Rough weekend on the ‘Con

So, I was out with the Hi-Lo’s on the Rubicon and Long Lake Trail Labor Day weekend. We went in from Tahoe Friday morning early, 7:30am at the staging area. It was nice having the trail to ourselves.


We made camp on the Long Lake Trail at the campsite along the Rubicon River.

I didn’t have to look too hard to see my first issue of the weekend. My hitch had bent pretty good. This is the second time the Great Lakes Forge hitch has bent like this. I didn’t try and bend it back, I just prayed it would make it home. It did.


After a two days of trail maintenance, we broke camp Sunday morning around 8am and headed out. Along the flat portion of the Long Lake Trail, I noticed a ‘clunk’ from under my rig. So, before turning on to the Rubicon, I climbed under the rig to find out what it was making that noise.

Now, I had done the Fordyce Trail during Sierra Trek a month earlier. After that, I felt a very slight vibration but couldn’t find the source. Two weeks later I drove in to the Springs and back out with no issues. And up to this point, this weekend, I had driven down Cadillac and out the Long Lake Trail with no catastrophe. Thankfully.

There it was, I had lost all the needle bearings out of the rear u-joint on the rear driveshaft. It looked like it had been banging around for sometime. But no problem, I had a spare u-joint with me. After dropping the drive shaft, I had the bright idea of driving in to the Springs to use a large vise I’m sure they had in the mechanics shed. A Hi-Lo was sitting in as caretaker for the week and I knew he’d let me use it.



It’s a different feeling being a passenger on the Rubicon. No steering wheel to hang on to and you had to guess which route the driver will take. But we made in to the Springs no problem.

Unfortunately, the caretaker was running out to Observation Point for parts for his Toyota and his wife didn’t know the combination to the lock. Out came the hand tools (big hammer and a few sockets) and I swapped out the u-joint there in the mechanics area.


Back on the road to my Jeep, just out of main camp, here comes the caretaker back in to camp. Too late, I was done and headed out.

I threw the driveshaft back on the Jeep, now eager to get going after a short delay. Before I climbed out from under the Jeep, I looked around. Good thing, but bad news. My leaf spring and perch were not tight against each other. Sure enough, one of my u-bolts had broken.



No problem, I have one of those. Actually, I carry three because there are three different sizes on my Jeep: AMC 20 has one size but the Dana 30 front has two sizes.

I told my buddy to get out his lawn chair and I climbed back under the Jeep. It was a pretty straight forward replacement and we were soon on the road.

I don’t know if it was my blog about V-Rock becoming U-Rock but the revenge of the U-problems hit me pretty good; a u-joint and a u-bolt at the same time.


Rubicon Ronin







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