ORP 033 - Purchasing a Used Wheeler

Welcome to the Off Road Podcast!!  I am your host Greg and joining me is Jeff. In this podcast we’ll cover all things offroad.  Whether you're looking for Sunday jaunts on some fire roads or hard core rock crawling, we will cover it all.   Episode 33!!!

What did you do this week?

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Listener Feedback:

Is there anything that we can do to help you guys - other than the Amazon option?


Hey looking to go from 33s to 35s with 3.73 gears on a tj would that be fine or would I need to regear (4.0 manual) thanks for reading.

Main Topic:  Purchasing a Used Wheeler

Wrangler keeping solid axles

The Jeep Wrangler, descendant of the legendary Army Jeeps and Willys/Kaiser/AMC CJ series, will keep its solid axles after all.

The next-generation Wrangler, due in 2017, will get some updates to its suspension to improve ride and fuel economy. However, the basic design that allows the axles to maintain traction at all four wheels while traversing the most difficult terrain will remain.

Wrangler’s “smaller” body

The body design choices are:

  • Body on frame. A separate body structure is built on a full-length frame; the visible body panels are “unstressed,” not needed for rigidity. This is how current Wranglers and full-size Ram pickups are made.
  • Full monocoque. A single structure relies completely on stressed body panels with no subframes at all.
  • Roll cage. A separate structure provides a stress path through round tubes passing through (and independent of) the body structure, and tied to the main frame—either separate or subframes. One example is Norm Layton’s custom-made “Jeep” used for off-road endurance racing, pictured below.
  • Spaceframe. A series of extrusions (metal formed by forcing it through a die) that form a full load-carrying stressed structure; it’s usually a basic box shape, with flanges (ridges to add strength or hold different things together) added.

One has to do aluminum bodies before one can move on to aluminum space frames, which is likely the optimum future for the Jeep Wrangler.

As for the body appearance, it will likely be made narrower to present a smaller “face” to the wind, and be more aerodynamic. They can do this by closing gaps and shortening the track to pull the wheels back into the wheelhouses; it would actually be cheaper to switch to an independent front suspension to do this, than to narrow the axles.

Found this pretty nice cj. Looking for a daily driver that I can do some light wheeling in. They want 6800 for this one. Very little rust nice body new tires. Is that a pretty good price? Not sure on the tranny I just know it's the stock one. Thoughts? Should I be looking for something newer?

1982 Renegade CJ7 Jeep

Original miles 89, 722

258 amc motor

5 speed


35 inch tires

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Trip Reports:  None...


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ORP 031 - King of the Hammers

Welcome to the Off Road Podcast!!  I am your host Greg Bakken and joining me is Jeff Bakken the sickest guy alive. In this podcast we’ll cover all things offroad.  Whether you're looking for Sunday jaunts on some fire roads or hard core rock crawling, we will cover it all. Episode 31!!!

What did you do this week?


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Listener Feedback:

Thanks for the Overland episode guys, my daughter and I loved every minute of it. You guys made some excellent points so I will adjust accordingly. The spare tire carrier seems to be a no brainer now.

What I have to start.

The Truck has a Bilstein 5100 2.5 lift and five Cooper 265/70-17 AT3 tires on it right now, The Taco is a 4X4 equipped with Limited slip Diff, TRD Running boards, TRD cab roof rack, TRD skid plates. I own an extensive selection of camping backpacking kit, so the food prep and sleeping supplies have been accounted for. My bud is driving a PRO-4X Xterra, we have no passengers but that might change.

Options I’m not sure of.

Should I go for an ARB Diff locker or for a lightweight option, like the Undercover HWMS?

As far as the camper top, should I get a hard shell or soft shell like Bestop?

Snorkel, pros & cons?

Should I do dual or a larger deep cycle battery?

Should I opt for a plate or ARB style front bumper instead?


Undercover Hidden Winch Mount Systems

ARB Rooftop Tent

All Pro Offroad.com Tacoma Bed Racks

What This Guy Put In The Back Of His Truck Made Me So Jealous. This Is Genius.

Expedition Portal

I am reading a leadership book and they are talking about Medtronic founder Earl Bakken. I recall you talking bout Family in MN and its coldness on an episode. I live in MN and know that Medtronic is a MN company. Are you guys related to Earl?

Hope your feeling better


Hey Guys

I’ve got a few thoughts on the overland episode. While I'm no expert, I do play one on internet forums. But seriously I've had a few occasions to speak to overlanders and it seems the theme is capable and reliable. Balanced mild builds seem to work the best. Inline with camping/backpacking mentality

The trd probably already has a rear electric locker so that's a plus so I'd leave the reliable drivetrain alone. I'd go simple budget boost just get a little more room, possibly go 1 size bigger on the tires. That way you could get a little more performance without regearing or overworking the brakes. Plus it would suck to get the kayaks off a truck on 40's. Next I'd get a winch, but I would get a receiver mount so I could move it front to rear as needed.

After that I would spend the money on upgraded battery, gps, topper and storage solutions for the bed. I'd also get some sort of lockable storage for the important stuff. Tuffy bed drawers would be perfect, a bed roll/sleeping bag could lay right on top with plenty of secure storage below. Like you guys said, a larger fuel tank would be nice along with arb tire plug kit and air source.

I'd also carry a big bore revolver. I know how much you love revolvers Greg but that's how roll. Great show as always!

Later, Matt

Main Topic: King of the Hammers

King of the Hammers History

Ultra 4 Racing.com LIVE

Transamerican Manufacturing Group Announces Acquisition of Poison Spyder Customs

Transamerican Manufacturing Group (TMG), the largest independent manufacturer in the United States of innovative and performance aftermarket off-road accessories, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Poison Spyder Customs (PSC). Poison Spyder has proven themselves in the industry and is continuing to gain momentum in the off-road community.

CEO of Transamerican Auto Parts, Greg Adler, is very excited about the new acquisition for TMG, and the potential it provides for the growth of the brand. “I really admire what Larry McRae has done in building a predominant brand so quickly. Poison Spyder is a great fit with our brands and our customer base. We look forward to developing the full potential of what McRae and his team has already worked so diligently upon.”


Well its been a hard secret to keep, with rumors flying for the past few weeks. But the press release came out today so its official: Poison Spyder has been bought by Transamerican, the parent company of 4 Wheel Parts. As we're gearing up for King Of the Hammers, we know this news will be competing with anything we're doing on the race course, so we wanted to let you, our fans, customers, friends and distributors know what's going on and address some of your concerns.

First of all, I (Larry McRae), am not going anywhere. I'm staying on as President of Poison Spyder, the only difference is that Greg Adler's signature will be on my paycheck instead of my own. The same with our staff, everyone is staying put, in fact we'll be adding more. The team that got Poison Spyder to where it is today is what Transamerican was after, and they intend to keep it intact. We'll continue to do our own product development, sales, marketing, and of course traveling the country to events to meet and wheel with you guys. And very importantly, our products will continue to be built in the same Poison Spyder facilities in Banning, California.

So what IS going to change? The biggest thing is we'll now have access to Transamerican's considerable resources to fuel our growth, keep the shelves full and expand our product lines. And through their distribution channels we'll be able to bring Poison Spyder products to a larger market. But for the most part, Poison Spyder will continue to function mostly autonomously. Those of you who like buying direct from Poison Spyder will still be able to do so.

Over the coming week we're going to have our hands full out here at King Of the Hammers, so its not the most convenient time for this news to break. But we welcome your thoughts on this. Please feel free to contact any of our staff through the usual channels, or comment below if you prefer. We'll try to keep up with responses even though we've got a race to run in a few days (against our new boss, among others smile emoticon

Larry McRae

President, Poison Spyder Customs

Trans American Wholesale.com

ABOUT TRANSAMERICAN AUTO PARTS: TMG is a subsidiary of parent company, Transamerican Auto Parts (TAP). For more than 50 years, TAP has been an industry leader in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of off-road parts for Jeeps and light trucks. TAP established and acquired industry leading brands, including Pro Comp, Smittybilt, Rubicon Express, G2 Axle & Gear, LRG Rims and Trail Master. The company supplements a robust mail-order system with 66 brick-and-mortar 4 Wheel Parts retail centers, staffed with experienced product and installation specialists. In addition to the retail initiative, TAP has accelerated its business with the e-commerce marketplace, led by its flagship Websites 4WheelParts.com and 4WD.com. TAP’s manufacturing system features a 100,000 square foot research and production facility that incorporates an in-house conceptualization, design, and implementation process. From the beginning, TAP has dedicated its resources to serving its customers, and to establishing itself as the premier supplier and distributor of high quality automotive parts.

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Trip Reports:  None...


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ORP 025 - All I want for Christmas

Welcome to the Off Road Podcast!!  I am your host Greg Bakken and in this podcast we’ll cover all things offroad.  Whether you're looking for Sunday jaunts on some fire roads or hard core rock crawling, we will cover it all. Episode 25!!!

Moved a Mopar Axle this weekend

Alaska Off Road Warriors premieres Wednesday, December 3 at 9

Alaska Off-Road Warriors Episodes

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Listener Feedback:

Send us your questions and comments!!!


Main Topic: All I want for Christmas

Budgeting?  How do we budget 4 wheeling?

Tow Strap

Snatch Block


First Aid Kit

Fire Extinguisher

Teraflex 2015 Catalog

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Trip Reports:  None...


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ORP 013 - Liberty, Tracker and Some Fire


Welcome to the Off Road Podcast!!  I am your host Greg Bakken and joining me is my co host Jeff Bakken...This is the podcast for all things offroad.  Whether you're looking for Sunday jaunts on some fire roads or hard core rock crawling, we will cover it all. Episode 13!!!

What's up Jeff?


Listener Feedback:

Hi Jeff & Greg,

Thanks for a great show!  I've been enjoying it big time, especially the episodes about winches and axles.  As I type this, I'm downloading the latest episode about Auto vs Manual and I can't wait to listen!  I always have had manual transmissions and haven't been persuaded by all the lectures I've had over the years on how autos are better off road.

I think it might be interesting to devote an episode to discussing welding on the trail.  In years past I wheeled a Land Rover and mounted a second alternator, that I liberated from and old Buick, under the Land Rover hood and turned that into a welder.  Now-a-days I carry a Cobra 2575 Watt inverter from Amazon.com and a 90 Amp wire feed welder from Harbor freight.  With these I can do some mad welding on the trail and the total cost was just over $200 (not including helmet and rods).

This past weekend I wheeled my '04 Jeep Liberty on The Rubicon from Loon Lake to Buck Island Lake on Friday afternoon, and back out to Loon on Saturday.  I was with a longtime friend of mine who drives a nice '07 Wrangler Rubicon LJ and he took a picture of me somewhere along the granite slab not too far past The Gatekeeper.  The pic is attached.

Please keep up the great work and I'll be listening,


Hey gentlemen,

I just listened to the most recent podcast and you said you now have facebook. I looked for it(the off road podcast) and I can't find it.

Also, you guys mentioned on an earlier podcast on-board welders.  I didn't know if you guys wanted to go into some depth about options like Ready Welder, modifying an alternator to weld, or straight off of batteries.

I'm also looking into an on-board air system for filling tires and maybe some light tool work.  Any thoughts on Viair, ARB, Warn Powerplant, etc?

Keep the great podcasts coming.


Smittybilt Air Compressors 2781

Here is the follow-up for my warrantee experience with Chrysler.

First to answer your questions during the podcast. I had done no other modifications to my truck other than the 6” Lift Kit and 35” tires. No Power chip or anything.

The warrantee was reviewed again by Chrysler (the factory powertrain department) and once again rejected on the basis of the lift kit.

I talked with the Service Manager on what the dealership would do to make this right for me and he referred me to the Dealership General Manager who decided that the dealership would replace the transmission for me at no cost to me.

At this point I had really lost faith in this truck and asked if he would work me a good deal to trade in my truck for another new one and he agreed to this, going so far as to not deduct anything off my trade in price for the transmission since he had agreed to replace it for me.

So they got me into a new truck at a price I am very happy with. I went ahead and went back to a Ram 2500 HD since I have had such good luck with them in the past.  I have had 4 2500’s prior to the 3500. I think I will wait a while before I consider a lift kit again just to be sure that all is well with this truck.

One thing that did upset me during all this is that fact that I had purchased an extended warrantee with the 3500 and when I asked the Service Manager if it would cover the transmission replacement he stated that it would not because the factory warrantee was still in effect, I later found out that it would have but since I have replaced the truck I will not pursue it further.

I hope this help you with any decisions you will make on changes to your vehicles, or at least prompts you to ask questions of the dealership before you decide what to do with them.  Most importantly get anything a dealer representative tells you in writing.

Keep up the great podcast and tread lightly out there.


Kingman, AZ

Instead of swapping my entire rear axle for a stronger one, will getting heavy duty axle shafts be enough strength to go up a couple wheel sizes? I have a Geo Tracker and Calmini offers some heavy duty axle shafts. It seems like a much cheaper alternative to an entire axle swap. I would like to run 32s or 33s.

2)Having said that, I still have IFS. Calmini does not offer heavy duty axles shafts for IFS. Would the IFS stand up to 32s or 33s, as is?

I'm a new listener and so far I love the podcast.




Hey guys love the show, find it very informative.  I'm hoping you can give me your opinion on some gearing ratios.  I have  82 Jeep CJ7 running on 32's with the stock AMC20/Dana30 w/ 2.73's.  As you can tell I need a gearing change.  The jeep is used mainly for hunting, no extreme wheeling, just logging/fire roads, some street use.  I am thinking 3.73's would do the trick or do you think I should go up to 4.10's.

If I decided to do a diff swap, what should I look for?  Can you recommend some donor vehicles.

Thanks in advance, looking forward to next show.

Tom C.

Shawnee Oklahoma


Send us your questions and comments!!!


Main Topic: King Fire

California’s gigantic King wildfire keeps growing amid warnings of ‘extreme fire behavior’

89,500 acres (or about 139 square miles)

7,300 firefighting personnel