It was bound to happen eventually. No matter how careful I am out on the trails eventually some sort of trail damage will come to my Jeep.
And it did, during Women's Wheeling this past weekend at Rausch Creek.
After wheeling spectacularly thru the Pizza Rock obstacle, thanks to my great spotter, Brian from Southern Maryland, I headed down the trail on some smaller rocks.
I ended up coming down hard on a rock the wrong way. Check it out in this video ~ I Broke My Jeep
When I heard the "clunk" I knew it was something bad. Getting back off the rock, and over it, was pretty easy. It was when I tried turning the wheels, I knew something just wasn't right.
Luckily, there were experienced Jeepers, like Chris from New York, out on the trail able to figure out the issue. Turns out it was my steering stabilizer.
When I came down on the rock it twisted up the bracket that attaches the stabilizer to the tie rod. The whole steering stabilizer got pushed up. That prevented me from having a full range of steering.
Once again, those experienced Jeepers also were competent Jeep mechanics. And who knew... you don't need that steering stabilizer to drive. So we took it off until we could get to a dry, flat, out of the way of the trail, so we could get a closer look, and fix my Jeep.
If you watch the video you can hear the anxiety and worry in my voice. I guess that comes with a Jeeper's first time damage to their Jeep. I was also concerned I wouldn't be able to drive home. Luckily, my wheeling buddy Amanda was the voice of reason.
During our lunch break Brian from New York broke out his tools and got under my Jeep. It was a pretty easy fix ~ move the bracket back in place, and attach the steering stabilizer. It was a great experience to watch and help him fix my Jeep. Next time though I should be the one wrenching and getting my hands dirty.
Just a couple of simple tools was all it took. The one tool I didn't have that I needed was an 18 mm wrench. A tool every Jeep Wrangler owner needs out on the trail.
Looking back on the whole event, I realize I didn't need to get that upset. It was a simple fix. However, at the time, not knowing a whole lot of the mechanics of my Jeep was pretty nerve-racking. It was a great experience overall and I learned some great lessons. there is that old saying, "You learn from your mistakes".
- Get an 18 mm wrench and put it in my Jeep.
- Don't get so worked up about the damage.
- You can drive without a steering stabilizer.
- At Rausch Creek there is always someone who can help fix your Jeep.
- Never let my guard down while crawling on the rocks no matter how small.