: Offroad madness Verson 2.0! Rick's Jeep's skidplates love him more! (not)

Night Wolf
05-30-09, 10:52 PM
Jeep is still (mechanically) totally stock, the original 30x9.5 GS-A's now have 48k miles on them. I ordered a 3/4" leveling kit (just front coil spring spacers) 2 weeks ago, still on back order. I wanted to disconnect the front sway bar, but didn't (give me another ~4" of front axle droop when one tire lifts up). I like running it stock to get a baseline so I can tell what difference each upgrade makes in the future. Yet again, I am very impressed on what the stock TJ on worn street/all-terrains is capable of. Wheeling a stock vehicle also is a great way to build driver skill vs. buying a modified vehicle and having at it. The Jeep got minimal, if even mentionable damage today - mostly just more scrapes/couple extra dents on the transfercase and gas tank skid plates. Once again, my biggest holdback is that stock transfercase skid plate, which really is a road grader, even on some of the trails to get to the obstacles it was dragging.

Went back to River Rock with Georgia Trailriders, it's only about an hour - 1hr 15mins from me, what a blast - great people, cool Jeeps and fun wheelin'. Was supposed to leave work at 11, didn't leave until 1:45 (only an hour before I normally would) Ah well, I still got ~4hrs of wheelin in, which equates to a whopping 5 miles!.... heh, Jeep probably got more "use" tho then the 2,000 mile Key West trip... good times!

Here was the first trip:


If you click that link, you'll see the bigger version of my avatar, of which I am (still) famous for... heck there was even new people I didn't meet before that were saying how they seen my pic online and were hoping to see a flying TJ again. I confirmed with people that were there last time "yeah, your Jeep was totally airborn, I mean like 3-4 feet)

It all started with flashing lights - literally. As I drive thru the small town of Milledgeville (where the park is located) I get pulled over. Long story short, apparently the guy pissing me off in the Tahoe via tailgating decided to call in that he thinks the drive of a yellow Jeep Wrangler license plate blah blah (me) is drunk, the cop passes me oncoming, whips a u-turn right in the middle of the road, then puts the lights on, I pull onto a side street, stop, shut her down and wait. Meanwhile the Tahoe turned onto the street and passed me. By now a 2nd Vic pulled up behind the first one, cop #2 gets out and comes up on the passenger side. I had the 2 pages of Google directions/maps in my hands that I places on the pax seat, as I took a slightly different route then last time. Conversation went like this:

cop: hello there
me: good afternoon officer
cop: license and insurance card please
me: license is in my pocket, insurance is in the glove box
cop: ok
cop: [I handed my stuff to him] So where are you heading to? or do you even know where you are going?
me: (kinda dumbstruck by that question) uhhh.... [picks up printed map on the pax seat and points] River Rock off-road park... meeting other people there to go four-wheeling.
cop: where are you coming from?
me:..... uhhh.... I live near Warner Robins, but I'm coming from Robins AFB, where I work.
cop: oh.... well the reason why you are being pulled over is because we got a call saying you were swerving all over the road and that you may be a drunk driver. Have you had anything to drink? Or.... do you not drink?
me: I hardly drink at all.... I just got off work.... I work on airplanes.... on an air force base.... I am not even allowed to drink and be anywhere near my job..... was the call from some guy in a blue Tahoe with 1 daytime running light out and a Bulldogs "G" front vanity plate? If so he was tailgating me most the way here and really being an ass.
cop: oh.... I don't know who called it in [just then the Tahoe had turned around and slowed down to pass me, hoping to see me outside the Jeep in handcuffs? I looked, stretched my arm way out the Jeep and pointed and said "HIM!" he kept tailgating me here. Guy quickly looks away and passes by.
cop: so you didn't have anything to drink?
me: no, I just got off work and came here to go wheeling.
cop: [hear the police radio say my name, tag, Jeep and everything is OK] ok.... can I help you find anything?
me: yeah... actually where is (this road)
cop: oh... I dunno
cop#2: oh, that's just right here (gives me directions)
cop: well, alright then, have a good day.... both walk back to their cars.
cop: Oh.... hey.... wait....
cop #2: huh? he's good to go, he's fine.
cop: ok, nevermind, have a good day.

Yeah.... so no lie for some unknown reason that actually put me in a good mood, after having a boarderline crappy day at work.

With all that said, I totally enjoy my Jeep. I've accepted the payment thing, and don't worry about it anymore. It's hard to explain what it's like to own the Jeep and go wheeling... it just feels like it's something I've wanted since I was a kid, and that somehow it intermixes with everything I enjoy vehicle-wise, and vehicles are my biggest hobby.

I didn't have anybody with me, so, atleast my pictures are somewhat limited this time to taking of others, poser shots or 1 instance - the biggest challenge of the day for me, where someone else used my camera.

Our first obstacle, I took the bypass on this one. Waiting in line for those in front to pass:



Not part of our group.... this once was an 80's Toyota pickup. Has a little carb'd 4cyl and only appeared to be 31's.... with a driver that basically had no worries about breaking anything. Sounded like a lawnmower.... very cool.


YJ and ZJ, the last AMC-designed Jeep's




CJ: way cool.




This XJ has enjoyed being passed around and (ab)used by several group memebrs, some of the guys were here today, each saying a particular mod or damage they did. The XJ has a few titles "The Jeep that won't die", "more bangs then Jessica Parker" etc... It only has one window left - right rear. The thought of a dedicated, trailered trail rig is cool, no worries about breaking something and how you'll get home (or to work)




I parked my Jeep and rode along with someone as the terrain was not stock TJ friendly. Moving on...


Night Wolf
05-30-09, 11:20 PM
Apparently he semi-ripped off the rear bumper eariler today, and it's been flopping around since. Very cool tho, kid in the childseat in the back too.





From what the others said, the guy in the white YJ was doing pretty crazy stuff all day. Going up this he tore something up in the front axle that binded the wheels stuck. Someone said to put it back in 4wd to break up whatever was preventing the wheels from turning. The front right was still turning, but the front left was binded stuck... he was able to winch/drive himself out and back up to level ground.


This thing was neat too, I had just missed a picture where it was nearly on it's side.


Off-road jumpstarts are fun! He also damaged the LR valve steam... once it was restarted he was able to drive himself up with the flat tire.... and it didn't even break the bead.


There were several paths, the others took the more difficult one, then there was an easier one... but I took the bypass... then got to thinking.... I cam here to wheel, I may as well wheel it. This is a great group of folks too, as they didn't mind at all if I got stuck or hung up on the little stuff and said even if I coudln't make it out I'll just get winched up.... so, I wanted to see what she could do, I had my doubts, but after as the tire was being changed on the other Yellow TJ, I made my way back down...


This is the only obstacle that was taken of me, with my camera, tho others were taking pictures as well. I was intimidated at first, but just like last time, gave it a try and and very impressed with it's capabilities.

This is the actual climb angle:


This obstacle was broken up into 3 sections that required several attempts... atleast for my Jeep. This is the first:



Which I soon was able to find the right line:


Here is the 2nd part. One of the most important things when rock crawling/climbing things is choosing the right line. Mildly built vehicles can travel further then wild built vehicles - it's all about drive skill/line taken. With the help of my spotters, I tried various lines and it just couldn't make it, so I kept trying more, and finally it made it up.

The first line I took was to the left (from the driving perspective) I tried that a few times, but it was flexing out the suspension too much, without lockers or even limited slips, 1 front and 1 rear tire spin (of course the ones with least traction, or in the air) and the Jeep dosen't move anymore.


Picking a new line. The front right tire was in the air, which caused me to have to back up and gain more speed to shoot myself over to that the tires grip again. Had I disconnected the front sway bar, it would probably allow enough axle drop so that the tire would be on the ground. I'll be building my own sway bar disconnects soon.


Night Wolf
05-30-09, 11:42 PM
Result of the new line?



Which got me ready for the 3rd, and most difficult part:

first line


second line



The second line was getting me too steep, and the worn out 30" all-terrains just didn't have the grip to get me up it. If I was going to get out under my own power, I had to take the first line.... problem is, the xfer case skidplate was getting hung up halfway up.

Play by play picture explanation of the above:





Stuck. The darn skid plate just kept digging deep into the ground. The solution was more speed, I was backing up just about as far as I could. My 1st gear in 4lo is way too low to get any speed out of, so I was putting it in 2nd, 4lo (same combination I jumped with last time) I was backing up then easing into full throttle... did this 2 more times:



One of the guys said that they'll get their Jeep with the winch, another guy said "man hes so close... just needs to get more speed" <---- that was enough to make me say "I'll try it again" This time I backed up about as far as I could before driving backwards over an edge, 2nd gear - 4lo, I easily let the clutch out and quickly transitioned to stright up wide open throttle. The Jeep accelerated to ~15mph (top speed in 2nd -4lo) and the tach sat right at the redline - 5250 RPM.

The end result?



From what others said, at one point, both left tires were in the air. It wasn't a jump, but I lived up to my expectations ;).

Night Wolf
05-31-09, 12:17 AM
And.... back at the camp... done for the day, time to air up the tires and head back home.



I'm sorry to all the naysayers.... but when properly built up, and most importantly - actually USED for what it was made to do, the 4-door JK *IS* very sweet!


My tires are 30", the blue TJ is on 33's, the JK is on 37's (!)


Considering that the hitch (only a class I) was dragging on just about every rock I went over, I'm surprised it didn't bend at all. It's got plenty of scrapes now, but it's still stright. Once I clean all the packed dirt out of it, I should be able to tow my trailer again. Actually it protects the rear bumper from taking the hits. A new heavy duty rear bumper with D-rings and a built in 2" receiver is on the list though.



Like I said... damage is hardly worth mentioning. Xfer case skidplate has more scrapes and a small dent that don't even show up in the pics with all the dirt. Last trip I killed the left rear floatie, I only managed to to lightly scrape the right one this time. I think I'll leave them on, adds character. Rear bumper did get a couple light gouges, and the gas tank skid plate has some new scrapes and a couple small dents.... other then tires a whole new skid plate system is high up on my list of things to do... it's expensive tho, as it involves other mods as well, but dragging that road grader all over is my biggest setback.



Tucked in for the night, ready to take me to work in the AM.



Tho it'll probably be a ways in the future, as I'd really like to get the Jeep paid off before I spend alot of money on mods. I'd like to get the complete Rokmen skid plate package, biggest benefit is the belly-up xfer case plate (requires other mods tho) which sits 2.25" higher then the stock plate. It is also flat and smooth, along the Jeep to easily slide over things, plus much stronger. This kit also comes with an engine oil pan/transmission skid plate (something the Jeep dosen't have stock at all) as well as a new gas tank skid plate that sits 1.5" higher, and is much stronger. Gaining belly clearance is very similar to running larger tires, and a larger tire only lifts you 1/2 the difference of the old tire vs new. Example 30" to 33" tire nets you 1.5" of lift (of course thats not counting a suspension lift kit tho). I think I'd rather install the upgraded skips before a major suspension upgrade. My next tires are going to be a 31x10.5 mud-terrain, which will fit fine stock.





Phew.... time to get some sleep.

06-01-09, 08:09 PM
wow man looks like you had alot of fun!.
my buddie has a TJ with a 3 inch body lift and 4 inch suspension lift on 35' mickey Thompsons with a upgraded suspension and a WHOLE lot of stuff done to it. I will try to get a picture
we go off roading in it quite often and it is a HELL of a lot of fun

Night Wolf
06-03-09, 09:06 PM
hmm, noticed I can't spell properly in the title... ah well.

The other day I made some DIY front sway bar disconnects. Made a much bigger difference then I first thought. My previous wheeling has been done with the sway bar connected, I'm eager to wheel the Jeep again, even exactly as it sits to see what kind of a difference the sway bar disco makes, with it, the ride over rough terrain is alot smoother. I drove it into town and on the interstate too, makes for a fun and interesting ride.

On the side of my property there is a ditch thing, with the sway bar connected, if I crossed the steeper part at a 45* angle, in 1st gear 4lo and let it idle, it would only go so far before the front left and rear right tire start spinning. With the discos, it'll now cross.... there is noticeably more front axle articulation even with the stock suspension.

This is the fun part about buying a stock vehicle and wheeling it, then making changes... seeing how each works along the way and learning to wheel as you go.

I can easily remove/install them without tools in seconds.




I decided to stick on my authenic Hawaii plate for conversation points.... not sure yet if the cool factor outweighs the ghey factor. This is with the sway bar connected, the Jeep was actually teetering a bit as only the front right and rear left tires were firmly on the ground.



Same exact location, backed up, disco'ed, then went forward:



Once my 3/4" front leveling spacers arrive from being on back order, that should give even a bit more flex in the front suspension, plus get rid of the annoying rake.

06-05-09, 01:00 AM
The Hawaii plate is ghey only if it says "McLovin"

Night Wolf
06-05-09, 05:52 AM
The Hawaii plate is ghey only if it says "McLovin"

Then I should be good to go! ;-)