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Everything posted by 4x4tographer

  1. A few favorites shots of the Jeep from our recent trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
  2. Hello everyone! Fresh back from another adventure through the north end of the state. It's always incredible to drive through Arizona and see how truly diverse the landscape, geography, people, and the weather can be here. It's amazing. Folks on this trip included: @Bradywgn71 @theksmith @Dennis Szymanski @Ken Ford @Mick Bowers @AZRNintheJeep242 @OffroadFun @Curly For this adventure we laid down the miles and met up in Seligman at the famous Roadkill Cafe, right on old Route 66. It's a sleepy little down, but one full of history and interesting things to look at. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the Roadkill Cafe and then jumped on a beautiful section of Old Route 66 on our way into Peach Springs. The road was nice and smooth, the white plains of grass ebbed up and down with the mesas and plateaus in the distance. We descended into Peach Springs, a very small town on the Hualapai reservation, and quickly found the Hualapai Lodge. Across the street next to a market was the one-room office that Hualapai Game & Fish uses for their permit operations. We queued up in line, paid out $16.27 per person, and then received our "Permit to Trespass" down to the Colorado River via Diamond Creek Road. As we aired down, someone noted that the BNSF railway had trains thundering through on almost 15 minute intervals. After we were aired down, we hit the trail, which was literally across the street. After passing through the pretty depressing suburbs of the reservation, the views quickly opened up into pristine and towering canyon walls. The road was graded in some spots and bumpy in others. We only saw 3 other vehicles our entire time on the road - with an additional stop by a Hualapai Ranger who meticulously checked every permit in the group with a discerning eye. You can see my permit jammed up on the center of the windshield. Running deeper and deeper into the canyon, the walls grew taller and taller. Eventually they topped out at almost 3,000 feet above road level. Not as deep as the well-known south rim of the Grand Canyon, but 3K feet of vertical rock ain't nothin' to sniff at. For reference, I shoot with a 35mm camera - this gives you the approximate field of view of the average human eyeball. Hopefully that puts some of these images in perspective. We drove through the thickest ocotillo forest I've personally seen here in the southwest. They were everywhere, green, and thick with life. We made multiple creek crossing over Diamond Creek, which was bubbling and flowing with crystal clear water every few thousand feet. After about an hour, we made it to the mighty Colorado. The water was MOVIN'. Like really moving. You could see powerful ripples in the river as it moved over the rocky bottom, scraping the sides of the canyon and picking up silt and mud. Checking the topographical maps, the peaks around us topped about 4,600ft above sea level - the river is at 1,300ft. Fun Fact: The elevation of the Colorado River at Bright Angel in the GCNP near the South Rim visitor center is 2,540ft above sea level, so there is more than a 1,000 foot drop over in water surface level about 125 miles. This helps explain the extreme momentum of the river. By the time the river hits Lake Havasu you're just 440 ft above sea level. The surrounding canyon walls on the South Rim are 7,000ft and over 8,000 at the North Rim. Here's the crew checking out the river. We broke to lunch at some nice pavilions with concrete tables with the roar of the river in the distance. After lunch, we made our way out the canyon. We made it back to Peach Springs, aired up, and headed up the 66, connecting to I40 into Williams. After a brief fuel stop, we made our way to camp for drinks and some fireside socializing (always my favorite part of every trip!) The next morning - we packed up and started our whirlwind tour of the wonders Kaibab NF has to offer - starting with the grand daddy of them all - Sycamore Canyon - Arizona's little known 2nd largest canyon. We had several first-timers with us who had never seen or heard of the canyon. Here's a nice shot of Dennis and Jeanine ogling the canyon and the snow-capped peaks of the San Francisco Mountains :) Here's the view they were taking in: A few years ago the Raphael Fire swept through the canyon. Note the burned trees along the canyon wall in the foreground: After "oohing and aaahing" the canyon, we headed north to connect with Sarah, Chris, Devon, & Tim. Sarah brought doughnuts! YUM! Our next destination was nicely labeled: If you know - you know: Our plans to check out the Hardy Hill Trestle didn't pan out as there was a large tree blocking the trail, so we took an alternative route down a pipeline trail, which was surprisingly pretty. We made our way to Johnson Crater, an approx 1km wide hole in the ground. The story on it is its either a sinkhole or somehow related to past volcanic activity. We then made another fuel stop in Williams and made our way to camp. The site we stayed at on Friday night was so nice, we decided to do it all over again! Here's Jack's neat "spaceship tent". Ken - setting up the Leslie's Pool Guy truck camper shell: Dennis and Jeanine's nice custom overland trailer and RTT setup: Darryl's rig, blending in to it's surroundings: Here's Kristoffer - enjoying breakfast in the sunrise the next morning: Marty's Betty Lou: Mick's sweet trail limo: Sunday morning we took Jerome-Perkinsville Road into Jerome, stopping a few times to take in the views. Government Canyon was pretty neat, hidden beneath a pretty inconspicuous bridge. Of course, it wouldn't be ORP without some shenanigans! This photo makes me think ORP is about the drop the sickest alt-rock album of 2023: "Boats & Hoes" Jumping back on the trail, things were pretty dusty (for most of the trip!). The switchbacks always make for fun photos: We stopped at the Perkinsville Bridge for a quick photo and to check out the Verde River. The views all along J-P road are always stellar: All in all - it was a great trip with a great group of people. I love the ORP fam! Thank you all for coming out and making it such a great and memorable trip!
  3. Totally get it. No trimming for the JL front panel at all. 2 small pilot holes drilled and self tapping screws in the front. That’s it. JK design might be a little different. Now that I have a nut insert tool, I might use some up front to make it a little more robust.
  4. I need to look at some of those fancy cubes you've got 😁
  5. I’m a graduate of the YouTube New Yankee This Old House Villa Shoppe University of Cabinetry. 😁
  6. Wrapped up a pair of storage-related projects today. Super productive weekend for sure! First up, I finished construction on my new rear storage system with fridge slide and drawer. Pretty stoked that it all works and that the fridge and squeak by under the rear soft top panel without needing to unbutton it every time. Second is a new overhead "attic" for the rear seat of the Jeep to toss up some smaller, soft items.
  7. With my newly-built rear storage system, I had to sacrifice 1 of my 2 drawers which put me in a bit of a pinch for places to put all my crap. 😅 Found this neat overhead "attic" for the rear of the Jeep that simply velcos in to place and pops out in about 10 seconds when I don't need it. It's made by Molle Panel Solutions (MPS), who I've purchased a few other products from, including an overhead panel for the front of the Jeep and my rear C-pillar panels. The basket sits level with the bottom of the sport bar which gives me about 6 inches of space between the floor of the basket and the soft top. I tossed a few soft items up there in the interim, but plan to add on some velcro straps to help keep things secured. At the moment, my Blue Ridge Overland Gear first aid kit and my recovery tow strap are chilling up there. For the soft top, I had to do a small modification to the mounting tabs to accommodate the brackets for the soft top rails. They were just a little too tight to fit to the left/right of the brackets, so a quick 45 degree cut with a grinder and a spritz of black enamel and we were in business. All-in-all - pretty happy with it. I'm a touch too tall (5'10") to sit comfortably beneath it bolt-upright, but I think it'd be OK with shorter people or my kids. Honestly it'll only be installed when I'm on a trip and it pops out in seconds, so worth the effort for substantially more storage space. 🙃
  8. The last sprint on the project! Added a pair of cleats on the back of the box - glued and screwed. The cleats pull double duty - serving as both a lip for my sleeping platform to rest on and for the vertical supports that go under the sleeping platform. Here's a photo of the cleats with the take-apart hinges installed. Here's the finished sleeping platform - a bit of a better design than my last one. This one folds in 2 places. I cut out a notch to go around the center armrest. Actually used some piano hinges this go around. Last time I only had 2 pieces, folding it in half, and used some heavy duty gate hinges that didn't allow it to fold completely flat - which was a total PITA on any trips. The piano hinges allow it to fold completely flat, and the extra bend makes it a heck of a lot more compact. Here's the whole contraption installed, including an additional set of take-apart hinges on the rear end of the platform to keep it locked in place while in use. Here's a shot of the completed rear - with the new ebony-stained drawer face installed. I have about 5-6 coats of automotive clear coat on it - a few episodes of sanding with 220 grit made it butter-smooth to the touch and easy to wipe off with a damp rag. Had a good time loading up the drawer with all my junk. Tossed in my FrontRunner Wolfpack with my new high-top lid, which is my typical camping gear storage box. The gap between the fridge and the rear of the seat has some decent space that will fix quart-sized bottles of fluids. I'm thinking I can get a full 5 quarts in there! At the moment I jammed in my ARB Tire Repair Kit which takes up entirely too much space for what is actually in the box. One last shot with the real soft top panels re-installed. I'm considering this project done.... until it's time for paint in a few weeks! Oh - forgot to mention - there is space on the left of the fridge still for my torque wrench and camping table!
  9. More progress over the last few days - and about 6 more trips to the hardware store for those "didn't think of that" items. 😅 Installing the t-nuts for the "shared wall" proved to be a little tricky. A 3/4 hole saw allowed me to countersink the t-nuts through a ply or two so they wouldn't interfere with the fridge slide. The t-nuts certainly make everything a lot easier for installing, uninstalling, reinstalling the different components of the storage system as you adjust things and take measurements. On my last drawer system, I had some issues with fitment with the drawers, slides, and the overall cabinet "carcass" and the fitment. This time around, I built the carcass first (as you've seen), mounted the slides, then added on the left/right sides of the drawer. This allowed me to take some more accurate measurements of the actual fitment - which is something I didn't do on my last attempt at this. Frankly this made things a cinch and let me take measurements for the front, rear, and floor of the drawer quickly and easily. Everything fit together with no drama and the slides work as expected! For the drawer, I decided to build the drawer itself, and fashion a "face" for the drawer that would be attached after everything was mated up and bolted down. This would allow me to adjust the drawer face independent of the drawer itself to ensure good fitment. For the drawer face, I did a hand drawn "topographical map" design and used my ancient router to inscribe the design. For the drawer face, I'm using a jet black stain from Varathane. I'll hit it with a coat of glossy clear coat after it dries. It'l get attached last, once everything is nice and dry. Here's a test fit of the carcass/system in the back of the Jeep. I'm using some cheap, thin, bead board and a contour gauge to create a template that follows the curves of the inside of the Jeep. Here's the cut plywood for the deck, using the bead board template. I went with a 3/4 plywood for the deck itself for a little extra strength and less "flex" for when I'm sleeping on it. For the deck, I wanted to install some L-Track mount points with some quick disconnects. The L-Tracks I bought came with a nice rear plate that gets installed on the opposite side of the plywood for crazy strength. Normally you'd use a bolt and nut for this, but I didn't want to risk any "snag points" by using the supplied nuts/bolts. Instead, I snipped off the steel prongs on a few extra t-nuts, since they'd nice nice and flush and reduce the risk of a snag. Here's the deck in with the L-Tracks for another test fit before I glue & screw. Note the 5/8 holes in the deck face on the right - these are access points so I can use a 12" impact bit extender to install the bolts to get the whole thing hand mounted to the Jeep's floor. Here's another shot after I got the rig bolted down - with the drawer face posing for a shot: Picked up some cam buckle straps from Rhino USA for a decent price on Amazon. They're pretty good build quality and designed for strapping down dirt bikes in your truck, so I'm sure they'll hold the fridge. I ran the straps through the holes I designed into the fridge tray. A few shots of everything deployed: Another shot with the soft top reinstalled - which is the entire point of all this! More to come! I need to finished up the sleeping platform portion of this project. In a few weeks, I'll pull it all apart and give it a coat of paint. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do in that regard. I'm thinking of going with a satin black paint with the possibility of Raptorliner in the future. My Rustoleum rattle-can bed liner held up pretty well on the last box - but I'm thinking that I might want to go with something a little nicer and thicker this go round. Another idea could be to keep the wood "natural" and polyurethane it. Then just Raptorline the deck itself since it'll have all of the heavy duty contact.
  10. You need to be taking photos more often Gear! These are great!
  11. 4x4tographer

    New shoes

    Ohhhhh fancy new meats!
  12. That’s awesome! Big beef steering now. Probably feels responsive since you’re on parts that aren’t completely shot 😁
  13. NEXT STEPS! Build the platform. Loaded up the fridge, slider, and my pre-cut base plate. As mentioned earlier, the fridge would need to be mounted at an angle to clear the soft top tailgate cross-bar (no idea what the technical term for it is). In terms of operation, the RV45 is good to operate at UP TO a 45 degree angle, which is pretty crazy. However, 45 degrees certainly isn't optimal for the system to cool properly. I emailed SetPower's tech support folks and asked if it would be detrimental to operate the fridge at a 5-10 degree angle - they came back very quickly and said that it would work just fine, but with a footnote that it would work at its best if flat. @theksmith noted that one is rarely "perfectly flat" when offroad - so that certainly helped in the decision-making process. 😅 Stacked up some scrap boards to find that magic number to allow it to happen. This was the slowest part of the build so far and I hem-hawed on it for about 2-3 days. Using a pair of straight edges, I'd adjust the angle and place the straight edge across the top of the fridge and along the bottom of the slider to see where it would impact along the deck lip and the cross-bar. For me, on 30" drawer slides, the magic number was 6.3 degrees with the fridge shoved all the way to the rear (front?) of the trunk area. The baseplate is bolted down to the factory tie-down points using factory hardware. I used a contour gauge to ensure the platform was cut to fit into the spot nice and flush all around, following the lines and angles of the "cutout" in the truck. Here's a look down along the "hump" in the tailgate the houses mostly empty space, but has the mechanics for the rear door lock, handle, etc... Some considerations had to be made for how far the hump intrudes into the trunk area. After a LOT of fussing around with it, it was time to get back to building. Here's a jump forward to the "left wall" and "center wall" built, glued, and screwed with copious amounts of pocket screws. At the rear of the compartment I added a "cross wall" to help support both supporting walls, in addition to serving as a rest for the rear of the slide (previously, I had measured the height of the rear of the slides once I was happy with the angle they needed to be mounted at). A 1/2" shim was used on the front as a "rest" for the front end of the slides. Combined, this helped ensure I stayed at 6.3 degrees and made it a lot easier to mark the mounting holes. All bolted up! Verifying the slide angle in the rear of the Jeep Load'er up! The full-extension 30" slides allow the fridge to come completely out of the Jeep for easy loading, access, and allows the lid to open without hitting the soft top. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! More to come!
  14. I've recently been gifted a SetPower RV45 powered fridge/freezer from my lovely wife for my various trips with you great folks. In the past, I built my first drawer and deck system for the rear of my Jeep JL that has worked out really well over the last few years. It wasn't perfect, but it certainly got the job done while keeping my tools and gear safe(r) from prying eyes and ne'er-do-wells. The add-on sleeping platform idea that I blatantly borrowed from @theksmith has worked out beautifully as well, since I hate sleeping on the ground any more. With the new fridge, I've been simply strapping it down into the rear of the Jeep on top of the deck and that's been just fine. However, I also have a soft top on the Jeep and no serious intention to move to a hard top (maybe some day - I keep talking about it). It's a bit of a PITA to pop open the top every time I want to access the fridge and grab a snack or a cold water. So - its time for a new building project! Project Goals: Access the fridge without the need to unbutton the top every time I want to grab a drink Full extension slides that will extend the fridge out far enough to clear the top and open the lid Retain a 1/2 width deck that blends into the contours of the trunk Tie downs on the top of the deck for additional gear boxes, Gerry cans, etc.... Robust drawer that will handle the weight of my trail tools and recovery gear Bedliner/sealant incase I get caught in the rain with the top off A rebuild of my sleeping platform Materials include: 1/2 birch plywood from Woodworkers Source (there are a thousand benefits from working with good quality plywood) Beadboard (used to cut as a template for mapping the Jeeps contours) 500lb lock in/lock out sliders Pocket screws Nails Wood glue Kilz primer paint Paint/bedliner Varathane Jet Black stain Tools used: Table saw Jig saw Router Circular saw Impact Driver Nail gun Clamps Kreg jig (pocket hole jig) Mouse sander Speed square Contour gauge The project started off by tearing out the old platform which was held it with only 6 bolts on the factory tie down points in the rear of the Jeep. I had a spare bit of plywood from my previous build that was already sized to 30" that fit into the rear perfectly for some "conceptualization": The angle of the photo isn't great - but using a straight edge I was able to determine that the fridge would just squeak by beneath the rear soft top tailgate bar. Once you add in the additional height of a slide system and something to actually support the fridge from beneath..... there's no way it was going to work. But mounting the fridge at an angle would! We'd still need to low profile fridge slide that just barely scrapped by the floor of the deck. @theksmith sent me over an awesome idea for a fridge support made of thin, but strong aluminum. He's been using a company called SendCutSend for various custom parts for a few years, and it was remarkably easy to design and build your own ideas without the need for any ultra-fancy CAD skills. If you can use a 2D design program like Adobe Illustrator - you can pretty much build anything with SendCutSend. They also have their own online design program. Kristoffer's idea was to build a wooden frame around the outside of the fridge that the slides would connect to - then support the fridge with the aluminum panel. I took the idea a little further and included cut-outs for the feet of the fridge, allowing it to sit as low as absolutely possible, and included some provisions for strapping the fridge down, front and rear without the need for any hardware. Here are a few shots of the "paper to reality" process: The bottom of the fridge - note the riser (bumps) and the rubber feet A paper template I put together based on the actual fridge dimensions. I prefer to work in metric (no, I'm not a commie!) since it's a lot more precise and much easer for my brain to do the math (I hate fractional measurements). Nailed it! Here's the 3D rendering from SendCutSend of my 2D design. I used Adobe Illustrator. It allows you to note cutouts and bends. I added in pre-drilled pilot holes around the perimeter of the panel to make installing a little easier. Note the cut-outs for the fridge straps and the feet. Here are the parts, fresh from SendCutSend. The total process was pretty simple and they do a great job of keeping you informed as to where in the process your parts are - from cutting to deburring to bending to shipping. I believe total turnaround time was 7 days for my parts. Once the parts were in, it was time to build! First up was a simple "box frame" build with pocket holes and screws. I use Kreg products for almost all of my woodworking projects, from tables to desks to Jeep storage systems. 😁 All of the pockethole screws are Kreg 1/2" stainless steel. Here's the frame, glued and screwed with the tray panel in for a quick test fit. I used the tray itself as a template to route out the holes for the tie down straps fore and aft. Used a countersink bit to help sink those #10 screws a little deeper into the tray Zinc-plated t-nuts and #10 screws are used liberally throughout this project. It makes for a stronger build and is super easy to disassemble and reassemble as you work through the project. I started off with 3/4" screws, but they proved to be a little too long. 1/2" was a little too short. 5/8" proved to be juuuuuuust right. Progress! Next up was to add on the slides. I measured and marked the centerline of the frame, and then bumped it up a few millimeters to allow for the frame/slide to sit as low as absolutely possible. Again, t-nuts make this process a snap and stress free. I'm using Ryadon B3600 500lbs HD drawer slides. They lock in, out and at the half-way mark. They are not "take apart", so that makes them a little tricky to install. You need to push the slides forwards and backwards to access the mounting holes on both the drawer-side and mount-side. They slam latch upon close, which is a nice touch.
  15. Throwback shot from 📸 @SonoranWanderer from when we ran Ruby Wash in the Wickenburg Mountains about a year ago.
  16. Got a 20 ton bottle jack too! 😅 I guess if you include the factory jack that makes 3. I'll use those to change a flat, certainly don't want to be under a vehicle held up by a farm jack.
  17. Totally get it. I‘be gone 6-7 years with one and haven’t used it at all until this year. Twice with a wheel lifter attachment to stack some rocks. That’s about it though.
  18. 58,400 miles. Changed the oil, filter and air filters. Typically bouncing back and forth between 0w20 Pennzoil Platinum synthetic or Mobil1's Extended Performance synthetic. This time the Mobil1 was on sale $5 bucks cheaper! I also have a long-standing issue in finding the appropriate air filters physically in the stores around here. They have never had what I need on the shelf in the 5 years I've owned this Jeep. I normally end up ordering some MOPAR filters on Amazon or Quadratec, whichever is cheaper. This time, I had the presence of mind to ask the O'Reilly's dude what was up with that..... THEY KEEP THEM BEHIND THE COUNTER. 🤬 These filters must be made of gold or they're walking off of the shelves. I also worked on a small project adding a jack mount for my hi-lift which has the benefit of adding some additional storage options to the rear of the Jeep.
  19. Had the opportunity over the weekend to install a little project on the Jeep. I've found myself in a few situations lately where a hi-lift has been handy, but I don't currently have a great place to put it. Hi-lift themselves makes a range of nice mounts that are very flexible and supports accessories beyond their jacks. For the JL Unlimited they offer their new "Trail Trak" system, which is essentially two aluminum rails that allow for infinite adjustability and options for additional accessory mounting. The overall install is very straightforward. They provide you with a nice paper template and some very well illustrated instructions. You essentially center the template on each C-pillar, tape it down, center-punch your points for drilling, and drill away! The drilling (for me) was the most nerve-racking part of the process. Not just because you're poking holes in your Jeep, but because the metal sport-bar on the JL is made with a new hardened steel that is a pain to cut through. I ended up breaking multiple 1/16 cobalt bits while drilling my pilot holes. 1/16 bits were just too brittle and easy to break. After 2 separate trips to the hardware store to pick up more bits, I finally stepped my way up to the final hole size of 25/64. The next step is to install some nutserts. This process was a breeze, thanks to the rivet nut tool that Michelle gave me for Christmas! I added a dab of RTV gasket maker (Permatex Ultra Black) around the hole and on the nutsert to help protect against rust or corrosion. The above shot was before I wiped off the excess RTV. It cleaned up really nice - but didn't really matter, it was getting covered up in a minute. The rail itself installed in just a few minutes with four tapered bolts, a rubber washer, and an aluminum spacer/riser. Next up is to install the bracket that the hi-lift will mate up to. It takes a bolt and a square nut and can slide up and down the track. Here is a top view with the bracket slid to the top of the rail. To mount the jack itself, you slip in a carriage bolt, line up your jack holes, and spin on the nice aluminum knobs. The final product. Hi-lift provides 2 extra bolts with wing nuts to help you install the jack baseplate in-line on the jack itself. All you need to do it remove a cotter pin on the base. This solution works for both the hard and stop top. For the soft top, you need to take the extra step of removing the jack to fully open the top - but that only takes a few seconds to do, thanks to the speed of the 2 knobs. An additional benefit of this system is that it helps to open up some new storage options. There is quite a bit of unused space around the C-pillars in the rear. You can fab up some form of bracket yourself, or build a shelf, for example. Hi-lift also sells an accessory mount that can ride inside or outside of the C-pillar. It's pre-drilled to accept RotoPax style mounts. People also run things like PowerTanks on these. Here's a photo from Hi-Lift showing some possibilities: I'm thinking of running one or two 2-3gal water tanks in the outboard potions in the unused space for some of our overland trips. I have a home built gerry can holder on the tailgate hinge (built at the "KSmith Steel & Ironworks") but I normally have range anxiety and carry fuel on it instead of water. Overall - pretty happy with this purchase. It keeps the jack up high and out of the way, it's easy to remove the jack, and it opens up future opportunities!
  20. While I like pretty much all of the 2023 concepts, I like some of their past ones a lot more! Jeep Crew Chief - 2016 Everything about this one "does it" for me. Jeep Overlook - 2021 I'd buy that safari top tomorrow if it was available. Jeep Renegade - 2008 Love the dune buggy, open top look with the frameless windscreen Jeepster Beach - 2021 Mother of God.... that red on gold color! 🤤
  21. Nice video work @SonoranWanderer and thanks again for leading a great day out! Need to get me one of those fancy stabilized GoPros! Between you and @J2DXPLR you guys always have some butter smooth footage.
  22. That's a heck of a nice set of tools to inherit! We purchased a small a planer last year to use when I started trying to up my furniture game, but quickly realized I ALSO need a jointer to get perfectly flat boards. So - another wish list item for my growing collection of tools! 😁 That shaper looks down-right nasty - I think I'll leave that one to the pros. 😳 Nice tip on their machining services! I'll have to check that out next time I'm in there. I was completely overwhelmed on my first visit and didn't pay attention to that. Your end tables look amazing! My cabinetry skills are pretty rudimentary right now. Building a perfectly square carcass with drawers that don't stick has been a major pain for me, mostly because I'm not terribly patient. 😅
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