Gearing Up for SCARR, Part Two (Post #462) 3/12/2014

I’ve been getting my kit together for S.C.A.R.R. the past few weeks. I am going to be putting up a few posts about new, new-old, and old kit for the trip.

Recovery Gear


I needed a rear recovery shackle. I don’t expect to get stuck but you have to be prepared for such things. I have a Class Three Hitch and have various hitches for pulling stuff. I have a pintle hitch and a standard hitch with multiple size balls, I’m well covered in the hitch department.

I have installed hooks on the front of the Range Rover. They have been up there quite a while. You can read the original post in my Technical Tips section. I pulled them off a Chevy Suburban in a breaker’s junk yard. I’m sure they never used them. I attached them to the frame with Grade 8 bolts.

So to solve the rear recovery problem I bought a shackle hitch off I researched them and bought one that was Made in the U.S.A. It is a Bestop 42922-01 HighRock 4X4 2″ Receiver Recovery Hitch Insert with D-Ring Shackle. I sent Bestop an email asking them where it was manufactured. They responded it was in the good old U.S. of A. Doing my part when I can.

UPDATE: I received the hitch with a sticker that said MADE IN CHINA. So as you can imagine I’m pretty pissed. I sent them a nasty email and I rated the transaction poorly on Amazon. This is the problem with buying on the interwebs, trustworthiness of vendors. So if this is important to you I suggest you confirm with your own eyes.

Bestop HighRock 4X4
2″ Receiver Recovery Hitch Insert
with D-Ring Shackle

There were some “sexier” versions of this device out there. But for 35$(US) I couldn’t justify spending twice that for a “named brand”. Especially if they couldn’t tell me where they were made.

So now I have front and rear recovery points. I have what might be considered “lesser” quality recovery straps which are in fact tow straps. I will need to purchase a recovery strap set in the future if I am going to do this correctly.

Gearing Up for S.C.A.R.R. Part One. and Part One UPDATE

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Winter is Coming (Post #307) 12/8/2012

I love that line, “Winter is Coming”. If you are a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones you know the phrase Winter is Coming has a special meaning. It is appropriate in this post because ONE, winter is indeed here although you wouldn’t know it in Oklahoma; and TWO, it implies that there is a impending doom upon you. Oklahoma weather is like that. One day you are wearing shorts wondering if you should reopen the pool, the next day you are wondering if you have enough firewood and if it would be cheaper just to open the freezer doors because its colder outside than inside the meat freezer in the garage.

Such is life on the plains. Be Prepared, is not just the Boy Scout’s Motto it is a warning, be ready for what ever comes your way. I’d like to say I am always ready. Fact is I am ready more than I am not. And compared to other people, sometimes I’m just down right psychic in my level of readiness. A regular Okienostradamus.

So with that, whether you drive a Range Rover, Discovery, Defender, Series II or III, Air Mobile, or Forward Control you should have a nice kit of preparedness in the boot. You all know this is a Land Rover blog, but this advice extends to you even if you drive a Jeep or a Honda Civic, get some basic items together and be prepared.

While I was suffering from insomnia last night brought on by a runty little skunk spraying our rookie watch dog, Bocephus (RovErica named him) at 0230, I was thinking of the kit in the rear of the Range Rover and this post.

I have written about this before, “What’s in Your Console” is found on my website I talk about all the items I carry in my quest to be prepared. So I thought I’d list a few items to deal with what will surely (I know, don’t call me Shirley) make you one of the most prepared flatlanders on the plains. You never know when you might be in the middle of a Snowpocalyse.


Handy for digging yourself out of a snow bank when you are in a Target or mall parking lot or dispatching zombies. If you exercise your option to UPGRADE you could get one of these, Cold Steel Spetznaz Special Forces Shovel. Prices vary, so shop around. I have one in the Range Rover. Very handy in many situations.

You could also opt for the traditional G.I. Joe Entrenching Shovel.

These are available almost anywhere. The ability to have the spade set at 90 degrees to the handle is excellent for digging and pulling snow out from under the body of your motor. It also folds up and can be tucked out of the way easily in your boot (trunk). It can be used as a weapon if necessary too. I’ve heard many a story of troops using them as a last resort.

Jumper Cables

Winter is jumper cable season. You may be surprised to learn heat kills more batteries than the cold, but it is true. I can safely say I have used my jumper cables in winter four times more often than summer. Get a pair of the higher quality ones. They last longer and will be easier to use when the north wind is attempting to cut you in half. Jumper cables are not very useful as a weapon unless you are a ninja or have Mel Gibson strung up by a chain to be tortured ala Lethal Weapon (1987).


Every vehicle I own has a blanket in the trunk. They are useful in summer when you need a ground cover while you enjoy a picnic or fireworks show. In winter they might just save your life if you happen to slide off the road and can’t get yourself unstuck. You can get a blanket from any number of places. I like the woven blankets of Mexican origin. They are cheap, so cheap that if you were to get them covered with goat heads, stickers, or whatever you call them, you just leave in the nearest waste bin.

Ice Scrapers

I buy these when they are on clearance for a dollar at the end of winter. I toss them in the trunk and hand them to the EXCEPTIONALLY UNPREPARED MORON scraping their windshield with a credit card or their keys or their sandals. Seriously, really, I’ve seen it. Not only did the moron not have a scraper but they were wearing SANDALS IN WINTER TIME during an ice storm on the plains. I should just let natural selection take her icy course on these idiots but the condescending judgmental looks I get to give them when I hand them a free scraper are too good to pass up.

Tow Strap

Having a tow strap might be a nice addition. Don’t scrimp on this one. Get a REAL tow strap. Rope, cord, etc… will not cut it. Chains are impractical due to the weight to distance ratio. Twenty foot of grade 70 tow chain can move up to 4,700 pounds but it also weighs 20 pounds. A tow strap capable of pulling 6,000 pounds weighs only two pounds and can be purchased for around a saw buck (ten dollars).

Know Where Your Recovery Points Are
Crawl under your car now while you are dry and warm and look for the recovery points. I’ve run into many cars that don’t even have recovery points. As a matter of fact I ran into a Mercedes sedan in my neighborhood that didn’t have a recovery point in the front. What ever you drive, find out if there is a place to hook a tow strap and how to get to it. It isn’t any fun to dig under your car when it’s in 8-12 inches of snow to find the effing recovery point only to learn TOO LATE you don’t have one there.

I could probably go on for nineteen pages with suggestions. I’ve heard people say they put bags kitty litter their trunk. I can probably see that for traction on the ice sheets we often have here in the southern plains. Never used it myself. There are a hundred more items but I will not dwell on them here.

Winter is Coming. Be Prepared. Take the bull by the horns. Endeavor NOT to be “that guy/gal”.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention today is the 71st Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. 
Never forget.

God Bless America, Thanks for reading, and Happy Rovering.

Snowpocalyse 2009, Christmas Eve Addition (Post #160) 12/25/2009

Wow. A record blizzard hit Oklahoma yesterday. 35mph steady winds, gusts past 50mph. Wind Chill temperatures dropped below ZERO last night.

I taxi’d my daughter to work and home. The home trip was punctuated by dozens of abandoned cars right in the middle of the streets. I gave one kid a ride home before the snow hit. He had just got off work and the wind was making a walk home miserable.

On the way home I helped pull a car out that was high centered on the snow at intersection of Sandpiper and Porter. Neither kid had a coat. They just had hoodies and sweat pants on. At least one of them was wearing Lugz on his feet. I told them I would pull them out if they promised to just go home and not back out. They were very appreciative.

I pulled a GMC Jimmy, 2 wheel drive version, out. I managed to get myself stuck in the process. But eventually I got him out with the help of the mailman. We freed the vehicle and finally pushed it to pavement. After the last one I was spent. I managed to breech the 3 foot snow drift in front of the house and got home.

The failed viscous coupling came in handy as the traction control system is mostly not working. But with the viscous on full I had locked front wheels which was very necessary. I may have to investigate getting some kind of lockers.

The entrenching tool came in handy as did the tow strap. The look on people’s faces when you break out an entrenching tool is hard to describe. I must look like the most well prepared boy scout/Marine on the planet.

On the first car rescue there were no recovery points on that car. I think it was a Pontiac. The customary places to hook a car up to were not there. I’m not sure what that kid hooked the strap to but it was some part of the suspension.

I need to get better hooks on the tow strap. The ones there are fine for cars but they do not hook to themselves or any recovery points on my Range Rover. The other strap I have just has loops on the ends. These are fine for Rover to Rover recovery but not domestic automobiles.

I’ve got a video of the wind piling snow behind the house. It was a wicked one.

There is a snow drift where I was standing to video.

A local news channel got some footage from the mess yesterday. It looked like that everywhere.

Merry Christmas Everyone and Happy New Year.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

February 18th, 2005 (Post #58)

February 18th, 2005
Recovery hooks on, trailer wiring problems, relays buzzing, water found, relocated power steering reservior, prep for second battery

I have the recovery hooks on. I have a page for them on the Tech Tips page. The bolts I first
bought were very ambitious. I got carried away with the bolt diameter. I pulled the air dam off again.

I wired the trailer lights with the matching wire colors. I have some issues to resolve with that. I will have to experiment with the harness to find out if it is even working properly. Otherwise I will by pass it and try to wire to the 7 pin plug.

The relays buzzing under the dash on the passenger side are annoying me. I pulled the relay for the air condition fans. There has to be a wiring problem with them. I bet I will need to rewire the whole thing. There is another relay under there that is buzzing. I have not isolated which one.

The water that soaks the carpet on the passenger side is coming down the wall in the foot well. As I suspected a leak in the windshield seal. More about this later.

I purchased a Disco power steering bracket to move the reservoir for the second battery. I had to move all the things on the fender to make room for the second battery.
Check it out on the Tech Tips page.

December 27th, 2004 (Post #55)

December 27th, 2004
Head liner, New tires, Recovery points, Got stuck, FTP down, Lense project, Transmission service

Head liner
I pulled the fabric off the moon roof cover this past Sunday. It seems the cover is made of fiberglass. The fabric came off faily easy. I was surprised by the noises you normally don’t hear when the head liner is removed. I will try to refit a new liner cover on the moon roof cover hopefully this weekend if the weather holds.

I have decided NOT to take the moon roof cover out of the truck to put the fabric on. I have several reasons for this but the biggest is: I don’t know if the cover will come out of the moon roof assembly. I will have pictures in the write up but it is not easily assertainable how this would be accomplished. So I will cut the fabric just short of the edge and glue it in place while the roof is still in the truck.

As the glue is “spray glue” this shouldn’t be too much trouble to get the glue on there but the potential for mess is high. So I will treat it like a painting project and use a drop cloth just in case. Check the head liner page for more details soon.

New tires
I have been researching new tires. I originally wanted to put 235s on the Big White Bus but after asking several friends it seems a body lift and lift kit would be advisable. So I would need to also replace my springs and probably do my break lines while I was at it. So I will wait a bit and see if I can get off-road instead. While I would love to do all this I just can’t justify it right now
and will put Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo (235/70R16) on the BWB. They seem to score really high. I’d love to put Michelin XZLs on the BWB the pocket book and their availability due to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan prohibit me from pursuing that option. Some boards say I could get a used set from Canada but I will wait.

Recovery points
A recent episode of getting stuck reminded me that I have no recovery points on the front of my Rover. This is a major problem. So I did some asking on several message boards and decided to get a couple of simple hooks from one of the many domestic trucks available in the U.S. I went down to Del City Pickup Parts salvage yard in Del City, Oklahoma (405)677-2431. They had a few hooks on a display but did not have two of a kind. So I asked about a Ford F-250 and he directed me to the yard where I found an F-250. It had a closed loop “hook” on the truck and the base of the hook was too wide for the mounting point I was hoping to use. Right next to
it was a Suburban. It’s too hooks were easy to see and were very long on the attach side of the hook. That would give me enough distance to clear my brush guard. I believe I will have to drill a hole in the hook to match up with my connection point but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

I had considered J.A.T.E. rings available from OKRovers and other sites. They have a ‘cool factor’ of 10 but I would have needed to manufacture a connection point and I would have to remove my air damn permanently. I am not ready for that as I like the look of the truck with the air dam on it. I know the air dam will need to go if I am off-roading. It only gathered a bit of mud in my recent incident getting stuck.

I am planning a quick release method for quickly removing the air dam. I already have the lamps wired with plugs so they can be disconnected.

Getting stuck
Many of you have probably read my posts titled “NOT AS FUN AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN”
and “Dumbassery”. Dumbassery is my new catch phrase and I hope I can get it registered as a trademark. Sorta like Trump and “you’re fired”. Just kidding. You all are free to use the word as much as you like.

I wish I could say I had fun doing this but it was just pure and simple stupidity. When I had nearly given up hope I found a tow truck driver with some moxey and with his 100 foot of cable and my newly purchased 70 foot of tow strap and 30 foot of chain we got it out.

I was doing pretty good until I hit the giant red sandstone rock. Then all my progress was going down instead of forward.

I know now my tires must be replaced. And my transfer case wouldn’t go into low range. I have an appointment about the transfer case and the tires are coming pretty soon.

Check out the Got Stuck page for pics and more text describing my recent episode of dumbassery.

FTP service down
My host CRT Online has been having FTP problems as of late and I haven’t been able to update. Hopefully each of you have been busy with projects and toys Santa brought you to miss any writings I may or may not have been putting up.

Lens problem
My right turn signal indicator lens fell out of it’s position a couple of weeks ago. As you know my truck was wrecked way back before I bought it and this was a simple problem that finally failed. I have a write up about the lense repair you can check out on the Lens repair page. Getting the right materials was the key.

Transmission service
My recent episode of getting the center console back in the Rover and my getting stuck pointed out that my transfer case would not go into low range. I am having Cottman’s do a transmission service on the BWB on Wednesday of this week. I asked them investigate why the transfer case was also stuck. Cottman’s rebuilt my transmission a few years ago and I so far have trusted them with fast service and have had no problems with the rebuild. So again they will get my business to do a service on the fluid that is now approximately 2 years old.