Biggest Equipment Failure, or Breakage While on a Trip // Did you fix it, and how? | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Biggest Equipment Failure, or Breakage While on a Trip // Did you fix it, and how?

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ovrlndr

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4,353
Denver, CO, USA
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Jason
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Broom
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I have my own story, I might be putting it over in my build thread and then here... But I want to hear YOUR stories!

What is the biggest equipment failure or breakage you've had while out on a trip? Where were you when it happened? Did you fix it on the spot or did you have to drive the rig out or get a tow? If you fixed it, how did you fix it? Pictures would make these stories even more awesome.
 

Mojavewanderer

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Hemet, CA, USA
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Brent
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Caldon
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6614A6DE-B66D-478E-BD17-0E76986305D8.jpeg I was headed out this past Friday for Labor Day, and my clutch slave cylinder went out on the Cajon pass. I called pep boys, and they actually had a new one in stock, so a then called my son, and he bought it out to me. The pep boys cylinder turned out to be for a 2 wheel drive truck, but it worked enough to get me home. The 4wd part will be in tomorrow, so I get to change it all over again. At least it won’t be in the dark and dirt along side of the freeway this time.
 

ovrlndr

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4,353
Denver, CO, USA
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Jason
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View attachment 67300 I was headed out this past Friday for Labor Day, and my clutch slave cylinder went out on the Cajon pass. I called pep boys, and they actually had a new one in stock, so a then called my son, and he bought it out to me. The pep boys cylinder turned out to be for a 2 wheel drive truck, but it worked enough to get me home. The 4wd part will be in tomorrow, so I get to change it all over again. At least it won’t be in the dark and dirt along side of the freeway this time.
Glad you got it fixed and got home safe! Keep the stories coming folks!
 

slomatt

Rank V

Influencer I

1,723
Bay Area, CA
The friends I wheel with and I have had a few notable incidents. None of these were "end of the world" type of problems, but they are examples of the types of small issues that can be a hassle.

- At night on the way to Niagara Rim the power steering pulley on my old ZJ exploded and it threw the belt. There was no possible trail fix, but luckily it happened outside of Manteca so I was drug into town using a recovery strap and then called AAA to get towed home.

- Another time on the way to the Sourgrass Trail the thermostat on the ZJ seized in the open position and it started majorly overheating. Luckily I had a spare thermostat and some RTV and was able to fix it.

- Then the shaft of a shock on the ZJ broke at the beginning of the Deer Valley trail. It was a rear shock so I pulled it off and drove the trail and then all the way home without it.

- A friend had the alternator fail on his Pathfinder in the middle of Death Valley. The solution was to swap batteries with another truck periodically until he could reach a town.

- The same friend had a front shock mount tear out of his fender resulting in the top of the shock smacking all over when he drove (also in Death Valley). Solution was to pay the guy who maintains the golf karts in Furnace Creek a few bucks to temporarily weld it back in place.

- Same guy had his radiator fail way out in the backcountry in Death Valley (noticing a trend here?). He and a friend were driving alone, and ended up putting all their drinking water into the radiator and then shutting off the engine when going downhill until they made it to the hot springs where they loaded up on more water and eventually made it into a town.

- Same guy broke a front half-shaft on the Elephant Hill trail in Canyonlands. It was over 100 degrees out so we had people hold umbrellas up for shade while we removed the broken part of the shaft so that he could continue in 2 wheel drive. Later that same trip he had a tire go flat and had to run a 31" spare with his three 32" tires. This is rough on your differential since it has to compensate for the different diameters. The moral of the story is to have a spare tire that is the same size as your other tires.

- A friend's Trooper had a habit of spitting out springs when the rear end was heavily flexed out. Solution was to high lift up the rear and use a pry bar to get the spring back in. This happened near the north end of the Slick Rock trail. That same trip he tore off his front bumper cover (we tied it on his roof) and tore one end of his rock slider off the truck's frame.

- On the Barney Riley trail a friend's XTerra stripped out all the bolts on a front locking hub leaving him with only 2wd. Luckily I had brought a drill and some ez-outs and he had spare bolts.

- The same friend pinched his exhaust tip shut on Golden Spike in Moab and the engine had too much back pressure to run. We had to cut the end off with a hacksaw.

- Another time the same friend ran over a stick which jumped up and tore out the air lines for his lockers, leaving him with open differentials. This could have been prevented by routing the air lines up higher and putting them on top of or inside the frame so they were protected. Also, be careful when driving over large branches in the trail, if you only drive on one side the other side can lift up and damage the bottom of your truck.

- Another friend's spindle nut was improperly torqued and the resulting wear on the bearing almost caused his 39" tire to fall off at night on highway 4. He had to be flat towed home.

I've also been involved in the recovery of 2 rolled vehicles. Both had to be towed, and both rolls could have easily been prevented by a little common sense.


After taking the time to write up this list it makes me realize that in my experience major issues are somewhat rare, but there a lot of small issues that can really ruin your trip if you aren't prepared to deal with them.
 

ovrlndr

Rank VI
Member

Influencer II

4,353
Denver, CO, USA
First Name
Jason
Last Name
Broom
Member #

1375

The friends I wheel with and I have had a few notable incidents. None of these were "end of the world" type of problems, but they are examples of the types of small issues that can be a hassle.

- At night on the way to Niagara Rim the power steering pulley on my old ZJ exploded and it threw the belt. There was no possible trail fix, but luckily it happened outside of Manteca so I was drug into town using a recovery strap and then called AAA to get towed home.

- Another time on the way to the Sourgrass Trail the thermostat on the ZJ seized in the open position and it started majorly overheating. Luckily I had a spare thermostat and some RTV and was able to fix it.

- Then the shaft of a shock on the ZJ broke at the beginning of the Deer Valley trail. It was a rear shock so I pulled it off and drove the trail and then all the way home without it.

- A friend had the alternator fail on his Pathfinder in the middle of Death Valley. The solution was to swap batteries with another truck periodically until he could reach a town.

- The same friend had a front shock mount tear out of his fender resulting in the top of the shock smacking all over when he drove (also in Death Valley). Solution was to pay the guy who maintains the golf karts in Furnace Creek a few bucks to temporarily weld it back in place.

- Same guy had his radiator fail way out in the backcountry in Death Valley (noticing a trend here?). He and a friend were driving alone, and ended up putting all their drinking water into the radiator and then shutting off the engine when going downhill until they made it to the hot springs where they loaded up on more water and eventually made it into a town.

- Same guy broke a front half-shaft on the Elephant Hill trail in Canyonlands. It was over 100 degrees out so we had people hold umbrellas up for shade while we removed the broken part of the shaft so that he could continue in 2 wheel drive. Later that same trip he had a tire go flat and had to run a 31" spare with his three 32" tires. This is rough on your differential since it has to compensate for the different diameters. The moral of the story is to have a spare tire that is the same size as your other tires.

- A friend's Trooper had a habit of spitting out springs when the rear end was heavily flexed out. Solution was to high lift up the rear and use a pry bar to get the spring back in. This happened near the north end of the Slick Rock trail. That same trip he tore off his front bumper cover (we tied it on his roof) and tore one end of his rock slider off the truck's frame.

- On the Barney Riley trail a friend's XTerra stripped out all the bolts on a front locking hub leaving him with only 2wd. Luckily I had brought a drill and some ez-outs and he had spare bolts.

- The same friend pinched his exhaust tip shut on Golden Spike in Moab and the engine had too much back pressure to run. We had to cut the end off with a hacksaw.

- Another time the same friend ran over a stick which jumped up and tore out the air lines for his lockers, leaving him with open differentials. This could have been prevented by routing the air lines up higher and putting them on top of or inside the frame so they were protected. Also, be careful when driving over large branches in the trail, if you only drive on one side the other side can lift up and damage the bottom of your truck.

- Another friend's spindle nut was improperly torqued and the resulting wear on the bearing almost caused his 39" tire to fall off at night on highway 4. He had to be flat towed home.

I've also been involved in the recovery of 2 rolled vehicles. Both had to be towed, and both rolls could have easily been prevented by a little common sense.


After taking the time to write up this list it makes me realize that in my experience major issues are somewhat rare, but there a lot of small issues that can really ruin your trip if you aren't prepared to deal with them.
WOW. I think the takeaway is don’t wheel with you and your friends, you’ll break something! [emoji13] (only kidding, of course)

But seriously, thanks for sharing these experiences!
 

Stickman

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Wife and I just completed Mosquito Pass outside of Alma, CO. I think my wife broke a nail. She just filed it down. We did not have any problems with T4Runner.
 
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Stickman

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Off-Road Ranger I

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Treanor
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I have my own story, I might be putting it over in my build thread and then here... But I want to hear YOUR stories!

What is the biggest equipment failure or breakage you've had while out on a trip? Where were you when it happened? Did you fix it on the spot or did you have to drive the rig out or get a tow? If you fixed it, how did you fix it? Pictures would make these stories even more awesome.
I think this is an excellent topic. Keep it going. It will help a lot of people.
 
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slomatt

Rank V

Influencer I

1,723
Bay Area, CA
WOW. I think the takeaway is don’t wheel with you and your friends, you’ll break something! [emoji13] (only kidding, of course)

But seriously, thanks for sharing these experiences!
After writing that all up I started to feel the same way. :) But... to be fair these issues were all relatively minor and occurred over the last ~20 years and dozens of trips, so I can chalk it up as experience.
 
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HappyOurOverlanding

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Verdi Nevada
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I have my own story, I might be putting it over in my build thread and then here... But I want to hear YOUR stories!

What is the biggest equipment failure or breakage you've had while out on a trip? Where were you when it happened? Did you fix it on the spot or did you have to drive the rig out or get a tow? If you fixed it, how did you fix it? Pictures would make these stories even more awesome.
This is one of my fears of being out in nowhere and having an issue like some of these in the thread (except for breaking a nail :tearsofjoy:). So far the biggest failure was having a flat in Death Valley. Learned the hard way that a high-lift jack can move the rig sideways when lifting on sand. Got it changed and continued with trepidation thinking that if I get another flat I am really going to have an issue. Once I got home, I bought better tires, a flat fix kit and lifts for the rig. I feel better now on the trails.

Additionally, I have my rig serviced after every major trip to help keep it 'up to speed' so to speak. However, I don't want to imagine something mechanical happening to the rig on a trip. So I think insurance purchased as part of my InReach subscription may be in the cards.

The only other issue was the wiring harness came loose and fell near the exhaust pipe. I posted this incident to one of the OB forums for help since it smelled like rubber burning. The comments belayed my fears on anything tire/break related and lead me to crawling further under the 4Runner to discover the issue, which was a quick fix tape job when the rig was in for body damage repair (probably won't use that outfit again). Had to replace the wiring harness but this issue was better found in town than having the harness burn up somewhere on the trail.
 
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phxdsrtrat

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I'm a bit older but for me it was the starter on my '66 Jeep Wagoneer (automatic transmission). HOWEVER, this thing ate starters every couple of years (never did figure out why) so when going offroad I always carried a rebuilt starter and the tools to change it (1/2" open end wrench cut in half to clear the exhaust manifold, a socket wouldn't fit and this was well before ratcheting box wrenches). The second worst was squirreling around in my '98 Jeep Cherokee, losing control and hitting a tree. Pushed the fender into the tire. Used a tow strap and some serious yanks in reverse to pull the fender out enough to get it home without the tire rubbing the entire trip.

-Curtiss