Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chalk Test


Now that I have bigger tires I am just not sure what PSI to run. Over inflation or under inflation will cause your tires to wear unevenly. How does one tell if their tires are properly inflated?

My friend, and fellow Jeeper CPO, suggested the chalk test. However I am not sure I did it right?



Here's what I used.



Chalk
Tire Gauge
My Jeep 







First, I checked the tire pressure of all 4 of my tires. Three of them read 31 PSI and the rear driver was 29 PSI. 









Next, I chalked up a thick line across the width of my tires.






After all four tires were chalked I drove back and forth on my driveway. It is very flat since we just got it repaved. There were no cracks, bumps or pot holes. 

Then I inspected the chalk on the ground and on the tire. Check out my before and after shots of all four tires.


BEFORE

AFTER


I read an over-inflated tire will bulge, and only the center of the line will touch the ground.  If you're tire is under-inflated, you'll see only the sides of the lines since the middle of the tire is not making contact with the ground.

The chalk tire imprints on my driveway looked pretty even to me. However the chalk left on my tires puzzles me. Should I air down a little? Am I too high of a PSI? There seems to be too much chalk left on the edges of the tires. 



But where is the end of my tread. Check out this picture. Some of the treads are longer than the others. Where is the true end of my tire?



Another puzzle is what is my true PSI. My Jeep's internal reader which shows on my dash is 2 to 3 PSI higher than my digital reader.

I understand there is some debate on whether this is an accurate way to gauge proper PSI. There are a lot of variables to consider and it depends on the width of your wheels. 

My tires are 35 in Duratracs LT 315/70R/121/1180.
Did I do the chalk test right? What PSI do you run when you are daily driving? What size tires do you have? 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Jeep Tip #18


Off Roading in the rocks poses the threat of scratches, dings, and even gouges on your Jeep. It is a risk I take on every trip. Most Jeepers don't mind these types of #JeepTattoos. Some even look at them as a trophy of a good day.


I have only wheeled in the rocks twice since I have installed my new Black Rock wheels. They are made out of steel. They are super tough, but they are still prone to scratches or even gouges like you see here. 

I am totally okay with getting my Jeep parts scratched up. I am not going to cry over it. However, living in the middle of salt central, I still need to take care of my Jeep. 



Here's a simple, easy trick to help prevent my wheels from rusting out from the tons and tons of salt peppering our roads in the winter.





Step One: Clean all dirt and grime from the wheels.
Step Two: Carefully sand the gouge.
Step Three: Spray flat black spray paint in a bowl. I like to use a rust inhibitor spray paint.
Step Four: Dip a clean, smooth white cloth into the paint and rub into the scratches and gouges. 

SIMPLE EASY FIX! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Color Accent Addition

How to add another colored accent to your Jeep in 7 simple steps.





1. Open Your Hood 







2. Lift the Tabs Holding Down the Material Under Your Hood. 




3. Remove the Necessary Plastic Tabs To Get At the Washer Nut Combo of the Hood Windshield Hold Down Bracket or Footman Loop.





TIP 1: You might need a pliers to help pull out the plastic tabs.

TIP 2: I like to find a special spot to put my hardware when I am working on my Jeep. This prevents me from loosing important pieces. 





4. Using a 9mm Socket, Remove the Two Washer Nut Combos From the Screws of the Footman Loop.






5. Remove the Loop and Tape Up the Parts You Don't Want Colored. 







6. Spray the Footmans Loop With a Spray Paint Meant for 
Plastic. 








7.  Re-Attach the Footman Loop and Plastic tabs. 

TIP 3: If there is no one there to hold the footman loop while you put back the washer nut combo, tape it down to the Jeep like I did.



Now you are done. Now your Jeep hood is perfect for those a unique #JeepHoodShot!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

AOAA vs Rausch Creek

Last weekend I took to the trails at AOAA, Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area. I have been asked by a few folks, "How does this park compare to Rausch Creek Off Road Park ?" So let me break it down for you.

SIMILARITIES


AOAA


Rausch Creek





Both parks are in the mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania located on old Coal mines. 


AOAA







Both parks have trails with muddy, water obstacles. 
Rausch Creek











AOAA





Both parks have trails that wind through the woods. These trails are easy, moderate, and difficult to fit the needs of all kinds of off-roaders.                                
Rausch Creek













AOAA







Both parks have rocky trails and rock gardens. Again these trails fit the needs of all kinds of off-roaders.
Rausch Creek













DIFFERENCES


  • AOAA has ATV and Dirt Bike Trails.  
  • Rausch Creek has a better mapping system. However, AOAA has only recently opened, and every week they are improving. 
  • They AOAA trails I traveled were technically challenging for a longer wheel base because of the very tight turns, and trying to squeeze between trees. Because AOAA is on land that is part of a mine reclamation, they are limited on what trees they can cut down.


I have wheeled at Rasuch Creek at least ten times, and only once at AOAA. By no means am I an expert of either Off-Road Park. I love them both equally. They are both beautiful, refreshing and challenging. I look forward to trying out some more trails at AOAA, and stepping up my game at Rausch Creek.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

50 Before 50: #19 Check

In less than a month, it will be my birthday.  The big Five Oh. Last year when I turned 49, I was struggling with this milestone in my life.  I decided to distract myself with a mini bucket list of sorts. 









Over the past year, I have tweaked my list. Some of my original ideas no longer enticed me. As the year grew, new fun ideas came to me. 








Unfortunately, two of the items I am not able to do. The first is send a book to a publisher. I have begun my book, but have a long ways to go. Now that I work full-time, I decided to move that item to my Bucket List


The other item was a big let down for me. I was two weeks away from being able to complete it, when the lead singer to AC/DC called it quits for health reasons. I could still go to the concert, but it just wouldn't be the same. 


I am down to just five items left. I am not sure I will be able to make it. I finished up #19 "Bake Bread From Scratch". It was quite fun AND... it was a huge success with my family. Especially my 16 year old. He raved of my bread for days! 





I am wondering if I will make it. It looks easy, but with all my Jeep mods I have coming up, I am not sure I will make it. 


Keep your fingers crossed! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

AOAA Adventure



When I first bought my Jeep I had no idea I would meet so many great new friends. Nor did I realize that I would find my new passion in off-roading. 



The Jeep community has such an amazing camaraderie. Complete strangers, from different lives, coming together to share a common enthusiasm for Jeeping. 



Nate, a.k.a. SWBCrawler, is one of the contributors to the Jeep Talk Show. He happens to wheel at Rausch Creek, where I have done a majority of my off-roading. He and his friends also wheel at AOAA, Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area







AOAA is about 30 minutes North of Rausch Creek and occupies the land of the Western Middle Coal Field. Like Rausch Creek the rocky trails wind thru the forests in the mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania.  



This past weekend I was invited to join Nate and his friends on the trails. I drove up into the mountains with mixed emotions of wheeling with new Jeepers.



Excitement because I would be wheeling again... and nervous. Nervous because... I am a slow and cautious wheeler. I don't like to hold others back because of my wariness. 


But like all the other groups I have been lucky enough to come across, they were all great guys! They were patient and understanding. Understanding of the fact I still have many years of payments left before the Rubicon is truly my Jeep. There are a lot of other Jeep owners like me, who love the sport of off-roading and their off-road Jeep is also their daily driver. 

Jason and Blaine, two great spotters, understood that. They spotted me through the trails with great consideration as they too wheel their daily drivers. 


The saying, "It's a Small World" came into play that day as well. Two of the other Jeeps in our group... well... I have wheeled with them before on other occasions at Rausch Creek. Both great spotters and understanding of my need to be cautious. But also giving me the right amount of confidence to get me through the trails. 



One thing I learned from Kyle during my 301 training class is my Jeep is so much more capable then the trails I wheel. It is all a matter of gaining the experience in my driving skills and confidence in myself. 






Each time I hit the trails, I gain more and more confidence.  Not just from driving, but the positive encouragement from other more experienced Jeepers.







Tune into the Jeep Talk Show podcast Thursday Night at 10 pm central time, when we record episode 237 of our podcast live at www.JeepTalkShow.com. I will share my interview with Nate and he answers one tough question, "What did he think of Jeep Momma's wheeling?".

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Steel vs Aluminum Wheels

Recently I lifted my 2015 Wrangler Rubicon with a 3.5” lift and 35” tires. With those tires, I bought Steel Black Rock Wheels.


I believe when it comes to off-roading, especially on the rocks, the number one goal is strength and performance.

Pros & Cons: Steel Wheels vs Aluminum Wheels
Aluminum wheels are lighter than steel; crack easier; quicker acceleration and stopping; less strain on suspension components. However, in a Rubicon it doesn't really matter as the Wrangler Rubicon's are built tough.
Steel Wheels are less expensive and easier to repair if damaged. Out on the trails if you bend your wheel you can hammer it back, if you try that with an aluminum wheel it will crack. They do weigh more, but with my Rubicon it doesn’t matter as it can handle the extra weight.  Steel wheels effectively lower your center of gravity.

FourWheeler.com says, "If you need an economical wheel that you can beat back into shape with a hammer, go with a steel wheel. If you’re a mud, sand, and snow guy, or are just looking for a new wheel for your daily driver, then a lightweight cast wheel is the one for you. If you need the strength of steel without the weight penalty, break out the credit card and finance a set of forged aluminum wheels."

Everyone has different needs for their Jeep, so when you do
your research first figure out what you are going to do with your Jeep -- are you a mud or sand gal or guy, rock crawler, desert racer, or mall crawler. Each one of those has different needs. A desert racer will probably want to go aluminum as for the weight issues. A mall crawler will probably want aluminum for the “prettieness” factor. So figure out how you want to use your Jeep Wrangler then go from there. I decided I wanted my Jeep tough and strong for rock crawling, plus I just bought a BFH.    

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Changing the Brake Light!

Last week on my way home from work my front dash "dinged". I thought it was time again to get gas, but I was wrong. It was time to change my driver's side rear brake light. The "ding" was my Jeep's way of letting me know the bulb was out. It even flashed on my dash telling my the rear left brake light is out. 

This is my first "fix" on my 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. What I find interesting is this was my first "fix" on my 2014 Sahara too. Am I doing something wrong? Or is this normal? Did I use too much blinker fluid or not enough? :D

Replacing your own bulbs is pretty simple and takes about five minutes. However, if you have any sort of head light cover make sure you are careful when removing the four screws. There are spacers that could fall off and bounce onto your garage floor. I forgot about them and spent another ten minutes looking for them after two had bounced around on my garage floor.  

Once the screws are removed, you just pull the whole tail light from the Wrangler. Then remove the bulb from the housing by turning counter clockwise a fourth of a revolution. Gently remove the bulb. Apparently it's okay to touch the bulb. They don't get that hot and the oil from your fingertips don't affect them. 



Before you put it all back together I suggest you test it out to make sure the blinker and brake lights work.

 Easy Peasy!