Don’t Let a Breakdown Ruin Your Trip
People often wonder if I encounter significant breakdowns while off-roading.
I sure do. In fact, one occurred during our recent Death Valley Adventure.
It was about lunchtime on the second day when a front coil spring broke. My first thought was, “This is bizarre. Those springs don’t break.” But I didn’t have time to analyze the cause. I had to decide what to do, and fast.
At that point we were about 200 miles into our excursion, with another 200 to 300 miles to go over the next two days. I had to get this coil replaced. But how? It was impossible to place a call; there was no cell service in that area.
The nearest town was Beatty, Nev. Just as you might have to in a similar situation, I improvised. I removed the bottom four inches of broken coil and drove into town with a heavy sag to the left. Fortunately there was enough coil left that my tire just cleared the wheel well. I also reconnected the anti-sway bar to keep the spring in place.
When we arrived I called a 4 Wheel Parts store. Turns out they had a spring at their warehouse in Compton, Calif. I got a hold of a buddy, who graciously agreed to buy the spring and deliver it to me on the route. He picked it up that afternoon, and after driving through the night, arrived early Saturday morning. (Did I say a really good friend!)
Needless to say, the weekend–and our Death Valley Adventure–was saved.
I’ve been four-wheeling for over 40 years, and an instructor for six. Breakdowns are serious matters and require careful thought. There could be more than one solution; choose the one that assures you the best chance of getting out the fastest.
Here are some very important tips to consider as you plan for a trip into a remote area, especially the desert.
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc
4-Wheel Drive School
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