June 2015 meeting audio now available

June 2015 audio available here to download: http://madhatters4x4.com/blog1/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/June-2015-Meeting.mp3

Meeting highlights:

  •  June was a busy month with Rubicon, Livermore Parade and Fordyce work weekend
  •  Rubicon trip went great
    • 18 rigs total (members + guests), including a guest from Canada (Pierre & Suzanne)
    • no major problems and weather cooperated (mostly). And we left the Chalet on time, shortly after 7am. Probably a Madhatter record :-)
    • Minor breakage (Craig – motor mount, Dennis – steering trackbar), but little else
  • Livermore Parade was well attended – about 14 rigs
  • Fordyce work party
    • John & Rene, Art, Dennis, Gary, Tom, Mike, Jenni & Bill, Larry, Kurt & Terry helped out
    • Between Tom’s trailer & FoF Toyota pickup, we got ~20 loads of rock to fill the mud hole and seasonal creek
    • Larry’s rear locker blew up on the way back up winch hill 5, but work parties are boner free events
  • Boner nominations
    • Pierre honorary nomination for various things on the Rubicon
    • Craig for breaking down again in the granite bowl (Tom nominated)
    • Chris for wallowing in the mud pit past Rubicon Springs (Art nominated)
    • John for forgetting the keys for his Jeep he towed to the parade (Bill nominated)
    • Winner: John!
  • July run
    • Barrett Lake is closed til August, Barney Riley has a fire running across it right now
    • Plan C was between Niagara Rim/Swamp Lake/lower Fordyce area.
    • Folks mostly preferred lower Fordyce, camping at Cisco Grove. Rene will send update out in email about camping there in the next 24 hrs.
  • Sierra Trek coming up – committee registration due soon
    • Help with raffle solicitation is needed – Tom distributed list for folks to help with
  • Sending flag options to folks to get feedback
  • Nicknames
    • Larry was nominated to be LLL (Leave the Lights on Larry) in honor of his recent preference to camp at hotels in Truckee for a couple trips now. Other suggestions were Leisure Suit Larry, Luxury Larry
  • Rene is placing an order in 2 weeks for t-shirts/hats/jackets – order now to have by Trek. Check out  www.sanmar.com and let her know.


Posted in Club Business | Leave a comment

Fire restrictions go into effect July 1 (Tahoe NF)

Fire restriction go into effect July 1st 2015. Please spread the word.

Fire Restrictions
• No open fires, campfires or charcoal fires are allowed on Tahoe National Forest lands outside of designated areas, even with a valid California Campfire Permit, except within the oven at Wheeler Sheep Camp.
• Lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed, unless otherwise restricted, with a valid California Campfire Permit available from Forest Service offices during business hours and at www.preventwildfireca.org/Campfire-Permit.
• No possessing or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device, including explosives.
• No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated recreation site.
• Internal combustion engines are restricted to National Forest System roads, trails, and areas, as identified on the Tahoe National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map (including the Prosser Pits Developed Off-Highway Vehicle Area). Motorized cross-country travel between roads, trails, and areas is prohibited.

Posted in Trails | Leave a comment

Rubicon 2015

Hi Gang,
For those of us that went up Thursday we were greeted with thunder & lightning downpours and an inch of hail. We had no problem getting up on time in the morning after listening to Scott’s snoring all night. By 7am we had 18 rigs all aired down and ready to go ,including a couple from Canada. They found us on facebook . Thanks again for being ready on time. Things were going well until I went up the steps on the other side of the bowl and ripped a motor mount. John and his dad welded straps to fix it. Meanwhile Tom & DD took over to keep the club rolling. Thanks guys! After a loose bolt stop we caught the main group by Ellis. By the time we got to little sluice John developed a leaky hose. A small group waited for John, the others continued with Tom & DD to camp .That was the last we saw of the main group. We all got stuck a little but only Canada needed the wench and straps. We got to the Springs about 4:30 got camp set up without getting wet. The storm was there it just went around us. We had a nice relaxing Saturday. Scott caught a fish. I caught a couple dozen crawdads and a trout. In the afternoon we had a lot of lightning and it poured at dark. John & Tom lead 14 rigs at 7am, I heard Chris got stuck in the mud. The rest of us left at 9:20 moving at a record pace. We caught the main group at Tahoma staging around noon. We had no damage except Canada loss a piece of fender on V rock. We had a great run with 18 rigs and very little problems.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

May 2015 Meeting audio now available

Meeting audio is downloadable here:

Madhatters May 2015


  • New 4×4 repair shop in Livermore has opened
  • Great weekend for the first annual Ladies Run
  • Bill was the overwhelming recipient of the Boner for May (like in a billion to one vote)
  • Rubicon trip coming up June 4-7 – we have rented the Chalet @Loon for Thurs nite, so please try to come up for the nite and we can get an early start. Let Craig / Art know if you are coming and whether you will be there Thurs or Friday morning. We are trying to leave early Friday.
  • Livermore Rodeo parade June 13 – Rene will send updates on the plan as soon as she has them
  • Committee signup for Sierra Trek now available here: http://regonline.com/sierratrekcommittee - password: trekkies2015
  • Adopt-a-trail work needed on Fordyce in June – we’re shooting for June 20 to harden between WH4 and 5
Posted in Club Business | Leave a comment

Access alert from Cal4wheel – West Mojave Plan

Deadline is June 4, 2015

The West Mojave Route Management Plan is open for public comments through June 4, 2015. The BLM is proposing to add about 4,500 miles of roads to the legal road network for motorized vehicle travel. The OHV community needs to support this by making positive comments to add the roads to the system as opposed to closing them permanently. The link to the website is below:


Posted in OHV Activism, Trails | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in Parts | 5 Comments

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.




Posted in Parts | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Club Business | Leave a comment

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:




Posted in Club Business | Leave a comment

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
Posted in Club Business | Leave a comment