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. 

Tools for chalk test: chalk and tire pressure guage

Step 1 

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

using the tire pressure guage to measure pressure

Step 2

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

putting chalk on tire 

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.

chalk on tire before measuring


Before with chalk

After when the Jeep has been driven

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.

Showing the edge of the tire

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 - The Unexpected Joys of Jeeping

Embracing Adventure with New Friends and My Jeep

Iconic AOAA Photo Stop

When I first bought my Jeep, little did I know that it would steer my life into a new lane filled with adventure and friendships. Jeeping isn't just about conquering rugged terrains; it's about the camaraderie that binds enthusiasts from all walks of life. This tight-knit community is more than willing to welcome newbies with open arms. My off-road adventures over the years are filled with stories just like this one. 

A Chance Encounter with New Trails and New Friends

Nate, SWBCrawler

Meet Nate, 
known as SWBCrawler. I met him a few times at Rausch Creek, my usual stomping grounds for off-roading. We never wheeled together there but were on a podcast together for a short stint. 

Rausch Creek Off-road Park, nestled in the mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania, features rocky trails that twist through dense forests—a playground for any off-road enthusiast. Not far from there lies the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA), where the landscape morphs into the rugged terrains of the Western Middle Coal Field, offering a different flavor of challenges and scenery. This is where the day's adventure took place, somewhere new and unexplored by me. 

My Jeep on a rocky trail at AOAA. 

I was invited by Nate and his crew to explore the trails at AOAA. As I drove up into the mountains, my feelings were a mix of anticipation and anxiety. Excitement bubbled within me at the thought of hitting the trails again, but there was also a twinge of nervousness. As someone who wheels cautiously, I worried about slowing down the group with my careful maneuvers.

Barney Rubble Trail, AOAA 👉Watch Here
This is now a Jeep Badge of Honor Trail

BA Trail 👉 Watch Here

Learning the Ropes with Understanding Companions

Hood shot of the Jeeps in front on a trail ride. 

But my fears were quickly put to rest. Nate’s friends, Jason and Blaine, turned out to be exceptional spotters. They guided me through the trails with a keen understanding of my situation—like me, they too drove their off-road Jeeps daily. Their patience and expertise helped ease my apprehension, making the experience enjoyable rather than stressful.
Interestingly, the off-roading world is smaller than one might think. During our adventure, I realized that two other Jeeps in our group were familiar—they were folks I had met on previous excursions at Rausch Creek. The community’s interconnectedness added an extra layer of comfort and familiarity to the day.

Gaining Confidence One Trail at a Time

My Jeep crawling rocks at AOAA.

One profound piece of advice I've carried with me came from Kyle during a 301 training class: "Your Jeep is more capable than the trails you're on." This insight has stuck with me, slowly transforming my cautious approach into one of confident exploration. Each journey not only hones my driving skills but also builds my self-assurance, thanks to the encouragement from more seasoned Jeepers.

A Journey of Self-Discovery and Friendship

Jeep Momma selfie

What started as a solitary purchase of a Jeep has morphed into a journey of self-discovery and camaraderie. The off-roading adventures have not only introduced me to new trails but have also woven new friendships into the fabric of my life. If you’re on the fence about diving into the world of Jeeping, remember this: sometimes, putting yourself out there is the first step towards incredible adventures and unexpected friendships. So buckle up, embrace the nervous excitement, and hit the trails—you never know where they might lead you!

My Jeep in the woods. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Steel vs Aluminum Wheels

Pros and Cons

My Jeep with Steel Wheels.

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.

My Jeep with steel wheels better for off-roading.

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

Jeep Momma Do-It-Yourself Brake Light Replacement

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

Removing Screws from the Jeep Wrangler Brake Light

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.  

Jeep Wrangler Brake Light

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. 

Jeep Wrangler Brake Light Bulb

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

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