Rodan SuperDork
8/31/21 4:20 p.m.

De-winterized the camper this morning, and before sanitizing the tanks, I flushed out the water heater with a spray nozzle I recently bought for the purpose.  I flushed it numerous times before winterizing last fall because we've had some issues with bacteria...  I was a little surprised at how much crap came out...  YUK.

I'm definitely not showing my wife that picture!  

Flushed it 'till it came out clean, and tomorrow I'll sanitize all the tanks with a bleach solution.

Who knew RVing was so much work??!! cheeky

nsogiba New Reader
9/2/21 10:34 a.m.

Just wanted to comment that I read through your whole thread and am a fan of your journey. The "one thread to end them all" format definitely works. Keep up the adventures and storytelling!

Rodan SuperDork
9/4/21 6:51 p.m.

In reply to nsogiba :


Trip prep continues...

RV tanks... the yearly process of sanitizing the tanks consists of draining, filling with a bleach solution for 3 hours, draining, flushing, draining, filling with a vinegar solution for 3 days, draining, flushing, draining, and then filling for use.  This wouldn't be so bad if it didn't take ~40 minutes to drain.  And if I had a spot to directly drain it to.  As is, I use 5 gal buckets, and distribute the water as necessary and appropriate around our landscaping.  Bleach and Vinegar on the weeds and rocks, good water on the plants.

Anyway, finished up today.

Rodan SuperDork
9/4/21 6:58 p.m.

Also about done on the towing prep for the Jeep.

I finished the recovery points to use if necessary in place of the stock tow hooks.  These will not remain in place, but be carried with the rest of the recovery gear, and installed only when used.

Also finished mounting the breakaway switch on the towbar mounting point.  This connects to the Brake Buddy to signal a loss of connection and triggers braking.

I cheated a little here, as the breakaway switch is really supposed to mount on the chassis of the towed vehicle, but that wasn't really achievable in a way that was aesthetically acceptable.  I figure the tow bar is far more likely to fail than the chassis mounting point, so it should be an acceptable compromise.

Planning for a full tow/function test tomorrow with the Brake Buddy installed and everything hooked up.

Rodan SuperDork
9/5/21 12:08 p.m.

Full up systems test this morning.

I didn't want to run the Brake Buddy off the Jeep's electrical system, so I picked up a lawn mower battery and a solar charging setup of Amazon to keep it topped up while driving.

Started out on side streets with my wife in the Jeep to confirm the Brake Buddy was braking, and the new transfer case wasn't making noises, then brought her up to the truck and got out on the highway for a 10 mile loop.

Everything worked as intended, and Jeep followed obidiently wherever we went.  View from the rearview camera:

Finally, we're good to go! laugh

Rodan SuperDork
9/25/21 7:35 a.m.

Returned home yesterday from two weeks on the road... Had a great trip, and have lots of pics to sort through!

Here's a teaser until I can get a full trip report done...

Rodan SuperDork
9/25/21 6:09 p.m.

Two weeks ago, we hit the road.  This was the trip I had been (slowly) preparing for since we bought the Jeep last January.  This would be its first outing as a real Bronco replacement with our plans to get into the back country around Capitol Reef National Park.  Our plan was for almost a week there, then a big loop through Utah, Idaho and Northern Nevada.  Capitol Reef was purely for enjoyment, but the rest of the trip was scouting potential relocation areas for retirement in a couple of years.

We had been through Capitol Reef back in 2014 in our NC Miata on the way to FM Summer Camp...

At the time, we didn't have time to dally, and didn't have the right vehicle to see most of the park.  We've always wanted to get back there, and now we were...

Northbound Hwy 89 south of Page, AZ...  

Everything went as planned, and our first day took us into Loa, UT.  The Jeep followed obediently everywhere we went, and we got set up in a small RV park there.  It was a very basic park, but cheap, and centrally located for our travels in the area.

It also turned out to be a fortuitous choice... the area had received significant rainfall over the previous week, and most of the back country roads in Capitol Reef Park were impassable from their normal access spots.  The fellow who checked us in at the RV park also worked for the local tow/recovery outfit and was able to give me some solid intel on what roads were passable if you weren't an idiot, and how to get around some of the impassable spots.  As a result, we were still able to access much of the park that the general public was being told was inaccessible.  As a side benefit, there was almost nobody else in the back country.

Rodan SuperDork
9/25/21 6:19 p.m.

We started the next day at the Visitor Center, where they told us pretty much everything was closed and inaccessible due to impassable roads.

We drove part of the Scenic Drive in the main part of the Park that has developed roads.  Part of this was still closed due to mudslides across teh pavement.  This part of the Park is staggeringly beautiful, but still doesn't compare to what you get to see in the back country.

We spent most of the day exploring the ususal tourist parts of the Park which were accessible, then took off for a drive down Notom-Bullfrog road, a county road just East of the park.  This was a paved road for the 1st 10 miles or so, then turns to dirt.  It will eventually take you to the ferry landing to cross Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon recreational area.  We were told the County usually graded this road immediately after any weather, but didn't have solid intel on the condition, so we turned around at the end of the pavement.  And we got our first "Jeep Ad" picture... 


Rodan SuperDork
9/25/21 6:36 p.m.

We had originally planned to drive the Cathedral Valley Loop, wich is ~50 miles of dirt through the back country in the North part of Capitol Reef, but there were several sections that were impassable where the loop connects to UT24 in the park.  Our camp host had given us some good intel on how to get in from the Northwest side, off a Forest Service Road.  He also pointed out where some questionable sections would be, and what was still impassible.  He told us about a Honda CR-V with a holed oil pan that was still sitting in the park that he was supposed to go in and get later in the week.

The drive took us near Geyser peak, and the views were incredible.  That was where the 'teaser' pic a couple of posts above was taken.  In the opposite direction, it's all pines and aspens...

We continued down the mountain, came out of the pines into the red rock, and entered the park from the North.

Kona wasn't all that impressed with the scenery...

95% of the drive was just dirt road.  The other 5% was a little knarly.  We met a couple in a Tacoma pickup with a pop-up camper coming out, and he told us we were going to have trouble with couple of wash crossings.  Considering he had worse approach angles, less clearance and less suspension articulation than we did, I wasn't very worried.  I think he looked at our Jeep and just saw a 'soccer mom' SUV.

He was right that a couple of the spots were pretty rough, with two foot washouts and big rocks in some of the crossings.  It was all dry, however, and the Jeep took it in stride, without a scrape, and not even needing low range.

The scenery was spectacular, and other than the couple in the Toyota we didn't see a single soul.  We did pass the busted Honda CR-V...

We eventually wound our way back up the mountain, completing our loop where we started, then went back to the RV park to grill some burgers.

Kona was wiped out after her hard day riding in the back seat...

Rodan SuperDork
9/25/21 6:48 p.m.

Our next excursion was to take UT12 to Boulder, and take the Burr Trail Road into the South of the Park.  We specifically wanted to hike to the Strike Valley Overlook.  This was a short one mile hike at the end of a 3 mile 4x4 road off Burr Trail, which is about 30 miles from Boulder.

First, UT12 from Torrey to Boulder is fantastic.  We had done it in the NC when we drove through, and I would love to go back and do it again in a sports car.  The Jeep did fine, but it's no sports car!  The view from Homestead Overlook on UT12...

Once out of Boulder, the Burr Trail drops you into the red rock canyons, and it's a stunning drive.

The pavement ends just before you enter the Park, but the road stays good, at least until you turn off of it.  Burr Trail drops into the canyon, and meets up with the Notam-Bullfrog road eventually, but we didn't take it that far.


Rodan SuperDork
9/25/21 7:12 p.m.

Once we turned off the road, things got interesting.

This time, ~50% of the road was pretty rough.  It followed a wash for most of its length, and there were plenty of big rocks to crawl over.  This time I did make use of low range, mostly to better control the speed over the big stuff.  

After about 3 miles of this, we got to the trailhead, then it was a short hike to the overlook.  It was a little on the hot side, and parts of the route were pretty steep.  Kona was tired...

The payoff, however,  was absolutely worth the trip... 


Rodan SuperDork
9/25/21 7:15 p.m.

We also made a side trip to Fish lake... it's amazing that this only about an hour from the visitor center for Capitol Reef.

Rodan SuperDork
9/25/21 7:38 p.m.

Eventually, it was time to move on, and we drove north through Salt Lake, and spent the night in Snowville, UT.  Then it was on into Idaho, through Twin Falls, and south back into Nevada where we ended up in Elko for a few days.

The RV park in Elko was really nice for being pretty much right in town.

We spent a few days knocking around Elko, eating smoke from the California fires, and looking at ridiculously overpriced houses.  Then it was on West.

Apparently September is road construction season in Nevada.  Probably 60-70 total MILES of I80 across the state was reduced to one lane, though in most cases it was freshly paved, and striped, and there was ZERO sign of ANY work actually going on.

Our next stop was Dayton, just a bit East of Carson City.  Another nice park, although it was pretty tightly packed.

You might have noticed the fancy orange car in the background.  We rolled in on a Sunday, which was the final day of the Virginia City Hillclimb, only about 15 miles away from Dayton.  I had actually researched the event, thinking it might be worth attending, but the logistics of bringing the NA didn't really work with our back country plans.  Plus, the entry fee is pretty steep... though not for MacLaren owners.

We spent a little bit talking about the event, and northern CA tracks (the owner was from the Bay area).  Because of the small size of the park, he had to leave his trailer in Carson City, and was driving the car around.  We later spent a half day in Virgina City, and it is definitely not conducive to dragging a trailer around or parking it there.

We really liked Carson City, but the proximity to Lake Tahoe means prices are very high on real estate.  We spent a few more days there, eating more CA fire smoke.  We also drove around Tahoe, but there was so much smoke, there wasn't much to see.  Eventually, we pulled out for home, heading East on US50.

Even my GPS knows US50 is the Lonliest Highway in America... cheeky

And, boy is it...

We spent the night at the very nice KOA in Ely, NV, where the Silver State Classic is run every year, and hit the road at zero dark thirty for the 600 mile run home yesterday.  A few miles out of Ely, we saw the biggest bull Elk I've ever seen, standing in the middle of the highway.  Fortunately, I had plenty of time to brake, and he strolled off into the pines.

We made a pit stop at the Jacob Lake Inn at the turnoff to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and I talked to a couple of P car guys.

We had seen probably another dozen P cars on the road on our way in.  They said they were running a PCA rally headed up into Utah, into the very country we had recently been in.  We talked tracks and cars for a bit, and both went our merry ways.  A few hours later, we were pulling into home.

2276 miles on the truck, averaging 10mpg for the trip.  Almost 1000 miles on the Jeep, not including towed mileage, which didn't show up on the odometer.  Everything worked, nothing broke, and the Jeep performed exactly as we hoped it would.  More comfortable in every circumstance than our Bronco, all the offroad performance we needed, and over 20mpg.

I guess you could say we're happy campers.  wink

Rodan SuperDork
9/27/21 11:14 a.m.

Now that we're back, it's time to get back to work on the NA.  And I'm way behind schedule.

First, some parts arrived.  A (long) while back, I scored a never installed Kraken turbo manifold/downpipe setup off one of the forums.

The only issue is it had a 2.5" outlet elbow and downpipe.  Fine for a street car, but I wanted a 3" outlet and downpipe.  After a couple of abortive attempts to order just the outlet and downpipe from Kraken, I decided to just go ahead and order the whole setup.  I'll either put the 2.5" setup on the street NB, or sell it off for what I paid.   Ordered in early July, and was initially told it should ship in about a week.  After about four weeks, I started trying to find out my order status and got radio silence.  No response to emails, website queries or FB messages.  I should have been prepared for this, because it was why I never ordered the elbow:  Kraken wouldn't ever respond.

Finally, I get a shipping notification.  The day before we left for our trip....  I did some scrambling and made arrangements with a friend to pick it up off our front porch while we were gone, and I got it from him yesterday.

The manifold is the same, just the outlet elbows are different.

And the downpipe is larger, of course.  The 3" downpipe also has a V-band attachment rather than being designed to bolt up to the exhaust in the stock location.


Unfortunately, I've determined there's no way I'm going to have the turbo install done before our next event, so the plan is to finish up the electrical updates and fire system, and run naturally aspirated for a bit longer.

Rodan SuperDork
10/7/21 10:14 p.m.

Having trouble getting into the garage to get stuff done on the NA.  Waaay behind schedule....   I did make a bit of progress fabbing up a new battery mounting bracket.  Hope to have some pics tomorrow.

Got a new set of Toyo RRs mounted today, so when it does get back on track it will have fresh shoes.

Also headed to Phoenix tomorrow to pick up some parts I've been waiting on for a while....

Rodan SuperDork
10/8/21 7:19 p.m.

Picked up my long-awaited SADFab delrin bushing kit today.  I should have ordered this sooner, but hadn't realized how long the wait list had become.  Not a ding on SADFab, he's basically a one man show, and it's a great product.

One more project to add to the list, but at least I can start working on getting the control arms prepped, and just do a swap out when I'm ready.

After finishing the electrical work and fire system install.

And probably after the turbo.  Probably.  cheeky


Rodan SuperDork
10/9/21 1:52 p.m.

Part of the 'rewire' project was to move the battery.  The stock location is good for weight distribution, so I didn't want to move it too far (and into the interior would have required a battery box of some sort).  I just moved it over a little bit so it would be easier to access without leaning into the trunk... which an issue with the wing...

I used one existing hole for the bracket, and added two rivnuts for the other two, moving the battery over just far enough for easy access.

I'm still not all that good at aluminum welding, so it's not pretty, but it's not coming apart.  I decided to stick with the stock battery hold down hardware for simplicity.  Overall, it's lighter than the stock stuff that came out.

Now that this is done, I can start working on the cables.


Rodan SuperDork
10/12/21 12:02 p.m.

Signed up for our next event weekend in a month.  Which will force me to get the car done... cheeky

Shavarsh Reader
10/12/21 12:18 p.m.

Wow, looks like a great trip! And I like the battery hold down setup.

Rodan SuperDork
10/12/21 12:29 p.m.

All of the new wiring is using welding cable with crimped lug ends.  I had to buy a pretty serious crimper, but it was an excuse to buy a new tool.

The crimper is adjustable for various size wiring.

It puts a serious crimp in the lugs...

One of the ground cables with the lugs crimped and heat shrinked.


Got the battery terminals in, and the primary leads done.  Grounds go to body in the trunk, and PPF underneath.  Positive lead goes to the cutoff switch on the rollcage.


Tomorrow, I hope to get the dash pulled so I can start on the center panel and the wiring up front.

Rodan SuperDork
10/13/21 4:36 p.m.

Back into fabrication mode today.  One of the "while I'm in there" add-ons to the current re-wire is to fab up a front mount for a center net, something I didn't get around to when building the cage.  I'm not planning on using one at this point, but wanted the ability to easily add it in the future.  Since the dash will be coming out for the re-wire project, it was good timing.

First up was cutting a hole in the dash and fitting a piece of tubing to the dash bar.

Next it was trimmed to length.

And a solid cap was drilled and welded in.  It will get tapped for a 7/16-20 harness mounting eyebolt, and when the dash comes out it will be welded to the dash bar.

Rodan SuperDork
10/13/21 4:42 p.m.

Next up was starting on the center column, which will get the existing gauges and switches, the fire pull, cutoff switch, and an ignition/push start switchset.  I'm also debating on adding a boost gauge... trying to figure out placements to see if I have room for it.

First up was some rapid prototyping in cardboard, followed by cutting out the basic panel shape in aluminum.

The sides will be folded back on the edges for strength, but I wanted to do all my hole cutting while it's flat.  First things first... I need to wait for my wife to get home to make sure she can reach the fire pull while strapped in.  Once I have the fire pull located, then I can finalize everything else.

Rodan SuperDork
10/15/21 5:52 p.m.

Made some progress on the center panel today.  Got the holes cut for the gauges (plan to add a boost gauge to the previous pair), and made the cutout for the ign/start panel.

Rodan SuperDork
10/16/21 6:24 p.m.

Made some good progress today.

Continued cutting holes in the panel for various switches and stuff.  Bent the edges, which will both clean it up a bit as well as adding some stiffness.  When the part won't fit in your cheap ass HF benchtop brake, you make do with a vise and a hammer...

The bottom of the panel will mount to the trans tunnel using rivnuts.  The top will mount to a brace that will be attached via a small piece of tubing to the dash bar.  For now, I made the cross piece out of some bar stock, with rivnuts for mounting.

The back side of the bracket also gets a flange hanging down that will locate the fire system pull.  This will give the pull handle a more solid mounting point than just the panel, and it will allow it to remain in place when the panel is removed.  That's also the reason for the horizontal 'slot' in the panel.  The fire pulls do not have a removable 'T' handle, so they can't be removed from a panel after installation without diassembling the other end of the cable and pulling the whole cable out.  Not a great design, IMHO, but I'm workin' with what I've got...

Next up was a mounting bracket for the 2nd cutoff switch.  Again, I wanted this to be able to remain in place if the panel needed to be removed.  The idea is it will sit behind the panel, and the switch handle can be installed after the panel is in place.

It also got some bracing on the back side to stiffen things up...

In place...

And behind the panel...

Now everything was ready for a test fit...

Hopefully tomorrow I can fit the piece of tubing that will locate the upper bracket to the dash bar.  That will require contorting myself under the dash repeatedly... something I'm not really looking forward to.

Rodan SuperDork
10/16/21 6:32 p.m.

Something that I bought a while back that made this process a lot easier was hole saw kit from Amazon.  These things work way better than any standard hole saws that I've used, and have been well worth the minimal cost.

Amazon hole cutter set

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