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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I decided that I wanted to fully document my journey to the Solaros Southern Appalachian Expedition. The event is not until Friday, September 13, but I wanted to document my preparations for the event, as well as the trip there. The event itself as well as the trip home and my thoughts on the entire thing will also be documented here in this very thread.

The event thread can be viewed here:

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/95229-Solaros-Southern-Appalachian-Expedition-SAE-2013-Sept-13-15

I will try to give the annotated version here though.

Solaros is the Southern Land Rover Society, based out of Georgia. Anyone with any vehicle can join, and paid registration to SAE gets you a free membership to Solaros for a year.

Enough rambling about the club. The event is the Southern Appalachian Expedition. Expedition rig owners from all over will get the opportunity to show off and look at others rigs at this event. Anyone that wants can participate in the offroading at many different skill levels, from throwing gravel to dragging skid plates. The event also will have a silent auction to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Lots of sweet stuff has been donated so far, and I'm sure that I don't even know half of it.

So where is an event like this held? None other than Coal Creek OHV this year. This park has 72000 acres and over 200 miles of trails. I try to get up there 3-4 times per year at least, so I know what the park has to offer. The attendees are in for a treat.

Why did I choose to go to this event over others? A few years ago, I found myself and my X progressing at a slightly quicker rate than the group I originally started wheeling with. That, coupled with some differing opinions, led me to find a new group. Tamara (BigMeanTam on here) and her husband Charles were the perfect group. She has an X, he has an FJ. I drive an X, and my dad drives an FJ. We started going in groups, and it grew to include a few Land Rover guys. Tam and Charles help with Solaros, and they asked me to help lead at SAE, so I figured I would give it a shot.

So now for some details. I registered my truck the other week for the event. I was registration number 69. This will most likely be the biggest event that I have ever been to. Registration is still open up until the day of the event, so one can only imagine that number can still grow. I started my preparations today, do that is where the pictures will start.

7 Day Out Update:

I installed my BTF rear differential cover today. This fully completed the armoring of the underside of my truck. I am now as protected as I can be. It is amazing how thin the stock cover is. On the top of the differential housing you can see the air hose running to the ARB Air Locker that was installed earlier this year. I went ahead and cleaned up the underside after this picture was taken while the spare tire was out from underneath.



Stick around for more updates! Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited by Moderator)
6 Day Out Update:

This morning was all about cosmetic stuff as none of my shipments have come in yet. I figured since I am going to be out there with a bunch of Land Rovers and Mercedes, I better make sure I have something that looks good to take a picture of. I repaired my grill and bumper center trim first.

I went from this:



To this:



I like the back of the grill, but I think I may go back to the charcoal. Ill give it a few days to grow on me. I sanded the grill down and then put band aids over my raptor light mod.




The next thing I did was wash the truck. I got some before pictures but I forgot the after pictures.

I also put in an order at Advance Auto Parts. For anyone that is unaware, the online coupon codes there are amazing. I saved almost $21 on my order today. I needed a new air filter, so I'm trying out a K&N. I also needed washer fluid and a new rear windshield wiper (16-B fits for those that are interested. I grabbed some power steering fluid to change out this week too.

Late night update:

As I was filling up my windshield washer reservoir with fluid today, I noticed that I had developed a leak in the tank. After searching online, it appeared as though the neck may have just been leaking on it. However, after allowing it to leak in the driveway for a few hours, I knew that was not the case. It had leaked out quite a bit.

As we all know, leaking anything at all off road is completely unacceptable. You may or may not believe that it impacts the environment, but it has been proven to shut down wheeling areas. For this reason, we should all inspect our trucks regularly to make sure that they are in the best shape before going off road. There is no reason to leak anything anywhere for any reason at all. If the fix cannot be afforded then the trip cannot be afforded.

That being said, tomorrow I will take on the leaking tank and fix it. I have already read a how-to on the forum, so tomorrow morning after church I will run by Lowes and grab some plastic epoxy and come home and fix the leak. Other than that, the post-wash inspection of the truck looks good and it appears to be ready for the trip. I will try to document tomorrow's endeavors a little bit more with pictures.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited by Moderator)
5 Day Out Update:

So, crazy morning. I decided that I would fix my leaking washer fluid tank (discovered yesterday) this morning after I went to church. After failing to hear my alarm this morning, I missed church and went straight for fixing the leaking tank (as seen below).


Being that the tank was over $100 from Courtesy Parts, and I needed the tank in by Wednesday night, I decided on using some epoxy to fix the failure point. I ran to Walmart (I absolutely hate Walmart, but Lowes wasn't open yet) to get some epoxy and more washer fluid, and grabbed breakfast while I was out. When I got back to the house, I began the process of removing the washer tank by using this How To from usmc xterra.

http://www.thenewx.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1348

Once the tank was out, I filled it with water to determine where it was leaking at. It was on the very bottom, next to the low fluid sensor (as pictured below).



I cleaned off the flashing that was left over by whatever molding machine the reservoir was made in, and went about applying epoxy down the entire side and around the corner where the seam is located.



It looks like water, but it is good solid stuff once it dries (about 20 minutes).

I then tested it before I put it in. I also had heard that the O-ring on the fill neck tends to leak too. Mine had no washer on it, so I put some gasket maker on there and placed it in the tank hole.

After that, I decided that my grill was not what I was wanting, so I sanded it a little smoother and repainted with metallic charcoal. This was followed by the removal of the center bumper trim and left me with the following look, which I like much better. I also went ahead and cleared up both headlights while I had the grill off.

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited by Moderator)
4 Day Out Update:

I didn't get a lot of work done today, but I did have a few items that showed up in the mail from Amazon that I thought were definitely worth mentioning.

My dad decided that he would surprise me by shipping me a Coleman Steel Belted Cooler from Amazon. For those that are unaware, these aren't quite a Pelican or a Yeti, but they do pretty good for their price. I have wanted one for a while now. I cannot wait to try it out on the trails this weekend.



I also got (from Amazon as well) my Maglite mounts as well as a QuickFist for my fire extinguisher that should be coming in Wednesday. It's a Land Rover event, I figured there is no way that you can ever have enough fire extinguishers. I almost caught my last Jeep on fire during an off road excursion as well, so the fire extinguisher is a good insurance plan.




I'm going to try to mount everything tomorrow. If anyone has a better cargo management system than bungee cords please let me know. I am currently looking for improvements on my previous design.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited by Moderator)
3 Day Out Update:

So, obviously this update is a day late. I got super busy working on everything yesterday. Here is what I got done.

I got both Maglites mounted. I had to take off both door panels and I two #10 screws, washers, and nylon lock nuts to hold them onto the panels.




I also got the wiring run and button installed for my rear lights. The button has 3 positions where the bottom position has the lights come on with reverse, the middle position is off, and the bottom position is on all of the time.




The final thing that I did was mount my fire extinguisher. It is a BC fire extinguisher that I got from a local industrial safety store in town. I decided on the BC because it is safer for electrical equipment than a normal ABC fire extinguisher. I mounted it using a QuickFist and #10 screws with washers and nylon lock nuts on the other side of the panel.



That was what I managed to get accomplished for yesterday. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited by Moderator)
2 Day Out Update:

So today I finished wiring up my rear lights. They are the Totron 2x2 square lights. I bought the flood combo so that I could use them as backup lights. Turns out they work pretty well.




I also went grocery shopping for lunch foods for our group. While I was at the grocery store, I picked up $250 in Shell Gas Cards so that I get $1.00/gal in gas savings the next time that I fill up (tomorrow). I have school tomorrow. I have devoted my time during the day to making sure that I have a route planned out. We will leave for East Tennessee when I get out of class at 6 tomorrow night. Thanks!
 

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I won't be as big into the expo part as others are as I just haven't had the funding to get the stuff that I want, but I will make sure to at least make it interesting and get some pictures of sweet expo rigs. How's that sound? Lol

This is agreeable to me. LOL. :rockin:
 
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