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ombilly 03-15-2012 12:58 AM

Going 4Wheeling for the first time tomorrow...what do I need to know?
Total greenhorn here. Just got a 1994 YJ 2.5L. It's got about 117,000 on it. Clutch is strong, engine is strong, tires are a bit worn (30" Mud Terrain with about 1/2" of tread left), 4wd works well. I've had it about a month and wanted to make sure it wasn't going to completely fall apart before doing anything offroad related.

I'm headed out to Carnegie Offroad Vehicle Park in NorCal. It's been raining a few days here and I'm told there is mud to be found there. It will be light rain tomorrow so I expect more rain.

This may sound like a stupid question but I've never owned a 4wd vehicle. What are the do's and don'ts one needs to know before heading out to somewhere there might not be cell phone service to do some mudding? FWIW I'm going with a friend that just picked up a 4wd XTerra and it was his idea to go out there.

Imagine I'm 5 years old if you explain something I might not understand. Thanks for any pointers on how not to get stuck or pop a tire.

natax 03-15-2012 12:59 AM

Keep your tires spinning and keep your windows down, jeep style!

On a serious note, keep your tires going, rpms high, and be careful not to fall into a rut from a big ole chevy or other 4x4 vehicle that has bigger tires. And make sure to have someone you know there to pull you out! We all get stuck our first time.

ombilly 03-15-2012 01:10 AM

Thanks man, I'm pumped. I've always been one to try and take care of a vehicle that I own so it seems like my anti-thesis to take it out and punish her. I'm guessing it's as fun as everyone says because there are so many Jeep owners that do it, just seems weird.

Do you guys see it as an oversized dirtbike or 4-wheeler?

I got a Wrangler because I always wanted one, perhaps for all the wrong reasons. Maybe tomorrow a heavenly light will shine down on a sh##-eating grin on my face and I will realize how awesome it really is to own one.

JPetru82 03-15-2012 01:20 AM

hey man, not sure if you've seen it yet, but check out the thread "anything ever happen in NorCal?", you can find it in the California section. We are planning a trip to Cow Mt may 12th. We have about 16 jeeps going as of now. Going to run a lot of beginner/intermediate courses, and of course some more challenging ones for a few of us. If you don't have plans, you should try and make it. We can teach you a lot about 4wheelin'. Where about are you in the bay area?

Norcal_Chris 03-15-2012 01:43 AM

Mud sucks i will tell you that.

Basically put it in 4 low and maybe 2nd gear and floor it all over and try not to get stuck. Carnegie gets pretty sloppy. Nothing like prairie city but it is still pretty bad.

Plumber1 03-15-2012 01:50 AM

DON'T get sideways on a hill. If you try to climb something and get it all the way up, be sure and back down straight. If you are unsure GET OUT and take a look at what you about to climb over. Not sure about keeping the speed up, I do most of my off roading in the serria's with rocks, and in rocks it's all about SLOW SPEED, you wnat to crawl over things not race over them. Start out slow and take the easy way through, TAKE your time. If something feels or looks dicey DON"T do it. You will have lots of time to screw up. Oh yea have fun, and rinse the mud off when you get home.

Xpress 03-15-2012 02:21 PM

There are a few things you will need before you should ever consider going out into the mud.

-First of all, a tow strap. STRAP, not a tow rope with metal hooks on the end- if the hook bends or breaks, that's a chunk of metal that's going to be flying at you at full speed. Always use a strap, and always keep said strap with you.

-Next is a high lift jack (sometimes referred to as a Farmers Jack). Every offroader will need one at one point or another, I've already used mine just a couple weeks after getting it. Wish I had it for when my buddy got stuck in a deep rut.

-A basic tool kit incase something breaks. 3/8" drive sockets, deep sockets, 3/8" driver, an extension, a few pairs of pliers, and a tire iron. Don't forget to have a roll of duct tape, a couple quarts of oil, a pint of brake fluid, and some clean rags.

A lot of this you can find at Harbor Freight for cheap. $50 for the jack, $30 for a tow strap, you probably already have the tools, and then about $15 worth of fluids from AutoZone or somewhere. Don't forget to bring at least a 3 gallon can of fresh gas.

It NEVER hurts to have any of this stuff, especially if you guys are going to be wheeling in the mud.

Regarding tire pressures. Since you have 30" tires, I would air down to around 25psi for working in the mud. Mud is tricky to get through. If you don't pick your routes accordingly, you will get stuck. The last thing you want is for both of you to get stuck out somewhere where you will have to wait overnight to get help. If you're going to be motoring around in the mud, keep your RPM's up. First gear, 4wd HIGH probably 2500rpm+ and you will motor right on through it. Second gear is the same, keep your RPM's up. Don't be afraid to slip and slide.

Also, go one at a time. Let your buddy play while you sit in a dry location, incase he happens to get stuck. Then switch it out. This way you will always have a rig ready to pull someone out. Don't forget a little air compressor to pump your tires back up.

yjJEEPyj 03-15-2012 03:21 PM

All in all.. You will for the most part get used to it pretty quick. Jeeps do pretty great in the mud. Rember If you get stuck in a rut use thoes sidewalls To grab (steer back and forth and hit the gas) And If you arnt moving... Dont just keep flooring the gas! try putting it in reverse.. still not moving? Get a tow strap before you trench yourself in even more ;)

DirtyRob 03-15-2012 09:49 PM

If you keep the pedal to the floor your trip will end quickly. I usually air my tires dow a bit, and they grip much better. You can take any suggestions you want, but unless it is deep sloppy mud tire speed isn't always the answer. I wheel in the mountains a lot, and can run most any trail in red clay in the rain less than 3,000 rpms up hill. Traction is the key not wheel speed. That is why so many people explode the Dana 35 axles.

I love wheeling with my a new guy when they bring a big truck with a V-8 and just gas it to the floor at every hole, hill and rut. Then I just creep through and smile :D
I have been mudding and wheeling for a long time on atv's and Jeeps, and there is a time and place for high rpm's but that is not the answer most of the time unless you just really don't care about your stuff.
I am taking the time to tell you this because I have seen too many people have a bad first time out that ends on the first few trails with their rig broke.

Take your time and enjoy where you are. Don't be too proud to get a tow if you think you may be "in too deep". If it is your first time wheeling at that place, watch and pay attention to the rig in front of you, and what line they picked, is there a better line? Just use common sense

My last off-road rig had 355,00 miles on it 34x10.50 Super Swampers, welded gears front and rear, 3 1/2" lift and other that that was stock. I never broke an axle, never turned around on any trail, and never started one that I did not make, and I always had the smallest tires in the group. A lot of time I was the shuttle back to town to get parts.
The moral of the story is pay attention, and use common sense. Then you will be able to wheel when all your buddies are fixing busted parts.

Oh yeah, make sure you clean as much mud from the brakes and wheels as you can when finished playing in the mud. Your brakes will thank you and you will thank them when they stop 2 days later :whistling:

Good luck and most of all, (Jeep quote) have fun out there :thumb:

1BadAssJeep 03-15-2012 10:06 PM

Whenever I hit a hole, I put it in 4L/2nd gear and just cruise threw. With my 2.5l, 4H/1st gear just bogs out.

gp90 03-15-2012 10:18 PM

Buckle up, it can get rough in a hurry. Crank up your radio/iPod and have fun:punk:

Timberwolf 03-15-2012 10:27 PM

once you and your friend have tow straps, make sure you both have good recovery points to attach them to

Xpress 03-15-2012 10:39 PM

Key points (to consolidate it for you):

-Air your tires down.

-High RPM's when on the trails is not the answer. Picking your lines properly is the best route possible.

-Keep a basic recovery package with you.

-Keep your RPM's up if you're screwing around in mud pits (not excessively).

-When in doubt, 4 low it out.

-Bring some food and water. Especially water.

ombilly 03-19-2012 12:40 AM

Thanks for all the tips guys. Ended up going today with my friend. All I have to say is, "OMFG! I had no idea how much fun this stuff is. It's like a shot of adrenaline that lasted for a couple of hours." Seriously, I have no words. I'm waiting for Youtube to finish uploading a video and I will post it. In the meantime, here's a picture of what Donna looks like with her prom dress on the floor:

JPetru82 03-19-2012 12:49 AM


Originally Posted by ombilly
Thanks for all the tips guys. Ended up going today with my friend. All I have to say is, "OMFG! I had no idea how much fun this stuff is. It's like a shot of adrenaline that lasted for a couple of hours." Seriously, I have no words. I'm waiting for Youtube to finish uploading a video and I will post it. In the meantime, here's a picture of what Donna looks like with her prom dress on the floor:

where'd you end going?

ombilly 03-19-2012 12:57 AM

Carnegie SVRA. Turns out I live about 20 minutes away in Livermore. It was gnarly. I actually caught hail on the way back out from the rain we have been getting on and off. If you ever get bored and have some time, come out. I'm happy to host/meet new Jeepers.

ombilly 03-19-2012 03:20 AM

Carnegie Offroad Vehicle Park 3-18-12 - YouTube

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