Episode 414 – Whips, Chains, and Ice. Oh My!

This Week In Jeep: 

More Conformations About Jeeps Future Lineup

Without the outward drama of protests and a strike that marked General Motors’ proposed deal with the union, you may never have known that the UAW-FCA Council gave its blessing Wednesday to a tentative agreement between the union and automaker. Not that FCA was on the verge of a strike, but there has been rumblings that FCA uses a lot more temporary, and transitional workers than it’s rival across the way in detroit does. And it’s been rumored that those workers do not get the same kind of pay and bonus structure as regular plant workers do, and their benefits package is also less. FCA has promised to do more for these workers in the past, but nothing was done. I think this is more of a preemptive move to stave off something like a full strike though. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles workers represented by the United Auto Workers Union would see a boost for temporary workers, improvements in health care for in-progression workers and a bonus that matches what Ford workers get if they ratify a proposed labor contract. Voting begins Friday and is expected to wrap up next Wednesday in an effort to make those bonuses available before Christmas. Fiat Chrysler’s tentative labor agreement with the UAW has also confirmed details about several key Jeep models that are in the works. According to the reports, production of a new three-row Jeep SUV is set to begin in 2020. Jeep hasn’t had a three-row vehicle in its lineup since the Commander was discontinued in 2010, and is currently the only major brand without one. Recent comments made by Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley suggest that the Detroit-built model will essentially be a three-row version of the Grand Cherokee, but will likely wear a different name. And no i’m not talking about the Wagoneer lines here. This will be a whole separate vehicle from those. The full-size Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will compete against the likes of the Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and Cadillac Escalade. All that we pretty much already knew. However, the agreement reveals that plug-in hybrid versions will be available starting in 2021. Missing from the agreement is mention of a third three-row model smaller and more carlike than the Grand Cherokee-based one that Jeep previously said would be on sale by 2022, which could mean it will be built outside of the U.S.  All that aside, the big news from all of this is that we got conformation of a rumor we first heard a couple years ago.  What we found out is that Jeep remains on track to introduce the first plug-in hybrid version of the Wrangler next year. THAT’s big news.

Tale of Two Jeeps

It’s been a little while since it’s been brought up, so I’d like to remind you that there is currently a great battle waging… a battle between Mahindra, who is selling their very Jeep-like Roxor off-road-only vehicle, and Jeep, who sells, you know, Jeeps. 

Fiat-Chrysler  alleges that the very Jeep-like Roxor is TOO very Jeep-like to be sold here in America.  While on the face of it, this seems to make sense, but when you dig a bit deeper things just aren’t as clear. Mahindra has had a license to build Jeeps for a hell of a lot longer than FCA has.  THAT’s something that’s been missing from a lot of the “knockoff Jeep” reports you see online. Mahindra isn’t some random company that just decided to start building knockoff Jeeps, they have a heritage and history almost as old as Jeep itself. Mahindra has been licensed to build Jeeps since the Willys era, way back in 1947. They didn’t steal the Jeep design, they’ve actually been building them for over 70 years. The ROXOR was engineered and developed in the U.S. and is based on the same platform as Mahindra’s Thar vehicle that is sold in India and many other markets. Mahindra has been manufacturing the Thar and its predecessors since just after World War II.  The ROXOR’s resemblance to the CJ and military-style Willys jeep is directly related to this 70-year heritage. It’s worth noting that the ROXOR is manufactured in Auburn Hills, Michigan at the first assembly plant to be built in Southeast Michigan in over a quarter of a century. Mahindra has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into building its U.S. operations and currently operates multiple facilities in the Detroit area. It employs more than 400 U.S. employees and hundreds more through its network of over 400 dealers and U.S. suppliers. While I certainly understand FCA’s desire and need to protect their intellectual property, I’m going to risk a bunch of hate mail here and say that I’m more on Mahindra’s side here. Primarily because of the history, but also the fact that they did take credible efforts to differentiate the Roxor’s grill or “face” if you will, and I really just can’t imagine anyone confusing the purchase of an off-road-only Roxor you can only get at a Mahindra dealer with an actual Jeep-branded modern Jeep. I also don’t really understand why none of this was sorted out between the two companies before the Roxor was introduced here, but I’m not some bigshot automaker lawyer, after all. If someone could genuinely get confused about that purchase, maybe they don’t need to be driving at all?

Wrangler Talk: 

Steering Components of our Wrangler

Hello JTS listener, as promised we are diving into the steering system of your Wrangler. In this talk we will cover each component of your steering system and possible failures of each. Well there are a few main components to your jeep’s steering system, and they are your: tie rod, drag link, track bar and steering box. Each component plays a crucial part in controlling the direction of your jeep. First let’s cover your tie rod. Your tie rod is the center shaft that links your two steering knuckles together linking both front tires together. The Tie rod is what controls your toe in and toe out factor when it comes to the alignment of your jeep. The toe of your jeep can cause your jeep to pull in one direction or the other if your tires are toed out in either direction. So, to adjust the tie rod there is normally an adjustment sleeve at one end of the drag link allowing the tires to be toed in or out during the alignment process. Your tie rod also has a ball joint on each side of the tie rod creating the connection point to the steering knuckle. On the Stock tie rod these ball joints are normally not serviceable requiring a new tie rod when they start to wear and go bad. This is the best opportunity to replace the tie rod and make a bit of an upgrade. On the Wrangler 2007 and newer your steering stabilizer is connected to this tie rod. This stabilizer assists in damping the bumps in the road and giving you a smoother feel through the steering wheel when driving on and off road. Now on to the drag link. The drag link connects from your steering box down to your steering knuckle. The drag link is also adjustable. However, the drag link does not control any part of your toe in or out. The adjustment of your drag ling affects the clocking of your steering wheel so if your jeep still drives in a straight line and you steering wheel sitting at about 2 o’clock that means your drag link length needs to be adjusted. Also, as stated on my last talk the drag link also has ball joints on each end of the rod, and same as the tie rod on the stock version the ball joint are not serviceable so once again great opportunity to upgrade your steering components if these ball joints start going bad. Now onto the Steering box and pitman arm. All Jeep Wranglers have a hydraulic assisted power steering box meaning that inside the steering box, there is a series of valves that control the flow of pressurized hydraulic fluid to different cavities of the steering box to help turn the wheels in either direction. Most commonly the steering box does not go bad itself however there is the possibility that the seals with in the steering box may go bad and yes, they are rebuildable. However, unless you are mechanically inclined I do not recommend trying to rebuild the steering box yourself. Yes, I know it will save you a bunch of money and yes there are kit out on the market to rebuild them but unless each seal is perfectly seated within the steering box there will be a failure down the road or immediately when you turn the jeep on and provide pressurized fluid to the box and can cause harm to other components in the steering system like your power steering pump or the lines that provide the fluid to the steering box. Now the pitman arm is what connects your drag link and box shaft together and creating the lateral motion of your steering system. The pitman arm is a crucial part of your steering system and it is very important to make sure your pitman arm nut is properly torqued to the correct specification. A loose pitman arm nut can cause serious play in your steering system and lead to the need of replacing your steering box due to the movement in relation to the steering box output shaft also known as the sector shaft, which is the shaft that comes out of the bottom of the steering box creating the rotation motion need to turn your wheel. We will come back to the pitman arm after I talk about my favorite part of the steering system and that is your track bar. Your track bar is probably the most important part of your steering system and that is because your track bar keeps your axle and wheels centered under your jeep. The track bar consists of two bushings, and a metal shaft. The reason why I say that your track bar is the most important part of your steering system is because when your turn your wheel in either direction the track bar creates the solid brace against your frame linking the frame to your axle. So, you may have heard of an adjustable track bar meaning that one side of the track bar has an adjustment sleeve allowing you to adjust your track bar length allowing you to recenter your axle under your jeep in relation to your frame rails. This is very important in keeping your jeep traveling straight down the road and allowing for the proper alignment of your wheels. Now on to those bushings that are located at either end of your track bar, if these bushings are going bad this is a possible cause of that horrible death wobble. Yes, so check the bushings in your track bar you might have just found why you have any wobble in your steering system. Also, when looking at your steering system your track bar and drag link should be on parallel plains meaning that when looking at the two bars there should be equal distance between the bars when looking at them from the front all the way down from your track bar mount and pitman arm down to your axle. If they are not parallel this could also be another reason why you have death wobble. One way to make these two components parallel is looking into a drop pitman arm or longer pitman arm meaning that there is a greater drop in where your pitman arm connects to the steering box and your drag link. Well that wraps up this wrangler talk and remember check those bushings and your ball joints. You might just find the cause of your steering problem and thank you for listening and remember want to hear about a topic on the wrangler talk in the future send us an email or voice message on our website at jeeptalkshow.com/contact and join us next week where we will be continuing to talk about the steering system of our jeep wranglers

Five Ways to keep ice off your windshield

This may sound funny from a south east Texas boy, but here are the 5 ways to keep ice off your windshield.

  1. The night before freezing temperatures, cut and onion in half and rub it all over your windshield. The sugar from the onion creates a film over the window enhancing the melting of the ice.  You can also use a potato.
  2. Spray your windshield with a mixture of vinegar and alcohol.  If ice does form it should come off easily with a credit card.

  3. Salt changes the freezing temperature of water.  Mix some table salt with hot water to dissolve it.  Be sure and let it cool to room temperature first so you don’t crack your cold windshield. Then just spray it on!

  4. Cover your windshield, duh!  If it’s covered no ice will form, right?  Don’t have a cover, just grab your floor mats!

  5. Park facing the Sun.  If you didn’t know the Sun rises in the East.  If you park your vehicle East mother nature will defrost your windshield for you!  Now how’s that for solar power!

Jeep Life:

Part 2 of Adams Xtreme Off Road Adventure

The West was amazing.  Sedona Red Rocks Broken Arrow. Drove to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. In Peach Springs AZ the capital of the Hualapai Nation. There’s a Natural Resources building where you can get a permit to drive down Diamond Creek Road. $16.27 per person. Amazing views. Kingman Arizona. Damaged my Jeep tried a 112 point turn. Met Rick Swats who stopped BLM from closing trails in the area. Check out my YouTube video to get tips on how to stop them in your neighborhood. Meet the guys at Summit 4×4 in Prescott. Creating a non-profit. Mojave Road. wheeled Gold Mountain in Big Bear Lake California and wheeled Pinion Mountain trail in Anzo-Borrego springs CA. Both Jeep Badge of Honors. What’s next…

Tech Talk With Jeep Talk: 

No Slide Hammer? No Problem.

I learned this trick working on countless front wheel drive vehicles doing brake jobs for my own cars, but also friends and coworkers rides too. And even though this exact method was developed to more easily remove pressed on rotors, it’s a great way to remove a frozen, seized, or otherwise stuck axle shaft out of a dirty or gunked up axle tube. Maybe your axle seals have been leaking for some time and the tubes are just chock full of grime and gunk acting like tar or glue holding that shaft in the tube. Maybe you’re dealing with a junkyard axle, and things are just seized up or rusted in place. Ordinarily, one would turn to the power of a slide hammer to pull that rotor, or yank that shaft out of it’s hole. A lot of people don’t have this tool or even have access to it without driving across town to the one parts store that has this tool for rent. Or maybe you’re out on the trail and who brings a slide hammer with them on a wheeling trip? You can skip all that hassle, and still get the results you want by simply suing a length of chain. I have an old tow chain laying around, and there’s a chance you do too, or know someone who does. It doesn’t have to be a tow chain, it can be any length of chain (at least 6 to 8 feet in length actually) and large enough so that  you can get a bolt thru it to screw one of the links to a rotor, or in the case of a stuck axle shaft, the chain needs to have links large enough for one of the wheel studs to fit through one of the links. Once you have one of the links on the end of the chain over the stud, you’ll use a lug nut to secure it in place. Now, making sure your work area is clear of obstructions, pets, other vehicles and anything made of glass….. And with a little slack in the line, you’ll want to give that chain a big ol yank. The weight of the chain, combined with the forces generated by the action of yanking that chain, create a whip-like effect, multiplying the pulling forces exerted by several factors. The more chain that is loose and on motion is that much more weight and mass moving in the right direction. Too short of a chain, and you won’t be able to generate the forces needed to make things happen. Too long of a chain, and you risk injury or damage to the vehicle. Try it out, and let us know how it worked for you.

Must Have Stuff for your Jeep: (Jeep Momma Product Review:)

Colby Valve

This is a must in your recovery gear! Valve stems break. I can attest to that. When I was wheeling in Kingman AZ mine did. As a matter of fact it’s the second time I’ve done it. The first time was a slow leak. The time in Kingman it popped my bead. Luckily one of the guys wheeling with us had one. He was so excited to finally use it. It was so easy to use. Neil just pulled out the old one and screwed in the new one and bam!   Colby Valve built a better valve stem. It installs from the outside of the wheel in about 1 minute, is 20X stronger than standard valves and made in the USA! They are patent pending Colby Valves are hands down the STRONGEST, MOST CONVENIENT and BEST valves on the planet. They have permanent and emergency valves. As well as short and extra large. They are between $25 & $35 depending on which you get. 

Jeep Weather:


Hey Jeeper, Mitch here, today is the sixth of December 2019, and it’s time for your weekend Going Topless-Jeep Weather Report. Yes, Jeep fan, we made it to the last month of this year! Let’s start Going Topless and the weather in Springfield, Arkansas. Cloudy all weekend with 61 on Friday, 55 on Saturday, and 57 on Sunday. Good for those pictures. Next, lets take our tops off and cruise through. Springfield, Kentucky. High chance of rain on Friday at 51, cloudy on Saturday and Sunday with 49 and 54 degrees. No worries about drying off, you’ll be topless anyway.  How about going topless in Springfield, Nebraska! Cloudy all weekend with 39 on Friday, 52s for Saturday and Sunday. Hey, now… I seem to only be looking at Springfields, maybe I should watch The Simpson’s huh? Well then, out of the US and into Canada. Hey, the weather here is my kind of weather! Possible rain on Friday at 39, and cloudy Saturday and Sunday with 32 and 45 degrees. Wait this is Springfield, Ontario! Looks to me, that all these Springfields have similar weather systems affecting them. There you go Jeeper, go Topless in Springfield. Moderate temps with clouds and maybe rain. If you have any suggestions or want to know YOUR local weather in an upcoming episode. Go to JeepTalkShow.com slash contact in order to find all the ways to get a message to me.  I’m Mitch and its always great weekend to Go Topless if you’re brave enough! Just Go Topless responsibly.

Wheeling Where:

Off Road Driving 101
December 20th
Rausch Creek Off Road Park – Pine Grove, Pennsylvania
More Info: https://offroad-consulting.com/

New Year’s Roll and Ride
December 28th
Adventure Off Road Park – Pittsburgh, Tennessee
More Info: http://adventureoffroadpark.com/

Links Mentioned in Episode 414: