Monday, April 8, 2013

Getting ready to get out and find my own road less travelled.

The environmentalists will freak out with this blog entry. Sorry you feel that way, I can only suggest that you take the energy you would use to berate me for what I am going to say, and work up a crowd sourcing effort to develop a sustainable, zero impact environmentally, drop in replacement for gasoline. Because I am going to talk about four wheel drive pickup trucks here.

And no I am not being mean or anything here. I honestly would LOVE a good, environmentally responsible drop in replacement for gasoline that the average person could afford to use. But that isn't the purpose of this post...

A big part of what has been keeping me an urban prisoner has been the truck. You see we drive our gas sipping old Saturn SL sedan to and fro in town. The pickup truck, having suffered from an intentional design fault that makes critical suspension components (Ball joints) fail at an early age, did just that.  So long story short, I had to fix the truck...

Now I am sure you will agree with me that any time you can save some money, safely, and responsibly, that is a good thing. After being quoted $2,000.00 by my local shops to replace the upper and lower ball joints, and while they were in there, replace the shock absorbers as well, I just about had kittens. That didn't even include the cost of replacement tires or an alignment!

So out came some online shopping, and a trip to www.rockauto.com, I have been using these guys for a while, and have gotten good deals from them in the past, typically 25 - 65% below what the local parts houses sell the same item for, before tax and shipping of course. A quick look at the ball joint selections showed they did indeed have the Moog Problem solver line of suspension components, which fixed the issues of undersized components, and a complete lack of grease service fittings on the stock units. The lowers are sold as just the joint, the uppers as a complete upper control arm assembly. Careful inspection of the entire system shows no problems with the bushings on the lowers.

The shocks I wanted were a huge improvement over stock, and came from www.4wheelonline.com, a company I had done business with in the past, and received a good bargain, but communication through them was sparse, and honestly I am nervous every time I order from them, but so far so good... I got the Rancho Quick Lift Loaded front coilover assemblies that lift the front of the truck 2.5", and then the Rancho RS9000XL for the rear. All four are pressure adjustable allowing me to dial in the ride from soft and supple, to firm and planted. All with the twist of a knob.

Now that the front end is put back together, some fresh brake pads, tires, and front end alignment are in order, and soon, but not soon enough for me, you will start seeing fresh Outdoor Dave videos, and photos!

Paddlers, you in particular will want to keep your eyes peeled for upcoming entries. I will be designing, building and testing a DIY knock down double canoe rack to fit a standard American pickup truck bed (MUST have stake pockets). This will be sized to fit a Ford full size with a 6.5 foot bed, and I will note the critical dimensions that you will need to adjust for your truck! This design will be able to haul 2 ~15' canoes, and paddling accessories while leaving the bed of the truck available to fill with camping gear and supplies.

So keep your eyes peeled, and get out there and find your own, road less traveled.