ultraclyde PowerDork
8/5/18 3:35 p.m.

Took the boat back to the lake today for the first time since upgrading the trans cooler and replacing the massively dirty and clogged ac condenser. Ambient temp was about the same but engine temp was at least 20 degrees lower than last time. Even coming home when it was 96* outside and running 70mph it never got over 203*. Pretty damn happy with that, but it still kind of feels and sounds like I'm flogging it to death.  3100 rpm to run 70. 

Also had a little trans weirdness. I was hammering it up a long shallow on ramp to get out in front of a semi. Foot on the floor and when it shifted up from 2nd it was like 3rd didnt grab. It hit about 500rpm over redline before I got my foot out of it and then it caught the gear and was fine.

I shouldn't keep my foot buried when towing I guess,lol.

ultraclyde PowerDork
8/11/18 5:27 p.m.

I'm going on my first organized trail ride next weekend with group called Peach State Overland. They, like a growing number of 4 wheel groups, are using ham radio instead of CB. I'd been planning on getting my license and setting up a mobile system on Snoball, but suddenly I have motivation. I started studying for the Technician license 10 days ago with hamtestonline and aced my test today. I should have my call sign later this week.

I ordered a basic handheld dual band radio as well as a remote mike and a magnetic antenna. It was cheap and will make a good hiking and spotter unit when I upgrade to a real mobile unit. Having an exterior antenna means, of course, I needed interior mount for the radio.

I tried a bunch of locations but the one that made the most sense was middle of the dash to the right of the hvac. So I bent up an aluminum bracket that sticks out from under a trim piece. Lots of hand bending and tin snipping got me this:

I added some stick on anti skid pads to the aluminum afterward to keep the radio from sliding around. Next was the mike mount. I found a vent clip magnet mount for cell phones at Walmart for $3. A little disassembly ensued. Reusing a few bits gave me a magnetic mike holder mounted to the face of the defunct vehicle info center.  

After taking half the dash apart to route the antenna cable it's pretty much finished.

I originally had the antenna back in the center of the roof but I was concerned that the bike rack (and bikes if mounted) would limit my reception.  I talked to the guys from the ham club at the test and they suggested mounting it between the windshield and the sunroof. This makes sense if I ever strap cargo to the rack too.

Hard to see but it's a black 1/4 wave antenna. Fine for the handheld 8W radio but a solid 50W mobile unit would probably melt it. Good enough for now.

I'll give it a few days to make sure it works the way I want and then I'll pull the bracket and paint it black. Function first, then pretty.

ultraclyde PowerDork
8/13/18 8:10 a.m.

Sunday afternoon I threw together some dog-proof seat covers for the rear seats. The dog likes to run around on the rear seat and had already put his claws through the leather in one spot. The leather isn't pretty but it is (was) solid and un torn. I'd been throwing a blanket on the back seat but it made flipping up the seat bases a PITA. I found a $5 fleece blanket at Wally World that matched the Jeep, so I used it and some leftover vinyl to make covers.  This was also partly to try making seat covers because I'd thought about making them myself for the front buckets.



The top surface is fleece over vinyl, the sides are fleece, and the bottoms are canvas. I had the vinyl and canvas laying around, so this cost me $5 and 4 hours. They work okay but it was (of course) harder than it seemed. The wider one is kind of janky on the end but it serves the purpose.



Cooper inspected and approved. Fleece is his favorite, and he seems a little more stable on them than on the bare leather. Not sure how long he will take to tear them up, but they're sacrificial. 

Would I do it again? No. Just use a blanket. It's so much easier. Will I make my own buck covers?   Well, I won't rule it out, but I also lowered my expectation for the results!

ultraclyde PowerDork
8/19/18 9:00 a.m.

Snoball finally had a Big Adventure yesterday. We joined a group called Peach State Overland for the first day their 2018 #PSO2CureALS rally. They usually run events in North Georgia where they're based, but this started a few miles from our house in middle georgia and follows the Georgia Adventure Trail north to the NC border over 2 days. The GAT is a route under development that will run FL to NC mostly on dirt.

There were 18 rigs - 2 of which had trailers. As an ovelanding event, most were on mild lifts and ATs with rooftop tents and a full stock of camping equipment. The plan was to run the dirt roads and back trails headed north with lunch breaks at historic BBQ restaurants and primitive camping on Sat night. The only technical spots were some deep mud puddles and one clay hill road with some deep ruts. 

On the first road we splashed through some good mud puddles and were about 5 miles in when we found the road blocked by a 2wd pickup that had been stuck in a mud puddle since 11pm the previous night. Recovery operations ensued while the rest of us waited.

Snoball was doing great on the dirt roads and walking through the mud easily, all while keeping us cool and comfy.

We finally got to the rutted hill and we crawled right up the ruts and washes in 4lo without a blink. The group stopped to collect everyone and I took pics.

You can see there is some rain inbound, so I was thinking we should get on up the hill. Walking up to the front of the group I realized the real reason we stopped. We hadn't done the bad section yet. It was in MUCH worse shape than when they scouted it last week. 2+" of rain will do that.

As I walked up I watched a diesel D90 defender on 35s and dual lockers launch into a rutted, uphill mud pit and sink up to the tops of the tires. He flailed back and forth for a while before they brought down a jeep tied to a tree on the top side and winched him out. The road was like peanut butter and he left hip deep ruts.

Oh crap. 

Next I watched a lifted Dodge 1500 with a trailer flail into it and put the truck sideways across the road and the trailer in the ditch. There were still 4 or 5 more rigs to get through before I got a shot. The mud was so slick you could barely stand up as you approached the bog.

And then it started raining. Hard.

Through a 30 minute white out downpour they managed to winch and drag another couple trucks through. By the time it was my turn it had stopped raining but there were still creeks running through everything down the hill. With 2" of lift and ATs I had no shot. So I took the direct path. Carry more speed than anyone else had and bomb right up the middle. 

It didn't work. But it was spectacular.

I actually came close. I finally stopped on the last berm after pounding over the first few and getting a rousing cheer from the onlookers. I think I got closer than anyone else that wasnt running locked and big MTs. At least I was close enough that pulling me out was quick and I was through quicker than most.

I didn't get pics but the onlookers did. And video. I'll link it when I get access.

The aftermath though...

During the assault we took some nasty hits and heard some serious crunching and banging. A quick inspection showed no obvious damage and we realized the noise was from the unsecured cooler bashing around in the back.

After we got everyone through (except the Subaru. He turned around and ended up in worse shape trying to get back through the first section after the rain) we hit pavement and beat feet to the lunch stop. Due to extracting the pickup and the massive mud transit we finally had lunch at 5:30pm.

After lunch/dinner, about 7pm, we bailed and headed home while the rest of the group split up. Half took a 40 minute paved route straight to camp while the gluttons headed back out on the planned dirt roads. As a big rain front started to move in. We had originally planned to trail to the campsite and drive home, but events of the day pushed us late. In the end we bailed about the time we'd planned in the first place.

I'm really happy with Snoball's performance, but I did have an issue with it getting hot sitting still. The electric fans are going to have to happen sooner rather than later. Still, that thing just tapdanced through stuff that I would not have attempted solo. In fact I watched a well prepped land cruiser work harder to get through some of it.

Today I get to clean off the mud and check for damage. I do have a clunk in the steering that was there before but is worse now. I think its probably the track bar, which is the only thing not new under there anyway.



Dirtydog Dork
8/19/18 11:10 a.m.

Looks like you had some "fun" on your trip.   Glad you are overall happy with the rig.  Keeping it cool should be a priority.   Jeeps are known for track bar issues.   Good luck and keep on truckin.

ultraclyde PowerDork
8/19/18 12:24 p.m.

In reply to Dirtydog :

It was fun. Even my wife had fun and said the kamakazi run into the mud pit wasn't "as scary as she thought it was going to be." 

Cool is a main concern. It does fine now running down the highway, but not so well sitting still. I don't sit parked in traffic much in normal driving so I wasnt too concerned. I did see it reach 230 in a drive thru on a hot day, and that shows theres an issue, but if you bump it into neutral and get the  rpms up it will hold about 205. I was already considering an electric fan for noise and mpg, but this makes it a priority now. Trying to sit in the rain on a muddy hill and maintain rpm just to keep it below 210 while trying to pick a line into a mudbath isn't acceptable. 

DrBoost MegaDork
8/20/18 6:43 a.m.

Keep that transmission cool. They don't like heat. 

Ask Me How I Know

ultraclyde PowerDork
8/20/18 7:41 a.m.

In reply to DrBoost :

Read the other thread. Ouch. 

DrBoost MegaDork
8/20/18 8:41 a.m.

I haven't performed the autopsy yet, but I have a suspicion. 

When I do the autopsy, I'll do a thread on GRM. 

ultraclyde PowerDork
8/20/18 2:53 p.m.

I promised video, here's the teaser for the first day. We show up around 1:45 but you get some good views of the mud as the videographer drives it a few seconds earlier:



DrBoost MegaDork
8/20/18 3:46 p.m.

Looks like a good time. 

ultraclyde PowerDork
8/25/18 5:49 p.m.

After reading the info on Docs thread about the trans cooler line check valve I took mine out today.

The original plan was to just remove it and punch out the internals for a free fix, but it turned out to be a lot easier to just cut the rubber line. The check valve was made onto the end of the line and the hard line on the other end had a 90 in it that was too close to get my QR fitting tool on it. So $10 in brass fittings from Lowes made it simple.

I did see that my water pump is leaking slightly at the seal to the block on the passenger side. Since I'm planning on pulling the mechanical fan in a couple months I'll try to just keep it full till then.

ultraclyde PowerDork
8/29/18 9:18 a.m.

On our trail ride last week it was REALLY noticeable that the front windows let in a LOT of heat and UV. My dear wife almost got sunburned with the windows up the whole time. The rears have pretty decent factory tint, as evidenced by the fact the ledges of the front doors are UV bleached like crazy, but the rears aren't. SO today Snoball went to the tint shop.



Did the front side windows and sunroof just dark enough to match the rear, but with max UV block. Already feels better. This should prevent burning and help the AC out.

ultraclyde PowerDork
9/2/18 3:38 p.m.

Latest update, a much nicer dual band mobile ham radio install. This one covers 2m and 70cm and does true dual receive and crossband repeat, and puts out 50 watts.


Remote mounted the main unit in a place that provides lots of air flow and I can hear the built in speaker: 

Hardest part of that was fishing the wires over the headliner. This location also makes it easy to pull the unit and bring it inside to program it using the PC. 

The control face got located where the VIC was. I had to make a replacement panel that's recessed otherwise my knuckles hit the radio when putting the truck in park.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
9/2/18 5:20 p.m.

Make sure those mounts are bomb-proof.  That radio will berkeley you up (or worse yet, the Lady Clyde) if it busts loose when you're slamming through a trail.

ultraclyde PowerDork
9/2/18 5:28 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

Yep, its solid. Through bolted with 1/4" bolts and fender washers. Theres good sheetmetal behind the plastic. If I shake that loose it will be the least of my worries.

ultraclyde PowerDork
9/7/18 7:06 a.m.

I was supposed to meet a couple friends for a MTB ride last night but they bailed so I continued my effort to drive every trail in the little local WMA.


Found a little wash so I checked the flex and stuff on the back end. It's got several more inches of travel in it beyond this, obviously.


Obligatory hero shot:

ultraclyde PowerDork
9/8/18 3:56 p.m.

See what happens when you leave me alone in the shop with a hole saw?

In an effort to improve cooling I drilled a bunch of holes in the hood. These are more or less in the same location as the factory vents on a 5.9 GC where there's a low pressure area (I'm told). Did the first set last week and did the second set today. I figured the hoods already less than perfect, what can it hurt?

If you've never used a plumbing deburr tool you're missing out. SO much better than a file. Give the little metal blade a spin around the hole and you end up with perfect chamfored edges. First place I saw one used was on aluminum handlebars in a bike shop. Best $7 I've ever spent.

All that swarf is just from the deburr blade.

I'm not TOO concerned about rain water after seeing the amount of muddy water that washed through the engine compartment on the trail ride, but the PSG side holes are right over the main fuse block. As a precaution I cut up a small plastic tool box for a second rain cover for the fuse box. The plastic panel on the battery is mostly so you don't see the battery labels through the hood. 

So does it help?

Ehhhh...maybe a little. I still need an electric fan, but it can't hurt. I still think my clutch fan isn't working the way it should but I can't really prove it, and instead of just replacing it I'd rather upgrade to electric.

Dirtydog Dork
9/8/18 4:25 p.m.

Idle minds are the Devils workshop, haha.  I like it.  Perhaps glue/silicone some plastic mesh underneath to keep critters/leaves out. Anyway, it makes your ride unique and "cool". Carry on, my friend.

ultraclyde PowerDork
9/9/18 7:12 a.m.

In reply to Dirtydog :

I have found a source of cheap black metal mesh. They sell office trash cans made of the perfect stuff for less than 20 bucks. 

akamcfly Dork
9/9/18 8:01 a.m.
ultraclyde said:

In reply to Dirtydog :

I have found a source of cheap black metal mesh. They sell office trash cans made of the perfect stuff for less than 20 bucks. 

Thanks for the tip :)

ultraclyde PowerDork
9/16/18 3:21 p.m.

Spent a long weekend in Dahlonega in the North Georgia mountains for my birthday. Took one day off wine tastings and ran some of the forest service roads in the Jeep, ending at the Expedition: Bigfoot museum. Great place, very well done. 

The ZJ was great from sketchy, rocky washed out roads, to groomed gravel, to 80mph through Atlanta.

Top of Coopers Gap


Campsite on Rock Creek, headwaters of the Taccoa river.


Lunch at the Iron Bridge Cafe in Blue Ridge. Carrie got the Cheeseburger. We could have cut it in half and shared it.

Ran into an old friend at the Sasquatch museum.

ultraclyde PowerDork
9/28/18 6:17 p.m.

Here's your budget dirtbag tip of the week. The black wire mesh office accessories carried by every retail chain are a great cheap source of fine black wire mesh.

$12 wastebasket from Amazon (free prime delivery!)

Cut of top and bottom with a zip wheel and you have enough mesh for an average front grill. 

Or in my case, the holes were just tall enough that I could use a single cross cut strip

Cut off a piece with tin snips, trim it to fit around the bracing and tape it in place with high heat aluminum tape.

Needs more tape but I ran out. Might add some epoxy through the mesh too.

And still have enough left over for the next project.

I think I can use the same hole saw to punch out a piece of wood, the round the edges and use it to dimple form the mesh just slightly in each hole.

So there. Cheap metal mesh.

GoLucky New Reader
9/28/18 10:44 p.m.

Trash can mesh. Genius 

ultraclyde PowerDork
9/29/18 2:59 p.m.
GoLucky said:

Trash can mesh. Genius 

Thanks. You can use tha hanging file folders and desk organizers too, but the trash can seems to be the lowest $/sq ft. Its also available in silver as well as black.

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