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Some of the first trail riding for the year.  Just running the logging roads enjoying a nice day.  02/28/2010

  Got the New Exhaust installed today.  No more duals, and hopefully no more ripping the exhaust off and busting the manifolds.  The pipes Y together and run down between the left frame rail and Transfercase, the the muffler is angled to the passenger side and the tail pipe exits up over the frame into the front of the passenger side wheel well.  Truck still sounds good, and is just a tad quitter.  Hopefully a little more low end torque comes from this and no loose of performance.  I hung the muffler, and Creekmur Car Care in Decatur did the rest.  03/24/2010
  Started April with the M and family, including Chuck at Green Acres in MO.  04/02/2010

  Well my time at Flatnasty was cut short, when I started having steering problems.  I started having problems turning left, then the truck started turning left and right on it's own, then the left tire started rubbing hard, which I've never had an issue with.  Until the rubbing, I thought I'd broke the steering box, but the rubbing and the proximity at the time to the front bumper, illustrated the problem.  I'd broke the spring back bolt, and the axle had slid forward.  In the first picture you can see steering linkage is in the left most steering position, while the wheel is straight.  the second photo shows the amount of slip.  I loosened the U-Bolts and slid the axle back in place and put it back on the trailer and called it and end.  With the truck back in IL, and cleaned up, I started to put the front on jack stands.  While positioning one of the 12 ton stands, I bumped the release and it telescoped down.  Well my thumb was in the wrong place, and I pinched a hunk of skin out of my left thumb, I'll spare you that picture.  So now the M will set a little longer before it gets fixed, while I wait for the three stitches to come out and heal.  04/03/2010

  Well, the Thumb is healed enough to get back to the grind, and I'm home again with time to work on the M.  So I dropped the axle, pulled the broken parts out of the Left Springs, and removed the Right Spring Bolt.  The Left was in three pieces, while the left was bent.  I installed two new Grade 8 Fine Thread Bolts, and tightened everything back up.  I believe the failure was a combination of two things.  The use of U-Bolts that do not have a flat section for the top of the springs and my method of strapping the truck to the trailer by the axles.  I cleaned up the Bump Stops to le the rounds U-Bolts tighten down with more contact, and was able to get the U-Bolts tightened down better.  I'm also not going to strap to the front axles anymore, and use the front bumper shackles for securing the truck to the trailer.  I also trimmed the damaged lower rear part of the front fenders while I had the wheels off.  I still need to build a set of rock slider running boards.  05/04/2010

  Well I had a great day wheeling today at the Badlands in Attica IN.  I drove up and over things I would not have expected or previously tried.  So for I think there the only truck damage is the continuous abuse of the Running Boards.  Duke Winch says I need a new frame, one with a big bow upward in the middle so I quite scraping it everything.  I did manage to brake another set of shackles on the trailer though, so I'll be fixing that before this next weekends trip.  05/08/2010

Through the Culvert

Rock Quarry

Hill Climb

Rock Crawl & Climb

  Replaced all the Shackles on the Trailer.  Even the set (with a bolt still in) that I installed a year or so ago showed quite a bit of wear.  Started to do the Spring Over conversion on the Trailer, but it was going to raise the trailer 6", that was too much, so I just raised the ball on the truck, to get a little more front clearance.

I removed the running boards from the M, and replaced the Cab Body Isolators.  The isolators that I fashioned out of a boat trailer roller, did not survive under the cab.  They are doing well as Motor/Tranny isolators though.  Will ned to decide what I want in place of the running boards, but at least now I can open the passenger side door again.  05/10/2010

  Well, I attempted to straighten the running boards and one of the brackets enough to get by for a while until I build some rock sliders to replace them.  Not pretty, but I can at least get in and out and open the passengers side door.  I also hooked up the trailer and loaded the M for the Indiana Power Wagon Rally.  05/12/2010

  Successfully went and returned from the 3rd Annual Indiana Dodge Truck Rally.  I did  not make the trip without damage, but did have a great time.  In the videos linked below you will see me crossing the creak.  The rain prior to the Rally had the creak deeper than most would have liked, and I was the only Rally truck that I know of to cross.  There were some other Trucks at the location that were not part of the Rally.  A couple of them were full size Big Block Trucks, who used a lot of skinny pedal to cross, or try to cross the creak.  As you can see, all you need is a good truck, the proper line and the correct finesse to make it look easy.  I didn't break anything (that I know of) on the trail but after completing a great tour of the Formula Boats Factory while turning around in a huge concrete parking lot I snapped the ball off of the Pitman Arm.  I was happy it did not happen while running down the road.  Thanks to Ron, Pam, his Mother and crew as well as Mark Walche and his family for once again having a great Indiana Rally.  05/15/2010

Crossing the Creak - Exterior View

Crossing the Creak - Interior View

Crossing the Creak - Animation

  I've pulled the upper Drag Link off and removed the Pitman Arm Ball from it.  After talking with Paul (in NY) about the shape of my broken arm, and reviewing my images from last July, this April and looking over the drag link, I now believe I know how and why I broke the ball end off the Pitman Arm.  Last July I had the front left Power Steering Box bolt break and because of its length and the clearance to the drag link it would drag and sometimes wedge in place limiting steering ability.  I suspect the Pitman Arm cracked then as the force of the steering effort bent the ball down and away from the PS box.  I had some gouging on the drag link from that event.  Then this April I had the spring pack bolt break and cause the axle to slide forward on the left.  This caused the Pitman Arm to have to rotate fully forward just to try and keep the truck driving straight.  This overextended rotation from normal allowed the Drag Link to again hit the same bolt head, although it was still intact and tight, further putting gouges in the link and bending the ball further and causing the crack to grow.  The this Saturday, while turning the truck on a concrete surface at low speed with the tires at trail pressure, the load must have been too great and finished the brake.  05/17/2010
  The replacement Pitman Arm is installed and I also installed a new Intermediate arm pivot pin.  So the M is back ready to go again, now to keep it together and not be working on it again.  Still looking to pick up an extra arm for a spare though.  05/23/2010

  WARNING:  The Picture links to a VERY Large Image.  Well, I broke a long rear Foote Axle the afternoon before a trail ride!  Looks like 5 full twist before it broke.  I was able to swap out the broken axle for a stock one in just over an hour and was ready for the Memorial day Trail Rides.  I was lucky the broken end came right out with a magnet (after pulling the center section).  I did pull the center section out to be sure there were no other damage and any broken pieces left in the axle housing were removed.  I was in the Ozarks and pulling my Sister-In-Laws car back on the road after an accident when it let go.  I was NOT using the lockers, but was up on all four on a gravel road in 4WD low, it let go with a pop.  After puller her out I loaded up and drove the 90 miles to my brothers shop so I had a floor jack and a patch of concrete (the shop was occupied with an 18 wheeler with out a drive shaft).  Not sure why it let go, or that all the twist damage was from this one event.  05/28/2010

  Went with the MIJC to Washita for Memorial Weekend Trial Ride.  Gabrielle and I had a great time.  She didn't like the Extreme trails but enjoyed the ride and time with me, as I also enjoyed the time with her.  In the first picture you can see the base camp in the distance behind her, we had just completed coming up trail B7 (Extreme).  Sorry no action pictures, I was concentrating on the drive and making sure she was safe.  The last picture is of her at the base of the Waterfall.  05/29/2010

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