Product Install: J.W. Speaker LED Fog Lights for JK

UPDATE: March 05, 2014:  Received this email from Northridge: “I talked to JW Speaker on the lights and they say that is well within the acceptable limits of moisture inside the light. As soon as the weather levels out and warms up a little you should see that dissipate. Keep an eye on it and let me know if it gets worse but at this point there is nothing to worry about.”

UPDATE: February 26, 2014:  I recently noticed condensation inside my fog lights. I will be contacting JW Speaker to learn about the cause and a resolution and will update this blog post.

NOTE: This install is specifically for installation of the J.W. Speaker LED fog lights into the Warn Elite Stubby front bumper.

Santa arrived a little late this year, but he brought me a beautiful set of J.W. Speaker LED fog lights (model 6145).  My Trucklite headlights put out a crisp LED light, but the OEM fogs were not cutting it and had to go.

Install Notes:

You may want to just remove the entire bumper to make this easier.  I was working by myself and, being lazy did not want to remove the winch.  That being said, I also did not want to remove and reattach a bumper AND winch on my own.  These notes do not cover bumper removal, just adjustments so the install can happen on an installed bumper.

I am also really surprised that such a premium product comes with ZERO instructions.  If these were truly plug and play, I could understand.  However, I had to drill, cut, splice, etc.  Very surprising.

1.  Lay out all parts and ensure you have everything needed.  The following tools will also come in real handy:

  • Work light
  • Magnetic tool retriever
  • Vise grips
  • Drill (w/ 1/4″ bit)
  • Wrenches and sockets (w/extensions)
  • Electrical tape
  • Zip Ties (large)
  • Butt connectors (optional) but recommended)
  • Heat shrink tubing  (optional)
  • Heat gun (optional)
  • Beer (this is a surprisingly frustrating install)

2. Remove the two wire adapters from the back of the OEM lights.

3. Remove the 8 (4 per side) bolts fastening the bumper to the frame end.

4. Remove the driver side frame tie in bolt and flag nut (requires a 24mm socket).

5. Prop the bumper for safety using jack stands.

6. Pull the driver side bumper end away from the frame as far as it will go.  Do not force it.  Only the passenger side frame tie in is holding the bumper.

7.  Remove the single nut holding the driver side light bracket to the bumper.

8. Once removed, the bracket assembly should look like this:

9.  Using a socket and wrench, remove the OEM light from the bracket.

10.  Install the J.W. Speaker light into the bracket using the two top holes in the bracket.  Ensure the script in the lens is oriented correctly.  Note the bottom holes will not accept the Warn bolts.

11.  Drill out the bottom two holes in the J.W. Speaker light bracket (plastic) using a 1/4″ bit.

12. Continue to install using the two remaining bolts/nuts in the bottom two positions on the bracket.  Completed assembly should look like the below:

13.  Install the bracket into the bumper location and hand tighten the bolt.  This is a fitment test.

14.  Tighten the bolt with a wrench and socket.  Note: Lay a socket at the base of the bracket to prevent the bracket from pivoting forward when tightening.

15. Perform steps 7-14 on the passenger side.

16.  Peel back factory wire loom and tape from the OEM light adapter. Cut the two wires about 2″ from the adapter.  Remove insulation for a clean install.

17.  Cut an appropriate length of heat shrink tubing and place above the butt connector.  Using the butt connector, connect the black wire from the Jeep’s harness to the JW Speaker harness.  Do the same for the red and white/yellow (may change).

Ensure the shrink tubing is above the splice before crimping.

18. Perform a light test.

19.  Prepare the wiring for heat.

20. Apply heat evenly to properly adhere the shrink tubing.

21. While the driver side is cooling, perform steps 16 – 20 on the passenger side.

22.  Reusing OEM wiring loom, enforce the connections with electrical tape and loom as desired.  Do same for passenger side.

23.  Tuck the wiring inside the frame crossmember and zip tie in place to reduce movement and the chance of catching on material on the trail.

24. Perform a final test.

Am I Really an Earth Raper?

I have been called many things in my life. But “Earth Raper” really takes the cake.

I was waiting at a light one beautiful Summer day in NW Portland.  The Jeep had no doors or top on.  A “hipstery” guy crossed the street in front of me, staring condescendingly.  He then shouted at me, calling me an Earth Raper.

It stands as one of my favorite titles ever.

So I always wanted to dive into the question of how my vegan diet offsets the CO2 emissions of my “earth-raping” Jeep.

Michael Pollan addressed this issue a long time ago, tracing the carbon footprint from the oil needed to create fertilizer to grow grain for cattle, all the way to the trucks backing up to the grocery, delivering the meat for purchase.

He also compared the average Prius to a Hummer, to determine if a vegan in the Hummer could equal a meat eater in the Prius.  I would never drive a Hummer, so let’s sub that for a Jeep Wrangler.

Taking a look at the website, I was able to determine that the 2013 Jeep Wrangler emits 6.9 metric tons of CO2 per year on average.    I then pulled equal stats for a Prius of the same year – 2.7 metric tons.

Side by side comparisons.

I then checked out to see the different emissions for different diets.   I found a “meat lover” was responsible for 3.3 tons of CO2, while a vegan owned 1.5 tons.


Next step was to assemble all this data into a simple table showing all the possible outcomes:

So based on the above data, a meat lover in a Prius is still slightly better than a vegan in a Jeep.  But, a meat lover in a Jeep is still much worse than a vegan. I am still removing 2.8 metric tons of CO2 each year, with a vegan diet.  However, this leaves me with an overhead of 2.4 tons per year.

This doesn’t sit well with me, so I need to dig a little deeper.

According to an in-depth study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, hybrid cars do, in fact, require more energy to produce than conventional cars, emitting more greenhouse gases and burning more fossil fuels during the manufacturing process.

This report is unbelievably detailed (take a look if you want to check it out).  But in the end, I found some interesting statistics:

  • Conventional vehicles contain 56% – 65% steel, while lightweight hybrids contain 21%-31%.  This means more plastics (aka petroleum products) are used.
  • Hybrids contain many more metals in their fabrication of the batteries, where conventional vehicles contain mostly steel, aluminum and copper:

In conclusion, the report summarizes that there are, in fact, more emissions in the manufacturing of hybrids and Fuel Cell Vehicles than conventional (ICEVs – Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle) vehicles.

Unfortunately, the report stops there and does not provide actual estimations of the CO2 impacts.

I am content knowing this:  I recycle.  I am vegan.  I drive a GAS HOG and I love it.  While I may still be emitting more than I am saving, at least my diet offsets some of my impact.

But for now, I am going to keep the “Earth Raper” name.

And I am okay with that.

Restaurant Review: Middle Way Cafe [Anchorage]

Waaay back in the day when I used to live in Alaska, the thought of surviving as a vegan was faint.  This is, after all the place we decided to be at least vegetarian and that was hard enough.

Middleway has a ton of pre-packaged vegan goodies.

When I returned to Los Anchorage a few months ago (and as a vegan this time), I was really impressed with just how much easier it was.

I mean, the Mooses’ Tooth lets you bring your own Daiya!

One of my friends suggested I check out the Middle Way Cafe, located in a strip mall sandwiched between anchor stores REI and Title Wave Books.

I was blown away by how vegan friendly they really were.

And, of course I ate there every day for a week.

One morning for breakfast I had the Huevos Rancheros with the vegan sub for blackened tofu and vegan sour cream.  It was a great meal, but needed something.  Maybe some soyrizo?

Veganized huevos rancheros.

Another morning I raced over there in the sub zero temps for some VEGAN PANCAKES.  Yep.   They are in caps because they are awesome.   Real maple syrup, vegan butter and fruit.  A perfect normal breakfast.

Vegan Multigrain Pancakes.

They had a ton of other vegan options including a breakfast burrito and “Colours Tofu Snack” which is described on the menu as “A crunchy patty of beets, carrots, zucchinis, and leeks on a bed of home fries and ranchero sauce topped with blackened tofu, scallions and vegan sour cream.”  Never had it, but will be next on my list.

I am so happy to see a place like this in Anchorage – and the fact it was been there for so long, and that the vegan options continue to grow.

Trail Report: Hell’s Revenge [Utah]

October 16 2013

This trail was on my Moab Bucket List™ for a long time.  A few of the climbs look pretty crazy, the views amazing, and conquering the famed “Hell’s Gate” was one of the reasons I came to Moab.

The sign at the trailhead for Hell’s Revenge. Click it for the high res version if you want to read it.

After a quick air down at the parking lot of Hell’s Revenge Jesse, Melanie and I were on the trail by 8:30.

The trail climbs almost instantly right from the staging area.  In the first few minutes, you climb up onto a saddle, riding a narrow ridge – this is just a sample of what’s to come.  At the base of this, is a narrow sandy area called “Lake Michigan” due to the potential for high water.  It was wet on this day, but easily crossable.

The first ridge you will cross is immediately out of the parking lot.

The views open up into some pretty spectacular scenery.  The trail is predominantly on slickrock with some sandy spots.  The first couple of climbs will certainly get your heart rate going, especially when you see them in the distance – they look almost vertical.  With a little throttle control and some alertness, it is fine. Continue reading Trail Report: Hell’s Revenge [Utah]

Product Install: M.O.R.E. Mount for ARB Dual Compressor

NOTE: This install includes the additional work for removing an aftermarket vacuum pump relocation bracket.  

I need to upgrade my air compressor, and in a major way.  I was using the Smittybilt portable, and the amount of time it took to air up four 35″ Duratracs was waaaay too long.  My wheeling friends can inflate their tires, have lunch, complete a crossword puzzle book, and read War and Peace by the time I am done.

So, a few weeks ago, I ordered the ARB CKMTA12 Twin compressor from Northridge.

Now, the question arose on where to mount this behemoth compressor.   So to answer this, I did what every self-respecting data geek would do; I made a table.

A table with considerations on mounting locations.

After weighing all the options and their pros and cons, I elected to install the compressor under the hood.  I trust ARB’s testing and figure it will survive well being so close to the firewall.  I will also be using this mostly with the hood open (tools and tires, no air lockers yet) so the cooling factor is less of a concern.

I ordered the MORE under hood bracket from Northridge.

Once it arrived, I happily skipped out to the garage to start the install, cold beer in hand.  I opened the hood, and went to lay out the bracket to ensure it would fit.  Houston, we have a problem. Continue reading Product Install: M.O.R.E. Mount for ARB Dual Compressor

Holiday Party Food Porn!

Last night, we entertained some of our closest friends up on the mountain.  Melanie always likes to try new vegan recipes, so I thought I would share what we prepared for any last minute vegan holiday food ideas!

1.  Feta Stuffed Peppadew Peppers (found on Vegetarian Times)

You will need:

  • 24 fresh mint leaves
  • 24 Peppadews, rinsed and drained
  • ½ small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 4 Tbs. crumbled vegan feta, divided (see link at bottom of this post for the recipe)


Slide 1 mint leaf into cavity of 1 Peppadew. Fill with 1 or 2 cucumber cubes, then stuff with 1/2 tsp. crumbled feta. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.

Follow this link to make your own vegan feta!
Continue reading Holiday Party Food Porn!

Trail Report: Onion Creek Canyon & Rose Garden Hill [UTAH]

October 15, 2013

One of my favorite aspects of running trails in Moab is that you can (usually) leave the doors off.  Our jeep did not see doors the entire week.

But, this morning was a 6AM departure and a pretty long drive along the Colorado River.  It was freezing.  Some of the most beautiful scenery I have experienced in a long time.  But freezing.

Route 128 follows the Colorado River for most of it’s length.
The morning light was amazing off the canyon walls.

We continued on Route 128 East.  After about 40 minutes, the road left the canyon and the river, opening up into a huge desert plateau.  We pulled off onto Onion Creek Road where we made a quick bathroom break and to air down. Continue reading Trail Report: Onion Creek Canyon & Rose Garden Hill [UTAH]

My response to the MFA “Digiorno” Video

If you have not seen the video yet, I recommend you do.  It is hard to watch.  However, whether you are an omnivore or a full on vegan, we need to witness the brutality of what goes on behind closed doors in our food’s production process.

A worker kicks a cow.
A worker kicks a cow.

I am a huge believer that a free market economy can only thrive on an educated population – watching this video is part of that education. People need to vote with their wallets.

Primarily, my opinion is that we as humans know this is wrong.  There is no sugar coating it.  While these animals are alive and in our custody, we owe them the respect and dignity of any living being, regardless of species.  It needs to be fixed on a systemic level. Continue reading My response to the MFA “Digiorno” Video