Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Nate's Jeep - Status Update

Back in January Nate had his first drive in his new Jeep.

Well, I finally got some time to spend in the garage, and rather than tackling the new fenders waiting to go on my Jeep, I decided Nate's Jeep had priority (that, and it was too cold outside for my liking)

To put it shortly. I'm quite happy with the results.
I've built a full wiring harness for this Jeep. It has a working ignition key, fuse panel, all power routes through a relay, a working voltmeter in the dash, and all the lights are real now. They're LED to help save the battery a bit.

I may add a charging port to the gas filler, and I'm considering adding a radio for some music, and maybe an FRS/GMRS radio

It's nearly ready for paint. I have to finish cleaning up the wiring and remove the stickers. I've also decided on an M38A1 motif, complete with soft top. I've also decided, that since my Jeep is Pavement Still Sucks, this shall be Pavement Stinks.

Below is a short walk around of how it stands now.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

2018 To Do List - Keep on truckin'

2017 continued to be a bit of a bust for Jeep stuff. At least I did get out on the trails and did do a little tent camping in the backwoods.

For 2016 2017 2018, 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.
    • Bought new fenders. Done messing with this one
  • 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 three 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 - Got a Jerry can for Christmas!
  • 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.

Definitely getting out on the trails more. Camping and maybe a new tent are in order!

Also big this year, is trip to Moab. Yeah, you heard me, Moab. It's my 40th birthday gift from my wife to our family. Looks like the plan is to fly out, rent a Jeep and fly home. The logistics of getting my Jeep and family out there were costly. As much as I'd love to wheel my own Jeep there, this isn't the trip for it.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

TJ Dash Upgrade... Upgrade?

A couple weeks back, I upgraded my dash tray to add a tablet mount, and deeper storage. 

After a couple test trips, it became painfully obvious that, as useful as the table was, it blocked enough of my view that right hand turns were dangerous. 

Today, using some flatbar, a cut off wheel, and a bolt, I relocated the table down and out of my way. It's a little harder to see, but I think infinitely safer. Still needs some minor tweaks, and a shot of pain, but I think it'll work better in the new location.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Jeep TJ Dash Tray Upgrade

I'll start with the big disclaimer. All products or services in this post are self purchased/downloaded. I receive no compensation for any product/service. I feel that this is the best way to remain unbiased and honest when reviewing. 

While the TJ really improved on actually giving Jeep owners a dashboard, the included tray for holding things isn't all that deep or useful. I decided that if I was going to be spending more time exploring the in the Jeep, I'd need a dedicated mount for a phone/tablet/GPS.

Enter the Rugged Ridge Dash Multi-Mount (Model 13551.19) and the Ilyever 2-in-1 Universal Tablet iPad Tripod Mount Adapter. The mount comes with a universal cellphone holder that seems to rest on all the buttons on my phone. However, it's a standard tripod screw mount, meaning any tripod accessory will work.

Installation is a snap. I started by cleaning the dash tray with some WD40 to ensure all dirt, oil and grime were removed. The first step is to attach the included 3M tape to the base of the Rugged Ridge unit. Once done, place and press the try into place on the existing tray. 

 Install the three self tapping screws directly into the stock plastic tray, and well, you're done. I had to use a stubby screwdriver as my mirror and dash cam were in the way of my full size screwdriver. Once done, the unit is solidly in place.
 I added the tablet holder to the mount, and there you go. It's easy to remove the mount and replace with cellphone or gps mount, or just leave it off altogether if you don't want to advertise. The mount seems solid enough. Being the dead of winter, and most of the trails being closed up this way, I won't be able to speak of how it holds up until I can get some wheels in the dirt this spring/summer. (See my update to the mount here )

I'm using a first generation Nexus 7 tablet with some great apps that I've found, and a bluetooth ODB adapter. I've had the Nexus 7 since launch, and lately it's been sitting in a drawer making me wonder what I should do with it. Guess I answered my own question

Apps that I've loaded, aside from the stock Google Maps, are as follows (all hot linked)

GPX Viewer
GPS Status
GPS Essentials
MapFactor GPS Navigation Maps
Torque Pro

I have used GPX Viewer and Torque Pro for a while now and can definitely speak to their usefulness. GPS Status, Essentials, and MapFactor are new apps I'm trying out. They all look like they work well, I think they'll find a permanent place on my device.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Nate's drive in his first Jeep

Back in June 2016, I picked up a Jeep for my son Nate. He was a wee one, and unable to reach the controls. That was ok, the Jeep needed a new battery, and well, I wanted to redo it with LED lights, a paint job, probably a working radio and CB (or FRS). I wasn't in a rush for him to learn to drive.

Fast forward to December 2017. The new battery that I had sitting in my Amazon Cart had a price drop for a day to $35. BOOM, Kev ordered.

The battery was charged, and then it sat. The weather did not cooperate, and I wasn't heading out to test it when I needed to wear multiple layers of clothing to not get frostbite.

Which leads us to this past Saturday.

My wife was working, and Nate and I were hanging out. It was warmer out, so I thought, lets try it out.

Nate was very excited to see the Jeep, to say the least. I had to show him how to push the gas to make it go, and he still needs help steering, but it was a good test for the battery, and well, as you can see by the video. Nate really enjoyed his time in the drivers seat. This kid is going to be a Jeeper. 

Overall, for the $85 I've got invested, I think this Jeep is going to be a win.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Looking Backwards and Forwards

So long 2017, and welcome to 2018. What a year it was, and well, what a year it's going to be.

2017 saw me back out at Ardbeg for the first time in over a decade. This was such a major accomplishment for me. It allowed me to banish some demons related to my congestive heart failure, and defibrillator implant. The plan is for this to be a yearly trip for me, just to get out and camp far away from everything that causes me stress.

I also managed a few things on the Jeep. Headlight upgrade, body mount replacement, fixed a leaky valve stem, to name a few.

That was a quick summary of 2017 in my Jeep life... so what does 2018 have in store? The biggest is my planned trip to Moab. The idea, as it stands right now, is to tow my Jeep out behind something (Our RV, a Truck, SUV, etc). More info to come in case anyone is interested in joining.
Another trip up to Ardbeg is a given. I think I'm going to make some plans up to get the Jeep more focused on overlanding than on trail riding. I enjoy getting somewhere that needs 4x4 and camping by a lake, much more than seeing if I can make it over some challenging obstacle or getting buried in a mud bog.

Outside of Jeeping, I am mentally planning for my wing man Nate to undergo open heart surgery to fix an Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) related to having Down syndrome. I can't imagine any parent wants to see their 3 year old under the knife, but you never know how strong you are, until being strong is all you have left.

Overall my ultimate life goal is to continue moving forward. I've been through a lot, I've survived it all, and today is the last day of my life... so far. 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Father and Son Jeep (bed) Build

My little guy was starting to climb out of his crib (low muscle tone due to Down syndrome my ass). My wife and I decided it was time to roll in his "Big Boy Bed". 

It's a Jeep JK bed we bought when he turned one. Now that he's nearing three, it was time. The crib just wasn't cutting it. Not to mention, I actually caught (as in he was falling) him as he exited the crib and lost his footing. 

The bed was easy enough to put together, but at times it did need two people two hold things in place while screws were used. 

I swear it's probably the same physical size of a Willys CJ2a, but whatever, it's cool, and my son seems to love it.

 I'll give it credit. I'm not a small guy, but it holds both of us quite well, and all the lights work to boot! My little guy loves turning them on and off, and hanging out on it while watching The Wiggles, Paw Patrol, or while I read him his favorite book "Sheep in a Jeep".