This post is a little late, but we’ve been pretty busy prepping for our overlanding trip so time has been scarce. You may be wondering why Dirty is getting the love when the plan is to use Klondike for this trip… Well, there are a few reasons but the largest being we return from our overlanding trip for only a few days and then head out for Topless for Tatas 9 in Dirty. With laundry and gear to repack, we need her ready. Second, we had a scare with Klondike and were worried she might not be able to make the trip. Thankfully that has passed, but we still wanted Dirty ready in case she needs to step up and bail her sister out.
The very first thing that needed attention was the tires. The 37″ Goodyear MTRs we have ran on Dirty for the past ~2.5 years have been absolutely amazing. They have seen about 32k miles of fairly regular and hard use. They have been across the country several times and not only performed well on the trail but the pavement as well. Still, there is some room for improvement and one of them is in the sidewalls. The MTRs don’t have an overly aggressive tread on the side of the tire and this leaves them vulnerable to sidewall damage. In our case, the small cuts and chunks of missing rubber leave us uneasy with the often long interstate travel we have between destinations. With that said, what started as a tire cleaning and inspection resulted in the last time these MTRs would be mounted on Dirty.
Here is where things get interesting… We knew this time was coming and really wanted to try the Maxxis RAZR MTs. So much so, we reached out to Maxxis to discuss our uses and see if we could work together. Maxxis was interested in us using/testing their tires and after some paperwork, we were “sponsored”. We are not talking about full on sponsorship here, but rather we just have access to their tires at a discounted rate. In trade, we would review the tires, provide some media pictures, and of course, run their logo. Unfortunately, once the pricing was evaluated there was still far too much of a gap in tire cost to justify running them. We were literally able to go to a local tire shop and get 37×13.50r17 Cooper STT Pro tires mounted, Road-Force balanced, tax and everything for less than our tire purchase price from Maxxis. With shipping and mounting/balancing still to be added, running the RAZR MTs would mean spending nearly $80 more per tire and we couldn’t swing it.
With 5 Cooper STT Pro tires on order we went to work on a few other things I’ve had on the “to-do” list.
The first was something I’ve wanted to do ever since Poison Spyder came out with their body mounted tire carrier. We love our aluminum Genright tire carrier, but adjusting it for an easy open/close is kinda tricky. I’ve long thought it would be pretty easy and worth it to add an eccentric washer to the upper bolt and a jack screw to allow similar adjusting to the Poison Spyder and I finally put that idea into fruition. I gotta’ say…. It works GREAT!
Another thing that I’ve been needing to do ever since we got the Fox Shocks was make a little tweak to the rear sway bar. Dirty has a lot of down travel and the result is the sway links not being long enough to accommodate this. The thing is, if the links get any longer they will hit the brake lines that are along the frame at full stuff. The simple fix is just to lower the sway bar a bit and a $6 block of aluminum I ordered to fab some spacers did the trick.
Since Dirty was on the lift, I put Road Runner to work on transporting the new shoes. This ended up being pretty funny looking. The hitch shelf thing we have is made for the Jeeps that have a much higher hitch mounting point. When you compound this with the soft springs the 4-Runner has, she was sagging butt pretty bad all the way home!
Once the tires were home it wasn’t long before we had them on and, I have to say, the little bit of beef that was added by the inch of tire width is pretty nice looking! 😛
With the new rubber on, I wanted to verify the ball joints were still in good shape as I thought I found a little movement on the last inspection. Luckily, they are just fine… Unfortunately, the movement was in the unit bearing, so we have one of those on the way, and hopefully a maintenance write-up on the swap will follow. Honestly, the latter will come down to time. It’s WAY faster to just do the job versus taking video and/or pictures for a write-up, but we will see.