Reiter – Offroad 101 April 1, 2023

It was a beautiful day. Sunshine and 80 degrees…….Yeah right!! every time I get to Reiter it rains.

Sprinkled most of the day with hail the size of marbles. Wasn’t too cold though.

Drivers meeting was at 9 and Chad JLU, Eric 4XE, Thomas Commander, Antoine JLUR diesel, Nate JKU, John JKR, and Stomper attending. Talked about training on Twizzlers rock obstacles for part of the day. We discussed my plan to have Antoine first up since he had a new setup on 37’s to show tire placement, talk about control, and underbelly hangups. I forgot how twisty this trail is, so it took us a bit to get to the spot. Once there I tackled the rocks, then we got Antoine lined up and started spotting and showing.

With no success at this obstacle, I realized that wheelbase was just too long. After thinking about it I had decided to send everyone to the next rock formation. Since Chad was on 38’s he wanted to try. Lots of discussion about tire placement and how little adjustments can make a big difference I was able to get him passed where Antoine just didn’t have enough clearance. And I think we chose a bit better start too. Everyone was understanding how a different starting angle/approach was making a better line. Good listeners.

As Chad approached the exit, we ended up with tires sliding and he was out of position. With little effort we couldn’t gain traction. Just kept sliding back into a bad spot. Tires turned and a little throttle I hear a snap. I stop him, look at the front and see no visible damage. We proceed and a louder snap. Look again…sure enough popped the driver’s side axle u joint. I was a bit surprised considering Chad hadn’t used too much force. But it happened.

Made the decision to winch him out and have him drive to the exit of Twizzler for the removal of inner shaft. Don’t worry it gets better 🙂 As the group headed up the trail and Nate makes the line look easy I and Doc attempted the next rock obstacle. As I struggled the group stopped and watched as Doc spotted me thru. Learning more about arrogance as I tend not to listen to my spotter (I know best right?) my rear pumpkin keeps getting hung up and twisting me out of line. I have to start completely over. After following direction, I cruise thru.

Doc being next, follows the line he chose for me. Being a different wheelbase Doc finds himself hung up. We reset and try again with a bump and more momentum. Great now we’re completely turtled. For the most part, all 4 wheels off the ground. Well, now they get a crash course in recovery. With a bottle jack, high lift and tire attachment, and a winch we manage to get the 2dr free. Lots of discussion about the widow maker. By the time we made it out of Twizzler I think it was 12:30.

As Chad and Doc went to work on the shaft removal, most of us watched and had lunch. Listening to Doc it had become obvious that he had done this before. I’d say it took less than an hour. Afterwards lots talk about spotting, recovery, and then on a rabbit trail about torque specs. But it was all good information. We talked about hitting another trail and decided on Easy Peasy and then Driveway. Thomas’ Commander has had some transfer case issues, so he chose to leave before the next set of trails. I asked him if he could then follow Chad home. Just to be on the safe side. It makes us all feel better that no one is left behind. 

The entrance to the easy trail gave Eric some issues. But with a lot of rock stacking and a bit aggressive driving he was able to scrap thru. Once we reached Driveway, I had Eric and Antoine walk the trail so they could get a good idea of what this trail was like. They were both hesitate. Well, it does look intimidating. After I entered and they watched Doc pass thru Antoine said he would try. And with confidence and spotting he made it thru with ease.

Because Antoine showed control Eric now felt he could try as well. Again, with spotting, rock slider action, and some finesse the electric Jeep conquered the rocks. Onto the next section. it took me probably 4 different lines to get over the big rock pile. As the others used the bypass, it wasn’t any easier for some. We were finding that the 4XE was unpredictable is slow controlled movements. Eric will need to practice with the electric mode in different terrains. We were spotting Eric thru another formation and I think it was just a bit much for 35’s. But with perseverance and patience Doc and I had him thru. But it came with a damaged rim. I believe the Jeep had lurched too much causing extra downward force on the descend over the rock. The sliding angle and force grabbed the inner edge of the rim and buckled it. Then snap. 

We all made it back to the staging area. As the others aired up, I helped Eric place his spare on. After some chatting and goodbyes, the day was over. Nate had offered Eric a set of rims he had. It’s nice to have friends and a club that are willing to help out. Thanks again to all who showed up. Chad and Eric….You 2 are troopers. Not one complaint and only thank you. For those who showed up…. Any feedback is helpful for the next skill building. And of course, send your pictures!

Thanks again! until next time.

Chris TT#322