Wheeling Tutorial

Safety and Spotting

- You are responsible for your safety, your vehicles safety, and your actions.

- Slow speeds = safe. Worst thing that can happen is driving off cliff or rolling over.

- Rollover point at over 25 degrees on most trucks. We should demo what ~25 degrees feels like.

- Don't stand on a car when it is tipping since it could roll onto you. Instead use a tow strap off the roof rack.

- Keeps all body parts inside the windows. It is a normal response to attempt to support a car during a roll, but it is impossible.

- Increased braking distances on dirt.

- Only one spotter at a time. Ok to have one in front and one in back, but need single point of contact.

- Discuss common hand signs (slow, stop, turn, etc).

- Discuss safety around having spotters looking under the car or standing near the car. If they spin a wheel they could shoot rocks at the spotter.

Vehicle Modifications

- Most people wheel their daily driver and need to keep it streetable.

- Protection: Rock sliders, skidplates.

- First pick tire size. 31-33" is normal range for a daily driver with stock gears. Discuss effects of larger tires on braking, acceleration, fuel efficiency, and driveline strength. Discuss tire options, mostly AT vs MT. As with all motorsports the tires are the most critical element since they are the only contact with the ground.

- Second lift and/or trim to fit selected tire size.

- Third add traction enhancement.

Trail Driving Techniques

- As slow as possible, as fast as necessary.

- Always keep calm, stop, and assess the situation.

- Wheel spin is bad in almost all cases and leads to being stuck worse and possible driveline damage. Only exception is deep mud when you need to clear the tire tread.

- Understand the low points of the undercarriage and be able to picture them. Differentials and cross members are ususally the lowest points.

- Understand the parts of the truck most likely to be damaged. Rock rails, doors, and bumpers.

- Wheel placement. Place tires high as possible while keeping truck level.

- Off camber. Inclinometer is very helpful. Turn downhill to decrease angle. Hitting brakes quickly can cause weight shift, sometimes best to roll through.

- Steep hills. Need to keep straight up, risk of rolling if get sideways. Weight is on back tires, can easily dig in if spin.

Recovery. What to do when you get stuck.

- Bottom line is lack of traction due to trail surface or being high centered.

- Discuss open differentials and how if one wheel lifts all power goes to that wheel.

- Step 1: Assess situation. Why are you stuck? What are you hung up on?

- Step 2: Attept to self-recover by going back and forth and turning front wheels to find grip.

- Step 3: Consider if a little push will help. Can have people push from front or back. Discss dangers involved in running people over or throwing rocks. Reiterate that jumping on a bumper to add weight to a tire can be dangerous.

- Step 4: Consider stacking rocks or branches if available.

- Step 5: Extraction by another vehicle. Discuss the importance of good front and rear towpoints. Explain how a tow strap works through elasticity and how they are used. The vehicle being extracted should use as little power as possible. The extraction vehicle should move slowly to load the strap and let the elasticity do the job. Everybody else should stand outside of the danger zone.

- Step 6: Winching a vehicle. The critical issues are attachment points to the stuck vehicle. Weighting the line in the middle in case it breaks and making sure nobody is in a location where they could get injured by the line if it breaks. Driver in stuck vehicle should be ready to apply brakes to stop vehicle when it is free. They should apply a little throttle if appropriate. Driver in recovery vehicle controls speed. Recovery vehicle must be stable so it is not pulled towards the stuck vehicle. Options are using an anchor (bad for frame) or parking against and obsticle such as a tree or another truck.