Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: Steer Smarts The Griffin

Steer Smarts Asks me to Review their New Product

My photo on Steer Smarts website

The fall of 2014 I was approached by the folks at Powers & Sons, LLC now known as Steer Smarts. They wanted me, as a Jeep mom, to test out their new product the steering attenuator, now called The Griffin. 

They are a premier designer and provider of machined steering and suspension components, systems and assemblies. They manufacture steering components for Jeep Wranglers. 

The Steering Attenuator

The attenuator is constructed to reduce the harsh road feedback attributed to the stock JK steering system -- jittery steering wheel. It is a highly engineered direct swap-out for your drag link adjusting sleeve. It is intended to make the Jeep safer while improve your driving experience.

Picking a Candidate to do the Review

Jeff and myself

I debated on whether I would be a good candidate to review this product. My Jeep driving experience at the time was very little. I also didn't have the skills to install this product myself. I wanted to be able to give a fair and honest review of the product. I believe it's important when reviewing a product you have all the facts and a good background knowledge before stating your opinion. So I contacted a fellow Jeeper, Jeff, who I knew was fair and honest as well as had lots of driving experience in a Jeep. He was also very capable of making this install himself. 

Jeff initial response 

"Definitely notice less jerking when hitting pot holes so far. Steering seems a little tighter as well, less play in the wheel."

  • Pretty easy to install I'd give it a 2 wrench out of 5 difficulty level. 
  • Only took me about an hour to install. 
  • Very noticeable difference upon first ride on the road.
  • Less wheel jerk hitting bumps and a tighter overall feel in the steering. Making road driving more stable. 
  • Off-road isn't really noticeable as much except on fire roads & flatter trails . 
  • Overall I would give it a 4 out of 5, losing a point for a price point I think is a little high. Would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to smooth and stabilize their ride. 
  • Did another 120 miles today, almost all highway at 70 mph. Effortless steering and absolutely no lane pull from ruts or grooves. No jumping or jerking when changing lanes and bump feedback was totally minimized. Very happy.
  • I am in the middle of the first long road trip since putting this on. About 1700 miles of a plan 3000 mile trip. On the first day of the trip I drove for 17 hours. Pre attenuator after 10 hours I was beat. This really does reduce the stress of driving.

Jeep Momma's Turn

It wasn't until all the research and reading all the feedback on the Jeep forums, that I realized it wasn't just me. So, I reached out to the company, and told them I'm ready to try out your product. 

The Install 

The Steering Attenuator
Installing the Steering Attenuator

At the time I wasn't confident enough in my abilities and knowledge of the steering components. I reached out to Adam's Jeep of Maryland where I bought the Jeep to do the install. My Jeep was the first one they installed the attenuator on. 

 My Review

Myself driving Topless

The Baltimore Beltway

My First Griffin Video Review 👉 Watch Here

I remember the tense times driving on the interstate, I always had both hands on the steering wheel never sitting back to relax. I wondered if it was the fact I was getting older, and soon I would be the one those old drivers cruising 40 mph on the interstate because I was too nervous. 

When I got into my Jeep to head home after the install I turned the key, and put the Jeep into drive. Immediately I felt the steering wheel was different. It was like someone took a screwdriver to it, and tightened it up. I attributed it to wishful hoping for a change on my part. As I continued down the road I still could feel the slap of my tires on the road. I still bounced in my seat as my Jeep rumbled over the bumps and cracks on the highway. It was still the same great Jeep ride feeling the grooves and contours of the road. 

It wasn't until about half way back down the busy I-95 trek home did I realize I was cruising along at over 75 mph with one hand on the steering wheel. I was lost in my thoughts of what I needed to get done that day. I hadn't even once had to stretch my hands out because they had been in a white knuckle grip on my steering wheel. I was even able to change lanes, and pass the slower cars instead of being the slower one in the far right lane the whole trip.

I was so pleased with the steering attenuator now called the Griffin I knew when I got the Yeti Steering System I had to have the Griffin too. It's made a huge difference in my highway driving. I notice no difference on the trails which is a good thing. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

How To Use the Jeep Rubicon Axle Lock Button

Open Differential vs. Locked Differential 

A Jeep climbing a hill

Driving with open differential your wheels rotate at different speeds depending on the situation you are in. When you engage your lockers - Locking Differential - your tires will rotate at the same speed. 

Use of Axle Locks 

You would want to "push" the axle lock button in situations where you will need more traction such as up a rock or steep incline, or on a muddy straight trail. 

How To Use the Rubicon's Axle Lock Button 👉 Watch Here

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jeep Wrangler Hill Descent Control

What is Hill Descent Control?

Wheeling at Rausch Creek

The Hill Descent Control system helps monitor throttle, speed, and braking while traveling down a steep hill. This is an acquired skill needed when you take your Jeep off-road. It takes time and practice to get it right. The Jeep Wranglers have a button you can push that will help you in situations where you don't feel comfortable with throttle and brake control. Not understanding the full potential of your Jeep and the proper use of the brakes and throttle could get you and your Jeep into a not-so-good situation.

First Time  

Kyle spotting me on the trail

What I remember the most was the amazing off-road proficiency of my Jeep. I never knew it had such capabilities. My instructor, Kyle, guided me through the trails. At one point I was on top of a steep, rocky hill ready to go down. He told me to push the button on my control panel - the Hill Descent Control button. A button I always wondered about -- thinking I would never use it. 

How to Use the Hill Decent Control Button 👉 Watch Here

Magic Button 

I pushed the button and started down the hill. He told me to take my foot off the brake. It was a hard concept to accept, but I had the utmost trust in him.  Once I reached the bottom of the hill, I was speechless and absolutely amazed at how my Jeep performed. To this day it still boggles my mind that the Jeep drove itself down that hill.

👇Watch  Hill Decent Control Engaged Video Examples 👇

Rausch Creek Driving 201 Instruction👉 Watch Here

Women's Wheelin' Day  👉 Watch Here

 Driving downhill without Engagement 👉 Watch Here

How To Autostick

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