Arizona Fun Run, February 17-18, 2006
Friday's Sun Run started off with a HOPE class. Done out in the trails of Table Mesa Road, we had 14 trucks ranging from Oregon to New Mexico attending, including 2 H3's.
After the class - we all ran Lower Raw Deal, where we had one immediate casualty and one not so visible.
Kate Apgar's truck lost TT4 on one side of the vehicle. She ended up limping home and went through a warranty ABS computer replacement at Legends Hummer.
Then - my truck popped something, but it wasn't visible. I ended up completing the Lower Raw Deal trail with everyone else, then we broke for lunch.
Once lunch was concluded, Upper Raw Deal was run. Chris Kahlert joined us and was in the middle of running Upper Raw Deal.
H1's, H2's, and H3's all conquered Upper Raw Deal quite easily. Ranked a 4.5 out of 5.0 by the Arizona State Association of 4WD Clubs, this trail mimics the combination of slickrock and bedrock cracks that Moab's well known for. Again, it proves that rankings for other 4WD vehicles may not necessarily apply to Hummers! Keith Perry got some killer shots, and we're hoping that we can get some more killer shots tomorrow.
After the trail runs were completed, my truck got a bad vibration over 15-20mph on the front passenger side, and had a very bad shudder in the entire front up to 40. It was decided that I might have blown a ring, pinion, or part of the torsen. Keith called AAA for a tow while Dwayne Brock and I jacked up the truck to see if it was a halfshaft that might have busted (again!). It wasn't. Eventually, AAA showed up, picked up my truck and dropped me and my truck off at my house.
A group dinner was conducted at one of the local restaurants. Afterwards, some of the members (Clark Haskins, myself, Lee Maisel, and Keith Perry) met up at my house to determine the unusual clunk. Draining the front diff, it was then found that very small/fine chunks of diff components were found floating in the gear oil. I have a spare differential, so work was started to remove/replace the front diff. Work was also started to dismount/remount a tire that was destroyed as well.
At 1am Saturday Morning, work was stopped. Clark and I (and anyone else that might want to join in) will continue once the trail's done. Sycamore Creek is the primary trail that will be done on Saturday.
Overall - Killer fun, great trail, great run!
These pictures (taken during a very overcast day) exemplifies how gnarly the trail can be, especially Upper Raw Deal. The lighting provided by the cloudy day helped bring out detail that wasn't seen in the prerun pictures.
Both Keith and Chris got some very serious airtime in their trucks. It really, really was a fun trail, with a very high pucker factor. Of course, I can see where and how the airtime can help contribute to blowing parts up. Running it twice before for the preruns would definitely cause some havoc with driveline parts.
Other funny tidbits and observations of the prerun and the run:
-H3's weren't "supposed" to be able to run Upper Raw Deal (yeah, right). The spotter research crew took some dealer H3's out to test out Upper Raw Deal, and chickened out 10 yards into the trail. We took an H3 with a moderately experienced driver, equipped with an Adventure package and a manual transmission and we conquered it - in about 10 minutes. This was the "McHummer" yellow H3 seen in Keith's pictures.
-Flex on the H3 is impressive. While running it, at no time did ANY wheel leave the trail.
-Rod Hall Shock/Suspension mods on an H2 = WOW. One truck (from Oregon) came out with them on. It had far better articulation than the stock trucks' shocks with adventure package.
-H1's had to take the harder line. Oh, darn. H2's and H3's took the same line for 90% of the trail, but their narrower width ended up making it (ironically) look easier.
-H3's without the adventure package has a tendency to scrape the control arms of the rear axle.
-Good spotters make all the difference. Even the newbies ran this trail perfectly....and with good spotting, they ran the hardest 1/2 mile granite waterfall portion in 15 minutes.
-4.5 out of 5 trail ratings for a Jeep sometimes means that the trail can be far easier in a Hummer. This family of trucks is so good even showroom stock that it's impressive to see.
Day 2 was one of the mass runs. Over 70 trucks came to the event, and we had a chance to show new owners what the "Hummer Lifestyle" is like. The runs on Saturday comprised of both the Rolls OHV and Sycamore Creek.
Led mostly by the dealer, this run included a wide variety of H1's, H2's, and H3's. It was originally thought that H3's would outnumber the other trucks - not so. It was a pretty even split between H2's and H3's with a smattering of H1's.
Chris Kahlert brought out his Slantback Humvee with fake .50 cal, we had two lifted H1's (Clark Haskins and Jack Austin's), and a bunch of newbies excited to run.
Even though my truck was out of commission, pictures of the event showed all the vehcles conquering the trails. Jack's truck (per the pictures that Teri Jamison took) ate the hills up with zero problems. He did find out first hand he had a bad motor mount - fan shroud parts were found on the trail.
Day 3 (Sunday) is a split run - some trucks headed to Woodpecker, others are headed to Sycamore. Trip report on that when they all get back.
You will see shots of JaFab's truck with the 9" lift on the Sycamore - Rolls runs. His truck performed really well! In fact the trail was not enough a challenge for his rig. He discovered what the noise he had been hearing the past few weeks was under his hood. A spotter recognized the telltale sound of the fan hitting his fan shroud. So even though his motor mount was broke earlier than the day of the run, he just kept running the trail with no other mishap.
Clarke Haskins and Lee Maisel made the trip only to spend four days trying to fix the trailer they broke from carrying both their Hummers here on it. It was a bit overloaded with one Hummer's rear wheels extending over the rear ramp! The poor guys got to run Saturday only. Too bad! I was really looking forward to running trails with such neat looking rigs and fellas and we missed the chance this time.
The dealer canceled the more challenging trail runs (Raw Deal and Woodpecker) just before the event. We did Raw Deal Friday as a preliminary training run, so only a few participants there.
The dealer had everybody do the two easier runs two days in a row. Now that's FUN :rolling eyes: ! I knew a few out of towners and locals that were looking forward to some challenging trails, so I organized a run to Woodpecker to try and satisfy those that were disappointed. It was fun, but we got a little lost and missed some of it with all the switchbacks there are out there. Still, we found just as many challenges, though. Had a great little lunch time encircled by some Arizona desert scenery. Lyn's H2 from Oregon, which is obviously set up for serious offroading, got a rear diff hung up climbing one obstacle. She got the opportunity to use that new winch in a great recovery demonstration using a natural solid object as an anchor point. Took only a few seconds to lift the truck right off the diff, no damage resulted. In fact the only real damage to all the trucks that day on this pretty challenging trail was my license plate! By the way, the jeep belongs to our resident Hummer mechanic, George. His girlfriend Kate has the black wagon with the "Attach Stuck JEEP Here" sticker.
And before we were done, we found another large yellow vehicle to practice recovery techniques on. There is a photo of the "rogue trail group" on Woodpecker.
All in all a pretty good event and all too short. I'm sure Steve will have some details to report regarding the events successes and failures.