Electrical System Nightmares (Post #520) 12/22/2014

This has not been a very fun couple of weeks for Big White Bus. My all time favorite thing on an automobile to work on is the electrical system. /end sarcasm.

I live by five simple rules.

  • I don’t play with electricity.
  • I won’t live any place I’m not the tertiary member of the food chain.
  • I never get less than twelve hours sleep.
  • I never play cards with guys who have the same first name as a city.
  • I’ve never gotten involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body.*

The twelve hours of sleep has long since become merely a guideline and no so much a rule. And playing with electricity is also sometimes necessary. This week especially.  Continue reading “Electrical System Nightmares (Post #520) 12/22/2014”

Awesome Rig (Post #507) 7/31/2014

I’ve talked about JagGuy’s nasty hobby of bobbing deuce and a halfs. The picture is of his personal rig. It is simply awesome. The stance, the color, the massive 5 ply tires, it has “that look”.

While I waited for him to get back from lunch on Saturday I checked out his truck. I drove M54 the  5 ton version of this vehicle when I served in the Marine Corps Reserve. The summer of 1984’s Combined Arms Exercise found us driving the Wisconsin National Guard’s M35’s aka the deuce and a half. So I have a slight fondness for them.

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Everyone he builds he puts a different sign on. That’s his website, XM381.com. You can go there and see other examples of the trucks he has built.

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He has sources to vendors where he can get the replacement stickers. Ah….NBC…nuclear, chemical, and biologic warfare. Three of my absolute favorites!

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Kaiser Jeep built these trucks.

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Some views of the cab.

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Always a good idea no matter what you are driving.

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Danger! a slightly modified instrument cluster.

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Modified spring seats.

20140726_131300Waterproof radio with waterproof Mil-Spec speakers. That just looks bad ass.

I know you all are thinking how much? I actually have no idea. If you are interested give him an email. In our chat today we got to talking about his camper project. It’s still in the planning phase but I know its going to be awesome too.

Check out his page to see more about his trucks.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

 

Garage Day – July 26, 2014 (Post #507) 7/26/2014

It was another hot Saturday in Central Oklahoma. The temperature made it to 102 F in Norman. Even with the temps as nasty as that we don’t stop work because we might get a little sticky and sweaty. We just turned on the fans and opened up the doors.

The Evil German Dude had us all over for some electrical fun. I know you’re thinking, Land Rover…Electric…sweet! Well not this weekend. The modifications were for Magnum Mike and Paparazzi Ford. Both of them had some seriously unimpressive factory wiring.

First was Magnum Mike’s Dodge Magnum. The work was to upgrade the ground. On this model of Magnum the battery is located in the trunk. That’s Mike sitting and sweating in the back of the very impressively modified Magnum. It is a true hot rod. He drove us to lunch one day. I’ve never been so scared and excited since Eric Kammerlocher took me for a spin in his Corvette back in the 1980’s.

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The standard from the factory ground wire was a very small wire maybe 8 AWG. Compared to a normal battery cable the ground is about a fourth of the size it should be. The battery terminals are a simple flat metal. Not nearly the beefy terminals EGD uses normally.

You can see the flat metal and small wire in this image.

battery cable

 

So the plan was to swap out the cables. EGD doesn’t do anything “half-assed”. The new cables were 2/0. Yes…two aught.

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This wire chart should give you a great comparison.

cables

We tease EGD but he knows his electrics. He has all the tools and always has the fittings, connectors, and heat shrink  wire just about anything. The hydraulic crimping tool is pretty impressive too. So when you hear me talking about upgrading my battery cables you know why I am taking the Range Rover over to the evil lair.

The crimping dies had to be modified. Here EGD makes another minor correction to the tool’s die.

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You can see in the next picture that they got the  cables in place and the battery strapped back in.

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Paparazzi Ford brought his Jeep Commander over with a very persnickety start problem. Basically something was wrong with the battery cables that would disable the vehicle. He would futz with it, the Jeep would start for a few days then quit him again.

He drove to EGD’s evil lair but when his turn came up the truck would not start. He popped the bonnet and I simply twisted the positive battery cable just a bit and the Commander started. Being as Jeep is now owned by Chrysler/Dodge the same type of battery terminals are being used.

Upon further inspection it turned out to be a very corroded connector. Swapping the terminals out had to be done. Here the crimping tool is used to marry the cables to the terminal.

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Heat shrink is moved into place.

 

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And here the heat gun heats the shrink wrap.

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I couldn’t stay longer. JagGuy promised to take a look at my air conditioning. As you have no doubt read or have seen in my video blog my A/C is out. I’ve been chasing fully functional air conditioning in my Range Rover for years.

So JagGuy mentioned at lunch on Friday that he had a freon sniffer. Such a handy device.

sniffer

 

He was keen on my idea to swap the AC compressor for a more common unit from a Chevy. The hoses would need to be custom-made. Before making all the effort to reinvent the system he said we should find out what has failed. Is the hoses? Is it the compressor? Is the radiator leaking? The only way to find out was to test for leaks.

I didn’t take a picture of the sniffer in action its sensor is an audio one. We sniffed the system and found that the front seal on the compressor had failed.

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Freon going in.

JagGuy suggested I go to the company that bought out Oklahoma Auto Air. They do all manner of compressors and hoses. The compressor on the Range Rover is basically a Sanden 709. So next week I’m going to drop by their shop and get the details. Hopefully I’ll have some air conditioning the week after I get back from my 25th wedding anniversary trip.

The weather is going to cool off this next week so my daily commute won’t be the 35 minute drive in an oven. Mrs. JagGuy has told JagGuy that she wants to drive a Land Rover Discovery II. They are looking for a good one. I can’t wait for them to go with us on a jaunt.

EGD is working with a company that has some pretty cool lighting solutions. I’m looking at them for some possible trail lighting. I’ll get back to that when I investigate further.

And in other news…he was only kidding about buying a Dodge.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

 

 

Working on a new How-to Video (Post #503) 6/21/2014

I worked on a new video today. I swapped a CV joint and some seals. I’ll get it up as soon as I have it done.

Here’s a teaser.

Otherwise not much is going on. I have the gas mileage up to 13.5 mpg on average. I did learn today from the manager of the AutoZone store that Castrol 20w50 is being discontinued. I’m not sure if this is true or not true, but he had the 5 quart jugs on sale for 8$(US). That’s really cheap. I bought a jug in addition to some new 80w90 for my differentials.

If it is indeed true I’ll have to swap back to 10w40. No harm in that. I wonder if it will affect my gas mileage?

Well that’s all for now. Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Working Out the Springs (Post #499) 6/12/2014

With my new job providing a minor amount disposable income once again, I was able to do a small landscaping project this weekend. I took Mr. Fisher with me on Saturday to Lowe’s to pick up some pavers, gravel, and a flower requested by Mrs. Okierover.

We got to Lowe’s and loaded up two push carts. I got it all paid for and then we took it out to load. Mr. Fisher thought that if we loaded it all in the back that the front tires might not be touching the ground when we were done. I didn’t think it would be quite that bad, but why risk it.

15 Pavers, 1 Geranium, 15 bags of gravel
15 Pavers, 1 Geranium, 15 bags of gravel

So we loaded it all up. We put the gravel in the floor board between the seats. We put all the pavers in the back. My before and after pics of the load change on the springs don’t really show the inch it dropped. As I said to Mr. Fisher, Bill Burke said this is a 3/4 ton truck so we should be good.

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Mr. Fisher loads the Big White Bus.

I have medium duty springs and once you add a few hundred pounds the BWB really rides nice. We got home and we both shared stories about over loading pickup trucks we owned back in the day. His a Chevy S-10 with way too much gravel in the bed and my Ford Ranger with way too much lumber loaded in her. In both cases driving home at a crawl because every bump caused the front tires to leave the ground. Stupid is as stupid does.

We got the BWB home and began the project. The first task was to clear the material from the area. With this I uncovered one of the biggest “wolf spiders” I’ve ever seen. The website says up to 1.38 inches in body size. We were all of that if not more. That is a standard size spade shovel.

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Effin’ big spider.

 

A storm front was bearing down on us and we worked quickly to get the rock down and the border. I decided the western most portion of the bed had to be tiered. The water is carrying off the dirt at a high rate.

I didn’t take the recommended before picture but you can see the after…

Looks a lot better than the trench that was there before.
Looks a lot better than the trench that was there before.

Another great use of a luxury SUV. I often see Jeff Aronson load up his Series II with firewood and people with dirty boots. You have all seen the pictures of Land Rovers “working”. Just because I have carpet and leather does that make it any less of a workhorse? Who knows.

To me my Range Rover is a “truck”. I’ve said this many times,

“I’ve never owned a car I was afraid to drive through a barbed wire fence.”

I mean that. Scratches, eh, dents, eh, what ever, it ain’t a beauty contest. Well it’s not with me anyway.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Slow Days of Summer (Post #497) 5/31/2014

 

Coke and a Smile, well a Coke anyway.
Coke and a Smile, well a Coke anyway.

Sorry for the post drought lately. I finally have a new job and haven’t had much time to do much of anything Land Rover. I ordered a CV joint and some other bits to sort out the axle problem that I referred to in Front Half Shaft Oil-Seal Failure. I thought they’d be in this weekend. Rovers North told me the CV joint was on a container ship last week. I thought for sure I’d have it by this week. By Saturday morning it had not arrived.

So Saturday I took the long drive up to Jones, Oklahoma to help the Evil German Dude. The sunroof was open and the windows down and I had a Mexi-Coke. Life is good. EGD has had some trouble with his swimming pool of late. The original liner failed after a few years and a new liner that was installed a couple of weeks ago required yet another new liner. Many hands make light work. Porsche Mike and his sweet wife Mel came out to help as well. Mel is keen to do some “off-roading” with us and very much enjoyed the comfort of the Big White Bus when trying out the seats. I hope to see more of Porsche Mike in the future…like maybe at a Garage Day, hint, hint.

We were thinking of Paparazzi Ford who was unable to attend due to the loss of his father this past week. My buddy Mr. Fisher lost his sister this weekend too. She succumbed to a long battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with both of their families in this difficult time.

209,000 miles
209,000 miles

We finished everything we could do and all that was left was to watch the water fill the pool at 6-8 gallons a minute. I drove home and stopped on the way home for some petrol and the BWB’s odometer was sitting on 209,000. The now twenty-one year old Range Rover has shown us some great miles. I managed to get 15 miles per gallon out of this last tank full. That really surprises me because my new commute has a lot more stop and go traffic due to the new hours I have at my new employment. I am stuck in “five o’clock traffic” on the way home and that is usually terrible for gas mileage ratings.

I guess I’ll schedule next Saturday for an axle tear down. I’m almost reluctant to swap the CV joint. The sound I’m hearing is not there very often. The  noise could also be explained by the wrong fluid being in the reservoir. If I do swap it, the old CV would be an excellent shelf spare if it should ever be needed.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll be videoing the axle tear down and will post it all up when I have the time.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.