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Old 07-02-2011, 12:27 PM
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How to be an effective off road driver

I've basically finished all the maintenance problems on my 4.0 6cyl yj needed for it to be solid and reliable. With the exception of the horn. Which I think is a relay and the horn it's self.

Now I want to start wheeling her. I've been offroad plenty of times, but I'm always the guy who takes a puddle hella fast and freaks out when his engine starts missing and bogs down.

I'm looking for some solid advice from experienced offroad aficionados. How do I drive my baby in mud, water, rocks, gravel, ruts, and anything else you can think of? I want to be aggressive, have fun, and really flex the power of the jeep. At the same time, I don't want to break anything. At least anything that I can't replace myself being a 19 year old working 40 hours a week on minimum wage, and going to school. I'm not gonna trip about alignment, ujoints, small stuff. But if anything breaks requiring a wad of cash and more than your average set of hand tools, I'm out of luck.

Any input is welcome! Thanks guys.

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Old 07-02-2011, 12:34 PM   #2
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Stay out of the mud. I understand being 19 that is difficult. I too was 19 a few years ago. Mud destroys your vehicle.

When on trails stay in low and take it slow. Don't be afraid to get out and look around for the best line over an obstacle. Always wheel with another vehicle, preferably another Jeep.

Have fun!

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Old 07-02-2011, 12:38 PM   #3
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Join a 4x4 club in your area, and get some seat time, learn from them. Slow is better than fast.
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:12 PM   #4
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Always learn from an experienced 4x4-er. For me it was my dad, who has been in lots of sticky situations and knows how to get out, whether it's a toyota, jeep, ford, ect.

When in doubt, ask.
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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Like nick said, stay out of the mud. It's a personal decision when it comes down to it honestly but the truth is the truth and mud does corrode and destroy a vehicle from the inside out.

Seals, joints, rust, anything where mud can get in it will and it will corrode in there. But anyways, just take it slow, do what you are comfortable with and learn from others. As long as you do the correct lines you will be able to climb some impressive things!
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:02 PM
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Thanks for all the input, guys!

A specific question though-

a while back I tried tackling a pretty decent incline that I've gone up before riding shotgun in my buddy's car. I was in 4-hi on the approach to the incline, because the trail was pretty forgiving. Once I started up the slope, I thought I could just stay in 4-hi, because I had almost made it up this hill in a friend's 2wd mazda pickup. The hill had eroded and rutted out since then as well as getting a bit steeper. Given the fact that I had already started heading up, and didn't want to stop and switch to 4-lo at the risk of burning my clutch getting back into the motion of things, I just laid on the throttle hoping if i built some momentum up It wouldn't be a problem.

Well, I made it, but I slammed into some ruts at mach-nevin, and spun my brand new 33" BFG ATs up the last third of the climb at a pretty good rate. Like.... throwing a rooster tail of gravel, and going 2 mph and barely making the climb.

By the time I got to the top I felt like a terrible parent. Not only was my heart pounding because I almost didn't make it, and wasn't sure I could back down safely, but also because it was so brutal on the way up that I felt like I mistreated my baby. (I had to replace a u-joint afterwards)

I also kept it in 4-hi on the way down I believe, I just kept it in 2nd and hit the brakes lightly a couple times.

My question to y'all is what did I do wrong? Would it have been better to stop at the base of the slope, engage 4-lo, and crawl up the hill, hoping I don't lose traction and momentum, or burn up my clutch? I really don't have a 4x4 mentor. All my friends and family drive sports cars. I did too until I totaled it. I'm madly in love with my jeep now though and would never drive anything else. I feel horribly awkward getting into my girlfriends little blue rice rocket and driving around town. Almost like I'm cheating on my beautiful black jeep.
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:14 PM   #7
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4lo and 1st gear on every new climb. Once you understand the obstacle you can then try different gears. Air down your tires when offroad. 10-12 psi is fine. When hill climbing or rock crawling slow is the first answer. When momentum is stopped roll it back just a bit and bump. This little extra will normally be enough to push you over. Bouncing the Jeep is extremely hard on the drivetrain and will result in mechanical failure. Also unhook your swaybar.
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by nick50471 View Post
4lo and 1st gear on every new climb. Once you understand the obstacle you can then try different gears. Air down your tires when offroad. 10-12 psi is fine. When hill climbing or rock crawling slow is the first answer. When momentum is stopped roll it back just a bit and bump. This little extra will normally be enough to push you over. Bouncing the Jeep is extremely hard on the drivetrain and will result in mechanical failure. Also unhook your swaybar.
That's what I figured. I need an air pressure gauge. Also, I don't have sway bars at all any more. or track bars.
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Old 07-02-2011, 04:44 PM   #9
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10-12psi for your tires would be perfect.

Also, when in doubt, just put the jeep in gear in LOW, and start it. Mine will start at a relatively STEEP angle very easily, and it's only a 4 cylinder. No clutch work needed. And as always, take things slowly when it's your first time trying a new obstacle.

If you start slipping, stop and back down to try it again at a different angle. If you repeatedly slip, then air down your tires. If you STILL slip, then back down and get a bit of momentum. 2nd gear LOW is all most people need to get going through even the worst of slippery elements.

BTW, don't let these nay-sayers deter you from having some mud fun. Just keep it in 4wd and get your speed up. As long as you can keep your momentum, you should be fine getting through it. It's kind of hard to rinse down the under-carriage afterwards, but well worth the fum IMO. I take a high pressure nozzle and go to town, then go for a quick drive afterwards to get the water out. Mud don't hurt nothin but your gas mileage

Oh, and if you go into the mud, TAKE SOMEONE WITH YOU! I don't know how many times I've had to pull my buddies out of the mud, because their stupidity gets the best of them.

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