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Return from Johnson Valley


Elite In Memoriam
November 16, 2006
Reaction score
City, State
La Habra Hts, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
90 Bronco II
first time anyof us had gone there. a lot of open space and didn't know the spots to go reall well, but we all had mucho grande fun blasting through washes, climbing hills and rocks. eferything went well and it was a great day, but the last two hours unleashed hell on my car. so the navajo had to be left there for the night and me and justin are going to go and fix it in the morning.

me, Robbie
Justin (mrj)
matt (mounty71) --- just as a ride along
another friend matt
and justin;s cousin and his kid in his dodge ram 2500












the damage: leaking brake line*fixed*, broken u-joint, bent steering linkage

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Ya, just got home, it was for the most part a great day until we ran into trouble towards the end. But the area has a lot to offer all kinds of offroaders. I'd love to make it back before it gets shut down. I got lots of pictures and some videos so i'll get them up soon.

Man hopefully you left it somewhere safe out there otherwise this could get ugly........

Alright, i'm in the process of uploading videos which takes a while, so those will be posted tomorrow. But i'll run through the days events, because this turned out to be a rather eventful one. But i wont post all of my pictures, you can see the rest on my photobucket.

First RJ had to replace a broken u-joint before we left.

While on the road we stopped for lunch and gas near Cleghorn, and Robert and Justin played a little.

Heading out to Johnson Valley we were warned of possible flash floods, and here we could see the rainstorm and lightning in the distance.

It was also really windy which formed a tornado right by us, that was the craziest thing i've ever seen!


This is while driving through the rainstorm with no windshield wiper on the passenger side. Eventually the rain collected in the moonroof seal and poured all over my lap and back which forced me into the back seat of the navajo.

But we finally made it to Johnson Valley OHV! Here is the first trail we hit, sailing smoothly over the whoops at around 60 MPH.

Then they did a few hillclimbs, and Justin's friend Matt had a tiny video camera that could be mounted on the outside/underside/wherever on a car, so RJ mounted it on the front bumper looking back at the suspension going over whoops, and then on the roof rack facing forward. Hopefully those videos will be posted somewhere.


Then just random pictures of playing around...






So we eventually went looking for rocks, and this one particular spot consumed the rest of our day.





And this is where the problems began...

RJ was very persistent in trying to get through this certain spot, and eventually after a few minutes and several tries, he got sort of high-centered at an angle, and somehow the u-joint that had been replaced that morning had fallen apart, so he needed to be tugged out.



Justin's cousin (in Justin's 4runner) tried to pull him out backwards, but in testing the new rear bumper we discovered that it was not strong enough, and it buckled in half.

So then the big bad dodge took a turn, and the navajo moved back this time, but because the right front wheel was turned, when the truck moved back the tire hit the rock and bent the steering linkage.


I thought i had more pictures after this but i guess in the race against time to extract the navajo before dark, i didn't take anymore. So with the combined effort of everyone the wheels were straightened out enough to drag the navajo back onto flat ground. Which is where it still is right now, out alone in the desert. :( Robert and Justin are heading back with new steering linkage first thing in the morning, and we're all hoping for the best.

Looks like you guys had a ton of fun:chug:

I heard from Robert this morning, he and Justin made it back to the Navajo which was still in one piece. They got the steering fixed. :thumbsup:

Right when we got to JVOHV we also saw this hummer race truck leaving on a trailer with 3 other hummers in the group. I wish we could have seen them testing.

me and justin made it home and the navajo made it back too, but kinda skecthy. we replaced the steering link adn aligned it prett good, but there was more problems we found out today. i'll post more in a bit. im tired. but lets just say the navajo drove home on three brakes and i'll be pulling apart my brakes and knuckles.

but like i said, we are home! :dpchug:

ok, a quick run down from today.

me and justin made it back to the navajo at maybe 9-10am, it was un hamred and just as we left it. justin messed around on the nearby rocks before we went into working. only trouble we had replacing the steering link was some messed up threads on the spare that we had to file down. after fixing it and driving around a bit i wanted to look at the u-joint. while i was looking at that part of the car i noticed that it looked like my brake pad was missing. well it wasn't, but is was up, wedged between the knuckle and the rotor. so the caliper had been riding the rotor for a bit. took the wheel off and took the caliper off (which was hard because i broke the floor jack). the inner brake pad had a gap between the place it sits and the rotor it would just fall to the ground. i looked and noticed my knuckle was cracked. with no vise grips or clamps, we had to impravise our best way to make the brakes still work. might now have been the greatest idea, but it worked. with the caliper off but still conected to the brake line, we stuck a pitman arm puller in hte caliper and straped it to the frame.

so two things i don't get.

1) how does the u-joint cap come off when it had full clips on it? the whole u-joint is still intact, just one cap came off.

2) how did i crack a knuckle in that spot? (see pictures)

messing around before work













strapped up caliper


cracked knuckle


hey matt, nice write up for the day and good pics :thumbsup:

i really like the pic of justin's 4runner with the dark cloud behind it.

that storm was intense. glad i at least had one windsheild wipper!

Geez you guys are pushing your rides! :)


The ears on the shafts could be stretched allowing it to come out. Toss a couple of spot welds on the caps to the shafts and be done.

The ears on the shafts could be stretched allowing it to come out. Toss a couple of spot welds on the caps to the shafts and be done.

Yeah i remember Ted doing the same thing at the last truck haven after he lose a cap too. :)

fun trip! i gess my 4banger has to much power for that bumper hah jk

I was thinking about your bumper, what if you had 2 shackles closer to the frame rails instead of 1 right in the center?

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:scratch: I think it's time for you to look into a Tow rig and trailer:p: