners due to their one-piece design and barely touching in the rear. Planning to add 1" of bump stop to the front and rear and will recheck - but pretty confident that should do it.
  10. Weโ€™ve got a Facebook โ€œfeeder groupโ€ where Iโ€™ve already got an event post up for this run ๐Ÿ˜‰
  11. New meats! The trusty Yokohama G003s in 35x17x12.5 have been replaced with another flavor of Japanese rubber in the form of Toyo Open Country R/T Trail tires in 37x17x12.5. The Yokohama's lasted 3 years (LITERALLY to the day) and 30,500 miles. The last 6 months I've been dealing with some pretty bad cupping of the tires that have had me chasing down a pretty noticeable wobble that reliably occurred at 40-45mph and when aired down any less than 34 PSI. Additionally, they've gotten excessively loud to the point where I need to keep the windows up when I'm above 60mph (I've measured sustained noise in the cabin at 97dB with the windows down, not an enjoyable experience). All-in-all I've been happy with the performance of the tire off road. I've never felt like I didn't have enough grip, zero flats, nice flex/deformation over obstacles, and very comfortable when aired down to about 13-18 PSI off road. They've taking a lot of abuse and have their fair share of battle scars and chunking, but no missing lugs and punctures. Here are a few photos of the condition of the tire at the time of their departure: You can really see the cupping on this shot-- Looking ahead to this year, I've got several long trips lined up and it was time for a change. I've been really looking to go up a size and also try "something new" in terms of the type of tire. The new Toyo's are a literally new version of their popular Open Country R/T tire - called the Open Country R/T TRAIL. The R/T stands for "rough terrain" and are a hybrid tire that tries to blend the best of the mud terrain and all terrain worlds. The tread pattern is more aggressive than an A/T, with larger lugs, deeper gaps, "stone ejectors" and decent siping - but aren't as aggressive as a full-blown M/T. The R/T/ Trails come with a 45,000 mile tread life warranty. The 37's are Load Range E, which is the same as the 35โ€ G003 Yokohamas. Another spec that drew me to the Toyo's was the weight - they clock in at 75lbs. The Yokohamas were 70lbs each. Many of the tires in the 37" range are pushing 80-88lbs which I'm a little wary off without more extensive driveline/axle upgrades. One last comment - inflation SUCKS. I paid $288 for the Yokohamas in 2021 - the price has climbed over 40% and they're now $405 per tire. Outrageous. The 37" variant of the same Yokohama was $488/ea. ๐Ÿ˜ณ I was able to take advantage of the new Total Offroad's "tax sale" where they pay the sales tax. The tires were $404 each - about as cheap and lightweight as you can get in 37's without going to a Milestar Patagonia. Here's a few close-ups of the new tires. First impressions on the drive home - they're QUIET. I was able to hold a conversation with my daughter in the car with the windows down - that was nice. The road-feel is "smooth" in terms of not being able to "feel" the lug rumbling down the road - and best of all - the "wobble" was gone as far as I can tell. I'm feeling a little power loss (still on factory 4:10 gears) but the 8 speed automatic really helped there with around the town driving on the way home. I've got to get it on the highway still - the run up the i17 will be a good test. I need to do some flex testing, but with all of the clearance the Jeep JL's have in the wheel wells I'm thinking I'm scot-free without needing to do anything extra. I might possibly have to adjust my bump stops in the front, but the rears look pretty clear. More to come!
  12. 67,200 miles Took the Jeep to visit our good friend Joe over at @OnPointOffroad. Looking forward to towards the Rubicon and Hole-in-the-Rock trips, was looking to get a few things taken care of. Joe and Vince took care of a leaking oil cooler, replaced spark plugs, and did the pulleys and serpentine belt. They even power washed the engine bay!
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