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Old 12-23-2018, 10:15 AM   #1
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It's good to push just past the limits ...

Figured I would share my little misadventures from my last outing with the boys. I won't make it a trip report, but more a lesson on why it's good to be competent to work on your vehicle if you get off the grid.

This was just an overnight guys trip on a trail I've been on countless times in my Jeep and a few times with my van prior to trail altering weather a few years ago. There's one particular spot I just should have called it quits on, but went for it. A very bouldery wash out. The lifted Wranglers have no problem on their 35" tires. Even my buddy with his lifted FJ that always gets stuck made it (and was my winch buddy from here on out).

On the way into camp while I was hung up in the wash (did a little body damage behind the passenger rear tire) my locking hubs would not stay engaged so had to get winched out and drove the rest of the way to camp in rear wheel drive low. It was past cocktail hour so attempted repairs would wait until morning.

Seemed to be the drivers side hub and it was actually loose. I pulled it apart to find some stray metal that I cleaned out. Looks like it hadn't engaged all the way and just striped the end of the teeth off the inner hub. BTW, these are the classic Warn hubs that came on my SMB. I got them to stay engaged for about 10' of driving. I concluded I would just make it out on my rear axle.

Well, when in the same washout on the way out, this happened!

https://youtu.be/DXZj42ihEnY

That's not a good noise and no more power to the rear wheels. I blew up the rear differential and was dead in the water (well, washout). Doubled up my winch line in tandem with my buddy's winch and after a while managed to "dead lift" my van out of the wash.



Rear axle engaged just enough to get me rolling and I coasted to the side of the trail.

While they were working to get another vehicle through the section that didn't belong on this trail I pulled both front hubs totally apart. I then MacGyvered the heck out of them to permanently lock them. Put rear axle in neutral and front in low range (god I love my Atlas transfer case!). I was mobile again!

I made it the rest of the way out as a front wheel drive. Got up to Hwy 4. Called AAA for a tow.



Went into the bar and had a beer while I waited while the rest of the crew headed back in the direction of home.

Had it towed to my gear guy (doesn't everyone have one?). He pulled it apart a couple days later to confirm I stripped the spider gears in the rear differential but everything else looked good. Funny how there were 3 teeth left on each gear. He rebuilt it for a pretty penny and all is good back there now.



He had a recommendation of Yukon hubs for the front so I just had him pull the guts out of the front hubs so they weren't locked anymore. I bought the Yukon hubs and installed those myself BECAUSE IT IS GOOD TO KNOW HOW THEY WORK!. The Yukon hubs are very impressive in design and construction and priced right. They look perhaps similar to Dynatrac's very expensive hubs (I admit I haven't seen those in person though). They are a totally different design than the Warn hubs.



Old Warn Hubs. They've been bashed on a bit over the years.


New Yukon Hubs. They don't protrude as much and fail to a locked position!


Aside from the $'s spent and a bit of body damage, this was a good lesson for me. I thought my full float Dana 70 rear axle was indestructible. I was wrong and now I know. I also know much more about front locking hub operation.

I have some ideas on how to make this awesome!


I know there are many others on this forum that can MacGyver things together to get out of situations. I've seen many fine examples of it over the years and am glad they let me learn from them.

Time to hit the trail again ...

For your viewing pleasure, this was also the maiden voyage of my buddies Patriot trailer (~$60K into it). Very little damage considering. He now pays much closer attention to the trailer when on the trail.

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Old 12-23-2018, 10:37 AM   #2
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Most interesting. I assume you were using 4low when you rear dif came apart? If the front was just spinning due to the failed hubs, all that increased torque was sent to the rear, overloading the gears, but I wouldn't have expected that with a FF 70 though. I just had hub issues myself. Interestingly though, my hubs were locking by them selves. When I needed 4wd, I got out to turn the stock Ford hubs only to find them already most of the way to the lock position. I figured I must have forgotten to unlock them, and went on my way. A couple days later after having unlocked them, I again found them half way locked. Since I'd had them apart while doing the front brakes, I though I might have packed them with too much grease, but when I took them apart again yesterday, it didn't really look that way, so I took the easy way out, and bought a new set of Warn's that were on the shelf of my local autoparts place. I now consider that it must have been operator error, since they worked just fine before I had them apart. Sorry you learned such an expensive lesson, but thanks for the warning, I'm going to be extra gentle if that ever happens to me
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Old 12-23-2018, 10:39 AM   #3
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Glad you made it through, with most of the damage contained to your wallet.


Just keep in mind that all the torque of a 6.0L going into the low gear of your Atlas is asking a LOT if only going into one axle. You had do do what you did to get to the trailhead, but I would minimize that in the future.




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Old 12-23-2018, 10:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
Most interesting. I assume you were using 4low when you rear dif came apart? If the front was just spinning due to the failed hubs, all that increased torque was sent to the rear, overloading the gears, ...

You beat me to it while I was typing my response.




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Old 12-23-2018, 02:24 PM   #5
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You have skills! Well done on your recovery, and it definitely was a good thing you had an Atlas.
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Old 12-23-2018, 03:28 PM   #6
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Well-played Phil! I often wonder in these situations whether the 30 spline front axle that SMB spec's in a Dynatrac60 but it appears, at least in this case, it's the Warn hubs.
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Old 12-25-2018, 05:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpvi View Post

I bought the Yukon hubs and installed those myself BECAUSE IT IS GOOD TO KNOW HOW THEY WORK!.

I know there are many others on this forum that can MacGyver things together to get out of situations. I've seen many fine examples of it over the years and am glad they let me learn from them.

Time to hit the trail again ...
Glad all is well enough to hit that trail again---interesting story here to be sure!

If there's one advantage to DIY'ing any vehicle its instances like this whether they happen in a remote area or even out on the highway. Trail-side or road-side repairs can save countless hours, more than a few dollars and maybe most importantly NOT rob of us time spent on the fun parts.

Each time we have a problem and learn from it we're far, far better prepared for the next time something bad happens. I blew a heater core coolant hose on the way to a job, something that would have found so many waiting by the road for a tow. A little bit of McGiver'ing had me blocking the broken coolant line with parts and fittings I typically carry anyway refilling the radiator and heading back out to finish the job.

Once back home about 4 hours later quickly repaired the damaged hose, refilled the lost anti-freeze and some 3 years later its all still holding together. I learned a lot from that entire experience including what tools and extra supplies I should carry even when driving around town.

My collection of parts and tools grows a bit each time something like this happens BUT I leave home knowing I'm mostly prepared for most mishaps---and that's quite comforting.

So again thanks for sharing your story Pipvi!
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Old 12-25-2018, 09:03 AM   #8
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Thanks for sharing, great recovery.



Yep, everyone needs a Gear Guy, mine is Porter's Precision in Eldorado Hills, CA, Kenny has helped me out of more jams than I can count on both hands!


Hardcore Jeppers and offroaders know how to improvise, and could teach classes in McGuiverism, there's more knowledge out there on the trails than in 3 forums put together.


Some guys say that the Warn hubs with their powered metal and sintered slider gear is a good 'drive train fuse'. Some of the Suzuki Samurai guys swear by them, others swear at them.


Glad you made it out with minimal wear and tear
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:23 AM   #9
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Was just reading this over at Expedition Portal. Made me think of this thread.

https://expeditionportal.com/remote-...down-strategy/
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Old 12-26-2018, 10:45 PM   #10
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How did the trailer flip? Those have articulating hitches so I assumed it was very difficult to get them to roll.
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