4x4Wire JK Build: Gears, Lockers, and Lift

4x4Wire JK Beginning with the purchase of a 2010 JK Unlimited Sport just over two years ago, stage one of the 4x4Wire JK build is now complete.  Off the showroom floor, it did have a Dana 44 rear end; but, otherwise stock with air conditioning and a 3-piece hardtop.

The focus of this build will be to showcase products that increase off-road capability of the JK and stay within a budget.  While price is a consideration, quality is the primary focus.  Many of the upgrades considered do change the characteristics of the vehicle from the stock configuration.  All upgrades will focus on quality as that is a direct link to safety.

Original author: John

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Question: What is serpentine?

Question: What is serpentine?


A family of silicate minerals rich in magnesium and water, derived from low-temperature alteration or metamorphism of the minerals in ultramafic rocks (intrusive igneous rocks very rich in iron and magnesium and with much less silicon and aluminum than most crustal rocks, most come from the Earth's mantle). Serpentine minerals are light to dark green, commonly varied in hue, and greasy looking; the mineral feels slippery.

Rocks made up of serpentine minerals are called serpentinite.

The Origin of Serpentinite:
The origin of serpentinite is inferred to be a metamorphic alteration product of mantle rock or oceanic crustal rock.

Grades of Serpentinite:
Serpentinite is considered greenschist, a metamorphic facies associated with low temperature, low pressure conditions relative to other grades of metamorphic rocks. Higher pressure metamorphic grades of serpentinite contain glaucophane (a pale bluish-gray to black serpentine mineral that occurs in fibrous to felted aggregate masses). Higher temperature and pressure metamorphic grades contain garnets, pyroxene- and amphibole-minerals and are grouped into a metamorphic class called "eclogite".

California Coastal Ranges:
The typically green serpentinite that occurs in relative abundance throughout Franciscan rocks in the California Coastal Ranges consists dominantly of "antigorite" (a typically green mineral with a dull, earthy, or frothy texture, but has a soft, soapy feel on some fresh surfaces that may display a conchoidal fracture pattern), lizardite (white to pale gray-green with a platy or scaly texture, typically found on exposed surfaces of antigorite masses), chrysotile (white, pale green to bluish-green, fibrous to frothy-textured masses, commonly occurring in fractures on weathered surfaces), and accessory minerals including chlorite, talc, magnetite, magnesite, and other minerals.

Serpentinite Soil:
Landscape with serpentinite bedrock tends to have thin or absent soil cover. Serpentinite soil tends to have low levels in all major plant nutrients (particularly calcium), and tend to be rich in magnesium, chromium and nickel - elements that are probably toxic to many plants. Many plants that grow on serpentinite will grow on non-serpentinite soils, but they tend to be crowded out by other species, particularly non-native grasses. However, many non-native grasses and other plants tend not to grow well on serpentinite soil.

-- Excerpt from:
USGS/NPS Geology in the Parks Website, September 2001, and Stoffer and Messina, 2002, Field-Trip Guide to the Southeastern Foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Santa Clara County, California: USGS Open-File Report 02-121.


Source of this FAQ:

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The Desert Is Not Your Personal Sandbox

The Desert Is Not Your Personal Sandbox

You’ve heard the old saying many times: Haul it in and haul it out. That generally applies to trash, but more places now require that visitors carry out their human waste as well. In some, you don’t have any choice. In the Moab, UT area and on the Rubicon Trail, for example, the ground is so rocky that it’s impossible to dig even a small hole.

4-wheelers for the most part are good about cleaning up after themselves, but some still need guidance regarding the sensitive topic of going to the bathroom.

This isn’t the most pleasant topic to discuss in public, but it is necessary. Too many of our trails and camping areas have literally become open-air outhouses. What’s really annoying is all the toilet paper lying around because the user didn’t take the time to bury it or put it in a plastic bag for disposal.

Dealing with toilet time is challenging, no doubt about it. Some drivers have tried a portable toilet (often called a porta-potty). Those are fine if you’re on a flat, level surface or in an RV. In addition to their size, these units use liquids to treat the waste, making them impractical for 4-wheelers.

A better option is the PETT® toilet system. PETT uses a dry chemical, and provides plastic bags to catch and store the waste.

It’s a pretty nifty system. A small bag, which contains the chemical, is used during each trip to the toilet. That bag is sealed and dropped into a larger bag which is hung inside the toilet. At the end of your trip you simply dispose of all the bags in a trash receptacle. You can choose from 12-, 50- and 100-pack waste kits. All kits include toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

The PETT system is available at most camping-supply stores. For more information, check out the manufacturer’s Web site at www.thepett.com.

Other options include the “pickle bucket” or a large can used with kitty litter.

Start by pouring enough kitty litter into the container so it’s at least an inch deep. After going to the toilet, cover all waste with at least a half-inch of kitty litter. Leave at least an inch of room at the top so you can apply a final layer of kitty litter.

Regardless of the container you use, make sure it has a tight-fitting lid. You don’t want the contents spilling out while you’re bouncing around the trails. Also, consider purchasing some pet deodorizer to apply after each trip to the toilet. A regular-size bottle or box should be sufficient for your needs. Check your favorite pet store or general merchandise store for options.

Of course, you’ll need something to sit on, so pick up a toilet seat designed for outdoors use at any camping-supply store. They’re relatively inexpensive and last a long time.

Whether you use the PETT system or some other method, make a point to properly take care of your human waste. Doing so will show others that we truly do care about protecting the environment.


This is a good time to mention the Rubicon Trail adventure, Aug. 12 – 16. Considered the Grand Daddy of all trails, the ‘Con’ will test your skills and willpower, but will provide you a lifetime of memories and bragging rights. Due to the rocky terrain, you must carry out human waste, so make sure you have the proper receptacle or equipment. Click here for all details and to register for this exciting adventure.

I hope to see you on the trails!


Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.
Make it Fun. Make it Safe.

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10 Safety Rules For Off-Road Driving

10 Safety Rules For Off-Road Driving

Four-wheeling is one of the more exciting hobbies you can experience. Going off road opens your eyes to places you would not otherwise see. It also challenges you, as the terrain is far different from what you are accustomed to driving on. And you can find yourself in a remote and very hostile environment in just a few hours.

Follow these very important rules for a safer and more enjoyable ride.

Read more: 10 Safety Rules For Off-Road Driving

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Campfire Safety

Campfire Safety

It is coming down to the Dog Days of Summer and it has been a long dry summer with many outdoor opportunities restricted due to sever fire danger.

Even though many public lands are under fire restrictions, campfire safety is still of concern all year. Everyone should follow fire safety precautions when visiting public lands to help to keep our public lands free from fires.

If you have a campfire, please abide by the following rules:

* Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass, pine needles and leaves.
* Build your fire in an approved ring or build a ring of stones around your fire site.
* Pile extra wood away from the fire.
* Clear the area down to bare soil.
* Keep your campfire safe and small, especially in windy conditions.
* Never leave your campfire unattended.
* Drown the fire with water and dirt, stir remains, add more water and dirt, and stir again.
* Do not bury your coals as they can smolder and re-ignite later.
* Make sure your fire is dead out before leaving.

If you must have a fire, consider a metal container such as an old washing machine tub that is at least six inches above the ground. A metal fire container helps confine the hot coals to reduce the risk of the fire spreading.

Now, sit back, relax and enjoy the fire. Just remember to keep it contained and make sure it is out when you leave.
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