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Month: March 2016

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and Grand Cherokee Summit

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and Grand Cherokee Summit

Having just been refreshed in 2016, FCA recently announced two new models to the Grand Cherokee for ‘17. The first, while welcomed, Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is no real surprise. The second, Grand Cherokee Summit as even more luxury to an already plush SUV.


2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

The “Trailhawk” name was first used on a concept car at the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari; the actual Trailhawk appeared in 2013, on a more capable Grand Cherokee. The company created a tougher course for testing it, dubbed the Trailhawk course, as one might expect. The name was then used for the most off-road-ready Jeep Cherokee and Renegade.

The 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has standard skid plates, a retuned Quadra-Lift air suspension for better articulation and suspension travel, the Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system with a rear electronic limited-slip differential, and the usual Selec-Speed Control with Hill Ascent Control. The hood decal was designed to reduce glare and was also used on the 2013s.

Buyers have a choice of all of Grand Cherokee’s three engines: the newly upgraded V6, the 5.7 Hemi, and the diesel, whose fine 420 pound-feet of torque come in quite low, making for good off-road capability and towing, though not the best acceleration.

Ground clearance is oddly measured in the SAE standards; it does not go to the lowest point of the car. The official number for the Trailhawk remains unchanged, at 10.8 inches. It’s 11.1 inches at the rear axle, 9.7 at the front, and 10.7 at the fuel tank.

The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk uses the front fascia and grille from the 2016 Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary edition, signature red tow hooks in the front and rear, 18-inch (or optional 20-inch) Goodyear Adventure off-road tires with Kevlar reinforcement, new red-accented badges, mirror caps, and a roof rack.

Inside, Trailhawks have a black interior with leather and suede seats, red accent stitching, a gun-metal finish on all painted interior parts, and a standard 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen. This has updated off-road pages showing wheel articulation, suspension height, 4×4 and Selec-Terrain modes, and such.

Paints will be Redline, silver, white, Rhino, Granite Crystal, Velvet Red, and black. Owners can tow up to 6,200 pounds with the gasoline V6, or up to 7,400 with the diesel or V8.

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit

The most well-trimmed big Jeep, the 2017 Grand Cherokee Summit has an updated front fascia, grille, and LED fog lamps, with new 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.

New for the Jeep Grand Cherokee are lane departure warning, parallel parking assistance, and perpendicular parking assistance. The Summit continues to get auto-folding power mirrors, headlamp washers, blind spot detection, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control.

Summit V6 buyers get a perfect 50/50 weight distribution — 51/49 with the 4×4 option. Even with the Hemi Trailhawk, the weight distribution is 54/46.

The new full-wrap Laguna leather interior has four color schemes, including Indigo-and-Ski-Gray, black, brown, and dark Sienna brown. The full leather interior has a Nappa leather-wrapped dashboard, center console and door panels, and Laguna leather seats with edge welting.

All Summits come with a suede premium headliner, lighted door sill, acoustic windshield and full side glass, Active Noise Cancellation, and Berber carpet mats. The Summit continues to use 19-speaker, 825-watt Harman Kardon “GreenEdge” audio system, which drives nine tweeters, five mid-range speakers, two mid-range woofers, and 3 subwoofers from a 12-channel Class D amplifier.

The Summit’s 4×4 system uses Quadra-Drive II, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, an air suspension, and Selec-Speed Control. Colors are Light Brown Stone, True Blue, white, Ivory Pearl, Granite Crystal, Velvet Red, black, and brown. Buyers can pick the gasoline or diesel V6 engines with rear wheel drive; 4×4 buyers can get the gasoline and diesel V6, or the Hemi V8. Owners can tow up to 6,200 pounds with the gasoline V6, up to 7,400 with the diesel and rear-drive, or up to 7,200 pounds with the 4×4 and diesel or V8.

Common to both 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokees

In 2016, fuel economy was boosted on both the V6 and V8 SUVs (not on the SRT) through lighter weight and other measures. The V6 came with a stop-start system, increasing real world mileage for most drivers. Overall, buyers of the diesel gained 1 mpg city; buyers of the gasoline V6 gained 2 mpg city, 1 mpg highway with rear drive, and 1 mpg city with AWD. The V6 went up from 290 to 295 horsepower.

Selec-Terrain terrain management system and Selec-Speed Control
The Selec-Terrain™ traction control system coordinates throttle control, shifting, the transfer case, stability control, hill descent control, and related systems on 4x4s. Its positions are:

Automatic with torque split at around 40/60 front/rear
Sand, Mud, and Snow (three separate options): traction control and lift are more sensitive to wheel spin, and torque is tuned for each particular surface’s attributes; there is a targeted 50/50 torque split
Rock: The suspension goes to its full height and the transfer case, differentials, and throttle coordinate to provide low-speed control; there is around a 50/50 torque split
Trailhawk Select-Trac control

Selec-Speed Control allows the driver to control the rate of hill ascent and descent without having to touch the pedals, for difficult off-road situations.
The 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and Summit will be sold in late summer.


Many of you know I have begun the search for my next work vehicle, and while I have zeroed in on the Cherokee Trailhawk, I have to admit the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk does open my sights a bit, especially with the towing capability and potential to haul one of our other Jeeps on our longer trips.

This said, I am not sure there are enough added benefits to overcome the price jump when comparing this Jeep to its younger sibling (at least for us).
Still, I’m happy to see both of these trim levels added to the Grand Cherokee and look forward to seeing them out and about.

Tell us what your thoughts are!

 


Source:

What tools and gear do we carry on the trail?

What tools and gear do we carry on the trail?

SSS and I get asked all the time; What tools and gear do you recommend for the trail? Our answer is always more complicated than we think people really want to hear…

Sure, there are some foundation items that everyone should have, but how elaborate you get really depends on your rig, your uses, and you. Every time we are out and a need arose for tools and/or parts,  we have finished with a desire to add something else to our “kit”. This said, at some point you run out of storage capability and, even if you have room, you are carrying a ton of extra weight.

No matter how you look at it, what you carry on the trail eventually becomes a gamble. How much risk there is and how prepared  you want to be to handle it is a personal matter. For us, we lead several rides a year with some of them for new off-roaders that are often using 4LO for the first time. We don’t expect them to be carrying tools or parts, so we do our best to take on that responsibility. When we are wheeling tougher terrain we are usually with friends that are equally prepared. This is nice because what you may have forgot or don’t have is often in another Jeep. Just don’t be “that guy or gal” that wheels the snot out of your rig and doesn’t have a single tool or part.

With all that said, we have found storage and weight is the largest deciding factor on what you do or do not carry. So, before you start throwing tools and parts in the Jeep, give some consideration to how the items will be stored and, more importantly, secured. The last thing you want is to have something become a projectile while bouncing around on the trail.

We have an ORV Stealth Shelf in the back of Dirty (our JKU). It is a raised deck in the rear that includes some really nice storage bags where you can organize things as well as secure them. It also relocates the Sub-woofer to underneath and in the middle of the deck. The sides allow for extra storage for items that are not needed as frequently. The image below is the contents of our average trail pack in their storage bags and containers.

At a glance, it might not look like this is very much but once unpacked and spread out for inventory you can see there is actually quite a lot of stuff.

So, to answer the question “What tools and gear do you recommend for the trail?”… Here is the list as it currently stands. Keep in mind we are always adding and adapting our trail gear to suit our ever changing needs.

Tools
#1 Phillips Screwdriver (2)
#2 Phillips Screwdriver (2)
6″ Pliers
Small Channel-lock Plier
Medium Channel-lock Plier
Large Channel-lock Plier
Snap Ring Pliers
Diagonal Cutters
Needle-Nose Pliers
6″ Adjustable Wrench
8″ Adjustable Wrench
10″ Adjustable Wrench
12″ Adjustable Wrench
8″ Adjustable Wrench (Large Mouth)
Valve Stem Installer
Standard Wrenches (1/4″ – 3/4″)
Metric Wrenches (10mm – 21mm)
Complete 1/4″ drive socket and ratchet set
Complete 3/8″ drive socket and ratchet set
1/2″ drive 6″ extension
1/2″ drive breaker bar
1/2″ drive deep 19mm socket
1/2″ drive deep 21mm socket
1/2″ drive 36mm axle nut socket
1/2″ Drive Torque Wrench
3 lb Hammer
4″ Pry Bar
8″ Pry Bar
12″ Pry Bar
TRE/Ball Joint Separator
Small magnetic flashlight/work light
Small flashlight
Jumper Cables
6010 and 7018 welding rods
Welding goggles
Cable to join two batteries (for welding)
Battery Grinder
1/2″ Battery Impact
Batteries for tools (2)
Cut-off wheel (2)
Grinding Disk
Air Hose (tire fill)
Digital Tire gauge (2)
Tire Deflators
5 gallon spill kit
Block for scissor jack
6 Ton Bottle Jack
Jack Stand
1 lb Halotron Fire Extinguisher
2.5 lb Halotron Fire Extinguisher
Funnel
Parts
Lug Nuts (5)
Valve Stems (2)
Valve Stem Caps (4)
Tire repair Kit
Duct Tape
Lots of Zip-ties in varying sizes
Axle Tube Plugs (3)
Electrical Tape
Rubber Tape (Hose repair)
1310 U-Joint
1310 U-Joint straps
1350 U-Joint
1350 U-Joint straps
Fuse Assortment
Ball Joint covers (2)
Caps/Plugs for Hydraulic assist system
ARB air hose
ARB air hose coupler (2)
Wheel Speed Sensor (JK) (Front)
Brake hose/line 28″ (JK)
1″ Ratchet Straps (2)
1.5″ Ratchet Strap
Axle Straps (2)
Fluids
Small can of WD-40
Large bottle of brake fluid
16oz. Bottle of Power Steering Fluid (3)
Quart Motor Oil (3)
Quart Gear Oil (75W-90)
Quart Lucas Oil Stabilizer (gear oil)
Quart Synchromesh (transmission fluid)
Gallon premixed coolant
Personal / Hygiene
Rubber Gloves (3 pair)
Trash Bags (3)
Toilet Paper
Biffy Bags / Portable Toilet (3)
Wind-up flashlight
Paper Towels (~1/4 roll)
Towels (2)
Small Tarp (9×12)
First Aid Kit
Roadside Safety Kit (Flares/Safety Vest/Signs)
Recovery
3″x30′ Recovery Strap
2″x30′ Recovery Strap
2″x8′ Recovery Strap / Tree Saver
3″x3′ Tree Saver (2)
Snatch Blocks (2)
50′ Winch Extension Rope
Several D-Rings/Clevis (at least 4)
Remote Winch controller
Standard Winch Controller

We understand this list may overwhelm some… Don’t let it. Just look it over and digest what is there. Inevitably, some things will jump out at you as items you feel you should add now. The more you get out, the more you will get a feeling for the items that you should have. It can take some time to get your personal trail kit dialed in. In truth, and much like the Jeeps we cherish, they are never really complete or perfect.

Have a question about an item on our list? Think we left something out? Feel free to comment… we would love to hear from you!

JK/JKU (Auto) EVO ProTek Skid System Installation

JK/JKU (Auto) EVO ProTek Skid System Installation

I guess this may be a little out of order since we already did a review of the EVO ProTek Skid System….But, we had the opportunity to help a friend with the install of hers and thought it was a good opportunity for an install article. We have installed a few manual transmission versions but this was our first automatic. As with typical EVO fashion, their directions sometimes leave some items to the imagination. I think this is because the guys over at EVO are such good fabricators that they sometimes forget how some things that seem so obvious to them aren’t to the average shade-tree mechanic. In truth, we did deviate from their directions (and noted it when we did) so it didn’t matter anyway.

Please note: We went ahead and altered the cross-member skid as we mention in our review of this system before the installation.

Let’s get started….

You’ll need to remove the factory cross bar (2 bolts to be reused) and transfer case skid plate (4 bolts also reused). The skid plate will be re-installed after the new skids are on. Also remove the 2 gas tank skid to cross member bolts and the nut for the driver’s side lower control arm (LCA) at the frame.

We are going to start with the oil pan skid since the others build off of it. The EVO directions recommend draining the engine oil in case the pan comes off. This is a good suggestion, but a step we have never done. This said, at the minimum, do this when the engine is cold. Remove the 6mm bolts (10mm head/nut) and 2 nuts that hold the oil pan to the engine.

Once all are removed, slide the EVO oil pan skid over the factory pan an hold it in place while you start the two corner nuts by hand. You don’t want to bump the oil pan since it is only being held on by the RTV silicone sealant. Start the remaining bolts all by hand. Tighten the nuts and bolts in a star pattern around the skid so that it is evenly tightened against the engine. Torque the ones you can to 85 in/lbs and tighten the others to approximately the same amount of effort. It is important to have all of them equally tight. A crow’s foot will allow you to torque all of the bolts/nuts, but be sure you calculate how the crow’s foot effects torque and make adjustments as necessary.

Next, remove the 2 transmission mount nuts (16mm). They are a tad difficult to access but can be done. This is where we deviate from the EVO directions…For an automatic, they want you to remove the nuts and lift the transfer case up enough for the new transmission skid to be installed under the factory mount plate. We felt this would slightly change the angle of the transmission and cause additional work when it comes time to service the automatic transmission. So, we placed the transmission skid on top of the plate. The L-bracket is positioned with the round hole on the plate bolt and the slotted hole towards the skid as shown below.

Insert the bolts from the bottom with a washer on both sides at the oil pan and hand tighten them. Once all bolts are started, tightening the two factory nuts to 37 ft/lbs. Then, tighten the 3 supplied bolts to 60 ft/lbs.

Now you are ready to install the big transmission cross member and exhaust skid. This one runs from frame rail to frame rail so you may need a second pair of hands to start a couple of the bolts while it is held in place. Slide the plate onto the LCA bolt and start the nut a few threads. Then you can swing it up to the cross member and start all of the other bolts by hand before tightening just in case it needs to be coerced into position for better alignment. Don’t tighten these bolts until after the next step since two of the factory transfer skid bolts go through this new skid.

At this time, the factory transfer skid can be re-installed. Again, you may need a second pair of hands in order to start some of the bolts while it is held up.

Once these are started, you can tighten the new cross member and factory transfer skid plate bolts to 80 ft/lbs and the LCA nut to 125 ft/lbs.

…and you are done!!

JCR Offroad Crusader Sliders Install (JK)

JCR Offroad Crusader Sliders Install (JK)

Let me first say, this is not a typical install article as we did not actually finish the install. While we did get it through the sketchy part and the test fit is complete, the Jeep owner Scott (AKA Pigpen) will be painting and completing the install later. Hopefully, he will share those steps and pictures with us for future posts.

Before I begin, I have to share that this isn’t our first JCR Offroad product install. To be completely honest, not one of these installs has gone completely smooth. In fact, if it were not for us genuinely liking these guys, we would likely not do any further business with them. Still, with each of our issues, they have truly gone above and beyond to make things right.

This was again the case here. You see, Pigpen actually purchased these sliders late last summer and had them shipped to our place. Sadly, due to our inability to get together and then the approaching winter, we held off on install until this spring. In an effort to keep the bare steel from getting too much surface rust, we left them wrapped up and in their boxes. Then, in a rookie move, we failed to open the boxes to check everything over prior to Pigpen driving the eight hours from his place to ours. To add to this already doomed scenario, I made the statement, “You know, I haven’t even checked the boxes, I sure hope everything is there” just before went to work opening the boxes. Sure enough…. the hardware was missing. If it were all just nuts and bolts, I likely would’ve had it covered. The trouble was we didn’t have the rivnuts (nutserts) and they aren’t something you are just going to roll into the average hardware store to score.

In an act of near desperation, I messaged Brian with JCR. It took only seconds for him to respond and express empathy. More importantly, I could tell out of the gate he was trying to figure out how to help us. After a few back-and-forth messages, the plan was to meet the JCR shipping manager half way between our place and the JCR shop (4.5 hours one way).

Forty minutes into the drive, we heard from the manager who was also in route. We figured out that we would arrive at the meeting spot within fifteen minutes of one another. We arrived within minutes of our ETA. Then, after about thirty minutes of waiting, I texted to check on their status. It seemed he needed to fill up with gas and hit some traffic (on a Saturday afternoon?). He finally arrived an hour-and-a-half after his ETA, but we were just happy to see him and get the parts. This joy was quickly shed when he was pretty quick to announce that we were still short some of the needed hardware. He assured us that the missing nut/clips could be found at any automotive part store but I suspect his tardiness was due to him stopping at several in an attempt to get them himself. The silver lining is that he thought we were working on a 4-door and Pigpen’s Jeep is a 2-door. So, the hardware he did score was sufficient to do what we needed. Still, I was dumfounded that he thought it was okay to arrive without all the hardware he believed we needed given the circumstances.

Now, I don’t want this to sound like a bitch or slam on JCR Offroad. We are all human and it was pretty amazing to me that they were willing to put someone in a car and drive our hardware to us. I honestly feel most other manufacturers would say, “My bad, I’ll send you the hardware on Monday” and be done with us. That’s IF they replied at all on a weekend. Furthermore, if you ever get the opportunity to meet any of the JCR crew, as we have, you would understand why situations like this are easy to turn a blind eye to. Having said this…. make sure you check your stuff before you plan an install party.

Now, with that out of the way…. Let’s get going on this (now late afternoon) install.


Begin by removing any step or slider that is already on the Jeep. Then, remove the two body bolts (one near the front tire opening and one near the rear tire opening) with an 18mm socket. If you have an impact, use it as the rubberized mount can make standard ratchet/wrench removal difficult. You should also clean the rocker area well.

Next, apply some masking tape around where the rocker guards will be installed. It doesn’t really take much. It is only there to help prevent scratching the paint from the banging and sliding of the armor during alignment and test installation.

Then, temporarily bolt the rocker armor to the slider. Hold this up to the Jeep to ensure the body bolts line up with the mounts while the door cut-out is aligned into position. Once this is verified, you can unbolt the slider from the rocker armor.

Realign the rocker armor into position and mark one upper hole on each side of the door with a marker. I personally prefer to use the inner holes (ones closer to the door opening) as there is less body curve pulling the armor away. It can be tricky to hold the rocker armor in place while these holes are marked. This will likely take at least two people. Take your time and ask for another hand if you even think you can use it. If you mess up, here you are done for.

It’s time to drill but don’t just go for the massive 17/32” drill bit. It is best to work your way up to it slowly. I like to begin with a 3/32” centering drill bit and work my way up in drill sizes never skipping more than two sizes. Yes, this takes a bunch of time, but the JK body is very thin and it doesn’t take much for a large bit to triangulate the hole or move causing the Rivnut to improperly crimp or be in the wrong place.

Keeping track of the drill steps can be tricky…. I didn’t think this was that big of a deal, but I grabbed a piece of the packing material and poked the drills into it in the order I would use them to help me keep it straight. Pigpen demanded I share this, so here it is.

Pull any tape away from the newly drilled holes if they have a bunch of metal shavings stuck in it. Ours sure did….

Before you install the Rivnuts, I like to either paint or primer the freshly drilled metal. To do this, I use a small hobby brush and spray a little spray paint into the cap to use as a bowl. It won’t take much, just a squirt or two. It’s tough to see, but this hole has been primed.

The next step is to install the Rivnut. If you have never done this, ask JCR to send you a few extra so you can practice on some scrap metal. It can be a bit tricky to get the hang of, especially if using the “tool” they include as it is really just a nut and bolt. I have a few types of Rivnut tools, a hand one that I really like for smaller Rivnuts and a bigger one like THIS that I like for large ones. No matter what tool you are using, practice, practice, practice. They are not easy to undo if you mess one up.

Another rust prevention step I like to take is to apply a small bead of silicone around the Rivnut prior to installation into the hole. Then, once the crimp is complete there is a nice bead around the Rivnut to seal it. Once done it should look like this.

Once these first two Rivnuts are installed, you can bolt up the rocker armor and mark all of the remaining hole locations.

After all the hole locations are marked, remove the armor and it’s time to drill…. and drill…. and drill some more.

This is a VERY tedious process. Take your time and stay focused. It is very easy for a drill bit to bite hard and work sideways acting like a nibbler. Always have a grip on the drill like it’s about to kick.

So, you think the tediousness is over once you’ve drilled the holes, huh? WRONG! Now it’s time to paint or prime the metal as before and install the Rivnuts.

Now, it’s time to test fit one more time. Be sure you use lots of anti-seize on the bolts. The stainless threads are pretty soft and it doesn’t take much to gall. The last thing you want to do is ruin the Rivnut now! The dissimilar metals will also have a tendency to seize with age.

That’s it…. The test fit (for this side) is done. It’s time to take it off and move to the other side and repeat the process. Then, paint and final assembly. As I mentioned however, we sent Pigpen packing at this point and he is flying solo for these last steps.

I have been a fan of the second generation crusader sliders since they were released and, now having seen them in person, I only want them more. Hopefully, this information will help you with the installation should you now be looking at them to make a void in your wallet.

 


 

You can see the finished product in action toward the tail end of our ’16 Fall Closer Run video below. He did a great job painting and reinstalling them. We are digging the MW3 green!

 

 

Why a lighter tire doesn’t justify going bigger.

Why a lighter tire doesn’t justify going bigger.

Like every addicted Jeeper, you are internet shopping for tires even though you have no intention of actually buying any at that moment. You labor over every brand and every specification. Then, you notice something, some tires weigh more than others. In fact, in some brands, a 37” tire weighs less than another’s 35”. Before you know it, you have formulated the idea that jumping to the next size tire will be okay because that next size weighs less than another brand of a smaller size. There is no need to upgrade axles, add hydraulic assist, or anything else…. The weight savings alone resolves all, right? As much as I wish this were true, sadly, it isn’t.

You see, the need for axle, drive-line, and steering improvements isn’t driven nearly as much by the weight of the rubber on the corners but instead by their diameter. Sure, more or less unsprung weight will change the way the rig handles, but it doesn’t help or hurt the real problem as much as you would think.

This is because the real problem is inertia. In order to calculate the rotational inertia of a wheel/tire combo you need to know two things. The first is the mass (or weight) of the combination, and the second is the radius (½ the diameter). Then, you multiply the mass by the square of the radius (I = m * r^2). It is this square of the radius that by far drives the inertia. Once you have the inertia of an object, you can calculate how much torque is needed to accelerate it at a given rate.

Before you shut down on me, I have just a few more things I need to mention before I get to the meat of the topic in “Cliff’s Notes” form.

For the purposes of this comparison, I will use the 0-60 acceleration time of a completely stock Jeep with 31” tires as a torque base-line. Then, I calculated the required torque increase (in percentage) needed to accelerate several tires at the same rate. This is expressed in the chart below. The blue columns represent the lightest tire I could find of that size and the red bit on top is the heaviest tire in that size.

 

 

It shouldn’t take you to long to see that the biggest factor, as mentioned, is the tire size itself and then the weight. There simply is no comparing the needed torque of the heaviest tire of a smaller size to the lightest tire of the next size up.

I’m not trying to talk you out of those big tire dreams, just informing you on why it’s a bad idea until other groundwork and beefing up takes place to handle the stresses that come along with it.

….and yes, you are reading the chart correctly. A 37” tire requires approximately 75% more torque to accelerate it at the same rate as a 31” tire. This is why gearing becomes such an important consideration when increasing tire size. But I will get into that in another article. 😉

Pickett Trail Ride with Jeeps and Wrenches

Pickett Trail Ride with Jeeps and Wrenches

I’m not sure exactly how Facebook works or how it decides to put things on people’s timeline feed, but recently a trail ride invite popped up on ours for Pickett State Park in Tennessee. As I scrolled through the invited list, I didn’t see a single person we knew. Still, Alana and I had been wanting to check out this area and absolutely love meeting and wheeling with new people. So, after a dinner discussion, we decided we were in.

The trip to the morning meeting point was right about five hours, so we decided to make most of the drive down the night before. The following morning’s drive into Jamestown, TN was absolutely gorgeous and would set the tone for an amazing day.

When we arrived at the rendezvous point, we were a bit concerned that no one else was there… This soon passed when we grabbed our phones to check Facebook to verify the meet time. It seemed we had just dropped into Central Standard Time and were a full hour early!

Soon people would begin to arrive. It was in these first moments we learned the ride was being put on by a local club called Jeeps and Wrenches. We actually had no idea who was organizing the run…. We have found most Jeepers are awesome people and, when you mix in a bit of good-old southern hospitality, this group would be no different. It only took a few minutes and we were all gabbing like we’d been friends our entire lives.

After a short drive from the meeting spot, we would convoy out to the park.


Photo Credit: Rosa Silcox

I’m not exactly sure what the total number of rigs was, but I considered it a really good showing! Initially, we would break up into two groups, but about half way through the day we all got back together.

Unfortunately, the twenty percent chance for rain happened during ninety percent of the photo opportunities! So, while I took a ton of pictures, only a few really turned out nice and was absent water spots.

As the day neared end, a smaller group decided to make a run for a trail/area known as “Car Hauler”. But as GIANT mud holes, that would have to be passed again on the return trip, swallowed the initial attempters, we decided to cut our losses and call “enough-is-enough” to make the long return trip back. Here is another picture by Rosa Silcox that simply doesn’t do justice to the bottomlessness of the holes.


Photo Credit: Rosa Silcox

I hadn’t realized just how far back in the woods we had worked ourselves, but the nearly two-hour haul back in the dark was justification enough to me that we made the right call.

On our way back out, Alana and I decided that it just wasn’t safe to make a full drive home as originally intended. As soon as we had cell service and data, we would book a hotel room about an hour toward home.

I can’t say enough positives about the group we had the privilege to meet and wheel with. If you ever have the opportunity to wheel with either Jeeps and Wrenches or Jeep Freaks (who also attended), do it as you are sure to have a great time! We certainly can’t wait until we get the chance to see them again.

 

 

PSC Anti-Splash

PSC Anti-Splash

I haven’t updated in a while because, well honestly, we don’t tend to do too much in the winter. However, in the last couple of weeks I installed a PSC pump and reservoir, and a RIPP Cold air intake. Then, just moments ago I got PSC’s new Remote Anti-Splash Vent installed. I had to make a quick bracket that will will have to make due with a WD40 wipe for now as WE ARE WHEELING THIS WEEKEND….. Woot-Woot!

 

Jeep Concepts at EJS-16?

Jeep Concepts at EJS-16?

As usual, Jeep will be bringing a host of concepts to Easter Jeep Safari. While some have been around for a bit, I still love looking at them and pondering what features we may see integrated into upcoming models. While the list isn’t concrete, the vehicles below are what is rumored to be making an EJS-16 appearance. Take a look at them and tell us what you think….

Jeep Chief

Jeep Staff Car

Jeep Africa

….I can’t help but wonder if we are looking at some features we might see in the fixed top version of the JL/JLU?

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk

Jeep Cherokee Canyon Trail

Jeep Red Rock Responder

…Testing ideas for the recently confirmed Jeep Truck?

One thing is certain…. It would seem FCA (Jeep) has fallen in love with earth tones for their concepts. Seriously, enough with the browns and greens. I used to make fun of the “Skittles” colors through ’11 & ’12, but I personally could use a little more rainbow tasting in this line up. 😛

I also love Jeep trying to do more and more with the Cherokee. While I was not originally a fan, it has grown on me. Still, it desperately needs a few more inches of ground clearance, and it doesn’t seem the aftermarket is flocking to give it a go. I know it’s unlikely, but perhaps FCA will push for a Mopar lift given they see enough interest to warrant it.

 


 

Then there is this is one that surfaced recently the Jeep Crew Chief. While I can’t wait to see the real thing….. what a surprise, GREEN.

 


3/10/16

The time has come for the actual EJS concepts to be reveled and I must say, this first one is a nice one (even thought they are still stuck in the brown/green phase). I would happily drive the snot out of this thing!

I’m not sure how I feel about this one… It’s a cool Jeep and all, but it doesn’t really seem like a concept level build to me.

I’m even more in this mindset with this one…. Other than a wrap, it seems to be just another JKU.

Now, the Jeep Crew Chief 715 is on an entirely different level… and that level is definitely on the right track if you ask me. This is one tough rig!

I could do without this silly interior adornments though…

Another Concept worth mentioning is the “Shortcut” I like this little rig too. Mostly becasue it isn’t brown or green! This is essentially Jeeps recreation of a CJ-5 Jeep. I must say, the upright grille and smaller size sure does look cool. Still, after owning and wheeling the 116″ wheel-based JKU, I don’t plan to ever own another Jeep this short again other than for putting around car/Jeep shows.