Maintenance, Repair, and Upgrades: The Whisky’s 2023 Saga – Part 4

There was still an hour or so of light left when we got to camp. By the time I got set up, fixed a bite to eat, and visited a bit with the group I was ready to get some sleep. The next day was the Buck Island Lake to Observation Point and back leg of the trip. That’s a long day of wheeling and I was looking forward to it.

The next day went pretty well where the actual off-roading was concerned. However, at a few difficult spots I engaged the lockers in the brand new axles. I heard that loud clicking noise again. It sounded like a piece of metal starting to catch on something, then letting loose. It continued as the Jeep rolled forward and it was happening in both the front AND the rear lockers. People outside the Jeep heard it and confirmed the noise.

On a few occasions, as I navigated more difficult obstacles, people from outside shouted for me to ‘turn on your lockers’. The switches were already on. Apparently they were not actually engaged. They were just making that horrible noise. I was concerned that some damage may be occurring, so I decided to stop using the lockers altogether. Fortunately, the new 5.13 gearing made enough of a difference that I was able to get by with little trouble without the lockers.

On day 3 of the trail part of the trip I just stayed in camp and relaxed. Between the steering loss on the highway, the repairs, catching up with the main group, and discovering that I was going to be headed back to the shop to deal with the locker issues, it had been a trying few days. It was a beautiful spot there in the mountains with some good company and I didn’t need to go find any adventure for that day.

Day 4 was the last trail day. Time to break camp and return to the Loon Lake trail head. That all when smoothly. I tried the lockers one more time, got the loud noise, and immediately turned them off.

From the trail head I was heading back to the motel. My plan was to stay in Placerville Friday night, rest up, and take my time with an easy drive home on Saturday. It was a good plan.

Unfortunately, on my way down Ice House Road from the trail head to highway 50 the ABS and Traction Control lights came on again. The brakes started grabbing and pulling to the left. There was also a metal-on-metal rubbing noise developing. The further I went the worse it got. I drove very carefully going down the mountain. When I got to the bottom I pulled over and checked under the front end. But I didn’t see anything obvious.

I drove the remaining distance back to the motel. By the time I got there the problem was getting pretty bad. I was even having some trouble turning due to the brakes. There was nothing more I could do at that point but get some dinner and some sleep. I was going to deal with it the next morning.

The Whisky 2023 Saga: Part 5