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Rubicon Trail | Trip Checklist | Jeeps
If you want a beginners book on off-road driving, try Mark Smiths "Guide to Safe, Common Sense Off-Road Driving", Mark Smith Off-Roading Inc., PO Box 1601, Georgetown, CA 95634
or 4-Wheel Freedom : The Art Of Off-Road Driving by Brad De Long
Tire air pressure:
If you do the chalk test and let all the tread hit the road,your tires will be under inflated badly.(mine came out to be 16psi)I run 22psi for 35's and 26psi for 33's.Thats what Mickey Thompson Co.told me to run for my tires.
It is recommended in certain situations with slow off-road driving to reduce inflation pressure. This will enlarge and widen the ground contact area and improves traction by increased dovetailing of the pattern with the ground.
The Wrangler owners manual says you should not go lower than 15 psi.
Larger tires allow you air down to 10 lbs. for slow speed rock crawling (some people will go down to 8 psi.)
SNOW: In snow, specifically snow that is packed and wet, you can air down safely to 8 psi *. This will allow the footprint to expand and allow a great grip into the slippery terrain. With snow being slippery and dense, the tires will conform and help to compact it. This will also help others following behind you as a packed powder will be easier to traverse than one that is loose.
MUD: A lot of people think airing down in mud is a bad thing. Since tall thin tires tend to do best in mud, big sidewall lugs don't always help too much. This is your call but I wouldn't go below 20 psi here.
SAND: Where wide tires and big engines are king, airing down is essential. In sand, wide, low psi tires help paddle you along easily where tall, full pressure tires will dig you in. With enough engine power, the lugs of your tires will leave a wide non-digging pattern that helps you stay afloat of the sand.
ROCK: This is essential. Huge sidelugs aired down can engulf rocks and let your rig move effortlessly over them. One lug can often catch the sides of a rock and pull you to safety. Some people prefer many small lugs here but I prefer fewer larger lugs aired down to 5-8 psi * as they can usually hold you like to other combination and since you are traversing at such slow speeds, your bead should remain intact.
Source: Dennis Baldwin at Rockcrawler
There are several things out there that aren't winches, but are supposed to do the same job. One is a Hi-Lift jack (HLJ) or similar jack, and another is a come-along ratchet hoist. An HLJ is meant to be able to pull 7000 pounds or so (says the weight rating on the box) and the mechanical advantage is so high that it doesn't feel too scary to use it. If you're using an HLJ as a winch then lay the jack right on the ground with the handle pointing upwards, that way you can put a foot or something on the end of the i-beam to keep it from lifting when you're trying to lever the jack handle.
A come-along is a different animal, indeed. It has a short handle (less
than a foot long) and gives you significantly less mechanical advantage.
They are usually rated only a few thousand pounds when double-lined (i.e
while using a snatch block). They way they creak and groan while you're
using them, standing 10 inches away from the thinnest cable ever seen on a
winch-like object scares me to death. I don't like them, but they can save
you if you have nothing else. Definitely use the coat trick when dealing
with these. Due to the short length of them, they don't stay parallel to the
line of force very well, so it's very frustrating to use them (they wobble
and pitch when you're trying to work the lever). I don't like them, but I
must admit that I have one in my pickup truck. Just in case. I keep an HLJ
in my 'cruiser, so I don't need one in that. The one benefit of a come-along
over an HLJ is that the come-along will pull for 20 feet or so, whereas the
HLJ will pull for less than 4' at a time (limited by bar length; could also
be 3' or 5' depending on jack model). To use an HLJ as a winch requires
blocks, or some other way to keep the truck from losing ground while you're
resetting the jack. To be fair, there are some come-along models out there
that are pretty tough. If you get one that's rated to 4000 pounds or so,
then it should be able to actually pull you out of a bad situation. If you
plan to use an HLJ as a winch alternative, then make sure you have hardware
on hand to do it; you can't thread a 3" wide tow strap through the
little hole in the jack. Get a clevis that fits.
Winter Driving Technique:
On a day of 3+ feet of fresh snow, 12.5" wide tires were OK, but 14.5" worked better for climbing.
I'm no pro, but I have found that All-Terrains or even street-type truck tires (Wrangler GSAs and the like) typically do better than digging tires (boggers, swampers, claws) on snow runs because of the flotation factor.
ATs and street tires also generally do better on ice due to their siping, but you could always sipe your mud tires.
Wheel spin is generally the enemy, once a tire starts spinning it starts digging. Once you stop forward progress don't punch it, just stop, roll back a foot, and then try to rebuild your momentum again without spinning tires. Sometimes you may need wheelspin and a lot of momentum to make an icy climb, but I'll generally try the no wheelspin method first.
Next, for hill descents: stay off the brakes!! Try using engine compression (although not too much cause it can also lock em up) and lightly pumping the breaks so that you can do some steering correction. ________________________________________ Vehicle: From: Alaska ZJ Antifreeze. Use it and make sure it is correct.
Basic upkeep should suffice but foreseeing a problem and fixing it early could save you some cold fingers.
Bring snowshoes incase you have to walk out.
Bring some nice dry wood to start a fire.
Bring enough food and sleeping bags for everyone in your vehicle. Food should last you 3-4 days worth (one MRE [Meals Ready-To-Eat] a day is just barely enough food, I just take a case of them and call it good).
Pot to melt snow in and make water.
Flare's you can start just about anything on fire with a flare.
Top Ten Tips for Wheeling in the Snow - - Jeep at Off-Road.com
Books: "4-Wheel Freedom: The art of off-Road Driving", by Brad DeLong
Offroad Tire Tips at 4wheeldrive.about.com