Sunday 16 August 2015


My wife decided to take our 5 month old son on a weekend roadtrip to visit friends, so that left me with LOADS of Jeep and garage time.

Most of it was spent puttering in the garage and cleaning it up, organizing, finalizing some projects and just generally not being in front of a screen. What I did tackle on the Jeep was just a couple small items. Firstly, and no pictures, 'cause really... I put the back seat back in. Figured it was time to haul out the toolbox and put the seat in so that we can do family cruises to Dairy Queen in the Jeep.

Secondly, I finally got my TMR Customs fire extinguisher mount, uh, mounted, complete with refillable marine grade extinguisher. I'm not sold on the location, but it's easy to access.

Lastly, thanks to David from the Redneck Garage, I drilled some holes in my frame to the rear of the front control arm brackets, and about centre with the body mounts to let water out. After seeing the pooling water in his video, I decided to make sure I was safe.

Otherwise, I got my tools stored securely, I've started plan on a behind the seat toolbox, and I fixed the light on my bench grinder.

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Straighten Out the Steering Wheel

After replacing the steering shaft (Read all about it) my steering wheel had a slight left turn to it. Fortunately, it's easy to correct with a wrench and a pipe wrench.

Start by getting your supervisor setup to ensure you do quality work. Oh, also make sure when you pull into your parking location you let the wheel self centre while moving forward to make sure you're going dead straight (or as close as possible)

Loosen off the two nuts holding the adjusting collar, and start making VERY small adjustments with a pipe wrench on the collar. Check the steering wheel frequently (or have a helper) to make sure you're going in the right direction and that you're getting close to centre.


Once done, tighten up the nuts and celebrate with a smile and a Jeep wave

Sunday 19 July 2015

Jeep TJ Upper Steering Shaft Replacement

There comes a time in every Jeep life, when a u joint goes. In this case, mine was on my upper steering shaft. In Jeep engineer wisdom, the joint is not a serviceable/replaceable part. I had to replace the entire shaft. That in itself proved to be a difficult pIart to find. I was finally able to source it via in the form of a Crown Automotive 5102531AA Steering Shaft. It's a simple two bolt process to replace it, and aside from bending in ways that I didn't think my body could bend, and a buggered thread that needed tapping, it was an easy swap

Engine compartment bolt
Undo the bolt on the joint by the firewall. Start the jeep and turn the steering wheel about a quarter turn to access the inside bolt. Under the dash, get your socket on the bolt and undo it. 
Potato quality short under the dash
Slide the shaft off in the engine compartment, and off the splined shaft under the dash. Pull the shaft into the cab and it'll pop through easily. 
Old vs New shaft
Get your new shaft, repeat the process and tighten your bolts down. Just remember, when the shaft is disconnected, do not let the steering wheel spin, as you'll break your clock spring and mess up signals and air bag. I used a bungee cord to hold the wheel from turning. 

You can kinds see the gap in the u joint pinion

Rough Country Trackbar Tie Rod End Replacement

A while back I had the misfortune of hearing a clunk coming from under my Jeep, while also feeling the steering not quite working right. Fortunately, I was a couple blocks from home and made it into the driveway safely. What I found was a blown out tie rod end on my Rough Country track bar. Fortunately it uses the same TRE as the drag link, and I was able to source one same day at NAPA. 
Removing the rusted up cotter bit and nut required the use of a cut off disc on my Dremel, and a little pounding. Once out, I was able to remove the TRE with some heat and a large pipe wrench. 
When I put it back together, I made sure to be generous with my anti-seize to ensure that in the future, this is easier to do. 
One thing I ran into, was that the hole on the frame mount was wallowed out a bit. Using some grade 8 washers, I was able to pull the TRE up enough to make it nice and tight. 

Thursday 9 July 2015

Hand Throttle or Redneck Cruise Control

Simple bike shifter
One of the nice things about an automatic, is that it doesn’t require two feet to drive. It also gives you a spare when you need to hold the brake and hit the gas for a tricky climb. With my manual, when I’m sitting on a hill, sometimes a third foot comes in handy. In that thought, I installed a hand throttle using a bike shifter and cable, plus some bits and pieces. It’s also great on the rocks, as it keeps the throttle set so that I’m not modulating the gas as I bounce around. On highways, it makes a great redneck cruise control, but I don’t suggest you do that, as it doesn’t disengage like factory cruise control.
Cable running through new hole in throttle cable bracket
Connected to throttle.
Apparently this is where factory cruise control connected

Friday 3 July 2015

Happy 4th of July

Have a safe and happy 4th of July my American Friends and Readers

Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Happy Canada Day

To my fellow Canadians, both Jeep drivers and non-Jeep drivers. Have a safe and happy Canada Day

O Canada!

Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Ô Canada!

Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Monday 29 June 2015

$15 and 15 minutes to improved Jeep Security

We're all aware of the big red steering wheel locks out there. Designed to lock your steering wheel and prevent theft. I am guilty of running one on my old Jeep. Even though I do know that they're easy to defeat and only deter opportunistic theft. 

With the TJ, I went to a RFID based secondary starting system. Not Sentry Key, but my own home build system. I'll cover it in a future post. 
For the quick security, I went about as simple as you can. I put a padlock on my Jeep. It's really quite simple. I went with a Brinks shackle style lock. I put the drivers side seat forward and leaning against the steering wheel. Once set in that position, I drilled the base with a hole big enough for the lock. It's down near the floor of the Jeep, and behind the little spring plate cover. Once the lock is in place, it's impossible to move the seat back. I doubt bolt cutters could get onto the shackle, and without a torch or cut off tool, the lock is staying put.
The would be thief can't put the seat back, and if you can't sit in the drivers seat, you really can't drive away. 

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Fixing the TJ transfer case shifter

Not that there was anything wrong with it. Well, except that it looked like a parking brake. I was bored one afternoon and decided to "fix" it, and make it look like the old CJ/YJ style. 

I cut the handle off just before the bend where it goes forward. From there, I welded on some threaded rod, gave it a blast of black paint, and screwed on my old YJ shifter. I'd say it was a win.

The indicators on the shit knob even lined up and were correct.

When a further moment of boredom set in, I found a broken front axle shaft, and I figured with some paint and a nut welded to the bottom, it would make a great shifter knob. I cleaned it up, gave it a blast of paint, and there you have it.

Oh, you noticed the switches in the last picture.. What do they do? Well, they control my winch. Look for an upcoming post about that. You also noticed the bike shifter on the gear shift? Yup, future post on my hand throttle is in the pipe.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

15 Minute Jeep TJ Driveway Alignment

With new tires, comes the recommendation for an alignment. My old tires had some weird wear on them, and I knew my alignment was out. With new tires on the way, I wasn’t overly concerned. Now that my new tires are on, I want to make them last as long as possible. To do that, an alignment must be done by an expert shop… or by me in my driveway.
P6200001Tools required for this are a 13mm wrench, a 13mm socket and ratchet (or a second 13mm wrench), a tape measure or two, some 2x4’s, bungee cords, and a big pipe wrench.
Attached the 2x4’s to your tires, parallel to the ground. Using a tape measure, measure the distance across the back of the 2x4 and the front. Properly aligned, there should be between P62000021/16” and 1/8”. This is the Toe measurement of the Jeep. Unless you have castor bolts (most TJ’s don’t), this is the only thing that can be adjusted for an alignment.

If adjustment is needed, undo the collars on the tie rod and get the pipe wrench handy. Give the tie rod a couple of turns in the appropriate direction and measure the 2x4 distances again until you get to where it needs to be.

Once done, tighten up the collars and congratulate yourself on saving a few bucks at the alignment shop. 

Sunday 21 June 2015

Rules of The Garage

Note from Kev:
These were the rules (unedited) of the original Garage. some mildly offensive language, if that bothers you.  Truth of the matter, most (if not all) of these rules can still apply to any group getting together for a run

Membership Rules
  1. Must be voted on and unanimously approved by the core members
  2. No Golden Eagle stickers except on the appropriate CJ
  3. Must attend at least one of the two yearly runs, Spring or Summer- No excuses. No run, no in
  4. Jeep must have approved recovery gear, tools and spare parts - We're not your fukn CTC
    1. Tow strap 
    2. Tow hooks
    3. Full size spare
    4. Jack-All or Hi-Lift
    5. Basic tool kit - wrenches, sockets, screw drivers, hammer, torx bits, and any "special" tools your rig needs
    6. Axle and drive shaft u-joints
    7. Spare fluids (brake, gear oil, oil, water/coolant, atf, beer)
    8. Hoses and hose clamps
    9. Spare flex lines for front and rear
    10. Wire
    11. Duct tape
    12. Fuses
    13. Shackles
    14. First aid kit
    15. Fire extinguisher
    16. Skid Plates
  5. Jeep must pass a tech inspection
  6. Must have CB
  7. No Super Wheelers
  8. Jeep only - No Toyota's, Honda's, Hummer's, Ford's, GM's, Get it ? - Unless you sponsor this site
  9. If you're not happy with a run location, don't go. Organize your own run
  10. If you don't like the rules, don't join. We're very secure in ourselves and don't need validation from new members
  11. There are no membership dues, but you should probably carry a wallet to treat other to a beer once in a while
    1. We don't have dumbass stickers or patches
    2. If you suggest dumbass stickers or patches, expect to be made fun of
  12. No whining or politics
    1. This is an UN-group, individualism is EVERYTHING
      1. Feel free to offer an opinion, we're not communists

Conduct - In you act a fool, you're ok. Period. 
  1. If you break on the trail, someone will help ya, but you better be willing to get dirty yourself
    1. See item 11 above. You'll owe a couple of wobbly pops or equivelant
  2. If you ask for a pluck, accept the chance of damage and no bitching about it if it happens
    1. If you break plucking someone, deal with it
  3. No excessive stupidity on the CB
  4. If you're a stock newbie, listen to the trailboss and TAKE A GODDAMN SPOT AND OBEY WHAT HE or SHE TELLS YOU
    1. If you offer to spot someone, you better know what the hell you're doing or expect to hear about it
  5. No sheep jokes unless you have known Stubbs for at least 3 years
  6. No drunkenness on the trail, save it for the campfire or Frumpy will drink all your booze as punishment
  7. If it's an overnight, bring enough food, gas and supplies
    1. In camp, everyone helps out
      1. Except that Chan guy, he's just too damn cute to fetch firewood
  8. TREAD LIGHTLY - Yes, you can be kicked off the trail and out of the group
  9. If someone is getting winched, stay out of the goddamn way
    1. If you don't winch safely, you're going to get yelled at. We're not reattaching anyone's body parts on the trail
    2. If a winch cable snaps, try and hit that Chan guy
  10. Have respect for others limitations and don't pressure anyone into doing something they're not ready to attempt
  11. If you're a stock newbie and you're trying something you shouldn't, expect to hear about it if you break
  12. Have fun, leave your attitude at the trailhead
  13. 3 attempts at an obstacle, if you haven't made it or broken, take  the bypass and move on
    1. Unless the group agrees to let you keep trying
  14. Easy on the pics, you're not a runway model
    1. If you are a runway model, feel free to take as many pics as you like, preferably naked
    2. That Chan guy can be naked if he wants
  15. Keep an eye on the Jeep behind you
  16. Stay out of the ass of the Jeep in front of you - It's not a race
  17. Wait until the Jeep in front of you clears an obstacle before attempting it
    1. Once you have finished an obstacle, get out of the fukn way
  18. Keep your goddamn shirt on
    1. Unless you're a really hot chick, then feel free to remove any articles of clothing you see fit
  19. If you can't keep up to Kev, you are probably at least 90 years old and should seriously consider being a TB
  20. You're responsible for your TB(s). If they act a fool, you're just as guilty
  21. Just because you happen to think KC and the Sunshine Band are really misunderstood and under appreciated doesn't mean the rest of the group agrees with you, keep the volume to a reasonable level
    1. If you are a rabid fan of KC and the Sunshine Band, you prolly won't fit in the dynamic of this group
    2. AC/DC, G&R, Rage Against the Machine, George Thorogood, Judas Priest, the Stones, Motorhead, Clash, Sex Pistols, etc can be played as loud as you like

Friday 19 June 2015

Redneck Sunrider Top

Having just a lowly stock TJ soft top, I was obviously missing out on the wonderful world that is the Sunrider. Being the enterprising redneck that I am, I broke out some copper pipe, a pipe cutter, a couple rivets, a drill and some Velcro and made my own.

I cut both forward hoops 1" in front of where the connecting bars attached. I cleaned the tubes up, and slid in a piece of copper. Followed by a quick shot with a 1/4" drill and a rivet to keep it all in place. The copper slides in both ends and helps with folding the whole top up or down. Not ideal, but it works well enough.

The Velcro is used to hold the hoops to the roll cage and prevent the top from collapsing when the front part is opened up.

That's it. Unclip the front, fold it back, and enjoy the new functionality in the sun for only a few dollars in parts and about an hour of your time.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Welcome to

Quite some time ago, a group of friends built a small exclusive "club" called The Garage. It was based out of Ontario RV and backed by our good friend and Jeep guru super mechanic, Hans Starke. Hans offered us shop space to meet, discounts, advise and above all else, friendship. Hans sadly passed away in late 2009. Time has gone on and while the members of The Garage remain friends, the Jeeps have come and gone (mostly). As the domain holder for, I asked permission to reassign it to this blog. I felt holding on to the domain was a tribute to Hans, and was concerned the transition to a personal blog would not honour him. Well, it was agreed that I could do it. To properly honour Hans I'm going to share a good memory I have of him.

A small group of us decided to go to Bobcaygeon for a day run up Greens Mountain. It's not an easy trail, and not a double black diamond either. Needed some mods and skill. Hans decided to show up in his new shop Jeep. It was a TJ with a fresh front locker and borrowed ProComp tires. Not lifted or modified otherwise. The rest of the group was running lifts, lockers, 33"+ tires and winches. We made out way up the trail and through some tough obstacles. Hans drove his Jeep up the trail like he was on pavement. Didn't struggle, or get stuck. Frankly, he made all of us in our "big Jeeps" look like rookies. It was a testament to his skill, and years of wheeling. Once at the top of Greens, you either go back the way you came, or you tackle the harder decent on the backside. Hans had an appointment to keep and was going to go down the backside. I volunteered to go with him to ensure he made it safely. Frankly, I was the one who was in trouble. Hans drove down the backside of Greens with ease, while I bounced off trees and slipped into washouts. We probably set a speed record.

This was just one example of the man. He was one of the best Jeep mechanics out there. Forgot more about Jeeps than most will ever learn. If you wanted to do something to your Jeep that was stupid, he'd tell you. If you were stuck and needed help, he'd be there with tools, advice and some MGD. 

Through Hans I've made many friends. We may not see each other as often now that he's gone and the shop is closed, but we are still in touch. 

With that I now dedicate to Hans continued memory. I hope I do him right with my random thoughts about the Jeep life.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Swapping tires the hard way

New tires, new tools.
With four new tires staring at me, and tire changing companies claiming they're not able to handle my 33x12.5's, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Besides, it was an excuse to buy a new tool. After reading many favourable reviews, and watching many videos with the machine in use, I went for a Power Fist manual tire changer. This is practically the same as the Harbor Freight manual tire changer.

The first thing to note, you REALLY need to make sure this thing is fastened down. My Home Depot grade concrete anchors were not up to the task, and after ripping two different types out, and nearly setting a drill on fire, I called for help. My brother in law (a plumber at that) showed up with an awesome cordless Makita hammer drill and one of the coolest concrete bits I've ever seen. He proceeded to drill my garage floor like it was balsa wood, and dropped in these little expanding anchors. Well, they held, held so well that I need to stiffen up the tire changer, 'cause it flexes too much now. Anyhow, that solved a big problem.

On to the tires... The first tire took about an hour. Figuring out the machine, how to pry, leverage, etc. Second tire, was a little faster, and I realized that more lube was better. Third tire I had done in 20 minutes, and the last tire, which I recorded, was done in 17 minutes.

First tire done. Only took an hour and a lot of sweat
I balanced the tires with 8oz of copper BB's per tire, and after a couple of drives, I'm happy to report they are smooth as glass on road. 

Next up is a small alignment. My Toe is out quite a bit and needs to be sorted out before any long trips. After that, onto planning a day out on the trails to see how these new tires perform in the dirt and rocks

Monday 25 May 2015

Crossing some items off the "To Do" List

Last weekend (May 16-18) was the Canadian holiday known as the May 2-4. I took advantage of an understanding wife and the incredible weather to scratch a couple of items off the Jeep to do list. 

A year ago I had purchased some TMR Customs rear fame tie-in's. I finally got around to tackling the install. It required dealing with some bumper bolts that refused to move. I'll save you the gory details of the impact gun and torch. The brackets really made a huge change to the stiffness of the bumper and tire carrier. Where it used to sag when opened, it now doesn't move. 

I had also purchased some wider fender flares for the Jeep. Trying to keep road spray down and Johnny Law off my back. I attacked the rears first. After fighting the inner fenders out (and into the garbage can) the bolts generally came out really easy. The new to me Bestop flares went on easy and rally improve the coverage of the tires. I ran into a hitch on the front, as they won't fit with my rock sliders. No worries, I have tube fenders to go in eventually.

I did a quick brake job on the front. Nothing really fancy there. 

To top it off, I put the soft top back on. May as well, it's now summer and trail season. 

Coming Soon... Installing the new tires