A blog about off-road vehicles, overlanding, 4×4 trips & travel. We write posts about interesting trucks for sale, help you improve your driving and camping skills, learn about gear, show you amazing places to go, and share stories of adventure. We like to go out and explore, and we love adventure.

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The early Jeep, it’s about as plain as a cardboard box, and about as versatile too. It’s an honest thing—the essence of the 4×4. You can’t distill it down to get anything simpler. And here’s one for sale, a Willys CJ-2A from 1946, the first year of production. It came with a 60 hp, 4-cylinder engine good for 105 lb-ft of torque, a 3-speed transmission, and a 2-speed transfer case.

This one has been treated to a three-year, father-and-son rebuild. The engine was rebuilt as well, but the job was done by a professional. It has a new Solex carburetor, 12V electrics, larger-than-stock rear brake drums. I love the side-mounted spares on these.

This jeep is available for the more-than-reasonable price of $6,000 in northern Idaho.Click through at the end of the post to read the original ad text.

Links:
Original Craigslist ad

Bring a Trailer post

Wikipedia: Willys Jeep CJ-2A

The CJ-2A Page (for further research)

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Read the rest of this entry »

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This is a nice looking 2004 Toyota Tacoma DoubleCab that the owner reportedly converted to PreRunner 4×4 spec using all Toyota 4WD parts. It has a 2.7-liter, 4-cylinder motor, and an automatic transmission.

The truck has all kinds of overlanding goodies, like an ARB front bumper, an Outdoor Logic rear bumper with swing out, a Safari Snorkel, ARB front and rear locking differentials with 5.29 gearing, a complete OME suspension, and BudBuilt skid plates.

It looks like it’s been set up right. The diff. breathers are said to be routed to under the hood and the effect of the larger 255 BFG Mud Terrains has been corrected by a Dakota Digital speedometer calibrator. I like the little touches like the front-mounted hitch receiver under the license plate and the black Toyota trim.

The truck has 225,000 miles, but on a truck that’s been well maintained, I no longer see that as an issue. Just keep up the maintenance and drive it.

The truck is located in Modesto, California and available for $14,000. As is usually the case, you couldn’t build it for the asking price. See the original ad text at the end of the post.

Links:
The ad on Expo
The truck’s build thread on Expo

Toyota Tacoma • WCXC attachment-2 attachment-3 attachment-4 attachment-5 attachment-6 venuqe6e Read the rest of this entry »

Hollister Hills • WCXC
Photo: Nik Schulz

In early April WCXC got together for a day at Hollister Hills OHV near Gilroy, California, for a couple of days of camping and trail skills practice. It had been raining so the trails were pretty muddy. Still, we had a good time driving the obstacle courses and playing in the mud.

Given all of the rain, and that this was our first outing as a group, we decided not to head down any of the intermediate difficulty trails. After we had our fill of the two obstacle courses, and were on our way back to camp, a ranger asked us if we wouldn’t mind helping a guy out that had not been so cautious and had gotten stuck on one of the intermediate trails. We said we’d go have a look and see what we could do.

What we found was a full-size, crew-cab 4×4 pick-up on 80 psi street tires, that had slid completely off the trail, down a slope that led down to a small ravine. It had sunk into the mud up to its door sills. Mas had a winch on his truck and we offered our help. About two hours, 3 or 4 winch pulls, and a rain and hail storm later, we had the truck back on the road. As the rain picked up I got concerned that he—and we—would be able to get back out (as his truck blocked our exit). He got his truck turned around though, and we all made it out. Sheesh. It was a little more than we bargained for.

Still it was a great trip. Here are some photos from that day. Read the rest of this entry »

http://youtu.be/dyJcG_gW1xw

The CARB-compliant gas cans we get here in California can be difficult to pour and are generally a pain in the butt. Here’s how to mod one to make it easy to pour and still remain leak free.

http://youtu.be/8dolwntg4LM

A guy in the auto mechanics class I’m taking recently told me about a smart phone-based scan tool app called Torque. Scan tools are the devices you plug into your car or truck’s OBD or OBD2 diagnostic port to display engine trouble codes, a handy thing to have if you’re working on your own truck. (Trouble codes are generated by the vehicle’s computer when the check engine light goes on.)

Besides reading trouble codes, the app can display all kinds of vehicle information on your phone or tablet in real time: mass air flow, boost (on turbocharged cars), coolant temp, fuel flow, the list goes on. And, because it’s running on a smart phone, it can also display things like pitch, roll, GPS position, and compass heading. The app even has a function that will record video of the road ahead, through the phone or tablet’s camera, while overlaying vehicle data into the frame. Pretty cool.

The video gives a good overview. Things start getting interesting around 4:06.

All you need to make it work is the app, which is $5, and a Bluetooth scan tool, which plugs into your OBD2 port. These can be found on Amazon for about $23. (The OBD2 port has been required on vehicles since 1996, though cars a year or two earlier may be equipped with it. Older cars have the OBD port, which unfortunately won’t work with this system.)

Self contained scan tools can cost hundreds of dollars and don’t have as much functionality, one of the many reasons that the Torque app and a Bluetooth scan tool make such a compelling package.

Check the links for a CNET review, the app, and the bluetooth scan tool.

Links:
CNET: Monitor your car’s performance with the Torque app for Android

Google Play: Torque Pro Scan Tool app

Amazon: BAFX Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tool
(this one is compatible with Android only)

http://youtu.be/2jjBc06NKi8w&w=600

The Ford Bronco in this video is a remote control, 1/9th-scale model. It was hand built, out of wood, by Headquake RC Creations, which seems to be a guy working happily in his workshop in rural Ontario, Canada.

The level of detail is amazing—the miniature driver has foam arms and looks like he’s steering—and it’s fun to watch them roam their magically out-of-scale worlds.

Links:
Headquake’s YouTube Channel

Headquake’s Facebook page

RCCrawler: Forum post in which he talks about his process
First spotted on Offroad Action

http://youtu.be/a_Dvap18PLc&w=600

In this video watch a 1977 F150 RC truck being built from scratch.

http://youtu.be/mqaRrk5JTzg&w=600

In this one, a 1/5th-scale, 2-1/2-foot-long, 16-lb. Ford Escort rally car is filmed at 60 fps, then slowed down to half speed, and synced with real rally car audio. The last half of the video shows natural speed and sound.

Headquake RC Grand Cherokee • WCXC

Headquake’s first wooden build, a 1989 Grand Cherokee. Great stuff.

 

ACE Hotel Ocean • WCXC

I’ve always had a thing for ocean liners: the grandness, the relaxed mode of travel, the sheer awesomeness of a vehicle as big as building. Well, it looks like I’m not the only one. Ace Hotel, purveyors of well-designed, comfortable-cool, are taking to the seas.

They announced this month on April 1st that they’ve purchased the SS United States, the last US-flagged ocean liner. The 990-foot ship was first launched in 1952 and broke the transatlantic speed record on her maiden voyage, making the crossing from New York to Bishop Rock in the Scilly Isles, off the Cornish Coast, in a mere 3 days, 10 hours, and 40 minutes. No other ocean liner ever bested her.

The crew at Ace haven’t released a lot of details yet, save to say that the ship will set sail in 2015, which must mean the refurbishment is well under way. I can’t imagine that it will be anything less amazing.

To get yourself in the high-seas spirit, check out the film of a 1967 transatlantic ocean liner crossing which we posted a while back.

Update:
Well, I was a little late to the pick up on the joke, but the Ace Hotel was April foolin’. Still a great idea, if you ask me.

Link:
Ace Hotel Ocean

Wikipedia: SS United States

1986 Mercedes-Benz 280 GE • WCXC

This is a 1986 Mercedes-Benz 280GE in dove grey over a plaid Recaro interior. It’s equipped with a 2.8-liter, inline six, gasoline engine, mated to an automatic, 5-speed transmission. The 460-series G-wagen, of which this is one, was produced between 1979 and 1991, and was available with a variety of gas and diesel powertrain options. The 2.8-liter six was the most powerful of these, good for 156hp and 166 lb-ft of torque, according to Wikipedia.

Space-saving, folding, jump seats can be found in the rear of the truck, making this 9-passenger vehicle. Other options include factory A/C and power windows. The original stereo has, unfortunately, been replaced.

The odometer shows 32,384 miles. Given that these trucks have a five-digit odometer, however, it’ll take some sleuthing to verify that without corroborating service records. Original owner’s and service manuals are included. Perhaps there’s a clue there.

This 80s-era G-wagen is being offered for $34,950 and is located in Bellevue, Washington. Now $35k is pushing right up against used G500 money. This one is more charming and, with its smaller wheels, more ready for off-road duty, than its newer brothers but you’ll be missing out front and rear heated seats. Don’t think you’re going to get better mileage though. Gas mileage for both the six and the eight-cylinder models is a pump-wrenching 12–14 mpg.

More photos and the original ad text after the jump.

Links:
ebay: 1986 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 280 GE

Bring a Trailer: 32K Mile 1986 Mercedes Benz 280GE

Wikipedia: Mercedes-Benz G-Class
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Ultra Fire Flashlight Review • WCXC

I got this UltraFire XML-T6 LED flashlight as a Christmas gift last year. At first I wasn’t sure where to place it in the product pantheon. The branding looked Chinese and a bit knock-offy. The aluminum body, while not top quality, felt rugged and substantial. The flashlight’s lens could be pulled in and out to focus from a wide beam to a tight, bright square pattern.

A little more research revealed that they are basically knock-offs of the SureFire brand of flashlights that run in the $100 to $400 range. The branding is a bit fluid. There’s UltraFire, SuperFire, and others. That said, it doesn’t seem like a cheap knock off. It performs well. It has a high-quality Cree bulb and throws a REALLY bright beam. And here’s the kicker. It comes with two batteries and a charger, and it’s only $14.

When I first got it, I only charged one battery because that’s all that slid out of the tube. The light stayed lit for maybe an hour before it started to blink and signal that it was dying. Once I figure out that it runs on two batteries, and charged both, it’s been running fine.

The button on the back will cycle through the following modes with each half-press of the button: high beam, medium beam, low beam, strobe, SOS.

I haven’t don’t any waterproof testing. The rear cap is fitted with an o-ring but the front lens housing unscrews to reveal no o-ring. At that price I don’t care though. I don’t expect it to perform as well as a $400 flashlight. And I don’t know that I believe the 1600 lumen rating. That said, the beam is very bright and the flashlight certainly performs many times better than it’s $14 dollar price tag suggests it should.

So, yes, a Chinese knock-off, but one that so far delivers quite a bit of light-up-the-night bang for your buck.

Update 4/7/2014:
The specs for the Cree XM-L T6 LED is 280–300 lumens at 700mA, according to FlahlightWiki.com.

Links:
Amazon: UltraFire XML-T6 Flashlight

Ultra Fire, company site

Flashlight Wiki: UltraFire

Flashlight Wiki: Cree XM-L LED Bulb Specs

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A big thank you to Greg, Mas, Bryan, Ismael, Jesus, and David & Sadie, Lola, and Bee, who all came out to Hollister Hills for WCXC’s first trail day. It was great to see everyone enjoy the food, camping, and a day on the trails.

We had fun despite the rain checking out the various obstacle courses and working on our driving skills. Then, as we headed back to camp, the day took as serious turn when we learned that a man and his small boy had slid off the mud-slick trail and had gotten their full-size pick up seriously stuck. A full report soon.
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kusmi

Here’s another recommendation for your camp box. Kusmi Tea’s St. Petersburg blend. It’s a Russian black tea blend with citrus, red fruits, bergamont, caramel, and vanilla. It tastes as good as it sounds. We drank it all last summer. Lovely stuff.