Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Suspense is Killing Me!

Okay, so we all get that one bonehead mistake of our lives, Right?  Or do we get multiple chances to make those mistakes?

My "what was I thinking?" mistake was made last week when I was installing my rock
sliders. After many suggestions to use Loctite threadlocker I headed out to the auto parts store. I purchased Loctite Super Glue -- Yikes --  I did not do the full amount of research necessary to realize there are many adhesives Loctite offers. 

Now --  my dilemma of should I try and take out the bolts and apply the real threadlocker or just leave it. 

Again after many suggestions from my
fellow Jeepers I decided to just leave the rock sliders as they are.  First --  I don't want to take any chances of breaking anything trying to get the bolts off again. Secondly -- I have heard from several serious Jeepers who don't use threadlocker at all and their rigs are fine.  These serious Jeepers rock crawl on the Rubicon so I figure my little itty bitty rock crawling should do just fine. Plus, the amount of highway driving I do is pretty slim.  My mom trips are just around town.


But as a back up I drew a line on the bolt and washer and will periodically check them to see if they are vibrating loose. Now it's time to move on back to earning money for my Jeep Parts fund.

      -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -The Jeep Momma Way --  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Oh NO!!! Will I have to Re-install My Rock Sliders?

I hate to admit this, but I failed in the research department on my rock slider install. I think I was just too excited to get those new Rock Sliders on my Jeep I didn't properly research the threadlocker adhesive I was suppose to use.  Now, I wonder if I will need to un-install my Barricade Rock Sliders or just pray everything will be okay.

I never used a threadlocker adhesive on my front bumper either. Yikes!  --- I'm thinking it will be okay, but now I will be out in my garage every other day with the ratchet checking all those bolts!







Thanks to all my Jeeper Friends it was brought to my attention to use a threadlocker in the first place. A couple even mentioned Loctite. After I took off the stock side steps, I headed to the local auto store to buy some Loctite. I searched high and low in the store and finally found what I thought to be the product and headed home with it. I put a dab on each bolt and secured my new Barricade Rock Sliders to my Jeep.

Last night during my Girl's Night out with a friend she informed me I might have used the wrong product. Her husband, who works in the auto repair business, saw my blog post and is pretty sure I used the wrong product. 


I am embarrassed to admit this but I think I did too. I went online this morning and found the Loctite website.  

I am extremely embarrassed. I can't even believe I am admitting this unbelievably stupid mistake I made. I bought Loctite Super Glue. If I would have gone online and did some research I would have found out Loctite makes several adhesive products. I should have bought Loctite Threadlocker Blue 242 .  



Now, what does it mean that I put superglue on my bolts? Will I even be able to get the rock sliders off? You've seen the commercials over the years for superglue.  If this is the case then maybe the bolts won't even loosen because of vibrations. OY!

Now that you've all had a good laugh at my newbie error, how do I fix this mistake? Do I need to fix it? Should I un-install the sliders and add the "REAL" threadlocker?  In the meantime I'm ordering the correct product to have on hand for my next install.

                 -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- The Jeep Momma Way --  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Damaged Tire -- Do I switch it out?

A little over a week ago I drove up the block to the local park to pick my son up from soccer practice. Some roofers were replacing a roof at a home up the street from our house.







 As I was driving back from practice I heard a clink, clink as I drove home. When I got out and checked the Jeep there was a nail in my tire.












So I headed to the garage to get the tire plugged. My neighbor next door, a mechanic, said the plug should be good because the pressure in the tire will keep it in. Now that I'm thinking about it what about when I go out on the trails and air down my tires. What will happen then? 

The tire is the front drivers side tire. Now next week I'm taking my Jeep in for routine maintenance and tire rotation is on the agenda. 



Should I just switch the spare for the damaged tire? or does it matter?


          -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! --                   
               -- The Jeep Momma Way --  


NOTE: The Roofing company compensated me for the repair cost to my tire -- $15. Never hurts to ask huh?
  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Next Upgrade Hits a Bump in the Road

Front Bumper -- with good recovery points -- CHECK!  Now I can rescue anyone who gets stuck. 

Rock Sliders -- super strong steel -- CHECK! Now I don't need to worry so much about the low clearance (for now) of my Jeep.


So now -- what's next for my Jeep? 
I had a plan, but I have run into a roadblock. I was going to change my fenders. 
How? 
Well.. that was going to be my next project -- to start searching for the look I wanted for my Jeep. Now it has come to my attention that Maryland has fender laws. The whole -- entire -- tire MUST be covered by the fender. 





So -- Does that mean I need to figure out my tires first?  Plus, I read Maryland has lift laws as well - two inches max. However, that was just on some random website. So I am going to head out to the inspection station to get the full details. 

I am leaning toward a 2.5 inch lift with 33's --- maybe -- I said maybe 35's.  35's are still up in the air because of all the different opinions on how they run on the roads and the weight it might add to my tailgate.

So it looks like I need some advice. What are your thoughts about my fenders? Which ones do your prefer? Where do I go next? 

I'm going to spend the next week or so searching around just to see if there is a particular style I like. 

In the meantime enjoy your weekend in your Jeep. I know I will. It's time to make most of this cool fall weather with the top down before the Arctic blast blows upon us. 

                    -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- The Jeep Momma Way --  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Installing My Rock Sliders I Discovered My Pirate Past Life


NOTE: My comments in green are from today January 19, 2017.
When I was notified by ExtremeTerrain that my Barricade Rock Sliders where shipped I
was so pumped. I couldn't control my excitement for my new Jeep "make-over". I shared it with all my mom friends too. They would give me those "are you for real" looks, (I still get those looks) but at the same time they smile nicely, and listen to my enthusiastic Jeep talk. I know it was all foreign to them, a lot of people don't understand what my hype is all about. (Now I share those stories on the Jeep Talk Show Podcast)


I can't even begin to explain it myself, only a true Jeeper really understands. For me I guess I have mastered cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework checking and well -- you get the picture. It is now time to add a new skill to my skill set -- to conquer and accomplish something I have never done before -- maybe even learn a new trade. Why not have it be a skill that has something to do with something that gives me so much joy.


I was determined to install the Barricade Rock Sliders by myself. I have seen many others do it, so I was up for the challenge.

Once the stock side steps and body mounts 
            (September 22, 2014 Blog Post) 
were off it was time for step two of my install. Each slider weighs about 50 pounds so I was a little nervous I wouldn't be able to man handle the powder coated, hard tubular steel. But I knew it was possible after watching posted videos of other installs. 






I looked around the garage for something
to hold up the heavy steel sliders while I attached them to the Jeep. (I now have floor jacks)

It was quite hard since our garage is mostly made up of soccer balls and bikes. (I now have my own tool box and tools. I even have my own "Work Bench") This is were the resourcefulness of a mom comes in handy.




I grabbed the rolled up garden hose I bought a couple of weeks ago and an old paint bucket. I lined up the sliders to the body mounts on the Jeep and started the attachment process. 








But first, I needed to get the body mount washers to drop into the round hole of the attachment point of the slider rail. UGH!! It was millimeters off.  I don't own a grinder nor do I know anyone who does. (I know how to use one now and have. I work for a metal fabrication company making elevator cabs). I was heartbroken I wouldn't be able to finish my install that day.








Trying to figure out a solution, my husband said get the hammer. Of course that's his answer to fixing everything. BAM! BAM! A hammer seems to be the answer for most men. 




Well guess what --- shhhhh! Don't tell anyone I admitted this -- he was right. Except it wasn't a BAM! BAM! It was more of a gentle, tap, tap -- Bing it was in.  














I was able to get the first bolt into place, and it started to tighten. Yeah Me!  It was working. Then came the next bolts.










 I slide my legs under the slider, and held it up with all my might and started turning the ratchet again. But then... the spinning and spinning and spinning started to happen again. Thank goodness the kids were still at school because you would have thought a pirate was working in our garage. 
I double checked I had my rights and lefts correct, but it still was spinning and spinning. I headed into the house to get my husband. 





After checking over my work he informed me with the kind of bolts the body mounts were, there needed to be weight pulling down on them to be able to screw them back up into the nut. Who knew! -- I sure didn't. Well know I do!  






The rest was pretty simple -- a couple of turns of the ratchet and they were done. Of course I caught my husband later under my Jeep with the ratchet checking over my work. (He doesn't check my work anymore because I'm Da Boss :) when it comes to my Jeep work.)  But if I say so myself I did a pretty good job after a lot of trial and error, and a few slips of the tongue. 



Now it's time to check them out on the trails.(These rock sliders are amazing and have saved my Jeep several times!)  It looks like I'll have to head back up to Rausch Creek for another Jeep adventure. I heard there's a Ladies only Jeep Trail Ride. (Women's Wheelin Day is one of my favorites and I have attended three of them so far.) 2016 Women's Wheeling Day Post 
2015 Women's Wheeling Day Post wheeling the Clayton Off-Road Jeep.
Sounds right up my alley! I can't wait. I just hope my "mommy" schedule can fit in some weekend wheelin' soon. My palms are getting a little "twitchy".


         -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- The Jeep Momma Way --  

 ExtremeTerrain provided the rock sliders for review. No additional compensation received. 
All opinions are my own.

Monday, September 22, 2014

New Rock Sliders -- My Install Story

As a mom with a Jeep I struggle with the changes I want to make to that Jeep. It is a daily tug-o-war trying to figure out how to make modifications for the off-roading I want to do and yet keep my Jeep in daily driver form.

I am so thankful for the great online Jeep community who is willing to share thoughts and experiences. I have learned that no one idea or opinion is the correct one -- everyone has individualized Jeep needs and wants.


Over the past few months I have wavered between investing in a new lift, upgrading my tires, rock sliders and new bumpers. 

I eventually decided my first change would be a new front bumper. I chose the Barricade Trail Force HD bumper from ExtremeTerrain. I installed the bumper in about 2 hours in my garage with the help of my husband. As soon as it was on I was ready -- truly addicted -- for my next change! 






The folks at ExtremeTerrain made that decision pretty easy. They sent me a pair of rock sliders -- the Barricade Rock Sliders -- to review.





Once my new Barricade Rock Sliders arrived, I was beyond  excited to get them on my Jeep.  Of course my mom duties took precedent so I had to wait until the next day when the kids headed to school to begin the transformation. But that didn't stop me from going out into the garage (in the dark of night) to get under my Jeep to scope out the project ahead.










The new sliders did not look like they were going to be an easy swap with my stock side steps. I was in panic mode all night trying to figure out how the new rock sliders were going to attach. The stock steps had six bolts attached to my Jeep in three different locations. The new sliders only had three attachment points with what looked like one bolt. I read over the directions I think probably about 50 times. I went under the Jeep about 20 times trying to figure out what these body mounts were.

Needless to say some of my Jeeper friends probably thought I was a little loco that night as I posted questions and shot off panicked emails.  Even my husband told me it would be fine and to go to bed.


Well, everything does look better in the morning. Once the kids were off to school I got back under the Jeep in the daylight and went OHHHHHH!!!! Duh!!!

There they were right in front of my eyes, if they were a snake they would have bit me: three body mounts.




So, I jumped right to it. I broke out the tools I needed and sat down to work.
I attached the ratchet to the bolt and began to pull... and pull... and pull... and pull... I even swore a bunch of times. I was bound and determined to do this whole change by myself. Not wanting to ask for help, I finally broke down and asked my husband for his muscle.












After showing him what I was doing he just shook his head and laughed. I was tightening the bolts not loosening them, as everything is backwards when you are down under your vehicle. Righty tighty, lefty loosey is reversed. Once I had that squared away it was a quick and easy removal.

So step two began... the removal of the body mount bolts. I took the advice of many online Jeepers and sprayed the body mounts with WD 40.

I don't think this actually made a difference for my Jeep. It's pretty new and there wasn't really a whole lot of rust. Actually there wasn't any rust but a lot of dirt and mud. I think this was a trick by everyone. The WD 40 created a muddy greasy mess. Or maybe WD 40 isn't really to help loosen things up but to make things messy just so it looks like you were working hard.









The body mount bolts didn't need a whole lot of muscle, with just a little force and lots of grunting they came loose.






But, then they kept spinning and spinning and spinning. I couldn't figure out what in the world was going on. So again -- I headed back to my computer. I emailed a fellow Jeeper and texted another. After some good tips I went back out and tried again. 


With the use of my ratchet and some channel locks -- I think that is what they are called -- the first bolt popped out. Those body mount bolts are pretty persnickety. They need a firm but gentle pull and out they come.

Whew! With the steps off I was ready to get those sliders on. I was expecting some tough work but I was determined to do it all myself.


Find out in my next post if I was able to get it done all by myself or did I have to solicit the help of my husband. In the meantime I wish I would have just taken those side-steps off in the first place. I never did use them to get into my Jeep plus I think my Jeep looks pretty Beast-mode "Naked!"

       - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! -
            -- The Jeep Momma Way --



  
 ExtremeTerrain provided the rock sliders for review. No additional compensation received. 
All opinions are my own. 




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Leave Those "Be Careful" Mom Instincts on the Asphalt

The moment I found out I was pregnant over fifteen years ago the mom instincts kicked in. There is debate whether this is instinctive or learned. I believe it's a little bit of both but for the most part instincts just come natural. Especially those "Be Careful - Cautious" mom ones -- well with me anyways.  As a mom with boys I find myself in protective instinct mode quite a bit. It's like the Mother Bear syndrome.  Now, when I take my Jeep to the dirt, mud and rocks I need to find that switch to turn off those instincts. 

Since I got back from Rausch Creek on Sunday I have been spending many hours watching all the video that was taken. I had a dashboard camera recording quite a few of the obstacles that our awesome instructor Kyle took us through. There were also some videos my spectacular co-pilot took. 

First -- pictures and videos don't do the trails justice. They don't look nearly as intense as they are when you are in your Jeep. Second -- sometimes obstacles look difficult when actually they are quite easy. Then the opposite can occur -- where a easy obstacle can be a little more difficult than expected. This happened to me near the end of our day on Sunday.

Check out this video. The lady in her Stock Sport in front of me took the hill a little to slowly. I could even see it as she rolled up the hill. So I knew I had to gun it before I even started up the hill.

But maybe the obstacle isn't really that difficult. Maybe my "Be Careful - Cautious" Mom instincts were still in the "on" mode. In this video you can see I gave my "itty bitty" Stock Jeep lots of power at the bottom of the hill. Which all day my co-pilot Amanda would comment on my lead foot. So I had every confidence that I would make it up and over the hill. 

But wait.... Right at the very end I let up. Even Kyle commented I let up a hair too soon. I couldn't figure out why until I watched the video a day later. It was that mommy instinct in me kicking in. 

First of all, who in their right mind stands anywhere near a Jeep being driven at full force up a muddy embankment. Fellow Jeepers do -- that's who. We all have the need to shoot videos and take picture of our beloved Jeeps. But -- as a mom -- sub-consciously my brain registered -- slow down so you don't hit those poor people standing carelessly in front of your powerful Jeep barrelling up the hill.









So there you go. I will need to leave the "Be Careful - Cautious" Mom instincts on the asphalt. A little meditation preparation will need to be made on my part to learn to turn it all off and just go "Momma Beast Mode" on the trails. 

There is one thing I noticed in all the videos. Every time I let up on the power there was always a bystander in my view. Hmmm...



My other question now is what were those men snickering about? I'm quite sure they were making fun of the fact that a girl didn't make it up the hill. What do you think?  Actually the first three Jeeps didn't make it up the hill.

Check out all my other Two Moms and a Jeep videos on my You Tube Channel.  I'm in the process of uploading several more as well.    

   -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- The Jeep Momma Way --

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Top Off-Road Locations -- Where do You Off-Road?

The passion for my Jeep grows more and more each day. With that passion comes the passion to be wheelin' with her. Unfortunatly, I live in a state where there is no legal places to off-road -- well except for the beach. But that's not the kind of off-road experience I'm looking for.   

In this day of the internet super-highway it's easier to find the information you want. You can just "Google It" and instantly you have the answers you want. But you can't always believe what you read or "hear" on the internet. For me a personal account from people I know is a little bit more reliable. As a mom my time is limited so when I decide to head out with my Jeep I want to go to a place that's reliable, legal and fun. 



PartCatalog spent the past couple of months surveying over 1,100 off-road clubs and off-road enthusiasts across the county. Their goal was to create a resource guide for the weekend warriors showcasing the best off-roading destinations.

Here's their guide Top off road locations Resource Guide --  2014 Top Off Road Trails in America.

Here's another link to some off-road parks in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

So where do you go to off-road?  What are the good points? What are the bad points -- can there be a bad point to off-roading? 

                     -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- The Jeep Momma Way --


  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jeep Off-Road Lessons Can Be Expensive But I Got Lucky

Each time I have gone out on the trails with my Jeep I am amazed at the things I learn. I have only been out four times but I'm sure this is true for veteran and experienced off-roaders as well. Just like with all the possible Jeep modification options, the experiences on the trails are endless. My guess would be  -- that is one of the attractions to Jeeping off-road. 



Well, besides the pure, natural adrenaline rush you get or the extreme power you have behind the wheel. Or maybe it's just the appeal of being outside and one with nature. 

Not only am I learning so much about my Jeep's capabilities -- I'm learning mechanical things I never would have imagined or would have been interested in years ago -- like differentials, gears, tires, suspension, coils -- oh -- the list goes on. By no means am I an expert, but I'm enjoying the lessons and the great interactions with fellow Jeep lovers.





Along with all the technical education, I am learning so much about myself. Deep down inside I knew these things but I took it all for granted and lost my confidence.

Growing up in the Midwest I learned to drive in the harshest of winters. It wasn't uncommon for the streets to be snow covered for weeks. I remember roads becoming snow compacted making for very icy conditions. I'm not sure if it's that experience I gained or it's a natural instinct to know what to do when we get our vehicles stuck in the mud or snow on the city streets or the mountain trails. 

I tend to think it's just a natural ability some of us are born with. I've seen many drivers who have lived in the north their whole lives and still don't know how to drive in the rain or snow. 

On Sunday on the trails I think I had a moment of complete "blondness" that's what I like to call it. I was so disappointed in myself for my panic moment. I had just come down a pretty intense decline. (Click here for video)   With my Jeep sitting so low I scraped the whole way down. I had that white knuckle grip on the steering wheel. I was on high alert down that hill.  Once down on the bottom I relaxed and made the right hand turn up a small muddy hill. 







This is where I slightly high centered myself. So, instead of taking a deep breath and clearing my head to remember the confidence in myself and Jeep -- I panicked and called Kyle on the radio. Once he was done guiding the others down the hill he came over and accessed my situation. He told me to turn my wheel slightly to the driver's side and go. Well, DUH! I was so upset with myself for not thinking clearly or even having the confidence in myself to get out of it. If I would have just stopped and counted to ten and really thought about my situation I would have gotten up and down that hill with ease even after getting a little stuck.   

Lesson learned: Don't panic and take my time. Think about each and every situation. Be confident in myself and my Jeep. My Jeep, even though it's stock, is very capable. I am very capable. I'm a good, experienced driver. Now, I'll admit I would probably have some troubles on the bigger rocks -- notice I said some. But certainly I can make it through the blues and greens with ease.
  
Once again calm, supportive Kyle came through and said your not stuck until you have to be pulled out. If he is going to have the confidence in my Jeep and me then I should too. Right?

Okay recap -- Don't panic, think and remember I'm a great, experienced driver. My Jeep is boss -- by the way that means extremely cool or the best.


So, now on to the next lesson I learned. And this could have been a very expensive lesson but I got lucky. Don't let your guard down on the trails.  After Kyle guided me through some larger rocks (Click here for VIDEO) I headed over with the other Jeeps to wait for the rest to finish. I relaxed a little which is a big mistake. Never ever let your guard down. I should have been scanning the trail continually. Well, I went over a rock and there was a large noise that even concerned the other drivers. I drove my step rail, yes those plastic stock step rails, right over a large rock. The rock pushed the drivers side rail up slightly into the fender and popped out the fender.









Luckily, Kyle knew exactly what to do. He got up on the step rail and jumped on it to push it back into place. Then with his hands he popped the fender back into place.



Okay recap -- Don't let your guard down on the trails always be scanning the trails for obstacles.


But it's all a learning experience.  Like my close call to the minor side rail and fender damage to the slight high centered situation. Each and every experience makes me a better driver. Out on the trail I tend to get down on myself if I don't drive it perfect. But hey, no one is perfect and with all the mistakes I make I am learning from these experiences which will make me a better driver. 


Plus, the main goal is to have fun and that I am. I am counting the days to my next trip to Rausch Creek Off-road Park. I can only hope my new Jeep BFF will be able to join me!

       -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! --                     -The Jeep Momma Way --