I recently swapped the injectors in my Dad’s Wagoneer. I like the results so much I ordered another set of injectors from K Suspension for my Jeep. Both of us have 4.7 stroker motors built by Titan engines.
Replacing the idle air control valve to solve erratic idle speed. IAC Valve.
The Renix Engine fuel injection controller adjusts the idle speed by opening and closing a valve that bypasses the throttle plate. Often the Renix engines will have a high idle speed due to the Idle Air Control Valve leaking air past the plunger.
Once again, the XJ list met for its semi annual outing in the Harlan, Ky. We had to change campsite this time due to Rock Buggy race scheduled at the new race track in our normal camping spot. We stayed in spot 4 instead of 3 at Harlan County Campground. This might have been a nice spot out of the wind but recent logging had made it a muddy mess with barely enough room for tents and tow rigs.
We made the best of it with big fires each night made with scrap left from the loggers. As usual, the stars were amazing under the dark night sky of the back country. While the view was not great, being in the cove blocked the worst of the wind.
On Thursday, we had a small group and took a run at Mason Jar. We made an interesting observation that this group had only manual transmissions. Normally we have about an even mix of autos and stick shifts. However, in this group, everyone got to exercise their left leg.
The Toyotas played on the big rocks at the entrance while the XJs took the scary and still challenging left line. Took us about an hour to get the first fifty feet into the trail. We soon picked up the pace and noticed the trail has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Places that were hard are near impossible but there are new passages that have their own challenges. We all took various lines just to see what they were like.
Neal had a break in his air system so he had to run most of the trail with open diffs since his ARBs require pressure to lock. I got hung on a rock and needed a short tug with my winch. However when I got the cable good and tight the winch failed. Would not go in or out. I was seriously stuck until Frosty turned around and gave me enough of a tug to release the clutch and free the winch.
We made it back to camp just after dark. We built a huge fire to ward off the cold and clean up some of the logs.
Friday we had a few more rigs. We headed up trail 15 and had lunch at the helicopter pad. We played on the White Tail climb until Brian broke his rear yoke and had to be rescued. He drove back to camp in front wheel drive via the paved road stopping at a junk yard to get parts along the way.
The rest of us headed to lower rock garden and made a few passes on the beginning. Frosty and Dean played on the waterfall near rail bed and Frosty ended up breaking an axle shaft.
We then hit Fish Fossil. I had to back out of this trail last year so I was excited to lead the group in this time. Still with no winch, I was determined to make it. Neal’s expert spotting helped me get over the little water fall in the middle. However the long climb at the end was rutted too deep for my 33″s. I had to try to straddle the ruts. My first three attempts had me sliding into the ruts and having to back down. We finally sent a winched jeep up to give me a tug.
I hit it again and this time held on almost to the top. Just a few feet from the top I slipped into the rut again. More throttle from my 4.7 storker motor was probably not the best choice but I was giving it a go. Then there was a snap and the left front wheel stopped turning. Thinking it was just a U joint, I tried again. Then the front wheel gained LOTS of camber.
I accepted the cable and as I was drug to the top the wheel was separating more and more from the Jeep. The lower ball joint was gone. Is was nearing dark so while the other made their way up the hill, Evan made a rally racer run taking me back to camp to get the trailer. We made the long drive around the mountain to come in form Evarts.
With lots of help and some ratchet straps I got it on the trailer and made the long run back around to camp.
I figured I was done for the weekend and even wondered how I would get it off the trailer when I got back to the shop. In the daylight I saw it was just a ball joint and not the axle C. Scott had his ball joint press and as a group we had all the tools I needed. I picked up some ball joints from the parts store in Harlan and an hour later I was back on my wheels ready to ride. Thanks to all who helped me wrench, hammer and press the new parts into the damaged axle end.
We headed up the trail 45 which has become quite a challenge in its self. It took awhile to get every one to middle fork. We then decided to take the easy way (20) to lower rock garden. Along the way one jeep took a bad line through a wash and ended up on its roof down an embankment.
We spent the rest of the day recovering the Jeep and getting it back to camp. This extraction was an amazing feat of team work and recovery skills. No one was injured and the XJ made it way back to camp on it wheels. It ran most of the way but having lost most of its vital fluids during its long time upside down it suffered some drivability issues. We got back to camp just after dark again.
We made our usual delicious steak and potato boats. After that there was wood chopping demonstrations and other “manly” games.
Once again the events of the weekend showed me the benefits of good friends and working as a team. These are the reasons I enjoy wheeling with this particular group.
This past weekend I met up with the folks from the XJ List in Harlan, Ky for our semiannual meeting. After an uneventful drive to the park, we all began unloading our rigs and airing down our tires.
That is when we hit out first mechanical snag of the weekend. One of Jenny’s valve stem caps would not come off. We tried penetrating oil, vise grips and even a torch but it refused to budge. Evan was in need of some spark plugs so we quickly pulled the wheel and tire and tossed it in the bed of his rental pickup and headed for town.
We found a tire shop just a few miles up the road. They had her new valve stem installed in just a few minutes for only $6 and no questions asked. We headed on into town and got Evan some spark plugs.
We headed into the woods in the afternoon. For the first time in several trips for me we had dust instead of mud. It was very nice to make a slow crawl up trail 15 rather than a full throttle wheel spinning run. We made a nice clean run on Rail Bed getting everyone through with a few well stacked rocks. The only casualty was a broken brake line on Kevin’s Toyota. I also noticed a small leak at my front pinion seal.
The next morning I found my diff fluid mostly gone. The pinion bearing was worn enough to allow the shaft to keep the seal from sealing. I borrowed some fluid and kept on wheeling.
We took our group up to Lion’s Den to let Kevin and Dean run their Toyotas through the tight rocks. It took a lot of winching and rock stacking to get Kevin through. He suffered some body damage as well but he looked happy to be a lion tamer. Dean made the trip look almost easy as he put his exo cage to good use. He made it through without even using a winch.
We then headed up to Mason Jar. I have been wanting to run this trail again for a long time but conditions have never worked out quite right. I almost backed out again as I watched the buggies on 40s having trouble. But the group assured me that they would help me through.
My little 33” Buckshots get great grip but don’t give me a lot of clearance to get over the huge rocks in Mason Jar. I made it up onto the gate keeper rock pretty easily and had more confidence. By the time I made it to the rock that always scares me I was ready. I had broken an axle shaft on it last time. This time however, the Buckshots got a firm grip and I pulled up with very little wheel spin.
On the next ledge, Scott took a bad hop and broke the input yoke on his Dana 44. Neal had a spare so we swapped it out right there. We had a lot of unwanted advice from a group of ATV riders who passed by. With Scott back under power we finished the remainder of the trail easily.
On our last day, we went in search of more trails and tried to stay out of the sun as it was getting warm on the mountain. Neal suffered an electrical problem with his starter so that he had to always park where he could do a roll start each time. We had lunch at the entrance to Your Turn but decided not to run it due to the very difficult exit. We headed instead to Crawford’s cry. Neal made it up and so did Dean. Josh started up when he suddenly lost all oil pressure.
The rest of the group accompanied him to the zip line parking area where he could fetch it with his trailer. Jenny loaned him her XJ to go back and get his trailer. She found a seat in another Jeep and stayed with us.
I took a small group to Pin Ball and rail bed while the others helped Josh Load his possibly crippled rig. It remained to be diagnosed whether it was an actual failure or a sensor failure.
The newest member of our group had a bit of trouble on rail bed and first damaged a front leaf spring on his Wrangler. The a few feet later he broke an axle shaft. We helped him winch himself out. Once he was on level ground we swarmed over his Jeep like a pit crew and had a spare shaft installed in about 20 minutes.
Back at camp, I help talk him thorough a ball joint swap as well since he had some spares and a ball joint press. We finished just in time for supper.
Mike guiding Jeff & Jason as they replace the ball joints
The guys preparing the steaks, potato boats and corn for the group