Before we knew it, we had passed through all the spots that I thought could have been known as difficult but proved no problem with my Jeep and trailer in-tow. It was really a nice trail.
Right near the end of the muddy section was one particular hole that proved more of a problem than first thought. As the rear of the Jeep entered the hole it slid violently to the right and slammed into the wall of the hole. Inside the hole was apparently something very sharp as it sliced right into the sidewall of my Goodyear MT/R tire. It’s a good thing I had a full sized spare as the tire was toast. In the process of changing it out I couldn’t help but notice that the Jeep was no longer centered over the rear axle either. I thought I might have lost a track bar bolt or something simple. I started to think it was a good thing that I had brought so many “just in case” items along for the journey.
I wish that was all it was.
All I can conclude is that the extended track bar bracket for the Jeep lift, combined with the 250-lb tongue weight of the trailer and the short violent weight shift, stressed out the bracket so much that it gave way. It didn’t come completely off but rather ripped the bracket just above the axle weld. There was only about a quarter inch of metal remaining on both sides of the original bracket which was still attached to the axle.
A short field fix was all I could do to get to a repair facility in Steamboat Springs. I strapped everything down with ratchet straps while pulling the track bar back into proper position. Fortunately, the bracket and straps held, especially since it was also the bracket for one of the control arms.
Many phone calls were made during the gentle drive back to town. We found one small 4X4 shop that was able to spend the time to fix my Jeep. At my request, they welded additional gussets to improve bracket strength.
For obvious reasons, we headed out of town later in the day than expected. Attempting to stay true to our plans, we tried real hard to find, yet again, a good place to set up camp late in the day as the sun was setting. We ended up finding a nice place that overlooked valleys, and the next morning we headed home without further incident.
The first part of our trip was now complete. We arrived at home for a two-day break to regroup and repack the Jeep and trailer, to shake down the unit, and to get a better feel for things. It’s nice to know that no matter where I take the Jeep, the trailer will follow.
- Special thanks to Mike Lawson for his contribution of this article to JPFreek
* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.