Chapters from my memoirs….
For the people who never encountered the winter of Chicago. Stand in your freezer and you know how it feels like. Around the same time last year, I was talking with a good friend of mine about being cold all the time. After a bit of reading online, I found these Zippo hand warmers. $21 buck a little on the steep side and I passed on it. This winter, I found the same one for $12 and free shipping on eBay. However, as you can see, I am not going to post the link to the selling on eBay because of the lack of service they provided. Back to business. Zippo Hand Warmer Everyone knows the little reusable hand warmers which will solidify because of a chemical reaction. I tried those before and while they work great indoors or when the temperature is around 30F (0C). Anything lower, forget about it. Or the Grabber one time use hand warmer, useless from the beginning. The Zippo hand warmer comes with a little felt back which is used to protect you from the heat. Note to self: Start the darn thing at least an hour in advance to get it warm by […]
Shame on me. I have been so busy lately with getting myself back into shape that I lost track on keeping my site up to date. About two weeks ago (December 18th) I decided to dedicate everyday 20 minutes of my time to what ever exercise to get myself back into shape before summer starts. I have to admit, as a person that feels like a Duracell bunny, it feels good to get some of that extra energy out. And my body feels a lot happier getting rid of what ever it is that makes me feel so blah! Enough of that, I don’t want my site to turn into one of those “self proclaimed” health guru’s or life coach things. Happy New Year! Even though it is January 5th I will still say it. Happy New year to any of my readers and random people who might end up at my blog. So, Maurice do you have any new years resolutions? Actually I do! First let me promote my new side business called Dutch-Stoves. Dutch-Stoves are rocket stoves that I build and provide great heat for cooking on a wood stove. The stove is portable enough to bring with […]
While living in the Netherlands, I grew up with temperatures barely below freezing. But when it ended up freezing it was ice skating time on the rivers and canals near by! Every one always was hoping for a white Christmas and if it was white, it disappeared within a day. Forget about the one day snow And say hello to endless shoveling and freeze your butt off! Winter has been kicking in hard this year and many seems a bit confused about the polar cold that is lingering in Chicago land already. We have had days where it felt like -20 Celsius but with the wind chill. Well, you want to stay in or if you had to go outside, cover up head to toes! Today I ended up cleaning the roof of my makeshift car port. It was a good 12″ or about 30cm of snow since the first snowfall. The funny part, I was considering to sell my snow thrower I got for a bargain deal! Glad I re-thought about that part. I like being lazy that way, plus shoveling can cause to death! Not kidding you! Don’t get me wrong The snow is beautiful in scenery, but […]
And it was very painful. Last Friday, while I was working on one of my stoves for sale, I sliced my hand open. The story goes that I was cutting steel for a grill top I am working on. When I took my super thick glove off to reach for my Sharpie and mark a spot on the just cut piece of steel, I decided to keep my hand as close as possible to the just cut piece in my bench vise. And so the piece under my thumb got sliced like a piece of Chicken breast. Shock is horrible when wearing insulated coveralls So, you body goes into shock, starting to sweat like crazy and I felt like being in an oven. Wrestling a coverall off while trying to keep your hand from bleeding more isn’t much fun either. After a couple of minutes of wrestling I got the coverall off and decided to lay down for a bit to cool off. Should I put a band-aid on it or is it bad enough that I should see a doctor instead. The best part of all was that it happened on a Friday afternoon during rush hour. Finally got […]
It has been quiet on my side for a while. No worries, I am still around! Just a little busy. It all started when I was looking for a way to generate some extra income to fund my Jeep. One thing lead to another things and I lost track on my amazing DutchMud website. Awesome Stoves Say what now. Yes, I started to make rocket stoves. Rocket stoves are very high burning stoves and sound like a rocket if burning well. Compared to a regular camp fire, you will have almost no smoke at all! Who wants to test one out during their trip throughout the United States of America? You have to bring it back to me again though! So, rocket stoves. Yes, I make them in two different sizes (can make them bigger to order). One that stands about 2ft tall and one about 12 inches tall. The smaller stove is great for camping trips and such. The big one is a great addition to you back yard if you want to cook over fire again! I am in the process of building many different models and all will be a little bit different from the other. But […]
Off Road driving – the art of getting dirty and going broke while slowly heading nowhere and taking all day to do it.
I finally found motivation again to start working on the Jeep. Winter hasn’t been too bad yet, but cold enough that I don’t want to get to the garage and grab hold of my very cold tools. This weeks theme was fixing the skid plate frame mounting points! Lets cut that rust out Ahhh, The grinding noise of my angle grinder cutting through steel. The smell of rust dust in the air. I was amazed how good the frame looks from the inside. The previous owner had drilled holes through the top of the frame to bolt the skid plate to the Jeep. To get the piece out I just tapped with a hammer to see how far the rust went. From there I used a piece of masking tape to mark the spot where I could start cutting the frame. Time to get the angle grinder ready. A little while ago I bought this new blade from HomeDepot which supposed to be better than any “normal” cutting disc. It is a diamond blade, made to cut steel. Maybe straight cuts but for this job I still enjoyed the traditional cutting disc. Oh, don’t be a complete cheapo and get […]
Ah it has been a while ago since I have written about this pile of rust. Now my rant will discuss the annoying rusted grade 8 bolts and rusted out tub mounts. Again, I didn’t know much about Jeeps when I bought it And had no idea that the tub bushings were worn out. Now the fun, I thought I could take my socket wrench and unbolt them. WRONG! As with anything else on this Jeep, they were locked in place with rust. I went online looking for a cure since torching it with MAPP gas didn’t do much. I came around the rescue bits. They might cut through everything but mine snapped within the first two minutes of use by following the directions that were included in the little plastic housing. My advice save your money and use your angle grinder tool and get creative. Now I have a hole in my floor right behind the seats Yup, I did it, I cut the bolts out with my angle grinder. There was just no other way and I was getting really annoyed trying finding a way getting those darn bolts out. So now what…… The little bumps you find […]
It is a hunk of rust. I fix one place and I find more somewhere else. This past weekend I decided to fix a spot that I never hoped to fix. The rear shackle mounts on driver and passenger side. About two months ago I decided to remove the old rusted rear cross member because I had to replace the tub bushings. But like anything else on this thing, there was rust located at the bushing points. Better said, the bushing locations are rusting out. So I took a hammer and wack the frame as hard as possible just to discover more rust around the rear. How to cut those off? That was one of the main questions I kept asking myself. Moments went by and I found the solution of how to support the Jeep while working on this issue. My neighbor took his home made gazebo down and donated some 8 x 8 beams to me. They have been sitting around for a while but they make great Jeep jack stands! Since I had the skit plate already removed, I jacked up the Jeep and put a piece of 8 x 8 as close as possible to the […]
The Xterra, a car I really enjoy driving around but the limitations of the roof rack suck at times. While taking this thing more and more to the off-road park, I wanted to find a solution to fit my jerry cans on the roof without setting the cans straight on top of the roof. And [...]
It has been quiet for a while from my side and especially regarding working on the Jeep. I finally got around to start working on my grill. What happened to it? To blast or not to blast When I bought the Jeep I thought it was a good idea to slap some truck bed liner [...]
Choices, choices and many more! And this was one of them. After debating for a long time what to do with the Jeep and the Dana 35C I found too many posts online bashing the 35 rear axle. Well, in a way that you shouldn’t go larger than 31″ tires. According to many, the Dana 35C is one of the weakest rear axles to have. Man, and I just got myself last year a donor axle with 4.10 gears in it. Who wants to buy it!? So I made a trip to the junk yard. The hunt began Getting a 8.8 rear axle is slight overwhelming. Man, look on Craigslist and people offer them for $500 and up. I am on a budget here man! After some time of research I found some good information. Ford Explorers Search for any Ford Explorer between 1995 and 2001. These should have the 8.8 rear axle. Some do come with drum brakes instead of the the rotors. Here is a list that I found online during my hunt for information. Code Description Capacity Ratio 43 Open 3200 3.08 41 Open 3200 3.27 42 Open 3200 4.10 46 Open 3200 3.73 45 Open […]
When I bought the Jeep the center console was some old weird piece of junk that it was one of the first things to get torn out of the Jeep. I went online and found some cool pictures of the ammo can arm rest. It was completed but the one thing I noticed is that it gets HOT when the sun is on it. I came up with the idea to put a little cushioning on it. Best idea ever! At rear side of the can, I tag welded the handle so you can not take the whole lid off anymore. All I need to figure out is a way to be able to lock this thing.
A while ago I started to take my Dana 35 and Dana 30 apart. For the Dana 30 I did the split axle to solid axle conversion. I decided that I wanted to put tube seals on the axles. I bought a set from eBay slightly used, but in good condition. According to the seller he only tried to install them and never had them actually running with axles. The dirt you are seeing if from me trying to install it in my very rusty Dana 30 axle. After reading a lot online on some 4×4 messages boards I decided to try my own axle inner tube cleaning strategy. Items needed: A drill and a 2″ hole drill bit. Put it together and drill yourself a clean inner axle tube. There are some extension bits that you can buy which probably allows you to go even further down the axle tube. After about ten minutes or so I was finally able to install the axle seals without any force.
When I got my Jeep it had 3.07 gears in a Dana 35 and Dana 30. Like I said I had no idea what all this stuff meant. While driving around in my Jeep I noticed vibration and the high RPM I need to get going with 31″ tires. The seller told me that she had put the largest tires on the Jeep that she could without any modification. I guess this had to be a sign for me to step away and look into something more drive-able. After the idea that I wanted to part out the Jeep because I became so sick of it, I did a last final search on the web for replacement axles. Re gearing my current axles would have cost me $1200 if not more. I found a guy locally who is selling parts on Craigslist but I soon found that he is in for the big money and sells parts for a premium. Back to the web and I found a guy in Michigan who had a DANA 35 and 30 with 4.10 gears for $200 and wheels. Back home from the drive I decided to take them apart for cleaning and maintenance. […]
Don’t get me wrong, I really love driving my Xterra on the road and Off-Road. But the main downside of having one of these SUV vehicles going Off-Road, it has no real recovery points besides the front stock cast iron hook. There are stories online on message boards that people broke the front hook while pulling some one (or getting pulled them self) from the mud. With this in mind and not having the cash laying around for a heavy duty Off-Road rear bumper, I started to look at my Jeep. So I ended up buying two towing hooks (Jeep style) and mounting these to the rear frame nicely tucked away by the rear bumper. Item needed: Four grade 8 bolts (they are goldish looking) 5/16 Two Jeep recovery hooks (got mine at harbor freight about $7 a piece) A drill bit 5/16 in size Locking washers A tap Hammer A punching tool Time to get our hand dirty Take the hooks and measure where the holes should be. I put my hooks as close as I could towards the bumper at the underside of the frame. Use the hammer and punch to mark where to drill. When done for […]