Worst day off-road.. (really long, i'm bored) - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old October 20th, 2006, 12:40 AM
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Stephan Laputka
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Worst day off-road.. (really long, i'm bored)

Did a search and did not find any threads regarding stories where everything just goes wrong on the trail. I was going through my digital photos and found some of my old Range Rover and it got me thinking about how it all ended. This story is completely true and marks to this day the absolute worst day (expensive too) that I have ever had with a vehicle. PLS post some stories so I know im not the only one with bad luck. Sorry this is a long story, I'm just bored doing work.

I had just finished a big round of modifications to my 88 range rover and i decided i would head to a local off-road spot here in NY with a friend to just "test out" the new stuff. Little did I know that it was going to be the last time my truck would ever leave the driveway under her own power. It was supposed to be a 20 minute romp doing silly stuff. We were in flip flops we were going to be so quick. After messing around on rocks and what not for a few mins I drove over to mud pit that I had been through a million times. For some reason something was different, to this day don't know what. Went into the thing and it was deeper and goopier that ever. The brand new Warn 15000 with syntheetic line was out of reach of any winch point. With a little movement still going i rocked back and forth trying to get out. Then it started.. In one shot both driver side tires blew. Naturlly the i was leaning to the driver side and could not get to the tires not to mention they were under massive amounts of mud. I continued to try and get out, eventually pulling both tires off the rims to the inside of the wheel well. The tires filled with goopy mud and became 100 pound bricks. The next tap on the gas caused the front driver CV (Great basin) to shatter stripping the brand new 24 spline axle. down to three wheel drive. In the ensuing minutes a crunch noise that i'll never forget erupted out of the t-case leaving the front driveshaft simply twitching but not turning. 2 wheel drive. Decided to change tires as best as I could. Started with the rear because they were all I had left. Jacked up with a highlift after much digging and got the tire off. I had no idea how heavy a 34 inch goodyear is filled with mud. As my buddy and I struggled to move it to the nearest bank, we bumped the truck waddling in the mud causing it to fall off the highlift. The wheeless rear axle came down on a rock, sheering the rear brake caliper off and jammed it into the spring.

Out of no where an 80's chevy blazer and f-150 arrived. Tried winching straight, sideways, angled, with a pulley, without, nothing would budge. Finally the synthetic line snapped, shock loading the winch causing it to burn out a selonoid. Tried a strap with the blazer. The jolt on the 30 foot strap broke the rusted body mount loose near the passenger door causing the rovetym 2 inch spacer to come through the also rusted floor board. With a hole in teh passenger floor water poored in and shorted out the ECU. Meantime the blazer blew up it's front end in the pulling process. the ford pulled the blazer to the road and again i was alone. I had lost my flip flops in the mud and it was getting dark. Now since the wheeless rear end fell into the mud, the driverside back corner sat so low in the mud that the thick mud started right about the top of the wheel well. That mean the hub i needed to get to was about 3 feet down in the mud. (thank you long travel shocks for that one) note: if you have 14 inches of travel in your rear shocks.. stay out of the mud

After drying teh ecu, getting the truck back on a jack and getting the tire back on. I resumed my attempt of getting out. I put a call into my brother to bring another tire to replace the front. In a few minutes the driver side rear axle twisted and broke, leaving me one drive wheel. my brother arrived in his d-90 which was useless in budging me. The guys in teh chevy and the ford called a buddy of theirs that ultimately would be my salvation. He showed up with a late model dodge ram.. 3500 cummins diesel, exteneded cab with the double wheels in the back. We hooked two 30 foot straps together and he backed up bumper to bumper with me and gunned it. with a 60 foot runway, the jolt was so severe that it broke parts of my dash off. All the ac vents fell out, some of the plastic etc. after three pulls, the rangie came out. despite the broken hardware, the dents, and the ruined interior i could deal with it all but the deal breaker was the body mounts. The recovery process had broken most of them loose the the body was no longer really connected to the frame. None of the passenger side tires fit in the wheel wells because of the collapsed mounts. In a supposed 20 min trip I had easily spent more than double the cars over all worth in damages. She was my first car..
To this day I avoid mud pits like the plague..

Mods as of that day:
34 inch MTRs, 4.6 long block, AA yellow with black hood, 14 inch bilstien 7100 in rear/10s in the front, AB steering guard, sliders and dif guard, Rockware gas tank and cat skid, F/R ARB Lockers, F/R ARB bumpers, 10 inches of lift, Great Basin 24 spline axles and cv's, Tom Wood's double doble cardon front shaft, Great Basin single cardon Rear shaft, Warn 15K, Xenon headlights, CB and scanner, Wilderness rack, rovertym shock mounts and the more that i dont remember.. She was a good truck...
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  #2  
Old October 20th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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Phillip
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my condolences
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  #3  
Old October 20th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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Mike Lynch
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That really sucks, sorry to hear about that. I too have learned my lesson with mud/clay that we have a lot of here in Michigan. The last time I went it cost me 40 dollars at the quater car wash to clean my Defender and it seems like I am still get mud off weeks later.
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  #4  
Old October 20th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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Giampaulo Cinquegrana
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Is that why you got rid of the Rangie?
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  #5  
Old October 20th, 2006, 12:17 PM
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Ask Dave Souza about quick little off road trips.
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  #6  
Old October 20th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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Stephan Laputka
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Jon- That was indeed the reason. You know those mud pits behind the sheraton on 287? those were the ones.. I have a picture of the truck somewhere that was taken 20 mins before it all happened. I'll find it and post it.. prosperity sake. I actually didn't get rid of it per say. That would require me selling it. I pulled as many working parts out of it and bolted them in the d-90. Lockers, tie rods, a few skid plated, remaining electronics, engine anciallaries.. etc. I wanted to get the 4.6 out and sell it but i wasn't able to in time. SomEone offered to take it for a grand. Thought that was a good deal considering the car has no steering components or drivetrain. What parts I couldn't use on the 90 (bumpers and a few skid plates) I sold to a guy in north carolina. Anyone have similar stories?? Jon you must... didn't you wrap a muffler around your rear axle while getting stuck in an ice flow or something like that..
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  #7  
Old October 20th, 2006, 01:43 PM
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Troy MacQuarrie
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That is one brutal day of 4 wheelin. You must have been thinking, "this can't be happening!"
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  #8  
Old October 20th, 2006, 02:19 PM
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Stephan Laputka
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Actually I was starting to think the truck would not come out ever and I was wondering if my range rover was going to turn into that one abandoned car at the local off-road spot that everyone drives their truck on top of and takes a photo..
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  #9  
Old October 20th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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Craig Dickson
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That is pretty brutal... My story is lame in comparison. I was going through a divorce and part of the settlement was to return some items (VCR, clothes, etc, I know, we were young ..) to my former wife's mothers home about a 4 hour drive away. MY buddy and I drove out there and decided to do some wheeling at a gravel pit with my wifes younger brother. At this point I had no money, a crappy job and was living on a friends couch so you get my frame of mind. My buddy says the one thing that always gets you in trouble. "Hey why don't you drive through that puddle, it dosen't look too deep". So we proceed to end up in the puddle with water up to my belt buckle while sitting the seat. After getting pulled out by a front end loader we finally got it started about 2 hours later. I though eveyrthing was fine until about a month later reverse stopped working and the transmission was slipping sometimes. The mechanic pulled the tranny pan and the fluid looked like a vanilla milkshake. Anyway $1,800 later and I had a new transmission.

The only saving grace to that weekend was the fact that when I dropped off the VCR I kept the remote!!!!!!!!!!!
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  #10  
Old October 20th, 2006, 05:15 PM
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Stephan Laputka
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deep water is rough because you never quite now how bad the damage is going to be..
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  #11  
Old October 20th, 2006, 08:31 PM
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Phillip
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i usually poke around with a stick before i blast thru. I have had good luck so far. My last time out I almost got stuck, god bless "digger lugz"
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  #12  
Old October 20th, 2006, 09:22 PM
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Stephan Laputka
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This is my truck about a year prior, one mud pit over from the one that would eventually claim my beloved truck. By the way, I didn't use the test it with a stick method and look where it got me..
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  #13  
Old October 20th, 2006, 10:31 PM
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not all holes are safe you gotta poke around in them a little before you put your goods in em
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  #14  
Old October 21st, 2006, 03:05 PM
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Stephan Laputka
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Ill try to remember that for more than just 4 wheeling..
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  #15  
Old October 21st, 2006, 05:13 PM
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sflash868,

You definently win!! I have nothing that bad but I will share;

First time I took it out after the wheel base stretch and new suspension I promised myself I would be easy on it. Well, after a while I was feeling pretty cocky and amazed with the performance. The thing climbs like a goat. Well, we come to a 3 foot waterfall, nothing big but I try to go all cool style way high right. I get the tire way up there on the right and about 3/4 of the way up the tire slips off the right and the truck falls about 2 feet and lands smack on the rear trailing arms. I mean perfectly in the center, with the whole weight of the truck all on the trailing arms, at the top of the ledge. Well, of course there were two things I could do in that split second, stop and take a look to make sure everything is okay, or HAMMERDOWN baby. Take a quess which one I did, and which one was the right thing to do.

Well, the rock ledge had bent my apparently too skinny trailing arms, then when I hit the gas I had a lot of traction on the rear wheels and the torque took my tires and literally shoved them up under the rear of the truck. I snapped my rear driveshaft and ended up bending it, broke one trailing arm in half, bent the other one severly. Broke both my rear airshock, bent my lower and upper shock mounts, and damaged my pinion.

Getting out of there was one heck of a challenge. I ended up damaging my rear brake drum and grenading my front hubs on the way out. It was a sweet weekend for sure. The rear end was so deformed that it took me about an hour just to get the truck on the trailer!!!

It took me a long time to fix everything, but everything is stronger than it used to be. The front hubs are now 35 spline drive slugs. The d-shaft is now thick Chromoly and take a look at the new material of the rear links on the far right. Heat treated 4340 .400 wall 1.75 OD gundrilled! I don't want to go through that again! The other two pics are the shock and trailing arm mounts after I fixed them.
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Made it further than half of the other guys, but the Hammers won.
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  #16  
Old October 21st, 2006, 11:20 PM
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Stephan Laputka
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After reading that post i continued to ponder about past hiccups on the trail and realized i've never really had a problem when I planned for one. I've driven to Moab from nyc three times now, wheeling all the way there and back and haven't had a problem, aside from a busted poly bush on a trailing arm. Even then it was on the nut side and I had a spare so i fixed it in about 10 seconds. Murphy's law..
I can think of another good one where I was with some girl i was trying to impress so I veered off the road that led to a quarry with a couple cool hill climbs. Been there a million times, it was easy stuff. Totally not paying attention, was gunning it up a hill not thinking about my line or anything planted the front diff into a rock, stopping the truck dead in its tracks. Knocked teh girl off her seat into the dash. The hit was hard enough to stall the engine out, so i lost power brakes and the car takes off backwards down the hill. Hits a rock at the bottom and goes under the car and hooks the borla exhaust, Bending it back and pinching it off not before snagging the rear brake line and ripping that off too. Naturally the pinched exhaust prevented me from starting the engine again. ugh.. so didn't get any that night

Follow-up Post:

Or my personal favorite embarassing moment... i was being an ass and revving the engine at a stop sign on campus at some friends of mine, when i felt a nice shudder as the engine tossed a fan blade through the hood at 3000 rpms.. this was in front of like 50 people.. awful. i looked like such a dick
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  #17  
Old October 22nd, 2006, 12:25 AM
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Wow, this post's story gave me the ouch..oouuch...OUUCHHH!ers. Like witnessing the methodical exexution of a Rangie.
Thats a hard story to go through man..

The worst I experienced was when I was yung and cruzing in Michigan with my International Scout. That scout was a pull horse. Off roading on a single track with my pooch shep running behind, the track took a steep drop into a ravine like portion of the trail. When the pooch tried to pass the scout on the right, she got way close and I turned my head to command her back. Thats when my steer rod hit a boulder. The steering went out and the truck veered hard right, into the ravine side, slamming my pooch against it in a rumble and horrible yelps.. the truck went up the ravine side and flipped crash landing on it's side. I climbed out in horror from the pass. side door which now was vertical, screamin' my dogs name repeatedly, thinking she was killed. The pooch (Lady) , was lying on her side unable to move welping. I CB'D My buddy who came with his Bronco. I remember running to his truck with Lady in my arms, tears streaming down my face.I left the truck there, not caring about it until I got the Diagnosis from the vet- broken hip, she recovered in two months.The truck was towed back by the Bronco. All rods bent to sh.t, left side panels totalled.

Needless to say, all subsequent pooches have always ridden in the truck since that day.
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  #18  
Old October 22nd, 2006, 01:45 AM
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Stephan Laputka
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My dog runs outside the car also. If something happened to my dog, that would out weigh any possible damage to my car. Thats awful, at least the dog made a full recovery and you were ok from the roll. My dog loves wheeling and would hate to be inside the truck although she does have an uncanny ability to position herself sturdy in the back considering she has no hands to hold on with. Drive through a boudler field and she is bolted down in the back, dont know how..(like picture below was taken at 100 mph but she has her head out the windown hanging on right until she caught a bug in the mouth) when outside she is usually a minimum of 15 to 20 feet in front of the car. if she gets next to it i always stop because im worried about hitting her. But yeah, if the dog was hurt i wouldnt care if the car was on fire..
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  #19  
Old October 22nd, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Randy Black
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Dude, if you turned to take a picture of your dog in the backseat at 100mph that explains why you let a truck take a 60' run with a tow strap to pull you out.
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  #20  
Old October 22nd, 2006, 01:50 PM
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damn that sucks, But with the power of those cummins you really shouldnn't have to make a run like that. But I wasn't their so I wouldn't know how really bad it was. After that huge jolt you got you should check your frame, cause i've seen cummins do amazing things when towing or recovery, and it could have bent your frame
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