Wheel rim protection

I have Rugged Ridge wheels on my Jeep that I bought from 4 Wheel Parts a year ago. Rugged Ridge has a rim protector designed to protect the rim when wheeling. My rims have quite a few scratches on them already. I’ve been wanting these protectors for a while.

A friend had a set he wasn’t using, so I finally convinced him to sell them to me. But they were painted Mango Tango. That wasn’t going to work for me. So I painted them blue.

In order to install them, I had to remove these decorative bolts that were already in the rims. They were rounded over and had hex key slots. But 50% of them were so damaged, that I couldn’t get a hex key in the slot at all. Some were so seized in the hole that they were easily stripped. In some cases I was able to hammer in an oversized torx bit in some of them and was able to get them out. For the others, I had to use a Dremel to flatten two sides of the bolt and use a Vice Grip to twist it out.

Smittybilt Customer Service

When we installed the winch I picked up at the Jeep Bantam Festival, we made a mistake and cross threaded the nut on the ground lug of the winch. I called Smittybilt to buy a replacement and they told me they don’t sell that by itself, but that they would send something out to me. I was also having an issue with the wireless module where the winch would activate by itself. A few weeks later, a really heavy package gets delivered to my house.

Smittybilt sent me an entire new winch! Although they did send me a winch with wire rope instead of synthetic. I had to de-spool all of that wire – which is VERY heavy – and spool on my synthetic. Say what you want about Smittybilt, but they did right by me.

Enough already!

Well, I decided the whole Black on Black thing just wasn’t working for me anymore, so I decided to add some color to the Jeep. Took out the trim rings around the vents and the doors, as well as my D-rings and painted them blue. Not too much color, but just enough.

Heavy duty diff covers

Ordered a couple Tereflex heavy duty differential covers from Rebel Off Road. You can see the major difference in thickness between the stock and after market covers. The stock covers are like paper.

This was a fail simple install. I opted NOT to use a Lube Locker but to use off the shelf RTV for differentials I picked up from my local auto parts store. After removing the old diff fluid and the covers, I scraped off any remaining RTV from the factory. Some of it didn’t want to come off, so I put a wire wheel in my rotary tool to make sure it was perfect. I cleaned out the gears with brake cleaner and made sure there was no other debris. After applying RTV to the new diff covers, it was just a matter of lining up the bolts and tightening them down.

Bantam 2014

My son and I went out to the Jeep Bantam Festival in PA. The guys from JCR Offroad were gracious enough to deliver my new Dagger front bumper to me at the festival! Without missing a beat, my son says, “Let’s go put it on!” So off to the grass parking lot we went to take off the old OR-FAB bumper, which was going back anyway.

I also picked up a Smittybilt Gen 2 X20 10K Comp winch. I like this winch because it’s wireless and has synthetic line. Of course, my son had to have that installed, too.

I was glad to oblige, knowing that he was going to be leaving for the Navy in just a few days after getting back home.

Rust shouldn’t come this fast

The OR-FAB bumpers on my Jeep are strong enough, but the powder coat on these bumpers is horrible. They started rusting within weeks of being installed in January. I fully expected to get SOME rust on them after wheeling with them a little, but these started almost immediately. Especially at the welds. This tells me the powder coater didn’t clean them properly before applying the coat.

After months of back and forth emails with OR-FAB, they finally agreed to take the bumpers back and arranged shipping at their expense. I was disappointed in the quality of the powder coat, more disappointed in the run around I seemed to be getting from OR-FAB, but satisfied that they finally decided to take them back and I ended up with 100% of my money back.