Jump to content


Club Members
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by shellback91

  1. 22 hours ago, 4x4tographer said:

    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. 😁 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!



    Very nice! If you haven't looked into Hothead Headliners yet I highly recommend it. They help some in the summertime and do quiet things down a little.  To borrow a phrase, YMMV. 🙂

    • Like 2

  2. I took my rig in to  @OnPointOffroad to have everything looked over before a couple road trips this year. I knew I was in need of a serpentine belt but wanted everything else checked for sanity's  sake. I also have been hearing an annoying rattle and squeak that was coming from points unknown. I have been looking all over and had zero luck finding it. Turns out that noise was the rear break pads and clips. Joe said in the JK's this happens when the pads wear down the clips come loose. In turn everything back there squeaks and rattles. Who knew.


     Other than those two items everything else was good. Joe and Vince did an awesome as usual, thanks guys!

    • Like 1

  3. 9 hours ago, 4x4tographer said:

    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 35” 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. 😳


    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!


    Very nice! I am running the Toyo Open Country A/T  III tires on my rig and love them.  They seem to be good quality tires so far.

    • Like 1

  4. 18 hours ago, Micely said:

    Thank you so much for putting on this trip. I was happy I got to go. The desert was beautiful and amazingly lush. You were a great group. It was a a really fun first time off road trip. 








    Great pics! We were glad to have you and your brother along for the ride.

    • Like 2

  5. 3 minutes ago, Curly said:

    I love looking at old mining machinery that has been abandoned in place.  This mine and mill is in pretty good shape. I thought it was cool how all the following pics fit together


    This engine


    drove this small pulley


    which turned the big drum


    which turned these gears



    There was more stuff driven by the belts in the ceiling.



    Check out the size of the timbers in the building.  Definitely not grown in the Yuma area.



    Awesome pics, that mine and it's buildings are pretty dang cool.

    • Like 2

  6. We wrapped up another epic KOFA run this afternoon and once again we had the place to ourselves. It was good to see some familiar faces and meet some members of this motley crew for the first time. The trails were in good condition overall, some wear and tear and weather erosion has occurred since last year but nothing too significant.  The area never disappoints to provide some epic scenery. This time was even better because the desert was alive, green, and flowers were blooming.  We visited two epic campsites; Friday night we spent the night in Big Dick Canyon(No Giggling😁) and Saturday night at my favorite spot out there so far, the Hovatter Homestead.


    Mother nature was in a bad mood this weekend because we had some minor issues. We all hit rain on the way in which had me concerned but it moved out pretty quickly. The rain did help control the dust so that was the silver lining. By the time we made it to camp and got set up the clouds had moved out and we had a prefect evening. We did have some weather roll in Saturday evening that delayed the evenings activities a little. It moved on eventually and we all gathered up next to the fire and burned every single piece of firewood we had on hand, it was glorious.


    All in all an awesome weekend with some good people in a beautiful part of the state. Thanks again to everyone that came out, I had blast even with the little rain that we had.


    Those in attendance were:

    @gearhead  @Curly  @Dennis Szymanski  @Bjparsons  @Franky  @gman  @Mick Bowers  @Micely 


    Some shout outs are in order.

    @Curly For finding information on the Rob Roy Mine. I never knew this was here and it was definitely worth a the visit and a revisit next time we get out that way. It is a short hike from the parking area and there is a lot of stuff there to see. You can see some of the artifacts on YouTube. It sits right on the edge of the active mine but is part of KOFA so you are safe to wander up there and  explore everything.  Apparently Fred White, who discovered the mine, was afraid of being buried alive. That is understandable but weird for a miner in my opinion. Here is a clip from his obituary that the article I linked to and the plaque on the property mentions.

    "Beaver, Utah, Dec. 29. - Fred White, discoverer of the Rob Roy mine, and at one time very wealthy, has committed suicide. In a letter, written just before his death, he calls down curses on those who "robbed" him. He also expresses the with that his heart shall be punctured two or three times after his body shall be found in order that death may be certain. He had a horror of being buried alive."


    @gearhead for tail-gunning and helping keep the gang together and headed in the right direction. Thanks Mike!


    The gang who stacked rocks to help get a couple of folks down a tricky spot this morning and @Dennis Szymanski for spotting @Franky  through that spot.


    I only took a few pictures, they are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/q5qiXxbXuF3WrrcD8

    • Like 3
    • Love 3

  7. Yesterday we ran Box Canyon from North to South,it was good to see some familiar faces and meet some new ORP members that I had not met yet. The weather was perfect for this run and it was good to get out after not running any trails for a while.


    We had a good crew along for the ride. Those in attendance were:

    @Zavala  @Dennis Szymanski & Mrs. Z  @Alexis  @Tim V @JEMSA


    Th recent rains helped keep the dust down most all of the day which was a bonus. The rains also had the landscape alive and green which is always good to see. There were some mud holes on the trail but there were bypasses around the bigger ones. Mineral Mountain Road/trail overall is in good condition, nothing to challenging.


    At 5 Points we veered of to the left to ride the ridges overlooking the area. This trail is also known as Waterfall Bypass and is the northern section of Box Canyon. TrailsOffroad has a good write up on it.  This trail has narrow ledges and some spectacular views all around. Nothing to challenging, once you make the turn 4 Low is your friend all the way across and down the switchbacks. We ran into a few groups coming in the other direction but everyone cooperated and we all managed to avoid each other, we even worked around a grouchy old man on a motorcycle that wanted to yell at us. Once down the switchbacks we made our way to the Stagecoach stop for lunch.  Everyone found a shady spot to have some grub, shoot the breeze, and enjoy the weather.


    Once we finished up lunch we made our way into the best part of the trail, Box Canyon itself. On the way we managed to avoid a group of SXS drivers that decided standing in the middle of the trail and not moving was a good idea. Once in the canyon there was some traffic coming the other direction, as expected, but all groups managed to work around each other without incident.  The ride through the canyon was awesome as always.


    Overall the trails are in good condition minus a little wear and tear as is the case on popular trails.



    I did not have my wife/photographer with me today so I did not grab many pics,only a couple of the stagecoach stop.  ☹️







    Or company at lunch.




    Thanks again to everyone who joined me yesterday. If you have any pictures you'd like to share this is the spot.


    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
    • Love 1

  8. Howdy everyone! I am looking forward to getting out on the trail Saturday. Here are a couple of reminders for the meet-up spot and permit requirements.  If anything changes and you cannot make it please let me know as soon as you can.


    See you guys in a couple of days!  🤘


    MEET UP:

    When: Saturday 2/17/24 @ 9:00 AM

    Departing: No later than 9:30. There are a couple of gas stations in Gold Canyon, please arrive fueled up.

    Where: The wide staging area just south of US 60. It can be busy, I'll be there somewhere.



    ***A State Trust Land Permit is required for this trail.***

    Grab one or renew yours here if needed: https://asld.secure.force.com/recreationalpermit/

    • Like 1

  9. After reading various things and watching a couple of videos on adjusting headlight aim I have a question. Nothing I have read takes lift size into consideration when mentioning how high to run an indicator, like a length of blue tape for example, across a wall or fence. Does the lift size matter and that is why it is not mentioned? How far back from what you are aiming should you be? For reference I have  a 2" lift and am running 33's. 



    • Like 1

  10. I decided to upgrade my air compressor game recently. My Smittybilt compressor still works great, I just needed something to work better with my quad hose kit. I decided to go with the MORRFlate TenSix compressor that goes with the MORRFlate Quad Hose Kit I purchased a while ago.  This compressor was designed/updated with the quad hose kit in mind. I tested it out yesterday and I like the results. The compressor gets hot of course as do the stainless steel fittings. Nothing unexpected, just have to wear gloves which I normally do. 


    • Like 4
    • Wow 1

  11. 2/17/24: Box Canyon Florence | Moderate | Near Florence, AZ


    Join us for a run through the scenic and popular Box Canyon in Florence, AZ (NOT the one in Wickenburg). Box Canyon is the highlight of this trail, which when run from South to North provides access to a gang of trails North of the canyon. We will be running this trail from North to South however. We will not be running the entirety of the Mineral Mountain trail, we will run a section of it south to the 5 Points waypoint and veer off from there. No Rock Crawling or any of the waterfalls on Mineral mountain will be involved.


    Trail Rating: EASY to MODERATE


    MEET UP:

    When: Saturday 2/17/24 @ 9:00 AM

    Departing: No later than 9:30. There are a couple of gas stations in Gold Canyon, please arrive fueled up.

    Where: The wide staging area just south of US 60. It can be busy, I'll be there somewhere.



    • GMRS: Channel 20, if that is too noisy we can move to Channel 19.




    • A high clearance 4x4 truck or SUV with a low range transfer case option, suitable front & rear recovery point, aggressive A/T or M/T tires
    • While not required, aftermarket skid plates, rock rails, and sway-bar disconnects are recommended.
    • Rigs & drivers must meet all the typical state/federal legal requirements for on-highway vehicles (license, insurance, registration, seat belts, lights, etc.)
    • Vehicle should be mechanically sound and safe to drive
    • Recovery gear, first aid kit, fire extinguisher
    • Drivers of varying experience should be fine on this trip
    •  A great attitude! 🙂



    • Bring a lunch/snacks
    • Bring MORE water than you need
    • Dress for the weather, layers this time of year is always good.
    • Bring a camera.
    • Bring a chair.
    • Bring sunscreen if needed.


    Typical Weather:

    It looks like it could be in the low 70's on this day, I will be monitoring it.



    ***A State Trust Land Permit is required for this trail.***

    Grab one or renew yours here if needed: https://asld.secure.force.com/recreationalpermit/


    Subject to cancellation or postponement due to weather, WW3, plague, the rapture, natural disasters or lack of interest.


    Sign Ups

    Rig limit: 8 rigs, this trail is usually busy so a smaller group is going to work better. If the run fills up please sign up for standby, the attendees list could fluctuate and spots may open up.

    1.  @shellback91 (Leading)
    2.  @Zavala
    3.  @Dennis Szymanski
    4.  @Alexis
    5.  @Tim V  
    6.  @JEMSA
    • Thanks 1
  • Create New...