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Gone Awry - 4x4 Stucks & Mishaps

Posted in Features on July 1, 2013
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Contributors: Readers

We asked you to send in photos of stuck, broken, rolled, rolling, or on fire 4x4s and you responded with a cascade of carnage. We received stories and images from all over the world as well as here in the U.S. of A. The collection shows unfortunate things happening to all types of 4x4s from farm trucks to luxury SUVs.

So get comfortable and prepare to see what happens when things go awry.

Don’t Let the Dogs Out
Reno, Nevada resident Ed Hughes explains what happened here. “We were taking our dogs out for a run, trying to stay on known roads, trying to avoid the big puddles. But the snow covered the two-inch-thick ice, and in we went, about three feet down. We tried to rock it out, but the ice was too thick and just bashed up the truck. We were truly stuck. We had to climb out the windows and wade through the icy water. Some friends with four trucks came over and we daisy-chained it out. Big thanks to Spencer, Ryan, Steve, and Harley! When the temperatures get above freezing again, we’ll pull the plugs and see if we still have a motor.”

Slight Delay
Bryan says, “Driving home in my lifted ’46 CJ-2A I wasn’t paying much attention and got sucked over into the ditch and up onto the bank and it tipped over. Next thing I know, I’m pushing the passenger seat off of me. Couple of minutes of tweaking the sheetmetal back into shape, and I was back on the road.”

XJ Turnover
A man of few words, Allen Beret simply says, “I consider her stuck. And broken.”

Sand Pile
Paul Wade sent us this photo of a Toyota Land Cruiser in a very bad way in some very deep Middle East sand.

Heads Up!
Paul Wade says that the roof of this old railway arch in the United Kingdom collapsed, dumping a large amount of material onto a number of recently restored vehicles. Apparently there are vehicles under the pile in addition to the Land Rover Defender slammed up against the wall.

Tale of Two Rovers
Photographed somewhere in the Middle East, Paul Wade sent us this image of one Land Rover rescuing another.

Chad Roberson says that this photo was taken during the 2010 snowstorm in Minnesota that collapsed the Metrodome in Minneapolis. This is his ’82 Jeep J20 that he had driven 30 miles home in what he says were some of the worst conditions he’d ever driven in only to slide off his own driveway. “I had to have a neighbor come with his John Deere and snow blower to make a track in and pull me out. I had to dig to get into the truck to steer it out. Once out, I had to use it to plow for over six hours to clear a track to my house and my dad’s house.”

So Close Yet So Far
“Kinda got stuck out at Hollister,” says Michael Reed, referring to the Hollister Hills SVRA in Hollister, California. Even though his Bronco II’s tires were only about two feet from hard, dry dirt, his friend’s Jeep couldn’t get the Ford out. The Bronco II was eventually rescued by a passing Hummer.

Muddy Mess
Joseph McKearney submitted this photo of what we assume to be his Ranger taking a dip. McKearney offers no explanation. Apparently he doesn’t want to talk about it.

Canada Mud
This ’01 Ford Explorer Sport Trac stuck in this mudhole on back trails near Fort McMurray, Alberta, has 31-inch tires and a 3-inch body lift. It belongs to Eddie Easter, and we’re guessing he had to use the rigs 9,500-pound Runva winch to get the rig unstuck.

If You Can Read This…
Jonathon Vasquez says that he and his friend were going to wheel some Nebraska backroads, but on the way they found this Jeep and its stranded owner and decided to help him out. But not before they took a picture.

Even Champions Get Stuck and Break
Former TTC champion Alex Sanders submitted a photo showing that even he doesn’t always wheel without mishaps. This rollover was the result of “showing off and going a little past my balance point.”

Off Camber
Yet another Paul Wade-supplied image, photographed in the Middle East. This is a good illustration of the benefits of an exocage.

Taking One for the Team
Jeff Holldelder of Mountain Ranch, California, had taken off work early to finish up some welding at his shop before heading to the Rubicon Trail with his son. On highway 26 above Stockton, California, a car that had neither brake lights nor turn signals stopped dead in the road to turn into a farm. “By the time I realized they were coming to a complete stop in the middle of the highway, it was too late. With a levee to my right and oncoming cars to my left, I had two choices. Hit them (which could have been fatal for them) or jackknife and stuff my truck and trailer into the levee bank. I chose to sacrifice my rigs for their lives. When the dust settled, no one was injured. A local farmer came over with his tractor and pulled the trailer back onto its wheels. Through the whole ordeal my FJ stayed tied down to the trailer. We didn’t make it to the ’Con that weekend, but have had several fun trips after we replaced the rig,” he says.

Tie Rod Delay
Stephen Killgore is from Brookings, Oregon, and he says he broke a tie rod on his ’89 GMC K1500 while going through this mudhole. It didn’t slow him down much. “Luckily, I had a spare and got it on, then went and had some more fun for the rest of the day,” he says.

Ansley Page says his ’79 Bronco would have made it, but the fan shroud broke, which allowed the fan to throw water into the carburetor, which killed the engine, thus ending the Ford’s swim.

Winch, Please
Oscar Gonzales says, “Here are some pics of our truck stuck at Azusa Canyon, California. We made it the farthest in the mud. Guys with 49-inch IROKs couldn’t reach us, and we have 44-inch Boggers. We had to use two winches, a PTO, and a Warn with dual snatch blocks to get it out with about 500 feet of rope.” Gonzalez says the recovery took about two hours.

Grand Illusion
This ’94 Jeep Grand Cherokee took Zack Souza three years to build. It has (or should we say had?) a 4.5-inch Rubicon Express suspension lift and 33x12.50 Goodyear MT/Rs.

Flying Billboards
The winds of a super typhoon in the Philippines caused a giant billboard to fall and it crushed the back half of this Mitsubishi Pajero. The body didn’t fare so well, but the Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ tires held up just great.

Swallowed Whole
This was Joe Rowles first trip to the Badlands Off Road Park in Attica, Indiana. He was relatively new to off-roading and a member of the Michiana Jeep Club. Rowles decided to take a shortcut and instantly found this 3½-foot-deep hole. “It’s almost as if someone dug a square hole on purpose and disguised it for guys like me to look innocent,” he says. His Wrangler’s engine sucked water into the intake, but after dragging it out backwards with another Wrangler, they had the rig running again about 40 minutes later. “Thank goodness, this is also my daily driver,” Rowles notes.

While wheeling down a hill in Azusa Canyon in California, the left front tire of Lorena Espinoza’s Chevy moved a rock, which caused the truck to become precariously stuck in a hole. “I almost flipped over,” Espinoza says.

Dad Damage
Megan Roper tells the story: “I have a ’68 Jeepster Commando sitting on ’82 Chevy running gear. My dad decided to take my Jeep out for a spin and this is what he did to it. Broke the upper and lower ball joints, blew out both tires, axles, and ripped half of my bumper off! Needless to say, he has not driven my baby since.”

Hey, Where Did Our Stoplight Go?
Another Paul Wade submission, the story goes like this: Drunk driver in Ram hits stoplight pole, pole gets wedged upright in front bumper, drunk driver continues driving to bar, apparently is arrested. Truck is towed to impound with light pole still wedged, backhoe is used to remove light pole.

Blizzard Adventures
Leo Tokarev gave us the lowdown with these two photos. “Attached are a couple of pictures from last winter’s blizzard that hit Chicago metro. There is my ’08 Chevy Avalanche that got stuck in a ditch at 2:00 a.m. in the middle of the blizzard. We were coming back from a ski trip and slid off the road. The tow strap was cut by some guys plow when he tried to pull us out, so we left it overnight since we had another vehicle. Believe it or not, it was a Subaru Outback that made it home in 24 inches of snow that night. I thought it would be the other way around. My buddies and I had lots of fun that night and everybody got home safe. It just took us 3 hours for 45 minutes of normal driving distance. This is how my Chevy looked the next morning. The other picture is my semi at work after the same storm. It took me two hours to dig it out and a yank from another semi.”

PhotosView Slideshow

Fun Van
This little encounter left Eric Domander’s crazy ’81 Dodge Ram Van B350 (that he calls “Mud Boss”) with three inches of water inside the cab. Domander notes that he’s standing on a hump in the mudhole and the ruts were approximately 8 inches deeper. The van was extracted using the 12,500-pound winch. He says that about an hour later he broke a turn signal lens on the van after driving over a speedboat someone had dragged into the swampy terrain.

When the Rock Ledge Ends
Clint G. says, “While wheeling in Disney, Oklahoma, I couldn’t turn sharp enough with the front locker engaged to stay on top of the rock ledge that was under the water. It dropped off the ledge with the front left tire, and the Jeep began to slide further into the 15-foot-deep water hole. The water was to the top of the driver seat. We anchored the Jeep from the side with a winch and pulled it back out from the rear. Only damage was a waterlogged interior and water in the diffs. I know I got very lucky that I didn’t lose my Jeep that day. A valuable lesson was learned!”

Lucky To Be Alive
Bud White says, “Here’s a pic of my ’78 Chevy 4x4. I just put a fresh rebuilt motor in it two days prior to this. My brother and I were heading to our favorite fishing spot, and before we got out of our neighborhood a logger felled a 55-foot-long, 36-inch-diameter tree on us. Sadly, my brother suffered paralysis of his right arm from impact.” White goes on to note that the truck started and he was able to drive it away. “We’re truly lucky to be alive,” he says.

From Turkey, With Love
This submission comes to us from Altan Ulutas in Turkey. He doesn’t offer any explanation of what happened to this rig, but he probably knows that we’ll figure it out.

Well Done
Another submission by Paul Wade, this supposedly happened outside of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Locals dig wells and then don’t mark them, apparently. The driver of this Toyota Land Cruiser didn’t see the well and drove into it. This particular well was said to be over 196 feet deep and approximately 13 feet in diameter. The driver was hospitalized with a mild concussion caused by hitting his head on the windshield. The Land Cruiser fared much worse.

Road Tripped
After graduating from college, Derick Craig set out on a four-month road trip in his ’01 Chevy Tahoe Z71. Ultimately, he would cover 17,000 miles and visit 10 states. Near Almanor, California, he was traveling down a dirt road (19 miles from the nearest paved road) at about 30 mph when he rounded a curve and hit a violent washboard section. The Tahoe went into a drift and ran off the road, where a large hole caused the SUV to roll onto the driver side. Craig climbed out the passenger side of the vehicle and ran two miles back to where he remembered seeing some fisherman. They offered to help right the Tahoe, and about two hours later the rig was back on its wheels and on its way. “The $10,000 worth of repairs was going to take two weeks, so I had them replace the door shell and rig the hanging-by-a-wire side-view mirror back in place and I was on my way,” Craig says.

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