Pathmaker Traction Day Rock Crawling

Traction Day rock crawling in the Nissan Pathmaker

Went out wheeling on the day before my Birthday with a couple of buddies on a day I’ve now termed “Traction Day.” Traction might be something you have where you wheel but it’s not something we have very often around here. Even in the middle of summer we can get slippery days so it was a surprise to head out in the first week of June and find the rocks super dry and the traction high. 

Scroll to the bottom for the first video, or just click here: Video

My buddy Dave hopped in with me so he could run the camera today while I drove. Also wheeling with us were Craig in the Green Meanie Mog-Stang and Able in his Land Cruiser. Since my car trailer is such a piece of junk and my rig was already at Dave’s house we decided to hit up a few local trails. 

With my rig out in the woods for the first time since December it was great to put some miles down. Quickly I learned that the Sta-Bil I put in the old fuel didn’t work very well. At low RPM the Pathmaker had a bit of a hesitation. Good thing I’m a high RPM kinda guy. That said, this was a traction kind of day and I didn’t spend a lot of time on the rev-limiter. 

My new t-case truss is a bit taller and it seems to be vibrating on the floor so I’ll have to see about trimming that. The T-Case itself works great, no issues at all, not that I expected any since they’re a simple to build case. My new bumpstops work great. No more smashing down with metal on metal so thats a huge plus. The dust marks on the pads show that I got them landing right where I wanted. Hopefully they’ll last this time!

First Trail

We got up to the first obstacle on the trail, the infamous “Spidr Rock” (Click Here if you don’t know what that means). Craig is still working on breaking in his tires to put them down to 2psi and proceeded to be one of the first rigs every to crawl this climb instead of being full on the throttle. We continued along the trail, lining up on the next obstacle when Dave almost steps on an abandoned baby deer. 

The fawn was very young and very weak, Able grabs him and puts him in his rig, with the plan of bringing the small deer to his good friend that’s a Vet that evening. He quickly named the deer Daniel and put his coat over him and his seat belt on so he wouldn’t fall out. Good thing there was a ton of traction to be had out there. No real need to drive crazy today, so Daniel wouldn’t freak out. 

Craig hopped into the passenger seat and let his 15yr old daughter Kylie get behind the wheel and take the “Green Meanie” buggy up the trail. With her driving and Craig manning the rear steer lever she made quick work of the first trail of the day.

We finished up the trail and took the rip up the road to the next trail. Just in time to stop for lunch and let the rigs cool down from some hard driving. Next up was the Bush Cup trails, with some crazy off camber sections and a few big climbs. 

Second Trail

 

The rig was working great all day. I didn’t push it that hard (for me) but didn’t really have to since there was so much traction and we didn’t need a ton of wheel speed. Of course I put a huge dent in my brand new door bar. That one didn’t last long! 

We worked our way thru the third trail of the day, a few big rock climbs before a ton of real tight turns thru the trees with some real big rock ledge drops.  On the very last drop of the day the Pathmaker decided that it had had enough and the passenger side knuckle snapped in half!

Breakage

Now our early 3:30pm afternoon just turned into a late evening so I got on the phone to find a new knuckle. I called my buddy Jon, knowing he had a Ford Dana60 sitting in his shop. Thankfully he was around so he started to take his axle apart while I did the same thing in the woods. Once I had it all pulled apart I caught a ride on the back of Craig’s buggy all the way back down to my tow rig. Passing the spot where we picked up Daniel we saw a full grown deer so we dropped him back off with his mom where we found him.

We headed off to Dave’s house to pick up his 4Runner and wait for Jon to come over with the new knuckle. Jon got there at 7pm and we headed back up to the Pathmaker. The wheeling wasn’t as easy in an almost stock 4Runner but we got up without much trouble. 

After a short hike up to the rig and an hour of wrenching we had the tire back on just before 9pm. We hopped in the Pathmaker and were lucky enough to make it back onto the trailer just before it got fully dark. Passing the same spot for a 4th time that day and I saw Daniel up and with his mother as we drove through. Good to see he was going to be ok, just another day in the woods!

Check out a few videos from Traction Day and stay tuned for the full video soon!


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