Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Texas Hill Country
Not sure about mechanics being available but we've found the trail guides in general to be extremely capable and will never leave a stranded Jeep, they will get you back if necessary. However trail breakdowns are relatively rare, especially with well maintained vehicles so no worries there.
Chris brings up an excellent point about clutch operation - a manual tranny does add a bit to the off-road learning curve. There was one fairly new wheeler with me at a Jamboree a few years ago with a manual. He got so frustrated with stalling out on obstacles he swore he was going to sell and buy an auto version. He got a bit frustrated on a couple of obstacles, and then things went downhill from there - I really felt sorry for the guy.
A few trail tips for you:
- Line up at least 30 minutes before the listed departure time - even if the trail leader isn't there. You do not want to be at the rear of a 15-20 Jeep convoy.
- Keep the guy in front and the guy in back in sight. If you can't see the guy in the back, just stop and announce you are stopped (on the CB) waiting for the Jeep. You will find many ignore this etiquette either out of ignorance or they could care less about who's behind them.
- If you come to an intersection, make sure the guy behind sees which way you turn.
- Know the name of the guy in front and in back of you - makes it easier if you need to talk to them on the CB ("hey Rufus - where are you?")
- Know how many Jeeps you are behind the trail leader - if you need to talk to the leader you can say "I'm #5 behind the leader", this helps the leader figure out where you are located.
- If you come to an obstacle, need a spot and there are no guides there, announce on the CB you need a spot. Be very careful about letting somebody spot you that's not a guide (and that you do not know) - they might be clueless and cause you grief with a wrong line. If in doubt, GET OUT AND LOOK for yourself.
- Watch the guy in front of you - you will soon discover if they know what they are doing in short order. If they are a smooth driver, follow their track, if not then you know what doesn't work.
- Anticipate when you need to be in 4-low and do it before an obstacle. Sometimes I'm in 4-low for most if not all of a trail, obstacles or not. Less of a load on the engine with aired down tires. With a manual tranny, you might not need to be in 4-low as much as with an auto version.
- Speaking of aired down - go as low as you can with your wheels. With stock wheels you should be able to go 10-12 pounds.
- Always start out with a full tank of fuel (there are exceptions, but for wheeling in a new area, full tank every day is the rule.)
That's all I can think of for now. Relax and have fun - the event people will work hard to see that you have a good time.
John - WB5THT
2006 LJ, not stock