Friday, 30 June 2017

Pavement Ends Emergency Top

We finally had a break from the rain, and I had a few minutes with my Jeepin' buddy Nate to help put on the Emergency Top from Pavement Ends. This top is not meant to replace your soft top, it is meant to be a quick top to throw on when there's a threat of rain. I'm actually impressed with how easily it went on and off, and kinda wish I could find a real soft top (with windows) to run. It's slick.
 The top is very compact when folded, and they include two rain ponchos in the box. A nice addition for when you don't have doors on, or it's raining hard enough. May as well stay as dry as possible while getting it out.

The top has three adjustable straps. They attach to the top hinges, and hood tie down. Along with three elastic straps to hook over the tail lights and spare tire.

A nice feature, is that the back rolls up so you can drive at slow speed. I probably wouldn't go much over 60km/h (37mph) with it, it'll definitely be better than being soaked

Here's the top on and cinched down, as well as a view from the back all sealed up. There is a gap under the back flap, but it'll keep the water out for sure.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Replacing a body mount on my TJ

While working on my tire a couple weeks back, I happened to take a forward glance while under my Jeep and saw something I didn't like. The under seat body mount was, well, not mounted. It had completely rotted through and wasn't actually holding the body up. Evidently this is a big enough problem that suppliers are now selling them new. They're called a "torque box". I picked mine up from 4 Wheel Parts.
 Closer inspection revealed that there was no saving this. The box had to be replaced through the mid-section. For now the front and rear mounts are in alright shape. This was the one that worried me.
 I dropped my rocker guard and pulled the three body mount bolts (which were in terrible shape too) and what was left of the mount practically fell onto the driveway.

I spent some time trimming to get the replacement to match up. Bolted it to the frame, dropped the body down, and with a mix of welding and rivets attached it to the body.

I had to take a short break to go to get some new bolts for the body mounts since out of the three that came out, only one (in the picture) had any threads left.

That'll do, that'll do.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

AME 51025 Quick Valve Change Tool

Ordered in from Amazon

I had to deal with a cracked and leaky valve stem on one of my tires, and I wasn't in the mood to break out the tire changer to break the bead and dismount the tire, so I decided to try out the AME 51025 Quick Valve Change Tool.

It definitely lived up to it's name. 

16 oz Bead Lube
Found at Princess Auto
The general idea is that you push in a hook and pull out the damaged stem, before using a funnel like tool, a gratuitous amounts of tire lube, and a plunger (for lack of a better term) to ram the new valve in from the outside. 

Despite not being able to hook the valve stem to pull it out, I was able to cut the stem off and push a new valve stem through from the outside. Surprisingly fast and fairly effortlessly.  Check out this video of my making the swap. 

I ran into further problems afterwards, and ultimately I did end up dismounting the tire to seal the bead with some polyurethane to stop the bead leaks I found (7 in total). I was getting tired of fighting this tire over the past couple years and decided that essentially gluing it to the rim was going to fix this once and for all. If you want to see me using the tire machine, here's a previous video I put together a couple years ago.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Trail side winch cable repair.

From Keller Mccowen's YouTube channel. If you're like me and run a steel winch line rather than synthetic, this is a must have tip for when you're out in the bush.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Throw Back Thursday

Thought I'd throw out another couple shots of me and my Jeep from back in the day

Here I am after my first Jeep Jamboree in 1999, looking like a bad ass with my stock YJ. Had great times with that Jeep, met a lot of amazing friends through it. Learned even more about keeping it running.

Same Jeep, but with a TJ tub grafted on during my "Project What the  Hell am I Doing" days. Actually managed to keep the cowl/hood and grill from the TJ, while getting the TJ tub on. Had to build new body mounts, but it actually fit quite well. I did what many said couldn't be done.

And as she sat on the last day with me. I had bought the TJ, salvaged all the good part left on my YJ and sent her off to the graveyard in the sky. I still miss the YJ. She was easier to work on (when not rusted solid) than the TJ

The YJ - Pavement Sucks - and I had  some great adventures together. Road trips, wheeling trips, drive in movies, camping... we did a lot together. While I do miss her, a lot of what made her tick is in my TJ - Pavement Still Sucks - and I'm glad to still be in a Jeep.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Pulse Width Modulation and Jeep Headlights

Sit back, get a coffee, this is gonna be a heavy read. 

After installing my relay wiring harness (here), I ran into a problem with my daytime running lights (DRLs). I noticed it when I drove to my train station in the morning and parked. When I turned off my headlights, there was a loud buzzing from under the hood, right where my new relays were. 

After a quick check, I discovered that it only happened when my DRLs were on. For those not in Canada, DRLs are required (since 1990) on on vehicles. Basically it's headlights or marker lights on while driving and it's automated. To avoid the extra cost of having another set of lights, auto makers were allowed to use the high beams, at a dim setting, as DRLs. 

The method used on the Jeep TJ is called "Pulse Width Modulation" (PWM). In it's simplest form, it basically means that a module turns the high beams on and off really quickly. With a standard headlight, this on off quick action has the effect of not letting the filament reach full brightness, essentially running them at 6v, or half brightness. (I'm really oversimplifying here). When the "On width" is the same as the "Off width", you have a 50% cycle, and 50% voltage (for all intents and purposes). 

Normally, this is not noticeable, and to the naked eye, is just looks like a dim light. 

Since I added a relay to provide direct battery power to my head lights. When the switch is on, no problem, however, when the DRL module is controlling the high beams for that 50% brightness, the high beam relay is being flipped on and off at a rapid rate, causing the buzzing sound.

Photo via
The easy solution, disable the DRL module. On a TJ, it's a pager sized box on the drivers side of the firewall. Pull the connector out and that's that. Only downside is that the high beam indicator no longer works. Frankly, if you don't know you have your high beams on, please stop driving. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Upgrading the headlights (sorta) on the TJ

This isn't really upgrading the lights, it's about upgrading the wiring to the headlights. Stock Jeep (CJ/YJ/TJ apparently JK) have piss poor headlights. I was recently out with my wife on a stretch of road with no streetlights, it was as if I had no headlights. Cars passing me had these beautiful bright lights and I probably could've used a lighter and a mirror
and had better output than my TJ lights.

Enter Relays. Relays a triggered by a switch, but carry far more power through the relay than a switch can handle. It's safer for your fuses and switches, and relays should be used whenever high-draw items are used.
If you check out the diagram to the left, you'll see a basic relay. In this case when the switch is closed on the input to 86, it triggers a spring loaded internal switch, which is capable of much higher amperage, to close between 30 and 87.

After reading around I discovered that Jeep routed power through the switch in the cab, and than to the light. All that extra wire causes a voltage drop, which means less power to the lights themselves. By using a relay, you can have the power go directly from the battery to the lights, and use the switch in the cab to activate the relays. Better for the switch, and better for night driving.
Octane Lighting Harness

For a really good write up, check out While I'm handy with a soldering iron, and not afraid of hacking up my wiring, I found a simple solution. That solution is the Headlight Relay Wiring Harness H4/9003 by Octane Lighting on For just over $30 Canadian, I was able to easily add relays, and I didn't have to hack up my harness in the process.

It was a nice February morning, a whopping 3C out (37F). Throwing my hoodie and coveralls on, I tackled the job.

Really easy install. About 30 minutes start to finished. Run the harness, attach to the existing grounds by the headlights, run power and zip tie it all up.

I grabbed a video of me doing the install to try something new. 10 out of 10 would recommend the harness for ease of install. Not too long, not too short, everything was soldered and had heat shrink. link for the same harness

The video is embedded below.