Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jenny Creek 11/13/11

It was windy. It was cold. But it was a great day to go snow bashing! Patrol 14 arrived in Rollinsville about 10:30am Sunday morning. After airing down, we headed up Rollins Pass where we would drop off onto Jenny Creek.

It wasn't long before we were greeted with multiple downed trees. The wind was very strong the night before, and this was no surprise. No one had brought a chainsaw nor a bow saw this day, but luckily we had a couple axes. A few of us jumped out and cleared the trail for anyone traveling behind us.

We eventually reached the turn off for Jenny Creek and headed down the narrow slope. The trail was a lot narrower than I remembered , and it certainly took its tole on the plastic windows.

Right before we reached the creek crossing, we were greeted once again by another downed tree. Chad attempted to drive over it and got himself high centered on his diff.

We were able to winch Chad off the log, and then came out the axes. After a long chopping process, we were finally able to move the tree off the trail.

We crossed the creek, met up with 2 fellow Jeepers, and attempted the rock obstacle. With every failed attempt, the rocks became more and more slippery. Chad took a good 8 tries and then moved out of the way for Ryan to attempt. He was almost successful on his first try, but just couldn't get the rear tires over the iced up boulders. He finally opted for the winch. Chad took another few attempts and finally made it up and over. He would be the only one on this day to make it up the obstacle unassisted.

 As we continued up the creek, someone mentioned over the radio that they had blown a drive shaft. We get out to inspect, and sure enough, one of the Cherokees and broke the slip yoke on the rear of the t-case. After further inspection, we found that the the Cherokee had actually broken a center pin on the driver side leaf. top of that, the u-bolts weren't tightened down, so the whole set of leafs fanned back to the rear of the wheel well, which in turn pulled the pinion down putting tremendous stress on the drive shaft causing it to snap at the yoke.

We worked for well over an hour on resetting the leafs and getting a new center pin installed. The yoke was trashed and so the Cherokee would have to finish the day in 2wd. The 2 jeepers in front of us had actually turned around and told us that the trail had about 6 trees that were 3'-4' in diameter and that it was no longer passable us we had a chainsaw, which of course we didn't. So we all got turned around and headed back out.

Even with the trail repair, it was a great go for wheein'.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bill Moore Lake 10/22/11

With snow about to blanket the state in a couple days, Patrol 14 decided to make one last attempt to reach Bill Moore Lake for the season. The weather was great, with lots of sun all day long. On this day, the group was very diverse with Ryan and Chuck being the only members to attend the run. The other attendees were a group of Ryan's friends in a Toyota, JK, and a small quad sport.

The lower portions of the trail were clear and in great shape.

We were positive we would make it to the lake on this day as w had not seen really any snow on the trail. When we approached the final downhill section of the trail before the lake, we found a Land Rover attempting to come back up a slipper, snowy, slope.

While waiting for the Land Rover, the JK blew a tire and so we blew the ti by switching out the spare. The JK's spare was only a street tire, so we opted to leave it behind as the rest of us trekked down the slope. Thanks to the warm weather, the downhill part was super easy with no sliding. There was however, one narrow slippery spot that grew some hair on your chest. Being a little off camber and downhill, the back ends of the vehicles wanted to crab walk and almost pull you down the treeless slope to your right.

We finally made it down the slope and past the old mud bog area and approached the lake. The wind was whippin' really good, and it was bitter cold.

We got some poser pics, and then put a game plan together to tackle the narrow section again, this time going up hill.

Ryan and Dane had working winches, but Chuck did not. This meant Ryan would go first, winch past the narrow section, drive all the way up the hill, turn around, come back down, and snatch to a tree pulling chuck up. Then, Dane could follow up using his winch. The plan worked to the T, and just took a considerable amount of time.

 The final bit of the uphill drive was interesting as it had become very icy since the sun had gone below the peaks. After a few attempts, everyone made it up safely, and it was time to grab the JK and head on down. I am sure we were the last folks in a 4wd to see the lake for the next 7 months.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ryan's D44 Swap

It is only a matter of time before every Jeeper decides that what is under their Jeep, just isn't enough. Ryan finally had this epiphany, and after much searching, decided to swap in a pair of Dana 44s from G2.

G2 uses the D44 housing from the Rubicons and throws in a ton of extras: Chromoly axle shafts, the gear set of your choice, lockers of your choice, spicer u joints, spicer ball joints, and of course their famous HD aluminum diff covers. These axles come as a direct swap for the d30/d35 that was already under the Jeep. The only requirement, is that you need to keep both sets of brakes, and the outer knuckles from the d30. And with a 5 year warranty, this was a no brainer.

Ryan opted for ARB air lockers front and rear, 5.13 gears, and also upgraded the rear axle shaft to a 33 spline shaft.

Night 1 was the tear down of the old D35. Disconnect the driveshaft, unbolt all 4 control arms, unbolt the drum brake backing plates, disconnect the lines, and swap the new D44 in it's place...

Everything went smooth with this side, and the Jeep was on it's own weight in no time.

Night 2 Ryan started the tear down of the front D30. First step was to knock off the outer knuckles...

At the end of night 2, the front was completely out, and it was time to say goodbye to the old D30...

Over the next several days, a few steps needed to be completed before the Jeep could stand on all fours again. The front driveshaft needed to be shortened due to the extended pinion length the D44 has compared to the D30. The outer knuckles and pitman needed to be reemed out for the new 1 ton tie rod ends that were part of the new 1 ton steering setup bought from Frank Z at A steering stabilizer mount also needed to be fabricated on the new drag link as it did not come with one.

After one full week of sitting in the garage, some control arm tweaking to adjust the pinions, the Jeep pulled out with a new, stronger set of legs...

A 500 mile break in period is required before the new ARBs can be used, so since no offroading was in Ryan's near future, he made one more modification to the new setup. How about some green accents?