Episode 418 – Electrified Jeeps Are Coming

This Week In Jeep:

Head To Head Truck Battle – Ford vs. Jeep

Ordinarily I love head to head videos. Where a famous youtube channel pits one vehicle against another similar vehicle for a head to head showdown in one or more particular categories. One such test which is gaining an almost cult like following is the truck-tug-of-war. You’ve undoubtedly come across a viral video or two over the years of manhood lacking bro-dozer drivers hitching the ass-end of the coal rollers to each other with a rope to see who’s got more room in their pants. Oh sure they always try and make it a Ford vs. Chevy thing, but those of us who don’t require $80k in truck to prove what gender we are, know what’s really going on here. To that end, here’s the secret of a vehicle tug-of-war that a lot of people may not know: It’s all about that mass.

Unless there is a significant difference in available traction, then the heavier vehicle generally wins. So without even watching the video that came out this week from The Fast Lane Truck’s youtube channel, where they pit a new Jeep Gladiator Rubicon against a Ford F-250 (for whatever reason)… the outcome would probably be about as obvious as a drag race between a Ferrari and a Beetle. 

Granted, both these trucks cost about $55,000… but other than that and the fact they’re both pickups, the similarities stop there. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, there’s not much doubt that the F-250 is the more capable vehicle of the two. It can tow more and has a higher payload rating, and of course weighs a lot more. 

However, the Ford isn’t nearly as much fun as the Jeep and comes with far fewer amenities. Score 1 for the Jeep. Going back to the tug-of-war however, the big F-250 absolutely dominates. Just as you’d expect it to. It can pull the Gladiator even with the Jeep driver holding down the brakes. No surprise there. But I don’t think the point of this was to try and embarrass Jeep in any way. It illustrates a very distinct point, if you’re about to drop $50k on a truck, the choice comes down to what a buyer needs. 

If the ability to function as a work vehicle has a top priority, then the F-250 is likely the best choice. However, if you’re willing to compromise on towing and payload, then the smaller Gladiator has features that the Ford can’t even come close to matching for the same price. Despite knowing the outcome, if you’re interested in watching the video from The Fast Lane Truck – We’ll have the link in the show notes for this episode.

Don’t call them 4×4’s

At least not yet. For now, they identify as ” 4xe’s “ Technical details for the first plug-in Wrangler hasn’t been revealed, but the Compass and Renegade share a powertrain that combines a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and electric motor combination driving the front wheels with a separate electric motor for the rear axle and no mechanical connection between the two ends.  The layout is similar to the one used in the best-selling Toyota Rav4 Hybrid, and delivers up to 240 hp and an all-electric range of 31 miles between charges.

Thats certainly not going to get you far on that expedition trip next year, but who’s doing that stuff in a Renegade anyways?  We’ve known for months now that FCA is investing heavily in electrification. Even going so far as to merge with a French automaker who’s ahead of the game in this department. The Wrangler, which is currently available with mild-hybrid eTorque power units, will likely feature a more robust take on the new technology as Jeep promises it will be a “no-compromise” off-road vehicle.

The new eTorque Mild Hybrid system is a replacement for the traditional alternator. It sports a belt-driven motor generator unit that executes several different functions from charging to drive power assist.  More details will be released in the coming months and all three models are set to go on sale before the end of the year, while Jeep plans to electrify its entire lineup by 2022.  So …is this the death of the Wrangler as we know it? What do you think?

Wrangler Talk:

Cooling System

Hello JTS listener and on this week’s talk we are going to be talking about the cooling system of your jeep and the different parts of it. So, if you follow my Instagram, and if not my Instagram profile will be in the show notes, you have seen that I have been rebuilding my 1998 Cherokee with a 4.0 L straight 6 cylinder and that is the most common jeep engine out there and it has basically all the same components as a wrangler. So, in the rebuild process I have been replacing my cooling system because I had some of those dreaded coolant leaks all over the place, actually to the point of where I could take a shower under one of the leaks. So how does a cooling system work? Well on our trusty 4.0 Liters there is a mechanical water pump that is driven by the serpentine belt in the front of the motor that forces the engine coolant, antifreeze, from the motor through the radiator and then again into the top of the motor. Then the flow of coolant is controlled by a mechanical thermostat that opens and closes when it is subjected to the heat of the engine. When the engine comes up to the operating temperature of the thermostat it will open and allow the flow of coolant through the engine. So, when I was rebuilding I was doing some research on the different temp thermostats out on the market and as I was reading I discover a couple interesting things. So here is what I discovered, the different temp thermostats can be used to your benefit depending on what your jeep is going to be used for. There are normally 3 different temperature ratings for thermostats and they are 160, 180, and 195 degrees, and by nature they will all open at their respective temperature. Although each thermostat should be used for different applications, and if you are just using your jeep as a daily driver do not stray away from the standard 180 or 195-degree thermostat. Although if you are using your jeep for a lot of offroad or rock crawling where you are moving at low speeds but putting a lot of stress on the motor you might want to look into a low temp thermostat. The benefit of a low temp thermostat is that it will let your radiator work more for you by allowing more coolant flow through the thermostat when the engine is not running under a lot of load and it will delay the process of maxing out your coolant system when in that hill climb or rock crawling. So, the next part of your cooling system that directly interacts with the thermostat is the thermostat housing and part mounts right on the engine block. The housing itself is actually prone to cracking because of the heat cycles that it goes through over the life of the engine so if you are looking to go to a different temp thermostat it might be a good idea to replace the housing while you are at it. Also, another fun tip if you are feeling adventurous you can actually shave down the inside of the thermostat housing where the housing makes the hard turn to allow for better flow through this part and in turn giving you better flow through your whole cooling system. Now the next and most important part of your cooling system is your water pump and as I said before your water pump forces the coolant through your cooling system, so it is important to make sure your water pump is in proper working order. Water pumps do wear out over time and can lead to many other problems if they fail. So some of the common failures is the center shaft of the water pump can become bent and lead to the impeller, pump blades, to rub on the inside of the housing and lead to failure and reduced cooling capacity. Another common failure is that the impeller completely breaks off the water pump shaft and will leave you with not coolant flow and overheating. So, one easy way to check your water pump is to just make sure that it spins freely in the housing and this will tell you if there is any rubbing of the impeller or if the water pump’s bearings are going bad. The next important part of the cooling system is the radiator and your radiator is where the heat exchange process happens. So, radiators are pretty simple, they leak, or they don’t. So, if yours is leaking you might want to look into replacing the whole radiator like I just did. Also, when you are inspecting your radiator make sure it is clean and free of all mud. When your radiator is caked in mud you are reducing the cooling capacity of the radiator because the mud is actually holding in the heat and will not let the heat exchange process happen efficiently. Finally there are the coolant hoses. These are rubber hoses designed to carry the coolant to and from the motor. They are made of rubber and will eventually start to leak after some time. The rubber becomes hard over time due to the heat cycling and they lost their tight seal around their connection points. So just go ahead and buy new ones, they are cheap and greatly reduce the chance of spring a leak in the future. So my last point is never use that radiator fix jar of crap you see in the auto part store. It just creates a larger mess in the future when you eventually do have replace a part in the cooling system and need to drain the coolant out of your motor. Well thank you for listening to this week’s wrangler talk and remember if you have any questions or comments about the show head over to our website at Jeeptalkshow.com/contact and send us an email or leave use a voice message and we would gladly help you out. Thank you and talk to you next week on the wrangler talk.

Radio Comm Tech:

FRS/GMRS and Radiodity giveaway

This is Jon and last time on Radio Comm Tech we gave away a CB with the help of Radioddity and then the following week Tony gave away another CB. If you didn’t win one, Radioddity has also offered Jeep Talk Show listeners 15% off of their CB-27 by using the promo code xxxxxxx on their website, Radioddity.com. Thanks again to Radioddity for their support. 

Today on Radio Comm tech we will talk about FRS and GMRS. Why am I grouping them together? Because they use the same 22 channels in the 462 and 467MHz UHF frequency range. FRS is license free while GMRS does require a $70 pay to play license. No test is required and it covers you and your immediate family for 10 years. Skip a latte or two a year and you’ve made your money back. 

FRS is 2 watts or less and come only as handheld radios with a non-removable antenna. They are good for spotters and for those in your group without a GMRS license, though operating a handheld from inside a vehicle will likely result in less than desirable performance. 

GMRS is more than 2 watts up to 50 watts and the radios come in both handheld and mobile. A ¼ wave GMRS mobile antenna is only about 6” tall so it is much easier to mount high on the vehicle and yet not get destroyed by branches. For size comparison a ¼ wave CB antenna is 108” tall. You can get longer GMRS mobile antennas that will provide a more powerful signal towards the horizon where a ¼ wave antenna sends signal up and out. A ¼ wave antenna is good when in the mountains or the city and you are trying to reach repeaters on top of peaks or buildings. When searching for a GMRS mobile antenna look for an antenna that operates between 450-470MHz as they will work on GMRS but typically won’t mention GMRS specifically in the description. Most if not all antennas that work on GMRS will have an NMO mount and require coax with the appropriate NMO end. These are easy to find as they are used quite extensively in ham radio as well. 

FRS and GMRS use frequencies that are line of sight, so it is best if you can get the antennas up high such as on the roof or roof rack. They also require less ground plane so you can get away with mounting them to racks or smaller pieces of metal than you could a CB antenna. A fender mount will work as well though it may shorten your distance a bit. This isn’t as much of an issue if you are using a repeater that is considerably higher unless the repeater is far away. FRS and GMRS are FM so they are not as bothered by environmental RFI and have good audio quality. 

Handheld versions of both radios can typically be purchased at local big box stores or outdoor retailers. For mobile radios, MidlandUSA is the major radio company with multiple choices, but Baofengtech has also recently stepped into the GMRS mobile radio market. Mobile GMRS radios are about the size of a compact CB or smaller. Midland offers one with all of the controls in the microphone, similar to the popular CB radios. 

GMRS has been around for a while but mobile radios were not easily available for those wanting a plug and play option until the last couple of years. GMRS is slowly gaining popularity as it is better than CB in almost every way. Pros: more power, small radios, small antennas, less ground plane, repeater capable, FM audio, license covers immediate family, no test. Cons: $70 license, not as popular or common as CB. If you have any communication questions go to jeeptalkshow.com/contact to submit. Stay tuned for the next Radio comm tech for more info on other communication options.  

Tech Talk With Jeep Talk:

Voltage Drop Test – Parasitic Drain

Last week we went over one of the most simplest ways to find the source of a random draw (otherwise known as a parasitic drain) on a Jeep’s battery.  

Although the fuse pull method will work fine on older Jeeps or other older vehicles, there are too many subsystems on the more modern Jeeps that need to remain dormant for this other method to work. In order for this test to work on newer vehicles or newer Jeeps, we need to allow all these other systems to completely shut down or “fall asleep” before we can begin this test. Pulling a fuse and reinserting it will essentially wake up these subsystems and provide a false positive when trying to figure out where the offending circuit is. Even something as simple as a proximity key system where all you have to do is be close to the vehicle and you can push a button to start it can disrupt things. Once in a sleep mode, the key coming back near the vehicle can wake systems back up, the dash may light up, the fuel pump may prime, any number of other systems can come to life and we don’t want that. The test we are going to go over this week is called a voltage drop test. There are various voltage drop tests that can be done on our Jeeps, but this one is specific to battery drain. Voltage drop is defined as the change of voltage across a resistance or in this case a circuit in our Jeep.  But how do we measure this without activating everything on that circuit or waking it up entirely?

This test will show you how to quickly pinpoint the source of the draw using voltage drop across a fuse while the vehicle is in what is referred to as its “sleep mode.”

The only tool you are going to need for this is a digital multimeter. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter the brand or how fancy it is, so long as it can take voltage and maybe even amperage measurements and in the right scale. And don’t worry, 99% of the mainstream and even budget meters can do this, so chances are, what you or your buddy have in the tool box is just fine. Once you have your meter, we begin by gaining access to your Jeep’s fuse panels. Yes there was an “s” in there because there is likely two and maybe even three.  Refer to your owners manual to find these locations if you dont already know, but generally there is at least one under the hood, and at least one inside the Jeep. Remove their covers and familiarize yourself with the layout of the fuses within. You’ll be probing these fuses later and you’ll want to do so without shorting the probes out to any metal nearby.

Next you want to make sure to close the latch of any door that is open or that needs to stay open to get to the fuse panel. Do this by using a screwdriver to act as the door pin and manually move the mechanism in the door latch inside the door. Just don’t forget to release it before closing the door when you’re all done. You may also need to depress any door pin that is open and keep it depressed by duct tape or a clamp. Sometimes a piece of wood and a clamp are needed. In other words, keep that door pin closed by any creative means you can. If your Jeep has one, do something to keep the hood pin switch in the closed position and make sure the rear hatch and glove box are closed too. Basically start covering every possible “common sense” draw (like the proximity key fob I was talking about earlier) to make sure we don’t see any false positives during the test. Once all this is done the vehicle will begin to enter it’s sleep mode.  This is why we’re doing all this… to get the vehicle to mimic the state it’s in as it sits (or sleeps) overnight….and drains your battery. The only difference is that we have taken steps to leave access to test things without waking it up of course. We need to take measurements while the vehicle is in this state, and in order to do so we need the previously mentioned multimeter. By now those who don’t have a prior understanding of electronics may already be a bit overwhelmed and may be a bit worried about probing their Jeeps fuse panel with an instrument they know little about. On the surface it may seem technical, especially if you don’t own or have never used a voltmeter before. (I mean this is like scientific equipment here!) But let me assure you, all you need to do is look for a difference in numbers, and anyone can make comparisons based on what they see. There’s not even any math involved! Ok, now that you more or less have an understanding of what we’re about to do and why, I feel this is a good place to take a break. Next week we get into the actual test procedures using the digital voltmeter to find the amount of draw and track down its source circuit in the fuse panel.

Must Have Stuff for your Jeep:

Hi-Lift Axe & Shovel Mount by Dominion OffRoad – $69.95

You may know that I’m a big fan of stuff that takes care of multiple things at once. A combination radio and flashlight, or a crimper and wire cutter combo, and who can argue with the ingenuity behind the spork? Although finding something for our Jeeps that does multiple things at once may be a little more difficult than tracking down a tactical spork. I however have got one item that fits the bill, does THREE things at once, AND it doesn’t even care what kind of Jeep you have. This is the Hi-Lift, Axe & Shovel Mount by Dominion OffRoad. That’s right, this thing is a single mount that holds an axe and a shovel using your Hi-lift jack. It works on roof racks, vertical mounts, horizontal mounts, mounts on tire carriers or hood mounts. The combinations are endless. Comes with all hardware and fasteners, uses genuine Quick-fist clamps, and is powder coated to prevent corrosion.

Jeep Weather:


Happy New Year Jeeper, Mitch here, today is the third of January 2020, and it’s time for your weekend Going Topless-Jeep Weather Report. New year means new challenges and new resolutions to be broken. Let’s start some of your new year new challenges in locations that are known for people going topless at. First in is Woodstock, Connecticut, with beautiful views and hiking. Go topless this weekend in the rain Friday and Saturday at 42 degrees, and slush showers on Sunday at 34. Next, lets take that top off and cruise in Niles, Illinois. Niles is just outside of Chicago and has the Leaning Tower of Niles and that isn’t a Pisa joke. Weather this weekend in Niles is 37 and cloudy Friday, 35 with snow in Saturday, and 41 and cloudy on Sunday.

Now if you like taking your top off in a more secluded area, then go check out Sandstone, Minnesota. Just an hour north of the Minneapolis-St Paul with lots of trails and wilderness to be topless in. Weather there will be cloudy all weekend at 25 Friday, 26 Saturday, and 34 on Sunday. Hey at least its warming up over the weekend. Let’s find a place a bit further south. Ok got one for you: Birmingham, Alabama. Alabama has lots of great places to go Topless throughout the state but here has some good campgrounds and hiking trails. Rain on Friday at 62, then sun with 53 Saturday and 55 on Sunday. That’s a bit more doable and you won’t freeze your chesticles off!

Jeeper, wherever you’re going topless this weekend just don’t forget to use #JeepTalkShow on social media for us to see those pictures. If you have any suggestions or want to know YOUR local weather in an upcoming episode. Go to JeepTalkShow.com/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. Mitch takes us from Connecticut, to Illinois and beyond to find topless worthy Jeep weather.

Wheeling Where

Ultra4 Racing – King of The Hammers
January 31st – February 9th
Johnson Valley, California
More Info: https://ultra4racing.com/

7p Overland – Foundation Overland & Expeditionary Driving Course
February 9th
Moab, Utah
More Info: https://7p.io/

Links Mentioned in Episode 418:

Episode 418 – The Lost Episode

Starting the new decade off with a bang!  Episode 418 is lost!

If you’re looking for your weekly Jeep Talk Show fix, well it’s missing.  We recorded it, but nothing on the card!

It’s so strange even we don’t understand how it could happen.

Keep watching this site for updates.