What have you seen on the trail? What kind of trouble have you encountered

Equilibrium31

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Apr 7, 2018
705
Burnsville, MN, USA
Hey everyone,
I had one of my first real off-road trips this last weekend and it was awesome. However, I know that I need to do much better preparation for future trips as I encounter more serious trails, particularly since I head out with just myself and my spouse in the same Jeep.

However, I think whatI could use the most is knowledge from other off-road veterans on what I could encounter, so I want to ask:
What kind of trouble have you encountered while off-roading?

What kind of tools/equipment has been the most useful and what kind of repairs have been needed?

And, of course, any general advice is appreciated for a newbie like me, who will be buying his first winch soon.
 

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Biggest trouble I’ve been in is having my oil pan hung up on a giant ledge. Got off safely, oil pan beat to thunder. Then had to winch three times from different location to get back up. There was no going down.

1. Get a winch and learn how to safely use it.
2. Get a tree saver and a snatch block
3. Have recovery points front and rear
4. Practice driving on easier trails so you know where everything is in the cab without looking
5. Wrenches
6. Rubber hammer
7. Jack
8. Axe
9. Shovel

Some of this is terrain dependent. It’s also dependent on how hard you wheel and what kind of wheelin you do (rock crawlin, muddling, forestry trails, overland exploring)

10. Going solo, give someone a detailed GPS route you are taking and stick to it
11. Bring enough food and water to stay the night
12. Blankets
13. Axle shafts

There’s more...
 

tworley

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
May 23, 2018
1,640
Morrison, CO
I carry two tool boxes and a good socket set. The tool boxes hold a ton. One holds recovery equipment like my 30 foot recovery rope, d-rings, winch controller, as well as a 2 quarts of oil, baling wire, spare ujoints, and a few other items. The other box I have contains spare bolts/fastners, electrical wire, tape, connectors, fuses, multiple channel locks, snap ring pliers, crecent wrench, cb antenna cable, matches, and again a few other items. Spare shafts in an old camp chair bag which lays well on the floor behind the seats. Finally a thorough set of of sockets/ratchets, allen wrenches, screw driver set in the tool set I also carry. At one point or another, I have used and lent others anything I have aside from the axle shafts, which I didnt have at the time. Although I know someone who ended up blowing his ujoint on his d30, he finished the trail in 3wd. If I had my shafts then I definitely would have let him use them.
 

Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
3,787
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
A decent set of tools
Recovery gear
Fire extinguisher... Of all the stuff I've seen, that is the scariest to me. If your rig catches on fire... Well, that could be real bad.
Blanket
Water
Leather gloves
Zip ties
Nitrile gloves
 
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JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
I believe @Jerry Bransford mentioned to me more than a few times that rule #1 while wheeling is never go alone.
I agree, but just to add a perspective to this, if you go to an OHV Park, you will probably be fine going alone, as there are other rigs ready and willing to use their winch to help you out!
 

Nimbley

Member
Jun 21, 2018
87
Somewhere in the desert
I had a fan clutch give up on me about 40 miles into the sticks. I could't get enough speed to cool the engine down. I ended up taking a length of barbed wire from a nearby ranches fence to tie the fan to the hub. It worked to get me home.

I've rebuilt the starter on my K10 on the tailgate once about 125 miles from the nearest civilization after a week long camping trip. I'd already loaded the gear and push starting was more work than repairing the starter. It lasted two more years before the bendix finally broke and had to be replaced.

Basic hand tools and leather gloves are always along for the ride. I add to that as the trip requires.
 

Igoo65

Member
Jan 7, 2019
95
Colorado Springs, CO
All of the above is great advice! I must stress never go alone. I was on Chinamans Gulch and put my fan through my radiator. Thank God I was with other people. They helped me get parts, repair my Jeep and get my wife home safely since I had to spend the night in Buena Vista. The guy that helped get me back to my Jeep (BV Jeep) and help me install the new cooling system broke a front U-joint on the way out. He had a spare axle with him, which showed me to always have spare axles. The other thing you may encounter is people that don't share your passion for Jeeping. I'm not sure how you feel about guns, but having a side arm with you is a good Idea for when there are problems with 2 or four legged animals. Plus JB weld comes in handy! :)
 
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StG58

Backwoods Amateur
Supporting Member
Oct 29, 2015
5,916
Orygun, the wet side...
There's going off road, and then there's "going off road". The wife and I do the same sorta things it sounds like you do. We get out in the pucker brush in the Great PNW on a regular basis so not all of our lessons may apply to MN and your situation.

Good judgement, experience, a very well maintained TJ with no outstanding repairs is your very best and first line of defense against getting stranded and having a long walk ahead of you. Good judgement comes from bad judgement, stuff does happen and you'll learn from it. Think "should I" vs "can I". This is especially true as you gain experience. Experience comes from time under the wheel. There is no substitute. Learn from other Jeepers what works and what doesn't in your area. Hardware is not a substitute for experience. It only allows you to screw yourself more thoroughly.

Maintain your TJ. There should be NO outstanding maintenance items on the list of to-do's before you head out by yourself. None. That will surely bite you in the ass at some point. Repairs - same thing here. Nothing broke on the Jeep. If it's broke, figure out why it broke and repair and or upgrade as required. Sure way to get stranded by not doing that simple thing. Listen to your TJ, it'll tell you what it really needs. Ask a lot of questions here with lots of details and pictures.

Get a good GPS and paper maps. Learn how to use them properly.

Go have fun.
 

mrblaine

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Nov 20, 2015
3,393
Quail Valley, CA
Troubles on trails we've run into.
Fan through the radiator.
Blown fuel pump fuse.
Wires cut off flush to the top of the CPS on bellhousing.
Trackbar mount ripped out of frame.
Multiple instances of folded tie rods, broken draglinks.
Knuckles blown off the axle. Happens when you break a u-joint and the yokes bypass each other. The ears catch and shove the knuckle down pulling out the lower ball joint and the pin out of the upper goes with the knuckle.
Broken axles both ends. Lockers blown up when the axle breaks inside it and splits the carrier bearing.
Driveshaft swung around the wiped off the top of the neutral safety switch which by the way, also lets the fluid run out of the transmission.
Friend hit a bomb crater in the middle of Means, the bounce knocked the main wiring harness loose which then fell into driveshaft and wound it up into a wad about the size of a football.
Trackbar mount ripped off of front axle.
Calipers falling off. Calipers getting ripped off on rocks.
Hole in oil pan from crank after an enthusiastic bit of driving knocked the trackbar into oil from over-compressing the suspension.
Blown up u-joints and H-bars in driveshafts.
edit to add more-
Blown up ring and pinions.
Blown up Detroit lockers.
Blown up Rubi lockers.
Blown up Toyota 8" rear end. Puked the cross pin out the housing.
Rough Country shocks pulled in half due to being too long.
Broken spindles from stub shafts blowing up inside them.
Driveshafts cut in half by spinning on rocks.
More broken tail lights than I can remember.
Lots of flops.
Steering knuckle broke in half around lower ball joint hole.
Steering gears ripped off of frame which also yanked the return nipple out of the plastic reservoir.
Steering gear sector shaft broken in half
Cut tires in sidewalls. 4-5 dozen. 1 rig in particular cut 4 tires in 1 trip out to the trail.
Battery cable flopped under front inner fender under articulation, fender pinched cable at the frame rail and started a fire.
Ruined rims from stupid stuff like using extended thread lug nuts and not checking them to see if they were tightening the rim in place or bottoming out on lug studs.
Best ruined rim was a steel rim being spun against a rock trying to get up a little notch. The rock rolled the outer bead inward, inverted it from an outie to an innie and pushed the tire bead off the sealing surface.
 
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derekmac

TJ Addict
Feb 10, 2016
1,798
NS, Canada
The worst I've had on one of my runs was a rollover. There's also been gas lines ripped off, ring gears blown, u-joints busted, a snapped tie rod, ball joints letting go, transfer case mount breaking and tcase falling down (that was fun), sliced tires, ect...

Did a rescue where a guy and his gf were wheeling alone, got stuck, and while he was trying to figure out how to get out, fell in the hole they were stuck in. The problem was it was winter, and he didn't have a change of clothes. He had mild hypothermia when we got to him, and luckily one of the guys with us was a first responder and knew what to do.
 
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ac_

zombicon
Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2017
3,729
AZ, United States
All of these are good suggestions, but I want to add some things that have happened to me.

Even not being alone, things happen. One time we were out and someone with a full sized Blazer was with us. We were out for the day, and he was stuck in a mud bog. It was so thick, it worked its way into the bead, and ripped the tire right off of the bead. We couldn't get it clean enough to re-bead it. So another friend loaded up the tire and my friend, and they ran for the city, but we had to wait around while they were gone. Nobody had any food, and it ended up being hours.

So my suggestion is bring spare food. Even extra if you can. Water is good to have too. I always pack extra clothes in case I get muddy or wet, and I always have a blanket. Try and have your basic needs just in case the worst happens.

Of course a small tool box is good. (before i had a winch I carried a portapower). You can't think of everything, so think worst case.
 
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Kiwi TJ

If people ar talking behind ur back,then just fart
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
May 3, 2016
3,685
Auckland New Zealand
Troubles on trails we've run into.
Fan through the radiator.
Blown fuel pump fuse.
Wires cut off flush to the top of the CPS on bellhousing.
Trackbar mount ripped out of frame.
Multiple instances of folded tie rods, broken draglinks.
Knuckles blown off the axle. Happens when you break a u-joint and the yokes bypass each other. The ears catch and shove the knuckle down pulling out the lower ball joint and the pin out of the upper goes with the knuckle.
Broken axles both ends. Lockers blown up when the axle breaks inside it and splits the carrier bearing.
Driveshaft swung around the wiped off the top of the neutral safety switch which by the way, also lets the fluid run out of the transmission.
Friend hit a bomb crater in the middle of Means, the bounce knocked the main wiring harness loose which then fell into driveshaft and wound it up into a wad about the size of a football.
Trackbar mount ripped off of front axle.
Calipers falling off. Calipers getting ripped off on rocks.
Hole in oil pan from crank after an enthusiastic bit of driving knocked the trackbar into oil from over-compressing the suspension.
Blown up u-joints and H-bars in driveshafts.
edit to add more-
Blown up ring and pinions.
Blown up Detroit lockers.
Blown up Rubi lockers.
Blown up Toyota 8" rear end. Puked the cross pin out the housing.
Rough Country shocks pulled in half due to being too long.
Broken spindles from stub shafts blowing up inside them.
Driveshafts cut in half by spinning on rocks.
More broken tail lights than I can remember.
Lots of flops.
Steering knuckle broke in half around lower ball joint hole.
Steering gears ripped off of frame which also yanked the return nipple out of the plastic reservoir.
Steering gear sector shaft broken in half
Cut tires in sidewalls. 4-5 dozen. 1 rig in particular cut 4 tires in 1 trip out to the trail.
Battery cable flopped under front inner fender under articulation, fender pinched cable at the frame rail and started a fire.
Ruined rims from stupid stuff like using extended thread lug nuts and not checking them to see if they were tightening the rim in place or bottoming out on lug studs.
Best ruined rim was a steel rim being spun against a rock trying to get up a little notch. The rock rolled the outer bead inward, inverted it from an outie to an innie and pushed the tire bead off the sealing surface.
Wow that sounds like a bad day out with a list like that lol
 

Thunderhead

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Jan 19, 2018
860
Orland, CA, United States
My wife and I are always on Forest Service roads by ourselves.
In general
1. Walk it. If the trail starts to get sporty I get out and walk it to get the lay
2. Tell some one where; eta back
3. I’ve got tools on my tailgate so those are always there but shovel, saw and axes come along.
4. Winch or Hi Lift or come along and straps. ( Firm believer in having something available is better than nothing)
 

StG58

Backwoods Amateur
Supporting Member
Oct 29, 2015
5,916
Orygun, the wet side...
For me it was lack of cell service when I broke down and was by myself...
What's this cell service you speak of?

The conversation goes something kinda like this in the rare instances that a cell signal is available.

Bob's tow service, how may I help you?

Hello Bob, got my Jeep stuck / broke. Can you come get me?

Sure, where you at?

45-20 north, 122-19 west. 14 miles SE of the 1400 mainline. Blue TJ. Can't miss it.

Click.

Damn.
 
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PCO6

TJ Enthusiast
Dec 25, 2016
666
Newmarket, Ontario


Click.

Damn.
That's kind of like when you call your insurance agent to tell him that you hit an animal.
… "What kind of animal?"
… "A fish"

Last summer I was on the Old Nipissing Road and Colonization Trail when I came across a picturesque opening and camp site next to a small lake. There were 3 pickup trucks, 2 tents and a beautiful early 20's blonde in a bikini all by herself. I instinctively stopped to say "hi" and she freaked out. She calmed down when my wife, who she didn't see sitting in the passenger seat, leaned forward and waved.

About 5 minutes later a deer jumped out of the bush about 3 car lengths in front of us. This is the second year in a row that this has happened. I told my wife if we slowed down we might see some bears. She calmly put her arm inside of the half doors … like that would have helped.
 
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