Trail Report: San Antonio Jeep Exclusive club run @ Stillwaters Ranch

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John Canfield

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Joined
Aug 8, 2006
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14,141
Location
Texas Hill Country
I've got one short YouTube video edited and uploaded, have more to edit.

Equipment report (new rear AntiRock, outboarded rear shocks, relocated spring perches):

The 'banging' and 'clunking' I had in the rear is now completely gone. Yea. I suspect the noise was the trackbar moving in its loose JKS axle bracket (or maybe the canted spring shifting position??) Since we've done new trails this weekend, I have no idea if my changes to the rear axle made any difference in wheeling capability. It seems that the rear is 'tracking' better or following the front end now. Jane commented that Rubi "seems more stable" now when I asked for her opinion today. For my seat of the pants evaluation, I think we have a little more body roll with the rear AntiRock but I never felt like I was not in control and I tried some hard turns at ~20-30 mph on the way back from the trails.

To my complete pleasure, there appears to be zero interference between the AntiRock arm Heim stud and the inside of the tires - I was really worried about the end of the stud working against the Kevlar sidewall but I do not think that's an issue now. I think Rubi's new rear axle mods are a complete success.

Enter the new boing-clang. It sounds like the front springs have decided to make some very interesting noises now - this is different so I don't know if we have shifted a noise to the front as a result of the rear axle work or if this is something new. Next week I'll get Rubi's front end off the ground and poke around. We are doing the Chili Challenge next month (Las Cruces, NM) so if there's something new going on, I need to figure out what it is asap.

Day one report:

It was a long, slow day. The Inks Ranch (where the Texas Spur Jeep Jamboree) is held is on the Llano Uplift - a huge uplift of granite (granite = sticky traction.) The Stillwaters Ranch (5-10 miles to the east of Inks) is all limestone with a lot of loose rocks and small boulders - it was challenging in places.

We chose the hard group (as usual) but we wound up with a bunch of Jeeps (maybe 15+?) with various skill levels and equipment levels (and ages.) We had the old geezers (me and "the Doc"), middle aged folks, and then several kids (anybody under 25 is a kid, or geezer-in-training  ;)) with limited experience and usually a fairly stock TJ or JK.

Unfortunately many had open diffs and the answer to obstacles for many was "more throttle.." I'm a big proponent of throttle where indicted but unfortunately throttle at the wrong time caused a front left axle U-joint to explode for one guy in a TJ. It took two stages of winching him up an obstacle ("The Gauntlet") that was just a tad challenging for us, but not a real big deal as far as obstacles go.

There was another couple in a JKU with very limited experience (we were combined with a Medium Group before we split up early-on) and he hit his steering stabilizer so hard he bent it to where he couldn't make a right turn (see attached picture.) Tools come out, stabilizer removed, problem solved.

"The Doc" broke a right rear axle (JKU) on a so-so steep climb with some small steps and he had to be winched up.

We broke........... wait for it....... nothing  :D .

Day two report:

We ran many of the same trails as yesterday but there was only five of us, all but one JKU were built up TJs or LJs. We covered about the same ground in 2.5 hours that took us 8 hours yesterday. Nice.

Some of the attached pictures are of us and a TJ trying an optional obstacle called the "Dust Bowl."  Nobody could get up the clay slope due to the base being so undercut (dug out by rear tires.)
 

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Thanks John for sharing.  I felt like I was there. Yours is a very nice looking rig.  While our Rubicon is not as tricked out as yours,  I did get Terry a set of Foxxy shocks for rear and we no longer  bottom out!  Very cool.

The stair steps looked really fun and glad you did not break anything!
 
Thanks Betty!  The 4-door with the broken right rear axle was right ahead of us on the little stair step climb and had to be winched up, he broke it there or maybe a few feet back on the climb. 
 
Nice stuff John. I someday hope to be able to take a month or two and go do some wheelin like you and Jane do. Lord willing, it will happen soon? :D
Love the videos.
 
John - Great videos!  :)  I just had a Rubicrawler installed.  I can't wait to give it a workout.
 
Photog said:
John - Great videos!  :)  I just had a Rubicrawler installed.  I can't wait to give it a workout.

Thanks!

Congrats on the RubiCrawler!  Consider upgrading your axles also since the RubiCrawler will put much more stress on the drivetrain.  Be careful when using it so you don't get a tire in a bind - with 10.88 gearing (assuming you have a 4:1 transfer case) you will have amazing power at your control that can break U-joints and/or axles.

If you have an auto tranny, you won't be able brake to a complete stop in 4-low with the crawler engaged, so be ready to move the gear shift into neutral.  Just take your time getting familiar with it.
 
John Canfield said:
If you have an auto tranny, you won't be able brake to a complete stop in 4-low with the crawler engaged, so be ready to move the gear shift into neutral.  Just take your time getting familiar with it.

Been there, done that with the low gears and no stopping power. I have a Atlas and it is the same deal. You just have to learn to slip it into neutral. You can change your brake booster and it will help. I have a new one for a TJ if anyone is interested? I can't remember who built it.
 
John Canfield said:
If you have an auto tranny, you won't be able brake to a complete stop in 4-low with the crawler engaged, so be ready to move the gear shift into neutral.  Just take your time getting familiar with it.
I have the 2.72 transfer case so my final reduction is 7.4.  So far no problems stopping it.
 
John,
I love the commentary on your videos.  I'm certain a Rubi Crawler is NOT in our future.

Betty
 
Bill - okay then, your brakes will work  :D.  I even have the Vanco big brake kit on the front of ours and that won't hold it back.

Betty - thanks! 

I really love the RubiCrawler, I went down some very steep grades last weekend in 4-low and 1st gear with the RubiCrawler engaged and I never had to touch the brakes.  I also use it quite a bit while in 4-high - it gives perfect gearing on the easier trails.  It's one of the most significant upgrades I've done.
 
Photog said:
I have the 2.72 transfer case so my final reduction is 7.4.  So far no problems stopping it.
With that ratio you will be good. When you get to the 9.00 + and under is where the motor will just drive through the brakes. There is a company that makes a module so you can lower the idle.
John, I have a few friends (yes I have some) who have done the big bake kits with not much luck either. They change out the booster and then they had great stopping power. I just remembered the guys name who use to make the booster kit for the TJ. Harold Off, you most likely would have meet him at a Jeep event. He passed away two years ago, (rest his soul). Really great guy and full of knowledge. I do have one for sale, I bought two but only needed the one!
Have a good day wheelin John and Jane! Be safe!

You think we could put a thread heading under the 4-Wheelin section for Jeep Parts?
 
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