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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Snow wheelin this last weekend!

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#1 TheSubaruJunkie



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  • Sacramento

Posted 31 March 2009 - 04:31 PM

My buddy & I planned a trip to do some wheelin this weekend. We spent the last week putting a Dana 44 and 14bolt into his Toyota. I had my gears in, swampers on, and I was ready to rock!

We planned on leaving Saturday around 5pm, and returning monday afternoon. Saturday came and his truck still didn't have any steering. We were installing a full hydraulic setup, and spent a good amount of time trying to adapt the toyota steering linkage to the orbital valve. After some welding, cutting, prying and cursing we finally got it. Then we found out the front driveshaft he made wouldnt work, and had to find a replacement.

By 8pm Saturday, his truck was ready to load, and we set off. Our plans were to goto the Wentworth Springs campground, near the Rubicon Trail. We knew the street would be unpaved, and it would be a purely snow-wheelin trip. Around midnight we made it to the end of the plowed section, and decided to setup camp there, and wheel in the morning.

Camp, night #1:
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Here is my truck, loaded and ready to go:
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The gears in my truck worked great! I was able to cruise along in 3rd low and it was about as slow as his truck in 1st low. He has 5.38's in his diff's, I have 4.88's. But his t-case is the stock 2.28 low range vs. my now 4.70:1 transfercase.

My buddies truck had alittle trouble with the steering. His orbital valve was failing, we're not sure if it was overheating or if there is an actual malfunction. We would stop and cool the valve with a block of snow, and it would resume operation... and we would press on.

We made it a good 3.5 miles in without much trouble. By now it was almost 3pm and the sun was high, it had to be at least 65 outside, and the snow was getting soft. Even with the swampers aired down to 9psi, i had trouble staying ontop of the snow. And after a pretty nasty incline, i found myself stuck and in need of some help.

Luckily, my buddies winch worked... and we set off winching my truck up, 75' at a time:

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We fought this hill for almost an hour. There was a pretty good clearing in the woods next to us, and we decided it would be best if we took this opportunity to setup camp, build a fire and get things setup before the sun started to set. My truck was not completely unstuck, I had managed to back myself into a ditch and could not climb out. I figured I would leave the truck where it was and unload all my gear (and the hundreds of pounds of firewood I was carrying) and try to get out in the morning.

Camp, Night #2:
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The next morning, I woke up and it had gotten cold enough to freeze overnight. Our water jug was frozen over, along with some left-over water and drinks we had out. I knew it would be easier to get the truck out with the snow iced over, and without any gear in it. With the help of my friend spotting me, we picked a few choice lines and was able to drive the truck out of the ditch and back onto the trail...

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So we packed up camp, and got a late start back to the tow rig. We ended up leaving camp around Noon, when the sun was getting up there. The snow was soft, but it was all downhill back to the rig.

We didn't make it half a mile before my buddy warned me over the CB he was spewing steering fluid everywhere. So I stopped to wait for him and when he caught up we realized he blew the pressure line from his pump to the orbital valve and lost all steering. We had plenty of spare fluid, but no extra hydraulic line, or anyway to fix the one he had blown.

So slowly, we had to drive his truck the 3 miles back with no steering. One of us had to stay outside and kick the front tires when they would steer off track. If we were in a good set of ruts, it was no problem. But there were sections where there were no ruts, and it was a pain in the rump roast.

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8 hours later, we made it the 3 miles back and by 8pm we were loaded up and ready to head home.

It was an adventure, one we were expecting, but could have been better planned for. Now we have a few more items to add to our list of recovery gear.

I have alot more pictures I didn't post here... you can find them in my album:


Alot of scenery shots and some other pix of our rigs together in the snow.

I also got alittle video as well:

My 4.7 gears doing what they do best:

My buddies truck driving to camp #2:

I think im done snow wheelin'. I can't wait to get back out on the rocks!

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