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Unread 06-26-2013, 09:09 AM   #1
babysvt
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Need Advice for First Trip to Moab - Essentials for the Trail

So I am trying to figure out what modifications are absolutely necessary for our trip to Moab in a few months. We will be hitting some of the trails but none of them will be the difficult trails other than Elephant Hill, which I have been told is not really difficult. Here are the mods I am considering:

2" leveler kit
33" tires
new front bumper/skid plate (this one is more because I like the look)
lockers

I am wondering if the lockers would be something considered a necessity for this trip. I definitely plan on doing the first three items regardless but thought I would get some input from those who have driven these trails. Are there any other essentials you would recommend?

Thanks!

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Unread 06-26-2013, 11:29 AM   #2
Redtwo
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I took my 2008 JKU Sahara to Moab last year with just 33" tires and a stubby front bumper. We did Poison Spider, Fins and Hells Revenge with no problem. Based on you email you will not need lockers but can you list the other trails you are going on? Just want to be sure what you think is easy is what most of us think is easy.

In regards to a leveling kit you probably don't need that either. You will have plenty of room to stuff the 33" tires with the stock suspension. If you are thinking of doing anything more than a leveling kit in the future I would just skip the leveling kit and go with a suspension lift later on when you find one you like.

I have yet to add lockers to my JKU. I am finding that what I want to do will require them but you will be impressed on what you can do just stock. I just got back from a trip to Lake Tahoe and spent half the day on the Rubicon. I don't recommend Cadillac Hill on the Rubicon w/o lockers. Hope that helps
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Unread 06-26-2013, 02:26 PM   #3
babysvt
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Thank you so much for the response. The main reason we are doing the leveling kit is because the husband hates the look of the slope. He has this issue with all vehicles we have.

As for the trails we will be doing (these are listed in the "Guide to Moab, UT Backroads, etc." by Charles A. Wells) we are still trying to decide. I know I want to do Elephant Hill for sure. There are so many to choose from but the ones that are listed as difficult are: Sevenmile Run;Top of the World; Bartlett Overlook; Fins & Things; Lockhart Basin; Elephant Hill; Strike Ravine; Kane Creek Canyon; Cliff Hangar; Hell's Revenge; Rose Garden Hill; Poison Spider Mesa; Flat Iron Mesa; Metal Masher; Gold Bar Rim; Steel Bender; Moab rim; Golden Spike; Behind the Rocks and Pritchett Canyon. The way the book lists them this is in order from least severe in difficulty to really difficult. We were not even going to consider any of these trails because we weren't sure what we would be getting ourselves into. I would love to know a fellow Jeep owners opinion on the realistic difficulty of these trails.

It is great to know that a few of the trails you listed Poison, Fins and Hell's are doable. We want something challenging and fun but nothing to crazy. Are there any of the trails listed above that you would definitely advise against?

Thanks again for the reply.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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I was down there a month ago and my buddy with a stock JKU with 33" tires did 3D without any issues. There are really only two hard parts on it and they are right at the very end of the trail. He has the sport so no lockers but maybe a limited slip. I can't remember. The other guy we were with did Fins and might have scraped a couple times but didn't have any problems there. Someone else will pipe up and you'll have an arms length list of trails to do.

I was going to ask how those mods were pitched to the wife, like, honey if we want to go on this trip and have a good time and not get stranded we need x,y,z done. Sounds like it might be the other way around though. If that was the case I would say you need at least 4" lift, detroit lockers, 4.88 gears, Dana 60's front and rear, and 37" tires. BARE MINIMUM. Enjoy the trip.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 02:51 PM   #5
babysvt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanctified View Post
I was going to ask how those mods were pitched to the wife, like, honey if we want to go on this trip and have a good time and not get stranded we need x,y,z done. Sounds like it might be the other way around though. If that was the case I would say you need at least 4" lift, detroit lockers, 4.88 gears, Dana 60's front and rear, and 37" tires. BARE MINIMUM. Enjoy the trip.
That sounds exactly how I try and justify my need to purchase items for my Jeep!!! I have gotten pretty good at it over the years.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 04:56 PM   #6
Redtwo
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I totally understand your husbands need to get rid of the rake. Here are my thoughts. Don't do the leveling kit before the trip. Any of the trails I suggested or the ones you originally listed will be fine without the it. This being the first time for your JKU down there see if you want or need more from your suspension. If you realize that you want more, like I did the first time I took it down there, then don't waste money on the leveling kit. Any suspension lift will also level it. There are plenty of kits that you can do under 3" that are great and will allow you do mod up even more as needed.

I know you can do Poison Spider without any issues. You may hit a skid plate now and then but that's what they are for. When I went down my first time I hit a couple of times coming down as the suspension compressed from the drop and then was just fine after it settled. It's a great trail.

I did Metal Masher this spring after adding my lift (2.5 RK MT). I wouldn't recommend it without a lift. I also skipped the two major obsticals as well, widowmaker and Rock Chucker. Anything above Metal Masher on your list may be too much. Gold Bar Rim and Golden Spike may be doable. My buddy went down with a group and did the Poison Spider - Golden Spike - Gold Bar loop and I think one of the jeeps was a stock JKU but I'm not sure. I'll ask and let you know. Cliff Hanger I haven't done but from conversations I have had I don't think I would do it in a stock JKU with 33"s. Someone who has done Cliff Hanger might chime in.

Everytime I take my jeep out, I add more items to the list of mods that have to be done. Next on the list larger tires, gears, and lockers. You will probably do the same but if it was me I would do as little as possible to see what you want in the future.

Again I hope this helps.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 07:51 PM   #7
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For 33's and no locker i would say the following.

Sevenmile Rim - You'll be fine. Did it just last week and it is probably one of my new favorite trails. Nothing too hard on it. Has one off camber(tippy) spot that will perk you up but isnt difficult.
Top of the World - You'll be fine. Somewhat long(seems like) and semi boring drive up a bunch of small ledges. Ledges occur just enough to keep you from going fast but spaced just enough that you hate crawling them in 4-Lo. However the view at the top is awesome.
Bartlett Overlook - Should be fine. I ran it a few years ago on 32's and no lockers in a wrangler so unless its changed alot you should be ok.
Fins & Things - Nothing hard here. Some steep climbs and descents but nothing a little gas wont solve. Ran this unlocked on 32s in the past as well.
Lockhart Basin - A very long drive and very remote, make sure to go with another person. There is one rocky section that you will be fine going through and is the only reason its rated difficult. Did it with 3 rigs that were all unlocked, 2 of which were on 31s. Left at 9am and got home at 11pm, however we did pop over to the chicken corners hike first and stopped at other things on the way so you could probably shave a few hours off.
Elephant Hill - Should not be rated difficult. The hill part has asphalt filling in anything difficult. Only thing i can think of that may be odd is the fact you have to pull forward and back through a section on the hill since its too narrow to turn around.
Strike Ravine - havent done it
Kane Creek Canyon - just did it last week and the majority of the trail is simple enough. There is one rocky section near the end that you should be able to get through ok with a good spotter and maybe some rock stacking. Trail is very confusing though down in the river section so be sure to look for ribbons. There is also alot of overgrowth that will scratch your paint to death just FYI.
Cliff Hanger - havent done it
Hell's Revenge - All major obstacles have bypasses. lots of steep climbs and descents. Hardest part that you have no real choice on is the exit. Its pretty rocky and torn up but a spotter or good driving skills will get you through fine.
Rose Garden Hill - I would say no dont do this one without lockers. The hill had some spots even locked vehicles on 33s in my group had trouble on.
Poison Spider Mesa - Probably my favorite trail, have ran it every time ive been in moab. 5 times this year alone. You will be fine on this trail as most difficult spots have bypasses or easy lines.
Flat Iron Mesa - All obstacles on this trail have bypasses. The obstacles themselves arent really that hard, just use a spotter if your unsure. Tilt a wheel/tilt a whirl is probably the most difficult. The intimidator obstacle on this trail is actually quite nerve racking. when they say you are within a few inches of a cliff they actually mean your tires are only a few inches from a massive drop. what they dont tell you is that you also are off camber and tipped towards the cliff. Its not a difficult obstacle, just makes you pucker up a bit. I would suggest using a spotter.
Metal Masher - Lots of ledges to climb up. Ran this years ago with no lockers and 32s. Only had an issue at Mirror Gulch mainly because i was new to wheeling and scared to gas it up. The longer unlocked vehicle with us had no problem.
Gold Bar Rim - should be fine although ive only come down this trail after running poision spider and golden spike, never have ran up it.
Steel Bender - I would say no on this one. It has alot of bigger ledges and areas that even locked vehicles struggled on, mainly the chute climb area(witches steps i think its called?)
Moab rim - Never ran it
Golden Spike - I'd say no without a locker. yes ive seen stock vehicles do it but ive also seen what they come out looking like on the other end. A locker and some higher clearence i would say is adviseable. Going with another person on this long, remote trail is a must in my book.
Behind the Rocks - never done it but supposedly its the 2nd hardest trail
Pritchett Canyon - never done it but supposedly its #1 in difficulty
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Unread 06-27-2013, 12:04 AM   #8
85IrocZ-28
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^Good info from Brian. I'll add my own thoughts:

Sevenmile Rim - Amazing trail, my wife wants to drive this trail on our next trip, one of her fave's
Top of the World - Long Drive, Long and bumpy Trail, amazing overlook
Bartlett Overlook - ? I haven't ever run it
Fins & Things - Perfect trail for a first Visit to Moab, you will really enjoy it
Lockhart Basin - ? Looks fun, I haven't run it but really want to. Very long, don't go alone
Elephant Hill - About an hour drive from Moab. Gas up beforehand, don't go alone.
Strike Ravine - We ran the first half of it this month. It was fun, but I have no clue what the second half looks like (too much breakage, we exited the trail)
Kane Creek Canyon - Don't run it unless you don't mind scratched paint
Cliff Hanger - Don't run it, hardest trail I have ever run to date. The book was written right after some major obstacles were back filled. I had to take a winch to get out of a major bind, and I broke a front Ring and Pinion on this trail. I don't recommend this trail for a rig unless you are lifted and well built. We stacked rocks like crazy to help another WJ on this trail (4 inches and 32's), but I needed to stack rocks three separate times for my own rig.
Hell's Revenge - Iconic Moab Trail, a must do. There are a few spots that you will need a spotter, but I ran this trail with a stock JKU in 2011
Rose Garden Hill - Don't run it. Onion Creek is a fun trail (many river crossings, but basically a dirt road) as it leads up to Rose Garden Hill. I hit my sliders and skid plates on two ledges, and it would have really helped to have lockers. I thought I was going to need a pull to get up one of the ledges. Other than a 300 yard section for which the trail is named, it was a boring trail IMO
Poison Spider Mesa - Very fun trail, one of the most popular. You can run it, you may need a spotter in a few places but you will enjoy the trail.
Flat Iron Mesa - ? I haven't run this trail yet
Metal Masher - Don't run it, I don't think you will have the clearance for some of the obstacles.
Gold Bar Rim - You may be able to run this trail, but I haven't ever run it in from the North. It has a few challenging ledges
Steel Bender - Don't run it. We got a stock JKU through the trail because he really wanted to join us. However, he didn't have any paint left on the bottom of the jeep. He severely tested his skids that day.
Moab rim - I am not sure if you could make the steps on the Z-turn without a larger lift and tires. This is the toughest trail mentally that I have run. It is off camber, you often feel like you are going to roll sideways, fall off a cliff, and land in the river.
Golden Spike - Don't run it. You need a larger lift and tires to avoid body damage. To do this trail, you run 3/4 of poison spider, Golden Spike, out Gold Bar Rim, and exit back to the higway on Gemini Bridges. It is an all day trail (8am-7pm usually) when you are moving pretty quickly. Never do this trail alone. Many obstacles can provide opportunities to break or damage the vehicle. That said, I really enjoy Golden Spike.
Behind the Rocks - ? I haven't run it, and don't plan on it. I don't think your rig is built enough for it.
Pritchett Canyon - ? Don't run it. This trail is another very difficult trail. I would recommend at least 35's, 4+ inches of lift, and lockers. I have never run it, but have reviewed many trail reports that have convinced me that I don't need to run this trail. Don't go alone, this trail also has many reports of broken parts.

Other things to think about:
Have a compressor to air the tires back up for the trails that require a substantial drive back to Moab (Lockhart Basin, Elephant Hill, Top of the World)

Never wheel alone, go with another rig. If you get lost or break down, you need to have help. The desert climate is not very forgiving. If you are travelling alone, you can often find groups to wheel with by hanging out at City Market in the mornings.

Things that I always take with me on the trail:
Tools
Clothes to wear if I need to fix stuff
Compressor to fill tires
Tire Gauge and quick air down tools
A full size spare
Trail Jack
Spare fluids (something to absorb other fluids, something to plug holes in pans and covers)
Tons of Water
Extra food in case we get stranded
A tarp to create shade
A blanket in case you are stranded overnight
My Charles Wells book
A friend in another vehicle

Trails I would recommend for sure: Fins and Things, Hells Revenge, Poison Spider, Seven Mile Rim
They are all very cool trails, great views, iconic Moab wheeling, and they should all be doable. Don't rush yourself. Take the trails slow and don't be afraid to use a spotter. Nothing ruins a trip like major damage.

Happy Jeeping
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Unread 06-27-2013, 07:40 AM   #9
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Awesome info guys, thanks. Taking a 3.5'' lift, 32'' tire zj to moab in august. Got a buddy tagging along with a 33'' tire otherwise stock jk. My zj has proven to be a very reliable runner and it would be easiest to just drive it there, mainly gas reasons. What sucks is I have a truck and trailer and can't decide for the life of me if I should tow the jeep. Ahh, decisions!!!
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Unread 06-27-2013, 08:34 AM   #10
babysvt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85IrocZ-28 View Post
^Never wheel alone, go with another rig. If you get lost or break down, you need to have help. The desert climate is not very forgiving. If you are travelling alone, you can often find groups to wheel with by hanging out at City Market in the mornings.
Thank you for this tidbit of information. One of our concerns was going out alone. We learned how this could be dangerous when we were in Tucson last year and up in the foothills. We had no trail GPS and everything started to look the same and we had no idea where we were. We had to keep an eye on the onboard GPS and watch for the main road and just drive towards it. We did have fun but learned some very valuable lessons. We are hoping to find someone going out when we are in the Moab area so that we can have some company. This is always an AWESOME way to meet new people and create great friendships. I am going to keep my eye on the forums just in case there is an event or group going when we are there.

Thank you so very much for all of the great informaton and for taking the time to be so detailed. What is sad is that we will only have about 3 days and so many trails to choose from. I have decided to upgrade my tires, replace the front bumper with the one I want and spend some money on the small stuff. You guys have made me even more excited to get down there and have some fun. I may have to break it to the hubby that we may be spending the entire week in Moab and skip the Grand Canyon!
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Unread 06-27-2013, 05:23 PM   #11
sanctified
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Any idea or even ball park on when you will be down here? You said "a couple months" but when are you guys thinking? My buddy and I are working towards October to be back down to Moab and will be running some of the milder trails listed above. He is in a stock height '13 JKU and is hoping for a mild (2.5") lift by then. I am just hoping to stop breaking u joints by that point. We are thinking October to give it some time to cool off.
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Unread 06-28-2013, 10:08 AM   #12
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We will be arriving in the Moab area on August 24th and staying for three or four days before moving on to the Grand Canyon. This is a pit stop on our way to visit family in Tucson so we only have a week to see both Moab and the Grand Canyon. We may skip the Grand Canyon if we are having too much fun in Moab. It is a bummer that we will be going earlier than you guys! It would have been fun to have someone to go Jeeping with!

I completely understand the wanting to go when it is cooler but we love the heat so anything is fair game for us. We haven't had much warm summer weather yet so we are looking forward to the warmness or hotness, however you look at it!
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Unread 06-28-2013, 11:24 AM   #13
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If your unable to find someone to go with you. It's pretty common if you go to City Market off main street around 9am there will be several groups parked there that you could tag along with.

If not, while not ideal, I wouldn't be afraid to run these alone: Hell's revenge, Fins & Things and Poison Spider. Probably a couple others I can't think of.
1. not too far from town (worse case you could walk out, all though take plenty of water!)
2. Pretty popular chances are someone would come along eventually.
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Unread 06-28-2013, 12:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by YJYNOTJ View Post
If your unable to find someone to go with you. It's pretty common if you go to City Market off main street around 9am there will be several groups parked there that you could tag along with.

If not, while not ideal, I wouldn't be afraid to run these alone: Hell's revenge, Fins & Things and Poison Spider. Probably a couple others I can't think of.
1. not too far from town (worse case you could walk out, all though take plenty of water!)
2. Pretty popular chances are someone would come along eventually.
I ran fins and most of Hells revenge by myself. But I ended up catching up with a group that had 10 rigs


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Unread 06-28-2013, 01:55 PM   #15
babysvt
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We will probably go to the City Market to see who is there and where they are going. We would love to run with a group, especially being newbies!
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