Collateral Damage 3-21-09

March 21, 2009


A couple Higher Ground Guys were blessed by the Jeep gods recently in the way of new parts. Two of our star vehicles received some rather beefy upgrades underneath and a good thrashing was in order. Alan’s Cherokee had just come back from Absolute Offroad with new Rock Krawler long arms and a new front locker, and Team Yellow were the proud new parents of the FatBob’s orphaned Teralow 4:1 transfer case. So what better to do but than to gently see how their Jeeps responded to their new equipment? This leads us to the break-in.


To break in-to run (new parts/machinery) initially under reduced load and speed, until any stiffness of motion has departed and all parts are ready to operate under normal service conditions; run in; wear in.


So what mild trails did they settle on for the ease-in testing process?

The early morning began with Yellowsub, Alan’s XJ, Chip’s Zuk, and Themud’s XJ meeting up. After a short deliberation, they headed over to Anaconda. It’s a shorter trail, challenging yet not dangerous; mostly waterfalls and rock gardens. The wash wall played havoc with Alan’s roof rack almost immediately but it still held. Most of the rest was uneventful until an alloy 30 shaft gave up on Themud. His trail spare took over and he made it the rest of the way out with everyone else.

After getting back to the main road, Collateral Damage became the main objective of the day. Mud sat out, but we picked up another Cherokee and a homebuilt trailer trasher on mismatched tires.

The best part about this run on CD was that Alan had had to sit this trail out a time before, but with his new locker and arms he was ready to check it off his list. Jonathan was already loving the gearing on the 4:1 and not having to play double pedal. The one thing Alan’s Chero had on Team Yellow for the waterfalls was his wheelbase. While aiding him greatly on the straight-ups, that longer end unfortunately found itself dragging along when it came to the notch.

It was comical that earlier that day, almost everyone not behind the wheel believed themselves to be spotters and instructions overlapped in dissonance. But when Alan pulled up to the notch on CD, everyone got real busy looking at the sky or ground or anything but his prospective lines. Finally some commands materialized and Alan tried sticking it to the wall. Before he was in the clear, his rear end slipped into the notch and his back hatch became a prop for keeping him off his side. The strap was brought out and he was pulled free, but not before tearing a good chunk of fiberglass away from the hatch. Surprisingly, even though the back glass popped out and the side window had been basically resting on rock, no glass was shattered.

The rest of the trail was uneventful until the last fall where only the stretched Zuk made it up unassisted. Also, the last umhp-out proved one last trick up the canyon’s sleeve. The white ground had grown so slick no tires could gain purchase. In fact on that little bump, the Cherokee pick-up busted his rear driveshaft while torquing his rig to death.

The great news was that the main objective would seem to have been reached. All the new parts didn’t just hold up but each driver was noticeably aware of the progressive difference they had made in taming some of the largest obstacles they’ve run to date. Nothing mechanical in the Higher Ground bunch was lost. Just a little collateral hatch.

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