Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Yes, it’s *still* in the shop

I know I haven’t posted in months, but this blog isn’t dead! My Jeep has been in the shop getting a custom long arm set-up for quite some time. Typically, I like to DIY everything, but when it comes to custom fabrication & welding, that’s just a smidge above my pay grade. Due to factors beyond my control, this work is taking quite a bit longer than expected. BUT, I’ve got new goodies on the work bench ready to go on as soon as the TJ gets back from the shop & trips already planned to get out on trail again in the coming months!

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Aaaand We’re Back!

After almost 2 months of being Jeepless, I could take it no longer so I took to the internet, and wouldn’t you know it… a 2006 bone stock TJ Rubi popped up in the search only a few hours from me!  After a few phone calls, I grabbed a trailer and went to take a look in person. Despite a little surface rust (it’s only surface rust, right?  Right?), the body looked good, the motor pulled strong, the transmission was solid, the clutch didn’t slip, the t-case shifted smoothly, and the lockers kicked on (well, the front one did.  The rear… that’s hopefully an easy project tracing some loose wiring), the tires are brand spanking new, and its SILVER!  After a little haggling, we agreed on a price (I still think I overpaid TBH), the seller helped me load it up and I hit the road with my new rig in tow!

tj-1

It feels good to get back to basics.  Older Jeeps are so simple and utilitarian that it’s honestly quite refreshing.  No dig on the JK/JKU, they are fantastic machines, but they are a much more complicated animal.  Sure, this is an older Jeep and there are bound to be a few things here and there that I’ll need to fix, but it’s an 11 year old vehicle so some repairs are to be expected.  All in all, I’m excited about this new project and already have a few small mods in shipping!

A new home

SoldWell, it looks like it’s time to move on… to my next Jeep!  =)  My JKUR found an amazing new owner in the area who is already enjoying it with the doors and roof panels removed.  Hopefully, I’ll even see them on trail in it in the near future.

When I boil it all down, I just haven’t been able to enjoy this Jeep as much as I’d like for quite some time.  For lack of a better reason… It’s just too nice!  I know, that sounds weird, right?  But I couldn’t take a rig that nice out on trail with out worrying about every single noise or scratch or scrape that I heard.  I tried to armor and protect it out the wazoo, but it still stressed me out.  Being my daily driver means it has to be in 100% working order and that doesn’t mesh well with a bit too much trail carnage.

What I have done is picked up a mild tow vehicle and I’m currently shopping for a TJ that will be a little more utilitarian that I can enjoy out on the trails.  Maybe I’ll get my old TJ back?  Or maybe I’ll find something just as good?  Stay tuned!

Braking The News

My JK was just in the shop (yes, again!) getting an exhaust leak fixed up.  The exhaust manifold gasket on the driver side of the engine developed a leak.  No biggie, new gasket, right?  But wouldn’t you know it, once that gasket was replaced a leak was heard on the passenger side too!  Luckily, both gaskets have been repaired and the engine is running right as rain again.  But while it was in the shop, I asked the tech to check my brakes.  Lately, I just haven’t been happy with the brake feel.  Sure it stops, but I’d like it to stop a little better.  I put new pads on all four corners, I’ve flushed the lines with fresh fluids, and then bled the lines to make sure there’s no air whatsoever in the lines.  But it still didn’t feel right.  According to the dealership, the rotors are glazed.  All of them.  At around 25,000 miles on the odometer.

I’ll accept that maybe the rear ones weren’t the best OEM product and they need to go (Rotors after only 25,000 miles?!?), but what I can’t wrap my head around is the Teraflex Big Rotor kit is already shot after less than 9,500 miles?  I reached out to Teraflex to see if they have any thoughts on the situation.  I hope they have something fun to say b/c I’ve never heard of anyone burning through rotors this quickly.

Life Happens

It’s Friday, I’m leaving in 2 hours to get my gears done… yay!  Until I get a phone call telling me the only gear guy at this shop is out sick for the weekend.  Ugh.  I made this appointment and subsequent travel plans several months ago, so it’s safe to say I’m pretty disappointed.  But, life happens.  If the guy is sick, then he’s sick.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a free weekend for several months, so rescheduling isn’t going to work out.  I honestly don’t know if I’ll get back to this project or not.  4.88’s would be nice (especially for my upcoming big summer wheeling trip!), but do I need to drop a bunch more money in my Jeep?  Probably not.

The ReGear

I’ve been thinking about this mod for months and months (and months), but now the time is upon us.  I’m regearing my JKUR from the stock 4.10’s (pretty good) to Yukon 4.88’s (Damn good!).GearChartAs you can see by the chart I’ve posted above (full disclaimer, I didn’t make this chart) a stock JKUR w/ 4.10’s, manual transmission, 3.6L engine & 32’s turns at around 2400 rpm doing 70 mph in 6th.  This is comfortable for this engine and makes for a peppy Jeep imho.  Loading up the Jeep with a lift, armor, bumpers, tire carrier, and heavy 35’s really tend to bog it down and make it a bit of a pig.  Especially on hill climbs in the mountains with any passengers or gear.  After the regear, I’ll be turning around 2600 rpm at the same speed.  While that might seem a little high to some of you…  Well, those of you would be right.  I think it’ll make the Jeep a full on Hot Rod!  But since the long term plan is 37’s, it’s only a temporary hot rod.  With a 37″ tire, the revs drop down to just about where the Jeep was when it rolled out of the factory.  Plenty pep with out too much whine.  What?  Would you have me re-gear twice?

Oh yeah, I’m sure these gears are gonna rock off road too.  But I’m more interested in the on-road performance for this mod since it already kicks a$$ at driving over stuff on the trails.  I’m hoping to get a few 0-60 times on my stock gears so I have data to compare to the 4.88’s and to share with you fine folks.  Stay tuned!

Steering Lessons Learned

After having the Teraflex steering stabilizer (SS) relocation bracket and Fox SS installed for a few days, I think it’s worth taking a moment to write down some thoughts.

  • As you saw in my last post, the entire set up pulls noticeably to the left.  While it fixed the bump steer, it caused a new problem and that is still pulling just as strong as the day I installed it.
  • The TF bracket that clamps on to the tie rod is actually very bulky.  If you have installed an aftermarket diff cover, make sure to check clearances.
  • After installing this kit, I’ve lost a few degrees of steering angle on both ends when turning lock to lock.  One direction is due to the bulky bracket not playing nicely with my front diff cover, the other direction fully compresses the larger SS.

If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t buy this kit.  This is probably painfully obvious since I’m pulling it off and returning it.  If your goal is only to flip your SS above your tie rod, skip the kits.  Just buy this bolt from Fox Racing to replace your track bar mounting bolt, and then rotate your stock tie rod clamp up 90 degrees.  Done and only $10 (+ shipping) invested.  Obviously I don’t have the bolt I suggested installed because I’m eyeballing a dual SS set up, but if I wanted to stay with a single shock and just relocate it, that would be the ticket for me.