Few new pics for y'all. I organized a beach cleanup day for our Jeep club and we spent the morning filling a 4x8' utility trailer up about 3-4 feet high with trash off the beach and then we rewarded ourselves with some fun in "The Bowl."
I led a group of 5 Jeeps down the trail, but that also meant our photographer, running 2nd, couldn't get any action shots of the WJ. Take the bad with the good, I guess.
Couldn't quite make it to the top, but I gave it the ol' college try.
A smaller incline that I did manage to make it up. Only action shot of the day for me.
And then promptly sank in and got stuck...
The next try was golden, though. Me and a buddy on the highest dune in the bowl.
Myself and a couple of 3rd Coast Jeeper members headed up to Hidden Falls Adventure Park just northwest of Austin, TX this weekend. This was the first time I've had the Jeep on anything but pavement or sand, so I was really anxious to see what she would do (and also a little nervous). This wasn't my first time on rocks, but the last time I went was about 9 years ago in the Pathfinder. I was VERY pleasantly surprised with how well it did and what kind of trails and obstacles I was able to tackle. I am also very glad the Clayton arms are so beefy and that I put that belly skid on before trying any of this. We hit everything from Level 1 to Level 5 trails and there was only 1 obstacle I didn't make it up, and that one even the TJ on 36's didn't make it up.
I don't have all the pictures from the trip yet, these are just some of the ones I have on my phone. There will be more to follow, hopefully along with some pretty good vids.
First off, I pulled the doors off and left them in the hotel room because, well... why not? Gotta say, I'm a BIG fan of running doorless now. I was surprised how easy this was to do. Took less than 15 minutes.
Found a little rock to flex on during a pause on the trail.
My co-driver, Kristi keeping an eye on the passenger side for me on this little ledge climb. I'm still learning the Jeep and wasn't confident I knew where the other side of it was! The WJ is a lot wider than my old Pathfinder (and rounder).
The beginning of the second day, while Ryan and I were waiting for everyone else to finish prepping for the trails, we decided to turn the hydraulic ramp on his trailer into a makeshift RTI ramp. I still had a couple inches of flex left on the front axle, but I didn't line up just right and my rear tire was about to start climbing the ramp as well, so that's as far as I got. I think I could have put the tire on top of the trailer like Ryan did with his TJ, but oh well.
That's a little more like the flex I was expecting out of this long arm kit.
Rear tire stuffs nicely in the rear fender with very little contact anywhere. They touch just a tiny bit on the front of the wheel well, but that's it. It's not enough to worry about. I can't trim any more, and it's just not worth it to move the axle back the 1/8"-1/4" it would take to fix that. Keep in mind I just have factory bumpstops. My shocks actually limit my uptravel in the rear. I just need about 2" of extension to keep the shock from fully compressing. The bumpstop still wasn't touching.
Springs were still tight in the front (not at full droop yet), but I'm glad I have those upper spring retainers, nonetheless. Under certain conditions, the coils actually rub the retainers just a little bit. They're centered on the spring perch, but I think because the springs arch ever so slightly, it makes contact on the very edge of the retainer. Again, I don't think it's anything I really need to worry about it, but I'll inspect closer tomorrow when it's light out.
The rear axle droops nicely. Coil gets pretty loose, but it's not going anywhere. If you look closely, you can actually see the top of the spring is about 1" off of the isolator.
No contact anywhere on the front, even while turned full lock on the trail. The front is ready for 35's!
Taking the doors off does have it's consequences, but it was totally worth it. Nothing a wet rag and some elbow grease can't fix.
And finished up with a little posing before the TJ went back on the trailer. I didn't think I'd be able to crawl up his tire without locker, but it wasn't a problem at all.
That's all the pictures I have for now. Ryan's mom took tons of pictures and videos with her camera, so once I get my hands on those, I'll sort through them and post up some good ones of the actual trails. Tomorrow when I wash everything off I'll also get some pictures of the small amount of carnage. Mostly just a few scrapes on the rear bumper and TONS of custom pinstriping. These trails are very narrow and are lined with cedar trees.
Took a trip out to an offroad park called K2 in Mason, TX. What a blast! I gotta say it was a LOT more intense than the Hidden Falls trip I went on a few weeks ago, but man what a good time. The trails out there are all granite, which means the tires stick like glue, but also means it's very unforgiving when it comes in contact with metal parts. Nothing broken (not for lack of trying), but definitely got some new battle scars. We didn't get around to taking a whole lot of pictures, but other than having to park the WJ for 2 of the big boy trails, she performed above and beyond the expectations of everyone in the group, including me. I was once again amazed at what these things will crawl up and over.
Here's a picture of the type of terrain we were wheeling on. Absolutely gorgeous scenery and trails out there.
And a couple poser shots when my buddy Tim got around to whipping out the camera. The WJ looks so small next to my friend's Jeeps!
That buggy on the end is a beast! I got to drive it on an extremely gnarly trail that none of the other rigs could even attempt. Literally just point and shoot.
Now for the carnage pictures. They were taken at night, but you can get the gist. The stock rock rails held up beautifully, however, I did manage to put a dent in both sides.
The rear bumper slid down a few rock ledges, as well. Looks a little like K's rear bumper now.
I'm glad Clayton built these control arms so beefy, because they were used as skids on multiple occasions. Nothing some black paint can't fix, though.
The new belly skid proved to be a must as well, but it held up great and protected everything it was supposed to.
Kind of a blurry pic, but my front driveshaft ended up resting on a rock at once point. The rubber boot covering the splines was ripped almost completely off and you can see where the rock gouged it as the shaft spun. Not bent or anything, and the u-joints are still fine.
Even one of my precats got in on the action. Its hard to tell in the pic, but the tranny oil pan also got a very small dent and scratch on it, most likely the same time the front driveshaft took its beating.
Now for the doosey. I say nothing broke, but that's only because I can't tell for sure where the rear diff is leaking from. I don't see any cracks in the housing, but it's obviously not just coming from the bottom of the diff cover. Looks like it might be seeping very slowly from the passenger side axle tube where it enters the diff. Why Jeep thought it would be a good idea to use an aluminum center section, I'll never understand.
Maybe it's time to search out a HP44 and 9" to swap under the WJ. I really don't want to put any money into these axles since they're already slated for the scrap heap (or craigslist if anyone will buy them). I was hoping they'd at least last as long as this set of tires, though.
Got the Protofab front bumper installed today. What a PITA to do by myself, but I got it on after 5 hours of blood, sweat, and luckily no tears. I'll get pictures up tomorrow when it's light out and I get it trimmed to match the fender trim. I've got about 4-5" to cut off. Then I'll get around to the winch install. The bumper is great, but I've got a few qualms with Protofab's customer service. When I ordered the bumper, they told me 5-6 weeks for delivery, which I was fine with. 8 weeks later, no bumper, and no call or email from Protofab. So I emailed them to ask about it. They told me they were behind because of only having 1 jig to use to weld up the bumper and they'd email me with a tracking number. A couple weeks later, I emailed them again because I still hadn't heard anything or gotten a tracking number. Turns out they had shipped it a couple days before and had forgotten to send me the tracking number. Lastly, the company used to ship it has this awesome habit of saying it'll be delivered the same day you check the tracking info, and just changing the delivery date every day, saying it'll be delivered that day. 3 days of seeing it'll be delivered that day, and it finally showed up. But whatever. It got here. The bumper is super beefy, but I wish they would have kept me apprised of the fact that it took over 9 weeks to get delivered instead of the 5-6 I was told when I ordered over the phone. Pictures to come tomorrow after I trim it.
I've got a line on a set of axles from a 1977 1/2 F-250. Front is a HP D44HD, which I think means it should have 1/2" axle tubes (please correct me if I'm wrong). The rear is a D60. Axle width WMS to WMS should be around 68". I'm looking for some opinions on whether or not I should jump on these to swap under my dub or if I should wait to find a narrower HP44/9" combo. I haven't decided if I'm going to run 35's or jump up to 37's, so I'm a little concerned about the size of the D60 pumpkin dragging over rocks every time I wheel. I guess I could always shave the bottom of the D60 to get it almost the same amount of clearance as a D44, though. Opinions? Pros and cons?