Friday, December 30, 2005

Christmas Toys

Radio Controlled Rock Crawler

One of the toys I got this year was this RC rock crawler. It is lots of fun. The battery lasts longer than my trigger finger. It climbs pretty well and has great articulation, but it does have trouble in tall grass and has very little clearance under the axles. Need taller tires!

Crashes don't hurt near as bad as in a real rock crawler!

More pictures are posted at

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Motor Swap continued

Jeep Cherokee Motor Problems

jeep engine
This is the nasty engine that we replaced. No wonder it had problems.

I don't think I have ever seen one so gunked up. The oil could barely drain out of the valve cover. That explains why it would spray oil out the blow-by vent and why the main bearing were shot. I wish I knew what kind of oil they were using so I could avoid it.

We now have the race motor installed in Scott's Wagoneer and he made a 170 mile trip. Running fine so far.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Motor Swap Progress

Swapping engines between two 1988 Jeep Cherokees

Well the race car motor is now bolted in place in the Wagoneer. Still need to hook up the exhaust and coling system.
I checked on a replacement engine for the race car yesterday. I found that the one I had a chance to buy last summer is no longer available as of this past Sunday. What timing? I guess I will be building my own stroker motor. No I just have to decide if I should buy rods or pistons?

JeepGirl's Christmas tree

Pictures of a decorated Christmas tree

Getting this Christmas tree was an adventure! Click for the story and more pictures.

Our decorated Christmas Tree. O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Beasley Knob scouting trip

Yesterday I went to Blairsville, Ga to take a look at Beasley Knob OHV to see if it was a good place to take a trip with some friends. I wanted to see the parking lot and access before towing Scuffy that far.

When I found the park, the gates were locked. So before leaving town I stopped by the ranger station to see what I could learn. After talking with the cute ranger - Allison? - she said she would open up the gates and let me take a look. After lunch I went back to the gate and waited a bit. Soon one of the ranger guys showed up and open the gate for me.

Since I was alone with no recovery gear, I did not explore too far. I went part way up the "difficult" B trail that Allison told me about. I turned around when it started getting steep as she had warned me it was hard to turn around once you got into the real climb.

I continued down the gravel road to where it joined the c trail. This one was more interesting and a bit slippery as the ice in the mud was just starting to thaw. I made it to the top of the hill with little trouble but I decided not to try the downhill section as I was not able to stand up on the slippery slope when I went to look at what was the best line.

I hope to get back with Scuffy to do some real trail running before the park closes for the winter.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Busy Weekend

1988 Jeep Cherokees trading engines

Wow what a busy few days. It started with a simple sounding project - swap the motor form the RallyJeep to Scott's Wagoneer. Both are 88 models so that every thing should match up. Pulled both XJ's into the shop and started taking stuff apart. The original plan was to pull the manifolds off and set them aside leaving all the wiring in place, but after the lower header bolts refused to budge, we found we could disconnect the main harness at the firewall and leav all the wiring attached to each engine. We figured this out only after disconnecting all 12 injector plugs.

Anyway, as it tands now, both engines are out, the Wagoneer motor is apart and looks really nasty inside. The race motor is getting a flex plate installed and the harmonic damper repalced. Found the mystery squeak!!!

Pictures to follow.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

RallyCross Racing

With fuel prices high and too many projects going on, I have not followed the Rally America Series out west. I even skipped Rally du Paris this year.

I have been filling the need for speed gap with RallyCross racing. RallyCross is to Rally what Autocross is to road racing. In RallyCross, we set up a small course in a field and run cars one at a time against the clock. All your runs for the day are added to together to get your final score.

I have been racing my 91 Cherokee that is also my Daily Driver. This Jeep has a Rocket City intake and a Dynomax exhaust. Poly control arm bushings and poly sway bar bushings in the front. The rear axle is a Chrysler 8.25 fitted with a Lock Rite locker. The rear sway bar is stock in the stock rubber bushings. The rest of the XJ is pretty much stock.

It has been a lot of fun to drive at the RallyCross and gives the Subaru's a run for their money.

See lots of pictures posted here.

Another rainy day

It is raining here in Tennessee today. I expect the creek crossing in the woods is going to be very deep. Here is what it looks like when the water is low:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Red XJ goes WAY north

Our friends Bill and Gail took their XJ from Tennessee to Canada this summer. They have been kind enough to share their story and pictures on JeepGirl's site.

They own Rivergate Racing where I get my Rally Jeep serviced.

Their story is posted here.


Jeep Cherokee off road

Just for some slower paced but still very exciting adventure, I took Scuffy the off road Jeep to Attica Indiana for a run at the Badlands. There I met up with the fellow XJers from the XJ list.

More info and pictures are posted on JeepGirl's site at