Yesterday was the first organized 4-wheeling trip I've been on since I got here in West Virginia, and I've gotta say the Mountaineer Off Roaders really showed me a great time! This group of "Good Ol' Boys" are definitely among the nicest group of people with whom I've 4-wheeled. You guys will recognize Silverzuk from this board. He's the president of the club and one of the nicest guys I've ever met. Not to mention, he can do more with a Zuk on 31's than I thought possible!
Since West Virginia hasn't seen much exposure in the 4x4 world, I thought I'd share a bunch of photos from yesterday. It'll take a while for those of you on modems to download all the images, but it's worth your patience. Obviously, the usual thick green foliage hasn't grown back yet so the trees look dead. But with the nice weather we've been having, Spring must officially be here and it's going to be turning green again real quick.
This was part of our group. We also had a Tacoma on 32" Swamper SXs that joined us after a while.
West Virginia Underwater Rockcrawling!
The red TJ blew a bead in this section. How? Those aren't real beadlocks!
There was a nice waterfall that hasn't yet been conquered by a Samurai due to their short wheelbase. I managed a wheelstand a couple times, but couldn't get a grip on the rocks with the water flowing down it:
We had some nice views at the top of the mountain:
Those are rigs from our group off in the distance:
And yes, West Virginia has rock crawling:
I guess it was bound to happen someday. I haven't broken a rear axle since 1996, and these rocks were certainly not axle-snappers, but while gently letting out the clutch, there was that dreaded "SNAP" that could've come from only one thing: an axle shaft. Specifically, the driver's side (long side) rear axle shaft.
One of the Suzuki guys had a spare axle shaft, so we winched my Zuk out of the rocks and proceeded to change the axle. It broke right at the splines, but thankfully the stub didn't get wedged in the carrier splines. Vice grips pulled it right out, so we were able to clean the carrier out and reassemble the rear end.
I couldn't have gotten it done so quickly without the help of so many of the club members, every one of whom pitched in to help. Here's a few of the friendly faces:
And we wound up with a nice sunset, getting the Zuk rolling again shortly after dark:
My locker was acting funny (or rather, not-so-funny) on 60-70 mile drive home. I'll be starting another thread to see if I anyone has any thoughts on that, but to sum it up, the passenger side of the locker slips going around corners: "pop, pop, pop" if I give it much throttle. Any advice would sure be appreciated.
All in all, everyone had a GREAT time. Besides my break, the only other vehicular down time was the blown bead on the red TJ. If anyone in the East is interested in exploring West Virginia's back country, Silverzuk is an awesome trail leader and I can guarantee you'll have fun!
-- Geoff Beasley