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-   -   Dealin' With Breakdowns on the Trail. (http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=16730)

leiniesred 10-27-2011 12:06 PM

Dealin' With Breakdowns on the Trail.
 
It happens to everyone eventually out there on the trail. A truck will break down. Great. Now what do we do Mr./Mrs. trail leader?

As the trail leader, you are not expected to be the world's greatest mechanic. "I only ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work. " (Meatball from Kelly's Heros)

Your job as the trail leader is to asses the severity of the breakdown, asses the available parts, tools, and mechanics you have available, take a look at your location relative to a bailout point, and then determine a course of action based on an estimate of long it is going to take to fix the problem.

Example: Truck cuts a tire, but has a spare that will work. You can probably afford to stop your trip for the 15 minutes the driver needs to change his tire.

Example #2 Truck breaks the knuckle and the left front wheel falls off at the golden crack. The guy has spare parts back in camp and you were able to get in ham radio contact with basecamp where we have a guy able to drive back into the golden crack with the spare knuckle. Maybe you will split the group and leave the good mechanic and his truck with the guy and his broken truck. The guy running the parts in obviously knows how to get them back to base camp after they get the knuckle replaced.

Every situation is different.

What other factors should be part of your considerations when dealin' with a breakdown on the trail?

subzali 10-27-2011 12:43 PM

Repair location.

Example 1: During EJS on '05, a Cherokee broke his rear axle trying to get up Upchuck. We pulled him over to the right side (looking at Upchuck) and started repairing it. It took a few hours, mostly due to fishing the broken axle chunk out of the housing and trying to figure out how to disassemble and reassemble the Lockright, and several groups passed through. When other vehicle groups were trying to drive up Upchuck, it was a very dangerous place to be working on a vehicle, if they were to roll right and come back down. We moved everyone out of the way while vehicles were around, but thinking about a different place to work on the vehicle where we didn't have to move every time another group came through may have saved some time in the repair.

Example 2: Broken pinion on Spooky Night Run 2009. It happened near the top of a snowy, slick hill. We decided, rather than lower the broken truck down with the winch to a flat spot where we could work on the pinion, to just work on the pinion on the hill. I guess it was in order to save time that it was taking to get to the repair. Well, at the end of the repair the truck had to be lowered down with the winch anyway due to the slick conditions, but in the meantime trying to work on the hillside added a lot of complexity and difficulty to the repair. Thinking about it afterward, we could have (and probably should have) done that repair a little differently, by taking a little more time to secure the broken vehicle in a safe location, and then proceeding to work on it. Don't enter into the repair process too soon.

Uncle Ben 10-27-2011 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by subzali (Post 195184)
Repair location.

Example 1: During EJS on '05, a Cherokee broke his rear axle trying to get up Upchuck. We pulled him over to the right side (looking at Upchuck) and started repairing it. It took a few hours, mostly due to fishing the broken axle chunk out of the housing and trying to figure out how to disassemble and reassemble the Lockright, and several groups passed through. When other vehicle groups were trying to drive up Upchuck, it was a very dangerous place to be working on a vehicle, if they were to roll right and come back down. We moved everyone out of the way while vehicles were around, but thinking about a different place to work on the vehicle where we didn't have to move every time another group came through may have saved some time in the repair.

Example 2: Broken pinion on Spooky Night Run 2009. It happened near the top of a snowy, slick hill. We decided, rather than lower the broken truck down with the winch to a flat spot where we could work on the pinion, to just work on the pinion on the hill. I guess it was in order to save time that it was taking to get to the repair. Well, at the end of the repair the truck had to be lowered down with the winch anyway due to the slick conditions, but in the meantime trying to work on the hillside added a lot of complexity and difficulty to the repair. Thinking about it afterward, we could have (and probably should have) done that repair a little differently, by taking a little more time to secure the broken vehicle in a safe location, and then proceeding to work on it. Don't enter into the repair process too soon.


Good points! On example 2 what should have been a very quick trail repair to get it mobile turned into a nightmare. The combination of a very high rotated pinion and the vehicle pointed up a fairly steep slope made reassembly very difficult (nearly impossible). Added to the equation was the sub zero temperatures, snow on the trail that caused the repairing fools (Tim and I will forever be bonded :lmao:) to slide downhill easily, and working with moving flashlights from helpers turned the situation quickly into an extended ordeal for sure. Hindsight is easy to bring into perspective after the fact but the truth is every breakdown has many unseen variables that are easy to overlook. This is a great forum post as every situation will teach a lesson. Sharing those lessons with others might prevent frustrating similar situations in the future!


I have helped or done most all trail repairs on runs I have been on. The biggest factor that comes into play is lack of leadership. Most everyone stands around gawking and heckling and few rise to a leadership roll and get the group moving. On hard core runs most participants are self leading and it's very common for others who aren't needed in the recovery or repairs to start playing on other obstacles. The more inexperienced wheeler's or less confident wheeler's are the ones who need someone to take charge and get the group moving or have an early lunch or ??????? When I lead trails in Moab or another runs where there is more than 10+ rigs I work as a team with my gunners and make adjustments as needed.

For example on a broken 40 on one of my Golden Spike runs. The 40 was having a bad day and had several larger more uncommon issues throughout the day. Most all repairs were fairly quick so we didn't break up the group. I did however tighten up the reigns and discouraged multiple tries on obstacles and options in order to make up lost time. We did OK until the final blow was thrown and the front knuckle studs on that 40 snapped off. When it was obvious that it was going to take some time to fix and it was already late in the day and we needed some parts I rounded up the group for a pow wow. A person who knew the way out solidly was chosen to lead folks out that wanted to leave. Treeroot, (my favorite gunner!) was up to the task and led everyone out and back to camp. While in camp he started rounding up parts for us. We had it all torn down and breakage assessed and secured the broken rig for the night taking all valuable that we could grab and tossing them in my vehicle. Back at camp for rest and coming up with the mornings strategy of repair was a good choice (or so we thought) as we were beat. The next day should have been quick and easy but we had the wrong knuckle and to top it off it was Sunday so folks were leaving camp by the masses and hope to locate the correct parts was slipping away with everyone hitting the highway home. That sucked! That situation I felt we did everything right but now using hindsight I know if we would have headed back out that night we probably would have made a better repair and cut down a lot of the stressful drama on Sunday!

wesintl 10-27-2011 06:47 PM

I keep a set of 80 series knuckle studs and seals to do one side in my 70 :D

subzali 10-27-2011 07:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Ben (Post 195188)
Good points! On example 2 what should have been a very quick trail repair to get it mobile turned into a nightmare. The combination of a very high rotated pinion and the vehicle pointed up a fairly steep slope made reassembly very difficult (nearly impossible). Added to the equation was the sub zero temperatures, snow on the trail that caused the repairing fools (Tim and I will forever be bonded :lmao:) to slide downhill easily, and working with moving flashlights from helpers turned the situation quickly into an extended ordeal for sure. Hindsight is easy to bring into perspective after the fact but the truth is every breakdown has many unseen variables that are easy to overlook. This is a great forum post as every situation will teach a lesson. Sharing those lessons with others might prevent frustrating similar situations in the future!

I got frozen hands that night too! :D

All in all, we did the repair as safely as we could, and didn't make the situation worse, so that is a huge plus. Hindsight is always 20/20 and it's always easy to second-guess gameplay decisions, so I guess that's what my post amounts to. Oh well, I remember a lot of laughs and an overall good mood, even as the clock ticked past midnight, so it couldn't have been that bad :hill:

Rzeppa 11-03-2011 11:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Ben (Post 195188)
A person who knew the way out solidly was chosen to lead folks out that wanted to leave.

This is an excellent thread and I am glad to have discovered it!

I was gunning on Golden Spike when a guy broke his 40 really bad. Our leader from Wasatch decided to try to help him fix it and have me lead the rest of the group out. At the end of the day they couldn't fix it and the guy caught a ride back to camp with our leader, but what I learned was that gunners need to be prepared to lead the trail if need be!

On another run I was gunning, this one was E-Hill, a guy broke his 60. Our leader asked if I could fix it while the rest of the group did the SOB hill loop, and I said I would try. Well, I got him fixed just in time for the rest of the group as they were returning and we all made it out safe and he ended up driving all the way back to Oregon on the trail fix.

My point is, gunners should be at least as qualified as leaders - just like co-pilots are qualified to fly the plane.

Cheeseman 11-04-2011 10:33 AM

Jeff I remember that day on Elephant Hill. As a trail leader you sometimes think about what do I do with the rest of the rigs on a trail when your busted down along ways from home. We were gone for about 3 hours or so. The whole time I was thinking two things. If anyone can fix it Jeff can and if not to see how the group would then accept losing the trail to get this guy out. As you said all went well and your wrenching magic was the best. But I could also sense the rest of the group had no comprehension of the severity of the potential situation. A 60 is a big vehicle to wrestle around and E Hill is a long ways from Moab.

bh4rnnr 11-06-2011 11:18 AM

The two trail repairs i've been at (Bills diff repair and my frame fix) seemd to happen at the ideal location. With bBikks, it was at the lunch stop on Wipeout. Repairs were well under way while lunch was going on and a few of us stayed to help while Time lead the group on off the trail.

In the case of my frame repair, we we just about off the trail. Tim, again lead the group off while a few stayed to lend a hand. Bill stayed because he had a wleder, Marco because he was good at Arc welding. A few others stayed just to help out.

I think knowing who has what or is good at what before starting the trail would make it easier when a situation does come up. That way a trail leader can delegate a small few while the rest stay focused on the trail....


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