Q. What kind of 4wheeling does your club do?
A.Slow, safe and sane. We don't want anyone to get hurt, damage their rig or tear up the trail. We schedule one official club run a month and have club BBQs in the summer. We take care of the trails, making sure we never throw trash on the ground and we pick up trash that we see. We run easy class 1 trails up to more difficult class 4 trails. We try to let everyone know ahead of time how difficult a trail will be so each person can decide if they want to go, but we can be wrong. A lot of times there are bypasses around difficult obstacles, but not always. We try to dissuade a novice wheeler in a nearly stock rig from attempting a more difficult trail because he will probably damage his rig and we will never see him again. There isn't any alcohol on a trail. We never leave anyone behind if they break down, we do everything we can to repair their rig, and will tow them out if we need to. We mostly do local trails, low desert stuff in the winter, trails up around Big Bear in the summer. Sometimes we schedule weekend runs that involve motels or camping, like the Mojave Road, Rubicon Trail or Moab.
Q.How do I find out about the runs?
A.They are posted on the web site; we have a Yahoo group email that sends run information to everyone in the group. Each member can ask questions or post information about wheeling on the club group email. If you want to join the club email just click on the Contact Us button on the web site and send me your email address and I will send you an invitation. When you get the invitation, just click on join this group and follow directions.
Q.What about wheeling by myself?
A.This can be dangerous, especially in the summer. Â Eventually you will break down or get suck badly; it could take days to hike out. Take plenty of water, tools, parts, food and let someone know where you are going. Better yet, always go with another vehicle--don't go alone. In our club you can usually find someone to go with you.
Q.Is my xyz 4WD ok to go 4wheeling in?
A.Depends, most of us use Jeep Wranglers because they are small enough to get around the narrow, tight trails, and there are a myriad of aftermarket parts to beef them up. Some other vehicles have some aftermarket parts available, others, not so much. Full size trucks and SUVs will experience body damage. Â Mid-size rigs, like H-3 Hummers and Toyota FJs, can do well but have more potential for damage than the smaller Wranglers. Â The new Wranglers are wider than the older ones, they can easily smack rocks with the outside front edge of their bat wing front plastic fenders, at the same time denting the outer parts of the front plastic bumper. A little adjustment with a sawsall and you are back in business. Aftermarket fenders and bumpers take care of that problem. (Damage is just an excuse to upgrade)
If you really don't want to take a chance of scratching or damaging your 4X4, this may not be the hobby for you, we all get scratches and damage something eventually.
Q.What do I need to do to my xyz first to go on runs with your club?
A. There is a comprehensive list of the required equipment on our web site.
This is the short list:
Tow hooks front and rear, a tow receiver in the back works fine for a strap attachment. Those with Wranglers can pick up a front tow hook and longer bolts from a 2003 to 2006 Rubicon at a Jeep dealer. You can also pick up a rear tow hook from the same year Rubicion and either bolt it on or weld it onto the frame.
Tow strap and a D-ring. (No metal hook on the tow strap).
Quality air pressure gauge and some way to deflate your tires for a run. (We will reinflate your tires after the run is over)
CB radio. (We have a portable CB you can use until you install one) (Truck stops carry CB radios, antennas, and anything else you need.) 2007 Wranglers and newer have a computer controlled electrical system, have the CB wired by an expert.
Remove any decorative steps or bars on the side of your rig, the rocks will beat them into scrap metal.
Q.What should my first upgrades be to my Jeep Wrangler?
A. I'm talking Jeep here because that's what most people use and it's what I know best. Every wheeler has their own opinion; this is just mine.
A Rock rail is the most important, the rest in no particular order.
Rock rail that sticks out from your body, $300 to $400. (Protects the side of your rig)
Steering box skid plate about $110. (Wranglers up to 2006).
2007 and newer Rubicons: skid plate for your power swaybar disconnect.
Heavy duty front differential cover, about $110 (I like theÂ Riddler brand, the bolt headsÂ are recessed).
Heavy Duty tie rod, about $110. (The stock Jeep tie rod bends very easy.)
Air pump, we air down on a run for a more comfortable ride and better grip on the rocks.
Auto trans folks should install a large trans cooler. (Especially 2007 thru 2011 Wranglers; the trans runs very hot).
2012 Wranglers should already have an extra trans cooler.
Later on, skid plates, skid plates, skid plates, nuff said, we drive in rocks.
Q.Do I need to lift my rig?
A.Not necessarily, but you will probably will eventually want to so you won't scrape so much on the trails we run. There is a new thing going on in wheeling, high clearance fenders so you can fit large tires without a lift; something to think about.
Q.What tires should I get?
A.Lots of choices, an all season or mud terrain light truck tire with 3 ply sidewall if possible.
Q.What's a Locker, and do I need them?
A.Lockers can be in the front and/or rear differential. (These are not limited slip) When engaged they lock the tires on both sides together so that all four tires are pulling exactly the same. No one tire is left spinning helplessly. Jeep Rubicons come with lockers in the front and rear standard. Toyota FJs can be ordered with rear lockers, some H3 Hummers came with rear lockers. Â You can add lockers to many different differentials to allow you to do more difficult trails. There are mechanical lockers, electric ones and air lockers, talk to people in the club about them. All it costs is money.
Q.How can I learn more about Jeeping?
A.Subscribe to a 4WD magazine, JP magazine is great for Jeepers. Come to one of our meetings, see what we drive and talk to the folks, we love to talk wheeling.
Q.Where can I buy the skid plates, bumpers and stuff?
A.Quadratec.com, 4WD.com, and some others on line. (Order their catalogs)