Our trip out West with open diffs

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mgroeger

mgroeger

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Great thread! That's the type of adventure I bought a Jeep for. I mean, it's one thing to go to a off-road park and prop your wheel up on a rock and a completely different thing to take the road less traveled to take in truly beautiful scenes and see parts of the world you couldn't see otherwise. Sure wish I still lived in the Southwest but it's only a couple day's drive. Been out a few times recently but before I bought the Jeep. Never enough vacation time to see/do everything.
We still try to prop our wheels up on rocks a few times a month ;)
I never thought driving over things would make me so happy.
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higbyz

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It is where I took the picture that is my avatar.
You leave Moab and make a right off of 191 onto 128. Go for 29.7 miles and you will see an old abondoned suspension bridge on your right. Make a right there and you will see a bathroom and gravel parking lot. Follow that road, it becomes Entrada Bluffs road and it will take you right to the top of the world trail.

I highly recommend the Third Edition Guide To Moab, UT from funtreks, it was a great off road companion to have.
Your avatar pic rocks ! No pun intended , well maybe a little. Enjoyed your all your videos and your entire adventure.NIce job.
 
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mgroeger

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Your avatar pic rocks ! No pun intended , well maybe a little. Enjoyed your all your videos and your entire adventure.NIce job.
Thanks!
 
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mgroeger

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UPDATE:
Our next trip out west won't have open diffs :)
Here's the story of why...

The axles that come on the Sport and Sahara (D35 and D30) have the differential drain bolts completely exposed on the underside of the diff leaving them VERY vulnerable to being damaged. This is not the case for the D44 that comes in the REAR of the Rubicons but it does apply to the FRONT D44 in the Rubis.

The Mrs. has a '18 Sahara with the D35/D30 axles. We where wheeling at Uwharie on Sunday and we did our usual trails (I think the damage occurred on Dutch John) and then went to the Outpost to air up and then headed home. 40 minutes into our ride home the Mrs. walkies me and says she needs to pull over and that the Jeep is coming to a stop on it's own. By the time I turn around there is smoke puffing out of the driver rear wheel well. I thought it was the caliper hanging up but the brakes were cool. That's when I noticed the diff was wet and the drain plug had literally been ripped out of the housing at a 45 degree angle and was allowing the gear oil to slowly drip out. I speculate that it took 2 hours from the time the damage occurred until she was seized.
The tow truck got there and the rear axle was completely locked as it was pulled onto the truck. The dealer said that regardless of whatever is going on with the bearings being cooked or gears stripped or anything else inside the axle that the fact that the bolt was ripped out was enough to total the entire axle. There is not enough "meat" on the axle where the plug is to drill and tap a new whole and have it be as good as factory.
Cost? New axle plus labor... $4k.
Called Amica because I knew I was covered and the appraiser agreed with the dealer's assessment.
So what happens next? I take the insurance check, add a couple of bucks to it, tow the Jeep to my buddies house and put brand new D44 Rubi axles with lockers in it and build a Saharacon. Ultimately there is a silver lining to this mess but it's a pain to get to it.
 
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mgroeger

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Great photos.
Did the open differentials hinder you in any way??
Sorry I didn't reply to your question, I just now saw it. The open diffs obviously do have limitations but I was pleasantly surprised at how well they did. The Poison Spider waterfall was where it would definitely helped to have at least one locker but with the right line we made it up.
 

JLAFAKASI

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I wanted to find a place to dump our pics and videos of our trip out West and thought here would be good as any :)

The Mrs. and I took three weeks off and drove from Raleigh NC to Flagstaff AZ then Sedona, Moab and Ouray.

The other reason I wanted to post is we all know how wonderful the Rubis are with their locking diffs (we wish we had bought one since we are off roading more than we ever thought we would).

BUT we did all of this with open diffs and the Jeep was still a beast in 4LO. Here are the specs:

2018 Sahara, 3.6L, 8 speed auto, @Rough Country Suspensions 2.5" spacer lift, Rubi take off 33s, @RanchoShocks RS5000X shocks, @ACE Engineering frame mounted rock rails, JKS discos and we aired down to 18 psi on each trail. We rolled the odometer over 34,000 miles mark on this trip and have only owned it a year and a half.

We are far from this build being completed... chromoly axle shafts, 35s and a rear locker on the wish list next.

The trails we ran are below in the order we did them. We only took bypasses when it was impossible to do an obstacle and honestly I think we only bypassed once or twice. If we could do any of the extra obstacles (Mickey's Bath tub, Hot tub, difficult ledges, etc...) we did. The pic of me in a hole is in Mickey's Bath tub located next to the Hot tub. The pic of me next to the Jeep with a mannequin in it is actually half of Dan Mick's Jeep... the guy Mickey's Hot tub is named after.

The rock waterfall on Poison Spider was the most challenging thing to do with open diffs. I thought it had me beat but my wife realized the passenger rear was getting stuck in a notch. Once we saw that it was onward and upward on the last roughly 4' ledge. I left some rubber and gas tank skid shavings on that waterfall for it to remember me by :) Unfortunately the video of that last climb got deleted :/

In CO we saw the remnants of about 30 avalanches, Imogene was partially closed because of one.
These pictures and videos don't come close to capturing the sheer beauty of these places but enjoy them anyway :)

AZ:
Broken Arrow
Schnebly Hill Road (badge trail)

Moab (all badge trails):
Fins-N-Things
Hell's Revenge
Poison Spider Mesa
Top of the World

CO:
Ophir Pass (badge trail)
Last Dollar Road
Yankee Boy Basin
Imogene - We could only do half since an avalanche still had the pass closed up top. (badge trail)
Yankee Girl Basin
- The northern half of the Alpine Loop:
Corkscrew Gulch
Hurricane Pass
California Pass
California Gulch
Engineer Pass (badge trail)
Then drove over to Lake City.

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Do you stay in 4LO the whole time for these run when you get on the trail?
 
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mgroeger

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Do you stay in 4LO the whole time for these run when you get on the trail?
The Jeep is built way beyond this now but back then and now we stay in 4LO on the trail the whole time. The only time I'll pop up into 4HI is if there is a long smooth stretch of trail where I can open up and stay above 20 mph but that doesn't happen often. The only other time I'll pop into 4HI is when I'm ripping a sand dune or sand road.

Another thing is when you get to a good obstacle that you need to climb, like a nice rock cropping or boulders, put the transmission into manual mode and drop yourself into 1st gear. The automatic transmission likes to start off in 2nd gear when you are in 4LO but if you are trying to crawl something put yourself in 1st gear and bump it up to 2nd if you need to then drop it back into auto mode when you are done with the obstacle.
 

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Incredible journey. I saved this write-up and corresponding modifications for future planning.
 
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