Sunday, April 1, 2012

Four Wheeling - Understanding An American Pastime

For decades people have been rock climbing, snow wheeling, mudding, and otherwise off-roading in their pickup trucks, Jeeps, and other four-wheel drive vehicles. This arguably extreme sport can be described as a cross between human rock climbing, hiking, and roller coaster riding.

Most people who enjoy 4-wheeling on a regular basis are those who have grown up around it. They are from small mountain towns, valley and coastal communities. They spent the better part of their childhood learning how to maneuver river beds and scale rock walls. They know the limits of their vehicles because they're committed to testing them with each run.

Some, however, have grown up (and even still live/work) in the cramped quarters of large cities. These people are burdened with blatant advertising at every turn, smothered in cement, deafened by noise and engulfed in smog. Some of the most passionate 4-wheelers have come from this background having discovered a love for the outdoors. For these people, four wheeling is an escape and a refuge from the constraints of modern society. They leave the hustle and bustle behind for a chance to spin their wheels in God's creation.

Outsiders of the sport may see four-wheeling as an upset to nature's beauty. After all, these vehicles are usually far from green with their poor fuel economy (compared to smaller cars or hybrids), over powered engines and large tires. Many see these vehicles being hauled down the road (or driven if they're street legal) and wonder why on earth someone would go to such great lengths, spending time and money on such "extravagances".

The thing is, when you love and enjoy something you will expend all your resources to sustain it. Just as a concert pianist spends thousands of dollars on his piano or a golf pro spends oodles of cash on collared shirts and goofy hats. Whatever you enjoy, you work to keep that hobby alive and well in your life. It's all a matter of interest, priority and perspective. For the four-wheeling community it is close to the top of the list.

Buck Johnson is the Vice President of For the last 20 years they have provided offline truck accessory retail products, and for the last 10 years have provided Dodge truck accessories available online. Find headache racks and other additions at
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Off-Roading With An Automatic Transmission

Off-roading is a great way to spend a weekend, but it can also be dangerous. When off-roading you are driving your vehicle over rough terrains that aren't paved and have no lines. Driving on this type of trail can cause some damage to your vehicle that you would not experience in everyday driving situations. Manual transmissions have long been favored in off-road vehicles because of the control over the vehicle and speed without needing to apply the brakes very often. But it is possible to go off-roading in a vehicle that is equipped with an automatic transmission.

When driving off-road it is very easy to lose control of your vehicle when you're maneuvering up or down a steep incline. To maintain control in these driving situations it is best to keep a low steady speed while applying constant low pressure on either the gas or brake. When you're driving a vehicle with a manual transmission it is easy to downshift in order to gain control of your vehicle if it should happen to slide. In a vehicle with an automatic transmission you aren't capable of using this option so you should keep the vehicle in low gear and try not to accelerate too much when you're going up or down a steep hill in order to lessen the chances of your car sliding.

If you're accustomed to driving a manual transmission you are used to using both feet while driving. However, when driving a car with an automatic transmission you are only required to use one foot to control both your speed and your brake. But when off-roading this rule goes out the window, it is recommended that when climbing or coming down a steep hill you use both feet. Doing so will allow you better control of the vehicle. Do not apply too much pressure to either foot, instead apply slight pressure equally so that you are not braking or speeding up too fast.

Try to avoid using both pedals at the same time because this can damage to the vehicle and the transmission. Being able to successfully use both feet when off-roading to control your vehicle will allow you to make quick decisions and not hesitate when switching feet from pedal to pedal.

If you are planning to use an automatic transmission powered vehicle to go off-roading one of the first things you should do is to install a deeper transmission pan. Doing this will allow the transmission to draw fluid at steep angles. A stock transmission pan often causes the vehicle to have a difficult time drawing fluid on a steep incline because all of the fluid tends to relocate to either side of the pan. Installing a deeper transmission pan will also help keep your vehicle from locking up or slipping gears at a critical point in your climb or descent.

For those of you who thought off-roading in a Jeep with an automatic transmission was impossible, you should know by now that Jeeps are capable of anything whether automatic or manual. These are only tips to help keep your adventures safe and enjoyable no matter what type of transmission your vehicle is equipped with.

Deana "Dee" Marshall is a avid Jeep Off-Roader and loves all things Jeep. A great place to connect and learn more interesting things about Jeep off-roading, Jeep technical articles, and a great resource for all things Jeep is and the XtremeTerrain Blog. Happy Jeep Off-Roading! See you on the trails!
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Off-Road Tires - A Beginner's Reference

Choosing the Right Off-Road Tires
Looking to buy some new off-road tires? Hold it right there. If you're just looking to grab the biggest, most wicked-looking off-road tires available, there are a few things you should probably know before you go about doing so.

The Truth about Off-Road Truck Tires
Whether you're sand-racing, rock-crawling, mud-plowing, or whatever other off-road activities conceivable, it's important to understand precisely why you need a set of off-road truck tires.

A common misconception with regard to off road tires is that you need them for improved traction on rugged terrain, and naturally, the general consensus suggests that larger tires equate to more traction. While such an assumption makes sense, it is not entirely accurate.
True, the right off-road tires can provide some additional traction in off-road conditions, but there are better, more efficient ways to improve traction than simply bulking up the rubber. If traction is your primary concern, trucks parts like a traction differential (locker) with stock off-road tires is more beneficial for your rig than just adding a set of taller, more aggressive offroad tires. Or for that matter, a winch is probably a smart idea before anything else. A locker or other 4x4-related truck parts could inspire excessive boldness, causing you to get caught in some real jams and then you'll wish that you opted for the winch instead.

The point is larger off-road tires are meant first and foremost for the purpose of raising the height and ground clearance of your rig to enable steeper ascent and descent in off-road terrain. Simply put, when driving over boulders, slogging through mud, coasting across the desert, or even just making your way through the occasional forest trail, higher ground clearance facilitates negotiating certain obstacles.
Not to downplay the traction aspect of off road tires, as a set of mud terrain bias off road tires will most definitely perform better in the mud than a set of all-season radials. Rather, improved traction is more of a secondary function that still bears importance, but should not the sole consideration when it comes to buying truck tires, as there are far better truck parts available for meeting that goal.

Are you ready for taller off-road truck tires?
Buying a set of taller off-road tires for your 4x4 is like making a marriage work; it involves sometimes drastic changes, sacrifices, and commitment, along with constant care and maintenance. On the other hand, at least you won't have to remember anniversaries.
The first thing to keep in mind is that upgrading to taller truck tires means upgrading a number of other truck parts in your vehicle as well. Additional inches of vehicle clearance are needed for the truck tires to fit without rubbing against the vehicle fenders. Truck parts like a suspension lift, body lift, or a combination of both can provide those additional inches. For off-road purposes, a suspension lift is preferable for the increase in wheel travel ability, whereas a body lift simply allows for the fiting of larger off road tires without any off road performance enhancements.

Larger truck tires also mean that your vehicle will be working harder to tote additional weight, which can result in significant strain to your axles and shocks, and also alters the gear ratio set by the manufacturer. To compensate for these changes, new ring and pinion gears and performance shocks (many complete lift kits typically include shocks) are strongly recommended. To counteract the additional weight and loss in performance, custom intakes, exhausts, computer chips, or any other performance-enhancing truck parts are also advised.

Bias Truck Tires versus Radial Off-Road Tires
Any driver will tell you that radial truck tires have innumerable advantages over bias ply truck tires. In fact, the tire industry has almost completely abandoned manufacturing bias truck tires, save for a few exceptions. Yet despite that bias truck tires come attached with a number of disadvantages, they still have their advantages when it comes to off road conditions.

The Case for Bias Off-Road Tires
Bias off-road tires provide unmatched performance in extreme off-road situations, such as deep mud, jagged rocks, and rough trails. The tread is designed to self-clean and release mud or foreign objects much easier to assist in maintaining traction and the rubber compounds are softer to produce better grip on rough terrain. Additionally, the tire sidewalls are typically reinforced to prevent damage.
On the downside, however, the ride and wear characteristics of bias off road tires on pavement are rather poor. High speed street driving is an uncomfortable and noisy endeavor, and a set of bias ply truck tires won't last much more than twenty to thirty thousand miles. Even for off-road situations, while low air pressure bias off road tires will deliver excellent performance, the center tread will still take a beating.

The Case for Radial Off-Road Tires
Although Bias off-road tires are ideal for the extreme off-road enthusiast, this is not to suggest that radial off-road tires aren't effective on harsh terrain. On the contrary, the latest radial truck tires perform quite well in off-road situations, and are designed with versatility in mind to produce better road handling characteristics, even at high speeds.
While radial off road tires may not provide the same traction or performance as a set of low air pressure bias off road tires, their longevity, handling, and smooth ride on paved roads makes up for it. Radials are perfect for the weekend off-road enthusiasts who see a lot of driving time on paved roads.

Tire sizing can be a tricky thing, mostly because the size of off road tires you have in mind is dependent upon a number of factors. The most obvious question is first whether your vehicle is capable of handling the size of off-road tires that you want, and if not, what modifications do you need to make in order for the off-road tires to fit? Unfortunately, there aren't any universal, all-authoritative guides available to simplify the process, since customization and modification is vehicle-specific. Your best bet for getting a better idea of your vehicle's specifications is to contact the manufacturer. This will give you a general sense for what your vehicle is capable of so that you don't exceed its limits, or that you have the right parts installed in case you do.
In terms of choosing the right lift kit, accessories, and knowing what modifications to make, factory service manuals, off-road magazines, internet message boards, manufacturer's guides, and a number of other resources are available to assist you.

Choosing the Right Type of Tires
Before plunging headfirst into the sea of off road truck tires and coming out with the meanest, most intimidating monsters you can find, you have to at least know what type of monsters will best suit your off road needs. First and foremost, you need to ask yourself a few questions. What type of off-road activities will you be doing the most? How much on-road and off-road driving will you do? What qualities in particular are you most concerned with -- durability, performance, traction, appearance, or ride quality? How much are you willing to spend? Taking some time to consider these important questions can help to narrow down what type of off-road tires are best for you.

All Season Tires
All season truck tires usually have no business going off-road, as their composition and tread designs are not built to handle beatings from off-road conditions. They do, however, provide long-lasting tread that excels on wet or dry paved roads and offers tremendous longevity. Most stock vehicles come equipped with all season tires. For vehicle enthusiasts adding larger truck tires just for show, all-season truck tires are likely the most efficient way to go. Granted, you won't get that aggressive look that's quite popular as of late, but that may be a small price to pay for truck tires that will last you tens of thousands of miles longer than more aggressive truck tires.

All Terrain Off-Road Tires
Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to all terrain off road tires, which typically makes them a jack of all trades but a master of none. As a result, a broad range of all terrain truck tires are available, based on whether a tire's focus is on or off road performance. Typically, all terrain truck tires are built with off-road standards in mind and then are modified in certain areas to improve street performance. The end result is truck tires that can handle everyday driving, as well as some light to moderate off-road conditions. For the most extreme off-road performance, all terrains won't perform as well as specialized off-road tires, but on the road, they offer peerless longevity, even wear, and excellent durability.

Extreme (Rock Crawling/Mud Terrain/Sand/Deep Snow) Truck Tires
Designed for extreme off-road conditions and little else, rock crawling and mud terrain truck tires employ aggressive tread designs that extend to the sidewalls, giant lugs with deep voids, and reinforced sidewall construction to create tires that will grip any surface and remain durable in the process. Extreme terrain off road tires typically carry many of the same features, and consequently many mud terrain tires make excellent rock crawling tires, and vice versa. Extreme terrain off road tires come in either radial or bias ply, but do their job best in a low air pressure bias ply, which allows the tread to conform to surfaces for increased traction. Yet despite that extreme terrain off road tires are composed of durable, cut and puncture resistant compounds, they usually do not produce very much mileage when driven on the street, particularly at high speeds. In addition, due to the wild tread designs and huge lugs, extreme terrain tires can cause a bumpy ride and are quite noisy on the road.

Need More Help?
Getting new off-road tires can be a complicated process if you don't know how to go about doing so. It is strongly recommended that you do some research and take advantage of the many available resources before making a purchase. Yet in the end, if you still have doubts, by far the best way to determine the right off-road tires and modifications for your vehicle is to consult an experienced and knowledgeable person who has a vehicle similar to yours, and has customized it in a similar manner to what you want to do. Not only can such a person suggest the correct products, but also likely has experience with installation and general drivability.
Billy Han lives in La Palma, CA and currently works as a Web Copywriter for TransAmerican Auto Parts.
Transamerican Auto Parts is a leading retailer in offroad tires wheels, lift kits, suspension, and other truck parts and accessories, and has over 40 years of experience with off-road tires
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Off-Roading For Beginners - Things to Check Before You Go

By David Thorson

Off-roading can be a great deal of fun as long as you are organized before you go. It's a great way to see out-of-the-way beauty spots and an interesting way to plan a family picnic, as long as you are prepared.

The type of off-road experience you can expect depends largely on both the size and toughness of your vehicle. If your 4x4 is a fairly new model it may not be up to serious off-roading; many new models are more into off road appearance rather than capability. If you are really serious about this challenging hobby, buy an older model and keep it strictly for that purpose; you need a chassis frame built to withstand all the punishment of the off-road obstacles that you will certainly encounter. Prepare your vehicle and yourself so this experience is one you'll look forward to again and again.
Before leaving home think carefully about the following:

· How well do you know your vehicle? You need to know both its limits and yours.
· You must know how to use ALL the controls and know how the system works.
· Know where the jack and the spare tire are and how to use them.
· Know the approximate size and dimensions of your vehicle so that you can get through tight areas with ease.
· Know where the lowest point of clearance is, probably the differential casing.
· Practice using the low ratio gearbox and if it is equipped with manual locking hubs, try them out also.
· It is wise to know where your engine's computer and air intake are so that you will know the maximum depth of water you can get across.
· Keep your hoses, belts and filters well maintained and remember to top up all your fluids.
· Be sure to pack emergency supplies as you never know whether you will find yourself stuck without help.
· Try not to go it alone, try to travel with at least one other vehicle, the more the merrier, and have at least one other passenger with you.
· Make all the necessary checks on your vehicle, check tires for correct pressure including the spare, check underneath for leaks and check steering and brakes.
· When you pack distribute the weight evenly and if you have added a roof rack make sure you take into consideration the extra height.
· Make sure you know where you are at all times and be aware that what may look like a small journey on a map could take hours in a Four Wheel Drive - allow plenty of time for safe travel.
· Never try a maneuver that you have any misgivings about, backing off early is the wise thing to do and that accepting that a maneuver is impossible will probably prevent damage to your vehicle and more important still, personal injury.
· Get a weather forecast for the area you intend to go to and be sure to carry some means of communication. A CB radio equipped with the weather service is ideal
Finally, always let someone know where you are going and arrange a time to contact them. Take the Sheriffs number in case of an emergency, and if you do find yourself in this situation DO NOT make the pre-arranged phone call as they might not send out the emergency teams, thinking you no longer need them.
As long as you make the right preparations, you'll find off-roading is an enjoyable hobby as well as something you can share with the whole family.
Always think safety first and make sure your primary ATV vehicle is equipped with a CB Base Station. Having a base CB radio will allow you to monitor the weather or call for help if necessary.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Equipment To Bring On Your First Off-Road Trip

By R. Nathan Rickaway

So you've got a Jeep or other OHV and your ready to Step into the offroad world, you've hooked up with local club or Internet forum and going to a local Offroad park or National Park.

Before you take off there are some things you might want to consider purchasing for your vehicle before you go. Do you have proper Recovery hooks at the front and rear of your vehicle, if your vehicle isn't lifted do you have any body protection or Skid plates to keep things straight under your Vehicle?

The first trip offroad I went on was so embarrassing, first I backed up onto a rock and pinched my exhaust system to where it would not flow any longer, I didn't have any tools, a jack, and no way to work on my Jeep, Later on that day I got myself into an off camber situation and almost put my Jeep on it's side if not for my awesome club members to come to the rescue and figure out a way to get me back to earth. Luckily I was with a great group and everyone jumped in to help, but I still felt bad that I'd held up their day.

Having the right equipment in and on your vehicle is important for safety reasons and to improve your day of fun. Now I know a lot of you don't have play money just to go throw at your truck, so don't think you've got to go run out to buy a winch right away (not a bad thing to have though). The first thing I did was I made a tool box that fits into the back of my Jeep with some of the necessary tools for the trail, which includes.

A bag of hand tools (Metric and standard wrenches and Sockets)

A couple Recovery straps, be sure to get looped ends, you don't want to be in the way of a projectile Metal hook if the rope snaps or comes loose.

• A Flashlight (yes even if it's a Day trip)

• Either a Hi-Lift Jack or regular Bottle or scissor jack

• A Pry bar

• A Cheater bar if you don't have power tools

• You're Electric Drill with some extra batteries from home

• Duct and Electrical tape

• A Spare tire of equal size

• And any extra Tools you can get in there.

• A First Aid Kit

This list is a rough list for a starter, as your OHV starts growing and getting more serious the time will come to bring spare parts like axle shafts Engine parts, Drive shafts, Steering and Suspension Joints the list goes on and on.

On your first trip be sure to pay close attention to what the experienced club members are bringing and how they use the tools they brought in certain situations. You never know, you could save the day for someone on your first trip.

Nathan Rickaway is an avid offroader and loves teaching people the in and outs of his hobby. For more Articles and information please visit -The new trend in Offroad Motorsports.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Caring for Your Jeep: Getting the Right Jeep Parts

By Terry Brown
For over six decades now, Jeep has been one of the most popular car makes in the history of the automotive industry. Jeep has successfully established its niche as an excellent sport utility vehicle, with excellent Jeep Auto Parts, even before SUV's became commonplace. When people think of Jeeps, they picture rugged vehicles traveling through rough terrains. Jeep has created an image of fun, spontaneity and ruggedness. Yet, through the years, innovations and add-ons have made Jeep more than just a vehicle for rugged terrains. Today's Jeep models not only retain the aspect of fun, and functionality that earlier Jeeps have been known for, but have added technological advancement, convenience and enhanced performance to its long list of winning characteristics.

A tough, hardworking, and reliable vehicle like a Jeep deserves special care and attention. Because Jeeps are most often used in off-road conditions, it requires extra care so that its functionality will be maintained. A little care will go a long way to make your Jeep work excellently all the time. Frequent off-road driving can take its toll on your Jeep's auto parts. Frequent oil and oil filter changes are necessary because of the muddy or dusty conditions. You should check those auto parts that are prone to wear and tear such as air filters, brake linings, PCV valves and other Jeep parts. Jeep parts such, as Jeep Wrangler Parts and Jeep Cherokee Parts require the utmost in car care and protection. Check for signs of damage on the chassis and undercarriage. You should also inspect your Jeep's parts for loose bolts and connections. Look over your Jeep Exhaust, Jeep Radiator, Jeep Bumper, Jeep Tail Lights, Jeep Mirrors, Jeep Catalytic Converters and Jeep Fenders for signs of damage. It is wise to repair or replace damaged Jeep parts as soon as possible to prevent further damage or accidents.

Replacement Jeep Parts are easy to find nowadays. If ever you need a replacement Jeep bumper or a new Jeep headlight for instance, you do not have to pay a visit to a good auto parts dealer across town. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection and you can now access some of the most reliable, and excellent auto parts wholesalers and suppliers online.

Inner Auto Parts is one of the most trusted online Jeep Parts suppliers. They offer a very comprehensive array of aftermarket Jeep parts and Performance Jeep parts ranging from high quality Jeep accessories, Jeep bumpers, Jeep car mats, Jeep fenders, Jeep grilles, Jeep catalytic converters, Jeep headlights and others. A visit to Inner Auto Parts is worth the while of any Jeep owner. The site also has an excellent resource section offering extensive information about the automobile. Getting the right Jeep Parts – those that are durable, long lasting, reliable and budget-friendly - is a great way to care for your Jeep.

Terry Brown is a 32 year old from Houston Texas, and an enthusiast for anything auto related. He is currently employed as a market analyst by one of the top car parts company in the area.

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