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Long-Term Updates - November 2012

Posted in How To on November 1, 2012
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Rugged Ridge Floor Mats

We’ve got Rugged Ridge floor liners in two vehicles: our ’03 Super Duty and our ’97 Cherokee. After living in the dirt for years and replacing ruined stock floor mats, we finally had it one day and logged onto and ordered ourselves a couple sets of Rugged Ridge floor mats for the daily-driven trucks. Both mat sets showed up about a week later and we did our 30-second install of the mats. It only took one day of living with the Rugged Ridge mats and a dirt driveway to start loving the floor liners. Their injection-molded plastic is formed to fit every vehicle’s floor specifically without any movement on the stock carpet so we didn’t keep kicking these mats around like some others.

We still need to dump the dirt out of the mats, but now at least it stays in the floor liners and doesn’t get ground into the rest of the carpet.

Daystar Hood Pins

After the urethane around our hood pins rotted (six years of sunlight will do that) we used Daystar’s new hood pin kits to affix our hood to the truck. We liked that they came with four allen bolts instead of rivets so they’re more easily removable for when the sun eventually kills this set (or we could just get a car cover).

After a couple months of having these on, we noticed some lifting in the urethane between the bolts in triple-digit heat. We loosened the bolts that hold each urethane piece and the lifting went away.

Duct Taped Wheel Weights

We’re not sure if it’s the air at our office or what, but wheel weights seem to be falling off our newly mounted tires and wheels lately. And we had different sets of tires mounted at different tire stores so it’s not just one company’s cheap wheel weights.

Losing wheel weights can cause steering wheel vibrations, make tires bounce along the highway, and can cause vehicles to veer to one side or the other.

A quick solution was to simply apply some duct tape over the weights on the wheel. This ensured that the weights stayed in place on the wheels. It’s a little more trouble when you change out tires and have to remove the wheel weights, but how often do you swap out tires?

Cool It Wire Sleeves

After melting some high-temperature plastic wire sheathing hanging over the engine of one of our trucks, we knew we needed more protection from the rising heat of our diesel. We got a roll of Cool It Express Sleeve that we could cut to whatever length we wanted and trimmed off a piece to go from one side of the engine bay to the other. The Express Sleeve is really trick because it has Velcro that allows you to put it directly over wires or tubing without having to cut or undue tubes or wiring to slip it through the sheathing.

We have no issues with heat melting wire sheathing over our diesel engine since, and have also found it to be effective just an inch from an exhaust manifold even.

Valley Head Service

Right now we’re building an AMC 401ci engine at Valley Head Service in Northridge, California ( In the last few months, our knowledge of engines has doubled thanks to the crew at Valley Head. We’re not sure we’ve ever been to a more impressive old-school machine shop, and definitely not one that has as much history and experience with gas V-8s. Our venerable AMC block should be done soon, and we can’t wait to see what a good machine shop can do to pick up power in a basically “stock” engine.

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