This marks the sad end of "Gumby," a fiberglass-bodied CJ-5 once owned by Matt Shook of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Matt relates the night he was watching TV at home when his dog wanted to "go outside" to do ... well, what dogs do, we guess. To Matt's horror, he stepped outside to see Gumby engulfed in flames in his own driveway, and by the time the fire department arrived, the Jeep was a total loss. Gone was the swapped-in 350 small-block, the SM465 and Dana 300, the sprung-over Dana 44s, and brand-new 35-inch BFGoodrich M-Ts. Matt's still stumped as to the exact cause of the fire, though he surmises an electrical short may have been the culprit. At least the Jeep was given a proper memorial service: "Most all of my wheeling buddies made their way over to my house to pay their last respects before I shoveled the burnt carcass into the bed of my pickup to dump into a dumpster."
Grand Junction, Colorado, resident Matt Berryman recalls the day his fully built S-10 Blazer met its untimely end. Matt and a friend were "messing around" in the desert near his home when, driving at speed in the dirt, he hit a small ditch in a blind corner. One of the 44-inch Gumbo Mudders unexpectedly dug into the ditch, and the S-10 rolled over five times, coming to rest on its driver side. Luckily, Matt was unhurt, but it took a 5-mile walk out for him to get help, and a Duramax pickup and a tow truck were required to winch the truck into the upright position you see here. As you might expect, the Blazer never ran again, though, Matt explains, "it generously donated its engine to another slammed S-10 Blazer that I have."
Bob Bascom of Warrenton, Virginia, was wheeling with sons Ryan and Matt at the Great Smoky Mountain Trail Ride at legendary Tellico in North Carolina when this stuck occurred. Ryan generously loaned Matt his '87 4Runner for the day, and he was climbing this rutted obstacle when, as Bob puts it "he did a nice pirouette on the left" and ended upside down, suspended by his front and rear bumpers. The extraction took about an hour, and the Toyota fired up right away once back on all fours. Save a busted front driveshaft (which was fixed in camp), the Toy was still quite driveable, despite a bit of rock rash. As Bob explains: "The top of the cab was caved in, and the spare axles stored in the cab took out both the rear window and sunroof. Luckily, the windshield was not damaged because we had a 550-mile drive home at the end of the week."
From Moab, Utah, Brandon Anderson relates a tale of a boonie field fix that didn't quite work. Busting a Dana 30 stub shaft near Cliff Hanger, Brandon pulled the bad shaft and headed to town to find a spare. Not finding one, he decided to head to Poison Spider Mesa for some wheeling fun before realizing "I needed to leave the stub shaft in to hold the bearing together." Tire and wheel soon departed the rig, snapping the steering knuckle and dragging the caliper and bearing along with them. A buddy fetched a new bearing in town, and hours later, Brandon reinstalled the new bearing and the busted stub shaft, tied up the caliper, and returned to camp-eight hours later. Having to drive home to West Valley City with "front brakes only on the passenger side made things interesting," he notes, adding that he now carries "spare shafts for every corner" when he goes wheeling nowadays.
Ken Brouillard of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, sent us this pic, along with narration: "This rollover happened in January of 2004. I had already gone down this steep, rutted hill, when I heard on my CB that someone had gone over on the Beaver Slide (the name of this tricky little spot). I ran back and took pictures, and as you can see, it was close to rolling all the way to the bottom if it had not been for the edge of the bank stopping the Jeep. A couple of winch lines were run to get the Jeep back on all fours. One line was run to keep the Jeep from going back over too quickly, the other to pull him back over. After getting the Jeep back upright and down the hill to level ground, it started right up. Very little body damage and just a minor injury to the driver."