set screw: Stainless steel 316 vs. Alloy steel black oil finish

I need to replace a pair of temporary bolts added during last weekend’s emergency mechanical fix with proper set screws.  The set screws are used inside the engine bay to adjust the position of the York air compressor on its mounting plate.  The serpentine belt has no tensioner so shifting the air compressor is the way I have to tension the belt.  I have found set screws online in 2 forms:  “Stainless steel 316” and “Alloy steel black oil finish“.  Should I use stainless steel here or is alloy steel acceptable/preferable?  The stainless set screws are 3 times the price, but the overall price difference of $6 makes price not a factor to me for this job.


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Handy locker switch mod for TJ Rubicons

On my trip to Johnson Valley last weekend, I found myself without a front locker as the 4WD low signal from the transfer case (Atlas) decided to stop working.  For reference, the TJ Rubicon lockers are set up to not enable unless it detects you are in 4WD lo-range (generally I think as a safety issue/idiot proofing/reduction of liability for Jeep). A bit of quick searching around the ‘net yielded a nice modification to not only solve the problem if you are having a signal issue from the transfer case but also if you want/need to be able to use the lockers in other modes for a variety of reasons – like running in sand where 4wd low is too slow. The place the mod needs to be applied is to the rocker switch for the lockers. Its very straightforward and just requires a bit of disassembly of the center dash bezel to get at the switch panel for the locker switch. The use of a good beer is also recommended:

locker-mod0 locker-mod

The below link has a full description of the procedure. I added an extra wire stub out of the dash to add an external switch to enable/disable the mod in the event you don’t want someone else that drives your rig to accidentally hit the locker and have to try to engage in 2WD at speed. Note that the modification disables the ‘safety’ features of the switch, so make sure you know what you’re doing when to enable the locker – i.e., don’t do it at speed and expect to not damage something.



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Updated club roster

The Madhatters club roster has been updated.  The roster is available in both PDF and XLS formats.  Please let me know if you have changes for your entry (address, email, phones, rig picture, ham info, rig mods, etc).

Find the updated roster in the Madhatters web site’s Members section.  Sign in using your Madhatter web site credentials.  If you don’t remember your credentials then send Art or Darrel an email and one of us will get you setup.

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Ham cram sessions coming up in the next couple months

For folks looking for a ham cram class, here are a couple coming up soon. The first seems to be limited to residents of Alameda County, the other one is open:


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April 2015 meeting audio transcript

Audio from our 2015 meeting available here: Madhatters April 2015

Highlights of meeting:

  • Good trip to Lost Coast in spite of the low turnout
  • Carnegie shakedown run led by Mike Cline went well – Josh had a good time in particular burying his rig in the mud :-)
  • Lacking any other boner nominations, boner was awarded to Tom for getting out of leading Lost Coast trip by having hip surgery (get well soon Tom!)
  • Members voted to contribute $500 to the Cal4 cook trailer repair project fund
  • Fordyce and Rubicon Adopt-a-Trail work for the spring needs to be done in the next couple months – more on this soon
  • Start thinking about Easter Jeep Safari in Moab next spring – reservations for campgrounds and hotels will start soon
  • Sierra Trek committee registration now open – Rene has details
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Ladies Run * May 15-17

Hi all – the next run will be the Ladies Run the weekend of May 15-17. This run is for everybody. My idea behind this was to get the ladies out on the trail no matter if driver or passenger. We will be running the Bear Valley Loop Trail on Saturday. Base camp will be at the Upper Little Truckee (River) Campground on Highway 89, 17 miles North of Truckee on Highway 89. I have reserved the group campsite for everybody. There will be a potluck on Saturday night, so please let me know if you will be attending or not so we can have an idea of head count. It is going to be a great weekend, so I hope for a good turnout for this first time event. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Lady *F* Bomber

Posted in Trails | 5 Comments

Lost coast heads up

Hey gang,
Carol found out yesterday the road from Garberville to Redway is washed out. You’ll have to go to the first exit north of Garberville which is Redwood Rd. Go south to Redway and turn right Briceland Thorn Rd which turns into Shelter Cove Rd. Drive safe!
P.S. The Badrocr is half painted ,should be done this weekend. FINALLY !!!

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April 11 run at Carnegie SVRA (between Tracy and Livermore)


Carnegie doesn’t have 4×4 trails as such – it has a small area with obstacles.   The obstacles include frame twisters, rock piles, hill climbs.

If you’re like me and haven’t done any wheeling for awhile (winter hibernation) this is a good chance for us to get together and practice tire placement, spotting, try something out of your comfort zone – we have all day, and can also practice vehicle recovery.    My personal goal is to see how far I can through the advanced frame twister.

Bring $5 for entrance to the park, drinks and food ( although there is a little store that also is suppose to sell drinks/food), sunscreen, chair.

I plan to get there about 9am and we can stay as long as people want ( or until the park closes ).

Here is link to the website:

p.s. since I really want people to try things the day is boner free for any wheeling activity (driving, spotting, etc).    Can still get the boner for doing something off the wall – like throwing a drink on somebody ( but nobody would do something like this, right Renee ).


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Update on Tahoe NF lawsuit against OHV groups

For those curious how this suit is going that we contributed $$ to, I pinged Bebe for an update on Pirate:

We are awaiting a Calendar Date for our Appeal Hearing.

The New case number for the 9th Circuit is: 14-15336.

Link to Briefs:

Opening Brief

Appellants Reply Brief:

Thanks again for all your help.


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March 2015 club meeting audio transcript

IMG_9725 IMG_9726Audio from the March 2015 Madhatters meeting is now available here:


  • Report from RTF Black Tie and Boots
  • Report from Wrenching Day at Tom’s
  • Rene gets the boner for throwing wine on Amy :-)
  • Trip plans from April thru August
  • For Rubicon trip in June, members voted to have club rent Chalet @Loon for Thurs nite before trip
  • Jo Snyder came to visit and thank us again for our help running the Winter Fun Fest Raffle
  • Jo (on behalf of Cal4) gave the Cap Randall award to Dave Jones – who was in attendance! Great to see Dave again
  • Cal4 is looking for help fixing/restoring the cook trailer used for WFF and Trek
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