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.

graphic
https://goo.gl/o6fJx8
Photo via www.justanswer.com
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 Jeepfan.com. 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 Amazon.ca. 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.

Amazon.com link for the same harness

The video is embedded below.



Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2017 To Do List and news about 2018!

So, last year was a bust, here's my updated To Do list for 2017. Sorta sucks that I only managed to really scratch one item off the list. But hey, I did at least see a trail!

For 2016 2017, this is what I have planned



  • Centre the steering wheel. 
    • Despite my best efforts last year (July 2015), my steering wheel is still slightly off to the left. Annoying, yet easy to fix.
  • Front Fender repair.
    • As anyone with a TJ can tell you, the damn fenders just rot away into nothing. Mine are patched together with left over duct work and rivets. This is the year I take advantage of a brakepress and metal shear to cut me some new fender tops.
  • Front extended flares.
    • Thanks to changes in the MTO's vehicle safety standards, my front tires need full tread coverage. I blame the MTO, but in reality, I'm tired of the dirt and mud sprayed up the side of my Jeep due to the front tires.
  • Rear turn signals
    • Again, thanks MTO. The previous owner of my Jeep flush mounted the taillights, and under the new rules, I require a visible rear turn signal on the side of the Jeep. Already got the lights, just need the weather.
    • Need new taillights since mine rotted out inside. May go back to stock housings and lose the flush mount
  • Battery Lug Replacement.
  • Removable Mud Flaps.
    • Going to fab something up for the rear to keep Johnny Law from getting too interested in my "Excessive Road Spray"
  • Electric Radiator Fan.
    • Been sitting in my garage for two years now. Maybe I should install it. At least I wired the switch into the cab already.
  • New Fan Belt.
    • To do when I change the fan.
  • Rear Diff Service.
    • Bought some Royal Purple max gear oil to change up the rear to see if it makes a difference on the Detroit unloading. Just gotta do it.
  • Transmission Service
    • Picking up some Redline MT-90, 'cause I hear it makes the AX-5 smooth as butter.
  • Delrin Bushing for my Tire Carrier
    • I run a pipe on a bolt tire carrier (homemade) and it could use a bushing in there. Gong to try and source some Delrin to use.
  • Emergency Rear Axle Retainer.
    • Got a thought on something that'll hold my axle together should I snap a shaft in the Dana 35c.
  • Aim Headlight and Fog Lights.
    • Pretty self explanatory. Just need a nice warm night
    • Got new wiring on it's way in to make lights brighter (https://goo.gl/HFVs9V). So aiming will be a bigger priority
  • New Winch Cable
    • Again, pretty self explanatory.
  • Missing bolt in Winch
    • Snapped a bolt that holds the gear housing on. Has been fine for years. One of these days I'll head to Bolts+ and get a replacement.
  • Jerrycan and Mount
    • One day I'll get around to building a mount for a Jerrycan
  • Hi-Lift Mount.
    • See above. One day
  • Lockable storage
    • Now that I have a kid, and need all the seats in, I need to build a new locking storage box for behind the back seat. Has to work with the CJ tailgate on the Jeep.
  • Hitch mounted vice.
    • I have a spare vice, I have spare 2"x2" square tube. I need to merge the two to have a vice that can travel with me.

Also, I plan to be on the trail more this year. Either doing some overland travel to awesome camp sites, or just packing up and running some trails a couple hours from home.

Also big this year, is planning my 2018 trip to Moab. Yeah, you heard me, Moab. It's my 40th birthday gift from my wife to our family. We're travelling 6000 kms (3728 miles) round trip to go from Ontario to Utah to experience Moab. I'll update the site with my planning and thoughts through the year.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Merry Jeep Christmas

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But having a Jeep is so delightful
And since I'm the only one who could go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn't show signs of stopping
And I've lockers in my axles for popping
The transfer case is set way down low
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When we get moving tonight
How I'll hate other drivers in the storm!
But if you're a newer model and still tight
All the way home I'll be warm

The engine is slowly dying
And, my Jeep, we're still driving
But as long as you're locked in low
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!