The Jeep Geek

The Jeep Geek's Blog
Dec 2010

Merry Christmas

A sense of humor is a good thing any time of year. The Jeep Geek posted an article about winterizing your Jeep, and this picture shows something you can do with your Jeep while you are waiting for the trails to open in the summer.

The Jeep Geek’s family is gathering this Christmas and he is looking forward to seeing all three of his daughters and his father-in-law up from Texas. Yes, The Jeep Geek married a west Texas gal... decades ago.

This time of year, one considers the path one’s life has taken and takes stock of all that he has valued and pursued. The Jeep Geek is no different in this regard. He is considering those changes he wants to make to his life and some things stand out:

  • He intends to become a more skilled Jeeper. The goal here is to increase the number of people he can help get into Jeeping...and maybe sell a couple more Jeeps in the process.
  • The Jeep Geek has been using a software package called iWeb to create this site, but the limitations are starting to drive him nuts. (Anyone who knows The Jeep Geek knows that is normally a short drive as The Jeep Geek lives in that zip code.) So The Jeep Geek has committed himself to a path of self enlightenment by taking up the challenge of learning to build websites using Dreamweaver, WordPress, and a few PHP tools. This means that www.thejeepgeek.com will received quite a face lift in the coming year.
  • The Jeep Geek intends to lose a few pounds as well. Nothing radical here, just getting to a more healthy diet...fewer Cheeseburgers, french fries, and chocolate shakes for lunch... maybe a bit more restraint in the evenings as he reads or watches TV (fewer snacks).
  • A bonus Goal, if the economy permits. The Jeep Geek would like to upgrade The Hummer Recovery Vehicle a bit. Again, nothing radical here...just a few off-road upgrades to help The Jeep Geek get to some places with a little less scraping and dragging.

How about you, what changes do you want to make in 2011? Drop The Jeep Geek a note in the contact us section of this site and let him know.
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Gears, Gears, Gears

Jeep performance is as much about gearing as it is engine horsepower. To improve vehicle performance the goal is to get more torque to the wheel...where it will be imparted to the ground. Traction does play a factor in all this...it does no good to stomp on the accelerator and spin the wheels...no power is imparted to the ground...speed is not attained. However, the primary issue is getting the power to the wheel.

The Jeep Geek has explained (in previous articles) how to improve the performance of the engine. In this article he will take a different approach to accomplish the goal of more power.

So a little basic math is involved...the Wrangler Sport (or Sahara for that matter) come with differential (final gear ratio) gear ratios of 3.21:1 What this means is that for every rotation of the tire the drive shaft rotates 3.21 times. The Rubicon has a final gear ratio of 4.11:1...this represents a 28% improvement in power (Torque) delivered to the wheels. Instead of 3.21 turns of the drive shaft causing one turn of the Rubicon’s wheel, it takes 4.11 turns of the drive shaft to turn the wheel once. This increase in torque is called the torque multiplication by gearing effect. This is why The Jeep Geek’s Rubicon is able to accelerate so rapidly...gearing...even though it has the same engine as a Sport.

In fact, the effect of this increase due to torque multiplication is the same as adding 60 horsepower to the Sport engine. (The standard 3.8LV6 engine in the Wrangler produces 208Hp...a 28% increase would be near 60Hp). Wow...gearing can really help energize a Wrangler. So is it possible to upgrade a wrangler gears with those with higher gear ratios? Yup...plenty of gear choices out there and you should consider this option. Especially if you are putting a lift kit on with oversized tires.

So if one adds larger tires (tires with a larger diameter) then this effect works against us because the tire must travel a larger distance for each revolution...this robs power. Adding a higher gear ratio can overcome that effect.

The Jeep Geek recommends that you increase the gear ratio of a Wrangler to 4.88:1 if you are running 35” tires. If you want to run 37” tires, then consider a jump to 5.13:1 gears. Both of these are widely available and will provide good power without unduly sacrificing fuel economy. It may be difficult to get these higher gear ratios into a Rubicon’s differential and still maintain the electronic locking differential functionality. It can be done, but the gears may not fully mesh...check with your local jeep technician.

Gearing may be the way to go if you are trying to boost power...especially if you have an automatic transmission powered Wrangler. In these units, the computer for the automatic transmission tends to de-tune the engine so some milder engine modifications don’t seem to unlock the engine potential.

A word of caution...if you change the gear ratio...be sure to have the odometer/speedometer adjusted to reflect this change. If you don’t you may find you are collecting speeding tickets...just a thought.
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Preparing for Winter

So where you are the weather may be fine...where The Jeep Geek lives we are preparing for the long winter here in the Rocky Mountains. Most of the Jeep trails here are closed (or rapidly closing) and won’t re-open until mid-summer. What is a Jeeper to do in the winter here?

Well, two options. One is to go somewhere else. Duh... There are still some Arizona trails open that are gorgeous...neat red sandstone formations...great critters that can be encountered as well.

Or

You can take the next few weeks and winterize your gear. Here’s what The Jeep Geek recommends:

  • First, clean the jeep. The Jeep Geek recommends that you steam clean the engine compartment and underside of the Jeep...get all that mud and caked dirt off the jeep.
  • Inspect the underside for bare metal areas that may rust when road salts hit them. Apply a bit of rustoleum paint to these areas. Remember this is the price you paid when you scraped bottom on those rocks last summer.
  • If you have a winch...now is the time to pay out the line and if it is steel cable, inspect it carefully for frayed or kinked areas. Also a little oil wiped on now will go a long way to extending the life of the cable. If you have a synthetic line...you lucky dog...inspect it for frays, you just don’t have to be as careful as steel cable frays will cut your hands pretty badly. Replace any line that is frayed, steel or synthetic...you don’t want to risk a break on the trail just when you need the line to hold. Also clean and lubricate the winch and slowly pay in the line and wrap it neatly. Did you hear, oil the line alot if it is steel.
  • Inspect your winch kit. Look for frayed tree straps and recovery straps. If they are frayed, time to replace them. Check the condition of your heavy duty leather gloves at this time...not the place to skimp...there should be no holes. Finally, inspect the snatch block. Look closely at the central bearing area...check for any slop here or binding...time to replace this if it isn’t perfect. These things are cheap to replace and if they fail can cause expensive damage.
  • Check Hi-jacks, shovels, axes etc. A dull and rusty axe or shovel is dangerous. The heads should be cleaned and oiled. You should take this opportunity to sharpen them fresh. Also, inspect the handles should be free if splinters and in general should be in good condition. The Hi-jack should be inspected for damage, worn holes or ratchets and should be cleaned and oiled.
  • Now go down to your closest Jeep store and have your vehicle serviced. Particularly a lube, oil and filter service. Also have them check the radiator...these things get a lot of abuse on the trail, good time to get the radiator flushed and pressure tested so you won’t be left stranded on the trail. Also, Brakes get a real workout on the trail and these should be inspected. The Jeep Geek recommends that all this be done at a Jeep Dealer because they don’t use skinny high school students to perform these checks...they use trained and certified technicians...many of whom share your passion for off-roading. The store that The Jeep Geek works at has very low cost maintenance packages available...like buy one oil change and get three free. What ever you do here, make sure whoever is under your jeep cares as much about it as you do.
Now that all this is done, your rig is clean, lubed, and all your equipment is put away in the garage until summer you have nothing to do till the trails open up. How will you survive till then?
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