General information about the various mods available to 4x4 vehicles covering pros and cons to assist in the decision of "Is this the right mod?"

John Stewart

Born again, new life for old grill

BBQ Stand to Chopsaw StandThe old grill had seen better days.  Weather and rust had taken it toll on the cast iron body.  But, before heading to scrape pile of history, there was life left in the stand.  The frame was sound.  There were wood platforms on each side.  One end had wheels.  It was the perfect base for my chop saw stand.

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John Stewart

Lock your stuff - Console Vault Install

Console Vault - Secure mobile storage

I found the console vault from ConsoleVault, Inc provides an convenient and elegant solution to hidden secure storage for many vehicle owners.  My Ford F-150 has a fold-down console/armrest in the front seat arrangement.  ConsoleVault provides drop-in key or combination boxes that are an exact fit for the console.  The vault is a 12 gage steel with pry-resistant hinges - sturdy construction.  The interior measurements are 7 inches by 9 inches.The instructions are brief and claim 5-10 minutes installation using simple hand tools.  While installation was easy, it did take more than 10 minutes and did require more than simple tools.To explain, the vault drops into a plastic frame which is the standard material in the fold-down console.  It is held in place with four self-tapping bolts.  While the bolts are supposed to pierce the plastic, I found 2 out of 4 would not.  And, a third bolt bottomed against a piece of metal before fully inserted.  So, one went in with no problem while the other three required pre-drilling a starter hole.  With the install complete, the vault does provide a secure storage place for those valuables that need the protection from “smash and grab”.  The combination is based on a three number selection which can be changed when desired.Yes, the vault is pricey.  Cheaper options are available.  Once installed, it does provide a layer of security.  The fit into the console is snug leaving little room for a screwdriver or pry-bar to force it out or force the lid open.  And, a product used by law enforcement does provide a certain amount of comfort knowing your valuables are protected with a quality product.The console vault does come with a thin carpet liner.  I did cut a piece of rubber-backed indoor-outdoor carpet to use in place of the carpet liner provided.Console Vault provides a wide range of mobile secure storage options that are designed for the specific vehicle.  Visit their website for additional information.

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John Stewart

Replacing Worn Seatbelts

b2ap3_thumbnail_seat-belt-extender.jpgSeat belts have been around since the front lap belt was required on 1965 and new vehicles with front shoulder and rear lap belts appearing in 1968.  The traditional 3-point front belt became standard in 1974. One of the more important pieces of safety equipment in an off-road vehicle is the seat belt.

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John Stewart

Simple Cleaning

Simple Green comes in two formulations - the green all-purpose cleaner and the purple heavy-duty cleaner.I use the purple heavy duty full strength in my parts washer. It removes dirt and grease buildup simple and easy.  I keep a spray bottle handy for cleaning around nuts and bolts prior to trying to loosen them and cleaning the hard to reach corners. I find Simple Green does better as a powder and copper solvent for cleaning guns than the old standby Hoppes #9.Non-toxic, bio-degradable, and multi-purpose. A great economical cleaning agent to have around the shop...

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John Stewart

ATS Stabilizer Install

b2ap3_thumbnail_Fox-ATS-Stabilizer.jpgThe 4x4Wire JK recently underwent a slight transformation - from stock to gears, lockers, and lift. That change included new (larger) tires.  And, that resulted in a “bump steer” issue that has now been corrected.

The ultimate solution is the ATS Stabilizer from Fox.  While the Fox ATS Stabilizer is designed to be a direct replacement with a factory suspension, the 4x4Wire JK does have an aftermarket suspension which does entail a little more than just bolting it on.  Installation was quick with little in the way of problems.

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