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Wheeling Tips -

First off if you aren't familiar with Tread Lightly.org, I highly recommend you visit their site. There are a few general rules that you should always follow while on the trail. First you should try and leave everything just how you found it, you shouldn't be running over trees, or driving off of the trails. Second make sure any garbage you bring in, you take out with you, there is no excuse for not picking up after yourself. Third, make sure you aren't trespassing. Trespassing, such as tearing through a farmers field does nothing more than give all four wheelers a bad reputation. You are representing all four wheelers on the trail, be sure you represent us in a positive light. Now onto what you really came to this section for.
 
Slow and Steady.
The number one thing to do is remain calm. You can't be freaking out when you start getting in off-camber situations. If you are calm you are more likely to be smoother, and make the correct decision about what needs to be done. In most cases, your Jeep can go off-camber quite a bit more than you think before anything bad actually happens. Make sure you are securely buckled up, you can't be bouncing around the Jeep while trying to navigate a trail. When on the trail, your speed should be kept to a minimum. Flying down a trail does nothing more than break parts. The goal 90% of the time is to be as smooth and slow as possible. Weird throttle blips break parts. A hand throttle will help prevent those weird throttle blips.
 
Plan your Attack and Using Spotters.
Any real obstacle you should actually get out and look at it before actually attempting it. There's more to wheeling than just driving, you need to have a plan of attack. When I come to a real obstacle I usually walk it first, and get an idea of the line I want to take. Usually we all discuss proper lines to get an idea of what everyone is thinking of the obstacle. It always helps to have a spotter on difficult obstacles. Now if you are going to have a spotter, listen to them. They can see things you can't. The only time I've flopped my Jeep it was a direct result of me not waiting for the spotter to tell me what to do. If you do disagree with the spotter, discuss your thoughts on the situation with the spotter, then get their feedback on your idea, usually you'll be wrong.
 
Mud and Water.
Now as fun as it might seem to go flying through a huge mud puddle throwing mud everywhere, it really not worth it. Mud gets into everything and just acts like liquid sandpaper. Typically when in a mud puddle, there's no reason to be flying or to have the skinny pedal planted, all that's need is just constant forward momentum, don't stop, stay moving, maintain a constant speed. If you stop moving, don't stay on the gas, you are most likely just going to bury yourself. Typically if I stop moving, I quickly reverse, if I can back up, I'll try going forward again, with some more momentum than before. If you still don't go anywhere, typically its time to start the recovery process before you make a bad situation worse. If you break out the winch, keep an eye on what you are winching your Jeep into. While its a blast driving through creeks and rivers, it can be very dangerous as well. Keep an eye out for deep spots, you need to keep your air box above water. Don't worry if your exhaust is under water, it's fine as long as your air box is above water. If you get stuck and your exhaust is under water (assuming the air box is above water), don't shut if off, leave it running to keep water out of the exhaust system. We once had to leave Crazy Dan's YJ running in a river for a total of 8 hours while performing the recovery. After any deep water crossing check your engine oil, and if you have a automatic transmission check that fluid as well. Should you actually get water in the oil, or notice any drastic change in the oil pressure during your river crossing, you need to shut the Jeep off as soon as possible. I've had to change fluids on the trail, if you run into this, DO NOT drain the fluids onto the ground, I had to go buy a cover drain pan when this happened to me.
 
Rocks.
When playing on the rocks, its very important to keep your speed at a minimum, and use a spotter. Be careful about getting wheels bound up on rocks, and watch the sharp corners of rocks on the tire sidewalls. Deflating your tires will help reduce the possibility of rocks puncturing the tires. Make sure your spotter is keeping tabs on rocks that are near your driveshafts and diff covers. Remember skid plates are meant to be scratched up and take some abuse, so don't stop just because you are rubbing a skid plate.
 
When all else fails.
Now slow and steady will get you through a lot, and greatly reduces breakage. However there's a time and a place where you have to hit an obstacle hard, where you need some momentum to carry you through. Carefully assess the situation and risk, make sure everything will clear, and hit it with some momentum. Now you still shouldn't be flying, just a good roll. Just stay on the gas, lifting to early can be the difference between making it, and backing down.
 
Overall.
Take it slow, and plan your attack. There's more to wheeling than just planting the skinny pedal and hoping you make it. If you've planned your line carefully you are more likely to successfully make through the obstacle, calmly, and without breaking anything.
 
Related Topics: | Things to check before wheeling: | Prepare for a trip: |
 
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