Sunday, May 28, 2006

Wheel balancing experiment

Having read about internal balancing methods I decided to try something on my 1991 Jeep Cherokee Laredo today. I have had trouble balancing the left front tire and it had several large weights on it so it seemed an ideal candidate for the experiment.

I took off the lead weights from the rim and weighed them on a scale.

I then measured out an equal weight of BB's. I added a few more just to make sure.

I then broke the bead on the back of the tire and poured in the BB's. Aired it back up and gave it a test run. It seemed much smoother than before. There was still some vibration but since I did only the one tire it may have been from one of the others.

I have tried other internal balance methods in the past with mixed success. I have used anti freeze poured inside the tire. This seems to work OK if the tire does not need much weight to balance it. Maybe the anti freeze can't pile up enough to make a heavy spot in the light part of the tire?

Anyway, the BB's seem to work so far. I really need to get it out on the interstate to see how it does at high speed before I add some shot to the other three tires.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hail to Mud RallyCross

I took the Rally Jeep to a local rally cross again this weekend.

This weekend's RallyCross race was more about survival than fast times.

The day started out normal enough. The four wheel drive class started first and cut the wet grass off the course.

My Jeep's 4.7L Titan Stroker engine was running great with plenty of torque to cut up the grass.

The two wheel drive cars went next, turning slightly faster times on the now much drier course.

We paused for a nice lunch break of burgers and hot dogs grilled up by JeepGirl and RallyCross Hostess Cindy.

Just as we were getting ready to run again, lightning struck and rain began to fall heavily. Well we race in the rain but not lightning.

While waiting for the storm to die down a bit we huddled under Dave's porch to watch the rain. We kept hearing banging sounds on the tin roof. Soon it became obvious that it was hailing. At first it was little pea sized chucks of space ice. But later, the big stuff came. The race field looked like a driving range with golf ball sized hail stones covering it.

Just when we thought it was time to go racing again, the clouds let loose another burst of ice. This time the chucks were the size tennis balls or even baseballs. I have seen a lot of hail in my life but never any this big.

Three chucks penetrated the rear window of one of the Subaru's, two more penetrated the roof of the timing trailer. One cracked the windshield of Cindy's Volvo and there were enough dented sports cars to keep the paint free dent removal guy busy for a while.

Surprisingly, neither JeepGirls Cherokee nor the Rally Jeep got any damage. The Jeep Wrangler parked a foot away from us had huge dents in its hood and cowl. Once again, the favor of God was upon us.

When we finally went back to racing, the course was a slimy mess. Just getting around it took skill and finesse. Even with four wheel drive there were spots when I nearly came to a stop as I tried to float the Jeep around the pylons.

The Four Wheel Drive cars finally got the goo cleaned off and the two wheel drive cars got a bit of a run in. There were still plenty of places to get stuck and many did if they failed to keep up momentum in the turns.

Time became meaningless to me but they are posted at RallyCross Results if you want to look.

The Jeep stroker motor worked great all day. Plenty of mud slinging torque!

I look forward to seeing what it will do on a real gravel stage road soon.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Front receiver hitch for Jeep XJ

Front Receiver Hitch for Jeep XJ
jeep Cherokee accessories

In order to have a handy place to mount a winch or other jeep Cherokee accessories
on the front of my 1991 Jeep Cherokee Laredo, I installed a Hidden Hitch front receiver hitch for Jeep XJ.

pictures of hidden hitch on jeep Cherokee accessories

One problem I had with the front receiver hitch was that the tube often filled with mud on off road adventures. I recently made the steel plug you see in the above picture of the Hidden Hitch receiver.

The integrated tow hooks (red in the picture above) get more use than the actual receiver. They are very strong and easy to connect to. Just last week I was helping a friend move his disabled tractor and as I went to attach the strap to the tow hook, he asked "Will that handle it?" I just smiled and told him to hook his end to a strong part of the tractor.

pictures of hidden hitch on jeep Cherokee accessories

The front receiver hitch makes a pretty effective skid plate for the front of the XJ. However it does reduce ground clearance significantly. You can see the scuffs on the bottom of the steel plug as evidence.

For another option for a front receiver hitch for Jeep XJ integrated into a front bumper, see my Cheap Jeep page.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

TSD Rally Stock Class Navigation

Georgia Sports Car Club Spring Rally

This past weekend, my usual rally partner Robert was rallymaster for a GSCC event. Lucky for me, Fred Holliger the Stock class champ was looking for a driver.

I have always been fascinated with road rally navigation ever since I discovered this sport at Tennessee Tech University. My roommate Jeff and I created all sorts of calculator and computer programs to aid our navigation. We also discovered early on that if we wanted to win, Jeff needed to be the navigator.

Our ultimate accomplishment after years of work was the CompuRally computer software that allows a standard (DOS) computer to be used as a rally computer. We used this software to take two national TSD rally wins and numerous local and regional trophies. Our software is now being used successfully in Silver Streak challenge type events out west

But this weekend, I saw something completely different. Fred, armed with nothing more that a book of rally tables and a simple four function calculator, demonstrated his navigational skills. He gave me feedback that was very very close to as good a my rally computer.

Every six to ten seconds he called "Mark" and I looked at my odo to see if I was early or late. A simple adjustment of the throttle put us back on time.

And he did not look overworked like I have been when I tried stock navigation. In fact, we were able to carry on a conversation punctuated by "mark" being called mid story.

His method is deceptively simple. He just adds .1 mile worth of time to the display register on his calculator and calls out when the time matches his clock.

It took me a few legs to get the hang of reading my Jeep Cherokee odometer to the hundredth mile but by the end of the day we were getting scores of 1 or 2 per leg. The computer guys were getting ones and zeros.

I always enjoy experiencing new things and seeing this skill in action was great fun to watch. Had I known this method of navigation 20 years ago I might never have written my own software and learned so much about computer controls.

The first place Stock Class trophy fits nicely with all the Equipped Class trophies on the shelf.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

No Backup lights or your Jeep won't start?

Jeep Cherokee repair Problems

Location of neutral safety switch on Jeep Cherokee
Location of neutral safety switch on Jeep Cherokee  Location of neutral safety switch on Jeep Cherokee

The Neutral Safety Switch controls the function of the backup lights, the 1-2 shift and as the name implies, the Neutral Starting Safety interlock. So if your Jeep won't start or you have no backup lights, the trouble may be the NSS.

This switch is way too expensive to buy a new one when it is easily cleaned to get its full function restored.

When I did mine, I broke it trying to get it off the shaft so I had to get another one from a Junk Yard. Pull a Part in Atlanta had one for $5. So be careful pulling it off the shaft!

The complete procedure is posted on this site Go Jeep

How do I get the most performance from my Jeep Cherokee

How do I get the most performance from my Jeep Cherokee?

First, we have to define performance. Since the Jeep Cherokee is such a versatile vehicle, people use them for many different purposes and therefore have different performance expectations.

I have different performance expectations from each of my Jeep Cherokees. So each of them is prepared with different Jeep Cherokee accessories.

My off road Jeep has big tires and a flexible suspension and a small engine.

My RallyJeep has a stiffer, lower suspension with small rally tires and a
jeep performance crate motor from Titan engines.

To get more performance for jeep six cylinder, the most effective way is to bore and stroke it. But you can do a lot by opening up the intake and exhaust and improving the ignition.

My daily driver is a 1991 Jeep Cherokee Laredo with a K&N intake, Dynomax exhaust, Hidden Hitch receivers front and rear, a lock rite automatic locker in the rear differential.

For more Jeep Cherokee Performance tips see my Jeep Cherokee Performance page at Jeep Girl Travels.