Friday, August 29, 2014

Next Steps - Modifications

Well, I think I've decided what I want to do with my Jeep.  But remember ~~ I am a woman so I have the right to change my mind... again and again and again.  But for right now, I think I might -- now I say I might -- go with a 2.5 lift and 35's. I figure I basically all ready have 32's so what's the point of 33's. My son would also like to get rid of the fenders and having 33's he said would look stupid. And doesn't a teen aged boy know best about the look of a cool Jeep.  

Now, I just have to sort out this whole "is the garage big enough to fit the Jeep if it's lifted and with those bigger tires". Then, I have to start researching tires and wheels and lifts. I know absolutely nothing about any of that stuff. I just figured out there is a difference between a tire and a wheel ~~ Who knew. 

Then... It's time to start saving money. I'm running out of Lego's to sell so getting a job is going to be imperative.   

I went out to measure the clearance of our garage. Right now where the garage door sits currently, I have about 77.5 inches to work with. If we can somehow adjust the garage door I would have about four more inches to work with. 

A fellow Jeeper who has 33's and a 2.5 lift measured his Jeep and it was 75.5 inches. Hmmm that's gonna be a tight fit.  If the Jeep doesn't fit will I want to make the sacrifice and turn the garage over to the Chevy Avalanche?

I guess I will have time to think about that. 

But for now I still have some of my hard earned Lego money. So I'm going to do a little window shopping. I headed back over to Extreme Terrain where I got my Barricade Trail Force HD bumper. I figured since I really, really like my bumper and I didn't have to wait long to get it I might as well start there. 

Now, the question becomes what do I get next? The matching rear bumper? 

Barricade Trail Force HD Rear Bumper  

Or do I go with Rock sliders? Some folks tell me what's the point if I'm not going to be doing any rock crawling. Well, some day I hope to, but yeah not in the near future. Plus they say, I might have a hard time getting in and out of my Jeep in the winter with them. Well like I said before I don't even use the plastic side steps now. For me it's about preparing for someday and of course... the main reason... the look!

I like the look of both these



The JCR 4 Door Classic Rock Sliders 

The thing is one works with the factory Rubicon Rails and one doesn't. But I don't have a Rubicon. My Jeep is the Sahara Unlimited. I'm not sure if that will matter either way for me. Something else to research.  So I will continue to window shop and hopefully will make up my mind and have something new to add to the Jeep before I head back up to Rausch Creek in 2 weeks. I'll be taking the 201 Driving course. I can't wait!

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jeep Addiction

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions -- There are just so many options out there when it comes to Jeep parts, I just don't know what to do sometimes. It's not just what parts to choose and what order to buy them but the ramifications of the modifications I make.

For example -- If I do a 2.5 lift with 33's then will my Jeep fit into the garage. If my Jeep won't fit in the garage, what does that mean to our family? I use the Jeep to take my kids to their activities. I use the Jeep to go grocery shopping. Do I want to haul the groceries in the pouring rain or dead of winter from the driveway because my Jeep won't fit in the garage? But at the same time I really, really want to be able to get a little more adventerous when off roading and the places I can go. And of course image! I want a cool looking Jeep. Not that my Jeep isn't cool now... but a beast mode Jeep would be even cooler!  

Here's my current clearance when the top is folded but not all the way down. 

It's a pretty tight fit.


Here's what my clearance is when my top up or folded all the way down. It looks like I have about four inches but maybe we could squeeze some more clearance out if we adjusted the garage door.

So.... if I did do a 2.5 lift and added 33's then how much added height would that be to my Jeep?

I was curious as to what size my tires are now. I looked on the tires themselves but had a hard time trying to find a number that matched the number 28 or 31 or 33. A friend said take a level and put it on top of the tire and measure from the ground up. If I did it right it looks like 31.5.  So does that mean I'll add another 2 inches in the tires and 2.5 inches in the lift?  Maybe we could adjust the garage door.  I guess we will have to call Billy's Doors to give us an estimate. 


If I did the lift and tires then what does that mean for the fenders?  Will I have to replace them? -- Which I want to do anyways.  I was thinking of replacing them now but my son tells me it will look stupid with the stock tires. And.... Well...  I don't want my Jeep to look stupid.

Well then ... Maybe I just stick to my original plan and get rock sliders for now and continue saving for the whole package of a lift, tires and fenders all at once. Some folks tell me why even bother with the rock sliders or rocker guards or rock rails... since I'm not going to do a lot of rock crawling. Plus, it could be hard to get in and out of the Jeep in the winter trying to use it as a step. So the past couple of days I noticed, I don't even use the current step.  I can just jump on into the Jeep without the step -- cause I'm cool like that.

I've also been told don't bother getting sliders without the lift because you will ding it up with the little clearance I have with my stock Jeep. But aren't dings and scratches on your Jeep kinda like Jeep tattoos?  I like tattoos you know.

But then if I do the lift and tires will I have to add other things like gears, spacers and all those other things I'm just now trying to figure out?

So.... Now on to option... Hmmm is it option D or F or maybe I'm at Z now.

Let's just say option C -- another friend suggested I just get coils and springs.  Well, now I'm going to have to hit the internet and google and see what that means.

But truthfully folks I usually struggle a lot with what to do but in the end I just do what I wanted to do in the first place. So I might be back in my lawn chair pretty soon waiting for the Big Brown truck!  Stay tuned because I have enough money to make a purchase and I'm am definitely not a very patient person.

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jeep Therapy

Some days it's really hard to get up and get out bed! Today was one of those days. As I watched my oldest walk to the bus stop this morning for high school orientation the tears welled in my eyes. Where did all the time go? I don't remember crying and feeling this sense of sadness when he went off to kindergarten. As he walked down the street for the first time I realized how tall he had become -- he's at least four to five inches taller than me. He's not my baby boy anymore -- he's growing up into a man and becoming his own person -- independent and with a life not revolved around his mom. As he disappeared out of view I shut the door and headed back to my bed. I pulled the covers up over my head wanting to just lay there for the rest of the day ~~ the rest of the week ~ or even the month.  

I don't think a lot of folks realize how difficult being a stay at home mom can be. Don't get me wrong -- it's the most rewarding job in the whole world and I would never trade it for anything. Fifteen years ago I left my career in television news to begin my new career as a stay at home mom.  I was blessed with this opportunity and looking back I wouldn't change a thing. But now ~~ there are no mommy and me classes for teenagers and their moms or group playdates with neighborhood friends while the moms catch up on the latest parenting issues.  Now... As I shut the door I wonder what will I do come Monday morning when they both head off to school and I sit in the empty house for hours. 

What will I do with myself? I've been out of touch ~~ in a sense ~~ for 15 years. Out of touch in the world of adults. The workforce world has changed. It's a whole new experience and will I be able to cut it?  

I guess come Monday my struggle to get back into the workforce will begin full force. But what do I do? Where do I begin? I certainly can't go back into television news -- the industry in the past 15 years has changed so drastically I would have to start from the bottom again. That would be a sacrafice to my family. A sacrafice I'm not willing to make. It will be a tough road to travel as I will be competing with a very experienced and educated unemployed force of folks wanting to work. 

So instead of feeling sorry for myself I decided I needed the sun and fresh air. With the music turned up ~~ the top down ~~ the wind in my hair I began to feel a little better. Right now, my best friend was there for me ~~ My Jeep ~~ I can always count on her to make me feel better. But I know that sadness will once again creep upon me. Something that happens as I get older with my changing hormones ~~ it's to be expected. But, I have to keep forging forward living each day as it's my last day. Life is too short to live in the past or worry about the future.  A quote I saw the other day. 

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. 
If you are anxious you are living in the future. 
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

Lao Tzu

So come Monday morning I have a plan. Take each day one at a time! Put on my running shoes and hit the pavement. Literally and metaphorically. I'll be out taking care of myself physically and mentally by running and driving my Jeep. Then it's time to look for a job. But wait... My son still needs me!!!  Since he grew so much over the past two weeks it looks like his clothes no longer fit him. So it's off to the mall for some school clothes shopping.   

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jeep Pet Peeves

I haven't been a Jeep Wrangler owner very long -- just over a year. But I feel I have earned the right to vent about my pet peeves when it comes to what other Jeep drivers are doing -- or NOT doing.

Now just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's wrong (Haha- yep secretly I'm thinking it's wrong). We all have our own opinions and that's the great thing about living in America  ~~ we have the freedom of speech. So this post is going to be about a few things that just bug me when it comes to seeing other Jeepers on the road.  And honestly I don't think they should be allowed to drive their Jeeps anymore when they make these infractions. There's a code ~~ You know ~~ when you become a Jeep owner ~~ a special code that you should follow. It's like a "band of brothers - sisters and moms". You become part of a special group of people ~ A Family ~ and we all must keep the tradition alive.  

Now with Jeep setting record sales gobally there are more and more Jeepers on the road. We need to get the word out to these folks about the code - The Jeep Code -- driving the Jeep affords special privilages you must abide by. 

Automotive News 

1. The Jeep Wave

The moment you drive your new Jeep off the dealership's lot you are expected to uphold this code. Anytime you drive past another Jeeper you should initiate a wave or at the very least wave back if waved at! I found this link on the internet that can give you some more details. 

In my humble opinion if you aren't going to wave just take that Jeep back to the dealer and trade it in for a Prius! We don't want you on the road giving the rest of us a bad name. 

The Jeep Wave

2. Hard Tops on in the Summer 

Really ??? Why did you buy a Wrangler in the first place if you are going to leave your hard top on in the summer. I didn't even bother with the hard top version I went straight for the soft top. I will even put the soft top down at a moments notice -- when the mood strikes, which is a lot -- even in the cold of winter.  

3. Rubicons Left Stock

Really ???  why did you buy it in the first place. Now -- I will give you the benefit of the doubt on this one... I know you spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to get your Rubicon and modifying it won't be cheap. So, I will just keep on playing ignorant and assume you have spent all your money on getting the Rubicon. Now you are saving your money for the modifications. 

Looking back I wish I would have bought the Rubicon! Once I hit those trails I became addicted. Now I sit around and wait for the Big Brown Truck.

Yep Jeep Parts... My life's new conflict... What part to get next. My oldest son said it's simple. I just looked at him hoping for the answer. He said don't buy anymore Jeep Parts and buy stuff for your kids. I just looked at him and laughed at his really, really funny joke. 

Jeep Parts my new life's dilemma ~~ Stay tuned for my next post ~~ I'm going to need your help.

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

Disclaimer: This post was meant in fun and was not intended to hurt any ones feelings.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Leftover Jeep Parts

Do you find when you take something apart and put it back together there is always that part or those parts that are left over and you don't know what to do with them? 

Or you wonder where they went in the first place and what they were for? 

This past weekend was full of "Do it Yourself Projects" for us. We had two -- and with both there were extra leftover pieces. 

We took apart our front walkway to straighten up some of the shifting slate. After putting all the pieces back together we had some extras. Not sure how that happened. But I guess it's just the law of "Do it Yourself Projects".

Now with the installation of my new Bad Ass Steel -- it ain't craptastic plastic anymore -- bumper, Barricade Trail Force HD bumper,  I had no where to put this plastic shield. I didn't even know what it was called. Nor did I know what it was for.

At first I thought maybe it was to protect my Jeep from rocks when off roading. But that just seemed kinda lame as it's plastic and rocks are --- well ROCKS!

So after a little google time I figured out this piece of plastic is called an Air Dam. So what the heck does it do? Do I really need it?

Here's what I learned... Now it's all from the internet so it must be true -- Right?!

  • The Air Dam will stop some water from getting into your engine. Some water? what about the other water? I guess the "other" water doesn't hurt your engine. But without the Air Dam "some" water will damage it.
  • The Air Dam provides additional cooling to your engine. Honestly, I didn't know your engine needed cooling with air. I thought that's what a radiator and coolant was for. What do I know?
  • Removal of the Air Dam will create hood "flutter".  Hood "flutter" -- Death "wobble" Jeez they never told me this when I bought my Jeep. It's making me a little nervous.
  • The removal of the Air Dam will lower your MPG by 1 or 2 points. 
  • The Air Dam will protect from flying debris into your engine.
  • Now I also heard from my sisters, cousin's, brother's father that he read on a forum that a Wrangler engineer says the Air Dam does two things: reduced air drag and provides engine cooling. 
My best guess is that since they named it Air Dam it has something to do with the aerodynamics. Otherwise wouldn't they call it a rock deflector or water dam if it prevented those other things.

So I think I can handle a couple less MPG's but this hood "flutter" at 80 mph scares me. Wait a minute that would be speeding and I don't speed. 

So will I experience hood "Flutter" at 65 mph? 
So who has experienced hood "flutter"? 
Do you have your Air Dam in place? 
Have you replaced your stock hood latches?
What the heck are Wrangler stock dog bones?  

Now -- the second part to all this... Body Armour -- do I get a metal front skid plate? Remember, I don't think my Jeep will be doing any major rock crawling anytime soon. Plus, won't this add some extra weight to the Jeep?

Ahhhhh!!!  Will my questions ever end? 

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

Front Bumper Install

If you would have told me ten years ago or even two years ago that I would be sitting out on my driveway underneath a Jeep installing a new bumper I would have laughed at you. Well, that's exactly what I did on Saturday during my Birthday Weekend Celebration.

After about a month of earning money for my Jeep Parts Fund I finally had enough to purchase my first Jeep Part -- the start of my Jeep modification. 

I ordered the Barricade Trail Force HD Front Bumper Wednesday at 11 pm online.   

Don't you just love the Internet?!?! 

I then began the long grueling process of waiting for that Big Brown Truck to bring me my package. I've read online how difficult it is to wait for your much desired Jeep Parts. Now, I finally understand what everyone is talking about. 

I received an email four hours later at 3am stating my order was processed and shipped.  That morning I couldn't stand the waiting any longer, so I got my beach chair and camped out by the mailbox waiting for Mr. Delivery Man. 

By the next morning I had grown very bored and decided a little front yard rock crawling was a great way to pass the time. 

Finally a long 36 hours later the Big Brown Truck arrived and my 79 pound bumper was sitting in my garage. I was ready to get to work  on the bumper install when my mom duties had to take precedent. Dinner needed to be made, Pokemon cards needed to be bought and of course the neighbors Game Truck Party needed to be attended. Then just when I was ready to get started the neighbor kid needed help fixing his eight inch lifted truck! A mom's job is never done.

Saturday morning I wasn't going to let anything get in the way of my bumper install. So, I turned on the X-box and told the kids to have fun. 

We began unpacking the bumper and gathering up the needed tools -- The ratchet set, some screwdrivers and a hammer -- just in case. Just kidding about the hammer -- definitely a tool you won't need during a bumper install.

The first thing we did was remove the plastic thinging that was attached to the front bumper. HaHa... After a little bit of looking around I found out it's the air dam cover. Wonder what I should do with it? My next blog post... 

Now the toughest part of the job was loosening those bolts on the factory mounted front plastic bumper. I'm pretty lucky I have a big strong husband who got that job started for me. 

Once the stock bumper was off and set aside it was time to line up my new - heavy duty steel - bad ass looking - black powder coated bumper. 

It seemed all the reviews I read were correct about the stock fog lights not lining up with the new bumper. But all we needed to do was take the wires out of the loom and pull out the excess wires. Or so that's how I read it. So we did just that but there didn't seem to be any excess. My husband said no big deal he would run out and get some wire and spliced it together. 

So some more waiting took place. But I was bound and determined to find that excess wire.

Well low and behold what do you know. I figured it out. There really isn't any extra wiring. All I needed to do was separate the passenger side fog light from the main wiring and bring it under and around the frame -- a perfect fit.

Next we mounted in the fog light covers -- definately a good idea to do this before you bolt on the bumper. However I'm not sure how most men get this done. It's a real tight fit getting those screws in and the teeny tiny nuts. Luckily my thin, nimble fingers were able to do the trick.

Now time for the part I was waiting all those long hours for -- bolting on the big bad bumper. It was a pretty simple and easy install.

Last but not least was putting on the license plate. However, I'm not sure what I will do if I decide to mount a new winch in it's place.

I was going to start looking for my next modification but first I think I need to solve the Air Dam issue. What's it's purpose? Do I need to replace it. I'll discuss that in my next post. Maybe we can figure it out together. 

I know where I'll be looking first... Extreme Terrain. 

I certainly didn't have to wait long for my Jeep parts like I've heard others had to wait. I'm pretty a pretty impatient person and I was very pleased with how little I really had to wait! 

Barricade Trail Force HD Front Bumper - - $312.99

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

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Front Bumper

Well after much thought -- a lot of searching the internet -- and hearing from fellow Jeepers I finally took the plunge and bought my first Jeep Part. What is it you ask? Well.. you will have to wait and see.

I have agonized for weeks over whether I should take the plunge into the world of Jeep modification or leave her stock like all the other hundreds and thousands of stock Jeep Wranglers on the road. Mind you my Jeep won't be some beast mode rock crawler but she will be uniquely all mine. Since my Jeep isn't just a vehicle for off roading I had a lot to consider.  She is also my daily driver taking the kids to soccer practice, running out for groceries and just plain old every day stuff. But I have become addicted to off roading even though my experience has been quite mild in the grand scheme of the world of wheelin'.

My other issue was how to pay for these Jeep parts. As you may know, I'm a stay at home mom who has been out of the work force for 15 years and now trying to get back into it. But finding a job is difficult, especially since I have no idea what I want to do. So in the meantime... I found a way to earn some extra Jeep cash with the help of my kids. As you can see here... this is my temporary office for Lego building. I have been selling my kids Lego's amongst other items in the house we no longer use or need. I have made over $700, but a little of that goes to my kids. So... I have enough to get a little something for my Jeep. 

I reached out to my Jeep followers for advice. There were a lot of good suggestions and comments I didn't even think about. Remember... I have absolutly no background knowledge of the workings of a vehicle. So, I have been getting a crash course trying to think of every possible angle. 

I was worrying a lot about doing the right thing until a friend reminded me that this is my Jeep and who cares what anyone else thinks or says. So last night I took the plunge and clicked on the paypal button and bought a brand new --- BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

So now I sit and wait... by the mailbox.... for the Big Brown Truck... and I wait.... and wait! 

Stay tuned for my first attempt at a wrench or is it a screwdriver or maybe a hammer! Hmmmmm! I better look it up on You Tube!

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


Monday, August 4, 2014

Nemacolin Off Road Adventure

Watch out -- My Jeep Addicting is Growing -- Rubicon's Rock! 

Last Friday morning my youngest son Ben and I loaded up the Wrangler Unlimited and headed for the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania. Back to Nemacolin Resort and Spa -- nope no massage for me that day but what we did sure gave our muscles a work out. 

Nemacolin is a 5 star resort that offers a lot of adventurous experiences in their Adventure Center.  The one we choose that day is unique to this resort -- Jeep Off-Road Driving Academy. The academy lets you take out a Jeep Rubicon onto their small instructional course then out onto their 20 miles of rugged trails and terrain with an experienced instructor.

This past June I was able to experience these trails in my Jeep as I road along with their Rubicons. I had such a great time out on the trail their instructor, Greg, invited me back to experience some more difficult trails in their Rubicon. So that's exactly what I did. I'm not sure if it was such a great idea though. 

Once I slid UP into driver's seat of the Rubicon some unforeseen force took over. Sitting behind that wheel with my foot on the gas pedal I felt invincible. It was truly amazing and I cannot begin to describe the experience. 

The academy begins on their controlled driving course where the instructors familiarize you with the features of the Rubicon. They drive through the course then it's your turn. Along with Ben and I in the Jeep was also a father daughter duo, Mike and Denae.

Every year Mike takes his daughter on an adventure and this 10th year was an off roading experience for both of them.

While Mike took his turn behind the wheel his daughter was very nervous and didn't want to drive. I told her it's an absolute blast and she will love it and become addicted. And guess what -- like we say in our house -- Mommy's always right.  She absolutely loved it and had the best time.

My turn behind the wheel was an amazing adrenaline rush that I didn't want to end. The power and invincibility I felt in the Rubicon was beyond what I can describe. I'm not sure if it was just being in the Rubicon or if it was the fact that it wasn't my Jeep and I didn't need to worry about banging it up. However, I don't think my stock Jeep could of made it threw some of the trails with out getting pretty banged up. But it makes me want to get a Rubicon -- like RIGHT NOW!!! LIFTED WITH BIG WHEELS! 

The Rubicon I was in was a 2014 with a 3 inch lift and 35 inch wheels. It also had two buttons my Jeep doesn't have, the electronic sway bar disconnect and the axle lock button. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to use the sway bar disconnect but did get to use the axle lock button. I'm still in awe at what all these Jeeps can do.

We all had a great time. My son Ben had a blast bouncing around in the back seat. He had a smile on his face the whole time -- except when I wanted to take his picture. It was a memory we will both share forever! 

One thing I did realize that if you are a good enough driver and know the capabilities of your Jeep you can pretty much "Go Anywhere, Do Anything". It doesn't matter if it's a Rubicon or a Sahara -- it's not just the Jeep but the driver. There was a hill that I drove my Jeep up that we took the Rubicon up as well. My Jeep did just as good as the Rubicon.   

Some day I would like my Jeep to be able to do just as much as we did in the Rubicon. But in the meantime I'm having fun learning as much as I can about all the capabilities of the Jeep and experiencing all I can off roading. I want to be able to make the right choices for my Jeep and my Jeep lifestyle. I came into this with absolute no knowledge of how vehicles work or any off road driving experience. Unless you count winter driving in Minnesota. All I knew is put the key in the ignition and go.

Now I know what a differential is --  I know there's a difference between a tire and a wheel -- sway bars and articulation are not gymnastic terms and the list goes on.  I know I still have a lot to more to learn and experience but isn't that the fun of it all -- a Jeep adventure.

I plan on going back but this time I'm taking my husband in hopes he becomes just as addicted as me. Then maybe we can trade in the Avalanche for a Rubicon!

A girl can only hope -- Right!

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

60 Before 60

I recently shared about revisiting my bucket list on this new season of my life.  Bucket List Revised - 2023 As I approach another milestone...