Yet Another Weekly Post of Not Much :p

Life as usual around here,nothing much going on,just day to day living,chores,spending time with the Wife and Kids.

After having sat for several days un-moved/un-driven,I loaded up a hatch full of recyclables the other day in the Jeep and hauled them off. While driving,it runs fine as always,but for some reason it has developed a fairly bad “miss” at idle speed…it stalled out on me twice at intersections,something new there,though I’ve just gotten both too lazy and too caught up in Summer cleaning (think “Spring Cleaning” a few months late :P ) to mess with it as of yet. Well,that and it’s been raining lots and there’s no access to a place inside to work on anything. It’s a nice sunny,(very) warm day out today,but I just don’t feel like being out doors in the heat while getting greasy. It will keep/still need looking into later this week,maybe I’ll run it down to Dad’s house and give us something to do together and a reason to visit.

I have actually charged batteries and ran my (Axial) SCX10 a couple of times,though I haven’t yet installed any of those dusty upgrades I’ve had for months,LOL! It was fun,as expected. I didn’t load up and head to any trails or anything,just ran it down below a friend’s/neighbor’s unit down by the creek that runs on that side of the street so I could get it muddy. Today,I cleaned up/cleared off a table in the kitchen/dining area of the house (that’s only used to collect junk and dust ;) ) and set up a place I can wrench on RC’s,both in anticipation of the off-chance I do decide to order up a new rig,and to have place to work on em (now that I’ve “turned in the shed”,though they’ve still not came and collected it as of yet,it still sits here).

In the next 2 weeks,I will pay the “new” Camry payment,and tomorrow I will pay the camper’s first,leaving a balance of 59 payments on each. I suppose I really need tear into the Jeep this week (as opposed to later),no sense in owning a camper with a payment,especially not being able to park it at home mind you,if there’s no way to tow it anywhere and use it,LOL!

The kids have 3 weeks from today until they go back to school (YES!!! WOOHOO!!! OH YES…..er….um,did I type that out loud? LOL! Naw,actually,I dread it as much as they do,I’ll miss em :) ),and the Boy has a round of shots to take yet,so I guess we’ll start back-to-school-shopping soon,and I need be making both a doctor appointment (for checkups and his vaccinations),dentist checkups and such. Hard to believe,but the Girl is going to be a Senior,and will graduate this year… :( Time flies too fast,it does,I’m…WE are so proud of her :)

On the potential new RC rig,I had some interest in one I found slightly used (“ran ONE time,seriously,one time in my paved driveway” the ad said) Tamiya CC01 roller (no electrics),it certainly looked like a brand new,freshly assembled kit,and the owner finished the body (Toyota FJ Cruiser body) very nicely. At $175 shipped,I was very interested in it,and most likely would have PayPal’d the money to him tomorrow when the Wife gets paid (with her ok,of course ;) ),but it sold about 15 minutes after I messaged him asking about it. Wasn’t meant to be,I suppose :P

I’ve pretty much ruled out a G Made Sawback. I dig them,but to my eye they look a bit off-scale…off kilt…for a 1/10 scale trail rig. Not that I won’t want and/or buy one later down the road,but not right now. Actually,I’ve ruled out buying/building any kits for now,at least until I have a better,more permanent work station,or until I acclimate to the new setup (not having a workshop that I could choose to go out to) inside the house. Besides,I’m experiencing a sense of need for some good old fashioned euphoric instant gratification,LOL,so I’m looking specifically at RTR’s*.

Seeing as how RC4WD’s RTR’s entry pricing is well over $400** (and in need of several mods to trail/crawl at half of what a stock Axial rig crawls at),as much as I dig their scale realism (which can’t be touched by Axial’s scale-ness),I’ve ruled them out for now as well (I suppose one of their could be the next kit I build though,but the entry pricing of their kits is $400 before electrics are added…) ,which leaves me with my old friend Axial. Not a bad thing,mind you,as not only are they a leader in the field,but their rigs have served me well and point blank,I likes em.

I was thinking about building a “scaler” of a pre-98 Jeep Cherokee,using Proline’s 1992 XJ body,which has an 11.8″ wheelbase,so technically buying an Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler G6 RTR (or kit,for that matter),with it’s shorter 12.0″ wheelbase seems the simplest (the SCX10 Deadbolt,Wrangler Rubicon like mine,and Wrangler Rubicon CRC editions all have a 12.3″ wheelbase),so it seems to me there’d be less cutting of links to do (understanding that it’d be the same lengths cut on either)…well,probably not any difference,but I’m digging the extra parts unique to that version (light bar,tires,etc) so that’s what I’m going with,hahaha! :P

It’s occurred to me,however,that Proline’s Jeep Camanche (MJ,where-as the Cherokees like mine are an “XJ”) comes out of the baggies with a 12.3″ wheelbase,so no mods would need be made to build an MJ scaler with even the least expensive new SCX10 RTR (the Deadbolt,$299.99 shipped at Tower Hobbies),and even with those bodies selling $10-15 higher than the XJ bodies,that would be the most cost effective direction to go. Those bodies look a bit “off” to my eye,though (despite that nearly all pick-up truck bodies for 1/10 scale crawlers have no depth to their truck beds,to clear the RC bits),I’m thinking that the bed looks a bit too short compared to 1:1 (real) trucks,like it’s been “bobbed” (shortened) or similar. Here’s a few pics (pulled from a Google search of “MJ Comanche pics) of a real one and Proline’s body done up on (what looks to be) SCX10′s.

b7925d634733e10018bde80fd0d302b2 di-jeep_comanche_pickup-d74a3d750711990ef15b23c0ec4bd8a4 DSC_1001 JeepComanche_700 jeep-comanche-cut-out-fender-flares-bushwacker Jeep-Comanche-Pioneer

3333-00-2 3335-00-3 3335-00-4 3362-00-2 gallery3 jeep-comanche-05 Picture-225

I dunno…after looking at these pics,LOL,it doesn’t look so “off” to my eye (other than the lack of bed depth-ness). I may just go this route,we’ll see what kind of budget (and kit/body availability I find) when then time comes.

Anyways,nothing really going on around here,just thinking out loud. I hope everyone else is enjoying their Summers as well as we are :)

 

*Ready To Run ;)

**The RC4WD Trail Stomper can be bought for around $300 in RTR form…but comes with a cheesy-looking (personal opinion) lexan body (not the super accurate looking hard body the TF2 and Gellande II have),and sacrifices what trail capabilty they do have to meet the $300 price point,for eg it comes with friction (non-oil filled) shocks,just like the toys at Wal-Mart ;)

Posted in Camper, Cherokee, General Life Stuff, General RC Banter, Jeep, Jeep Project, RC Build Projects, RC Trail Running, XJ | Leave a comment

Just A Weekly Post Of Not Much

It’s been a rather uneventful week around here,with not much going on. Trying to get the house back to it’s level of pre-trip messy (because post trip messy is just too messy :P ),emptied out the shed and have it ready for pick-up*,relaxed and enjoyed some time with the Wife and kids,watched a few DVD’s…same old same old.

The Jeep continues to leak a bit of coolant. I haven’t really made effort to track down the leak as of yet,but I suppose I will this week coming. I’ve had to add a total of about 1.5 gallons of water in the last 2 weeks,but I’ve done quite a bit of running around in it. Seems like an excessive amount,but for the mileage I’ve put on it,it isn’t really.It HAS TO BE leaking either around the clamps of the hose I installed,or around the thermostat housing (which is what I suspect),so it should be neither too difficult to track down,nor too difficult to repair.

I de-black-snaked Dad’s garage for him when I went in to clear out a spot to house everything from the shed,at least as many as I could find (6 rat/black snakes,non-venomous mind you),and got everything in there. Packing up the RC gear really kinda put me back into the mood to charge battery pack and run the (Axial) SCX10 a bit,so I brought it and a few bits for it back home with me,I will probably run it at Warrior’s Path state park’s mtn bike trails,as a few of the “Expert Level” trails** have some good features/challenges. If I do,I’ll shoot some pics to post.

I’m being modest about how “in the mood” I am for RC right now,LOL,all I’ve been doing online is perusing RC forums,and I’ve also gotten a hankering for a new rig again,so I suppose I’ll start a fund for one. I’m torn between building an RC4WD Trail Finder 2 (or Gellande) or a G-Made Sawback with an eye for building the most scale realistic rig I’ve ever owned,or buy another Axial SXC10 RTR or kit and a Proline Jeep Cherokee body***. IDK yet if I’ll even buy another one this year,time will tell.

We refinanced the Camry this past week. Besides having paid it’s 12th (of 72) payments this month,the credit union who gave us financing on the camper seems to really want all of our business,as when they called for the obligatory after-purchase survey,they made an offer to buy out our existing loan. I won’t shout out the new interest rate,but suffice to say that our payment dropped nearly $100 per month when we went with them…that’s significant! It also just about covers the difference between the shed payment I’ve gained back and the camper payment,heehee :D

My young friend whose been in Basic Training and AIT all year (the one whose Best Man I will be next month when he marries) is supposed to leave for home two days from now,it will be cool to see him and fiance again soon. I imagine they’re both uberly excited…I know I am :)

As it’s been (how many…) weeks (now?) since I have cycled (road OR trail),I’m concretely decided that I will be selling the On One Inbred 29″er now. I think the Boy and I will make a day trip to Blacksburg,VA to ride the Pandapas Pond trails first (probably next week some time) first,as those trails perfectly suit 29″ wheels and singlespeeds,then clean it up and leave it at the LBS on the used For Sale floor. I will also break down the Xtracycle,most likely,and post it up on eBay for sale****,as well as lots of gear and parts that I’ve been hoarding/holding onto for “someday”. Simplifying things…something needed inside the house as much as inside the bike shack.

As for the camper and trips,none will be taken until the cooling system issue is found and dealt with on the Jeep,but we intend at least one trip per month,even if it’s only a short one (technically,being a >2 hour drive with good traffic flow and weather,Pigeon Forge is a short trip too….so I suppose that what I mean is “even if a REALLY short trip”,LOL,like a local campground for the weekend,or a semi-local state park or similar). I would also like to get a few nights in tent camping before school starts back next month.

Anyways,as the title says…not much going on around here,just day to day life things,nothing noteworthy,which I consider a good thing some months…without much going on,there’s not much going wrong either,hahaha,and we’ve been enjoying one another and time spent with. My wish is that everyone of you have enjoyed as uneventful of a time as we have been enjoying :)

 

 

 

*If you don’t remember,I’m turning it in,as it’s monthly fees will pay 2/3 of the camper payment

**Those trails are a bit technical,but they are also the trails that I taught the Boy to ride trails on. I’m like that,”handle/prepare for the worst,then everything else will seem easy” is sort-of the way I do things. For another example,when I taught my children to shoot last year,I taught them both with a small framed,snub-nosed .357 Magnum loaded with +P ammo for some recoil-they both did very well,mind you,and now when they shoot any other handgun,it’s easy for them :)

***The RC4WD TF2 (and Gellande) is $400 for the kit (less radio/receiver and ESC),or about $450-460  for the RTR,the G-Made Sawback comes as a kit only (as far as I know) for around $260 or so (is also the least capable or the ones I mention in stock form,but I find it appealing none-the-less),and Axial now has several variants of the SXC10,with RTR’s priced from $300 (SCX10 Deadbolt) to $410 (a new variant I can’t recall the name of,basically a twin to my ’12 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited RTR,but has a different paint scheme,new licensed tires and included light bar with LED’s installed),with the Honcho apparently being discontinued (Tower Hobbies has a few at $355 shipped),and a Jeep G6 version coming in at $350,not to mention all of the kits they have in the current lineup.

****As I will be building a shanty/shack/mini-shed,just enough to keep bicycles locked and protected from the weather,I won’t have as much space to house/park them all,so some things simply must go. In all honesty,I really only need TWO bicycles…One mtn bike,and one road bike. As is,that I’m keeping the Surly Troll and Origin 8 700CX bikes,I will have two where each can be make-shift ready for any terrain.

Posted in Camper, Cherokee, General Life Stuff, General RC Banter, Jeep, Smaller Living, Tents, XJ, Xtracycle | 6 Comments

The First Trip

This will be brief,as there’s really only so much I can say about the enjoying of sitting around doing not much of anything for four days,LOL,nor are there many pics to post (how many pics of a family relaxing can one take,after-all?).

We did in fact head out to Pigeon Forge,TN last week for the holiday with the new camper,and my parents did in fact tag along in theirs,settling into 2 sites in front of/behind the other. As Dad’s camper has a grille on the back end,we did most of the cooking there,though the Wife,kids and I did take in a dinner-show (at the Comedy Club) and ate out once besides that (trusty,faithfully always great Logan’s Roadhouse where I eat exactly the same meal each time…steak cooked medium well,2 baked potatoes and 157 rolls :P ),other than that,just lots of sitting and talking together,watching dvd’s outdoors,walking Moonlight all over (our beloved dog ;) ),card/board game playing,and riding around on Pop’s golf cart (really should have shot a pic of that with the Daughter driving,hahaha!).

We did thoroughly enjoy the trip,despite the heat,the Independence Day traffic*,and the lack of real funds to go out and do much.

The Jeep did fine towing the camper,even the 4 hour 23 minute drive in 92 degree temps from the campground back to I40 as we left yesterday (did I mention that was only 6.6 miles….?). It did want to run a little warm mid way home down I81,but I was pushing it a bit on some of the steeper hills,but it never ran so hot that I needed to pull over or anything. Loaded,the camper does squat the rear end of it fairly low (more than expected),but I’ve known for months now that it’s rear shocks (and possibly it’s rear leaf springs) are worn and could use replacement. I may look into a “load leveler” (not sure what they’re called) bar to add between the tongue of the camper and hitch of the Jeep,as that would raise the rear end by taking lots of weight off of the hitch. I was told there probably isn’t one for my application at Crowder RV,but researching online says otherwise,we’ll see. We may just replace/upgrade the shocks and springs.

It was pretty obvious that for us to go long distances,or very often (at least during the heat of mid-summer) that we need look into,shall I say,a more robust (or better suited to towing) tow vehicle. The Jeep did fine,but it’s not an ideal tow rig,and may become less-so as I modify for better off-road performance. We discussed this for next Spring,thinking maybe a V8 Jeep WJ (2nd gen Grand Cherokee),or even a late 90′s (modern-ish drivetrain ;) ) full size van,either one of those “conversion vans” with their upgraded/styled interior and raised roof,or find a decently low mileage “church van”** with all of it’s seats removed behind the first bench. We’ll see. For now though,we had a good time,and at least 2 of us (the Wife and me ;) ) are anxious to go again soon.

The few pics we shot***…

001 002 (2) 003 (2) 004 (2) 005 (2) 006

 

 

 

*As some of you know,I’m a former long haul truck driver. I’ve driven all over these United States,lots of Mexico and most of Canada (I’ve been up into Alaska as well). Let me just say….I’ve rarely,if ever,seen traffic worse anywhere in all of my travels than what we drove through in Pigeon Forge TN on the way out,LOL!

**These are almost always 3/4 ton vans,with nearly as high of a payload/towing capacity as a similarly spec’d 3/4 ton truck,plus being and extended body over their respective longest wheelbase,removing all of the un-needed bench seats is like having a built-in bike/shed/toy hauler taken along with us-it could even easily be converted for camping inside of itself :)

***These are rare pics,my friend…the Wife almost NEVER allows anyone to shoot one of her these past few years,feeling badly for “having let herself go”,but in reality,her weight gain which seems to make her timid to be seen in pics was due to health issues,not “letting herself go” as she says. The other pic (the one where the Wife is caught shoving a tasty treat into her mouth,LOL) is of my parent’s camper with most all of us sitting outside enjoying dinner together :)

Posted in Camper, Cherokee, General Life Stuff, Jeep, Touring, Vans, XJ | 2 Comments

Road life motivation

The DC:

Love these guys,and am SO excited for their upcoming trip,hoping to get op to see them face to face as they roll through close to me :D

Originally posted on arrows west:

I know the long weekend is over, but heres some motivation to take your mind back to the woods.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/71385845″>Tomorrow Somewhere New</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/darkrye”>Dark Rye</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

We are CRAZY busy preparing to move out of our home and prep for this trip. Sorry to keep all of you guessing!

Our Indiegogo is ALMOST over and we are SO CLOSE to making our goal, if you can please help support! Buy a book, give us a dollar, whatevs! Thanks guys.

-Rob

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Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

SO Being Bored Today…

…not that I had time to be so (bored),but I was. So I sent out a mass text to about 17 friends and family members that read as follows “Hey,sorry to bother you,but I’ve lost my phone somewhere in the house. I’ve looked EVERYwhere. Would you do me a favor? I need you to call me on my phone so I can listen for it to ring and find it. After 6-8 rings it will go to VM,just keep calling. Thanks!”. I wondered how many people would realize it a spoof (since I was texting them on my phone ;) ) and if I’d get any calls.

I got 3 non-responses,10 texts back (everything from “Haha!” to “LOL,reckon anybody is dumb enough to call?”),and…………4 friends (no family members) tried to call over and over and over before I picked up and told them”Hey…it was a joke. See,I was texting you ON my phone….”. I’m amused (and touched by the friends/family who responded,despite that it was a joke),I have a smile on my face (not to mention I apparently made several people laugh today,including those who called back. I dunno about the 3 that didn’t respond,but they’re buttholes anyways,LOL :P ) :)

Well,lets go get some more packing for the trip done,leaving tomorrow,God willing. I wish everyone a very happy and safe Independence Day! :D

Posted in Camper, General Life Stuff | Leave a comment

Jeep Issues With Towing/May Be solved

Not as soon as I’d intended to post this,but been busy getting everything ready for the last two days,and will be until time to leave as well it looks like,LOL! Anyways,the Jeep was having an issue last eve (including the Jeep…and why is it that preparing for a few days vacation is more work than work ever was anyways? LMBO! :P )

On the short trip to Dad’s,it did fine (I wasn’t pushing it hard,mind you) until the last 3-4 miles of it,when it began running excessively hot (so I hurried a bit to get it there,not being any places to pull over in route from where I was). Just after backing the camper into it’s spot in his lower yard,I was getting out and walking to the front,telling Dad it was about to boil over,just as I got to the front bumper the lower radiator hose burst,showering my entire right side (face and all) with scalding hot anti-freeze….firstly,BOY HOWDY was that hot (and could have been much much worse,I’ve seen people suffer 3rd degree burns from such-as it was,I’m a little tender as if a bad sunburn,otherwise fine :) ).

So yesterday,we ran to Auto Zone and bought a pair of (pre-fit) hoses (replaced the top and the bottom),a new thermostat and wound up also replacing the housing that bolts to the front (that the thermostat sits behind),as we damaged it removing it (it was apparently still very hot-we had some temp-ready coal mining gloves on ;) ).

Today,we discovered that one of the two fans wasn’t working like it’s supposed to,adding to the strain on the cooling system. See,it has an engine powered fan,and an electric fan. The electric one is the problem child here. We did get it working…a little…by hard wiring it straight to the battery,but even then it’s hit and miss. Forums tell me that 1) the cooling system struggles on the entire run of Cherokees,it’s a common issue on 4.0L powered units from 1984-2001. 2) lots of people have had great results hard wiring the fan to run anytime the engine is running. It seems it’s just a faulty fan though (even after complete dis-assembly,cleaning and checking everything).

We called a bone yard (auto salvage yard-the old timey kind,where you’re free to roam the lot,which is mostly wooded,and free to pick your own parts if you wish,just like the kind Pops and I frequented when building project trucks when I was growing up. Ahhhhh,miss those days :D ) that we’re familiar with and they have a few wrecked XJ’s,two the same as mine (98′s and 99′s are almost identical mechanical-wise,’00-’01s LOOK the same,but have several key mechanical differences…not good ones*) for $35,so I’ll drive it to Dad’s and let the Jeep cool while I drive his truck (a brand-shiny-new,600 mile-old Chevy Silverado Z71 truck worth over $50K no less :o ) to pick it up in the morning.

In addition to installing the new (to us) fan,we’ll also be installing the anti-sway-kit on the hitch and camper,I’ll be trying to get as much packed in the camper as time allows as well. What I did today was to install a toggle switch in an un-used slot on the dash underneath the climate controls,and run the wiring to the old fan (it works “sometimes”) that when switched on,the fan will run continuously,and not at all when toggled off. So all I should have to do tomorrow is remove the two bolts (on top and easily reached,fortunately),yank out the old and slap in the new/old one,hook the two wires up and be good to go on that.

We also briefly considered raising the rear of the hood on it’s hinges one inch,to aid in hot air exiting the engine compartment…just for this trip,but decided against it (well…it was getting dark :P ). Later,I will find (in that same bone yard,Dawgtown Auto Salvage) a pair of hood vents (medium sized,say…4-5″ wide x 6-10″ long) from whatever junked vehicle,and cut hole in my hood (or a spare hood,if they have a decent one for cheap) and install the vent that way,and then go ahead and do the hood paint work I was “seriously considering” doing anyways so they’re almost invisible (I’ve seen several modified XJ’s online with home-grown hood vents owner made/installed that look decent,and owners report a great improvement in cooling,especially when combined with a full time electric fan).

So after we were done,with fingers crossed (and both my tool box and 6 gallons of water in the back taken with us ;) ),we hitched up the Jayco to the Jeep,and drug it 15-20 miles down the road (to Abingdon,VA) down a 2 lane back road,and since it did so well there (it never surpassed the normal 210 degree operating temps),I drove down the interstate (I81) back to Dad’s house,never pushing much past 67-68MPH (especially with it wanting to “wag it’s tail”,not having the anti-sway kit installed yet,hahaha-it’s a 70MPH speed zone BTW),and I’m pleased to say it did very well for the entire trip down and back. With the new fan installed and working tomorrow (and the anti-sway kit as well),a prayer spoken over it and fingers crossed,she’s ready for the trip to Pigeon Forge by tomorrow. A few pics…

003 004 005

Note that while the camper does indeed make the rear end squat a bit (shocks are well worn and on my short list of upgrades,though I hope to wait until next year for replacements as I’m intent on a 3″ lift and 31 x 10.50/15″ or 32 x 11.50/15″ tires next year when the Wrangler AT’s wear out),it’s not so much,and looks exaggerated in the pics as I was sitting on a slight incline/hill,and yes,that’s dear old Pop in the pic :)

Wishing everyone a wonderful week if I don’t “see” you before :D

 

 

 

*From weak front axles,head gasket issues and transfer case problems to dash light maladies,the 2000 and 2001 models are known to have issues. Pre-1998′s didn’t have the preferred high pinion Dana 30 front axle,the good transfer case (among other things) that the ’98-’99 models had.so in a perfect world if you were looking for the best year XJ to begin an off-road project truck,’98-’99 are the preferred years. No,I didn’t know that when I bought mine,but was very happy I lucked up :)

Posted in Camper, Cherokee, General Life Stuff, Jeep, Jeep Project, XJ | 4 Comments

It Almost Slipped By Without Remembrance

Just a quick note before midnight making it too late to….today marks the 3rd anniversary of the day we had our total-property-loss house fire. Thankfully,no one was home all day and our dogs at the time were outside dogs. That’s what we have insurance for (note:you are not in good hands with Allstate).

I wouldn’t go back and change that it happened. We may not be living (we still own it) on 17+ mostly wooded acres now,but we like Bristol,have planted a bit of root here with good friends/etc,the kids like their respective schools,and the Wife has a decent job here-not to mention we’re a tighter knit family.

What seemed to have been the devastation of our lives has done it’s part to bring us to where we are today. I wouldn’t change it. A couple pics of what we commonly refer to as “The Burnt House”.

4 5 7 2

Update on some issues I had with the Jeep earlier today coming soon. Happy Tuesday,everyone :)

Posted in General Life Stuff | 2 Comments