Originally Posted by subzali
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
) 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!