Archive for August, 2009

I love the Jeep Classics 2010 Calendar

Friday, August 28th, 2009

I don’t want to make this blog all about announcing new products for our store but sometimes I just have to do it.

Today we just got in our shipment of the Jeep® Classics 2010 Calendar and I am so excited. I like the big beefy built Jeeps but I also love the classics. Norris and Banonis have done an outstanding job of capturing the romance and history of Jeep. (I know I said “romance”). I love this stuff. One of my favorite classic Jeeps is the FC. Check out the cover shot of that gorgeous FC. As my girls would say, “that is a working Jeep”. You can’t look at that picture and not think of the white knuckle tourists going for a ride!

Get yours now before they run out!

Each month features pictures and fun facts. The highlighted monthly Jeeps include:

1959 Willys Civil Defense Rescue Truck
1967 Jeepster Commando
1964 Jeep Wagoneer
1973 Jeep CJ-5
1957 Jeep FC170 (cover shot)
1968 M725 Ambulance
1962 Willys Maverick
1951 Willys Jeepster
1952 Willys M38
1949 Willys Jeep Truck
1962 Willys Panel Delivery
1959 Willys Jeep CJ-3B

If the Jeep fan in your life is into the classics, they will love this calendar. 

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Ultimate Jeep Pre-Run Checklist

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

What defines bullet-proof? I don’t know. I do know (from experience) that having your rig in anything less than perfect condition is asking for trouble on the trails. I know this list is long. You would rather make these repairs in your garage then under a tree on the trail. These are the items that will make you bullet proof on the trails.
The people with rock solid rigs already know this list. This is the way they live their lives. This is the way they keep their equipment always prepared.
Check Tires & Wheels 

Tread Condition

Make sure that you have adequate tread on your tire. Remember that significant tread wear and damage can occur on the trail, so if your tire’s tread is worn a bit thin it will be better to be safe that sorry and replace that rubber before you leave.Clean any dirt or rust, particularly on the locking pins, and lubricate the mechanism. A good white lithium grease works well. Run the jack up and down and make sure it is working well and all parts are moving freely. Carry a large solid base, such as a piece of 1″ or 3/4″ plywood (about 1 foot sq.) than can be bolted to the base to stabilize the jack.


Sidewall integrity

Good condition. No cuts or chunks

Valve Stems

Your valve stems should be undamaged and not cracked. All should have caps to prevent the internal valve from being damaged. Metal caps will help prevent the stem from being crushed so you can air up adequately after the trail.

Inflation Pressure

All tires should be inflated to the same pressure on and off the street. Uneven pressure can cause your steering to pull, poor braking and accelerate wear in the differential.

Make sure that the bead is well seated on the rim and is not damaged. Inspect to make sure that no material is caught in the bead of the tire causing small leaks – particularly when aired down. Check the bead when you air back up when leaving the trail as well.

Spare tire
Your spare tire should be in perfect condition and the same diameter as your primary tires (width can be different). Do not take a chance on a spare that is in poor condition – it is the most often used spare part on the trail. It should be fully inflated and have all lug nuts. Check air pressure and make sure it has no leaks.


Check for damage or corrosion.
Pay particular attention to the bead area, the valve stem and the hub area. Replace any damaged wheels. Don’t forget to check your spare.

Check all nuts and lugs for damage. Torque all of them to the recommended specification before leaving. Carry a full spare set of lug nuts and lugs at all times. Make sure your lug wrench is in good working order.

Make sure you have a lug wrench, that it is the right size for your lug nuts, and that it is in good condition. It should be readily accessible but well secured. As a backup, make sure that your tool kit has a socket wrench or other wrench that also fits your lug nuts.

All bolts torqued correctly? Check for corrosion / mangled bolts
Torque all suspension bolts & nuts down to correct specifications, many of these should not be too tight or they will bind, too lose or they will fall off. Nylock
nuts or lock-tite is a good idea on critical fasteners.


Check all suspension bushings, replace any that are in poor condition and lubricate any that need lubrication.
Cracks or twisted components
While you are under your vehicle, check all components for twisting or cracking. Pay particular attention to spring mounts, control arm mounts, control arms, shackles, and track bar & sway bar mounts. Correct any damage before leaving.


Make sure there are no leaks, no dents, no interference with the full movement

Make sure mounting nuts are tightened to spec


Check all chassis and frame bolts and nuts and make sure they are undamaged and are tightened correctly.

Cracks, rust, corrosion
Check the frame for cracks, twists, rust & corrosion. Correct any damage before leaving.

Body mounts & bushings

On body on frame vehicles, check all body mounts and bushings. Replace any damaged or cracked ones and make sure they are all tightened correctly.
Skid plate & mounts 

Check the skid plate(s) and all mounts (including transmission & transfer case mounts). Tighten any loose bolts. Correct any interference
between the skid plate and any component (such as a drive shaft). Reinforce any potential weak spots.

Check all components for possible interference, particularly during maximum articulation and/or at full steering lock. Sometimes, due to vehicle modifications or “trail tweaking” new problems can develop that were not there previously, correct any possible problems. Lubricate all points.

Lubricate all standard & supplemental chassis lubrication points.


Pads & Shoes
Make sure that you have adequate braking material, in good condition and without contamination (such as grease or oil). This is your life, don’t take chances on borderline OK, replace anything that is questionable.

Rotors & Drums
Check brake drums and rotors for damage, scoring and minimum thickness (usually stamped on the component). Again, correct any problems before you leave.

Check and/or replace brake fluid

Check brake fluid, add as necessary and replace old or contaminated fluid completely. If you run your brakes hot, it is a good idea to do replace the fluid anyway.

Bleed brake lines
Bleed all brake lines. Check bleed screws for leaks and general condition – clean and cap if possible.

Check for interference or adequate line length during articulation
Check your brake lines to make sure they are long enough and do not catch on anything when full articulated and at full steering lock.

Check lines for cracks, cuts, abrasions, etc.

Check all brake lines for cuts, abrasions, cracks, poor fittings, leaks or any other possible damage. If you find a problem – fix it!

Emergency Brake

Check all fittings, mounts and bolts for tightness. Make sure you carry the right tools to service your brakes!

Adjust E- brake
Adjust your emergency (parking) brake so that it holds your vehicle securely but does not drag. Replace any damaged component in your E-brake system. Don’t have an emergency brake? – Get something (like a line lock) and install it!

Axles & Differentials

Hubs and seals

Check for damage or leaks – correct any problems.

Open each differential; inspect gears and teeth conditions, check for chunks of metal, change oil.

A metallic powder in the bottom of the case is fairly normal, big chucks of metal are not. Check the condition of the gear teeth on the ring and pinion and in the spider gears. Change the gear oil if it is dirty. If you have a limited slip differential make sure that you use the correct oil or add a limited slip additive.

With ARB air lockers check air lines, condition, fittings, clearances.

If you have ARB,s check all of your air lines and fittings and make sure that the air lines have adequate length during full suspension travel and do not catch on any component. It is always a good idea to carry spare air line and a repair fitting.

Check vacuum lines and shift motors on central disconnecting axles.
If your Jeep has a vacuum actuated front axle disconnect, check the vacuum lines and make sure the shift motor is operating correctly and is
not damaged.

Eyeball axle housing for cracks, straightness, damage, rust corrosion, etc.

Check vent lines.

Make sure that the axle vent lines are mounted as high as possible to avoid water from entering the axle when crossing deep water.

Check pinion for play.

For both the front and rear axle check the input pinion for play which may indicated a worn bearing.
Check front U joints – make sure you have a spare!

Check the U-joints in your front-end knuckles (and the rest of your driveline). Lubricate them and make sure you carry at least one spare of every U-joint on your Jeep. These are another commonly used spare item on the trail. Make sure you know how to change them and that you have the tools
to do it.

Check front knuckles.
On your front axle check the steering knuckles, ball joints, steering arms, etc. Fix or replace any damage or worn components.



Check & lubricate all points
Make sure you have spares!

Check & lubricate all driveshaft U-joints. If there is any question at all replace it. Remember to check the center section of any constant velocity (CV or double cardan) joints. Make sure you carry spares and the correct tools to service U-Joints.

Drive Shafts

Check splines & slip yokes – lubricate.

Check all slip yokes and splines. Lubricate splines. If you have a tailcone slip yoke check housing for cracks, carry something to seal the tail cone if it gets damaged on the trail.

Check for straightness, dents, and make sure all balance weights are attached securely.

Check all driveshafts for damage and straightness. Make sure your balance weights are securely attached. An unbalanced or damaged driveshaft at speed can cause serious vibrations problems, destroy U-joint and even cause significant damage. If a weight (usually welded on) has been knocked off or if you have a history of replacing U-joints or a bad pinion bearing it is a good idea to have your driveshaft serviced. Don’t ignore the front driveshaft!

U-joint straps / u-bolts

Check all U-bolt straps and/or bolts. Use nylock nuts or lock-tite on them and do not over tighten U-bolts – they can crush the U-joint bearing.  Always carry a spare set of all types of straps, U-bolts or other bolts used on your vehicle.

Transfer Case

Output pinion

Any side to side motion is bad and usually indicates a bad pinion bearing. Check seals for leaks. Check U-joints & straps.

Visually inspect case and shifter mechanism.

Check for any possible problems such as interference, wear or damaged connectors or e-clips.

Make sure all caps/seals are in place.

Check for ease of shifting.

Change fluid & inspect fluids for chunks of metal.

Change the fluid, remember to replace it with the correct type of fluid – chain driven cases often use ATF. Some metallic powder would be normal, but chunks of metal are not.

Check indicator & speedometer connections. if you still have a speedometer

Check vent slines.

Transmission (manual)

Visually inspect case and shifter.

Make sure all caps and seals are securely in place.

Check vent lines.

Check for ease of shifting & synchros.

Check clutch, linkage & pedal.

On Jeeps with hydraulic clutches check clutch fluid, fill as necessary and bleed clutch lines. Check clutch lines for damage or leaks.

Change fluid and inspect fluids for chunks of metal.
Change the fluid, remember to replace it with the correct type of fluid. Some metallic powder would be normal, but chunks of metal are not. Sometime synthetic fluids and/or additives can help troublesome shifters

Transmission (auto)

Visually inspect case and shifter

Make sure all caps and seals are securely in place

Change fluid and inspect fluids for chunks of metal & “burned smell”

Change the fluid; remember to replace it with the correct type of fluid. Some metallic powder would be normal, but shavings or chunks of metal are not.
Change filter if necessary.

Changing the fluid and filter can often help troublesome transmissions. Even though many service manuals do not require it is a very good idea to do it periodically on your Jeep.

Adjust bands if necessary.

Check all electrical connections.

Check vent lines.

Electrical / lighting


Inspect and replace battery if needed. Fully charge battery.
Your battery is a critical lifeline; it starts your rig, runs your winch, keeps the lights on and when your alternator fails even runs the ignition for a while.

Inspect and replace and damaged or corroded wiring. Clean all cable connections (esp. at battery and ground straps).

Check all lights for proper functioning, replace cracked lenses or assemblies. Check fuses and the fuse box and carry spare fuses of all ratings. If your vehicle uses a fusible link anywhere – carry spares.

Check alternator connections, output and voltage regulator. Carry spares if needed.


Check radio wiring & antenna. Tune your radio and antenna if needed.

Cooling system

Change radiator fluid.

This should be done once a year. Inspect the old fluid for signs of corrosion or rust. If your fluid is discolored and rusty, thoroughly flush your system before adding any new fluid.

Clean fins and check radiator for leaks, repair any problems or bent fins.

Check condition of all hoses & clamps, carry spare cpamps, hoses and patches.

Replace any cracked or swollen hoses and any bad or corroded clamps.

Check and replace thermostat if necessary.

Make sure your fan & fan clutch (or electrical fan) are working and that your fan has a fan shroud.This includes everything from the steering wheel down to the steering arms. Replace or repair any damaged component. Pay particular care when inspecting the steering box and it’s attachment to the frame. With over sized tires look for cracks around the steering box mounts. Check steering drag link and tie rod for straightness and dents. Any dent is a weakness that can pretzel the component when stressed on the trail so fix it ahead of time. Lubricate & torque all components.

Check all steering components bolts and nuts and make sure they are undamaged and are tightened correctly. Check adjustment sleeves & threads, ball joints, etc. Make sure that any crown nuts have cotter pins installed and carry spare pins.
Check power steering fluid, belts and hoses.
Belts and hoses should be undamaged, belts should be tight.

Check pump and reservoir for leaks.

Check for “burnt” fluid. Replace or fill with power steering fluid as necessary.

Replace the fluid if you detect a “burnt” smell. It’s always a good idea to carry spare power steering fluid.

Check for interference with all components – especially during articulation or full steering lock.

Check alignment or get vehicle aligned.


Clean it. When its clean you have a better chance of finding leaks. Plus if you have to work on it, a cleaner engine is more fun to work on.

Inspect all of it for leaks, cracks or damage.

Engine Oil

Inspect used oil for large metal particles or contaminants such as radiator fluid.

Tune your engine & replace filters or other components.

Check spark plugs, distributor & wires.

It’s always a good idea to carry spare ignition components

Check all vacuum & emission lines & hoses.

Check all lines and hoses. Correct any vacuum leaks.

Tighten belts – carry spares.

Clean carb or injectors. Check all electrical & throttle connections including TPS.


Check for worn gears, poor engagement, bad or corroded connections. Correct any problems. If you have an automatic transmission it is always a good idea to have a spare starter on the trail. 

Safety Equipment

Check seat belts and mounting bolts for all passengers.

Pay particular attention to the condition of the body where the bolts mount (looking for rust, corrosion or weakness) and frayed or worn seat belts. Clean and lubricate retractors and latch mechanisms.
Replace windshield wipers and fluid.

Inspect tub / body for corrosion or rust in critical areas.

Body mounts, firewall, seat mounts, roll cage mounts, floor board, etc.
Inspect roll cage or “sports” bars.

Not just the condition of the cage or bars, but the body where the mounts are and all welds.

Check your first aid kit and replace any needed first aid items.

Check all winch components, cables and hooks.

Check all electrical connections, your winch controller and your winch. Run all of your cable out and rewind it carefully and

evenly checking for frayed or damaged cable while doing so. Make sure your winch kit is complete with heavy leather gloves, tree saver
strap, chain, a good heavy clevis shackle or two and a good pulley rated for your winch.

Check tow hooks, recovery points and their mounts.
All vehicles need good attachment points front and rear, adequately mounted and in good condition. Grade 8 bolts over welded hooks.

Tow straps
Check for cuts, frays or mildew – replace damaged strap. Make sure you have a winch line weight (blanket or other).


High Lift Jack

Inspect, clean and lubricate your high lift jack

Check all spare parts and tools.

Carry all the spare parts and tools that you think you might need on the trail. If several similar vehicles are on the same trip, they can team up to carry common spares and tools and thus save space. Make sure all parts and tools are readily accessible in all situations.


Check gas tanks and jerry cans. Make sure you have spouts & siphon hose.

Make sure your spare cans are filled with fresh gas and use gas preservative in them. You don’t want to have problems with the gas when you really need it, use the highest grade and quality of gas you can get in your jerry cans. Make sure your cans are in good conditions, seal well (you don’t want gas spilling out when you get off camber on the trail) and that you have spouts for the cans and a length of usable siphon hose.

Make sure that everything can be secured properly in the vehicle.
On the trail anything that is not securely fastened down will go flying, so fasten absolutely everything down.

Emergency money.
Always carry spare money, cash, credit cards, ATM cards and whatever else you might need stashed both in your vehicle and somewhere on your person.
Spare keys for your Jeep and your tow rig
You will never feel more stupid until you find yourself stuck on the trail because you dropped your keys down a cliff, into a crack or fissure in a mountain, in a mud bog or down into a deep river and you can’t get your vehicle going again. Only carry the keys you absolutely need with you on the trail and always carry a spare set of keys securely in the vehicle.

Food & Water, sleeping bag, tent.
Carry enough emergency supplies, including food and water so if you find yourself stuck on the trail (or on a deserted highway) for a day or more you can get by. If you are likely to be in cold or hot weather also make sure you have reasonable clothing and shelter to handle any emergency. If you think you may have to walk it out, make sure you have a way (like a small backpack) to carry food, water and supplies with you.

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Jeep Gift Basket Drawing Winner

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Congratulations to the winner of our drawing for the Jeep Gift Basket.

The winner is Mr. Dave Yakes of Delevan Wisconsin. He drives a great looking 1999 Cherokee running 31’s with a 4 ½ Rubicon Express lift, Aussie locker, bumpers from AJs Off-road and his m8000 winch gets his butt out of trouble. Mr. Yakes hangs out with Northern Illinois Extreme Jeep Club.

Heres to you Dave. Hope you guys enjoy the basket.

Keep an eye out for opportunities to win other great stuff from California Jeep Authority.


- karen

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