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For those of us that love getting our E dirty, there seems to be an issue of how far to take it. We all know the E is not a rock Crawler but other than that when do you look at a trail and decide that is it too severe?
 

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Gas tank scraping ruts and big rocks.
 

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Clearance is the biggest issue. I have stopped to remove rocks from the roadway. I have also stopped and examined the ruts, with an eye for 'can I straddle them'.

I have turned back at big mud holes; but I have also made a run for it, hoping that momentum (and RT4WD) will carry me through (so far, I've been lucky).

Other cases I have put the front wheels into the slippery spot, and backed up a bit to test whether the rear ones still have traction.

In another case I encountered a spot of muddy construction. As soon as I felt the tires loose traction, I stopped and scouted, finding out that the mud, while not deep, was very slick, and sticky. Fortunately I was able to back on to solid gravel.

More often than not, I turn back when I encounter old snow. I learned my lesson in the RAV4 that trying to power through an old drift is a good way of getting stuck, with all wheels off the ground. Also in old snow it is hard to maintain directional control. So I don't risk snow on mountain shelf roads.

Another consideration - where can I turn around. It is better to stop and scout on foot where I can turn around, rather than have to back up a long ways. Fortunately the E has an amazing turning circle, so it doesn't need much of a widening to make a 10 pt turn.
 

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Obvious mud deeper than 4-6", esp. when it gets deeper as you move along. A too-frequent find on country backroads here in the Midwest. I've always managed to make the decision just in time to still be able to back out of the muck.
 

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First, never go out alone – buddy system. Second, know your vehicle: approach and departure angles, clearance, suspension characteristics. Third, know your skill level. I’ve been offroading only a season so I rely on others for advice and only go according to my comfort level. I have learned a lot with a local offroad club that has taught me how to pick a line, where to place my wheels, how to create a bow wave in water crossings etc.. I think these points apply to the largest rock crawler and the smallest cute-ute.
 

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First, never go out alone – buddy system. ....
I've never been able to arrange that. It's particularly hard in the middle of a two week vacation. When it comes to things like crossing mud holes, I'd probably be more daring if someone was there to pull me out.
 

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Well if you are just out on a country road and come across some mud that is one thing. I have 33" mud terrains so mud puddles don't bother me.





I guess I'm talking about something more extreme where you really need to question if you can make it. I always go offroad with a group - mostly because we are not just doing rough roads but moderate rock crawling (in the X). I always keep a tow strap and hi-lift with me. You can use a hi-lift as a come along if needed when alone. Just mounted this bad boy up on my rack.



 

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Yea... whens i get done building my totally awesome superbestfriendseverstyle twi style roofrack... ill be mounting one of those to it (the hi-jack that is). I like to get into a little bit of trouble sometimes, and all 3 times ive bitten off more than i could chew... i couldve hi-jacked it up, loaded the holes (i like to dig myself in up to the frame it seems:twisted:) with soil, waited a bit of time (for the 4wd system to cool off) and been off no problem. Just once did i have a problem in the Boone NC area... i turned into a VERY primative camp site along the road... low and behold, a nice boulder was in my blind spot... i was stuck between a rock... and a hard place :shock: Luckily the road nearby was fairly well traveled... a nice dude and his GF were takin a ride, stopped em and he yanked me out no problem... i couldve probably done it with a comealong fairly easily. No damage to the E really... just a skuff on the lower side of the drivers side front bumper... i can live with that:-D
 

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Discussion Starter #12

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that air jack looks like it would be great for the E. There are plenty of cases where that would come in handy and you wouldn't need to find a rock or board to set up under the jack.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)

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Those air jacks look interesting. I have yet to see one on the trail.

For the hi-lift you can buy a special wider base to set the jack base on to help in sand, though I'm sure it is still not too stable.

My hi-lift is actually the Canadian made Jackall, which has a wider base. Seems pretty stable. I just unbolt the base and keep it in my roofbin.
 

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While I own a hi-lift jack (bought years ago for an Alaska trip) I've never carried it with me in the Element, for several reasons:

- no good place to store it. 4' of steel is not something I want flying around the cabin.
- no good place to jack. You need steel, load bearing bumpers, or lift points. The only option I know of is a bridle the fits on the nose of the jack, and hooks into holes on a wheel. This lifts the wheel, possibly allowing you to put rocks under it.
- it can be used as winch, but to do that properly you need some lengths of chain (more weight), shackles, and low stretch extension line.

An air jack has possibilities. But be careful where it is placed. It needs to lift frame rails, but without putting much pressure on wiring, mechanical parts, and plastic cladding.

Instead I carry:
- a couple of wood boards that can be placed under the regular jack. Incidentaly the plastic base that is sold for the hi-lift jack fits the Element jack nicely.
- an assortment of lighter weight recovery gear, including a few shackles chosen to fit the E's tow loops, a low stretch strap, a cable hand winch (2t come along), traction mats. I've only had occasion to use the traction mats. The other stuff is untested.

Another downside to carrying a lot of recovery gear - it adds weight, depressing the rear suspension, and reducing ground clearance (especially under the rear subframe).
 

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Yes. That hi-lift site also has the base and winch kit.

Keep in mind that this type of jack requires maintenance (esp. lubrication and protection from rust), and can be dangerous when in use. Learn how to use it safely.
 

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Keep in mind that this type of jack requires maintenance (esp. lubrication and protection from rust), and can be dangerous when in use. Learn how to use it safely.
+9 billion and a half
 

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I own (and sell) the Titan jack.

I have had zero problems with it, including lifting my 1994 GMC 2500 Suburban, which already has 6" of lift. If I place the jack at centerline, I can lift one side of the truck at a time, no problems.

It also does one thing a Hi-Lift cannot; It will lift you easily, while in very wet mud. It literally squeezes the water outward from underneath, and settles on the the mud, then lifts. It works the same way with soft sand, too, which is Kryptonite to a traditional jack, even with the lower support plate.

I will say, though, that I don't care for using the exhaust, as it's time-consuming and messy. My Suburban has on-board air, so it's easier and cleaner to use the compressor adaptor. I build a little vortex adaptor as well, and I can evacuate the jack of air in seconds, too.

However, for test purposes, when connected to the 3" exhaust on my 5.7l GMC, it takes about one minute to fill to completion.

On the E, once I remove the tailpipe 'beauty tip', it takes about five minutes.

Both tests done at idle, by the way.

I also keep a traditional Hi-Lift in the Suburban, as it can be used in so many other ways, too.
 
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