Vehicular Hypochondria | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Vehicular Hypochondria

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Truckerbizz

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Hey everyone!

I don't really know where to place this so admins feel free to move it where you see fit. But, I have a severe case of vehicular hypochondria. I am constantly thinking something is wrong with my rig. Does anyone have some tips on how to reduce anxiety when overlanding? I am always afraid that I am going to break something and get stuck somewhere.
 

vicali

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Haha, we call it testing..
Like how on every drive I'm listening, varying speed, breaking, checking the steering wheel, etc, etc..
It would probably drive my wife crazy but her Dad did exactly the same thing so it's normal now.
 

SLO Rob

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I try to go with people that know waaaaaay more about auto repair than I do and prefer to travel with those types! That being said, I'd love to take a repair class at a community college or something if possible so I can be helpful and not reliant.
 

pl626

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You don't have an old Land Rover? Seriously, though, this is a healthy concern when overlanding. However, if it's over the top, that can be problematic. If it's really bad, just plan trips with other folks and make sure you have some basic spares for your rig. In my case, a 95 RRC, I know fuel pumps and dizzies are notorious for failing, so I carry spares. Vehicle failure is part of the adventure, so it's good that you're concerned about it...
 
E

expeditionnorth

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I used to be that way, but found out through actual trail use with the guys from gmc4x4 that my rig actually does quite well
however I'd recommend upgrading all drivetrain/frontend components so there is no chance
 

mmnorthdirections

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It's all in the prep! Inspect service and touch everything you can. Know your vehicle, and if you don't, read and learn as much as you can about it. Your vehicle is dependent on you as much as you are on it!!!!!!
 
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GoHeels

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Your not gonna like what I have to say then....
But you are, eventually. It's kind of the nature of the beast.
Just be prepared, carry tools always.
If you can't take an entire tool box carry adjustable stuff. You'd be surprised what a pipe wrench can be used for besides wrenching. Lol.
My vehicle has never been to a mechanic sense I bought it, other than to have tires put on the rims. If you do your own work you have less anxiety cause you have a good idea how to fix stuff.
 

hardtrailz

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I am the opposite. I fully expect my rig to take me anywhere I direct it to. I have a few spare parts and some basic tools, but mostly I know that I have done every bit of work on it for several years and built it properly.

Best advice I can give is to go get it buried and stuck and figure out to get out. Beat it a bit and see the weak links and fix them yourself. Just do it with good people around and people that will help you learn so you can be comfortable.
 
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mellowdave

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It's all in the prep! Inspect service and touch everything you can. Know your vehicle, and if you don't read and learn as much as you can. It's dependent on you as much as you are on it!!!!!!
This post right here.

I have the same issue, Im always hearing "new" noises, or feeling "new" vibrations. Its a thing.

But I find that peace of mind comes in knowing that I can fix it, or at least be certain of whats wrong when it does coome. I mean I drive a 25 year old vehicle through some very demanding situations, something is eventually going to break or quit.

4 years ago I was driving with the whole family down to SPI National Seashore. As we were headed down the beach, the ol rig dropped a cylinder. I wasn't certain what happened, but we stopped, I checked out the basics, and decided that my headgasket likely just kicked it. I went to the local auto parts place, grabbed new plugs and changed them on the beach while the kids played in the water. We had a great time and then I nursed the ol girl home afterward on 5 cylinders. Honestly, other than a rough idle, it was un-eventful I changed the HG the next week, and bang, were back in business. If you want to enjoy this lifestyle, you have to learn to just be cool, work the problem, and be prepared to get dirty, or have some changes in plans. For us, that's half the fun of it. My kids still talk about that trip.

Given that I travel with my kids and wife as I said, I do take basic precautions to ensure that we don't get caught out somewhere without basic supplies. I take note of when I lose cell service so I can backtrack to get help if I need to, things like that. Were a pretty self sufficient lot, so its just part of the adventure.
 
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Tim

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I'm the same and that's before I leave the Tarmac ... As others have said, travel with others and learn from them. You'll soon work out what lines to take, what ground you can safely get across and if you don't get stuck at least once you probably didn't try hard enough! That said, show me a side slope and you'd wonder why I chose to drive off road for fun!
 

4xFar Adventures

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Plan, Prepare, Practice. Get under your truck (and inside the engine bay) and learn to identify all of the parts and know what they do. Do this at home and you'll get familiar enough with everything so when something is wrong, it's easy for you to identify. Sometimes what's broken is obvious to anyone, while other times it takes a keen eye to notice something is slightly off.

This goes in line with vehicle inspections. Not the state mandated ones, but what you perform pre- and post- trip, as well as daily while on the trail. Make a check list of things to go over and keep it in the glovebox. Make notes (if say the brake fluid looks low) and date them to track any changes. The fluid level will drop as the pads wear out, which is normal, but a sudden loss of fluid can mean a leak in the line. But you will probably notice a change in brake pedal feel first.

That takes us to knowing your vehicle. Some things will sound the same if your on the trail or pavement (like a leaky exhaust). But, you'll hear other sounds that only occur on the trail, or certain terrain. The only thing that can really calm your nerves is experience. Everytime you go out your confidence level should grow as you become more familiar with the vehicle, how it handles, and the noises it makes.

The same holds true once your back on pavement heading home. This is when I pay the most attention as getting to highway speeds for the first time after a trail can reveal an issue. You may not notice a slightly bent tie rod going 3-5 mph, but doing 75 mph you sure will! Mud may get thrown off the tires, or other parts, and hit the tire wells or under carriage. The sounds can be disconcerting if you're not expecting it. A chunk of snow can get caught on the inside of a wheel and cause a weird vibe, or steering shimmy if it's up front.

Talk to other owners of your vehicle and share their experiences. Get a workshop manual and study it. Know how your truck works and common points of failure. Carry spares with you and the tools to replace the part. Only you can instill the needed confidence in yourself to hit the trails. And never go out alone!
 

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I help V/H by never going further than I can afford to tow from, lol. I went to Colorado from Virginia last year for 3 weeks and I have more money saved up for towing and repairs than I had for the actual trip. A great time and I only broke 1 U-joint.

..Which is odd because I once went to 7-eleven 1 mile away and ended up with 4 new shocks and a bad ball joint.
 

Saints&Sailors

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I help V/H by never going further than I can afford to tow from, lol. I went to Colorado from Virginia last year for 3 weeks and I have more money saved up for towing and repairs than I had for the actual trip. A great time and I only broke 1 U-joint.

..Which is odd because I once went to 7-eleven 1 mile away and ended up with 4 new shocks and a bad ball joint.
Nailed it - plan on things breaking and then, when nothing does, you'll have some money left over for upgrades. In my book, a good trip is an uneventful one.

I usually check the basics - fluids, visual inspection, etc. beforehand. Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In my opinion, it's better to budget for the worst case scenario and not need it than the other way around. I also bring a basic set of tools along but usually my problem is that I can't get parts.

I'm pretty OCD so I'm constantly checking and thinking that I'm hearing things. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I'm usually right that something is amiss but I have difficulty pinpointing the issue until it's too late. I guess that's what driving a 16+ year old Jeep with over 113k miles is like - I'm always fixing stuff on it. Just when I think I've fixed everything that could possibly go bad, I'll have an axle seal blow out in Yosemite. :grimacing::angry: At one point, it'll be like a brand new car since everything will have been replaced, haha.
 

mmnorthdirections

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Serpentine belt, zip ties, tie down straps, duct and e-tape, a meter and Tools and bailing wire. Fj cruiser not much room.....
 

Winterpeg

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Get used to the usual sounds and feels of the vehicle... how it drives, etc.

You will then know when something is "off" and you need to stop and investigate.

Crawling through a tight, tough trail pulling my trailer with 2 quads and piles of camping gear I hear all kinds of squeaks, groans and such.... and when a new noise pops up I stop immediately and investigate.

A perfect example is a new "thump" when I went over some bumps last week coming out of our camp spot... I looked at my wife and said, "That's a new sound".
I got out and inspected all my ratchet straps and the underside of the FJ and the trailer and everything onboard the trailer. It turned out to be my hilift which I un-wisely strapped to the front rack of my quad that was on the back facing the back. The ratchet strap had worked itself loose and I was likely not far from loosing it completely out the back of the trailer. I removed it completely from there and just laid it on the floor of my trailer between the quad and bin and breathed a sigh of relief I didn't lose it.