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!
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.