Trips this weekend

This weekends club trip is to the Lost Coast – if anyone has not yet signed up, please get ahold of Dale or Tom and let them know. You’ll need to get hotel reservations pretty quick.

May 1-4 I am heading to Calico down near Barstow to explore the old mining areas outside of the Calico Ghost Town. George is also going. Looks like the campground still has plenty of spots open if anyone wanted to make a last minute trip down with us.


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Easter Jeep Safari 2014 Moab, UT

Sunday, April 13th – Flat Iron Mesa in Reverse – Sparky’s Jeep & Red Ale’s Jeep ran this trail. The weather wasn’t very cooperative all day. We had a mixture of rain, sleet, hail, wind, thunder & lightening. The first obstacle was off camber, on the edge of a cliff that we had to maneuver around. We had a nasty rock crawl on another edge that was a challenge for all. The trail wrapped around the mesa overlooking Canyonlands National Park. We stopped for a short lunch due to the oncoming thunder storm and the cold and we all were anxious to get back into our Jeeps. As we headed out, our trail leader from the Red Rock 4-Wheelers, broke a front axle. We were about half way through the trail, the weather was being very uncooperative, the weather forced us to climb waterfalls literally on the slickrock. We ended the day at the car wash getting all the muck off of the Jeeps.

Monday, April 14th – Rose Garden Hill – Sparky’s Jeep, Red Ale’s Jeep & Air Tom’s Jeep. The weather was much more agreeable, a little cool, but nice. We started out crossing the same river at least two dozen times while making our way through a beautiful red rock canyon and valley and ended up at the base of Rose Garden Hill, the only real challenge of the day. We all made it up Rose Garden Hill with no issues, stopping at the top for lunch with a beautiful view. We ended the day by driving by the Top of the World trail, but our leader by-passed it. Our group made a stop by the Castle Creek Winery for some wine tasting before heading back to town.

Tuesday, April 15th – Fins & Things (ladies run to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation) – Sparky’s Jeep, Red Ale’s Jeep & Air Tom’s Jeep. Trail started out by mixing with the group leaving for the Hell’s Revenge trail and it was a cluster &*$! in the beginning. We felt this run was a little disorganized and not enough spotters in the places that needed them. Sparky & Red Ale had to get out to assist other drivers in more than one place. The trail traversed many steep obstacles on the sand stone slickrock. We encountered a disabled rig towards the end of the run and the Madhatters stopped to assist. They provided a hot dog lunch for all of us.

Wednesday, April 16th – Metal Masher – Sparky’s Jeep & Air Tom’s Jeep ran this trail – the weather had drastically improved. This trail began at the North end of town. It wrapped around traveling over many stair steps over the slickrock. There was a breakdown early in the run and they were forced to turn back. Our trail leader had us eat lunch in a different place due to winds on the ridge. But we were in a place that gave the extremes a places to play and us to watch. We climbed to the top of a canyon edge and we drove about 20′ from the edge and the view was beautiful. winding back down the mesa, our trail leader by passed Widow Maker Hill. We ended the trail by coming down several waterfall stair steps.

Thursday, April 17th – Golden Spike – Sparky’s Jeep, Red Ale’s Jeep & Air Tom’s Jeep – this trail had to start earlier in the morning due to the fact that it crossed Poison Spider Mesa trail, all of Golden Spike trail and part of Gold Bar Rim trail. We started running portions of the Poison Spider Mesa trail that switched backed and forth as we gained altitude through slice boxes and over waterfalls. We entered the slickrock of Golden Spike trail running on top of edgey places and off camber spots. The trail wound around to Nose Dive Hill which is a steep downgrade followed by Launching Pad which is a very steep upgrade. The trail was unforgiving more up and down. We wound our way around to the infamous Golden Crack where we all stopped and gathered to watch everybody drive through. At this point our group went from around 30 something to 20 something due to breakdowns. We made our way to Double Whammy, which most of us by-passed. There were stair steps and short vertical climbs ending with the Golden Staircase. All of us made it out with no issues. At this point we we done with Golden Spike trail and entering the last portion of Gold Bar Rim. It wound down to the bottom of the mesa, sand road. We met another HAM as our mid-gunner which gave us a historical and geological lesson which we all enjoyed over the HAM radio.


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MTA’s Mud-in-Yer-Eye event April 25-27

If folks are interested in attending this event down in Hollister next weekend, you need to make sure to register. More info available here:

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March MUDSLINGER posted

The MUDSLINGER minutes from the March 25 club meeting have been posted to the Members section of the Madhatters web site.

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Have Any Member Experienced OPDA/Camshaft Synchronizer Shaft Problems

Hello All,

I was recently searching some of the online Jeep forums for some specific information when I came across this OPDA/Camshaft Synchronizer Shaft issue that some TJ/LJ owners were having with their Oil Pump Drive Assembly. Apparently there is a Chrysler TSB (E05R) thats been out for quite a while. The TSB appears to address Jeeps with specific motor build dates (2005ish) but there have been many TJ/LJ owners (2005/06) with premature gear wear on their Oil Pump Drive and Cam Shaft Gears. Pretty alarming if you ask me.

Here are a couple links;

Here is another;

Have any of you experienced any of these problems? I think its a big enough concern to warrant pulling the Oil Pump Drive Assembly and checking out the condition of these gears. Have any of the MadHatters performed these inspections? Found premature gear wear? Replaced the gear? And what about the mod “FogMod” that addresses lubrication issues of the bushing on this assembly (if I understand these issues correctly).

As I said, I don’t want to wait and let what might be a reasonably manageable issue turn  into a bigger can of worms. Or worse yet, get stranded somewhere totally screwed. While the process of removing the assembly and inspecting the gear seems fairly straightforward I don’t think its something I would want to tackle without having someone a bit more knowledgable and experienced watching over my shoulder.

Let me know what you all think. Any related experience, advice, or input would be appreciated. Just trying to get everything (maintenance) buttoned up so I can enjoy some trips this year.

Kindly, Big Matt


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February MUDSLINGER posted

The MUDSLINGER minutes from the February 25 club meeting have been posted to the Members section of the Madhatters web site.

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Madhatters March 15 snow run is cancelled

The Madhatters snow run on March 15 is cancelled due to no snow.  Cort and I made a pre-run this weekend and found there isn’t enough snow for a run.

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Web site updates

The Madhatters web site has new updates.

  • Calendar.  The Lost Coast club run has changed to May 2-4.
  • Calendar.  The spring Fordyce Adopt-A-Trail maintenance will likely happen in June.  It now appears in June as date TBD.  No club event on Memorial Weekend.
  • Photo Album.  Phill’s pictures from Feb 15′s Rubicon In The Snow club run are uploaded to our Flickr site.  A link is available from the Photo Album page.
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January MUDSLINGER posted

The MUDSLINGER minutes from the January 28 club meeting have been posted to the Members section of the Madhatters web site.  The month’s Treasurer’s Report has been appended to the Mudslinger.

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Loon/Wentworth Loop Snow Run

First of all I want to thank all the Madhatters for letting me know they were coming and showing up on time in Georgetown. A few of us met early for breakfast after which we met up with 16 rigs, 7 were guest, in front of the Georgetown Hotel. After a quick drivers meeting our Foresthills Madhatters showed up with their club having a similar plan but that would be the last we would see of them. As I suspected no snow until after 6000 ft. so we continued to the Loon Lake Kiosk were we aired down and hit the snow in the Con. At this point I started to get complaints from my buddy George Downs since he has long insisted he would NEVER!! Do the Rubicon. O well we had him surrounded. So after a uncontrolled slide down a section of the slabs and a lot of slipping going up the other side we all made it no problem. At this point we discussed what to do. I thought it might be fun to follow a group of buggies to little sluice and watch them play the majority agreed and we continued. After hearing some of our guests were peel of and go to Wentworth we stopped again to discuss this further . We decided to stay together was the best plan. So we turned on to our adopt a trail and kept moving. Thankfully there were an old set of tracks to keep me on the trail through the snow. It wasn’t too bad except one little tippy spot. We continued down to Wino rock where I took most the group up the bypass over a real slippery snow covered hill. 3 of our guest and Dave(No Fear)Jones went down through the Wino rock area. At this point there was no carnage but shortly there after our guest Andy and his monster diesel Jeep truck lost a steering box, probably helped along by ramming the wino rock. While Air Tom’s welder got put to use Chris,Phillip,Dennis and I did a little adopt a trail work clearing a very large rotted tree laying in the trail, oh George was our photographer. After leaving Wentworth Springs camp grounds all we encountered was axle deep water and a foot of snow. Everyone made it out safely to the road at around 4:30pm. Where we aired up and said goodbye. The only boner talk I heard was for Phillip for bringing Andy and his broken Jeep truck or George for braking a licence plate frame. Sorry I can’t vote for my buddy George.

Great job all!

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