Tuesday, March 29, 2022

My Jeep Oil Leak Woes

I started to see oil spots on the driveway and in the garage. So I got under my Jeep and looked. UGH!!! I was quite sad. I wasn't exactly sure what happened. I shared the problem and pictures with a Jeep friend of mine, he said it looks like the oil filter housing adapter needs to be replaced. I took it to a mechanic here in Minnesota and he was right. 

The mechanic that is helping me says he sees this type of leak a lot because people over torque the plastic part and it cracks, plus cold temperatures make it worse.

I called around and three major auto parts stores shared, the factory part is no longer available and claimed it hasn't been available for a year and a half. So it looks like an upgrade is the only way to go. 

If you suspect this problem in your Jeep you better start hunting for the part now.
The Dorman aluminum aftermarket part is very, very hard to get. If one does come in it doesn't stay in the store for more than a day. 

Praying this is the only issue as that aftermarket part is expensive. I found the aftermarket part. $259.99. You need to buy the manifold set too, $51.99 easy to get.

I was informed by a friend who works for a garage that Jeep shows the OEM part is in stock. which I don't believe it's truly in stock, but I never checked.
The OEM part is listed at $424 WOW!!! $160 more for the crappy plastic part. Why even bother to see.
if it's in stock. 

The part came in as I was writing this post. The mechanic can install next week. WOOT WOOT.
It wasn't a Dorman though. There was a little misunderstanding when I bought this part. The Dorman can't be found in stock anywhere. This is not the OEM part but the Standard Autos Part which will also work. 

Just hoping it solves the problem. Next up is fixing unfinished work from the previous garage I was using. Installing aftermarket lower control arm brackets and the one shock mount. Plus, finishing the work on the axle truss. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Jeep Slang Words

It took me over forty years to realize owning a vehicle takes on a whole new meaning when you become a Jeep owner. Just owning a Jeep is an experience on a whole other level than just a “regular” vehicle.  

Being apart of the Jeep Community is amazing. A community full of Jeep enthusiasts that feel the love for their Jeep like you feel about your Jeep. 

A Jeep is not just a vehicle it’s a way of life. You begin to immerse yourself into all things Jeep. To be fully apart of the community you need to learn the lingo. 

Jeep Momma's Top 10 Jeep Slang Words

Droop - Downward articulation, or how far the tires can reach below the vehicle.

Stuff - Upward compression, or how far the tires can be pushed upwards into the wheel housing.

Naked – A term used to describe a Jeep with the top & doors off.

Oh shit handles – Grab handles on the roll bars to hang onto while crawling thru the rocks.

Pumpkin – The differential which is the device on the axle that splits the engine torque two different ways, allowing each output to spin at a different speed.

Wrenching – When a group of Jeepers get together to work on a single Jeep or multiple Jeeps.

Wheeling – driving your 4x4 vehicle off-road with like-minded friends.

Flex – the vehicle’s ability to flex its suspension where drooping on one side and  stuffing on the other while maintaining the ability to keep all four wheels on the ground when going over off road obstacles by means of axle articulation

Line - A pathway designated by the driver giving them a sightline to the best possible route to overcome an obstacle or to travel on a specific pathway. Choosing the correct line is often essential to being a successful four-wheeler.

Stealership  A derogatory term given to car dealerships where DIY drivers avoid purchasing parts due to them being  overpriced. I found since working in a dealership that isn't always true. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

RIP Maggie May

Maggie May was a 1980 Jeep Wagoneer left to live out eternity in a junkyard, until she was rescued back in 2019 to be restored to join me on my Adam's Extreme Adventure across the United States.

She was promised to be an epic build to take overlanding across America. Unfortunately, she never made that trip and didn't get to see any part of our beautiful country. They say promises are only as strong as the person making them. The person who promised to get Maggie May running in time wasn't able to make her engine sing so she sat alone in a single car garage while I spent 37 days overlanding across America. 

Once I returned to Colorado, she was moved by her rescuer to a dirt field. Day by day the chances of her ever seeing the trails was growing dim. My eyes began to see her rescuer left a long string of broken promises from coast to coast and Maggie May was another broken promise. 

I always had hope those wheels see those rocky trails but instead she was picked apart like vultures eating a dead animal in the desert only leaving the carcass. Once again left to rot, abandoned in a field to die a lonely death. 

I helped acquire many parts for Maggie May, new state of the
art headlights, top of the line front and rear driveshafts, and fancy new off road tires. Not to mention the financial help getting the engine up and running. I did hear the engine run once but never saw her driving on any road or trail. 

I guess boredom set in for her rescuer and she was slowly picked apart piece by piece until just her body sat on cement blocks among the weeds. 

Her engine went to California and still sits quietly in a garage. Will it ever run? We will never know. 

The tires, one ton axles, driveshafts, performance shocks and headlights were installed on a 1971 J4000 Jeep Truck. Now in the hands of a new owner who will hopefully appreciate that Vintage Jeep. 

As for the interior build and body of Maggie May,  she sat alone in the corner of a farmers field for over a year. She was used up and tossed aside like a piece of trash, but she still had so much life left in her. I had so much hope for her. I hated knowing she was sitting out in that field waiting for life to fill up the beautiful vintage Jeep. 

The last I checked was about nine months ago and she still sat alone in that field. I was curious, so I recently checked with the former land lord. All I know is Maggie May was hauled off to the crusher, when there was some construction happening on the land. We will never truly know the fate of this beauty we can only guess. 

This poor iconic American Jeep was discarded like a piece of garbage on the side of the road never to see those dirt roads like she was promised, her dreams crushed. It breaks my heart because there was so much potential for such an amazing journey with this Jeep. I know she was just a bunch of metal but when you become a Jeep owner you come to love them like they are real living breathing entities. 

Maggie May May You Rest in Peace!   

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Top 5 Mods - Do Over

My Top 5 Jeep Modifications I would do if I had do it over again. 

Now that I have off-roading experience with my Jeep I can look back with confidence and tell you what I would do differently. 

I certainly wouldn't change wheeling my Jeep in stock form for two years. That was  important for me to gain the necessary skills to become a great wheeler. I was able to learn what my Jeep is capable of and how to pick a good line. Once I believed I out grew that level of wheeling and was looking for a new challenge, I upgraded my Jeep. I went to a 3.5 MetalCloak lift on 35” tires. If I had to do it over again, I would do a few things before that lift.

The first modification I would have made was Jeep Cables from Jeep Cables.com,
a veteran owned company. I recently installed them in my Jeep and wish I would have done it sooner. Adding the winch and off-road lights to my Jeep created a little extra pull on the OEM cables. There are videos on my YouTube channel that will show you what happens to your stock cables when you overload your OEM system by adding a winch and other electrical upgrades. You could already see the discoloration on my alternator and the cable coming from my alternator. The wires were already overloaded and getting super hot.

Jeep Cables A Must Do Upgrade 

Jeep Cables Install

The second modification would be my rock sliders. Not only do my Barricade Off Road Rock sliders protect my Jeep they double as a side step. A necessary part when you lift your Jeep so you don’t look foolish getting into your lifted Jeep. My rock sliders from day one have protected my Jeep and the sound of them sliding over the rocks has become a sound I love. 

Even before my lift and bigger tires I would upgrade the stock tires with Nexen Roadian MTX 33” tires. When you are stock a good set of tires will do wonders when you are off road. 

Jeep Momma Nexen Tire Review

Steering would be the next upgrade before my lift. I would go with the Yeti Steering from SteerSmarts. Their components are so beefy. I have dinged them so many times on the rocks, they have held up amazingly. Another plus for the JKU's is the steering attenuator or now they call it the Griffin. The attenuator helps with the Wranglers jittery steering and the bump steer.

Then rounding out the Top 5 would be an upgrade to my OEM front driveshaft with a Tom Woods CustomDriveshaft. Adding a lift and bigger tires will eventually wear out that stock driveshaft. You will know when it is starting to go by getting under your Jeep and looking above the driveshaft. You will be able to see the grease splatter above the driveshaft.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Bigger isn't Always Better

One year during Christmas we were playing a Christmas
present swap game. My son was trying to decide which present to pick. He was struggling with picking between two of the largest gifts. My sister told him “Bigger isn’t always better”.

You could say that about Jeep tires too. Most everyone who get’s a Jeep eventually wants to upgrade with a lift and bigger tires. It is all a part of the Jeep Addiction. Depending on what you use your Jeep for, going bigger might not always be a good idea. 

The Jeep in stock form is a very capable off road vehicle. If you do decide to upgrade to those 35’s you need to be aware of what could be in store for your future pocketbook. 

Miles Per Gallon - I went from 16 miles per gallon to 13 miles per gallon. Not a deal breaker for me but some it may be. 

Garage Clearance - My 3.5” lift and 35” tires fit in my garage. However, if I was driving with my top in the Sunrider position, I couldn’t fit in my garage. There were many, many times I forgot the top was up and would make a huge racket driving into the garage. Not good for that soft top, tearing it up on the garage door.

Front Driveshaft
 During regular maintenance checkups, we began to notice oil splatter on the underside of my Jeep. It turns out my factory front driveshaft was on it’s last legs. The factory front driveshaft has a rzeppa joint. This joint has a boot which protects it’s guts. Mine had been flexed to it’s limits. 

This boot cannot hold up to the stress of the added lift . With all the flexing I did which wasn’t a lot maybe once a month wheeling, it began to crack and split. Then it began spewing grease. You can’t refill the grease on the OEM driveshaft, so it will eventually break. 

These stock driveshaft's also are larger in diameter. So when you lift your Jeep to fit those bigger tires it can cause the OEM Driveshaft to possibly rest on the exhaust which causes more issues. 

Ball Joints are another weak point from the bigger tires. I lifted and added 35” tires to my Jeep in 2016. I would go wheeling to Rauch Creek Off Road Park, The Cove in Virginia and Uwharrie in North Carolina. These were all highway miles to and from the parks once a month during those three years. Plus, I used my Jeep as a daily driver going to and from work and errands in town. In 2019, three years after the lift my ball joints failed. I replaced them with an aftermarket ball joint. 

That cost me about $600 for the parts and labor. I should of taken the advice of my mechanic in Maryland. He suggested I just go with the OEM ball joints. The aftermarket ball joints took 500 miles to properly seat. Those 500 miles of driving were the most intense miles of driving in my life.  

The bigger the tires the more stress it puts on the suspension and those gears. 

There are several places you will want to upgrade. I was able to add more strength by welding the C-gussets. Beefier shock mounts and control arm mounts are a good idea as well.  I added aftermarket control arms and The Yeti Steering system

Regular maintenance checks and "at home" checks are necessary to keep and eye on potential problems. You will want to catch these problems before they become catastrophes. 

The inner tie rod ends can go bad as well as those control arms, on the Jk’s and JKU’s especially if you wheel. If you take your Jeep off road at some point you will most likely at some point come down hard on them, which can alter the geometry. Like I did.  It’s a good idea to watch the tread wear on your tires. Getting regular alignments is a good way to detect bad geometry. You should also do at home check to make sure everything is holding up.

Inspecting the movement of your tires is important to detect problems.  First make sure you can unload the Jeep’s suspension. That means getting your Jeep up on jacks so your front tires can freely move.  By moving your tires in different directions will give you an idea of which issue it may be. Putting a big pry bar under the bottom of the tire and trying to move it up and down. If there is play this could be bad ball joints. 

Taking one hand at the 12 o’clock position and the other at the 6 pm position and moving your tire back and forth, feeling for movement and play. If you have the movement that usually means wheel bearings. 

The 3 pm and 9 pm position doing the same thing would most likely be bad inner tie rod ends. Do your due diligence though, research thoroughly. It may not always be a bad tie rod end. Look closely at that tie rod movement. It could also be your steering knuckle. Just like mine. The hole got wallowed out. 

I had to replace my steering knuckle. Be careful when choosing your replacement. Those aftermarket knuckles could require a certain size lift and certainly upgraded steering. 

Good routine maintenance and visual checks along with the tire check can hopefully find problems before they become catastrophes. Like I said in part one Bigger isn’t always Better. Some may think bigger is better but I can tell you for sure Bigger drains your bank account.

[Jeep Tips] Updated - Top 5 Recovery Gear

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