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Return from rubicon 2005 Death of the explorers

This was last year, when Rick did it in the Pumpkin..

It's impossible to see, but on the passenger side the gap is narrower..


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Looks like you guys had a Blast!!!
Nice pics Jefe!! Really makes me wanna get out to Cali!

Well, for me and My Father (Thunderhorse), the trip started off on a bad note. On the way down the grapevine we blew a breakline. Let me tell you there is nothing like blowing a breakline coming down a steep grade into a 30 mph turn in a 3300 lbs vehicle and towing a 3100 lbs vehicle. Dad did wanders getting that thing around the turn and only needed help to stop in the deny's parking lot.

Once at Placerville we got our room and got some sleep hoping for a good run on the 'Con. The next morning we meet up with RockRanger and his Girlfriend Tracy for breakfast and headed into the Forest.

Meet up with the group on the granit slab and discussed how we were going to run this thing. Upon arrival at gatekeeper, I walked my Jeep through the GateKeeper rather easily. Unfortuantly my father's Exploder lived up to the reputation by Grenading, thats not a figure of speach, a Warn Hub, bending a tie rod (then breaking it), Puncturing a Tire, and to top it all off the Break Line we had to replace at the bottom of the grapevine on the way up was leaking again.

Well yanked it off the trail, Thank you to all the people that helped with that, and parked it assessed the damage, then I took my Jeep back into Placerville (4 hour round trip) to get the parts that we needed. I can't say enough about NAPA, they stocked the tie rod and connector sleeve. $162 dollars and 4 hours later I'm back. Unforunatly the adjuster sleeve they gave us wasn't the right one. I decided it was time for a little ingenuity and had my Dad cut a two inch peice of box off my Tire Carrier, with this we pounded it onto the end of the broken tie rod and found a certified welder to weld it to the connector sleeve. Worked like a champ. We decided to stay where we were right next to the trail until the next day then we would head out to the granit slab and make camp. That night was one of the worst times I have had on a trail. Apperently the Night Runs on the 'con start at like 9pm and go until dawn. Needless to say, there was no sleep for us.

Then next day, Saturday, We headed out to the granit slab to make camp. Found a good spot and relaxed. My Father went into Placerville in his newly repaired Exploder to get the propper part. Once he got back we put the NEW and STRONGER tie rod onto the rig and noticed that the Break line was leaking. I took it off and proptly Stripped the union that it connected to. So back into Placerville I went. Straight to NAPA to get the break parts. They didn't have it, but they did have something that would work after some adaption. Put it on the truck and headed back into Placerville. This time to get a hotel room and head home the next day.

We rolled into Placerville at 12 am sunday and slept until 6:30 am. When we got up we went out to check on the truck and see if the breaks were good. then packed up and left.

Our problems didn't stop there unfortunatly. We decided that I should drive the jeep home instead of being towed. Kewl, Road Trip. On the road we found that Dad's Exploder was having problems with it's transmission. Ended up shifting spontaniously from over drive into another gear. Slowed us down at the grapevine. After a 20mph trek up the grapevine we made good time down and into Riverside County, arriving home to call the Wives for dinner at a local BJ's at 9:15pm

Total List of breakage for us
1. tie rod
2. breakline
3. break union
4. brand new tire
5. suspect tranny

Suspect Clutch (might have sheared a finger off of it)

All in all it would have been an AWESOME trip if we had been able to make it into the trail. I had fun, even though I was wrenching on the truck more then driving through VW sized rocks. I also got some rather good pics of various vehicles going through the gatekeeper and a few otehr obstacles on the way to the granit slab.

See Them Here

Lets Hope I can Talk my Dad into doing it again next year.


Sounds like a great time for some and a real bummer for others. I really wish we could have been there with you guys.

Char and I have been in CO for the past week. The CO run is set for this weekend and now Char is having some health problems and we're not sure if we're going to stay or go back to Phoenix:(

OH no? Rick anything I can do to help?

I am thinking my truck is glad I did not make this trip.
Without sliders and my exhaust hanging the way it is she would have been doomed.....

I am having transmission "issues" as well

Nothing like 100 degrees in CO to let you know your new drivetrain vapor locks. fixed that problem but then the TSB issues on the 4R70W have been biting me (los of OD, flashing OD light) etc and to think I was really gonna try to make the CO run even though I am closing on the house the same week...geesh.

Maybe I can make a run next year? This year is not looking good.
Pics look awesome, not sure my BII is up for that trail just yet, hahaha can you say 8.8 diff guard, sliders, rear locker and some more slid plates? I can.....

Jefe, whats up with the hood??

goliath said:
Im rethinking the explorers purpose right now. Without an automatic, atlas II and way more lift i wont be able to do the trails i want, and for the price of the conversions i could build something else.

As I've said before it doesn't matter what you build it WILL break when you play hard. Just ask Tom... I hate to use him as an example, but he built his zuk with all the "right stuff" and has busted a lot of the good stuff already.

I don't care if you build a 1500lb moon buggy with 300M axles in Terra 60s the **** still breaks...

I guess if you found a pre-built rig at a price you can afford that would be ideal since you wouldn't be the one paying the "new" prices for equipment. Or just get a Jeep where everything used is a dime a dozen.

As far as the auto trans goes... I thought about that myself, but ever since I added a hand throttle and the Atlas II I haven't wanted to go to an auto (I have a C-5 sitting in my garage). I'm still on my second transmission and clutch for the Explorer. Not bad for a 12 year old truck, let alone a 12 year old truck that's been through what the Pumpkin has been through.

410Fortune said:
OH no? Rick anything I can do to help?

I wish there was:(

Rick said:
I guess if you found a pre-built rig at a price you can afford that would be ideal since you wouldn't be the one paying the "new" prices for equipment.
Amen brother... :D

function? air flow? supercharger? hahaha




Some of mine from last weekend.

EDIT: fixed the links for you

Thanks for the help on the links. Not much of a computer guy :rolleyes:

SSDD - The more I see the pics of your truck, the more I like it! From what I've seen...everything on there is PERFECT! :thumbsup: Hopefully mine will look similar once it's done. ;)

Thanks for the compliment. When i started this build it was acually supposed to be simple and it turned out alittle more extreme. I dont think i am selling it anymore. I had way to much fun on the con with it. What other vehicle could i carry my wife and I, 2 1/2 year old son and a friend, as well as all our gear to the con and have no trouble. Thanks for lookin.

Good to hear you aren't selling anymore. Can you email me some more pics of that rear bumper? (so I don't hi-jack the thread :D)

SSDD Can you tell what springs your running in the front? They seem to flex pretty well. Also what are you using for arms?

The springs are 10" skyjacker tj "jeep coils" they work great. was using eb and ranger coils but they did not flex. the tj's work sweet. the arms i built. i have alittle fab side business"for friends and wheelers, not an official business" here in the bay area. The front end is a standard 3 link with the pass side being fully wristed. Works well. :D

I'll say, thats nice flex for a wristed arm setup....actually for any setup! hahaha

Got pics?

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I will get some of the whole rig. ;)