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Old 05-18-2013, 11:30 PM   #31
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Those trails are my goal for next year... It will be next year before I have 35s if not 36s. But Calico is kinda boring to me now. Only used my lockers twice (going up wall street wash and up the big fall on Duran)

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Old 05-19-2013, 12:03 AM   #32
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Breaking down would be the pitts. But I am lifted, chromo'ed, locked, 4.88's, full skids, sliders,and on 35's..And I have a winch. I figure my jeep is as ready as a lot of guys who went there already. One thing I am learning fast is the line is everything. Trust your spotter and you don't have to do the most difficult line the first time thru. But wouldn't it be a blast to run a Hammer trail.
Check out this thread of this guys first experience at the hammers. It's pretty interesting/funny. Starts at post #562 and goes on for a couple pages.

SuperWade2's TJ Build Thread - Page 38 - JeepForum.com

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Old 05-19-2013, 12:39 AM   #33
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That was sweet. Thanks. Makes me want to go all the more. To me thats how you make decisions on parts. Like he said. His long arms got hooked on a lot of stuff. I am pretty sure I want a flat tummy and shorter arms than a long arm. I don't care for how the attachment points hang down. Right now I am a stock length with the stock shovel but a Skidrow front plate that fits right into the shovel.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:44 AM   #34
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That was sweet. Thanks. Makes me want to go all the more. To me thats how you make decisions on parts. Like he said. His long arms got hooked on a lot of stuff. I am pretty sure I want a flat tummy and shorter arms than a long arm. I don't care for how the attachment points hang down. Right now I am a stock length with the stock shovel but a Skidrow front plate that fits right into the shovel.
That's how you're supposed to buy jeep parts. Push your rig and find its week points. I do it all the time. Luckily no breakage yet but its fun doing the same obstacles as a guy with more lift and bigger tires, and I do it with out my lockers on and stock tires.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:57 AM   #35
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I unfortunately am not in your shape. LOL I use to be about 25 years ago. I use my lockers even when I really don't have to. I just don't want to get stuck. I can't climb or any of those kind of things. Pinched nerves in my lower back took my leg strength to almost zip. Then there is the extra 85 pounds I'm packing.
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:04 AM   #36
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I unfortunately am not in your shape. LOL I use to be about 25 years ago. I use my lockers even when I really don't have to. I just don't want to get stuck. I can't climb or any of those kind of things. Pinched nerves in my lower back took my leg strength to almost zip. Then there is the extra 85 pounds I'm packing.
That's completely understandable, but you'll hear my 25 year old ass on the CB trying some crazy line and what not. Like I said I want tougher than calico, but I think my stock tires can't take the hammers. I wouldn't mind trying sun bonnet if you wanted to go. Early July is fine with me also.
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:52 AM   #37
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Sunbonnet is what Steve was talking about. My rig is going to have to go as is till I can afford my suspension. Still thinking about which way to go on that.
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:52 AM   #38
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What are these lockers you speak of? Open Diffs, A/T tires, Armor, Skids, and Big Brass Ones seem to have gotten me through so far. Lol
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:11 AM   #39
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That was sweet. Thanks. Makes me want to go all the more. To me thats how you make decisions on parts. Like he said. His long arms got hooked on a lot of stuff. I am pretty sure I want a flat tummy and shorter arms than a long arm. I don't care for how the attachment points hang down. Right now I am a stock length with the stock shovel but a Skidrow front plate that fits right into the shovel.
That story made you want to go all the more?? Not me I think he was destined for a bad day wheelin with Blaine and Gerald in their built rigs. I also noticed his immediate need for upgrades. He couldn't steer because of no hydro assist, popped beads without bead locks. We may be overbuilt for most all black diamond trails, but it's nice to make them and not feel like he did, wanting to walk back and leave his rig...he also took bit of a beating on the body.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:16 AM   #40
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Sunbonnet is what Steve was talking about. My rig is going to have to go as is till I can afford my suspension. Still thinking about which way to go on that.
Take this in the kindliest way possible because that is how it's meant. Folks have died out there in the heat, not once or twice either.

I absolutely love the hammers but I won't go in the summer. It is hot and when you get in the canyons where the trails are, the temps go up, way up and there is no shade to speak of and no trees and I've been there when I would have given up the title to my rig for even the faintest hint of a breeze.

We were on Sledge in July one year and the guy in front of me hooked a 3 foot long rock with his rear axle tube. As he went forward, it lifted that side up 3 feet and was really quite impressive to look at.

I hollered at my buddy who was standing at the front of the rig to take a walk to the back of the rig to see the rock. He said it was too far to walk.

As far as your stay on the line comment, absolutely true, but the problem with JV is if you take the obvious line, you're gonna be stuck all day and you'll know what you're doing wrong when you hit your diffs and note the marks on that same diff hanger from all the rest of the newbies that took the same line.

As far as which trail. I'd send you up Lower Big Johnson to get you warmed up, take the sand fall down before upper Big Johnson and then down the canyon over to the beginning of Claw and up Claw. If you are feeling frisky after that, run out and do Aftershock. That is our typical warm-up run for beginners to dip their toes in without freaking them out too much.

Depending on the day, Sunbonnet is a handful, Sledge can be painful, and Jack can be downright miserable. None of them are a cakewalk and they all have a spot or three that will keep you scratching your head for a long time if you get flustered.

Good luck, I'd love to take you out there and show you around, but not that time of year.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:20 AM   #41
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That story made you want to go all the more?? Not me I think he was destined for a bad day wheelin with Blaine and Gerald in their built rigs. I also noticed his immediate need for upgrades. He couldn't steer because of no hydro assist, popped beads without bead locks. We may be overbuilt for most all black diamond trails, but it's nice to make them and not feel like he did, wanting to walk back and leave his rig...he also took bit of a beating on the body.
But wheeling like that helps you learn your rig more, not buy into the fads or trends of building a jeep. There is always a risk of body damage, and for me I'll circle it write the date and place and laugh about it around a camp fire. Also if you don't wheel how are you going to know what parts will benefit your rig the most?
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:24 AM   #42
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That story made you want to go all the more?? Not me I think he was destined for a bad day wheelin with Blaine and Gerald in their built rigs.
Not in the least. We take rigs identical to his out there all the time. He just managed to have a perfect storm of just slightly not built right, not enough experience, and a bad day on the trail. Others built the same but differently, same experience level, and different day on the trail have walked through with relatively little damage to both their mental state and their bodies.



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I also noticed his immediate need for upgrades. He couldn't steer because of no hydro assist, popped beads without bead locks. We may be overbuilt for most all black diamond trails, but it's nice to make them and not feel like he did, wanting to walk back and leave his rig...he also took bit of a beating on the body.
Like I've told you many times Bill, you'll know when you need steering and until then, not a lot I can say to convince you. Not good or bad, just is.

He didn't need beadlocks then and still doesn't. Given the fact that he has now been back to JV and run several more trails with no issues proves that out quite readily and that was with no mods to his steering.

The fact that he had a very bad day and still went back says a lot about the area. You'll either hate it or love it and woe unto those that love it because it is an addiction like no other.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:34 AM   #43
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That story made you want to go all the more?? Not me I think he was destined for a bad day wheelin with Blaine and Gerald in their built rigs. I also noticed his immediate need for upgrades. He couldn't steer because of no hydro assist, popped beads without bead locks. We may be overbuilt for most all black diamond trails, but it's nice to make them and not feel like he did, wanting to walk back and leave his rig...he also took bit of a beating on the body.
Note the similarities to your rig in this pic. This is a normal run for us out there.











There's 100's more at the Johnson Valley section of our website. justaddrocks.com
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:38 AM   #44
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But wheeling like that helps you learn your rig more, not buy into the fads or trends of building a jeep. There is always a risk of body damage, and for me I'll circle it write the date and place and laugh about it around a camp fire. Also if you don't wheel how are you going to know what parts will benefit your rig the most?
I agree and I do want to experience it fir sure. JV is talked about across the country and in fact several of those guys come from far away to run those trails. I am not scared in the least, I just like to be prepared. I have spent a lot of driveway time with Blaine and discussed it. I guess it's time to go experience it and hopefully avoid some of the common mistakes. I do want to begin some steering mods, just not all at once. I can see where that would be very beneficial.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:41 AM   #45
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Man...I love the Blaine can articulate his words to describe this stuff....I wish I had that ability.
I'm wondering if it might be helpful to Bob if he spent some more time running trails that would help bridge the gap between Calico and Jv...this is only a suggestion
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:48 AM   #46
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I don't want anyone to get the idea that I think i'm some super driver or have a upper level rig. I am just a guy with a nice jeep who likes to test myself. I started this thread to get feed back on going to the hammers and trying it. If the timing isn't right or the jeep is not ready then I'm not some dummy who just blindly goes ahead and plows on. I'm not ready to die just yet. So I'm really liking the info. Maybe I'll postpone it a bit. Have to see what the weather brings and who is willing to go along. I sure wouldn't try it without an experienced guide and some prepared trail buddies.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:08 AM   #47
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I don't want anyone to get the idea that I think i'm some super driver or have a upper level rig. I am just a guy with a nice jeep who likes to test myself. I started this thread to get feed back on going to the hammers and trying it. If the timing isn't right or the jeep is not ready then I'm not some dummy who just blindly goes ahead and plows on. I'm not ready to die just yet. So I'm really liking the info. Maybe I'll postpone it a bit. Have to see what the weather brings and who is willing to go along. I sure wouldn't try it without an experienced guide and some prepared trail buddies.

I don't think anyone is getting the wrong idea.

Here is the final thing you need to consider. You will get off the line, you will get stuck. At that point you need to depend on your trail buddies to come back, assess the situation, point you in the right direction and then get you moving again. Your willingness to hit those trails that time of year is very dependent on how much you are willing to abuse your buddies.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:11 AM   #48
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Man...I love the Blaine can articulate his words to describe this stuff....I wish I had that ability.
I'm wondering if it might be helpful to Bob if he spent some more time running trails that would help bridge the gap between Calico and Jv...this is only a suggestion
The disparity in difficulty level depending on the day is not able to be discerned until you actually get on one of the trails.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:11 AM   #49
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I don't think anyone is getting the wrong idea.

Here is the final thing you need to consider. You will get off the line, you will get stuck. At that point you need to depend on your trail buddies to come back, assess the situation, point you in the right direction and then get you moving again. Your willingness to hit those trails that time of year is very dependent on how much you are willing to abuse your buddies.
Or bring plenty of Gatorade and water lol Btw I'm great at giving IVs... I just need 35s before I can come play there lol
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:18 AM   #50
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Well like Super Wade said I don't want to be "that guy" although If I was being taught then it would be ok to be schooled and not do that on a trail day. So far I've been lucky and haven't gotten stuck in this jeep. I attribute that to great spotters. In my XJ I was a bunch. Open/Open and no lift on A/T's with a 2.5.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:38 AM   #51
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The disparity in difficulty level depending on the day is not able to be discerned until you actually get on one of the trails.
See....good stuff..
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:46 AM   #52
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Well like Super Wade said I don't want to be "that guy" although If I was being taught then it would be ok to be schooled and not do that on a trail day. So far I've been lucky and haven't gotten stuck in this jeep. I attribute that to great spotters. In my XJ I was a bunch. Open/Open and no lift on A/T's with a 2.5.
The only way you get to be "that guy" is when you fulfill the perfect definition of insanity by repeating the same actions hoping for different results. Everyone gets their turn in the barrel. That is an inescapable fact in what we do. I've done it and everyone I've ever wheeled with long term has done it. It just happens.

As to what defines being that guy, an example would be someone we will call CL. We wheeled with him out there many many times and the back of his rig was always empty.

No water, no food, no tools, no spares. One trip over Aftershock, he as per the norm was tail gunner so he could screw around on BS lines. In doing so he ripped off a front brake line. We all went back, dug through our spares for tools, brake fluid, brake lines and banjo bolts. We got him fixed up in short order and after the run all handed in our YOU OWE US these parts, fetch them up and get them in your rig.

Next trip out, he did the same thing on the same trail and several of us were with him the first time. He had not got the parts he was supposed to and we bailed him out again.

The third time he did this on the same trail, we all told him around the camp fire that he was not going to be welcome back if he continued to be "that guy" and to get some parts and tools and perhaps a bottle of water or three.

It takes a lot to be "that guy" and the rest of the time, it is just your day so don't worry about it being your day and don't be "that guy".

I break very seldom but when I do, it is a lot of fun. I had a driveshaft get a bow in it and swing around and knock the NSS out of the side of the transmission. That was a mess, but it was my time.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:31 PM   #53
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The only way you get to be "that guy" is when you fulfill the perfect definition of insanity by repeating the same actions hoping for different results. Everyone gets their turn in the barrel. That is an inescapable fact in what we do. I've done it and everyone I've ever wheeled with long term has done it. It just happens.

As to what defines being that guy, an example would be someone we will call CL. We wheeled with him out there many many times and the back of his rig was always empty.

No water, no food, no tools, no spares. One trip over Aftershock, he as per the norm was tail gunner so he could screw around on BS lines. In doing so he ripped off a front brake line. We all went back, dug through our spares for tools, brake fluid, brake lines and banjo bolts. We got him fixed up in short order and after the run all handed in our YOU OWE US these parts, fetch them up and get them in your rig.

Next trip out, he did the same thing on the same trail and several of us were with him the first time. He had not got the parts he was supposed to and we bailed him out again.

The third time he did this on the same trail, we all told him around the camp fire that he was not going to be welcome back if he continued to be "that guy" and to get some parts and tools and perhaps a bottle of water or three.

It takes a lot to be "that guy" and the rest of the time, it is just your day so don't worry about it being your day and don't be "that guy".

I break very seldom but when I do, it is a lot of fun. I had a driveshaft get a bow in it and swing around and knock the NSS out of the side of the transmission. That was a mess, but it was my time.
This is why I'm not ready for the hammers. Although I could probably handle some of the trails, being my DD, I can't afford to break something right now. I'd like to try to hold out until the Jeep is paid off. Don't know if I'll be able to hold off that long though.

You should just try to make sure to go with someone that has done it many times + people that know how to fix a rig when it inevitably breaks. It doesn't matter how built you are, something is eventually going to snap and it's not always going to be your fault.

On Marble cyn, we had a guy snap his tie rod. You'd expect that to happen with an OEM tie rod and then take some of the blame. He had a RK tie rod and just hit a rock at a bad angle. The fix was to send someone to Bill's house to get a tie rod. Luckily marble cyn isn't that far away. On the Hammers, it could make it a LONG day out in the desert.

You just have to be prepared that flat bedding a broken rig out is a possibility. So I'd like to go and watch you nuts try it. I may just be the co-pilot/camera man that day.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:50 PM   #54
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Essentials for the Hammers.
Some way to plug and air a tire back up.
Recovery gear including a tow strap large enough to get around a big rock. Note that it is a tow, not a recovery strap. Tow straps don't stretch as much as recovery straps do.
Winch for every 2-3 rigs.
Bottle jack
Spare fluids including brake, engine and gear oil, trans, power steering, and coolant. There should be enough scattered between the rigs to get one rig up and going. If each person carries a couple of quarts, it spreads the load out.
Container large enough to drain engine oil and or diffs into for recovery of fluids to keep the trail clean.
As many tools as it takes, as few as you can get by with.
If you have a special needs rig, carry those special parts. Or put another way, if you have a non standard serpentine belt, carry a spare.
If you run stock axles, bring assembled spares.
If you run a stock but only regeared Dana 35, ask your buddies how much they like you because you are about to make their day one of pure misery. If you have a Super 35, spare axles will be fine and you should be fine.
If you run a set of stock steering, bring a complete spare set.
A set of spare brake lines with banjo bolts should be in someone's rig. Neither end is immune from being damaged out there.
If you have a trail rack over the spare on a swing-out tire carrier with gas cans and a cooler, consider leaving it at home.
If you run stock steering, get a cooler installed. You will thank me later.
If you are running a hard top, ask yourself how you will feel when you break it because the chances of it making it home unscathed are about 1 in 5. Or put another way, if you run 5 trails out there, you will break it.
If you run full doors, same rules apply. If you want dents in your doors, run'em, if you don't, get some trail doors that you can remove and toss in the back.
If you run stock taillights, bring some black duct tape and some bulbs, you are probably going to need them.
If you run a stock belly skid, you will not have fun, but it is doable, just be prepared for a lot of noises and troubles you haven't had before.
Don't even try it without rock rails. The damage you will do to your tub will just about make you cry and really make it difficult to put them on when you get back.
If you tend to do your maintenance on the trails, stay home because any weakness you've been able to sneak by with previous, will now be a game changer.
If you tend to get impatient and hit the throttle to get over stuff, that doesn't work any more unless you have big strong parts and a healthy wallet.
If you run a manual, it doesn't matter how deep your diff gears are, the stock t-case is not going to be your friend.
If you don't run an engine skid, you need to.
If you don't like scratches in places you never thought would get scratched and mangled by the rocks, go someplace else.

Take a look at this page I put together of my friend Sergey's rig. This is a couple of seasons worth of trails out there. They do not show numerous cut tires, the tub he killed, the hard top he broke, the Ox Locker he broke, the 9" Detroit he destroyed with a pair of 31 spline Currie axles and a gear set.

so you want to be a rock crawler?

Bring water, drinks, extra clothes in layers, and lots of hand snacks instead of or with a formal lunch. If the day gets delayed by a repair or just lack of experience, the smart trail leader will get the group moving and keep them moving without stopping so you need something to nibble on while you're driving.

Do not forget to drink water no matter the temp. Even in the winter we have folks get dehydrated and get grumpy with headaches and start sniveling.

Limit the group size even if it hurts everyone's feelings. I've lead groups and runs out there for the past 12 years ranging from 2 to 40 rigs both as an amateur and a professional guide and group size is key to having a good time.

We led 40 rigs plus 6 guide rigs for the Tinbender Jamboree over Aftershock. We left the lakebed at 9 and were all lined up at the last waterfall at 10:30. We did not get everyone over that obstacle and headed back to camp until 5 hours later.

I can drive out that upper section without a spotter from the bottom all the way to the end in about 5 minutes. If you struggle, it's easy to burn up a half hour per rig.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:55 PM   #55
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Note the similarities to your rig in this pic. This is a normal run for us out there.











There's 100's more at the Johnson Valley section of our website. justaddrocks.com
Hey on the first image (what looks like the start of Sledge Hammer) is the CJ ...5th jeep back...Rogers rig....?

Its hard to tell looking at it from the small screen of my phone..
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:55 PM   #56
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This is what I am talking about. I don't carry any of those spares. I guess I should see about getting those Items on the list. I do have a pretty good tool bag but I need to add to it with some bigger wrenches and a breaker bar. And I have the winch and straps. Should have the snatch block by the time I go. While all that oil and stuff is going to eat up space and add weight I can see it's use on the trail. I just had Stan upgrade all my axles and UJoints to chromos and HD's.
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:15 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Gunner View Post
This is what I am talking about. I don't carry any of those spares. I guess I should see about getting those Items on the list. I do have a pretty good tool bag but I need to add to it with some bigger wrenches and a breaker bar.
Resist the urge to carry every tool you think you may need. Instead, carry what you know fits your rig and then some universal stuff. I carried a 1/2" socket set out there for years. One day after several years and never using it, I gave it away. Instead, I carry a 1/2" drive ratcheting breaker bar, 1/2 to 3/8's adapter and then specific 1/2" drive sockets like 3/4" for lugnuts, 13mm 12point for knuckle bolts and anything else that is specific to my rig. Doing it that way pares down a 1/2" socket set and ratchet to an extension, double duty breaker bar, and about 3 sockets.

You can apply the same logic to the rest of your tools but you should have a 15 or 16" Rigid aluminum pipe wrench, a stout 36" prybar with a flat end, a fiberglass or metal handle 3 lb shop hammer, and keep them accessible.


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And I have the winch and straps. Should have the snatch block by the time I go. While all that oil and stuff is going to eat up space and add weight I can see it's use on the trail. I just had Stan upgrade all my axles and UJoints to chromos and HD's.
Don't try to carry all the fluids. I have one bag that holds 6 quarts. 2 oil, 2 trans, 2 gear. If everyone does the same, you'll have enough to get a rig out of trouble.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:20 PM   #58
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Good info Blaine, I am always working on the list in my head and adding small things like tire repair kits & stems, ARB air line repair, ujoints etc. I hadn't though about brake lines. The tools and parts along with recovery gear is in about 3 bags that I rachet strap down to keep them from moving or becoming a projectile. I am looking at making or having made, a secure way to keep them in the Jeep. something in the form of an insta trunk, only bigger and made from aluminum or steel as opposed to plastic
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:49 PM   #59
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Valve stems.....Flexibles not hard ones..Some of this is just new thoughts for me.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:02 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by BillG.OTD View Post
Good info Blaine, I am always working on the list in my head and adding small things like tire repair kits & stems, ARB air line repair, ujoints etc. I hadn't though about brake lines. The tools and parts along with recovery gear is in about 3 bags that I rachet strap down to keep them from moving or becoming a projectile. I am looking at making or having made, a secure way to keep them in the Jeep. something in the form of an insta trunk, only bigger and made from aluminum or steel as opposed to plastic

Did you ever notice if you put a bookshelf or similar in a home that no matter how bare it is when you start, it doesn't take long before it is crammed full and you need another shelf?

The same will happen if you put a storage box in the back of your rig. It won't be long before you have to empty 300 lbs or crap out of it to get to the one thing on the bottom.

The only thing I would recommend is a bulkhead at the front of the cargo area to keep crap from sliding under the seats.

The other rule I personally live by in JV has to do with recovery because it is used every trip. Your pair of leather gloves lives beside the driver's seat with the winch remote and a 3/4" anchor shackle.

There is nothing more frustrating when you have a rig you are spotting that gets into a precarious about to fall over situation and the winch remote and shackle are in a bag buried in the back.

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