2021 Great Basin Desert Expedition

David13

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I was over there last week. Baker, and Border Inn and Ely. Beer cans and bottles all along the road.

I see the same thing on my ATV, cans and bottles all along the trail.

I usually come out with a bag full.
dc
 

LabRat

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Well, I have to admit that I’m impressed. Worked my way through Ely and stopped at the Famous Garnet hill outside of town near the massive capper mine at Ruth, NV. Spent two nights here as I hadn’t expected this “gem” of a spot.

Usually I avoid places this close to civilization, but man did I have fun! As it’s the weekend, Bert and I needed a break from our schedule. Usually BLM sites are very remote and very primitive.

This one has excellent 4x4 trails, nice camping sites and most importantly, all the garnets one cares to find. So many here I kept finding them in my tire tracks on the road into my site. Also was able to observe the last three lizards on my check list ( I have now seen every reptile the Great Basin Desert has to offer between last two trips out here!)

Today it’s time to break camp and do a little more touristy stuff before passing through Wendover and out into the Salt Lake Desert.

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LabRat

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Been a rough couple of days off grid. Sandstorm. High winds. Very unlucky damage to gas tank…some sort of steel spike in the road kicked up and punctured both the skid plate and the tank. Good news is skid plate took most fo the damage! Ended up with about a 5mm hole in the tank. Only noticed as I had stopped to take a sample and smelled gas…slow dribble. So I stuck a syringe cap in it and got to work. A bit of steel epoxy putty, some ductape and an unscheduled overnight camping stint later and I was up and running. Topped off with my emergency fuel cans.

About 20 miles later I hear a metallic scraping noise. Joy. Discovered the boot on the rear CV of the forward propeller shaft is gone. Now **** dry and likely full of desert. Shot it up with Red Spray grease and bailing wired the last of my silicone sheeting over it.
It’s better, but going to have to tear it down and clean the desert out of it, then fashion a better boot to get me the 900 or so miles back home.

Good news is I found an old road cone and with a bit of cutting and some 100mph tape, I should be good.

Thankfully, I over packed on tools.

currently in Stockton UT fueling, icing, and letting Bert cool down a bit.

Here’s pictures of the sand/dust/wind storm that tried to **** me away. The red dot is the sun…
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LabRat

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Also the profanity filter is still insane. B.one and b.low are not cuss words anywhere when used in that context.
 

LabRat

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Well folks, this expedition is coming to a close. I got hammered by a derecho style series of Monsoon storms last night at Five Mile Pass OHV area just south of Stockton UT. I made my way there from the Dugway beds. Ended up spending two days and nights to do some minor repairs and maintenance…but mostly because it’s another great off road area with Fossils and Camping and a hidden spring I needed to get samples from.

however, between the dust storms that proceeded each round of torrential rain and high winds ( don’t know how high as they blew my anemometer away) and then some knuckle head burning their vehicle to the ground just two klicks away, I was done.

one observation about that place: it’s a filthy mess of broken glass, nails and screws from the folks burning pallets, and enough live and spent ammo laying around I thought I was in a different desert much farther away. If you go there have road hazard on your tires and take a BIG patch kit. (I had a few nails and a live 9mm round in my treads, but no punctures.)

aanyway the trails their are awesome. Bert and I had a blast going low and slow through the ruts and mud holes on the way out!

From there went up to the Great Salt Lake to do some sampling and see it at a record low level. Note that there is no longer any camping on Stansbury Island. Everything but the road is off limits now except for a small foot only nature trail at the end of the road by the gate to the OSI brine shrimp base.

Headed from there to Lone Rock. It’s proof that humans are filthy animals. What may have once been a neat site is just a land full of spent bullets and shells, garbage and “cat holes”. I left as soon as I pulled in. The people of Utah should be ashamed. It is such a mess that the dust in the air tests positive for toxic levels of lead!

Also note, cat holes don’t work in a desert. You **** in a hole out here and bury it, and it will still be there when your great grandchildren visit. ( finally the profanity filter gets it right!) :wink:
 

LabRat

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I’m now at Skull Valley OHV area i between Dugway and Iosepa for my last night of roughing it. Tomorrow Morning I’m gonna work my way up to Wyoming and find a nice motel to relax in. Take a real shower, eat a massive salad or three and prepare for the hellish drive back across 80 and home.
 

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LabRat

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Stoped in Ogden for lunch for In and Out burger, one of the things I truly miss from my west coast days. Triple Triple animal style with animal fries!!!

Hopped on the 84 to skip the nightmare that is the 80/15 interchange in SLC. Excellent drive and very little traffic. Beautiful views.

Worked my way across the pass to 80. As I was cresting, whizzzang! Something gave in the engine compartment. Jeep running fine, but definitely a bad sounding noise. Rolled into Evanston WY rest stop tourist info center and popped the hood. 2/3 of my serpentine belt gone!
Oreilly auto a mile a way and they had one in stock. Eased my way there and back on the road.

got home last night around midnight, 3293 miles in 15 days, half of it pavement free.

epic trip. Good times. Much science and camping and adventure!
 

profdlp

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I had my serpentine belt do the same thing about six years ago. It was down to the size of a shoestring. Did a number on the insulation under the hood, too. :eek:
 

duderz7

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Sounds like an awesome trip!
I just so happened to peek under the hood last week and saw some cracking in the ribs on my belt, had one on hand so popped it in, and kept the old as a spare. I had forgotten how much fun that is with full size man hands and arms, not a lot of room in there with the clutch fan.
 

LabRat

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I had my serpentine belt do the same thing about six years ago. It was down to the size of a shoestring. Did a number on the insulation under the hood, too. :eek:
The irony here is that insulation was torn up on mine when I bought it. Stupid me I should have replaced the one on there before I left. Lesson learned. The new one has a three year warranty and there is now a spare under the seat.
 

LabRat

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Sounds like an awesome trip!
I just so happened to peek under the hood last week and saw some cracking in the ribs on my belt, had one on hand so popped it in, and kept the old as a spare. I had forgotten how much fun that is with full size man hands and arms, not a lot of room in there with the clutch fan.
Truth. Lucky I had my heavy welding gloves with me, so didn’t have to wait for things to cool down!
 

JRB

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Awesome read of the rest of the trip, so sad people scatter garbage out there as they do here in south fl where I'm at, turns out it's not just a city problem.

As much as it's a bummer to see your trip over, I'm looking forward to the lift and other mods in the future. I'm hoping to get the front carrier housing back in my jeep somewhat soon, and do my lift around the same time as yours.
 

LabRat

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So, I have had a few days to reacclimate to civilization...and I'm ready to go back to the desert...

Anyway, here is the close-out report for this trip:

Damage/Parts/Repairs

1. rear "glass" sensor went bad the last day in the field. I just unplugged it for now.
2. Forward propeller rear CV boot failed somewhere and disappeared. MacGuyvered in the field, replacement arrives tomorrow along with the special tool so I can put those stupid clamps on properly this time.
3. Intermediate steering shaft boot missing (?) Not certain of this one yet, it appears some had one and some didn't however might relate to next item.
4. Power steering gets tight and stiff and "creaky" after about 200 miles at freeway speeds. Odd in that cannot find anything wrong with the pump or any of the linkages, yet a shot of Endura on each of the U-joints corrects the issue instantly gotta look into this one more...
5. Gotta get that lift in. Bert was a straight up TANK the whole trip crawling up and through stuff that had lots of people scratching their heads. Also front tires rub on the pinch weld on sharp turns....a symptom of being loaded heavy on stock style mushy suspension with knobby Toyo ATIII tires, but not on street tires. (225/75/R16)
6. Still getting a random, self clearing MIL code for random misfires on #6. Highly intermittent. Suspect its time for new fuel injectors as compression is within standards and everything else related is new.
7. Need to repair gas tank skid plate and look into replacement gas tanks even though my field repair to the puncture is performing.
8. the sensor in the exhaust system next to the rear CV prop shaft is working but the cable is hanging and the jacket is a bit shredded likely from the boot failure.
9. Time to seriously investigate the transmission. Had some serious over-rev issues on the freeway intermittently. Sure, they are notorious for not shifting when they are supposed to, but there were far too many hard shifts...a few times I thought the thing was going to jump out from under the Jeep in pieces. This is only an issue at highway speeds and much worse when using cruise control. Suspect the transmission speed sensor is on its last legs or out of adjustment (if any)
10. Fog light switch has failed. If the headlights are on, the fog lights are on. the pull out is not functioning at all.
11. Key fob lock/unlock function failed again. Tried all four brand new fobs.
12. Still cannot get the white reverse lights to work. Going to have to spend a day troubleshooting that circuit as the bulbs are new and the harness rings out. probably the sensor/microswitch.
13. While I didn't need the other ones, the gas tank incident has me convinced it is time to fab skid plates. I'm not paying the prices for 3rd party plates OR the OE plates if they can be found.
14. The serpentine belt failed. this happens, and there is now a 3 year warranty one under the hood and a spare under the seat.
15. Hood vents. I now understand the need. While I didn't have any overheating issues (other than the climb up to Sinbad Overlook where the transmission temp light came on 3/4 of the way up)


Starting Mileage was 170500. Final mileage was 173793. Avg Highway mpg was 13.9. Avg off highway mpg was 16.6.

In addition to the long planned and thrice attempted lift, I need to finish my custom bumpers. I also have to find, restore, and install the OE rally lights to make the wife happy. I also need to finish my pull out countertop and my slide out food/equipment storage system. I skipped those two for this trip as load weight became a pretty serious issue.
Finally I either need to install a snorkel or a K&N cold air system. That stock air box and filter collected just as much dirt and bugs as I did. (Went through 3 air filters on this trip!)

Finally, cosmetics. The bed liner coat on the lower half still looks silly to me, but it functioned EXACTLY as planned. Need to do that to the front grill as it looks like the milky way from all the gravel hits from the trip with the white showing through. Need to install a rear rally light/back up light and a rear yellow flasher in the spare tire mount.
 

LabRat

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All sounds good except for the K&N ****, stay away from them unless you like dirt in the intake
Thanks man, was wondering about that. On the dual carb VWs the K&N filters were boss, however you had to have two sets, one to wash and one to wear so to speak.
I new dust and dirt were going to be an issue on this trip, but the snorkel I see available won't make it any better being they are designed more for looks than anything else to my eyes.

I'm wondering if I should just go cheap and use a Mount Saint Helens pre filter...to be frank the K&N looks to be a bit too pricey anyway.
 
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