May 17-20, 2002
After a hiatus of two years, Rock Crawl was back for 2002. For many fourwheelers, myself included, its arrival served as an unmoving deadline for completing any outstanding issues or upgrades on my 4x4. Although I had only planned to install Revolver shackles and a new gas tank, one thing lead to another and before I knew it, I was a week away from Rock Crawl and my front axle and steering was in pieces. The last week leading up to Rock Crawl was a mad dash to locate parts, tools and help but I finally had Project YJ ready for its first fourwheeling trip of 2002. Its preparation included the following:
- Installed Teraflex Revolver shackles.
- Installed a new gas tank, pump, and sending unit, along with a super beefy Kilby gas tank skid plate.
- Repaired a bearing washer in the front hub, replaced all wheel bearings and seals in the front, re
- packed the hubs with grease.
- Installed new upper and lower ball joints.
- Built a new tie rod and drag link.
- Removed old knuckles and installed flat-top knuckles and a high-steer conversion.
- Installed longer front brake lines.
- Installed new Bestop Aqua Sport seats.
- Replaced an axle shaft u-joint.
It was with a great sigh of relief that I entered the ferry terminal on Thursday night with the work week behind me and Project YJ ready for 3 days of off-roading fun. A light rain had just started but the weekend forecast called for clearing skies so I wasn't worried.
One week to go and I still had to do my high-steer conversion, among other things. Here I am just after I dropped a Dana 44 knuckle into a bucket of transmission fluid. Notice the lovely puddle of ATF.
The ferry reached Vancouver Island around 9:45pm and I convoyed with some other 4x4s to Shawnigan Lake. This took over an hour and included a wrong turn onto a dead end, where we met up with a half-dozen other fourwheeler who also made the same mistake. Finally, we reached the Clear Water campsite, just as the rain ended. This was the first year that Rock Crawl was not based out of Sooke. Due to trail closures in the Harbourview Rd area and the discovery of other trails in the Duncan area, Shawnigan Lake was chosen as the most central place to set up camp.
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