Author Topic: Sheep's Bridge, AZ 3-24&25-18  (Read 811 times)

JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Sheep's Bridge, AZ 3-24&25-18
« on: March 25, 2018, 10:48:04 PM »
Jose, Jorge, their kids and dogs and I went to Sheep's Bridge, on the Verde River in central AZ, north of Carefree, AZ this weekend. I didn't take a single picture, so use your imagination.

Shortly after leaving the pavement and passing the Seven Springs recreation area, Jorge noted that his 98 was running hot. We stopped and popped the hood to see that his radiator fan was not spinning at all when the engine was running. Oh no's!, a bad fan clutch. Naturally, the 10 mm wrench he needed to take the fan off was nowhere to be found, but along came a helpful Jeeper and he handed one off and headed on his way. After finally getting the shroud, fan and clutch off and cracking open the clutch assembly, we used lead fishing weights and gravel to fill the void between the two halves, put it back together and we were on our way. The fan spun solidly, temps stayed normal and Jorge has another clutch to use back at home.

I let Jorge's 15 year old son drive the 83 Power Ram (we'll assume he had his learner's permit) much of the trail, which is bumpy, and in that truck, downright noisy as hell due to the construction and utter lack of anything resembling an interior. He got to experience 2WD, then 2WD with the hubs locked, then 4 high.

Then I took over and we switched seats. I utilized 4 low and showed off my "championship rally skills" for the final assault on the trail down to the river. We regularly had to wait for the occupants of the Bilstein-equipped 98, as they dared not to attempt to equal the daredevil speeds we employed. The old 83 hung on to its parts and accepted the inputs necessary to hustle through the rough road and deliver us safely at the river's edge.

Which is where we encountered a lot of people camping. So, we decided to go directly across the river, north of the bridge; it's only about 100 feet. Jorge easily made it (33's + 2" body lift); I did not (31's + tiny suspension lift). The engine stalled on me about 30 feet from the far bank and would not restart. Water began to fill the cab as it found every hole that bolts used to go through when there was an interior. I grabbed as many sensitive electronic goods as possible and put them on the dash. The exterior water level was about a foot above the bottom of the doors.

One of the many campers on the crowded bank drove over and faced me, then unspooled the line from his winch and Jose walked it out to the 83 and hooked it up. Success! He hauled me up on the bank and water poured out of the cab as I opened the doors. Jorge talked to the guy in Spanish and learned that they were with a group of Mexican-centric four wheelers, which made Jorge happy since he seemed to think no such thing existed. We got window stickers from them and he went back over to his group on the other side and we all were smiles when I got the 83 started again with the assist from my little jump pack battery. I guess the regular battery got happy feet, rubbed against the a/c pulley and knocked a ground off that feeds the starter circuitry. Luckily, this truck is so old it doesn't have an ECU or that likely would have been a big problem (it still has old timey glass fuses, even).

Jose and Jorge ran a long night of championship fishing, where I'm pretty sure, Jose caught the same fish about six times. It looked like the same one, anyway. I just tried to make them laugh and we all drank beer.

Sunday, all of the others explored around and went over to the hot spring hidden back behind the reeds and good times were had. But, we had to get across the river again to go back the way we came in. We connected a couple of tow straps to each other and Jorge plunged in ahead of me. He climbed out the other side and my engine stayed running and the strap only pulled me a touch to keep the action flowing. Not a drop of water came in this time.

It was getting dark, so I decided to drive solo and really put the boots to the 83. Despite it sounding like it was shedding things, I was simply able to shred the trail.

I refilled the gas tank a couple of times over the weekend. During the drive from Fountain Hills to Cave creek, which is a lot of 50 mph, and a good long section uphill, the 83 returned 19.5 mpg. After the extensive four wheeling, with a lot of higher rpm/low range fun, plus the drive on the super slab back to Apache Junction, I measured a touch over 13 mpg. Not bad, little 2.6, plus I had a bed full of camping things the whole time, too.

So, fun was had, nothing got badly torn up and nobody spent a whole lot of money. Good times.

John B.
AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 2 sets of tires rotting in the sun, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, no action
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'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero

Shovel

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Re: Sheep's Bridge, AZ 3-24&25-18
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2018, 07:35:35 AM »
Sounds like a fun adventure with enough hardship to be memorable without leaving a lasting impression on the bank balance.    Nice!


TOASTY

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Re: Sheep's Bridge, AZ 3-24&25-18
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2018, 08:52:18 AM »
Great story!

haolepinoy

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Re: Sheep's Bridge, AZ 3-24&25-18
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 09:57:46 AM »
Really cool stuff.

I'm interested in hearing more details about the Macguyver'ish fan clutch repair. How do you fix a fan clutch with lead split shot?
'03 Montero Limited - being repaired slightly faster than it's falling apart (debatable)

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IncorpoRatedX

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Re: Sheep's Bridge, AZ 3-24&25-18
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2018, 08:38:29 AM »
Damian got a shot or two from this trip.


JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Re: Sheep's Bridge, AZ 3-24&25-18
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 04:57:53 AM »
Really cool stuff.

I'm interested in hearing more details about the Macguyver'ish fan clutch repair. How do you fix a fan clutch with lead split shot?


You split open the two halves of the fan clutch assembly, usually by unscrewing the four screws holding them together, unless one of them doesn't want to come out, in which case you use a file to cut that ear of the clutch off. Once open, you dump out the oily inner contents and proceed to fill the interior voids with any solid items that are handy, which, when the halves are reassembled, will make the assembly a solid block. This makes the fan turn at a constant pulley-driven speed. Works like a champ.

John B.
AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 2 sets of tires rotting in the sun, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, no action
87 Raider, There's a turbo 2.6 under its hood, really
83 "Dodge" Power Ram 50, a bit lifted, way slow and gets more comments from random people than the other two put together
'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero