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Found 18 results

  1. At the 4WD Mechanix Magazine 'Tech and Travel' Forums, the goal is meaningful discussion groups and forum communities. We value everyone's input, and when member "biggman100" made the following suggestion, I promptly responded: "I have a suggestion for the forums. We should have an off topic area that isn't specific to any one make or model, so users can post comments or suggestions relating to the off-road community, items that wouldn't otherwise fit in any one category. Like, for an example, say a new style multi-fit bed tool box comes out, and someone wants info on it. Or maybe someone would like to share experiences with a certain off road parts supplier—that kind of thing...I have a question that has been submitted to every forum I am on. It's about time to get my wife a new car, and I'm curious about AWD sedans. I have been asking around for opinions but haven't yet found a place to post such a question..." Well, biggman100, please post your full question at this forum! The new "Let's Talk!" category and these four new forum groups are specially set up to field these kinds of questions. Thanks for your suggestion, it's now a part of the message board communities! Moses
  2. I joined the LinkedIn professional group for the motorcycle/powersports industry and have been following the comments with interest. In a current topic, the subject of dealership technician retention in the powersports industry came up. I couldn't resist responding...Having taught adult education level Automotive/Diesel Technology and Welding, I know several reasons why today's technicians defect from these automotive and powersports shop roles. My response centered on the value that society places on professional wrenching. In the course of a career that now spans 47 years, I've worked for pay as a light- and medium-duty truck fleet mechanic, a powersports tech and independent motorcycle repair shop owner, an automotive/truck dealership line mechanic, a classic car mechanical restoration specialist and shop owner, plus work as a heavy equipment operator. I know what it takes to call yourself "professional" in each of these fields. Though I could have discussed the many challenges and frustrations inherent to this work, enough to cause some to leave these trades, I stuck with the bigger issue: What kind of societal support and valuing do professionals get in these lines of work? See the discussion, it's ongoing: LinkedIn Discussion on Powersports Tech Retention.pdf Moses
  3. Fellow Forum Members...I am the guest for a 'Live Q&A Session' at Facebook Jeep Talk online. The scheduled time is 8 p.m. EST on December 29, 2014. If you have time and would like to join, here are more details from the magazine's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/4WDMechanixMagazine. Facebook Friends...I am a guest at Monday night's Jeep Talk chat at Facebook. To make sure I'm on my game, Trevor Bryson shares, "Jeep Talkers, I am getting excited about Monday evening's Live Q&A Session guest Moses Ludel! Please join me ...at 8:00 pm EST to be wowed by quite possibly the smartest man in Jeep Knowledge. I'm like a kid in a candy store!" If you would like to join the discussion, click to https://www.facebook.com/groups/JeepTalk. Our live Q&A and general discussion about anything Jeep will begin at 5 p.m. PST—or 8 p.m. EST—and all other time zones accordingly! I look forward...Join us if you have the time! We'll see how this works...Maybe there's a '4WD Mechanix Magazine Chat Time' in our future? Moses
  4. We each have an appreciation for tools, and here's a humorous note on what tools can do. At the "swapmeetdave.com" site, Dave shares a humorous tool list by Peter Egan from his Road & Track column. You will appreciate Peter's insightful wit, humor and obvious awareness tools: http://www.swapmeetdave.com/Humor/Workshop/Definitions.htm. Enjoy! Thanks to Swap Meet Dave and Peter Egan... Moses
  5. For most of the world, an outdoor lifestyle involves motor vehicles. In North America, 4x4 utility vehicles long ago became the icon for backcountry travel, which now spans four generations of postwar Jeep, SUV and 4x4 light truck enthusiasts. When not used for work chores, these vehicles have taken families camping, hunting," rock hounding", fishing, exploring and rock crawling. 4x4s have accessed the most primitive and scenic reaches of the globe. The emergence of dirt motorcycles, ATVs and the popular S-by-S UTVs has given us an even wider range of vehicle choices. Dirt motorcycles, once strictly competition-oriented for desert, Six-Days Trials and motocross use, have expanded into the dual-sport crossovers and license plated, bona fide dirt enduro bikes. The sport bikes have now given up their top sales segment status to the "adventure-touring" class of heavyweight highway/occasional dirt use cycles—not so "occasional" for Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in the two "Long Way..." documentary series that have attracted millions of bucket list followers! "Long Way Down"* was a 15,000 mile ride, with extensive primitive roads through the African continent. *Note: Want to treat your family to a moto, geography and cultural lesson? Watch the 45-minute segments, available as streaming video at Netflix! Each of us has our motor vehicle legacy, and in my case, the focus has been both 4x4 utility/SUV vehicles and dirt motorcycles. I have my reasons. My view of 4x4s and dirt motorcycles breaks down like this: 1) 4x4 Utility Vehicles: The Jeep CJs and current XJ Cherokee 4x4, two FJ40 Land Cruisers and an I-H Scout were each "family oriented". (We also had a string of beam axle GM 4x4 pickup trucks and 3/4-ton 4WD Suburbans that doubled for work and recreational/family use.) Camping, hunting, fishing and outdoor exploring are instant memories, each of these vehicles has its special association with remote "places". I drove a Jeep CJ-5 4x4 with my learner's permit and took the driver's license exam in that F-head model. Our children and grandchildren have each benefitted from a "4x4 lifestyle", and outdoor activities have defined our family for four generations. On the upside, a 4x4 utility, SUV or light truck can be a family foundation for outdoor activity and recreation; the downside is the ridiculously high price of admission to the new vehicle market...A "used 4x4" can be the practical alternative. 2) Dual-Sport Motorcycles: I grew up at rural Nevada when the state's population was so sparse that a "Scooter License" was available at the age of 14. Who would pass up such an opportunity? I bought a '55 Cushman/Allstate and quickly outfitted it with an oversized Super Eagle long block. That 'sleeper' made 60 mph. If it's in your blood, one motorcycle leads to another, and my first bona fide "off-pavement" bike came in the form of a two-year-old 1969 BSA 441cc Victor single-cylinder thumper, which really had more place on-pavement but looked very cool as an "On Any Sunday" scrambler/enduro of that era. Drawn to BSAs, I eventually owned an A65L Lightning and A75R Rocket III, both for pavement only...My resumption of dirt bike riding came two decades later, as riding with our youngest son Jacob led to a string of pre-owned Honda XR air-cooled models. The latest acquisition, 2000 Honda XR650R feels "just right" for open desert while the remaining '84 Honda XR350R makes for a nice single-track trail and moderate desert runner...The upside of dirt motorcycles is the incredibly reasonable price of admission when compared to a 4x4 vehicle; the limitation is that this is not "family recreation" unless the entire family rides on individual motorcycles and enjoys the sport. Unless we see a dramatic decrease in the gap between income and the cost of new motor vehicles, and a real drop in fuel costs, the used vehicle alternative will become increasingly more popular for 4x4 enthusiasts. If there is no whole family "buy-in" (spouse or kids simply don't like bouncing around in a 4x4 all day), the powersports (i.e., dirt/dual-sport motorcycle, ATV or UTV) option becomes viable for those interested. This lower price of admission for a dirt motorcycle can be the leverage when you're the only one in the family who likes motorized, off-pavement travel and recreation. It's easier to keep peace in the family with the purchase and prep of a dirt or dual-sport motorcycle, for well under $10K even if bought new, than trying to push the idea of a showroom fresh JK Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (4-Door) 4x4 at $40K—plus an additional $12K-$15K worth of "must have" add-ons and upgrades planned within five minutes of buying the Jeep—or after the first undercarriage-pounding rock crawl on stock diameter tires with that 116" wheelbase! Many spouses will go along with a used or new dirt bike expenditure in the $2500 to $9000 price range. 4x4s and dirt motorcycles are two distinctly different paradigms. If the whole family does not ride in the dirt, a motorcycle will be a solitary outlet for Dad (or Mom in this era) and friends with similar interests. For whole family recreation, a used or even the right new 4x4 makes sense. Buying used might leave enough funding for a dirt bike, too! Another consideration is riding skill. I'm lucky that my muscle memories for two-wheel motorized on- and off-highway cycling date back fifty years now. Riding in the dirt and on-pavement for that long builds reflexes and survival skills. It even compensates for aging to a degree. (Often, I am pleasantly surprised to "pull it off" with a strictly reflexive move at this ripe age!) On the other hand, without putting a damper on anyone's enthusiasm, I caution middle-age, first time riders: Go gradually, you've got a lot of catching up to do! Note: Having ridden highway under the "Basic Speed Law" at rural Nevada in the day, on a tuned BSA Rocket III that could soar to 115 mph without hesitation, with over fifty years of off-pavement riding experience as well, my health "secret" is defensive riding. That's the only way to stay uninjured and alive, frankly. Fortunately, I've never been down on the pavement nor done a high-side or "endo"/cartwheel in the dirt...No broken bones or injuries, I'm grateful and ever vigilant. If you have years of on-highway riding experience, that helps a lot in the dirt. However, riding off-pavement is it's own critter, beware of the handling quirks and dynamics that are unique to dirt riding. There are courses and trail riding schools. Watch every video you can on how to ride dirt at speed...On that note, don't ride at speed until you're good and ready! For those of us with a level head, motorcycling is potentially dangerous, and if you doubt that and do not ride defensively and reasonably, while wearing the right riding gear for the environment, you can expect to hear your friends and family's resounding, "I told you those things are dangerous!" Before gushing further about dirt and dual-sport motorcycles, I admit that dirt riding is a totally different angle. Camping out requires lightweight, easy to tote equipment—and not much of it! Inexpensive motels or B&Bs are a welcome alternative after eating dust all day. Weather becomes an issue, icy highways a hazard, mud a grind, and scorching heat a quick way to dehydrate. (Wear and use a Camelback or similar device!) If you like the comfort of a heater and air conditioning, a dirt motorcycle is not the way to go...If you want a five-muscle group exercise machine and an incentive for staying in good physical condition, a dirt bike and single track trails or open desert riding will do the trick! For our household, the current rolling stock and applications break down like this: 1) 1999 XJ Cherokee 4WD doubles as a daily driver/magazine chores and true trail use vehicle with its 6-inch long arm suspension lift and 33" tires, a winch on a winch bumper and ARB Air Lockers front and rear with 4.10 axle gearing. 2) 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 4WD Quad-Cab with Cummins 5.9L engine, our primary work vehicle, "ultimate" hauler and tow vehicle when needed. 95% of the Ram's life has been eating up highway miles at a tolerable 21-plus mpg...A great utility workhorse and overall vehicle, great ride quality for those 720 miles (each way) trips to Moab! 3) Honda XR650R motorcycle recently added to the stable and earmarked for outdoor promotion and use as a video filming platform. The iconic desert enduro motorcycle ("Dust to Glory" star in its HRC form), converted for dual-sport riding, license plated and insured, this bike is at home both on pavement and in the dirt...This is the fifth XR in our household, and another one (an XR400R in "as new" condition) heads into youngest son Jacob's garage later today. Honda XR motorcycle inventory: The wholly intact 1984 Honda XR500R needs some restorative work and currently rests under a protective tarp; the pristine '83 XR200R went to a good home years ago; Jacob's original and pieced together XR75 got ridden into the ground ($70 total invested, it ran for five years); and the '84 XR350R has remained in the stable, maintained meticulously. 4) 1984 Honda XR350R motorcycle that was built for hare-and-hound by an A&E licensed aircraft mechanic then never raced. This is a pristine, highly dependable air-cooled thumper with factory dual carburetors. (Many whine about the dual carbs, they are fundamental and not difficult to rebuild and sync, I'd be delighted to share details.) This engine starts on the first or second kick every time, hot or cold, and the four-valve technology makes it a kick-butt, fun and highly dependable motorcycle! Despite wife Donna's prodding about why I need more than one motorcycle, I've managed to keep this endearing motorcycle in the stable. All of our motor vehicles are paid for, and that has been the trend for us. We did buy the 2005 Ram new, the only vehicle in this batch that came off a dealer's lot. Each of the other vehicles was a "private party" purchase. We have enough funding left at the end of the day to buy the fuel, outdoor gear, fly fishing tackle, hunting paraphernalia and other outdoor lifestyle necessities. If being on a vehicle "cash footing" sounds appealing, these forums, the magazine and my Vimeo On Demand instructional videos can help you enjoy an affordable, motorized outdoor lifestyle! Moses
  6. Many members at these forums have shared stories about an older 4x4 that was "the best 4x4 they've ever owned". Some have suggested they would like to get that older vehicle back and restore it. Others have actually found the vehicle or a similar one, and the restoration process is underway. I have given a lot of thought to automotive restorations. Having done many professional motor vehicle restorations, including a string of mainstream 4x4 magazine projects, I have reached several conclusions about restoring older vehicles—and which 4x4s are worth restoring. I have rebuilt and mechanically restored models ranging from utility 4x4 trucks to high-end collectible cars, some with notable provenance and museum pedigrees. When do I restore an older 4x4 vehicle and for what reasons? Well, here we get more subjective, as there are many reasons why an older vehicle restoration can be worthwhile—and many motives for doing a restoration. Subjective is about opinions, and here, I would emphasize, are mine... When I was young, used vehicles had much appeal. Postwar Baby Boomers had parents who'd lived through the Great Depression. For many, a motor vehicle meant images from John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, those decades old cars and trucks that needed constant work. The 'fifties ushered in an era of American prosperity unrivaled in history, many had access to family-wage income, there were plentiful jobs, and extensive onshore manufacturing provided an unprecedented standard of living and consumer buying clout. New cars, trucks, homes, appliances (durable goods) and food seemed readily accessible to more Americans than ever. So impressive was that buying power and living standard, with short term low-interest loans and revolving credit to back it up, that the 'fifties and 'sixties have become the benchmark for America's "good old days". Not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I thought that used cars and trucks made great sense. As a budding motorhead, working on cars, trucks and motorcycles seemed just part of the fun! I quickly learned that shop manuals and literacy paid off, and my automotive projects had happy endings and satisfying results. My "academic" automotive bent has served me for a half-century now, and in that time, I've lived and breathed the American automotive culture down to the nuts and bolts! Yes, there are many good reasons for restoring an older vehicle. First, though, let's separate those vehicles that get restored for "nostalgic" and "collectible" value. Nostalgia and investment vehicles generally involve discretionary spending. Nostalgia projects have a wide range of motives, often unrelated to either transportation or the utility use of the vehicle. Instead, I'd like to focus on motor vehicles used for transportation, recreational pursuits or for work use. Let's begin by asking ourselves a basic question, "How much of my income and lifetime earnings do I want to invest in motor vehicle transportation or work vehicles?" Some argue that a new vehicle is essential or practical because it requires only a minimal need for service and repairs. So, let's look at what that so-called "peace of mind" is worth...When my folks bought the new 1964 Jeep CJ-5 with F134 engine, T98A truck four-speed transmission and 1/3-2/3 front seat, the price for that shiny new Jeep was $2300. An extra $300 or so bought a Whitco cloth top, Cutlass free-wheeling front hubs, a dealer installed Jeep heater, right side wiper and a drawbar hitch. Out the door, the Jeep 4x4 cost about $2700. Adult jobs at the time paid in the neighborhood of $3.50-$7 per hour. At that rate, a normal down payment and 15-20% of monthly income would handle a short term, low-interest rate new vehicle loan. (Add insurance, DMV fees, fuel and normal maintenance to that cost.) Moving along, my folks stepped up for a new Chevy K10 4x4 SWB pickup in 1970, equipped with 350 V-8, automatic transmission, power steering and heavy-duty rear bumper. Out-the-door price: $3700. Note: For a not so heartening look at our standard of living since 1970 (1973-74 was the peak of U.S. wage-earning prosperity), consider this information: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/the-uncomfortable-truth-about-american-wages/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0. If you can come up with a more glowing view or statistics, please share them. If you prefer a graphic view of income between 1964 and the present, this will help. Skeptical? Please challenge these U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics-based findings if you can. As a coincidence, just after the peak of U.S. real dollar wage earnings, the mid-'seventies saw a dramatic hike in new vehicle prices. As a heavy-equipment operator working on the I-80 bypass at Winnemucca, Nevada, I looked at a new high-boy 1976 Ford F250 Lariat 4x4 pickup, loaded with available equipment, in the fall of 1975. Dealer sticker price was near $4,600. In less than two years, that same truck would jump to $6000-plus. The rest is history, as we've watched similarly equipped trucks reach the $40,000-plus price range today. Keep in mind that all trucks and cars are new at the beginning, and as they say in the car business, "There's a butt for every seat." The concern here is what percentage of your income goes toward a motor vehicle, and for how long? Interest and financing now reach to 84 months in some cases. The renewed popularity of leasing hints about the growing inability for buyers to build equity from a new vehicle purchase. New vehicles, known to depreciate "like a rock", leave a low down payment, long term contract buyer without any equity or means for bailing out or trading off the vehicle—for many years. Note: Leasing moves new vehicles off the lot and also creates a resale market of more affordable lease turn-in vehicles. Consumer/leasers simply abandon the idea of vehicle "ownership" or building any kind of equity. Instead, they make leasing payments, much like an apartment or home renter. Some leases now include service and warranty coverage during the term of the lease. This makes the overall cost of operating a vehicle that much clearer. There's only the soaring cost of fuel to contend with...In a positive sense, at least the consumer can budget for the perpetual, never ending cost, in real dollars, of having an un-owned vehicle in the driveway or garage. So, fast forward to the present, what some now refer to as the post-Great Recession era economy. Average wages in real dollars are lower than ever, new vehicle costs are still high and climbing, and there's apparently no way to contain fuel costs. Yet we continue to depend upon motor vehicles for our transportation, work chores, leisure life and, let's admit it, status as Americans. Observation: When we lived at Southern California during the 1980s and mixed with virtual strangers at social gatherings, the three questions invariably thrown our way were: 1) "What do you do?" [the employment/income question] 2) "Where do you live?" [the real estate holdings question] and 3) "What do you drive?" [the most universal consumer status question]. New versus restored older vehicle? The lines between practicality, utility and basic human needs get blurred when status, cultural conditioning or the innocent fascination with all things mechanical get in the way. With motor vehicles, an additional consideration is your safety and well-being. Clearly, we do need to protect ourselves and our families from the perils of motoring, from unsafe and outdated technology, and from getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with an unreliable vehicle! To what lengths do we need to compensate for these threats? As informed consumers, we can discriminate between old, questionable technology and more modern, safer equipment. In my Jeep CJ Rebuilder's Manuals (1946-71 and 1972-86 editions, Bentley Publishers), I discuss and illustrate the conversion from an inadequate vintage Jeep 9-inch diameter drum brake system to modern four-wheel disc brakes with a safer dual master cylinder. Similarly, Saginaw steering and a one-piece tie-rod made this 1955 Jeep CJ-5 prototype safer. By knowing the difference, I was able to upgrade a vintage 4x4 1/4-ton utility truck for better performance on public roads, making the CJ more than a "parade vehicle". I also replaced the F-head four cylinder engine with a 231 Buick V-6 to keep safely up to speed with other highway traffic. Restoring an older 4x4 truck, one with a good foundation for performance, traction and safety, can be rewarding in a variety of ways. Restored to "as new" operating condition could cost a mere fraction of a new truck's pricing. If an older model will satisfy your utility, work chore, transportation, towing, on- and off-highway safety, driving pleasure and other needs, wouldn't this be a good choice? Well, maybe... For some, there are good reasons not to take the older restoration option: 1) not enough time to do the restoration, 2) the need to sublet nearly all the work, which can drive costs through the roof, 3) no place to perform the work, 4) inadequate tools for the job, and 5) lacking the necessary skills to perform safe, reliable, professional-grade work. This last point is the most critical reason to opt out of restoring an older 4x4 vehicle. The internet is a wonderful learning resource. There is good information available, and unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation as well. It has taken over 45 years of hands-on professional experience to learn what I know—and also where to look for the right information when I do not know. A clear sign of an unprofessional approach is to minimize a mechanical task or be dismissive about the need to research and find the right troubleshooting or mechanical steps needed to perform a task professionally. I can rebuild a newly designed, complex automatic transmission and expect professional results. How and why? By having the ability to research and follow professional procedures to assure safe, predictable and reliable results. When I taught automotive technology and drafted lesson plans, my aim was to enable the students to "think like a professional mechanic/technician". Each of my seven Bentley Publishers books targeted that goal. Unless a restorer is willing to invest time and energy in "thinking like a professional mechanic", the restoration project will be unsuccessful. Even with a one-shot, never again project, the outcome depends upon professional work habits, following professional steps and procedures, and thoroughly understanding these steps involved. This distinguishes professional grade work from hobby or shade-tree work. We're now in an era where an "older" 4x4 could have EFI, an electronically controlled transmission, a lock-up converter or ABS. There's no room for shade tree or shortcut tactics here. I am a strong advocate for restoring older vehicles and keeping them as safe and reliable as a newer one. If you're willing to raise the bar and professionalize your mechanical skills and work habits, the results can be financially rewarding, esteem building and satisfying. You will be less dependent upon others while meeting your transportation needs, and you will be far more self-reliant in the kinds of situations that a 4x4 light truck, SUV or Jeep® might find itself! Moses
  7. With our interest in traction and all things 4x4, you'll find this video both interesting and entertaining. It reminds us that "Cadillac Hill" on the Rubicon Trail was originally about touring cars and not lifted 4x4s with 37" tires: http://www.youtube.com/embed/nq2jY1trxqg?rel=0 Moses
  8. There are many suspension lift kits available for Jeep, 4WD truck and SUV models. Pricing can be shopped online, through catalogs and at local retailers. A wild card, however, is how much it will cost in labor time to have a shop install that lift kit. Or for that matter, a winch, armor, ARB Air Lock, an exhaust upgrade, you name it! The magazine's 2005 Ram 3500 Quad Cab 4WD sports a Mopar lift kit, Warn front bumper and M12000 winch, Mopar drop down running boards and a number of other accessories. I performed all of the work on this truck and would be glad to comment candidly on any labor involved. Does anyone have a "flat rate" schedule they would like to share with viewers? This would really help consumers make an informed decision when estimating the cost of modifying their 4x4 vehicles. If you installed a lift kit or accessories yourself, can you share your vehicle type and the labor time it took to install these products—and what kind of tools and equipment were necessary? Thanks! Moses
  9. Mounting oversized tires is common for Jeep, 4x4 truck and SUV models. Member Bamafan1 sent a question that begs attention. This is a general topic that has importance. There is a "trickle down effect" when running oversized tires...These issues have solutions... See Bamafan1's note below, my reply, and join the discussion! Moses
  10. Moses, can we post videos or a link to a video? I'd like to share my technical issues and think that video would be helpful. Forman
  11. I recently found this website: http://www.inrides.com/. They are a salvage auction clearing house. I know this idea won't be for everyone, but you might find a vehicle you may be interested in rebuilding, or even a parts vehicle, through them. The pic i attached is of a 1993 i got through them recently, and have plans to rebuild using another Dakota i have. The way the site works, you become a member, and then you bid on vehicles, and hope you are lucky enough not only to win the bid, but win it at a low price. For those of us lucky enough to live in a state where rebuilt vehicles can be retitled, it's another way of getting a desired vehicle cheap, as long as you are willing to put some work in it.
  12. I didn't think this would go in the new products, as this isn't really about new products, but about something i have found useful in the past, although they do sell wheel spacers and wheel adapters. The big thing i like about their site though, is they have a wheel bolt pattern database, that is quite extensive. If you go to their website, http://www.roadkillcustoms.com/ and look on either the right or left side of the home page, you will see a link to their bolt pattern database. The reason i find it useful is because i can go to it, put in any make and model, and not only does it show the factory bolt pattern, but on most makes it shows offset, as well as the diameter of the wheel's center hole, and the diameter and thread pitch of the lug studs, and if you scroll down past the adapters on the page that comes up, it will also show what other vehicles, even of different makes, that will match your vehicle. For example, my friend had a 2000 chrysler cirrus. He didn't like the look of the factory wheels, so we went to a u-pull yard, found a set of VW wheels that matched his car that he liked, checked roadkill customs to confirm the fit, so he bought these wheels and they bolted right up and fit nicely. Another place it is very useful, is say you go to your local wrecking yard, or u-pull yard, and see a set of wheels that you would like on your vehicle. Instead of buying them, finding out they wont fit your vehicle, and going through the hassle of a return, you can get on the roadkill website, and find out instantly if they will fit your vehicle or not.
  13. Members JJ_Jeep and biggman100 suggested that the magazine's shop projects could benefit from a difficulty ranking system...I'd like to incorporate that approach at the magazine and also when we share projects, service work and rebuilding chores at these forums. It needs to be a ranking system that is very clear, not generalized. We've all seen rankings that give, say, four levels of difficulty without much detail about the experience required for each. Tools needed will be a concern, however, the real issue is the skill level required. Would it be better to describe each project in a paragraph about its difficulty, or do folks prefer a scale or number system? If a scale, is there a recognized, universal pattern, or is the ranking system specific to each source? The information era is unique in that there is ready access to professional-level data. This in itself does not make us "professional", though. Just because the information is available does not mean we always need to act upon it. It's okay for a project/article or HD video to provide enough information for us to make an informed decision—in some cases that choice may be whether to plunge into the rebuild chores, buy a rebuilt or new parts assembly, or sublet the task to a professional shop. I like to use welding, torch cutting and brazing as examples: You can't teach these techniques strictly from a textbook. These are hand-to-eye coordination skills that require actual practice and experience. For those with experience, it's often much more effective to watch an HD video of a process than to "read about" the technique. The same applies with many mechanical skills, like using a hydraulic press, installing a seal or installing rods, pistons and insert bearings into a cylinder block. This is why we have service and skill trades, where professionalism can be cultivated over time through a learning process or apprenticeship. I'm open to suggestions about ranking methods and content. Want this to work for everyone! Moses
  14. I want to encourage others to become forum members. Joining these forums is free, and it is very easy to become a member, just as fast as becoming a member on any other website or forum! Moses Ludel, the publisher of the magazine and author of several books, has many years of valuable experience at professional repairs and maintenance. He has hands on, valuable experience at building magazine specialty vehicles for places like the Rubicon Trail and all-weather/all-terrain use—with lots of travel and back country experiences to share! Moses Ludel taught 4WD driving clinics for the Tread Lightly program, too. In becoming a member, you will find diverse yet on-topic conversations, ranging from old and new Jeep vehicles to GM, Ford, Dodge and Ram, Toyota and other 4WD trucks and SUVs. We also talk about off-road motorcycles, camping, outdoor lifestyle interests and even places to visit or have an adventure, whether it be for a day, or a week, or you are looking for a new place to move! I'm getting reliable information, professional advice, money saving tips, safety recommendations and, for the first time, practical and proven solutions that don't always involve spending a fortune. And when it's time to buy parts and aftermarket items, I'm making better choices and have confidence that the upgrades and accessories will actually work! Join us, you'll be doing yourself a huge favor, and we'd like your participation!
  15. In another post, i made mention of U-Pull and full service wrecking yards, which some may know about, and some may not, and i wanted to start a discussion about the pros and cons of buying new versus used. In a U-Pull yard, you pull the part yourself, ultimately saving money, but at the same time, finding the time to do so isn't always easy. Another advantage to a U-Pull yard, is from an experience standpoint. Not everyone knows how simple parts like alternators, starters and even brakes come off their vehicle. You can find that information, as well as tons on pics, and even step by step instructions, on this and other websites, but if you are like me, there is only so much you can learn from pics and reading instructions, before you have to actually get your hands dirty, and U-Pull yards are a good place for that. Before you go pulling parts off a vehicle in a salvage yard, or even your own vehicle, always think safety. You can be severely injured by not being cautious and paying attention to what you are doing. Some downsides to a U-Pull yard, though, are having the time to be able to go there and pull the part, often working around work and family schedules. Another downside is that whether it be a U-Pull or full service wrecking yard, you can't always be guaranteed the part will be any good, so you do have to be careful there. An upside though, is that you can usually find some really good deals on used parts, such as engines, transmissions, wheels, electrical components, and even body parts. Full service yards, on the other hand, will already have the part pulled, and on a shelf, ready to be purchased. This is handy for people who don't have the time for a U-Pull yard, but again, you have to be careful with what you purchase. Most full serve and U-Pull yards will do an initial inspection and run test of most major components, but that usually consists of letting the engine run a few minutes, and maybe engaging the transmission, but that is about it. Full serve yards, while still being cheaper than new, can still be considerably more expensive than a U-Pull yard. One useful advantage to a U-Pull or even a full serve yard is in the form of major components, such as engines, transmissions, and axles. Not everyone has the money to buy a reman engine or transmission. This is where buying used can solve two problems: It gives you a useable, rebuildable replacement part that you can then take to the shop of your choice to have the work done, and you can save money over new or reman parts. There are, however, certain parts i would never buy used for safety reasons, such as brake components, steering components, and some suspension components, because you don't know how the previous owner took care of the vehicle. Once cleaned, a part may look as new on the outside, but that doesn't mean it really is. One thing i would like to add, before i get into new parts, is about rebuilding a used part. Unless you have experience in this area, let the shop do it. It isn't worth buying a $200 engine, putting $600 or more in the parts to rebuild it, only to have it blow up in a day. The upside to buying a used part, and having it rebuilt by someone with experience, is that you then know what you have, and it should last many miles. Once you have your used part, before any work is done, that is the time to think about any add-ons, performance upgrades, or chrome accessories you may wish to have. There are some very good sources in the magazine for those parts. Now, on to reman parts, while being worth the money in many ways, there are also drawbacks as well. Most major reman parts, such as engines, transmissions, and axles, come with a warranty, that even a rebuilt used part usually doesn't have. They are more expensive than used, but they also come with peace of mind, when installed and broken-in properly. If you look through some of the parts suppliers in the magazine, you will usually see that information posted in the description of the part. A downside to the warranty, though, is it can be made invalid if they suspect the part has been installed incorrectly or abused in any way, so read the warranty information very carefully. Another upside, at least for some people, is you don't have to crawl around a wrecking yard that may be muddy or have nasty insects and even snakes and other creatures to watch out for. The two downsides i have seen to major reman parts can be the cost, as some parts are very expensive, and the wait time. Some parts, such as engines and transmissions, usually have to be ordered by the parts store, or the dealer, and can have ridiculously long in transit wait time's. I have seen engines take as long as a month to get to the parts store. Another disadvantage, is that most places will order those parts, but you have to pick them up at their shop, they normally won't deliver them to your house. One big advantage, though, from what i understand, is most major parts, even for a vehicle less than 5 years old, are only available as a reman unless the part is also offered as a "crate" option. Now, on to new parts. I mainly bring this up for what i consider maintenance and frequently replaced parts, such as brake parts, suspension parts, and steering parts. This is one of those where trying to save a few dollars isn't worth the potential problems. When it comes to those parts, whether you buy them at your local parts store or from the advertisers in the magazine, or even online discount suppliers, always buy new, and only buy quality parts. There is no point in trying to save a little bit on a ball joint, or tie rod end, or even brake pads or shoes, only to have the component fail and cause major damage or an accident. Electrical components, such as ignition modules, starters, and alternators, and even wiring are another place where new is always better. There is nothing worse than coming outside, in extremely hot or very cold weather, only to find your vehicle won't start, and trace it to the reman starter you bought a month ago, or be on the trail and have the battery die, with ten vehicles behind you, and find the reman alternator you bought a few weeks ago quit when it was needed most. I'm not trying to put anyone down here, so please don't take offense, it is just that both of those scenarios have happened to me in the past, and i know from experience how spending a few more dollars would have been worth it. And if you have luck like mine, the part you least expect will be the one to fail!
  16. Your father-in-law is a great model for your kids, biggman100! Completing two Iditarod events works for me! I like his canoeing and other interests, right up my alley, I grew up with an Old Town wood and canvas canoe. Arctic Man sounds like my friend Cody Lundin (Discovery Dual Survival co-star). I met Cody while conducting one of my Jeep/Mopar Tent workshops at Camp Jeep. He was easy to spot, the only adult at Branson, MO with pigtail braids and bare feet. We became fast friends when he shared that his total tool assortment for his 200K mile Jeep CJ7 would fit into a fishing tackle box. Cody and I co-conducted a workshop at Nevada on four-wheel driving survival and on-the-ground aboriginal skills. This was a few years before the "Dual Survival" opportunity came up for Cody. He's done some very interesting work, including a Paleo-Ice Age winter living simulation at the Grand Tetons for National Geographic. If you need someone to catch fish with his bare hands, Cody's the guy! I am bent on making the outdoors accessible and much a part of our youngest grandson's life, he's a "paleo guy", too, totally absorbed in Nature at the age of 17-months, tracking birds and anything else we point out. A fellow said the other day, when I was describing how much our youngest grandson likes the natural world, "Your best legacy for that child is sharing the outdoors." My sentiments, exactly! We each have friends and mentors...July 15th, I lost my good friend from the Alaska trip days, he was the real deal cowboy: Carson City lost a local legend this week, Bob "Bear" Stutsman. As a construction worker, truck mechanic and heavy equipment operator in the early through mid-'seventies, I knew a lot of interesting people. Bob was way up that list. We did the Alaska Highway in 1975, 'wheeling a '66 4x4 I-H Travelall with an ancient camp trailer in tow. Sharing humor and the untamed wild country from British Columbia and the Yukon down to the Kenai, that trip always stands out... Whether point shooting tossed pine cones with a vintage lever action Winchester, cowboy fast drawing with .44 Ruger single action pistols and live ammunition, taming horses or quickly settling a dispute, Bob was the real deal—and most memorably, my friend. Here's a glimpse of Bob in his later "career", part of a life led large: http://www.lasvegass...o-a-bygone-era/. "Colorful friends" and relatives make a difference. Moses
  17. You made a comment about how, when we are resourceful, anything can be done affordably. I would like to add to that. With 3 small children, and not a lot of extra funds to mess with most of the time, we have learned quite a few ways to make any adventure affordable, but i have noticed, more and more, that attendance at most of the things we do has been dwindling, and most people say its because they cant afford it. I think what we need to do, without adding more to your busy day, is to show people ways that they can do things without spending their whole weeks pay. Some tips i have found for doing things without spending a fortune, are things like fuel, for starters, and food. What we usually do, instead of filling the tank at home, and then filling it again when we get where we are going, because a lot of the time, like our recent Adirondacks camping trip for example, we find that some places fuel prices are astronomical. When we went to the Adirondacks, we filled up before we left home at $3.95 a gallon, but when we got about 20 miles from our destination, i saw prices that were almost $5.00 in places, which to me is just crazy, so what we do is fill up when we leave home, and then fill up again when we get to around a 1/2 a tank, or when we are within 50 miles of our destination. People say to me all the time, like our recent trip, it didn't take a full tank to get here, so why did you fill up before you got here? The reason is simple, this way you have enough fuel to do any sightseeing, and still have enough left to at least get to where prices may be cheaper, and avoid paying the higher rates. Another one is with food. We usually have a pretty good idea how much we will need food wise, and we usually stock up before we leave because that is another thing that the closer you get to a popular destination, the more expensive it is. Those tips are good for a trip involving a few days. For a couple on a one day trip or maybe overnight, they are still useable, but you wont need as many supplies. It isn't just food we try to get at home either, but things like batteries, medical supplies, anything that is essential for any trip. The best part is, getting the stuff at home, you know where you are going to get the best bargains as well. On a trip, you are at the mercy of a GPS, or someone local, who may not care that you are shopping for the best price. Something i have found on long trips, that is a true time and money saver, are sites like www.gasbuddy.com. They show local gas prices for your planned destination, and most of the time who has the best price, anywhere in the country. That way if you are going somewhere that you need to fill up more than once, you have that information ahead of time. I know my two biggest tips are saving fuel, but to most people i talk to, that and lodging are the 2 biggest expenses to any trip. Speaking of lodging, even if you have very small children, and the initial outlay is sometimes expensive, unless you are handy and can do repairs yourself, don't overlook pop up style campers. If you are handy, then you can sometimes get them needing minor repairs for a fair price. I know sometimes the initial set up when you get to your destination can be a pain, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. The other upside is, they can be towed safely behind smaller SUV's, as long as it is done properly, without any problems. Our last 2 camping trips, we took our camper, and stayed at campgrounds, and both trips combined, cost us less than two night's in a hotel. Even the extra we paid in fuel to tow the camper was negligible compared to a hotel or motel room. And if you can survive without things like electric hookup for a few days, you can rent camp sites for as little as $20 to $30 a night, and most campgrounds have weekly rates that knock some off the price of renting by the night. And if you do have to have electric hook up, most campgrounds can accommodate that for only a few dollars more. Another advantage to a small pop up camper, as my wife just reminded me, is that some larger department stores, such as walmart, will sometimes, in a pinch, let you set up for a night in their parking lot. I know that isn't the ideal camping place, but a few years ago, i thought i could drive straight through to Florida from NY, and, needless to say, somewhere in North Carolina, i had gotten too tired to drive, and so was my wife, and we set up in a walmart at around 11 at night, because all the nearest campgrounds were closed by then, and spent the night in the camper, and got back on the road the next morning.
  18. Hi, Moses, I had an old AMC Corcord York 210 A/C turned into onboard air for my CJ-7 Jeep. The air supply worked great for years. I thought I killed it, so I swapped it out. I think I let the oil run dry on the old one, and it was running even with the power cut. Now I don't hear the clutch kick in when I add power to it. How do I know if this clutch is good? I hope this one is good. I added oil and it turns and makes a pumping sound.
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