The Smallest Things Can Bite You Out on the Trail


Loose Leaf Isn't Just for Paper
Steven Messer's 1979 Jeep Cherokee is super-built, with an LS3 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and 1-ton axles capped with 42-inch tall tires. Surprisingly, it still uses the original leaf spring suspension. All of that power and big tires mean that a crazy-flexible suspension isn't necessary on the trail, and the leaf spring suspension is stable enough to do freeway speeds all day long. In fact, Steven and his wife, Kathy, drove the Cherokee all the way from Phoenix to Alaska and back for Ultimate Adventure 2019. On the last day of the trip though they broke a center pin on the front, driver-side leaf spring. This is the pin that holds the spring pack together and locates the axle. A spare center pin is inexpensive and doesn't take up much room, but Steven didn't have one. Fortunately Rick P w had a center pin in his "junk drawer," and with the help of UA crony Keith Bailey, the Messers were back on the trail in no time.

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