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Dirty gets new shoes!

Dirty gets new shoes!

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.

 

 

Road Runner gets her first mod!

Road Runner gets her first mod!

It might seem pretty trivial, but a mod is a mod! 😛

Tonight we added a splash of color to Road Runner and we couldn’t be happier! The orange made the blue pop a bunch and with it being vinyl it will be an easy removal should it be needed.

Bonus points if you can pick out what else we did 😉 😈

Klondike finally gets a PTU skid!

Klondike finally gets a PTU skid!

Long ago when we first evaluated Klondike’s belly we noticed the PTU was left rather exposed. Since the independent suspension often means the best ground clearance is right down the middle of the vehicle, the PTU’s location there meant we needed some protection on it for when we attempt straddling rocks and logs.

Since the KL Cherokee remains largely unsupported by aftermarket part manufacturers, this means we had to break out the welder and metal and get fabricating. Luckily the PTU has some extra holes on the casting that allow for the mounting. This said, they are not really suited for taking much of a hit so my plan was to try to keep the skid as tight as possible on the PTU (touching) so the PTU itself still handles the weight of the vehicle, but the steel protects the soft aluminum from the abrasion of impacts.

Here are a few shots of the mounting holes I would be using. As luck would have it a 5/16″ bolt works perfectly in these holes.

A few of these hole location uses were fairly straight forward. The trickiest by far to use wad the two staggered ones on the front of the PTU. I knew all along it would mean making some sort of tab and drilling and tapping some threads for the bolt but just decided to wing it and start with bending up the main skid.

I honestly thought this part of the job (bending of the main skid) would be pretty easy, but it took FAR more time than I had anticipated. It seemed as simple as the idea of this skid was, the practice of making it was far more involved. I had anticipated a few hours for this project but it took the better part of the day. The bigger bummer to this is I had hoped to be able to take notes to share with others and maybe even make a few at one time, but this just wasn’t practical.

So, after a bunch of bending, tweaking, grinding, and welding, I had the bulk of the skid made up. The main lower skid is 3/16″ plate, the locker actuator and connector is protected by some slightly lighter material but I was working with what I had in the shop.

I am fairly happy with how it turned out. I did end up adding another piece to the driver side after these pictures, but this is pretty much it all fabbed up.

The front mounting did prove to be the most cantankerous. I was able to weld a nut to the plate for one mounting hole location, but the other did need a fancy little tab.

 

This is the side where I added the additional side skirt. The plate I used was barely wide enough and I wanted just a bit more coverage.

 

After I added this piece, it was time for some paint. I’ve had a can of hammered silver in the shop for some time. It’s the paint we used on the cage we had in Lil-Punkin’ (our 2-dr JK). I can’t see a need for it and, since this paint is more about rust protection than anything else, it seemed like a good time to make use of this paint.

 

There you have it… All painted up and mounted hopefully it will do the job!

I know some other KL Cherokee owners that are likely looking for more coverage. I can even see where this looks like I haven’t added much but in reality, the other bits are fairly hard to get to. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if something is in there, we have other issues and it’s time to break out the recovery gear and Maxtrax.

As I mentioned, I had hoped to make a few of these and/or provide drawings, but once I set out making this it turned into more of a one-off project. Even if I had been able to do this, I’m not sure the hole locations are good enough to rely on.

Klondike Gets Some Color!

Klondike Gets Some Color!

Ever since we got Klondike we have liked her white color… Unfortunately, it seems many people like white Cherokee Trailhawks as well. In an effort to both add some much needed accent color and to separate her from the crowd a bit, we removed some of the factory badging and replaced it with…. well… COLOR!

We tried to keep the factory(ish) “Cherokee” font but we made it much larger and made it red.

 

Not only is it red, but it’s reflective too! So, now when lights hit her at night, there is some pizzazz! 😛 Here is a shot with the camera flash 🙂

 

Since doing this meant removing her name from the sides we also made a new sticker for the hood. It is made out of matching red with an ever so small outline of white to make it pop on the black hood decal.

 

We are pretty happy with her new look, and while not exactly typical… it sure is an awesome Mother’s Day gift to me. Plus, I still have my two butt smacks from SSS to look forward to LOL.

Klondike gets some roof rack cross bars!

Klondike gets some roof rack cross bars!

Our intention all along with Klondike has been to be more of an overlanding and longer exploring trip type of rig. Even so, we have found ourselves in situations that we think may put the KL Cherokee’s limited ground clearance and lower approach/departure angles to the test. A good way to help with these situations is to build ramps or bridges over things and our Maxtrax are certainly up to this task. This said, we currently only have mounts on our trailer “Ehu” and there are times we will need them on Klondike without the trailer in tow.

This is where the need for some roof rack cross bars comes in. This seems like an easy enough thing to buy, and in truth it is, but we didn’t really like any of the ones we have seen on the market so we decided to just make our own. A decision made easier by the fact we already had some DOM tube in the shop that could be put to use.

To kick off this little project, I cleaned up and cut the DOM tube to length. I also used a shape jig to get a feel for what would be needed to mount the tubes to the KL Cherokee’s factory rails.

 

Next, I got to work on the plates that I would weld to the bars to mount to the rails.

 

Because the factory rails are far from straight, I had to do a little tweaking to get them shaped for a good fit.

 

Now to mock them up on Klondike. I was pretty happy with the fit but realized the only real way to make sure everything was lined up in the end was to tack everything in place on the Jeep. I’m not going to lie, I was scared to death that a rogue spark/ember would scoot across the white paint leaving a trail of burn marks behind it. But thankfully all our masking and blankets worked out and protected everything.

 

The bars themselves were only part of what was needed to carry the Maxtrax. I needed tabs to bolt on the Maxtrax mounting posts.

 

Here is how they looked all welded. I did put some filler around the bar to plate joint just to smooth it out and make it a little more aesthetically pleasing.

 

Time to get these things painted, but first they needed to be cleaned, sanded, cleaned and primed.

 

Rather than watch paint/primer dry, I used this time to get the Riv-Nuts installed in the rails that will hold the bars. The metal here is actually pretty thick compared to other places I have used Riv-Nuts so I am confident this will be more than sufficient to hold them.

 

Once all painted, I put some 1/8″ adhesive foam on the mounting pads after bolting on the Maxtrax mounting posts. This will help seal up any gaps and hopefully prevent wind whistling on the interstate.

 

…and here they are installed and in service with one set of our Maxtrax. The posts will hold another, but I was really just testing everything out.

 

Here is a close up of the mount to the factory rail.

 

It’s funny, we know the KL Cherokee is a love hate and most “purist” Jeep enthusiasts are on the hate side of things, but this rig continues to be the one that we put more “built, not bought” parts onto. I think the tides may be turning a bit but I’m not sure this vehicle will ever be really well supported by aftermarket companies. It’s too bad too because we are certainly on the love side of the KL and think more would be if they gave them a shot.

 

Klondike is one step closer to hitting harder trails!

Klondike is one step closer to hitting harder trails!

A full review is on the way, but Klondike finally got her winch mounted and is one step closer to harder trails. This winch was originally on Lil-Punkin’ but was removed as part of the negotiations in the sale. It worked out since the Warn M8000 is one of the only winches that will work in the very limited space the KL offers.

The job isn’t quite done as there are still a few changes I will be making to improve things I do not like about the bumper, but more on that later…

KL Cherokee Mopar Rock Slider Install

KL Cherokee Mopar Rock Slider Install

While we have established that the KL Cherokee is in fact able to be lifted, the cold hard fact remains that even a “lifted” KL isn’t going to get up in the air enough to keep its belly out of harm’s way when playing off the pavement. Sure, the Trailhawks do have some of the best factory skid plates we have seen, but they still leave a few vulnerabilities that need addressing.

The largest of these vulnerabilities in our opinion is the rockers. The plastic cover that is fitted to the Cherokees when they leave the showroom is for looks and looks alone. One good hit from a rock or tree and you will be visiting a body shop.

Since we know we will have our KL on trails that have rocks as large as the tires, we needed an upgrade. Sadly, there are not many aftermarket manufacturers flocking to the KL so your off-the-shelf options are rather slim. In fact, we are only aware of two (Mopar or Rocky Road Outfitters). We desperately tried to get a few other fab shops to get interested in making sliders, but failed.

For some time we were considering fabricating our own, but once I got to designing what we wanted and how they would mount to the Jeep, the differences in my design and the Mopar sliders were not significant enough to make it worth my time. So, I strolled into our local dealership, wheeled-and-dealed a bit and, before I knew it, they were on order.

It took them about 4 weeks to arrive at the dealer. In spite of the fact that the box is huge, there wasn’t sufficient protection from them to arrive completely damage free (more on this later). After looking at the directions that were included we realized that this is an opportunity to do another install article and hopefully help other Jeepers.

With that being said and if you are interested in the install process for these sliders read on! If you just want to see how they look, scroll on! 🙂


 

Before we begin, you will need to gather some tools. Most are pretty common but if you find you don’t have everything you need, remember most automotive stores will rent or lease tools. This is perfect for those items you don’t plan on using more than once or twice.

  • Plastic Trim Removal Tool or Trim Removal Tool
  • Razor Knife and/or Scraper
  • Push-Pin Removal Tool/Pry-Bar
  • Torque Wrench (Will need to be set to 7 Nm (62 in-lbf)
  • 7mm Wrench or Socket
  • 9/16” Box-end Wrench
  • 10mm socket (or preferably a 10mm ratcheting wrench)
  • T30 Torx bit (socket)
  • 2-6” extension for T30 Torx Socket
  • Ratcheting Wrench for Sockets
  • 9mm drill bit (can substitute with 23/64”) and Drill
  • Grease or Thick Oil

Optional Supplies or Tools we also recommend

  • Automotive Silicone Gasket Sealer
  • Anti-Seize
  • A few extra M6-1.0 x 45 (full thread) Bolts
  • Center Punch or Small “Starter” Drill Bit
  • Black Touch-up Paint
  • Tape Measure
  • Sharpie or Marker
  • T30 Torx screwdriver

 

The only other things you will need are included with the rock sliders under Mopar PN:82213941. You should find some directions, rivet nut (rivnut) insertion tool, 30 rivnuts, and 30 M6 torx head bolts. (Pictured below) Note: Ours came with an extra rivnut.

 

As mentioned earlier in the introduction, the sliders came packaged in a massive and fairly heavy (130 pound) box. In spite of this, our sliders had gotten just a little bit of damage in transit to us. The bulk of this was on the end cap weld seams that face each other in the box.

During our heavy wheeling season in summer this wouldn’t be a big deal at all. But since we are installing these in the winter and see a bunch of salted roads, this had to be addressed prior to installation.

Since the spots are pretty small, we just used some black touch-up paint.

 

We are pretty impressed with the beef of these sliders. If you are familiar with the Wrangler Rubicon and the sliders they come with, you will see these began with that design (circled in red below) and then had more added to them. One major improvement from the Rubicon Sliders are the bolts along the top which will help with the flex from a vertical hit.

The only real weakness I see is that no internal gusseting is present. Time will tell if this is an issue.

 

The included directions suggest beginning by lifting the Jeep. Since we have a 2-post lift which we feared would get in the way and we were too lazy to jack the Jeep up and support it with jack stands, we opted to do the installation with the Jeep on the ground.

The only real downside to this is the tight clearance at this first step….

Using the 7mm wrench or 7mm socket and ratchet, remove the bolts found at the front and rear of the plastic rocker guard which hold the splash guards in place. There will be one at the front and two at the rear on each side.

 

While the included directions show this being followed by the removal of clip nuts that the prior bolts fastened to, we found ours were actually secured with a plastic molly type fastener. The best way we have found to remove these is simply to pry the splash guard out and off.

 

Both the front and rear splash guards can be discarded as they will not be reused.

 

The next step is to remove the plastic rocker guard itself. To be completely honest, there isn’t a gentle way to do this. We tried to use a plastic pry bar and gently work each clip. Even with very little pressure, this resulted in the small dent indicated by the red arrow below.

This did allow for me to get my fingers behind the rocker guard and begin pulling it off. This was pretty tough on my hands and still rather violent, but worked.

 

For the other side, I decided to try another approach…. I simply opened the doors and went to stand on the rocker. It does have a stamp made into it that says “NO STEP” and this is for good reason as the whole guard snapped and popped off. As bad as it sounds it was actually far less invasive as the other side went. If I ever do another set of these, this is the way I will remove the rockers!

 

Undoubtedly, some of the blue seal clips will be left behind after you rip the rocker guard off. Use a push-pin removal tool to remove any that remain. Rotate the clip and/or tool so that the notches of the tool squeeze the locking tabs in. This will allow for the clips removal with little to no prying at all.

 

Once all the clips have been removed, the next step is to remove the strip of seam sealer that is found on the bottom of the rocker. A sharp scraper or razor knife will make short work of it.

 

Now for the step that most dread, there are 4 holes that need to be drilled.

The 2nd and 4th holes from the rear of the Jeep (on the sides) need to be drilled deeper to allow clearance for the rivnuts.

The directions call for a 9mm drill but the slightly smaller 23/64” is all we had without going over and worked just fine. We did have some trouble with the bit wanting to walk and nibble at the outer hole so we highly suggest you use a center punch and or starter drill first.

 

Once the holes are drilled, it is a good time to get an old towel and some window cleaner to clean the rocker area thoroughly.

Next, apply some touch-up paint on any bare metal you have created by drilling or scraping. We only had black, but frankly this will be completely hidden and is only for rust prevention. The directions indicate the use of a Mopar sealer (82300508AB) but it seems this part is now obsolete without a replacement.

 

Next, mark the location of where the rivnuts will go. There are more holes on the Jeep than will be filled with rivnuts and the included directions do a very poor job of illustrating their locations. We ended up using a tape measure to measure the hole spreads on the sliders themselves to locate where the rivnuts were needed on the Jeep.

In order to keep us straight and not have to keep rechecking and measuring, we marked the holes with chevron using a sharpie (marker).

 

It’s finally time to start the installation steps!

In spite of the fact that we have two professional rivnuts installation tools, we still had to use the tool Mopar provides as neither of ours had long enough studs for the provided rivnuts.

This was a huge concern of mine as these can be tricky to install, but both surprisingly and thankfully the tool worked well. In fact, the only real issue we had with it was galling of the threads on the bolt. We solved this by running a die over the bolt after every 4-5 rivnut installs. Since we realize most will not have a tap and die set, we added additional bolts to the optional tool list.

The tool should be assembled as shown below: Bolt, washer, knurled nut (smooth side toward washer), rivnut (against the knurled teeth). A liberal amount of grease or thick oil should be used between the bolt head, washer, and knurled nut. A small amount of oil on the threads will help with galling.

 

A step missing from the directions but something we have always done when installing rivnuts is to add a small bead of silicone sealer to the lip that will be against the Jeep. This will help seal the hole and prevent rust from forming.

 

With the rivnut installed snugly on the tool and the bead of silicone around the head, insert the rivnut into one of the holes you marked. Use a 9/16” box end wrench to keep the knurled nut from spinning and tighten the M6 bolt with either a 10mm ratchet wrench or socket and ratchet. This will begin tough, and then ease up on the turning force needed.

 

As soon as you begin to feel the torque required to turn the bolt increase, switch out the 10mm wrench or socket for a torque wrench. Continue tightening the bolt until 7 Nm (62 in-lbf) is reached. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN.

 

Continue installing the rivnuts until all are installed.

 

Once all the rivnuts are installed, it’s time to position the rock sliders into place. We found a floor jack with a board and some guidance by a helper worked quite well. If you decided to jack the Jeep or lift it up, this may not work for you.

Be sure to align and tuck the inner fender liners behind the rock slider as it is being put into position.

 

With the rock slider installed, apply a liberal amount of anti-seize to the bolts before installing. Do not tighten any up just yet. Make sure all are started first. Note: Our driver’s side fit like a glove, but the entire bottom side of passenger side had to have the holes in the slider opened up a bit to get all the bolts to start.

 

Once all the bolts are started, snug them up before torqueing to 7 Nm (62 in-lbf)

 

That’s it! You’re done enjoy your new armor.

 

Hopefully this article helps you… be sure to comment below!

Klondike is getting some armor!

Klondike is getting some armor!

Klondike’s sliders have arrived!

It seems the only purchasable options for KL Cherokee rocker armor is with Rocky Road Outfitters (RRO) or Mopar. We were trying to work with a few other fabrication shops but they have decided they are too busy with current projects and/or are not interested in supporting the KL. We had even considered making our own for a time and possibly selling them. The thing is, when SSS started to design them for what we were looking for, they were so similar to the Mopar sliders we just decided to go that route.

We were able to negotiate the price down from the MSRP of $1189 to $685 at our local dealer. This may seem like a bunch, but when you consider the metal, hardware, finishing, and consumables, it really isn’t that bad. We know the the RRO offering is still less expensive, but we are just not that impressed with the fit and finish of them.

Here is what the Mopar’s look like (featured on the Jeep concept “Trail Carver”).

Beyond the lift and tires, this is the first step we have made toward this overland rig project and are pretty excited to get them installed.

Look for the install write-up soon!

New Narrow MCE Fender Flare for JK/JKU!

New Narrow MCE Fender Flare for JK/JKU!

It looks like those seeking a narrow fender flare on their JK/JKU will soon have another option (or already do if you know the right people). The guys over at MCE Fenders have been pretty busy. When not hunting or wheeling, they are often in the shop either wrenching on one of their rigs or making their awesome fenders. I spoke with Mike @ MCE about a narrow option several months ago and while he didn’t say anything to outright give it away, I got the impression these were on their way.

We had a set of the full widths on our 2-door Lil Punkin’ (See them here) and absolutely loved them. So much so, that if a narrow version were available at that time, we likely would have swapped out our aluminium Poison Spyder flares we currently run on Dirty. Now that they are here, doing just this is on our to-do list of mods. Why, you ask? Well, the MCE fenders clean easier and the paint doesn’t chip from small rocks getting flung out of the tires. This is by no means the only advantages, but they are the ones we care about the most.

Tell us what you think!

Don’t lose your rig to rust, prep for winter!

Don’t lose your rig to rust, prep for winter!

If you have ever seen the bottom of a vehicle that is from an area that requires snow and ice prevention, you know what it does. Lately, transportation departments have employed some new countermeasures that, while very effective at snow and ice prevention, are down right brutal to the metal on your precious ride. Today, you will not only find granular sodium chloride (salt), magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate, and potassium acetate, but also liquid forms are being used for pre-snow treatments. These liquid forms are far more effective at finding their way into areas of your Jeep that are difficult to clean and leaving them in place is a sure fire way to accelerate rust development.

It seems many of you have already felt the wrath of salty water on metal, as my little post yesterday about us winter prepping our Jeeps sparked several questions on exactly what we do and use. So, I tried to document the process I use while prepping Dirty (the JKU) today. For what it’s worth, we do most of this every time we trail ride, regardless of the season.

The process for us begins with a good cleaning. I’m not talking about a drive through the car wash and call it good “clean”, but rather a put on a good rain suit and crawl under the Jeep with a pressure washer kind of clean. I also tend to keep a rag handy and actually wipe everything down because I have found that no amount of water and spray will get off what a little rubbing with a rag will. When done, we like to go for a small drive before parking and letting everything dry overnight.

When you crawl under the Jeep the next morning, or whenever you get back to it, prepare to be a bit disappointed. No matter how hard I have worked under the Jeep with the pressure washer and rag, there are always a few spots I have missed that looked clean when everything was wet.

Here are a few pictures of what our belly looked like after this first cleaning once dry.

I know how tempting it is to just grab some spray paint right now and go to town, but I have learned that any cut corners and you might as well not even bother. Every step is the foundation for the next. There are undoubtedly spots of surface rust around some rock rash and maybe some burs that need to be sanded down. I have an arsenal of sanding and polishing disks I use on a die-grinder to clean up all the rust spots and burs.

Next, it’s time to put some elbow grease into it and clean the bottom again… 😯 You heard me… clean some more. Why, you ask? Well, the light surface dirt you see will cause any primer and paint to adhere poorly. Not to mention there is likely a bunch of dust from the sanding you just did that should be cleaned off. The better you clean, the better the end result will be. I like to use a multi-purpose/glass gleaner along with an old towel.

The pictures below is where I ended up after the final cleaning.

I know you are itching to paint, but hold on… 😛 I highly recommend taping and masking off anything that you don’t want to paint. Even if you think it is out of the way and you won’t hit it, take the time to do this. If you ignore me… I have found that a bit of acetone on a rag will wipe spray paint off, but it’s pretty hard on whatever you are cleaning the paint off so it’s best to just mask it on the front end. We keep our paper towel rolls. A quick cut down the side and they make for easy masks for most of the parts you are likely trying to avoid.

Now, it’s time to grab a rattle-can, but not paint…. I prefer to first hit any of the areas that had rust or spots I took to bare metal with some zinc enriched primer. I have had really good luck with Rustoleum as a product, but their new cans that spray upside down have a serious nozzle problem that seems to clog easily so be sure to wipe it off in between coats.

Give the primer time to dry and then grab that paint can! It’s time to go to work.

Quick protective equipment note: You really should use a breathing mask and some sort of eye protection for all of this. I have done it without before and it’s just stupid. Even when I am lucky and avoided getting crap in my eyes, I picked paint boogers out of my nose for days. I can’t imagine it’s too good on the lungs.

Anyway, here is the post paint belly.

It is at this point where I often call it quits as this is our normal stopping point after a trail ride or before a show type event. However, with winter looming and all those rust promoting chemicals just on the horizon, I take it one step further. This is to add some additional prevention measures (beyond just paint). In the past, I have used the WD-40 product shown below. It has worked amazingly well for protection all winter long. This said, everyone keeps telling me that Fluid Film is far superior. Both are roughly the same price at $11/can, but the larger Fluid Film can was enough to tip me over the edge and give it a try.

I’m not sure exactly what the WD-40 is, but I liked that it dried into a solid and didn’t stay oily. Fluid Film is a lanolin based product which is safe on just about anything. I could have sworn I also read that it is supposed to dry solid, but even after a day it still seems oily and wet. Initially, I didn’t like this but, after more thought, I like that it has more time to run and penetrate more spots than the WD-40 did. The fluid film also came with a small straw for application into really tight spots.

As for the application, it really depends on the vehicle. For our rigs that will see lots of winter driving we spray just about everything pretty heavily. For Dirty, who sits in the shop on blocks most of the winter, I only hit the troublesome and sweet spots.

So, there it is… yes, it is quite labor intensive, but we feel it’s worth it. We use Dirty pretty hard, and while we can’t avoid the dents, we think her belly looks pretty good for a nearly 4 year old Ohio chassis. A few side benefits; we don’t have mud and dirt falling in our face when we work on her and the bolts don’t have to get cut off every time we need to take something off, we also have found many items needing some maintenance while cleaning BEFORE they got to the point of failure.

Hope you enjoyed the read!