Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tire PSI Chalk Test

How To Check Proper Tire Inflation 

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?

Chalk Test

All you need is some chalk and a tire gauge. 

Step 1 

Check the tire pressure of all 4 tires. Three of mine read 31 PSI and the rear driver was 29 PSI. 

Step 2

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

Step 3

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.



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.

Knowing where the true edge of your tread is makes for easier calculations. I decided my tires were spot on. I have been running my PSI around 30 to 32 PSI on the asphalt. 

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. 
At that time my tires were 35" Duratracs LT 315/70R/121/1180.

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 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

Pros and Cons

Everyone has different needs for their Jeep, so before you decide which wheels figure out what you are going to do with your Jeep. Are you a mud or sand Jeeper, rock crawler, desert racer, or mall crawler. Each one of those has different needs.

Pros of Steel Wheels:

Durability: Steel wheels are known for their durability and can withstand heavy use, making them ideal for off-roading in harsh terrains. They are less likely to crack or bend when compared to aluminum wheels.

Affordability: Steel wheels are generally more affordable than their aluminum counterparts, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious off-road enthusiasts.

Repairability: If a steel wheel is damaged, it can often be repaired by hammering it back into shape, which is a significant advantage when you're out in the wilderness with limited access to replacement parts.

Weight: The added weight of steel wheels can provide more unsprung weight, which helps keep the tires planted on the ground when flexing from side to side occurs as the terrain gets rough.

Cons of Steel Wheels:

Corrosion: Steel wheels are more prone to corrosion than aluminum wheels. This can be mitigated by using protective coatings, but it's still a factor to consider, especially in wet or humid environments.

Weight: While the added weight can be beneficial in some situations, it can also decrease fuel efficiency and acceleration, which may be a concern for some off-roaders.

Limited Customization: Steel wheels typically offer fewer design and finish options compared to aluminum wheels, making them less appealing to those who value aesthetics.

Pros of Aluminum Wheels:

Lightweight: Aluminum wheels are lighter than steel wheels, which can improve fuel efficiency and acceleration. This can be particularly beneficial for off-road vehicles that need to navigate challenging terrains quickly.

Corrosion Resistance: Aluminum wheels are more resistant to corrosion than steel wheels, making them a better choice for off-roading in wet or humid environments.

Aesthetic Appeal: Aluminum wheels often come in a variety of designs and finishes, allowing you to customize the look of your off-road vehicle to your taste.

Cons of Aluminum Wheels:

Durability: Aluminum wheels are more prone to cracking or bending than steel wheels, which can be a concern for off-roaders who frequently tackle rough terrains.

Repairability: If an aluminum wheel is damaged, it's often not possible to repair it, and you'll need to replace it with a new one. This can be a significant drawback for off-roaders who may not have easy access to replacement parts.

Cost: Aluminum wheels are generally more expensive than steel wheels, which may be a deterrent for budget-conscious off-road enthusiasts.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Changing the Jeep Wrangler Brake Light!

Simple and Easy Maintenance

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. 

Replacing Brake Light Bulb

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 Jeep. Then remove the bulb from the housing by turning counter clockwise one 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.

How to Fix Broken Synthetic Winch Line

The Crucial Skill of Winch Line Repair  The Lifeline of Off-Roading: Understanding Your Winch Being prepared is not just a motto, but a nece...