Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Canada Jeep Show

On August 10th, I took part in the annual Canada Jeep Show. Arguably the largest all breeds Jeep show. This year Pavement Still Sucks was one of 436 Jeeps that came together for the show. Besides being all about Jeeps, the show raises money for Sick Kids Hospital here in Toronto.
Being that my son will (most likely) need open heart surgery before his 6th birthday, and that it'll be at Sick Kids, I can be doubly passionate about the event.

While I didn't win any raffle prizes, or the 50/50 draw, my Jeep did manage to win the "Best License Plate" category in the Show and Shine. Not bad for a 20 year old TJ that only really looks good from 10' away.

Not really much more to add, except that $15,000 was raised this year, so massive kudos to all those that help put this together.

Just a few photo, since they'll speak for themselves.

Beautiful CJ-3A

I can dream
The TJ always feels so old at these events. But if you look close, there is a CJ poking it's nose out

Panorama from the top of my Jeep

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Jeep Therapy - Trip to Bobcaygeon Ontario

Starting the day off
Something isn't right with us Jeep owners. Case in point, I spent July 21st either on my way to, on, or on my way from a trail. To put it another way, I drove 175km (110 miles) to the trails in Bobcaygeon, MAYBE, 10km (6 mile) on the trails, and another 175km home. It was a long day.
I also learned, that at 41, those kinda days are hard on my body.

Putting some country air back in my tires
I also had some time to think in my travels. My Jeep is the result of experiences gained while younger, and in a YJ. So when I set up myself to build the TJ, I made some very conscious decisions in my build.

With the TJ, I decided to go with as low a lift as possible, so rather than 4", I went 2.5". The YJ had no sway bars, the TJ does, and they don't get disconnected. The front and rear carried over the lockers with 4.88's, and the front Warn hub conversion.

It runs down the road as straight as an arrow, and can hold 110km/h (70mph) while doing so.
On the trail, I point it, and it does it. It claws, crawls, and pulls itself through what I throw at it.
It's a ten foot Jeep (looks good from ten feet away), reliable as an anvil, 20 years old, and only has 95000km (59000 miles) on the odometer.

The story of my therapy session is a simple one. Make plans with a buddy, head up to the trails, get some time in the Jeep in. A day when the only responsibility to to make it in and out of the trail and home safely.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Pavement Ends Sprint Top

I picked up a Pavements Ends Sprint Top (PN: 56840) for an absolute steal from Amazon just before Christmas. The down side, is that it's been sitting in my garage teasing me, making me wait for soft top season. Soft top season finally arrived.

As with any fresh top, it's best to get it out and warmed up before trying to get it installed. I had some time to let it sit, since the Sprint Top requires some parts from the stock top. The key parts required are the front bow, door surrounds, and tailgate bar. 

Removing the front bow wasn't difficult. It required laying out the stock top, removing a few screws, and the rear two bows, before flipping the front bow over to access the retaining screws. The screws didn't put up too much of a fight. 

Once the bow has been removed, it's time to drill out the rivets to install the new arms. The Sprint Top includes new arms that will need to be screwed into place. 

It should be noted, that if you don't have a stock sunrider from Jeep, you're going to have to drill a couple holes in your door surrounds for some brackets. For some reason, unknown to me, the measurements are all in metric. Now, I know you're thinking, "Kev, you're from Canada, that should be normal". Well, it's not. I learned to read a tape measure the right way, and millimetre is not it. To save you some time converting, and to assure you that you really don't need to measure out 23/32", here's the conversion that works:  18.5mm -> 3/4"
9.5mm -> 3/8"
19mm -> 3/4"

Now that all the drilling and re-purposing is over, it's time to mount this top. Start by snapping the pivot arms into the door surround brackets you just installed. Flip the header down, and latch it to your windshield.
There are two straps over the centre rollbar loop, get them started, but not cinched down
Flip the rear of the top over the rear of the rollbar, noting that there is an aluminum bar acting as a rear header that will rest against the rollbar. Pull the rear straps down, and loosely attach them to the inside of the tub.
Now attach the windows, and use them as a guide to centre the top. Mine was sitting too far to the drivers side, and the passenger side window simply didn't zip up properly.
Once the fit is right, tighten down all those straps.
Follow the remaining instructions for installing the windows (similar to stock) and you're set.
The top seals really well, doesn't flap too much in the wind, and the large windows are really awesome. I'm really looking forward to getting some use out of the flip back top, mostly because my Redneck Sunrider was a pain to work with, despite being a near zero cost mod. 

Saturday, 4 May 2019

2019 To Do List

Wow, guess I'm a few months late. But let's be serious here, I live in Canada and the nice weather is only just starting. So here we go with the plans for 2019. Let's see just how far I get into this list.

  • New Pavement Ends Frameless Sprint top that has been sitting in my garage since December. 
  • Fix broken bracket on my tail pipe
    • Bracket rusted off over the winter. I "fixed it" with some bailing wire. Now it's time to fix it properly
  • 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 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 
  • Finishing off Nate's Jeep
  • 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. Going 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.
  • 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.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Nate's Jeep - Update

Previous posts:
Nate's first drive
Update and walk around

So here we are in March. I've been lazy on my writing, and I've been lazy on going outside because it's cold up here in the Great White North.

Nate's Jeep is currently parked, but 95% painted and reassembled. I'm actually quite happy with how it's all turned out, and I'm looking forward to him racing around the backyard in it later this year.

Here's the Jeep after the first coat of paint. All the accessories were being painted in my "paint booth" (aka, large cardboard box)

 Adding some "Bling" to the Jeep. I wanted to go with the military motif, but decided a resto-mod look would be suitable. So a little chrome here and there won't hurt. I know "Chrome won't get you home", but really, who doesn't like a little bling bling on their ride.

Here it is during reassembly. You can see, I went with a little more bling on the mufflers out the side. 

Just a couple of shots of the inside coming together. I had to make a mounting plate for the ignition, as it just wasn't working with being mounted to the plastic. You can see the working voltmeter in behind the steering wheel.

Here's the shot from the rear with the bullet taillights. I really like the retro look of these, and they fit the resto-mod aesthetic perfectly.
Here's the front end lit up. I don't think I could've done a better job on capturing the look of a CJ.

The tires are painted black, but I'm not sure if they'll hold up, so new ones may be in store. My wife isn't sold on the all OD paint job, so I may bling up the front bumper to make it stand out a bit.

So, look forward to an update in a few months with a new video of Nate test driving Pavement Stinks. 

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Jeep TJ Front Fender Replacement

Rust, every Jeep owners other four letter word. My front fenders finally got to the point where I was running out of good metal to attach new metal to. I came across a local supplier selling replacement fenders for $140 a side. They're imported, solid enough, and came primed in a solid black. As I would come to learn, they fit damn near perfect. More on that as we go on.
Part of what causes TJ fenders to rot out so badly, is the support brackets lack any proper drainage. This allows dirt and grime to collect, causing the fenders to rust out from the inside out. To counteract this, I've drilled holes at each end. Just a 1/4" to allow water to drain. Hopefully that keeps them healthy for a long time. At least for the same 18 years my old ones lasted.
You can see by the pictures to the right the brackets I'm talking about, and the lower picture shows the damaged area. That's the typical TJ fender rust. In my case, the rust had practically eaten through the entire centre of my fender. It was held together with some old ducting and rivets.

The start of a project this grandiose, is realizing that it's not just 11 bolts and you're set, but it's all the accessories that are on the fenders that need to be dealt with. Lights, wiring, bottles, airbox, battery, battery tray, weird drivers side battery tray. Just a lot of detail work.
I started with the simple stuff, removing the lights and wiring for them. The front signal lights come out with two torx screws. Followed by two clips to free the housing. This is key, as the light socket won't fit through the fender hole with the wiring harness.

The side marker sockets just need a twist to remove them from the housing. Trace the wire back and remove all the plastic trim clips. Ultimately back to the fender hole.

The rubber grommet will push through to the engine side easy enough and you can fish the wiring through to the engine side.

I got tied up with the work, and didn't take photo's of removing all the screws for the air box and electric distribution centre. Also, now's a good time to remove the battery. Just get it out of the way.
Basically, remove everything that's attached to the fenders.

As mentioned, there are 11 bolts total. 7 at the front of the fender, where it meets the grill. Those pretty easy. Now comes the tough ones, especially on 19 year old Jeep. The best solution is to break out the reciprocating saw. Give it a clean cut to free the front of the fender from the Jeep. Now it's easy to get an impact gun with extension on the 4 fender to tub bolts remaining.

Keen eyes will notice that these are different fenders. Guess I wasn't quick on the camera while doing this. Regardless, it gives you an idea of where I did the cut.

It should be noted at this point, I worked around the battery tray on both sides. Removing them was going to be a pain in the butt, and working around wasn't too difficult. If your Jeep isn't as rusty, give it a shot. It'll make life easier.

So by now, you're just over an hour in, and it's time to put the new fender on. Guess what, do everything you just did, but backwards, and you to can have a fender that now looks like this.
It's not a hard job. I may have used an impact and air ratchet, but there was nothing stopping me from just using hand tools. So this is definitely a driveway do-able job. Be prepared for broken bolts, and plan for two days.
Also, expect to need to drill a couple holes. Over the years some accessory mounts changed, and things didn't always line up. It wasn't a big deal, just worth noting.

All said and done, 7 hours later, you can have fenders that look like this

And ultimately, once the flares are back on, lights back in place, and all accessories back in, you'll have a front end that will look like this.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Rear Drum Brake Replacement

Every ten years or so, I need to rebuild a set of drum brakes. It serves a reminder of just how much I dislike them. They aren't hard, they aren't really complex, there are just so many bloody springs and finicky parts. 

When it comes to drum brakes, always, and I mean always, order the new hardware kit. I ultimately went with Wagner 9" brake shoes and the Carlson Rear Drum Hardware Kit. The Carlson kit was a spectacularly complete kit. Nothing had to be reused from the original hardware.
Good thing at that, considering the innards of the brakes were pretty much rusted solid and not really doing anything anymore. 
You may notice that I'm working with a jack, and a tire under the control arm as a safety device. Don't do this, it's not safe, you will die. I haven't yet, but my tire has caught my Jeep once when my Hi-Lift fell over in an emergency situation. In any case, yeah, use jack stands. 

Get the Jeep up in the air, get the tire off, and pull the drum. If you're lucky, the drum will slide right off because the brakes are shot and not working. If you're unlucky, you'll need patience, heat, choice words, and a hammer. I was lucky, my brakes were shot. 

Once the drum is off, I suggest taking a picture or two. There are a bunch of springs, levers, a cable, and an adjuster wheel. Having the pictures will help with reassembly, if you do need a reminder, just check the other side. This is why you only do one side at a time. 

These steps are not any official steps, just the way I do drums. 

Start by removing the two top springs, using a brake spring tool helps. Well worth the investment. Next remove the retainer springs. These are the round disks, just passed the halfway point down on the shoes. To remove them, put a finger on the pin behind the brakes, using pliers, push the disk in and twist to release it. Much easier than it sounds on rusty springs.
Finally, pull the shoes apart, and remove them from the backing plate. 

At this point, it's worth sitting the old set next to the new set and making sure you get the proper shoes for each side. 

Using the new hardware kit assemble the adjustment lever and spring. Apply some axle or chassis grease to the inside of the adjuster to keep it from seizing up. One point to be certain on, make sure you're using the proper adjuster. They are left and right side specific. 

Once you have the bench work done, it's time time to install the shoes.
Start with ensuring the parking brake plate is slotted in correctly (it'll be the thing that didn't come off with the shoes, and is on a cable). Next move to the retainer springs. They will cause you to use some adult language. Once done, slide in the adjuster, and the shoe to shoe spring over it. Next, I slide in the above axle cross bar, finishing with routing the adjuster cable, and top springs. (These are not official names, just saying) 

When done, slide the drum on. It should be lose. Take the drum off, and adjust the adjuster a bit and test the drum again. Keep doing that until you get a slightly snug fit. Put the tire on, and you're done.

These are meant to be some simple steps, and after following them, you too will understand why auto manufactures are moving to discs. Technically speaking, drums do provide much more stopping power. They're "self energizing", meaning that the force of the drum against the shoes, force them to grab harder (like a wedge under a door). They don't do as well with water and debris, and as you can see from reading this, a pain to work on.