Engine Tick, Running Hot, New Compressor

I’m a little behind on the updates so I’ll try to catch up.

The Cougar Buttes weekend went well. The front locker worked as expected.  All worked well and no issues tackling the usual obstacles. I did notice some fluid leaking after a while, but it looked to be coolant. When I checked the reservoir, it was high. I think they just overfilled it when they checked fluids and the leakage was just overflow.

Cougar Buttes was a great weekend. I went out with the Zen Jeepers group. It was a combination of the SoCal and Bay Area groups. It was really nice to meet some new folks from another area!

On that Monday I helped out with the SoCal Zen Jeepers 101 Skills Builder class. It went well. As usual it was a good group and everyone got a lot out of it. When I first got my Jeep in January of 2015 I got lucky. I connected with a good group of people who had a lot of wheeling experience. They were patient and didn’t push me past my skill or comfort level. They taught me a LOT. A group like that can be hard to find sometimes. When you get your first off-road vehicle it can be hard to know where to go, find people to go with, and how to go have fun, but while being safe. Like I said, I got lucky. So I like being able to give back by helping those who are new to off-roading!

Between two days of Cougar Buttes and a day for the Zen Jeepers 101 it was a long weekend. It was also a really great weekend!

On March 12th I added another badge, Back Way to Crown King in Arizona. Went with a friend who recently moved to AZ for a job. It was a great day. The Back Way to Crown King trail is long, but not hard, at least not compared to what we’re used to in the Southern California deserts. It’s open year-round. The weather was perfect for our run. But I’d be interested to see what it looks like and how it changes with some snow. There’s an idea for another Arizona run in the future.

Traction Control Light:

During a long road trip back in November I experienced a couple of traction control events. The front axle hadn’t been replaced yet so I thought I’d just keep an eye on it and see if it continues. I was hoping it was something related to the axle. The front axle has now been replaced. I’m on another long road driving trip in the Jeep. Los Angeles to Phoenix was the first leg. The next leg was Phoenix to Kansas City, KS via Albuquerque, NM and Dodge City, KS. That’s about 2,300 miles so far this trip. No new traction control issues. I still have about 2,300 miles to go on this trip so we’ll see how it goes.

Engine Tick and Running Hot:

The engine has had a tick on the driver side for a long time. I could never quite locate it. I thought it might be a belt or something. The Jeep has been running well so I didn’t worry about it too much. However, the last few trips it has started to run hot whenever I’m on a long, uphill grade. The coolant temp will go from its happy spot at about 221° to as high as 242°. As soon as I start going downhill the temp returns to normal. I’ve found references online to these symptoms so I’ll be bringing it in to the dealer to get it checked out.

Gear: Compressor

At the end of the Cougar Buttes trip my faithful Smittybilt 2781 compressor died. I ran that compressor for over seven (7) years. It never let me down. Even on the last time I used it I got all 4 tires aired up before it died. It literally didn’t quit until I put the last pound of air into the last tire. It bounced around the back of the Jeep on and off road for 7+ years. It served me well! It’s successor is going to have quite a reputation to live up to.

When looking for a new compressor I wanted one that would provide the same or better air flow performance. It was always nice to be able to air up all four tires fairly quickly. But I was also looking for something American made. That didn’t work out. Smittybilt is an American company, but the only information I was able to find on where it’s manufactured indicates it’s made in China. In fact, all the compressors that met my technical criteria were not made in America. So I ended up with the ALL-TOP Air Compressor. It’s price point is similar to the Smittybilt and it provides slightly higher CFM; 6.35CFM vs. 5.65CFM. It also had good reviews. Yeah, it’s made in China. But I didn’t find a lot of alternatives. So I’ll give this a try.

One thing I possibly did wrong with the new compressor. My old air hose is slightly longer so I kept it. The first time I used it with the new compressor it sprung a leak. I’m not sure if it was just because it was also old or if it just wasn’t up to the slightly higher air pressure that the new compressor puts out. Either way, that hose is done.