The Mighty Merc – Front Locker Woes

Bit of a chicken or the egg situation I had going on with my front Spartan Locker. I’m not entirely sure what failed first, but, lots of stuff broke… kind of.

This issue was a bit of a pain to track down an started on our last CO nearly a year ago, and was slowly getting worse. Everything would check fine when it was cold, but after being on the trail for a bit, the front locker would start acting more like a spool, and when it did unlock, it was very violently. Even with just the hubs locked in, running around in 2wd, the front would do all kinds of nasty things. Continue reading The Mighty Merc – Front Locker Woes

The Mighty Merc – Rear Quater Glass Replacment

So after a quick run out to Moonlight in early December to help a friend out with a shakedown run in his new rig, I managed to do what I hoped I wouldn’t do:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Last trail of the day heading back to the parking lot, I clipped a tree with my drivers side front wheel on a slightly off-camber sport which tipped me into a tree that I was trying to avoid. Derp!

So after knocking the glass out, and moving the boy’s car seat away from the now blown out window we headed home where I taped up the window until I had time to mess with it:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

After a couple of weeks of looking at this:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

The tinted Plexiglas I ordered showed up and I got to work fixing the hole in the back a bit better than the duct tape and cardboard job I did earlier in the month. I had planned on popping out the other window and doing that in plexi as well, but the thing did not want to come out at all. And since I am working in a rented, cold, dark garage, I did not want to have it blow out and try to clean up that mess in there.

On the plus side of the garage being cold, the adhesive used to hold the window in came off the body easily. Step one in this process was to remove pretty much all the trim in the rear:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Make up a template:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Transfer it onto the plexi:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Drill your holes and glue it in (Bolted in with some Stainless ¼” bolts). I used the 3M 08693 windshield adhesive as recommended:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Slap the interior back together and peel the backing off to call the job done. The tint actually matches the factory tint perfectly (80% Grey):

Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Sometime in the warmer future, I plan on painting the bolt heads black to blend in a bit better.

Why use plexi instead of Lexan? Well that’s because I found tinted Plexiglas quickly and, of course, as soon as I made the purchase of it I managed to find tinted Lexan for less :homer: So this will be a bit of an experiment, and I am betting that I wind up with Lexan later on. The acrylic, while more flexible than glass, was much more brittle that I was expecting it to be. But, I was also working with it in an unheated 15°F garage, so that could have been the reason for the brittleness.

For now, it is leaking less than the protrusions for my rear hatch hinges, so that works for me!

Edit 7-31-18:  Don’t use Plexiglas.  It isn’t holding up well over time an is doing odd stuff when it gets some heat on it.  I’ll either swap it out with some Lexan in the future or find another replacement window.  For now it is at least keeping most of the water out of the rear though so that does count for something!

The Mighty Merc – 4th ORT – SMORR on 10/14/17

After the successful CO trip under our belts, it was time to start beating on this thing a bit. So on lucky Friday the 13th, I loaded up solo to meet some friends down at SMORR in Seymour Mo. Burned out of St. Louis on the back roads:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

And pulled into SMORR with just enough time to slap the tent up before nightfall:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

As daylight broke the next morning, I was amazed to see how full the campground was. There was a customer appreciation day going on with Sam’s Off Road shop out of Tulsa OK and they drew a heck of a crowd:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

We loaded up everyone (Including the camp dog) and rolled out for some fun:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Still a lot of green in the trees down there right now:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Just getting our feet wet as we worked our way over to Wagoneer Hill:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

I wound up leading the group which meant that I got to work my way to the top of waggoneer hill first. All was going fine until the last ledged which wound up kicking me over into a tree. I managed to save the rear glass, but the drivers side mirror bit the dust. This was a bummer as you really can’t see out of this thing, and now without a mirror that meant even larger blind spots to work with:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Unfortunately, the Bronco lost a center pin in the rear leaf, which caused the rear end to shift enough to cause the rear DS (and yoke) to die. So we snuck him out the rest of the way on Rocky Road as he followed the MJ:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Side note, maiden voyage on the MJ, the thing worked good!
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

After tying up the rear DS on the bronco:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

We wandered our way back to camp for lunch:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

After lunch, played around on Flex N stuff as well as V notch:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Working our way to the other side of Rocky Road:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Unfortunately, there is where the MJ had its first little issue:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Thankfully, he had a spare. So while he swapped it out, we ran up and down the trail a few more times for fun 
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

The trail dog is still happy to be along:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

After getting him going again and dropping the MJ off, we ran around a few other areas of the park. I managed to bend down my passenger side rocker really good when I caught in in a nook and used the Merc’s weight as a leverage. I did managed to bend it back mostly flat, however, the frame is a bit tweaked on that side now:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Others played around on the entrance to the rattler, but it denied us that day. I spared the Merc the damage as it would have ate the rear doors since it kicks you into the wall as you climb:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

Not many pictures after that. We played around on Double Whammy for a bit (we actually all made it up), and Larry’s hill (that’s changed a lot!). While we all made it up the hill, there was a bit of a recovery effort on the old YJ as he first lost a hub, then the rear drive shaft.

Saturday night was full of lies around the campfire and good times! I should have just slept in the Merc though as about 2:30 in the morning, the cold rain came in and proved to me once again that my tent is not weather proof. So after 6 years of use, I didn’t feel bad wadding the thing up and chucking into the dumpster on my way out of the park:
Sara L.: 4th ORT 10-14-17 SMORR &emdash;

As far as the damage report goes, the Merc needs a mirror, and I need to bend my transmission cross member back down (it frowns now making the T-case hit the body). Otherwise it came out pretty happy.  For better or worse, it’s just like wheeling my old Ranger.   Which is to say, it’s big, heavy, clumsy, and I can’t see boo out of it!

Link to all the photos I gathered (Click Me!)

I do have some videos from the day, but since we are in the process of selling our house (It’s under contract) and building a new house, I’m not sure how soon I’ll get around to looking at them.