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  Project CJ-7
Jeep Project CJ-7

An ongoing Budgeted Rebuild/Build up of a Rock Crawling Machine.

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2007 Jeep Wrangler JK
Jeep Wrangler JK Specs

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Common Offroad Driving Techniques

The following are some general offroad driving techniques that are used in all types of terrain.  These general tips can help to improve your ability to navigate safely and efficiently.

Safety & Hand Position

When driving off road, your safety should be your number one priority.  Nothing spoils the fun like someone getting hurt, yourself including.  So here are a few basic safety tips that can help keep the fun going.  First, it's been said before and it'll be said again, buckle up.  When offroad, there are so many opportunities for the un-expected to happen.  Rollovers, wet brakes, sudden stops, the list goes on.  So play it safe and put that belt on.  Another tips has to do with your hand position and the steering wheel.  It's important not to place your thumbs on the inside of the steering wheel.  When driving offroad, ruts, potholes, rocks, hidden objects in mud, etc, all can cause the the wheel to suddenly turn.  A sudden jerk of the wheel can cause the spokes of the wheel to whip around resulting in the thumb being bruised, dislocated or even broken if it is left inside the wheel.  Make it a habit to keep your thumbs safely on the outside of the steering wheel where they are out of harms way.  Consciously done often enough and it should become second nature to you.  Today with power steering, this technique is not as important at it once was when manual steering was more common and steering stabilizers were rare.  Still with today's higher horsepower engines and more gun-hoe driving styles, it's a good idea to think of the thumbs and save them from the force at which the steering wheel turns when hitting an obstruction.  This technique also helps save the thumbs when harsh bumps or accidents are encountered and you are jerked forward.  With the thumb on the outside, it again is not bent backwards. 


Choosing Your Line

A common term used in offroad driving is "line".  The "line" is the approach and path that you take through an area in over and around obstacles.  This path should take into consideration several factors.  You are considering your best path to avoid damage and maintain traction to get over, around or through whatever you are negotiating.   You are taking into consideration your undercarriage which includes your differentials, axle tubes, suspension, lower shock towers,  your oil pan, transmission pan, exhaust, drive shafts, lower fenders, spare tire, anything that hangs down and can hang you up or suffer damage.   The idea is to think ahead and imagine the vehicle driving through the path you intend to take BEFORE you try it.  This approach helps you to plan your way through obstacles while minimizing damage and keeping your momentum. 

Sometimes it is difficult to navigate your line of choice yourself because it can be hard to see everything around your vehicle from the driver seat.  This is where the help of a "spotter" can be quite valuable.  A spotter would be someone standing outside of your vehicle watching your path and providing direct to you, both verbally and through use of hand signals.  A spotters job can be what makes or breaks a run through an obstacle course.  Describing what makes a good spotter can be difficult but you know when you have a good spotter.  It's also good to note that you are better served by one good spotter carefully guiding your vehicle through a line rather than a whole group of "wanna be" spotters shouting out directions. 


Braking Tips

With manual transmission vehicles, there are time when you are descending down a hill and attempting to control your rate of speed by applying the brakes.   Another method for controlling speed is to put the vehicle in a low gear such as 1st gear in low range and let the clutch out.  Stay off the gas and brake and let the engine do the braking.  This works by putting vehicle in a gear that will spin the tires slower at an engine idle than you want to go.  The effect is the engine slows the tires down.  The benefit of engine braking is you are controlling the wheel spin at a fixed rate of speed.  This fixed rate of speed increases traction on a hill descent or during cornering allowing you to maintain control of the vehicle.  Brakes can still be applied if necessary to slow the vehicle further.  The opposing method of 100% braking (rather engine braking) means that you are applying stopping force which may lock up a wheel causing a loss of traction and consequently a loss of control.  Engine braking is an advantage that manual transmission have over automatic transmissions.

Another tip that deals with braking applies to slowing a vehicle suddenly during trail riding.  If you are slowing suddenly, lets say to avoid slamming into a rock or a pothole, here is a method for preserving your suspension components.  When applying a vehicle’s brakes hard, your vehicle’s weight is shifted forward onto the front suspension. This causes the front suspension to compress.  When your suspension is compressed, it has used up most of the suspensions travel leaving very little for absorbing the impact you are about to encounter.  In these situations if you cannot stop in time, try releasing the brakes just before impacting the obstacle (pothole, rut, rock, etc).  This will allow the front suspension to return to its normal height and give more suspension travel to absorb the impact when you actually hit the obstacle.    Read Offroad Product Reviews


For your entertainment...



Offroad Tire Info
P-Metric Tire Sizes Conversion to Inches
Tire Terminology
Wheel Terminology
How to Pick the Right
Tires for your Truck
Truck Tire Info
Tire Sizes Clearance Chart
Tires - What Hits What Fits
All Terrain  Mud Terrain
Tire Reviews & Info
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All Terrain AT Tire Reviews
Super Swamper Bogger
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Interco IROK TSL
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Interco SS-M16 Swamper
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Parnelli Jone Dirt Grip
BFGoodrich Krawler
BFGoodrich MT T/A KM
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BFGoodrich AT TA KO
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Firestone Destination AT
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Hercules Terra Trac MT
Hercules Trail Digger MT
Kelly-Springfield Safari DTR
Kelly-Springfield Safari MSR
Kumho Road Venture MT
Kumho Road Venture KL71
Kumho Road Venture AT
Dick Cepek Mud Country
Dick Cepek F-C II
Dick Cepek Fun Country II
Dick Cepek Fun Country Nylon
Dick Cepek Fun Country Kevlar
Mastercraft Courser MT
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Maxxis BigHorn Radial
Maxxis Creepy Crawler
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Maxxis Buckshot Mudder
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Nitto Mud Grappler
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Nokian Vatiiva MT
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Goodyear Wrangler MT/R
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Toyo Open Country AT
Toyo Open Country MT
TrXus Mud Terrain
TrXus STS All Terrain
Michelin LTX A/T²
Michelin LTX AT2 Press
Michelin LTX AT2
Mickey Thompson MTZ
Mickey Thompson MTX
Mickey Thompson Baja Claw Radial
Mickey Thompson Baja Claw Bias
Mickey Thompson Baja Crusher
Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ Radial SLT
Competition Claw
Dunlop Mud Rover
Federal Couragia M/T
Nitto Dura Grappler
Yokohama Geolandar
Dick Cepek's 2008 F-250 Super Duty Project Vehicle – Project CRUSHER
Mud Tire Reviews

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Paragon Adventure Park
Rock Krawl

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Off-Road Lights
by LightForce Product Review / Installation.
from Off-Road Lights


Black Diamond Suspension Lift instal

 for CJ-7

Ramp Travel Index
RTI / Ramp Travel Index What it is and how to calculate it, with and without the ramp.

Offroaders Guide to Gearing up for Offroad
From Basic Equipment to Well Equipped.  An extensive list guide to help you prepare your vehicle for the offroad.

Do it Yourself
Detriot EZ Locker Install  in a 92 Toyota 8" rear

For all the Jeep
Fans out there!

Department of Cheap Tricks and Useful Tips
Ultra-Cool Hand Throttle for Free!

Jeep V8 Swap Tips

The Exploding Clutch

Radiator Protection using 6 bucks worth of material

Cracked Under Pressure - Fixing a smashed fingernail

A Cheap, effective alternative to undercoating

Home-built Saginaw Gearbox Brace for the cost of lunch!

Ammo Box Storage - Mounting Them for Quick Disconnect

Home-built Serious Skid-Plate protection for the Oil Pan for under 20 bucks!


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