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Month: June 2016

Stillwell Stompers 2016 June Jamboree (Pic Share)

Stillwell Stompers 2016 June Jamboree (Pic Share)

Alana, Kegan, and I had a pretty good day yesterday wheeling Lil Punkin’ at the Stillwell Stompers’ June Jamboree. We met up with our friend Chris and talked him into bumping up a group to wheel with us. Then, due to the number in the group, we got bumped up as well. We ended up running with some Samurais/Buggies and were definitely the smallest in the bunch. But, we held our own up until the rear locker acted up again! (Have I mentioned how much I dislike the Eaton E-locker?) Still, we didn’t give up and worked with what we had. It all made for an awesome day!

The pictures I got are just a sample of what the club and property have to offer. In our opinion, this is the best wheeling in Ohio and the people are great, too!

…and with that said, here are just a few of the pictures. I also got some video, but will need to do some editing so you will have to wait just a bit for that 😛

JL Wrangler timeline

JL Wrangler timeline

David Zats, with Allpar is at it again, with a release today that finally gives us a timeline on when we can expect the next-gen Wrangler. While it sounds like it will be a “2018”, they are moving ahead of schedule and plan to release in the first half of next year. This is good news for those excited about the JL’s release, but may come as an upset for those hoping to scoop up a late JK in fear of what the JL will be. With such an early release, I expect a very short ordering cycle for a 2017 Wrangler if there is one at all.

For those worried about the JL, I wouldn’t fret too much as the article also points the same picture I released a few days ago and references it as “spy shots”. I still don’t see it… It just looks like a crappy picture of a JK that has a bra on it. No matter how you shake a stick at it… the JL appears to be shaping up as more of a JK rework and a new generation. Part of me is happy about this, while another is disappointed. What are your thoughts?

A Jeep Wrangler pickup is on track for release in early 2018, according to Automotive News, which interviewed Jeep chief Mike Manley yesterday.

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The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is to be released in the first half of 2017; Mr. Manley told Larry Vellequette that “I’m delighted in the way it’s turning out,” in both styling and function. Aerodynamics, weight, and fuel economy have all been improved (the spy shot above shows an angled front, reshaped fender flares, and a more angled windshield, all in accordance with past reports).

The pickup will not be “stripped-down,” but will live up to Jeep capability standards, according to Mr. Manley.

The timelines are consistent with past reports from Allpar sources. However, one trusted source said these were most likely the dates for production to start, and that dealers would not see the vehicles for at least a month afterwards.

Mr. Manley did not reveal anything about powertrain, but the new Wrangler is expected to have a choice of a four-cylinder turbo engine and an upgraded version of the current V6, hooked up to a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. A diesel has been rumored, most likely a new VM four-cylinder.

original article here: 

Track-bar Bracket Rework

Track-bar Bracket Rework

While at the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, I happened to look over at the Jeep and notice something seemed odd about the track-bar bracket, more specifically the end where the hydraulic ram tabs are mounted.

A closer inspection revealed that the small weld at the small gusset had begun to fail. This has been a point of concern for me for some time. Presently, we have not flipped the drag link and are running the track-bar at the factory mounting point. This is largely due to the fact that I believe “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Since we are very pleased with the way Dirty handles, we didn’t want to make changes to her. This said, running the track-bar in the factory position means that there is almost no room to gusset and support the area the ram tabs mount to.


Luckily, or so we thought… since we were at one of the largest Jeep events of the summer there has to be someone with a welder around where we can fix this (even if temporary) for the trip home. As it would turn out, this was a gross inaccuracy. Even with a call out over the intercom, we would be using ratchet straps and zip-ties (literally) to MacGyver our way home.

Once home, we got the trailer unpacked and off Dirty. I then transitioned to working on the above. I was able to get the plate pulled partially back into place. I had hopes of doing some clean-up and re-welding, but changed direction a bit and decided to take the opportunity to modify the bracket for a drag-link flip and track-bar raise. I have been back-and-forth on this, but the ease of adjustments and improved clearance will be nice.

With a new direction, I got to fixing up the track-bar bracket the following Saturday. Still partially on the fence, Alana (Mrs. SSS) put her foot down and told me to do the d-link flip and raise the track-bar as part of the repair. I liked being one of the only people I knew running ram assist on a JK without a raised track bar, but it is a MUCH easier set-up to do with it.

Before I could begin with the raised bracket, I had to first repair the damage. I got the front plate pulled back into place pretty well and then added a nice gusset that should add a ton of support for the ram tabs. This wasn’t possible with the bar in the stock location.

With that done, I got to work on fabbing up the raised mount. This is what I came up with….

Here it is mocked up. I had some additional grinding to do and then fab up some gussets.

Here is what it looked like once the gussets were made and it was all burnt in.

….and then the final product. I’m pretty happy with it. Time will tell how it will hold up

Old Man’s Cave

Old Man’s Cave

All day Saturday Jay (SSS) said he had plans to do a little work around the house and on the deck… but when he woke up, he decided a day out-and-about with Kegan and I was a better idea. So, we hopped in Lil Punkin’ and headed off toward Hocking Hills. We spent most of our time in/around Old Man’s Cave (which was far busier than we expected). Anyway… here are a few pics he took. We hope you enjoy!

…and a few token pics of Lil Punkin’

ah, that’s better

ah, that’s better

As we mentioned in the last post, the 12″ tires that came on it were destined to be replaced. Since the trailer was still VERY nose high (even with a 6″ dropped ball), we decided to replace them right away.

After several trips to Tractor Supply, Rural King, and a few trailer places. We finally found a set of load range C tires on 5 x 4.5 wheels that would work.

Once installed, the trailer now rides level to just a tick nose low, which is perfect in my opinion.

Eventually I would like to convert it to a torsion axle and get some AT tires on it… but this will do for now and, if nothing else, looks much better. 🙂


Go prepared

Go prepared

I’d like to introduce everyone to the newest member of our family. Her name is “Bail-Out!”

We have been in the planning and design phases of a trailer build for a long time and finally came to terms with the fact that we just don’t have time to do it. So, with that said, we decided to get a small utility trailer to use and tweak it over time to better suit our needs and here she is.

One of the very first things we need to get taken care of is the wheels/tires. They may eventually get modified to an off-road variant, but for now and at a minimum we want to get some slightly larger ones. I’m pretty sure I can go up two sizes and the fenders that are on it will still work well.

The purpose of this little trailer is to hold spare parts such that are too large or heavy to keep with us at all times on the trail, but still handy to have when we find ourselves states away from home and MacGyver-ing becomes necessary to get back.

2016 Unlimited Offroad Expo

2016 Unlimited Offroad Expo

Alana and I took a day trip down to check out the Unlimited Offroad Expo again this year. This makes our second year in a row. This year seemed to have more participation as a whole, but less large vendors or manufacturers…. Anyway, here are the few notables from our visit.

The first is for you audiophiles… beyond the fancy lights, there seemed to be several of these replacement overhead sound systems around. While many of them were geared more toward the side-by-sides, there were a few for Jeeps. While I would love some better tunes in Lil Punkin’ (Dirty is fine as-is), giving up the open sky is a deal breaker for us. I just wish there was a maker of a decent factory sound bar replacement. Still, we thought some of you may like this.

Our next stop was over at the Jeep area where they had some of their recent concepts on display.

We were a fan of the ShortCut concept from the pictures we had already seen, but, honestly, it was only better in person.

We grabbed a few pictures of the grille up close (which we like a lot)…. rumor has it that this is a preview of the upcoming JL grille 😛

We hadn’t really noticed the fenders before, but really like them. I would love to see either Mopar or an aftermarket version available for the JK.

Same goes for the tailgate and taillights!

Speaking of great concepts…. how can we leave out the Crew Chief? Seriously, Jeep was on fire this year with these two!

We then stumbled on to a small booth from a company I had not heard of, Off Road Only. They had a few products that caught my eye.

The first was this Currie Antirock type swaybar. with the added caveat that it has a quick disconnect feature similar to a Rubicon one with an EVO no limits. One simple action where the Jeep does not have to be level to both disconnect and connect. Sadly, my excitement was extinguished when I saw the price tag…. $800! 😯

This picture also shows their “Tru-Turn” tie rod system that is a bolt on adder to not only allow you to run a straight tie rod, but also raise it about an inch.

I was also kinda digging on this taillight conversion. While I don’t care for the black plastic, a coat of color match paint and this might be something I would try!

….and that’s about it… sure there was more, but these were the only real things of note. This show continues to grow, and with it being so close it’s hard not to visit, but we would’ve rather been in the woods somewhere. 😉