Betsy's New Metal

Since #AlternatorGeddon was resolved, lots of you have been rightfully pointing out the fact that I haven't left (again) yet (again).

There is a reason for that, however.


Traction & Recovery


I've been following the blogs of many other Latin American roadtrippers and I've come to accept that I won't be able to avoid the really nasty roads this time of year.  My odds of getting stuck in the mud, as-is, are higher than I'd like.

I decided I really need some rock sliders, so I picked up a kit after talking to the folks over at Inchworm Gear.  I got some extra parts as well to build some corner guards.

Since I have an open front and a factory LSD rear diff I'm at risk of getting stuck if one wheel loses all traction in the mud.  Enter the Spartan auto-locker.

If my LSD clutches are worn out, I may put one in the rear too.  That would be beastly on dry pavement and squirrelly on ice but fantastic on dirt and sand and mud.  It's strong enough since I'm not a wheeler.  Valley Hybrids in Stockton will do the install.

Realistically I'll probably rely on other vehicles for recovery if I get stuck on a muddy road somewhere.  I'd like to be a bit more self-sufficient than that, however.  My hi-lift & chains are not going to cut it.

I'm going to put an entry-level Warn winch in the front along with some recovery points (the stock hook is missing).  Amazon will deliver a Warn VR series electric winch for free if I can't find one in one of the local shops.  The local wheeling community has been incredibly helpful so I'm happy to shop local as much as possible.

Fixing Previous Screwups


With the added weight of two additional jerry cans and the bigger mud terrain spare, my bumper is stressing out - literally.  The corner where the spindle mounts is weakly supported and flexing as I drive.  The Franken-bumper is about to be converted to dual-swingouts.  The corners will also be tied to the frame via the corner guards.  The parts for this will come from Bill's scrap pile and Luke's shop, 4x4 Labs, where I just saw him setting up his cool new plasma table.

I wish I had one of his bumpers but there is a long wait (and a justifiably hefty price tag).

I've also given up on TruckPuter.  I wish I had transplanted the OpenFi system from the Miata into Betsy.  That was 100GB of bliss, controlled by a physical jog wheel.  I naively assumed that a better solution had arisen in the last few years.  Laptop, custom x86 mini-itx PC, Android tablet - they all suck.  I've decided to just use my stockpile of old Palm Pre's as MP3 players and just plug them into the head unit.

Maintenance


Finally, I'm going to replace the clutch (probably - it has 100k on it) and fix the leaking rear main seal at the same time.

Many thanks to George @ Valley Hybrids, Bill with the cool G wagon, Josh @ Inchworm and Luke @ 4x4 Labs for helping me pull this all together.

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