Death Wobble Garage Day (Post #549) 11/8/2015

If you’ve been following for any time you’ll have read about my problems with the suspension on the Big White Bus. Mr. Fisher helped me swap out all the tie-rod ends. I thought I blogged about that but I guess I didn’t. In any event, I swapped out the tie-rod ends in an effort to find my death wobble problem.

You’ve never heard of death wobble? Check out this definition from High Sierra 4×4’s Glossary page.

Death Wobble: \ˈdeth\ \ˈwä-bəl\ noun. Death wobble is an exaggerated slang term for extreme steering vibration. This typically occurs when driving your vehicle and due to loose steering components or alignment issues the front end vibrates excessively. In extreme cases this has caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Continue reading “Death Wobble Garage Day (Post #549) 11/8/2015”

Terrafirma Springs and Shocks (Post #314) 1/17/2013

Last week I ordered a set of Terrafirma shocks and springs for the Range Rover Classic from Atlantic British. They should be arriving any day now. The springs and shocks on her now are a bit tired.

I currently have a set of Old Man Emu shocks that I bought the same month I bought my Classic. That was June 2000. I figure they are probably ready for replacement. While working with the front shock in my recent attempt to repair the left front shock mount it seemed to perform as expected. I’m not a suspension expert but I figure 120,000 miles on a single set of shocks is a bit much. For the record, I did not have a single complaint with the Old Man Emu shocks.

The springs in my Range Rover were put in to replace a failing air ride system. I’ve always felt they were a bit tired and the install was always a concern too. I have it on good authority that it was done “as standard”. But with out retention rings I always thought something was going to go horribly wrong. Luckily it never did. So next week baring winter snow storms I’ll have new springs to install.

I’ll need to source a spring compressor but I think I can rent one from my local O’Reily’s Auto Parts store. That is if JagGuy doesn’t already have one.

I think the silver color will go nicely with all the gray bits I’ve painted over the last couple of years, don’t you?

 Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Christmas Snow, No Pudding For You (Post #309) 12/27/2012

Merry Christmas everyone.

I had thoughts of posting another series of posts on the 12 days of OkieRover Christmas and the Festivus holiday tradition of the Airing of Grievances but was just not motivated to do so this year. School was hard on me this semester and my writing energy was hammered by the class.

Also, one of our four-legged children has been down all week and her injuries have me mostly depressed. We are treating her with drugs and hope she can heal. I hate it when we have an injured pet.

After a lovely Christmas dinner at the children’s aunt and uncles house. We took my Father-in-law home (that’s him in the A-Driver position). The roads were no where near as bad as previous years. The most trouble we had was getting the doors on the Range Rover to open with the handles. UGGGH! That is not going to be a fun job to fix. I also heard some suspension noise from the left front. I’m guessing springs will be coming sooner rather than later. And that shock mount I found that was busted will need some welding.

My wife’s sister Aunt SuSu (Susan) and brother-in-law John cook a mean turkey and SuSu’s dressing rivals only that of my wife. SuSu’s banana pudding was pretty good too. My oldest daughter Fireball still has the market cornered on banana pudding. But with the weather such as it was and her with a bun in the oven with only 5 minutes left on the timer, J-man with a wonky back and single digit wind chills they wisely stayed home with my favorite holiday banana pudding. Insert unhappy face here.

The Ford Exploder they drive is 4×4 but has the wrong tires on it for any prayer of staying un-stuck. If you remember the infamous Snowpocalypse of 2009 I had to extracted them from a snow drift in our neighborhood with the then front-wheel drive Range Rover. If you recall, I had a then unknown broken rear axle shaft. The Best 4x4xfar even when limping on a single axle.

It has been a long time since the four of us were in the Range Rover together. I asked RovErica to take some action pictures. The three of them then began mocking me with every turn, exaggerating the effect of the minimal G-forces being exerted on us at 15-20 mph. Good times, good times.

RovErica then got everyone in the back to ham it up for some snaps. It seems like we see the kids only when they need something these days. I guess I was the same way when I was their age. Now I understand the looks on my father’s face and the tone of his voice when I called home “just to say hi” and to let them know “I was still alive”. His tone to me when I hadn’t called home in three weeks pushed all the Catholic guilt buttons on the console. I’d be a basket case if we didn’t have cell phones.

Thanks for reading, Merry Christmas, and Happy Rovering to you all.

Roof Rack Dilemma (Post #308) 12/16/2012

I was visiting the Atlantic British website (Did you know that have partnered with British Pacific?) yesterday looking for springs and shocks. I think I have that sorted out and am ready to purchase them. Bilstein shocks and Old Man Emu/ARB springs, medium duty. I may still look at TerraFirma equivalents but short of that I’ll go with this solution. This should give me a little lift and still be able to be loaded a bit. Heavy duty springs would stiffen the on highway ride too much. I won’t be using the Range Rover hard enough or often enough to require springs of that caliber.

So after I was scoping out the springs and shocks I got to thinking about stuff to ready the Range Rover for our Circumnavigation of the Great State of Oklahoma. I’ve been thinking about a vehicle wrap and other such silliness. Sponsors? Hey now that’s an idea.

A realistic concern is getting too far from a petrol station. The range on the fuel in the tank is just short of 250 miles. I am thinking perhaps I should plan to carry additional fuel in jerry-cans. And if you are going to do that, you need a roof rack. Seriously, trust me, that is sound logic.

I was also thinking how cool a roof rack would look on the Range Rover. We are going on an expedition, we need to look the part! Am I wrong? I don’t think so!

So I was looking through all the great posts on making your own roof rack at Expedition Portal. Guys have made some seriously awesome roof racks. I know I could made a roof rack. I’d need a welding unit, some grinding wheels, cutting wheels, a ruler, some angle magnet thingies, welding goggles, pipe benders, and some material. It would have to be metal so should I use round stock or square stock?

By the time I spent the money on the tools and stock I still wouldn’t have a roof rack. I could go to my mate JagGuy’s awesome shop and have the welder, bender, and goggles sorted out. A four pack of Boddington’s and perhaps a nice bottle of wine and I’d probably have the basic training needed. But I still wouldn’t have a roof rack.

I could just buy a roof rack. WHAT? You have to be insane. Why buy when you can make? Well, time mostly, that’s why.

I am still in school and next semester is a busy one. Also I’m thinking weight is a factor. So I’m thinking of buying.

$199.95 50″x50″ Roof Rack
$54.95 Roof Rack Gutter Mount
$29.03 FedEx Ground Home Delivery

For around 285$(US) I could have a functioning roof rack. Easy-peazy. No welding, no sourcing steel, no new tools. Hotsy-totsy! I bet you thought hotsy-totsy meant something else didn’t you?

Doesn’t that look great? That rack would look great on my Range Rover. I’ll still need to fabricate some jerry-can brackets. The price on-line was a bit too much for what I saw. The brackets are more expensive than the cans. That seems a bit silly.

If I hit the lottery tomorrow I could probably drop 3000$(US) on kitting out the Range Rover and would probably be short a few items. As it stands I’ll be out shipping and nearly 800$(US) for springs and new shocks. The price above for the roof rack plus 2-4 fuel 20 liter jerry-cans. With all this bolt on poser stuff I still haven’t addressed some serious issues.

  1. The air conditioning is still non-functional.
  2. The transmission still needs to be refurbished.
  3. The ABS system is still in fault.

The repair parts for that stuff will probably run up to 2000$(US). At the end however, I’ll be pretty confident I have a rig we can use at some events. Perhaps I’ll even be able to get Mrs. OkieRover to go camping with me. Wait…how much more money will I spend for that?

On this day there was a terrible tragedy in Connecticut  Remember it isn’t guns that kill kids, sick people kill kids. That sick bastard was going to commit a horrible crime. If he didn’t have a single firearm he’d have used a car or something else.

Say a prayer for the families that lost their children, say a prayer for the people who will deal with this for the rest of their lives.

And finally say a prayer for our country to come together in these difficult times.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Had To Hire It Out (Post #302) 10/23/2012

I finally encountered a job I had to hire out. The top link rear A-frame ball joint failed. This job requires a lift and some serious manhandling to get the ball joint back in after it is replaced. Not something you can do while lying on your back under your Classic.

All of this came about after I recently went to a history event in Sands Springs, Oklahoma. I was asked to portray a Creek Scout from the party of men who toured the prairies along with Washington Irving in 1832.

You know Washington Irving from his more famous books. In his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. you can find “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“. Lesser known, but immensely popular in it’s time, A Tour on the Prairies (Google Books) recounts his adventure trans versing the Cross Timbers. The link leads you to the Google Books free version of the book. It is the story of Irving’s tour through what is today Oklahoma back in 1832.

Washington Irving and his party traveled south of what is today Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Keystone Ancient Forest Park is located in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. This park is an example of the Cross Timbers ecosystem (Wikipedia). We were putting on a fundraiser for the Keystone Ancient Forest (Sand Springs, Oklahoma) which is a preserved portion of what we affectionately call the Cross Timbers.

Well that was a lot of explanation, to tell you, kind and patient reader, that I drove off-road recently. The organizers of the event allowed us to drive up their trails to drop our gear off at the camp site. The trail was cut for a side-by-side ATV, in other words, narrow. Think pinstripes on your paint from the brush. I only kissed one tree with the brush guard while trying to avoid a stump cut off at the ground resembling a punji stick tiger trap. Post oaks are tougher than they look and I didn’t want to take any chances popping a tire. We had some nice loose ground hill climbing and some axle articulation. Nothing to write home about, but more than the Classic sees on the paved paths of Norman.

I had been trying to find a knocking sound that occurred when I had suspension flex or starting and stopping. I was also pretty sure that the universal joints on the drive shaft need to be sorted before something terrible happened (OkieRover Blog). But I sort of knew that something else wasn’t right under there.

You’ve read that I’ve been swapping bushings (OkieRover blog). I have a post in the can I haven’t sent up yet too…oops. I had priced the A-frame ball joint but was not ready to pull the trigger on that job.

So after returning from the Keystone Ancient Forest. I knew something was wrong under there. I don’t have access to a lift and I needed someone else familiar with Range Rovers or generally Land Rover suspensions to look at it. I first thought I’d go to 4-Wheel Parts. But after reading some online reviews and realizing they are just a bolt on shoppe I decided to go another route.

Mickey Weatherly owns and operates Mickey’s Garage in Norman, Oklahoma. Mickey formerly worked for Sports and Classics. He’s been around and knows Land Rovers. I’d only recently heard he was out on his own (actually six years) so I decided to give him a call and have him sort out my issues.

He found what I have already reported to you, some bad universal joints and a bad A-frame ball joint. Considering the parts are cheap but the time to repair them is just not in my schedule I had him do the work. He also tried to sort out why my ABS lights are on. As you other Classic owners know the sensors are a bit pricey at 140$(US) a piece. And I haven’t had the money to sort that out. The lights are still on, as I have a sensor out of range for sure. He did share with me that the ABS sensor is used on the Discovery I as well. So if you are in a breakers yard and see a Disco 1 you can pull the ABS sensors for spares in your Classic.

The drive home was lovely and free of clonking. Well done Mickey’s!

On an additional note: The ugly specter of  springs and shocks has reared it’s ugly head again. Whenever my Range Rover is on a lift the springs shift oh so slightly and give and odd ride. Sometimes the front end or back end are higher than normal and sometimes it is like I’ve lowered it. I know it is the geometry of the springs and the way they are mounted. I don’t have a proper spring conversion kit fitted.

I’m guessing I will be sorting that out next. The question now is Terrafirma, Old Man Emu, BritPart, or some other manufacturer for my springs. I plan to do the shocks as well so it will be a total swap. I’ll get a little lift out of the swap and the Range Rover will be one step closer to my next big adventure, circumnavigating the Great State of Oklahoma! I’m still working on the logistics and route but I’ll have more when I get closer.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

February 13th, 2003 (Post #22)

February 13, 2003
Whooo Hooooo
Off road driving can some times be done ON ROAD. Near my home they are widening an intersection from the quaint two lane county section-linesque road to the behemoth 5 lane with traffic light.

There are several level changes between the old road and the new road beds. They are sharp and should not in a normal car be taken at more than 10 miles per hour. While driving home with my family from a school function the other night I learn that the Big White Bus can get it’s tires off the ground. Did I say we were going 30mph and decellerating.

The snow had fallen the day before and this day it had melted enough to flood the lower sections of the road construction zone. Fog had rolled in and obscured my vision to a few hundred feet. As normal we transitioned down a gentle slope. Great fun, the kids loved it. Then I saw the other transition point. A 15 foot wide puddle that we quickly learned was a foot deep. Water came up on the hood and then we hit the HOLE! and as we came out the other end the ramp up on to the new road had a nice lip on it and we all came out of our seats. My wife and kids screamed, RovErica hit her head on the roof and all the tools and equipment in the back reordered itself. Great fun!! We all settled down and had a big laugh.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Sir Issac Newton.
The opposite action is the creaky and growning the Big White Bus now makes when the suspension is tested. A simple turn into the driveway presented me with new sounds of creaking and growning. It seems the suspension will be the first thing this Spring I will need to look at. It has passed the radiator cooling problem by a few points to take the lead in requiring my attention.