Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Shifting into 4 Low

The past couple of times I went to Rausch Creek for a little time off-roading on the trails, I had a difficult time shifting my Jeep Wrangler Rubicon into 4 low. I do not remember the transfer case shifter being so difficult with my Sahara. I did a little research and I found there doesn't seem to be a right way or a wrong way to shift from 2 wheel drive to 4 Lo.  It seems each Jeep has it's own unique way. 

The Jeep manual reads:

"With the vehicle rolling at 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h), shift an automatic transmission to Neutral or depress the clutch pedal on a manual transmission. While the vehicle is coasting at to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h), shift the transfer case lever firmly through Neutral and into the low-range position."

"Shifting into or out of 4WD low-range is possible with the vehicle completely stopped, however, difficulty may occur due to the teeth of the gears not being properly aligned. The preferred method to engage the low-range is to slow down to 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h) and put the transmission in Neutral. While still moving forward, move the shift lever firmly into the four-low position. Then return the transmission to the desired gear. Refer to your owner's manual for detailed instructions."

Some Jeeps engage better while slightly moving, and others lock in while stopped. Slightly moving or completely stopped???
I am so confused... I read you can break clips,  bushings and other things while stopped... Now, I'm a little nervous about which way is the best so I don't break anything.

So this past weekend, I took my Rubicon out for some practice. I tried both ways... First, I shifted from 2 to 4H while in drive, drove a little, then put it in N, and while slowly rolling, I shifted to 4Lo. There was some grinding noise, but it shifted. I did that a few times. Then... I tried it while stopped. It was harder to shift and still grinded a little. 

This shifting of the transfer case is something that I will need to practice and develop a feel for. Although, it does seem my Rubicon is a tad finicky when it comes to shifting into 4 wheel lo. 

How do you shift into 4W Lo? slightly moving or stopped? 

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Water Off-Road Tips

"Be Prepared" is the Boy Scout Motto I like to follow. Especially in my Jeep out on the trails - careless driving can be costly. 

One part of being prepared is to know what to do in all situations and what to avoid. "Go Anywhere, Do Anything" is the Jeep Motto. Well, the "Go Anywhere" part can be in the sand, water, mud, rocks and I'm sure I'm missing some others as well. 

Being prepared is knowing the do's and don'ts before you go out and hit the trails. So, today I will start with water obstacles. My experience of driving in the water is limited - a few trails at Rausch Creek where the rain water or melting snow has filled up some low lying areas.You always see folks plowing through the water with it splashing off to the sides. Well, I tend to roll through the water very slowly. You never know what lurks below the surface.  Like here in this video the last time I was on the trails.  

A few other tips I learned...

Roll through the water slowly because there could be hidden rocks and holes in your path. 

Watch the vehicle in front of you as they will help you see what could be in your way. 

Know your Jeep's capability. Jeep has some videos of their vehicles water-fording... Click here 

How deep should you go... well each vehicle is different. I tend to air on the side of caution. I don't like go higher than my bumper. Water can damage the engine, transmission, electronics and differentials. 

Like with any type of off-roading never go alone. You might need someone to pull you out of the water. 

Once out of the water be careful of your brakes. Use them lightly until they dry out.  

I bet there is still a lot more for me to learn about water obstacles. Just as there is a lot for me to learn about rocks, mud and sand. I believe we can help each other learn by sharing our do's and don'ts or our Top tips.

Do you have Top tips for off-roading in the water? Please share them! 


--Conformal Coating on sensitive circuit boards to protect against water and moisture.

--Go fast enough to create a wave in front of your vehicle ( but not too fast )

--If you're crossing a river do it downstream ( diagonally )

--If your engine drown ( sucked water ) never try to start it again unless you have taken out the spark plugs and purge the water inside the cylinders. I've seem people destroy their engines that way. Important: unless you have a snorkel be sure it isn't too deep.

--Send the higher rig first, if he goes to the other side he can pull you out of trouble.

--Be careful of nesting birds in snorkel.

--Keep the intake out of the water, keep the engine running, and send your sister onto the hood to let out the winch when you get hung up and need keep the Jeep running. 

--something to add for the TJ's with auto's.  The breather hole for the trans is about 2/3 the way the bell housing.  so that needs to be address if you want to go deeper.

--all "vents" need to be extended. I extended my tranny and both axle vents. No faster way to ruin the tranny or axle seals and bearings than putting water into them!

--never go alone,  make sure every electronic thing is protected, SNORKEL! If Water is all you tend to go threw, Drive slow! You never know whats under that water, Have the bigger rig go first to help pull you out, The right tires for the trail! People often forget that not all tires are the same! High side wall tires do wonders in thick mud and river crossings.

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Top 10 Reasons Wranglers are Cool!

There are many days I sit and wonder how different my life would be if I would have discovered the joy of the Jeep Wrangler when I was younger.  Now I know, the Wrangler is not for everyone, but unless you are explained the true happiness you can get from this beast on four wheels, you will never really know if it's for you or not. 

A fellow blogger and Jeep enthusiast says it way better than I ever could. 

Mello Mike's Top 10 Reasons Wranglers are Cool!

 1.  It's Part of Our History
 2. It's a Terrific Off-Road Vehicle 
 3. It's a Great Convertible
 4. It's an Attention Getter 
 5. It's the Fraternity
 6. It's Supported by a Large Aftermarket Industry
 7. It's Easy to Repair and Work On
 8. It's a Great All-Weather Vehicle
 9. It Can Be Flat-Towed
10. It Just Plain Looks Cool

He is 100% spot on!  You should check out his website and blog. It is full of really great information for the off-roading enthusiast -- A travel and off-road adventure website and blog featuring truck campers and Jeeps and all things associated.  I might just have to check out some of his bucket list items as well! 

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

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Jeep Wrangler Good Review!

Finally a fair and honest review of the Jeep Wrangler from someone who gets all the facts!

"With that said, Wrangler is not for everyone.  You have to get used to a fairly rough ride, but that is acceptable knowing the off-road capability of the full-framed SUV.

"The thing that I pick up from listeners to my radio show is that true Jeep lovers are almost cultish....  People that love their Wranglers really love their Wranglers."
  ~Jerry Reynolds, the Car Pro

The Car Pro  is the place I will go to in the future for my auto reviews!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

2 Door VS 4 Door

The great thing about Jeeps is not only Go Anywhere, Do Anything, but there are different kinds of Jeeps you can personalize to meet your needs.

My Jeep is a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited... Unlimited is another word for 4 door -- a JKU. 

The JK is the 2 door Jeep Wrangler. I chose the 4 door because I have kids and needed more room.  

But how does that effect me on the trails compared to the 2 door. I wasn't quite sure of the differences so I asked a few Jeep friends, and this is what I found out. 

2 Door JK - better break over angle, less likely to high center when cresting hills. Easier to maneuver through tight areas and trees. It's lighter than the 4 door, but severely lacks cargo room. 

4 Door JKU - longer wheelbase which is more stable when climbing steep hills or ledges. It has more cargo space. If you like to get away and camp the 4 door is your Wrangler, it can hold a lot of gear.

Which Jeep Wrangler is right for you? Well, it depends on your goal for your Jeep build, where you drive, how you drive and how you want to use your Jeep.

If my plan is to keep my Jeep Wrangler stock, my JKU is limited what it can do off road because of its length and low belly. Now I need to decide my goals for wheeling off road. The 4 door really needs a lift to get its belly off the ground. Once that is done some say it can actually be better than a 2 door in some situations.

So I guess it is time for me to work on my off roading goals.

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

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Forbes Gets it Wrong!

Okay -- sorry folks... Not many pictures to look at on this post. Hopefully you will take the time to read the whole post. I felt the need to vent a little in this one. 

Forbes magazine came out with an article "15 New Cars to Avoid"  stating...

"There’s a dearth of truly 
wretched cars on the market
 for us to openly 
and readily ridicule"

Guess What... The Jeep Wrangler and the Wrangler Unlimited were Number 7 on the list of cars to avoid.

Honestly, I bet this author has never ridden in a Jeep Wrangler or a Wrangler Unlimited. I invite him to join me on my next trip to Rausch Creek Off Road Park before he starts to ridicule my Rubicon!  

First off... to the author of this article...
A Jeep Wrangler IS NOT A CAR!

The author in this article also used scores, surveys and rankings and compared the Wrangler to other cars. 

Well... that comparison is like a health magazine comparing a plate full of leafy, green veggies and piece of organic, grilled chicken, to a plate of fully-loaded, cheesy nachos or a chocolate lava cake ice cream sundae smothered in chocolate.

That sundae or nachos are so delicious and fun. Eating them makes you happy. We know we need to exercise a little extra to indulge in such fantastic treats. But it's worth the extra effort. 

So, I am not sure why this author could even consider the Jeep Wrangler in the same category as these other vehicles. It is truly a one of a kind mode of transportation.  

I would also like to point out, I don't understand why some feel it necessary to constantly bash the Jeep Wrangler -- jealousy most likely.  They are having record sales and more and more people are out enjoying the off road trails. Folks are joining in on the fun of making their Jeep unique to themselves. 
Just like all the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimted owners feel, the good of the Wrangler outweighs the bad.    

I would like to counter point a few statements made by the author in the Forbes article as well. 

"Though some might argue the iconic Wrangler and its four-door Wrangler Unlimited version are among the best-performing off-road vehicles"

Ummm..... there is no argument here... It's a fact. This is what the Wrangler is made for!

"suffer from limited passenger comfort"

No one who ever bought a Jeep Wrangler or JKU intended to buy the Jeep for the comfort of cruising down the interstate like a luxury vehicle. When buying a JK or JKU, most of the time folks plan on taking it out on rocky, off the beaten paths, the sandy beach, or those muddy trails through the woods. So, of course comfort does not come in mind. How on earth could it, when we love bouncing around on those bumpy rides. Do you think folks who ride on roller coasters are looking for a leisurely ride up and down the tracks. No! We do it for the adrenaline rush and the thrill!

"harsh and erratic ride"

Well, I will give the author this one -- when driving at high speeds on the interstate. But really, we all should be reducing our speeds when driving. I was able to fix this issue on my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with a steering attenuator. 
           Jeep Momma Steering Attenuator Review 

"handling abilities"

My Jeep Wrangler Unlimited handles fabulously. I can go where 99% of most other vehicles can't go. So how would that constitute handling abilities?

"excessive wind noise at higher speeds"

Well... Jeez NO SHIT! Anyone with common sense would know this, and would expect it when cruising down the road at high speeds with the sun in our face and wind in our hair. OH and by the way, most Jeepers don't ride at high speeds down the road, because we are never in a hurry to get anywhere, because we are enjoying our time driving around in our topless "CAR" 

"They get great resale value"

Of course! That's because they are so loved!  

"Wranglers placed among the lowest scoring models in Consumer Reports’ testing"

Just like any type of surveys, stats and testing. They can be skewed depending on the tests and questions asked. I bet none of these vehicles were tested on the Rubicon Trail. Or were any other vehicles tested driving down the interstate with their tops off. Where any of them compared while driving on the sandy beaches of North Carolina. I bet not. 

"the Unlimited also falling on its worst-values list"

Value list of what? -- list of characteristics needed when buying a car. Don't we all have different wants and needs when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. 

Well here's my list of values needed when I bought my new vehicle...

-- Fun & Freedom
-- Ability to take the top off
-- Ability to take the doors off
-- Ability to drive before the snowplows plow the roads
-- Drive over rocks and downed trees 
-- Go Anywhere
-- Community of like minded friendly people
-- Camaraderie
-- Ability to be part of a nothing like it community
-- Therapy  
-- Modify my vehicle to fit my personality

So there you go... But I guess it is good to have articles like this written. It keeps people from purchasing more Jeeps and that means less Jeepers on the trails so they do't get overcrowded!

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

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stock Jeeps Rock!

I have been off roading several times now at Rausch Creek Off Road Park. The first couple of times I went, I was always a self conscious about being in a stock Jeep. I couldn't wait to lift my Jeep. I looked forward to the day I could show up in a lifted Jeep.

Now -- my thoughts on that have changed, somewhat. Don't get me wrong, I still want to lift my Jeep and get bigger tires. But -- I am not in any big hurry.

Like I mentioned in Episode 180 on the XJTalkShow Podcast driving my stock Jeep on the trails is still a challenge for me - it's still a learning experience. I have to take my time, and learn how to pick my line through the rocks on the trail. I believe it will make me a better off road driver to continue to gain this experience in my stock Jeep. 

Even though I have been on most of the green trails - the mild to moderate trails - at Rausch Creek they are still a challenge.   This video shows -- click here -- one of the green trails which was challenging in some parts and the challenge is what makes off roading fun!

So don't feel embarrassed or less of a Jeeper just because you are in a stock Jeep.  Stock Jeeps can do amazing things. It is all about your skill and confidence in your driving ability.

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

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...