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It's a Jeep Thing, A-Trac, and Other Musings

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Old 11-29-2010, 02:59 PM   #1
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It's a Jeep Thing, A-Trac, and Other Musings

Saturday, a few friends and I set out for Santiago Peak. This was to be the inaugral run for my Tacoma and my friends new old Land Rover. Unfortunately, his Rover is still in the shop and he had to ride shot gun in another friends Suzuki.

We headed into Cleveland National Forest and were met by two lifited Jeep Rubicon Unlimiteds parked on the trail. It turns out that the gate was locked, probably in anticipation of the storm coming in Saturday night. We all wanted to reach the peak and decided to caravan to find another entrance. This is when I discoverd what "It's a Jeep Thing" means. It means making lots of u-turns until you can find your way. After a few more locked gates and a private road marked "No Trespassing." Our new found Jeep friends suggested some trails east of Lake Elsinore. Another couple of u-turns and we were on a trail.

It started as a mellow fire road with lots of random trash dumped about and the occasional shooter. And then we quickly camed to one of the steepest trails I've ever seen. The Jeeps hiked up and the mountain goat Suzuki's followed. I took a breath, shifted into 4Lo, turned on the A-Trac, and started climbing. And praying. The Taco climbed really well and at the top I was greeted with "Great job!", "Wasn't sure you'd make it," and "I would have been scared shitless doing that in my truck." Yay, Taco.




The Jeeps aired down and then we continued on across a ridge top and down the steep rutted backside. The trail meandered along the hillsides, through some rocks, across a couple of streams/puddles and we arrived at an old, closed mine shaft. Again, I was greeted with surprise and "I thought we'd lost you."










We decided to continue heading up the valley.


I didn't realize it at the time, but the trail led to another steep climb, this one rocky and off-camber. I watched the Jeeps climb and slip on the bowling ball sized rocks and cobble. Then the Suzukis, the fully locked Samurai with some slippage and the open Sidekick with lots of slippage. I was wondering whether I could turn around when I remembered David K's post on the Mission Santa Maria and his A-Trac gospel. I figured if he could do those trails stock, I should be able to climb this thing. I turned A-Trac back on and started climbing. Very little slippage going up, but did add a dent to the skid plate.



I don't really remember the remaining mile or so out to pavement; I was too high on adrenaline. But I do remember hearing more comments from the Jeep guys about making it the hill and keeping up with them in general.

Overall, great little run (maybe 90 minutes). Very impressed with the stock Taco. The A-Trac and Downhill Assist are great tools, too. And, we made believers out of a couple more Jeep guys.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:27 PM   #2
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Sounds like you had a great time

I ran with several Jeep guys for years and most are just regular guys wanting to get out there like the rest of us.

Once in a while you run into the guy that thinks if it doesn't say Jeep it isn't going to make it but they settle down when they are on the end of a strap being tugged by a yota.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:18 PM   #3
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Well said. I had a Jeep for years and loved it. It's definitely more about being out than what you're out in. These Jeep guys were great, too. Not judgemental, just not experienced with Tacos.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:34 PM   #4
me gusta pechos firmes
jivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shedjivewalker is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Enjoyed the read and pics
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:56 PM   #5
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David K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shedDavid K is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Once you push the A-TRAC button (one time), you will always be in A-TRAC anytime you go into L4... and this is the way it should be, IMO. Press it again and you are back to open differentials. I just don't see any reason for less traction in low range.

Good for you to show the Jeep boys that your pickup can play with them... Your truck will go on and on while their's will be getting repairs and mods done.

One of my friends has a Jeep Rubicon... bought it after his Ford Ranger self destructed... He has missed more than one Baja or desert trip with us because the Jeep was down for repairs or waiting for parts... JEEP= Just Empty Every Pocket... I can say that because I am a former Jeep owner...

Here is his Jeep and my Tacoma on Shell Island, south of San Felipe in Baja California:



Here he is (Ken) putting one of my web site stickers on his winch...



As you can see, he loves Baja and Jeepin':



There's nothing finer than a great four wheeler... in Baja!

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Old 11-29-2010, 08:57 PM   #6
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Nice pics!

I didn't leave A-Trac on because, when I would leave it on in my '09, the steering would fight me on tight turns and the truck would understeer.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:59 PM   #7
You think I was rollin out here naked?
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Awesome pics and read! As I found out from David that A-Trac is simply amazing. Wish I had it
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plannerman99 View Post
Nice pics!

I didn't leave A-Trac on because, when I would leave it on in my '09, the steering would fight me on tight turns and the truck would understeer.
Must have been something else... That sounds more like the rear locker was on... but still, even locked my steering wasn't fighting me. That sounds more like being in 4WD on hard surface... Low Range would be even harder. A-TRAC does not lock the differential gears but provides the effect of lockers by braking any tire that loses traction so the torque transfers to the opposite tire. I have used it so many times and never found it to effect the stearing what-so-ever.

Use the minimum amount of traction control and step up a level as you need it... Here are 4 of your 9 drive modes that I would suggest using as conditions required... Each one can be thought of as a substantial increase the traction of the previous level...

1) H2 (TRAC ON, normal mode)
2) H2, AUTO LSD (TRAC OFF MODE)
3) H4 (TRAC ON, normal mode)
4) L4 (A-TRAC ON)

You are not too far north of me... How about showing me those trails and you can practice the A-TRAC with me?
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToucanV13 View Post
Awesome pics and read! As I found out from David that A-Trac is simply amazing. Wish I had it

Hey, we should go up to his trails... not too far north from us, afterall?
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:58 PM   #10
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I'm down! Been looking for something to hit up before I move back to CO at the beginning of the year
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ToucanV13 View Post
I'm down! Been looking for something to hit up before I move back to CO at the beginning of the year
Must be something nice in Colorado for you to leave SoCal? I am sure it is beautiful there... but COLD!!!
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David K View Post
You are not too far north of me... How about showing me those trails and you can practice the A-TRAC with me?
I'd love to!
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:11 AM   #13
Dan
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Ha! I thought that plate meant Baja Japan.
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:47 AM   #14
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That's what its all about!!

People just automatically think Jeep owners are idiots. They're not all like that. Take the idiots out of the jeeps and put them in any vehicle, and they've still be idiots. I've met & wheeled a lot of idiots driving toyotas too.

Sounds like you had fun. With respectable people like that on the trails, you really shouldn't have to worry about proving yourself. They'de be more than happy to help you and not rub it in.
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:37 PM   #15
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I'd love to!
Maybe send me the best place to meet near the area in a PM... maybe Toucan can go the same time as me? Let me know what days work for you... could be tomorrow , as I don't have any work lined up (yet)!
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:45 PM   #16
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Ha! I thought that plate meant Baja Japan.
Yeah Im like the jeeps repin the toyotas
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:31 PM   #19
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Plannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shedPlannerman99 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Originally Posted by Crom View Post
Nice trip report for Santiago Peak. There looks to be like there is a fair number of trails around those parts.
This wasn't Santiago Peak, but here are some pictures from a past trip with my last truck.

Taco in the Mist


Disco in the mist






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Old 11-30-2010, 11:18 PM   #20
You think I was rollin out here naked?
ToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shedToucanV13 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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^ Looks pretty sweet

David CO is home!
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