Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of 4wheeling does your club do?
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 8 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.
How do I find out about the runs?
They are posted on the website and discussed in detail at club meetings. If you want more information, contact us.
What about wheeling by myself?
This can be dangerous, especially in the summer. Eventually, you will break down or get stuck 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.
Is my xyz 4WD ok to go 4 wheeling in?
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. Mid-size rigs, like H-3 Hummers and Toyota FJs, can do well but have more potential for damage than the smaller Wranglers. 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.
What do I need to do to my 4WD first to go on runs with your club?
You must bring a waiver of liability to your first run, you can download one on our web site. You must have tow hooks or strap attachment points front and rear, anyone can get hung up or stuck even on an easy trail (I know because Ive done it). A tow receiver in the rear will work as an attachment point. A CB radio is necessary for two reasons; its fun to hear whats going on, and if someone is doing something dangerous we can quickly tell them how to correct the situation. CB radios and equipment can be found at truck stops. If you have a JK Jeep you should have a professional install the wiring for accessories, the 12 volt system is computer controlled. You need a heavy duty tow strap without metal hooks, we dont want the strap to break and the hook to come shooting back at us. You also need a D-ring to attach the strap. You might find these at an auto parts store or on line at Quadratec.com or 4wd.com. You must have a fire extinguisher (mounted securly), seat belts for everyone in your rig, a roll bar or hard top, an inflated spare tire with wheel that fits your rig, lug wrench and jack that will work with your lift. This may seem a lot, but actually is just the basics. If you don't have these things we cant allow you to go on a run.
What should my first upgrades be to my rig?
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.
A rock rail runs along the bottom of the body below the doors and sticks out from the side of your body keeping your sheet metal from being crushed and keeps the bottom of the body between the wheels from being crushed up by the rocks. The cost is about $300 to $500.
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 the Riddler brand, the bolt heads 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).
Later on, skid plates, skid plates, skid plates, nuff said, we drive in rocks.
Do I need to lift my rig?
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.
What tires should I get?
Stock tires get shredded quite easily in the sharp rocks, look for a mud terrain tire or an all terrain tire, it should have three ply side wall. The largest tires that will fit your rig is better for driving over obstacles, but larger tires reduces power possibly requiring lower differential gears. (Get the checkbook out)
What's a Locker, and do I need them?
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.
How can I learn more about Off-Roading?
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.
Where can I buy the skid plates, bumpers and stuff?
Quadratec.com, 4WD.com, and some others on line. (Order their catalogs)