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Phone calls and e-mails were exchanged on Saturday night in anticipation for a Sunday checkout run. We were unsure of the weather but I was told we were going, rain or shine. It was decided that DesertJeeper (aka., Larry) would be riding shotgun in Lady and Blatant (aka., Dion) would be wheelin' his YJ, which too had just finished its build up project. Dion put a Ford 8.8" rear axle under his YJ and installed SOA with 36" Swampers. We would both be taking some hard looks at how the trucks were flexing on the trail.
My first concern was the clearance up front. I was hoping that the 6" suspension and 1" body lifts would be enough to keep the 35" MT/Rs out of the flares. I was pretty sure I would still need to be adding some more bump stop extension on the rear axle based on flexing things up in the driveway with the floor jack under the rear axle.
We entered the trail and I climbed up and over a few boulders
that litter the start of the trail. So far, so good. No bad noises,
no snaps or pops....keeping the fingers crossed. I slipped the Tera
equipped t-case into 2LO and turned a tight corner. Oh yes....I like that
feeling. I also quickly discovered that I can shift back and forth between
4LO and 2LO with no need to stop, clutch in, etc. (just like shift between
2HI and 4HI) There was some gear wine when I went into LO range, but that
was to be expected. The Tera literature said it would take a while to get
the gears broke in and they would become less noticeable with more use.
We came to an appropriate rock and I let Lady put her front tire
up on it.....nothing too major, just enough to flex things a bit. I hopped
out (not too smart....the driver's door was sitting directly over a low spot
adjacent to the rock I was parked on...what a drop....and worse yet, what a
climb to get back in!). I was interested to see how the front tire was
stuffing into the fender well.
I was delighted to see that I had almost a 1/4" of clearance at the closest part of the flare! AND.....the Procomp coil was compressed down to the bump stops. That took care of that question. My choice of bump stop length for the front was right on the money. Any less and the tire would have been in the flare...any more and I would have been wasting good flex potential.
The opposite corner rear tire was a slightly different matter. It was just beginning to lightly touch the back edge of the rear flare. I stuck my head underneath to get a look at the springs. It was still better than an inch, closer to two, before the bump stops would limit the travel. I had noticed, while taking measurements for the compressed length, that I was going to need some more bump stop here to prevent over compression of the spring. The spring will probably stop from coil bind first, but I do not wish for that to happen. Make note to self....get some more bump stop for the rear springs.
While we were driving to the trail, I had told
DesertJeeper that I was going to take it easy today. Nothing too
difficult...this was a run to check out the wrenching I had done during the
previous two weeks. Well, that was to change after we went over the Great
Divide. It went without a hitch, as Larry spotted me over
it. The MT/Rs grabbed those rocks like glue, even though we were running a
So, with Blatant out of the way, I put Lady into the Air Hole to see how it felt. I had been through this obstacle a few times over the past couple of months and I'll say that even though I was sporting a bigger lift and tires, Lady felt very stable as she went clawing for air. The biggest change I noticed was that the control was ever so much better. The Tera 4:1 gears in the transfer case allowed a much slower crawl through this obstacle. I knew right then and there that those reduction gears were money well spent.
More of Round #2