Tuesday, September 29, 2015

**NEW** JK Wrangler HD Tie Rod - Fits Stock Wheels!

At Metalcloak we are continuously looking at all our products and discovering ways we can improve them - sometimes the improvements are small... a fitment here, a nudge there... but sometimes they are momentous... Our JK Wrangler Tie Rod is one such case.

After discovering weaknesses in our first design, we corrected the problems and created a much better product. But we were not totally satisfied. We asked ourselves the question... what more could we do? Introducing the Game-Changing HD JK Wrangler Tie Rod...


But what is different? Everything.

First the material... after extensive testing of different materials, we focused on building our Tie Rod out of 1 3/8" DOM (3/8" Wall). This proved to have the greatest resistance to bending and the best return to form when impacting a solid object.

Next, the rod ends... Typical 1-Ton Rod Ends are easy to source, but the challenge the presented was limiting what size wheels or what backspacing you had to have to run them. Our specially designed and manufactured "Dog-Legged" 1-Ton Rod Ends are offset so they fit on Stock Wheels!

 In addition, besides the sealed boot, and the JK-Specific bolt taper, there is a special Anti-Flop feature that limits front to back motion...


Together these elements create another Game-Changing product from Metalcloak that we hope meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

You can learn more at Metalcloak.com

This product is also part of our new full steering kit featuring an updated Drag Link and the OME Steering Stabilizer.

Friday, September 25, 2015

5-Bullet Friday, September 25, 2015

Here is your next edition of 5-Bullet Friday - I hope you enjoy this list of things that I find interesting enough to share with friends like you. If you like them you can share it with your friends.
  • FOR YOUR JEEP: JK Owners rejoice! As I mentioned before, the goal here is not to advocate our products, but to help you discover cool and great products no matter who makes them... but, sometimes I just have to share. This New Jeep JK Wrangler Tie-Rod that we just released has a number of firsts... the dog-legged ends allows it to work with stock wheels, and the unique anti-flop features are a first for JK Owners! A truly great product. 
  • FOR A RELAXING VACATION: The family and I just had a wonderful vacation right on the Oregon Coast in Lincoln City. What a gem! And being just south of Tillamook, not only can you go visit the Cheese factory, but there are some amazing OHV trails too. We rented a cottage right along the beach via the website Airbnb - great service, great prices. 
  • FOR GIVING BACK: If you are like me and do a lot of shopping with Amazon, have you tried Smile.Amazon.com? It is exactly the same site with one exception... you choose a non-profit organization and every time you purchase on Amazon, a donation is made to that non-profit. It is super easy! You just have to remember to log in to Smile.Amazon.com every time you make a purchase. You are shopping there anyway, you might as well let it benefit a cause you care about.
  • FOR EXERCISING ON THE ROAD:  This year has been full of travel for me, and while sometimes I get a hotel with a nice gym... there are those times when I am just booking the cheapest accommodations I can find. In those cases, when I still want to get a work out, I use these backpacking Dry Bags. They are designed to keep water out... but can also keep water in! Just fill them up and use them as kettle bells or individual dumb bells.
  • FOR A GOOD READ:  Just finished a biography of Elon Musk, by Ashlee Vance. While the study of the man is interesting, the details about Tesla and SpaceX, just two of the companies he is involved in, are amazing and inspiring. It is definitely a study of persistence through seemingly never-ending failure.
Thank you for being a part of 5-Bullet Fridays! Let me know which bullet was your favorite or if you have anything you'd like me to check out. If you missed previous 5-Bullet Friday's, you can catch up here.

Remember, if you like 5-Bullet Fridays, please share.

See you on the rocks,

Matson "Matsonian" Breakey

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Silver State Rock-Crawling, Ultra-4 Championships & Pic of the Week

Wow! That was fun. The response from our Xtreme Off-Road Episode was truly great, thank you! If you missed it, live streaming starts on 9/27.

Now, while I am living the life of a d-list celebrity, sipping bulletproof coffee on the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon, it is time to start focusing on some new stuff coming up in the next week or so.

First, is the new, and by all accounts, awesome, Silver State Rock Crawling event at the Wild West Motorsports Park, then we have Off Road Expo in Pomona... followed shortly by the Nitto Ultra4 Nationals... presented by Metalcloak! Yup. 

Read on for details and some new product news.



P.S. If you haven't signed up for my 5-Bullet Friday, try it out by signing up here.

The Ultimate Steering Kit...
Recently we quietly released a Game-Changing upgrade to our JK Wrangler Tie-Rod and Drag Links. 

For the Tie-Rod, we added dog-legged rod-ends that (1) fit on Stock Wheels and (2) have an exclusive anti-flop feature built right in.

Now the Tie-Rod, Drag Link and OME Steering Stabilizer are available for the first time as a convenient package! 

Metalcloak Signs On as Presenting Sponsor for the Nitto Ultra-4 Championships!

Last year we visited the Wild West Motorsports Park to check out the Ultra-4 Championships... and were BLOWN away! The course was exciting, the attendees were many, and fun was easily had by all.

So this year we decided to step up and become the Presenting Sponsor. If you are anywhere West of the Mississippi, you should come check it out. If you can't make it, there will be some great online coverage. 

Stay tuned! 

TJ Wrangler Lock-N-Load Long Arm, Now with Old Man Emu Shocks! 

After extensive testing, we've now released the "ARB Edition" of the TJ Wrangler Lock-N-Load Long Arm!

Adding the OME NitroCharger Sport shocks gives you just one more price option for the ultimate Long Arm Kit. 

Learn More...
Congratulations to Justin Bedard of San Antonio, Texas for this week's Pic of the Week. This is what Jeepin' is all about, right?

See you on the Rocks...

Matson "Matsonian" Breakey

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Guest Post: Do you Know Jack? From Badlands Off Road Adventures

X-JackBefore jacking, make sure that the vehicle cannot move.
(Click picture for a larger image.)

A jack is one of those pieces of equipment that is just plain essential for four wheeling. The stock jack supplied by the manufacturer isn't going to help off road: terrain is rarely level and never smooth. You have three styles to choose from: Hi-Lift, X-Jack and bottle jack.

The first step in any situation is to make sure the vehicle cannot move. Sometimes the emergency brake isn't enough, because you might be lifting that wheel. You might have to chock the opposite side. Seldom is the terrain flat and level. Run the winch out to a tree or stretch a strap tightly from the vehicle to be jacked. Always be careful when jacking.

Hi-Lift Jack

The Hi-Lift is very versatile but has a lot of safety risks. It is versatile in the sense you can lift (jack) with it, you can "pole vault" with it, and you can use it as a "poor man's" winch in a pinch.

Lift as close as possible to the tire you want to get off the ground. If you lift in the middle of either bumper, the vehicle is likely to tip in one direction. Vehicles today don't have notches in the frame for a jack. So latch onto the bumper as close to the affected wheel.

The base on a Hi-Lift jack is pretty small. That makes it challenging to lift on uneven surfaces. You may want to purchase a safety kit. That includes an extra-wide base and support cables.

"Pole vaulting" involves shifting a vehicle sideways while jacked up. Let's say you're stuck and just need to move a foot or two to one side. Set the jack near the middle of the opposite side, at a slight angle. Once both wheels on the near (jack) side are off the ground, the vehicle will fall away. Repeat as needed to move away from the obstruction.

With a chain on one end and a tree strap on the other, the Hi-Lift can be used as "poor man's" winch by laying it sideways. The chain allows you to adjust the distance from the vehicle to your anchor point. Since you can only move the stuck vehicle about 3 feet at a time the chain makes it easier to reset the jack each time. By looping the chain around the "nose" of the jack, you can shorten it with a grab hook. Besides all the hard work, the difficulty is keeping the vehicle in place every time you reset for a new bite. Hi-Lift recovery kit has all the gear your need to solve this problem.

You need to be careful with Hi-Lifts. Use only on solid ground and when the main part is straight up and down. If you must jack on sand or soft soil, place a piece of plywood or other board under the foot.

Make sure the handle is straight up when at rest. When lowering a vehicle, place a hand at the top of the center piece and gently coax the lever up and down. Keep your fingers on top and clear; if the lever takes off, you'll get "hammer thumb." Keep your head out of the way, as well for the same reason.

A basic Hi-lift runs about $70. They're rated to nearly 5000 lbs. for the first 4 feet. With safety accessories, you're looking at about $230. Though there are safety issues, the Hi-Lift jack is an extremely versatile and useful tool. Don't leave home without one in the group.


The X-jack is really helpful in sand and snow. You slide it under the vehicle, and use exhaust to inflate the bag and raise the vehicle.

Watch for sharp edges of the body or frame, and keep the bag away from the exhaust pipe. It's a good idea to place padding on top of the bag. (See Figure N.) The X-Jack comes with a pad, but I suggest grabbing one or two floor mats for additional padding. Make sure there are no kinks in the hose as you're playing it out.

The X-Jack works best with two people: one to hold the funnel tightly on the exhaust pipe and the other to keep the bag in position. If working alone, use a compressor. The bag also has a valve stem to attach a compressor so you can tap into that while positioning the bag.

Be careful if lifting on sand. We tend to use high RPM in the sand. This causes a hotter exhaust, and it's easier to melt the hose. If you have a compressor, use that instead. You may find that the bag quits inflating the last foot or so. It is necessary to run the engine at a higher RPM (than idle) to fully inflate the bag. Another reason to have help.

A drawback is that the kit takes up a fair amount of space in the vehicle. Consider tying it on the outside or roof if space is a premium.

Bottle jack

Compact and more stable than the Hi-Lift, a bottle jack allows you to lift just an axle as opposed to an entire side of the vehicle. A big disadvantage is that you don't always have sufficient clearance under the vehicle (use the Hi-lift or X- jack).

The second downside is that it won't always lift high enough for what you need. The post usually extends only about 5- 6 inches. That's why you may want to buy extensions. If you don't care to do that, try a block of wood.

Bottle jacks come in a variety of sizes. A 3-ton model is sufficient for most 4WD use. For larger vehicles like a Sportsmobiles, a 5-ton jack is better. I've seen good results with electric models.

A standard bottle jack runs $40 to $60 at auto parts stores. Regardless of the style of jack you have, you must always use it safely. Before jacking, make sure that the vehicle cannot move. Use the jack properly, and—in the case of the Hi-Lift—keep your hands and fingers (and even body) out of harm's way. Be patient. Sometimes you need to think through the lift process to avoid serious injury. Learn the proper way to use the jack, and practice back home to become familiar with it. Finally, if you must work under the vehicle while it's raised, use your spare tire or other sturdy object as a safety jack. I recommend you carry at least 2 of the above!


Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures

Friday, September 18, 2015

5-Bullet Friday, September 18, 2015

Wow, 5-Bullet Friday is really taking off... thank you all for the support and for sharing it with your friends.
  • FOR YOUR JEEP: Loving my new SpiderWebShade set-up on Cloak3 both for the original bikini style top and the skins for the tube doors. Summer may be almost over, but there is still time to check out this simple, but awesome, product. Chris and his crew just do an amazing job. 
  • FOR A PAT ON THE HEAD: Some great reading from our local paper, the Sacramento Bee regarding OHV use and conservation: For off-roaders, challenges, conservation are keys. A very positive article that puts off-roaders in a great light. If you read this article and recognize yourself and how you treat your trails, you should be proud. 
  • FOR YOUR BACK: Just got this great back tool... Theracane. We all have back issues at times, and for me, it is more often then not. Between sitting all week working on the computer and off-road fun on the weekends, my back get's hammered. This tool helps me get to those hard to reach places. Pretty cool. 
  • FOR HOME DEFENSE:  I am a firm believer in home defense. Your home is your domain... anyone who would violate that can not only ruin that sanctity but can also ruin your life. However the best home defense system is only as good as it is effective. If your home defense includes a hand gun, if you can't get to it when you need it the most, it might as well be a toy. Bedside Defense solves this problem.
  • FOR YOUR GO-BAG:  Just started testing this ultra-light portable stove by Etekcity. At only $9.99, it is amazingly cost effective, incredibly light and compact, and has great reviews.  
Thank you for being a part of 5-Bullet Fridays! Let me know which bullet was your favorite or if you have anything you'd like me to check out. 

Remember, if you like 5-Bullet Fridays, please share.

See you on the rocks,

Matson "Matsonian" Breakey

Thursday, September 17, 2015

New Products, Metalcloak on TV and Pic of the Week!

Thanks to you, MetalCloak is gaining more and more notice.

That means more calls from customers, more calls from magazines and more calls from television shows... all of this means more fun for me and more products for you!

A couple months ago we were asked to support a deserving Vet (double amputee) by donating a Suspension System for his TJ build on Xtreme Off-Road.

After talking with Ian Johnson, the host of Xtreme, we decided to up the ante and do a Custom Stretch TJ Lock-N-Load Long Arm Kit. Not only that, but I got to go out and meet this incredible vet, along with some really cool people and help install the kit.

Hope you get a chance to watch the show. The first episode aired last week (you can see it again on Saturday) and the episode with the Metalcloak Long Arm airs starting this Sunday. Click here for showtimes.



P.S. If you haven't signed up for my 5-Bullet Friday, try it out by signing up here.

New Skid Plates for the JK Wrangler... (coming soon)
Yep, they are finally here... almost! The new Skid Plates for the JK Wrangler and JK Wrangler Unlimited. 

We are debuting them next weekend at Off Road Expo in Pomona and expect them to be on sale soon!

TJ Long Arm Bracket Template for Dana 44

Check out the Lock-N-Load Long Arm rear bracket template for Dana 44. This bracket makes it easier to line-up the rear brackets for the upper control arms on a Dana 44.

At only $15, they are an easy addition to any kit. 

Learn More...
Congratulations to Jim Falbo of Toledo, Ohio for this week's Pic of the Week. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

NEW JK Wrangler Drive-Shafts from Metalcloak...

For the most part, when you install a Metalcloak Lift Kit on your JK, replacing Drive-Shafts is not a "Must-Do", which saves time and money. Over time, though, stock drive-shafts will wear out and need to be replaced. So, whether you want to do it all at once or wait a year or so, Metalcloak now offers replacement drive-shafts for the JK Wrangler. Available for the 2-Door and 4-Door, manual or automatic, the JK Wrangler drive-shafts are made locally in Sacramento, California, by a company that has been manufacturing drive-shafts for decades. Learn more here.