2020 Power Wagon JUXI Build and Trip Thread

jupp0r

Active member
Stars aligned and my Thuren kit was delivered earlier. It’s really quite a difference in handling. Less bump steer, much more firm ride on the highway. I haven’t taken it offroad yet (just a fire road), but it seems to swallow potholes quite well.







All the King parts (2.5 shocks and steering stabilizer) are backordered and I’m lucky if they arrive by the end of the year.

Next projects are installing a third cross bar without taking the tent off the roof tomorrow and extending the diff breathers with an ARB kit that I bought sometime later.

Super happy to test all of these mods out on a trip to Coyote Flats in 2 weeks with some good friends.
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
Looks good! I installed the same kit with reservoirs on my 3500 yesterday. We had hell getting the passenger side front coil spring isolator pad realigned up top. I feel like I notice more vibration through the front end with the heim joint on the track bar, checked all of the hardware and everything is torqued properly so who knows. I've got an alignment on Monday so maybe that'll go away with proper alignment and steering. I ordered the King's as well but like you I doubt we see them delivered in 2021 lol. Let us know how it does on your trip in a few weeks.
 

jupp0r

Active member
Just a little mod I did over the weekend was to install a third cross bar under the roof top tent. The Rhino Rack Vortex bars I’ve been using are rated for 220lbs per pair. The tent weighs 160lbs, so why install a third bar?

Two reasons:

First, Rhino Rack says their rating is for in-road use only and you should subtract one third if the rated weight from that for off road use, which would be 145lbs.

The second reason is that I’d like to install an awning which weighs 60lbs which would definitely push the load over the rating.

So I ordered various parts, which took several weeks to arrive. Roofnest was really quite fast to ship me two pairs of aluminum slot bolts and I also got a pair of the amazing security brackets by WheelEveryWeekend. While the RoofNest has been generally great, the mounting hardware the ship with is pretty low quality. When I took the OEM bolts off I broke 3 because the threads had stretched when tightening. The aftermarket brackets come with proper 10.9 grade bolts that were so much better and came off without problems.

Now the damn awning just has to be delivered in time for our Colorado trip end of June.

In the meantime, we’ll head out to Coyote Flats next weekend, I’m pretty psyched to see how the suspension performs in the rocks up there.




 

jupp0r

Active member
One small mod that I did last weekend was to extend the front diff breather into the engine bay. I used the ARB diff breather kit but didn’t use their tubing and fittings but bought barb fitting adapters that thread into the filter end and used some oil resistant tubing.

I found a suitable existing bolt hole next to the washer fluid filler so I didn’t even have to drill.

I forgot to take pictures of the final install but you get the idea. The nice thing about the ARB breather is that it has 4 ports so I can do the transfer case, transmission and rear diff later. These have much higher factory breather ends than the front diff so it’s not that important to me.






 

NateC

New member
Awesome build thread; thanks for taking the time to document it!

If you don’t mind sharing, what are you thoughts after having the Chassis Unlimited bumper for several months? Thinking of getting a rear one for my truck and interested in real-world feedback. Thank you!
 
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jupp0r

Active member
If you don’t mind sharing, what are you thoughts after having the Chassis Unlimited bumper for several months? Thinking of getting a rear one for my truck and interested in real-world feedback. Thank you!

Works great so far, no complaints. I haven't really used it much but the clearance makes a huge difference.
 

jupp0r

Active member
So we got back from our road trip to Colorado. The truck performed really well (more on that later).

Here are some truck pics!

Waiting for one way traffic in front of the Zion Carmel tunnel


North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon National Park


We drove to Point Sublime and camped there for 2 nights (permits required). We met two other parties while we were there and had the point for ourselves!











Next stop from there was Alstrom Point overlooking lake Powell. There was flash flooding the day before and we had to drive through some nasty mud. Almost got stuck one time, lockers saved me ;)


A lot of that mud is still under the truck 4 weeks later.



Nobody but us at Alstrom Point, probably because of the mud.


Pretty awesome views of Lake Powell right from the campsite.


We headed on via Smoky Mountain Road towards Escalante.


Smoky Mountain Road was easy but really cool and varied.

I wanted to hike into Buckskin Gulch, but the weather forecast was sketchy (my second time at the trailhead without good weather to go in).


We camped at Goblin Valley State Park, awesome campground.



Next day we hiked little wild horse canyon.



From there we drive to Moab and started the White Rim Trail.


Colorado River Overlook


First camp was Airport


Lots of driving along cliffs with amazing photo opportunities. There was always plenty of room though.
 

jupp0r

Active member



Next camp on the White Rim for us was Murphy Hogback. On the way up there was a somewhat steep rocky hill, easy for us.


Quite a view from the campsite if you walk 3 minutes to the canton edge.


We parked along the trail the next day and explored Hohman Slot Canyon




The next camp was at Potato Bottom. It was 110 that day but thankfully there was a trail to the river so we could cool off.








One part was quite narrow for the Power Wagon (but nothing compared to the Colorado shelf roads a few days later ;))


Not much room


After completing the trail, we did a nice hike on r tree he island in the sky where you could see the trail and the rim below.


After a night in a nice condo we continued on to Devils Garden Campground in Arches National Park


Burgers!


After that, we met up with our friend Dave and started the Rim Rocker trail to Colorado.


The first part of the Rim Rocker from Moab to the Colorado birder was quite rough, narrow and pinstripey.


The trail winds around the La Sal mountains, a great change of scenery after a week in the desert!


We camped at a dispersed site at Buckeye Reservoir. From here on it was all bear country for the rest of the trip.




The Rim Rocker was much easier than expected.
 

jupp0r

Active member

Last campsite in the Rim Rocker. We tried to stick to the high elevations as much as possible and enjoyed the mild temperatures.


After exiting the trail in Montrose, we aired up and drive to Telluride, had some really good food there and continued on to Immogene Pass.


That’s the “social tunnel” where miners used to meet the girls down from the valley…


There was lots of traffic on Immogene, but everybody was super friendly.


Half way up, just above the tree line, a gigantic abandoned mine invited us to take a look and explore.


Old mill


Dave’s Jeep had some overheating problems


The kids loved playing in the snow the whole Colorado part of the trip.



Up at the pass


Marmot


On the way down. There was one tippy spot and a rock step where we scraped the rear bumper slightly.


These shelf roads were everywhere on Colorado trails.


We found a really nice camp site right next to a river with a waterfall and some abandoned mining ruins




While exploring I found this grave of Michael Hastes who apparently loved to drive his Jeep in these mountains


Camp Bird has some old houses that once used to be administration buildings for the mining complex


We continued on to Engineer Pass via Mineral Creek trail


Mining ruins everywhere


Up on Engineer Pass

 

jupp0r

Active member

Campsite on the other side if Engineer Pass


There might have been some fancy cooking cooking on that evening


Close to camp we found this old mining cabin


Broken dam on the way down. In general Engineer Pass had tons of interesting mining artifacts to explore.



We took a guided tour into the Hard Tack Mine on the way down.



After that we said good ye to Dave who had to head home and made our way towards Cinnamon Pass where we camped for the night.



The next day we drove over the pass to the lovely Ghost Town of Animas Forks.



There are a couple of really well preserved and restored buildings that can be explored.











This mill was super cool.


Next up were three more passes, all easy, before we would get back to pavement:

California Pass
Hurricane Pass
Corkscrew Pass




Heading down form California Pass



Corkscrew Pass, the colors of the mountains were gorgeous, but we didn’t linger long as a thunderstorm was clearly approaching.



Completing the Alpine Loop (almost, we chose a few harder trails like Mineral Creek were we could), we soon hit pavement, aired up and headed towards Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park where we stayed in the lovely South Rim Campground.



 

jupp0r

Active member

German Bratkartoffeln


Steak


Oak Flats Loop hike was pretty good, no need to take down the roof top tent, you could hike there directly from the campground.


As always, almost no people once you’re a mile from the trailhead.


Pretty spectacular canyon.

After Black Canyon, we drove highways to Leadville, where we stayed in a hotel for the night (yay showers) and headed up Mosquito Pass the next day.





The photo looks much less steep than it actually was.




Some cool mining ruins in the way down


Kids loved playing with this tram motor


Abandoned ore loading dock


Pyrite

After coming down from Mosquito Pass, we had food in the lovely but hopelessly tourist overrun town of Breckenridge. After that we drove the Middle fork of the Swan River trail up into the mountains.


Abandoned cabin on the trail was destroyed in an avalanche just a few years ago.


Up on the ridge



We took Deer Creek trail down and camped along the way



From there we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park where we camped in the Moraine Park Campground for two nights.




Dream Lake


Emerald Lake

 

jupp0r

Active member
We drove to the White Mountain Wilderness area and started a couple more days of overlanding. The general area of Blair Mountain was pretty awesome obstacle wise, completely empty and very pretty. We chose the Transfer Trail as a gateway into the general area over some of the easier options.



Some nice valley views along the way



Along the way, we encountered this stranded ZJ that was partially blocking the trail. A nite on the windshield said its steering broke and the owner will be back for a recovery attempt.



There were lots of sheep along the trail



The hardest part of the Blair Mountain Trail was this off camber obstacle. We needed three attempts to find the right line.



Campsite






Steak and potatoes again



Airing up

Next we went to see Dinosaur National Monument on the Utah Colorado border


Quarry





You can touch real dinosaur bones!



Afterwards, we started our long way back to California with a stop in Bryce Canyon National Park.



Pretty cool that the truck displays flash flood warnings
 

jupp0r

Active member

Sunset Campground in Bryce


Mushrooms we collected near Blair Mountain


And steak of course


Bryce Canyon is always unreal


We did the Navajo Loop hime with Wall Street at the end, which we hadn’t done in any of our previous visits.







It started raining in the evening so we decided to drive on towards Vegas. The last night we just camped a mile from the freeway on some unnamed dirt road in the Mojave.

That’s it, we got home the next day.
 

jupp0r

Active member
What worked well

1. The truck generally performed great for the trails we did with some caveats mentioned below. Also highway ride was great even fully loaded. The sway problems we had before were almost gone. Thuren upgrades really helped here, I don't think I'll need airbags. There is some slight sag in the rear but I can live with that. I suspect everything will get even better once the King Shocks I ordered in April will be installed whenever they finally ship.

2. After having slept in the Roofnest Condor XL for more than a month now, I'm really happy with it. I had to tighten one side of the ladder mount and loosen the other along the way, that was the only thing needing attention. We had some condensation under the mattress on the colder nights though.

3. My packing system of how to arrange cargo in the back of the truck seemed to work great. It was really nice to have some wiggle room in how to arrange things, for example put the porta potty towards the gate when I know I'll empty it that day.

4. The trails offroad app is awesome for these Colorado trails where there is a mine every mile or so; it's almost like having a tour guide along.

5. The Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 270 awning was a life saver in the desert and proved really sturdy. I'm still reluctant to leave it out overnight even when tied down. It's 130sqft of area that the wind can grab.

6. The Decked drawers and SnugTop cap combo keep being a super practical storage system. It's just great to have all the storage space in the drawers being accessible always, even when the rest of the bed is crammed full with gear.

Improvements

1. There was a slight popping sensation in the steering wheel and gas pedal when turning passenger and going slow. I tightened the Thuren front track bar bolts and it got better, but didn't go away completely. I later learned (from the awesome Thuren Facebook Group) that I hadn't tightened the bolts enough and that my torque wrench is probably completely broken. At home I tightened it a lot more (you really need to hang on a breaker bar as hard as you can) and all problems went away. I think the bolts had never been properly tightened to spec by the installer. They probably only used an impact on them.

2. After almost getting stuck in mud in the middle of nowhere on the trail to Alstrom Point with no trees or rocks anywhere to winch off of, I decided to order a Pull Pal land anchor and keep it in the truck for peace of mind in these situations. Sure you can bury the spare tire but that takes hours, which is not great when you're stuck in deep mud that's drying up around you. I went for the 12k lbs Pull Pal model to match the winch capacity.

3. Departure angle is not great. I hit the bumper and tail pipe a couple of times and bent it down towards the wheel pretty badly when backing up once. I think a high clearance rear bumper and some exhaust modifications are in the future of the build. A swing out model would also solve the problem that the spare is taking up a significant chunk of bed space.

4. The roto-molded cooler that I bought just before the trip worked great, but was really heavy to lift up to shoulder height multiple times per day (bear country forced us to put almost everything in the bed overnight). I'm looking into a 12V fridge with a drop down slide, but that's a bigger project because it involves a second battery, tons of wiring etc. Definitely very expensive luxury.

5. The (super reliable) portable Vair 400p compressor takes forever to air up the 37x13.5R17 tires (10 minutes per tire). We spent a good chunk of time on this trip waiting that we'd probably have preferred to spend otherwise. Also we had to idle the engine while airing up, which is not great on the 6.4 Hemi with its lifter problems. I'll probably buy a compressor with more CFM that I'll hook up to an aux battery eventually (see point 4 above).

6. Gearing wasn't great on some of the steeper hills at high altitude. I had to limit gears to 2 because the transmission was hunting for gears even when giving it lots of gas in 4L uphills. I think it's a combination of big tires and high altitude and the transmission shift point assuming I'm still running stock 33s. The best remedy for this would be to regear, but as of today there aren't any aftermarket gears higher than 4.44. If I regeared I'd probably go to 5.13s. Hopefully somebody will make aftermarket gears in the next year or so, I hear that AEV Prospector XL buyers aren't happy either, although the 8 speed makes up for a lot of that in less extreme driving.

7. I need to play around with air pressures more. I went down to 18 on this trip and was afraid to loose a bead. Beadlocks would be really nice to have more flexibility there. I'm still dreaming of 40s on Hutchinsons some day.

8. The rear lockers had some trouble engaging sometimes. I'll replace the rear diff fluids soon and will clean the magnets, hope that helps.
 
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