Deer Valley trail with some carnage

spikemd

Explorer
On Sunday, we took the rovers wheeling on the Deer Valley trail which connects highway 4 with 88 near Bear Valley ski resort and Blue Lakes south of Tahoe. Unfortunately, the complete trail is closed pending environmental issues but you can run most of it and turn around. I joined the group Sunday morning after they ran Slick rock and sour grass on Saturday. A D2 suffered a cracked diff and wobbled home after some JBWeld.

We arrived at the trailhead with my P38 on 33s, a RRC on 35s, D90 on 35s and a D1 on 33s. There is an immediate gatekeeper with some large boulders to deter other trucks. My tires slipped off the rocks and I fell into a hole perched on my front skid plate and left tire spinning in the air. My Warn winch easily remedied the situation with a quick pull. The trail is more difficult than I expected and my sliders got worked. Around one particularly large boulder, I kissed my right quarter panel. Trail damage gives her personality...

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spikemd

Explorer
As we progressed up the trail, we came across 2 jeeps going the opposite direction. I went to the left of the trail and approached two boulders that I tried to straddle. As I was going up and over, I heard a something funny and as I dropped down back onto the trail noticed something wrong. As I turned left, the wheels were still pointing straight. Uh oh...something was definitely wrong. Looking under the rover, I noticed the steering arm hitting the front steering guard. But then looking at the other end of the steering rod, it was at a weird angle. Dropped the steering guard to reveal a severely bent rod. Damn...2016-09-26 08.13.14.jpg
 

spikemd

Explorer
Thankfully, one of the guys in our group had a propane torch. He heated up the rod and we eventually were able to bend it back and straighten it out. My day was done as I didn't want to stress the rod anymore . The d90 and d1 continued up the trail a ways while I out my truck back together. We got turned around and headed back down the trail with the RRC. Going down with the help of gravity was much easier than going up. No more damage and no winching required. I drove on the pavement to test her out and everything appeared to be working well with just my steering wheel a bit out of adjustment. We aired up and drove the 3 hrs back home. Always bring as many tools as you can, I used my lithium impact gun and the ball joint removal tool saved the threads. I will always have a torch with me!
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zelatore

Explorer
Sorry I couldn't make it this time. That's the trail that sheered my right front strut last year and I owe it some payback. :)
 

cmb6s

Adventurer
I was running with a guy in a P38 at VOR last year and he bent one of his tie rods pretty severely. Another guy quickly whipped his rig around, wrapped his winch line around the tie rod and pulled it back straight. Seems like it might put a lot of stress on the steering rack, but it literally took about 10 mins. Needless to say, I was impressed. I replaced mine recently and now keep the old ones with me under the back seats where nothing else really fits (LR3).
 

Coachgeo

Explorer
Carry a piece or two of angle iron and bunch of hose clamps. You would be surprised how much you can strengthen a re-straightened bent rod with angle iron clamped onto it. Potentially Plenty enough to finish the trail. Esp if winched straight instead of heated. My understand is Heating it can weaken the hardending that was done to it at factory. Known share of folk who left this trail repair on for years without issue and others who did it in advance as a way to strengthen the rod so it does not get bent in the first place. I like the rod being able to bend though as a fuse. Rather it bend then other things break further down the line.
 

MLu

Adventurer
The big boys tell me that straightening out steering rods on rovers is about as common as a flat tire when it comes to serious offroading. An RRC did the same thing on an outing a while back, we bent it back by very gently pulling it with a tow strap attached to my car.
 

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