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Everything posted by theksmith

  1. happy birthday @stockjeep Wayne!!!!
  2. Gadget did good on the Elvis run this weekend with no new carnage! trip report here... thanks to Sarah (@kaspily) these great photos, especially this one of Gadget twerking: and thanks to @dzJeepChic for this one too:
  3. glad it's covered at least!
  4. those new extended front brake lines turned into their own little project... i put a slight twist in them when installing in order to direct them in a way that was clear from getting caught in the coil springs and shocks, but they ended up rubbing the tires at full lock. so i ordered these handy dandy Teraflex brake line anchors for JK's. note they also have a longer universal version. to install those i had to loosen the lines to rotate the twist back out, which meant i needed to bleed them again (yay for the speed bleeders)! next i drove out to a wash to do a flex test and found that my new routing with the Teraflex anchors was causing the lines to be pulled a little tight on full droop. i needed to rotate the anchors to point upwards more. i finally ended up installing them on the outside of the existing nut and adding a second nut just to hold the anchors on. this allowed them to be angled up high enough, but not hit the shock body on full compression.
  5. i'd say 30-40% are "recreation miles", i.e. trails, going to/from a trail, or otherwise on some sort of overland/exploratory trip!
  6. ran across this old thing in a wash, i think it was a car at one time! hilariously, the bumper sticker is holding out pretty well... @Curly or anyone else, can you identify it from just the handle? or maybe from these body lines? ok, final hint is these weird steps coming off the back bumper on each side: it can't be too awfully old, there's lots of modern plastic and wiring in that pile.
  7. continuing to address some small cosmetic issues, i tinted the sides of the factory rear tail-light housings. before: after: i hadn't found any aftermarket tails that i'm excited about, so i'm sticking with OEM for now but i just wanted to clean up their look a bit. from any distance at all, that red side panel now just blends into the rest of the black housing. i upgraded to some rather bright LED bulbs in the rear a while back, so the sides still light up decently even with the tint. here's just the running lights on after tinting: the process i used was: taped off everything but the side lens and then lightly sanded with a 400 grit sponge cleaned the surface with rubbing alcohol sprayed 3 medium to heavy coats of VHT Nightshades to tint, letting it dry a few hours between each coat lightly sanded the final coat with #0000 steel wool cleaned with rubbing alcohol again finished with one heavy coat of Dupli-Color clear coat (gloss topcoat) i ended up with just a tiny bit of orange-peel, but i think it's fine considering there's going to be desert pinstriping soon as i go wheeling again! to get a perfectly smooth gloss finish with the Nightshades i've heard you need to wet-sand between coats with something around 4,000 grit then do a couple clear coats and buff/polish those. i'm using these high wattage red 3157 LED bulbs for the brake and running lights. LED bulbs here do require standard load resistors in the JK - both to prevent a fast turn signal and to fix the bulb-out warning. the resistors get extremely hot when used on a constantly-lit circuit like this (versus an intermittent turn signal-only bulb). i didn't want to mount them directly to the housings and risk melting the plastic. so, i riveted the resistors to little aluminum plates and then riveted those plates onto existing tabs at the back of the housings. i also installed very bright JDM 50w 3156 LED bulbs some time ago for backup lights. FYI, that circuit does not not require load resistors.
  8. very nice job on those seat brackets!
  9. This is a "difficult" rated rock crawling trail, though there are bypasses for the most extreme stuff. Club members: Sign-up & more info here...
  10. Gadget led the run to the Offroad Passport Holiday Party spot yesterday... (photo from Kaspily) then got up early to go play out by the lake this morning...
  11. a few reminders... be sure you know when & where to meet (i.e. NOT Fountain Hills this year!) don't forget: your potluck item(s) wrapped gift exchange gift(s) your chairs cookies if you're entering the contest if you have a printer, please print & sign a waiver and bring it to help things go faster at the meetup looking forward to seeing you all!
  12. This guy knows Ferrari's are meant to be driven, not just sit in a collection... much like most of us know even brand new Jeeps are meant to be wheeled, not just taken to the mall! "The Monza SP1 and SP2 are some of Ferrari's most exclusive new cars. Under 500 will be built, each costing around $1.75 million. Most buyers will undoubtedly be storing theirs for the winter, keeping them away from harmful road salt and slippery snow or ice. This owner, however, doesn't have any qualms about driving his in the cold weather." - From this Road & Track article...
  13. yup! also don't forget about the COOKIE CONTEST folks!!!! Enter the Cookie Baking Contest! Bring your homemade cookies in a container with your name on it. The cookie with the most votes wins some Offroad Passport Swag (1 T-shirt & 2 Round Decals!)
  14. that came out awesome Ryan, i like the use of the bright color inside. also, thanks for posting your write-up here! let us know how that drive to work went and what you end up filling it up with! i might have missed it but are those the Vadania slides from Amazon? if you decided you would like a little easier access to your magic floor pocket, you could add a cheap marine deck hatch to the top plate directly above your access cut-out. like this square one... or this simple small round one...
  15. i have plans to go to a 8x6.5 bolt pattern eventually, which this also covers - so that was one of the factors in my willingness to pay for it... along with the fact that i'm sure i'll lend it to some other members occasionally. there's actually no instructions included at all, which is another ding considering the cost. however, the idea for this tool is based on setting the angle of toe - which is what most manufacture toe specs are given in. they have a chart on the side and figured out that 1/32" of separation over the exact distance between their measurement points is equal to 0.08* of toe, and 1/16" is 0.16* (standard slope over distance versus angle calculation). i think the commonly heard advise of setting 1/16" to 1/8" of toe-in is a big generalization and definately based off the idea that most offroaders DIY-ing this are probably running 33" or larger tires. the larger the tire, the more distance separation based measurement you need to keep the same angle. personally i run barely any toe-in to try and prevent tire wear issues. so over this tool's length, if i'm in the 0 to 1/32" range (which is hard to even discern), then i call it good. a little more toe can help with wandering problems, but in my experience, as long as your caster is decent and your steering components, suspension, and tires are in good shape you can usually get by without much toe.
  16. nice job Ryan, it's beefy lookin! don't feel bad, i had to use some washers/metal strips in the same way to help square up my drawer inside the hole.
  17. 1 year lookback... December 2018, around 62k miles: December 2019, about 89k miles! at first glance she looks pretty much the same, but there have been some major upgrades... front & rear bumpers, winch, snorkel, shocks, front drive-shaft, tie-rod, and the whole rear cargo/sleep-platform redo just to name a few. and that's 27k miles on Gadget this year! happily a huge portion of those were while out exploring. i'm truly thankful to be able to go on so many adventures with such great friends. here's to getting out even more with you all in 2020!
  18. I posted a tip before on how to get a rough check on your front toe easily by yourself. Soon after that, @dzJeepChic sent me a link to these Iron Rock Offroad Wheel Alignment Tools that help you do the job quickly and more precisely. They're basically just some angle-steel, but with special slots allowing them to bolt to several popular hub bolt patterns. These seem a little pricey for a single-purpose tool, but if you wheel hard then you really should double-check your toe once in a while. A minor hit to a factory tie-rod can easily bend it, altering your alignment enough to quickly cause wear issues on large off-road tires. These just make it easy to get a fairly precise measurement by yourself. The notches at each end help grab the tip of a standard tape measure and give you a specific point to measure to at each end. A reminder of what distance differential is equivalent to what angle is etched into the bars. Do realize that chart is based on the specific length of these bars. You'll likely need to rotate any tool like this a bit in order to get the tape under your rig. Just remember that if they aren't perfectly horizontal then your camber is also influencing your measurement and adjust accordingly. Overall I think they're a good investment if you work on your rig yourself and wheel hard or modify your suspension every so often. You could certainly make your own quite easily if you're handy. The Iron Rock Offroad Wheel Alignment Tool works with the following bolt patterns: 5x4.5, 5x5, 5x5.5, 6x5.5, 8x6.5, 8x170mm, UTV/ATV: 4/156 and will run you about $70 plus shipping. Extra FYI - I first tried this similar product from Low Range Offroad, but theirs arrived with inconsistent bowing and I couldn't seem to bend them back perfectly flat. Obviously a couple wavy noodles don't make for good measurement references. The Iron Rock ones also have a very slight bow, but it's consistent in both pieces and symmetrical between both ends (therefore it doesn't affect the measurement).
  19. my new shocks came Friday (Teraflex Falcon 3.1 for 5-6" lifted JK 4-door)! the fronts were a quick install today. i bought a complete set of new Crown JK Extended Brake Lines for 3-6" lift but actually didn't need them up front, so I'll install those a little later - i wanted to finish with the shocks in time to go do a flex test before it got dark. i gained about 4" of droop over my previous shocks. the rear was just a little more complicated because of the shock/control-arm skids i previously had welded on which interfered with the out-board mounting style of these Falcons. @Bradywgn71 was nice enough to cut off the outer gussets on those skids with his plasma cutter. i ended up having to take just a little more off with a grinder after that to clear the Falcon reservoirs. i did install the longer brake lines in the rear to accommodate the increased droop. i already had brake line extension/relocation brackets but they weren't enough. on first test, nothing is hitting or binding while flexing and the current bump-stopping and shock length seem to be working together just right. the new brackets where the rear brake hard-line meets the soft-line need to be repositioned slightly, they are a little too close to the tire on full stuff. i could not be happier with this combination of Teraflex Falcon 3.1 shocks and MetalCloak DuroSpring jounce bumpers for hauling ass in the desert!. i ran gadget a few miles up and down a rough wash at 35 to 40 MPH and she ate it up. i never got a full hard bottom-out even when purposely nailing small ledges at speed. i was also happy to not experience that bucking-bronco feeling when hitting several minor whoops in a row. the compromise is that they are a tad stiff for just putting down a rocky trail or even on a gravel road with heavy washboards and pot-holes. they responded predictably on the gravel though - and i didn't get that back-end hopping and sliding-out that i often would when trying to speed down Cow Creek Road before. Teraflex told me these fixed-valve 3.1 series are equivalent to somewhere in the "2" range on the adjustable series, so i could see myself using the "1" setting fairly often if i had those adjusters. i'll put that $400 towards something else for the time being though - as of right now i'm very satisfied with these shocks and we'll just have to see how they do over time. Gadget's gotten a bunch of mods all of a sudden this winter and i love how she's looking and handling right now!
  20. my other Jeeping christmas present was a set of tiny Rigid Ignite diffused led pods which i wanted for cornering lights (A.K.A. alley lights or ditch lights). i mounted one at the bottom of each a-pillar using one of the factory windshield corner bracket bolts. each light is rated at 1,000 raw lumens, which is bright enough to see what i'm turning into at lower speeds but shouldn't be blinding to other people on a group night run. my rock lights were great for my spotter, and i'm very happy with my headlights for straight in front of me... but i couldn't see jack squat of what i might be turning into on a night run! before (just low beams + rock lights): after (low beams + rock lights + new ditch lights) during the day they are barely noticeable, which is exactly why i wanted these tiny Ignite series. i ran the wires in front of the door and then up under the cowl to my fuse/relay box under the hood. i had already wired a couple extra switches when i made my switch panel, one of which just had a placeholder "Pirate Lights" rocker in it... but i think that kinda fits, so i'm going to leave it saying that! i mean, if i want to come up beside another rig to board it, i'll need these
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