It never fails. The one time you leave your spare U-joint in the garage, you're going to grenade one on the trail. The one time you leave your JB Weld in the tow rig, you're going to punch a hole in your oil pan. And the one time you forget your jumper cables, you're going to kill your battery. It's Murphy's Law, and sometimes it seems as inevitable as the sun coming up in the morning.
In an effort to make your wheeling trips go more smoothly and ensure you have a much happier vacation ... aw, who are we kidding? To make sure we don't have to wait on a trail behind your broken-down ass while your buddy spends hours scrounging a spare axleshaft in town, here are some tips on what to bring no matter what component you're running.
If your Jeep has the Dana 35 rearend and you're running a locker, do the whole wheeling world a favor and bring a spare set of axleshafts. You may also want to nab a spare carrier and set of spider gears if you're running a lunchbox locker, just in case.
Locked Dana 30 or Dana 44
Unless you're running a Dana 60 with 35-spline shafts, it's a good idea to carry a full set of inner and outer axleshafts and axle U-joints for both sides. For a quick trail fix, carry your spares assembled so you can just slide in the whole assembly and motor on, no matter if you broke a stub shaft, U-joint, or inner shaft.
At the very least, carry one or two spare U-joints that match both your front and rear driveshafts. If possible, bring a spare driveshaft and a set of yokes even if you can't fit them in your trail rig. It's better to have them back at camp than not at all.
Steering (TJ, XJ, MJ)
Unless you're running a heavy-duty steering setup like the Currie Enterprises Currectlync system or a high-steering setup that replaces the stock bent tie rod/drag link assembly, it's a good idea to bring a spare steering linkage. You can usually score used setups on the Internet for a lot less than at the dealership.
CJ Clutch and Steering
Jeep CJs from the '70s and '80s have notoriously bad clutch linkages, steering-box mounts, and steering shafts. We've seen the factory steering shaft separate when the frame flexes, so you may want to nab a spare from the junkyard. Also, the clutch linkage can come apart when the frame flexes, so it's a good idea to upgrade to a rod end-type linkage like the kit from Class M Corp, or bring spare stock pieces.
If you haven't boxed your stock CJ, Willys, or other early frame, make sure you've got a welder, some rod, or at least a couple batteries, jumper cables, and some scrap steel. We've seen everything from broken spring and shackle mounts to completely severed frames on early stock Jeeps that get all twisted up off-road.
If you've been neglecting your electrical system, bring along a set of good, long jumper cables and a diagnostic tool like a multi-meter. At the very least, have a good set of wire crimpers, a test light, and a pocket full of fuses.Spare YokeIf you have unresolved axlewrap issues, make sure to bring extra U-joints, U-bolts or yoke straps, and a spare yoke. When your axle wraps under power, you're almost surely gonna blow a U-joint and just maybe the yoke as well.
If you have unresolved axlewrap issues, make sure to bring extra U-joints, U-bolts or yoke straps, and a spare yoke. When your axle wraps under power, you're almost surely gonna blow a U-joint and just maybe the yoke as well.
Every now and then, we come across a Jeep that has twisted or snapped its pitman arm. It's usually a trip killer unless somebody has a spare. Pop one off of a GM car or Jeep the next time you're in the junkyard. Make sure the taper matches your tie rod ends or drill it for your rod end bolt before you hit the trail.
If you're running EFI or are just using an electric pump with your carburetor, bring along a spare fuel pump. It's best to match what you're currently using, but even a cheesy parts store external-tank unit for EFI or carbureted applications will get you off the trail.
You don't need to carry two, but you'll want to bring at least one spare hub or drive flange on rigs so equipped. If you've got an open differential and you lose one hub, you'll essentially lose your entire front drive because only the side with the blown hub will spin. It's just like when you lift a tire when wheeling.
If you're using a drop-in lunchbox locker, it's a good idea to bring your stock spider gears along just in case the teeth of the locker strip or the locker blows. If your locker breaks and it doesn't fuse itself together into a spool, you'll have no drive in that axle. Pop in your spider gears and limp out with your one-wheel-peel.
Solder or Radiator Patch
You can damage your radiator a lot of ways, from rolling and crushing it, to your mechanical fan blade hitting it, to catching trail debris. If you've only got a minor leak, you can probably drop some over-the-counter stop leak in and motor on. If you've done real damage, you can usually crimp and solder the damaged tubes shut. Most hardware stores have high-quality solder and small propane torches that easily fit in a toolbox.
We've said it several times in this story alone, but you should carry at least one U-joint of every type that's on your vehicle. If you've got a 297-X in your axles, a 1310 and 1330 in your front driveshaft, and a 1350 and 1410 in your rear driveshaft, that means you should be carrying five spare U-joints. It may seem redundant, but the one you don't have is the one that's going to break.
Miscellaneous Small and Weird Stuff
You should always have an extra rod end, tie rod end, bumpstop, bolts, and whatever else on your vehicle looks like it may be vulnerable and not easily found at an auto parts store in the middle of nowhere. Don't forget that if you run both left- and right-hand threaded rod ends or tie rod ends, you should carry a spare of each type.
No matter how modified your vehicle is and how bombproof the parts may be, here are some basic spare items every trail-bound Jeep should carry in addition to the parts listed elsewhere in this story.
-Assorted nuts and bolts
-Spare tire and good plug kit
-Short section of tubing that will fit inside radiator hoses
-Short piece of chain