Toyotas Tackle Moab's Newest Hard-Core Trail
To the Longfields, to the Newfields, to the Profields -- this story is dedicated to you, the aftermarket birfield manufacturers. A few short years ago and this trail report would not have been possible. Like everything else in this fast-paced world, though, rockcrawling technology is improving by leaps and bounds. As vehicles get more capable, trails become passable that would have been considered unrealistic in the past. One such trail is Coyote. Sorry for the pun, but this trail is ugly. This fact, however, did not deter our group of Toyota pickup owners from attempting it. After running Pritchett Canyon the previous day as part of the Toyota Land Cruiser Association's Cruise Moab event, Denver's Homegrown Crew was hungry for more. And more is exactly what they got with the Coyote Trail.
The trail starts by climbing out of a dry creek bed up a wash filled with large, loose rocks. It gets rough right from the start, with a narrow slot between two massive boulders that requires the driver to pivot on one of the rocks and make a hard left turn. Unlike some other trails in the Moab area, Coyote is unrelenting, with obstacles stacked one on top of another. Other noticeable differences include the tight confines of the wash and relative lack of traction. Granted this isn't Tellico, but it is a far cry from the normal slickrock found throughout the Moab area. The Toyotas, with their triple-digit wheelbases, had to make multiple-point turns on many of these obstacles. With the exception of some new scratches and dents, all this added was an additional challenge on an already extreme trail. As Coyote continues to climb, there are several more turns and huge rocks in your path. With no room to go around (or turn around for that matter), the Homegrown Crew was forced to scale the boulders and continue on.
After approximately one half of a mile, the trail stops climbing and turns south, where it meanders back down toward the creek bed that marks the entrance. In addition to the assistance of gravity, the obstacles on the second half of the trail are not nearly as difficult or plentiful as the ascent, making us wonder if it would be easier to run the trail backward. The one exception was a large drop that planted the front end of each truck squarely against a dirt berm, after which a 90-degree left-hand turn was required. This is where our affection for aftermarket birfield manufacturers blossomed. Toyota front axles were considered a liability in the past due to their use of birfield joints (similar to a CV axle in an IFS application) instead of steering U-joints. Backing up, turning the wheels to the steering stops, and binding up the frontend have all traditionally been recipes for disasters when it comes to birfields. All three criteria were present on this particular obstacle, since the trucks had to nose off straight to avoid rolling, then crank the wheels and back up the obstacle to make the turn. Incredibly, no breakage occurred.
Unlike some trucks that have Toyota sheetmetal but feature Chevy motors and Dana axles, the Homegrown Crew's rigs are all Toyota, from the motor to the transfer cases (yes, that is plural) to the axles. Of the five vehicles on the trail with us for this run, two rigs were running Longfields with stock inner axles, two were using 30-spline chromoly Longfields (stock birfields are 27-spline) with chromoly inner shafts, and two were running Newfields with chromoly inners. No breakage was experienced, even with stock hubs and gears turning 40-inch tires -- a true testament to the strength of Toyotas.
The rest of the trail was quite moderate, and even with a group of five vehicles, we were able to complete the trail in only a few hours. This, coupled with the lack of breakage, left the whole afternoon for the Toyotas to explore some Moab's more traditional offerings. After what we saw on this day, perhaps we should consider calling this trail Coyota.