RD’s Adventures – Offroading

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Words and Pictures by Randall Davis

A day on new trails

*Note: the names of the trails in this story have been protected for personal interests and will be named Trail X and Y.

On Saturday I met up with 4 guys from Extreme Wheelers 4 Christ: Steve, Doug, Bob, and Greg. We were excited about getting in the rocks and exploring some new trails. When I first met up with them at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneer Town, I felt a bit out of place. Looking at their rigs I knew they meant business; Steve sported a Toyota SR5 on 35’s with a partial Exo‐Cage and tuber bed, Doug a Jeep CJ stretched to 104” and on 37s, Bob a ToyZuki tuber thing on 37’s, and Greg drove an impressive purpose built tuber crawler on 44’s with rear steer.

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Nonetheless, they said I would fit in, so we headed to the drop spot for the trailer queens, made our plan of attack, and aired down.

Down Trail Y 1.8 1:00

Our first trail of choice was to locate Trail Y.  We only had an approximate GPS coordinate to go on so of course we spent lots of time studying Google Earth.  I have heard a lot about this new trail and all the reports were good.  Some calling it a “Mini Hammers” trail.  We came to a wash crossing on the trail and guessed that it would head us in the right direction.  As we traveled this trail we realized that we were heading down the wash instead of the intended direction which is up. The rocks were very similar to that of the Hammers trails, a variety of sharp jagged rocks that are lying there ready to leave their impression under the rig. As we traveled the trail, we started to see that the obstacles were getting harder and harder. At one point, we had to use the winch to get Bob unstuck.mini-img_0674.jpg

The obstacles proved to make the trail a pleasure to drive through.  This trail has plenty of optional lines to make the challenge good and give some play-time in certain sections.

The obstacles proved to make the trail a pleasure to drive through. This trail has plenty of optional lines to make the challenge good and give some play‐time in certain sections. The scenery was just awesome! The weather was hot but not miserable….How could it be…we were wheeling a new trail.

The trail lead us to another sandy wash that would lead us back to the road. At this point we had to figure out if we wanted to go back up Trail Y (the intended direction) or head over to Trail X. Since I was the only one in the group that has ran down Trail X entirely, I was concerned that it may be impassable going the other direction (up). I was unsure but they convinced me that we should try it. “Have winch will travel,” Steve said.

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Up Trail X 1.2 miles 3:00

So we are approaching the bottom of Trail X. This trail is one of the best out on the east side of the mountain. It takes the cake in my opinion for one of the greatest trails in this area. This trail has several obstacles that have no by‐pass routes. If you can’t make it, you can’t make it. The use of the Hi‐Lift was required at one point to get my Jeep off being high centered and then later the winch was used to get Steve and I up the waterfall.
The other guys did make it but it was not a walk in the park. I was able to revive my skills by making it up another waterfall. The tires would not crawl up, so I had to let them spin a bit and walk the Jeep from side to side and at the right moment get on the gas a little and bump the Jeep up. There is a small amount of water running down the creek still, just enough to wet the tires and limit good traction. Once we got to the top of Trail X, a 3‐hour‐tour (ha..get it?) we had to figure out whether to head home or go for
more. The trailer queens decided they had enough.

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Up Trail Y 1.8 miles 1:15

But that was not enough for Steve, Doug and I. We opted to go for broke and head back to Trail Y and run it the intended direction….which was UP. This time was even more fun than the way down. We knew where we were going and we were going to have fun. We blazed to the trail and dropped the rigs into 4‐LO. The attitude towards the trail this time was even better than on the way down.
We had already conquered the trail so this time we were just looking to have some fun on the obstacles. We found more new lines on the trail, even a small off‐shoot that had a really cool step up. We got to the top of Trail Y and realized that we could continue beyond the road all the way up the sandy wash to one of the other main dirt roads. We hit the dirt road and blazed to the pavement. We got to pavement and had to call it a close for the day…but, wait there’s more! We went for broke going up Trail Y and that is exactly what we did. I apparently blew out one of the caps on the uni‐joint on the right front axle. So here I was 130 miles from home with a blown axle, thinking now what? And Doug suggests that he has a uni‐joint with caps and we could use the cap to replace the one I had blown. He offered to weld it in place to ensure that it wouldn’t blow out again on the way home. Steve took liberties to turn his Toyota around to be the one to aid in the repairs. Doug busted out the tools and worked his magic t o get the Jeep repaired and took the welder to it to add necessary love to the joint to make sure it stuck all the way home.

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Conclusion 4.8 5:15

This was one of the best wheeling days that I have had recently. The guys from EW4C are great and very knowledgeable about Jeeping. They were able to give me some good driving tips and spot me through the tuff stuff with confidence. The trails are sure to test your skills and your rig. Even though I broke the Jeep, the fun I had was worth it. The scenery is awesome on both trails and being set around an elevation of 4500 feet the air is great too. I am sure that I will be going back to run the trails again.

Not enough pictures? Enjoy the gallery!

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Brandon’s Trail Ranger: Axial Bumper Set Installed

With the release of Axial’s SCX10 RTR I just had to see if I could get the bumper set to fit my Trail Ranger. Much like the installation of the rock sliders its going to take some modification due to the proportions of the Trail Ranger body compared to the Dingo body.

I spread out all the parts and started mocking them up on the Trail Ranger, looks like its going to be pretty straight forward. I will go through the installation step by step. Check out the lights that are also included with the bumpers. The mounting system is also really nice, it replaces the old front and rear braces on the SCX10 Frame rails.

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Here you can see how the bumpers are intended to mount on the SCX10 RTR. There is a lot of adjust-ability too, when modifying the SCX10 to fit a longer wheelbase moving the bumpers out will be extremely simple. However with my build it looks like I need to move the bumpers in past the allowable adjustment with these parts.

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Here is my solution. I am going to flip the front and rear mounts so they set inside the then ends of the frame rails (Pics are worth a 1000 words right?) First I had to remove some material from the mounts. You can see where I cut them down compared to the originals.

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Front Mounted and flipped:

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Rear mounted and flipped:

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Next I had to modify the bumpers slightly. Due to the width of the bumpers compared to the Trail Ranger body I decided to trim the sides of the bumpers. Keep in mind that they now lack the same appearance where I trimmed them. I plan to pick up some black styrene and cap them off in the future.

Rear trimmed just outside the tail light mounts.

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Front bumper trimmed up to the tube section.

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Front Bumper mounted. In this picture the bumper is actually setting as far in as I could get it. The frame rails slid into the bumper without any problems and I had to trim the mounts on the bumper so that they would not hit the top of the servo under compression. In the pictures with the body it does look like I could move the bumper up a few millimeters but that would take some more modifications. Not too bad for now though! The lights should fill in that small gap nicely.

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The rear bumper worked out great as well. When first mounted it looked pretty good, however I am picky so I trimmed the bumper to allow for the frame rails to slide into it slightly. This pulled the bumper in closer to the body.

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So whats next? How about some lights! Also considering removing the head light stickers on the Trail Ranger body and installing some light buckets. Stay tuned!

Holy Jim Canyon Trail

Took the Jeep out to Holy Jim Canyon here in SoCal recently for a little R&D session. I also brought our marketing juggernaut Greg Taniguchi along for the ride. Holy Jim Canyon isn’t the toughest trail by any means, but it does have some very scenic sections. These sections have a few areas that are perfect for scale crawlers that don’t mind getting their feet wet. I also brought along my Slash in case the opportunity came up to stretch it’s legs a little, which luckily it did. Here’s a few pictures from the trip.

The road in is nicely shaded with tree cover
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Sweet spot for the scalers
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This guy was checking out the competition
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There are a few spots along the trail to twist up the 1:1′s suspension a little too
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There’s a decent spot to play with the short course trucks near the trailhead to Holy Jim Canyon as well
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I haven’t had a chance to take the Jeep out very often lately. So, this short trip to Holy Jim was perfect for me. And an afternoon test session in the great outdoors beats being in the office any day.

Brandon’s Trail Ranger: Axial Rock Sliders Installed!

Just got my hands on a set of the new Axial Rock Sliders. They bolt right up to the Axial SCX10 frame using existing holes and hardware. These rock sliders will fit most bodies on the market really well. I am using Axial’s Trail Ranger body that is slightly narrower than most so I did a little bit of modification to them to keep the sliders tucked up against the body.

In the first picture you can see the original length of the adjustment post on the slider as well as the frame mount for the slider. Both were modified to bring the slider in closer to the body.

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Here you can see how easily I changed the width and how drastic of a change it made. This should allow for the sliders to be very universal to match a wide range of bodies.

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Here you can see the rock sliders doing there job… Actually I just needed something to hold it up, this was about where the sliders would have been without modifying them.

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Next I used my Axial Stepped body reamer (Axial #AX20036) to add the holes into the mounts and ran a 10mm screw through everything.

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Bolted them onto the frame. The slider mounts use the existing hardware from the upper links.

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