I went to Mendocino today to enjoy the beautiful spring weather and had a great morning cruising around in the forest. On my way back down from the mountains I hit a bump, lost traction and kept going straight ahead instead of going around the next curve. This was the result:
I am extremely fortunate that I wasn't injured at all, and that I stopped pretty close to the road. If it had been the next curve up ahead, there wouldn't have been any trees or brush to slow me down and I could have just kept going.
I don't know if it was my positioning or just the little 24" antenna, but I couldn't raise anyone in the CB so had to hoof it pretty far to get cell service and then figure out which tow company was willing to come up there and get me on a a Sunday night. Anyway, the jeep was on its side for about 5 hours before the friendly neighborhood tow guy came and winched me out.
The fog lights attachment brackets are toast, the stock bumper is bent, the drivers side fender is very slightly bent, and there's two small divots in the grill and the front lip of the hood. Otherwise, no body or glass damage. There's no obvious damage to frame or undercarriage. There's a slightly sulfuric smelling fluid that somehow got inside the cab and pooled in the back drivers side above the wheel well while it was layed down. Could this be transmission or transfer case fluid? Why would it leak out like that? I clicked the starter a few times then it started right up and burned off some oil, then it was fine. I think I lost about a quart while it was on its side.
Anyway, drove it down the mountain and brakes and manual transmission were fine. Engine isn't missing at all. I topped up the oil and drove it home 100+ miles on the freeway with no steering pull, no wobble of any kind and zero problems.
The hard top sustained some damage:
Sorry, long post, but I've never been in an accident of any kind before, let alone in my new-to-me first jeep.
My takeaway from this:
Slow down. Respect the road, the road conditions, my vehicle specifications, and acknowledge my own skill level. It would have been a better idea to have a buddy with me, I was alone. Also should have planned my route and let my wife know so she could send out the Mounties if I didn't check in and were bleeding out in a ravine someplace.
As far as the jeep is concerned, I'm going to check or change all the fluids. I just did spark plugs less than 1000 miles ago, and there's no misfires, so I think they're fine. Bumper and fog lights are an easy fix, I actually have a spare bumper and one extra fog already so I just need to get another one I guess. The fog housings and glass are fine, it's just the brackets that are broke but I understand there's no way to buy just the bracket (Hella/mopar factory fogs). I'm not sure if I can Bondo the hard top and make it look anywhere near decent, it has that big hole and some smaller cracks here and there as well. Do I need to get an alignment?
Anyway, glad I'm still here and that my jeep is 95% okay as well.
Glad you are okay because that looks like it could've had disastrous results like personal injury in the middle of nowhere with no one knowing your whereabouts. Although it looks like a great off road location.(but of course with another Jeeper.)
Wow. That's a much better outcome than it could have been. Glad to hear that you're OK and also glad to hear the Jeep took on minimal damage for that roll. Makes us all think twice about going out alone and making sure you're prepared for the "Just in case"
97 Sahara 4.0 Auto. All stock, hardtop and soft top, 2nd owner. General Grabber 265/70/15
... I don't know if it was my positioning or just the little 24" antenna, but I couldn't raise anyone in the CB so had to hoof it pretty far to get cell service ...
I realize that this is a little too late, but there are products out there for when you are alone, in an isolated area. Can't guarantee that a product like this will ALWAYS give you a signal, but at least you have a better chance than being without one.
Glad no one was hurt in all this. Looks like the hard top is the worst. Luckily, if you've never worked with fiberglass this is your chance to learn. That roof is easily repairable in a matter of a few days including paint. Just goes to show you how tough those TJ's are
I'm glad to hear that you're okay, also glad to see that your TJ survived with minimal damage. As far as your hardtop goes I'd imagine you can fix the damage with a fiberglass repair kit. Once you get everything sorted out you'll have to go back to that road and have a grudge match.
Wow! Glad you're OK. Amazing that the jeep fired up with minimal fuss. Is that normal? I figured if I ever roll mine that it's going to require HUGE amounts of work to get her rolling again. Or worse, totaled. I almost think you should just leave all external damage and wear it as a badge of honor.
I wouldn't worry about an alignment unless you get un even tire wear down the road. Laying it over is not that hard on the drive train. Start having handling issues or tire wear that's uneven get one. Tires cost way more.
And if you have a boat repair shop call and see if they repair fiberglass. I would do that first over bondo.
Thinking the same thing. Do you have a wet cell or gel battery? If a wet cell, open the caps, see if any water is missing. If it is you need to clean any spilled area with a neutralizer, and of course refill the battery with distilled water.
Do you know what gear oil smells like? (90 wt) Distinct, different from battery acid. Could that be what you smell?
You could have gotten gear oil coming up and out the vent lines, causing a smell. You'd just need to clean up any spillage, and make sure your diffs are full/top them off.
very lucky indeed. I learned my lesson as well when I had a tire come off the ground when slamming on my brakes to miss a head on out on a logging road. no damage, but i practically wet my pants. I stay the speed of visiblity now.
It really smells like gear oil, I just did diffs about a month and a half ago. I think I want a soft top now, and I think it may be beyond me to do a fiberglass repair that looks decent. Still debating whether I want to attempt it.
Hey everything is worth trying once.
Jeeps never get stuck or broke. Just parked in odd places for an indeterminate length of time.
This is a close up of the most badly damaged area. Those of you that have some experience in this area, is it do-able?
In my professional opinion, No. Its gonna be real hard to get that shape. By the time you get a chunk of SMC and cut, grind, bond, body work, prime, sand then paint, not to mention take that glass out, Id be looking on CL for a top.