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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Moab trip(s): what goes out, must come back (via tow) (BIG)

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btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 04/02/09 04:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lots of pictures here, don't open if you have a slow connection. Doh! Too late, sorry.

Well, it was an interesting trip to Moab two weekends ago.....which turned into a second weekend.

We go out to Moab a lot...at least a few times a year, often just for a long weekend. It is only about 5.5 hours from Denver, and an awesome place to get lost in the desert for awhile. One of our favorite areas to setup shop for awhile is in Kane Creek Canyon. The BLM is making some changes there, some for the better, others for the worse. They have closed a lot of camping areas.....some are being cabled off into seperate sites which is a mostly a good thing. There have been a lot of idiots out there messing things up for the rest of us. However they are also shutting some places off completely, which is just pushing campers into new spots and areas that are not as organized and less damaged, which just seems to spread the impact into new areas which to me is a step in the wrong direction. They had even started making designated sites, before blocking off the whole section...of course our favorite campsites included. But in any case, I don't want to make this about land-use. We do love the area regardless.

Our campsite:
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They ladies managed to take off for a ride before the guys were quite ready (or awake.....) From Hurrah Pass looking east, the La Sal Mtns. in the far background.
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Looking west, towards Canyonlands N.P. - evaporite ponds to the right.
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Near Dripping Springs. This area was filmed in the John Wayne movie, "The Searchers"
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It's always neat to see the snowy La Sal Mtns., when in the hot/dry desert.
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Out near 'Chicken Corners'....the Colorado River a long ways down.
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Your author and Mrs. BTGGRAPHIX, along Kane Creek
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Looking up a tough spot on the Kane Creek 4x4 Trail.
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The entrance into our campsite/beach
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Here's where things got interesting. We were all packed up and ready to go...started the Kodiak, and after about 10 seconds it died. Check engine light came on and stayed on. Uh oh. My buddy drove us in to town, and talked with a tow truck place. AAA only covers from the pavement on that particular county road. Not sure if that is true everywhere, but we were a long ways up the road, and it won't be cheap. Plus, we need a BIG truck to tow our beast. He'll tow us to the pavement on my dime, then on AAA from there he says. He also says he can do it with his F700, or perhaps "big daddy." I'm thinking Big Daddy sounds more promising, but an F700 is probably OK too.

I decided to buy a code reader, and a fuel filter (even though it had been changed recently....the tow guy said his Kodiak has done that before due to the filter, and the code should say something about fuel pressure.) Well, the code reader showed no codes. Huh? I change the filter anyway just in case. No go. Off to get a cell signal and call KL from Nations Towing to come get us. We race back to the site, and transfer my trailer to my buddies rig (we left his trailer at the tow place earlier.)

So first, KL thinks he might be able to pull me forward. I doubt it. He hooks his strap to my winch cable (not ideal...maybe even a bad idea?) but due to the sand, his 2WD Ford, and the angle he's pulling at, no go. His truck is spinning and hopping sideways. My winch finally pops and starts running out. Hope I didn't damage it. Next, he thinks he might be able to pull me backwards up the hill. I am doubtful and don't exactly love the idea of trying to steer backwards, up the hill with a few humps in it, and then make a hard turn onto the road....all without power steering.
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So we give up and go for his winch, which I liked a lot better, even though I am being charged by the hour and it'll be slower. My truck doesn't budge at first and his truck is really pushing his chocks into the sand "dang that thing is heavy" he says. Yep, pretty heavy. 18K+. Three distances of winching gets me up onto the road.
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Next, he's going to pull me all the way back to the pavement, before lifting the front end and towing it in the more traditional method. The culvert crossing might drag my rear end (doubtful) and his front end would be really light coming out of it. Plus, there are 2 incredibly tight switchbacks with a cliff beside the road on the way out...he might starting spinning the rear wheels, and with his locker, it might even want to go straight. Not a pleasant thought with deadly cliffs, a tight road, and an 18,000 rig behind him. It also not a pleasant thought to be steering with no power while being flat towed either, but it's the best option and much faster. One really nice thing on the Kodiaks, is that the power brakes actually still have power, even with the truck not running (a safety feature on many big trucks I think.) So off we go...down some slight hills, up a very very steep one, through the culvert etc.

Glad I have that giant bumper to hook to....but I really need to change out those hooks I have that look cool but aren't that functional.
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The crazy switchbacks are just ahead of this shot and was pretty spooky. You go over, you are dead, no question. Meeting a big 5th wheel would have been a nightmare. Me driving over the tow strap during the two steps 180 degree turns would have been ugly. It went OK though.
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Looking down from my drivers window a little after the switchbacks. We are several hundred feet above the floor.
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Wow...made it.
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Now to hook up the traditional way, lift the front end, remove the drive shaft etc. I hope I didn't do any damage to the tranny or anything on the...maybe 10 miles of towing. The winching/towing to the pavement took about 1:15 and cost $250. I was seriously wondering if the little side and rear bars are capable of holding the weight of my front end...maybe 6500 pounds, but it did fine.
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Look how compressed his rear-end is (not mine, the F700's!), and how light the front is....going up the hill or out of the culvert would have been highly questionable. I believe an F700 is probably the smallest truck I'd want a tow from...
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So next we had to pack 5 dirt bikes, 2 mountain bikes, and one ATV is my buddies trailer. I really wasn't sure it would work....but we managed it.
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I left the truck at the dealship, and get a call Monday at noon saying it's done. Here's the kicker.....I apparently did not get the fuel filter primed properly and that the filter was the issue. I had primed it with the pump, but I did not drain it from the bottom as you need to do. I guess that's what being in a hurry does...didn't read the manual that I had. I was afraid I was going to break that drain because it was on really really tight and I thought the pump was good enough. Not so. Plus I was fooled by the lack of code. The dealership sais there was no code in the computer and the light was not on, but that doesn't make sense. I'd love to know WTH is up with that. In any case, my hope for a cheap fix at the dealership came through, but I also figure I missed my 1 in a 100 chance of being able to solve a problem with my Duramax with an easy fix. next time it'll be fuel injectors, pump, something crazy. Bill was $150. But we get to go back to Moab again the following weekend to get it. [emoticon] I'm still kicking myself a bit over the improper installation of the filter, but what the heck....live and learn. Total cost was about $400.

Meantime, mid-week Denver finally got hit by a blizzard (it has been incredibly dry in town this year...we were on pace for a record low snow year, until this storm hit.
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Might make for an interesting drive back to Moab, but it was OK by Saturday morning.

Finally back to our sweetheart. Woo Hoo! We actually had a friend in Moab (who runs an awesome dirt bike rental and trail guide business) pickup the truck and take it to his house and plug it in...because the temps were getting a little below freezing and we had not winterized. Plus we wanted our beer cold when we picked it up!
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Went back to Nations Towing to get my empty trailer (we brought the bikes back out for some riding in my friends trailer. KL, the tow truck driver stopped by in his rock crawler:
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The little F700 next to 'Big Daddy'.
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One of his two little Kodiaks.
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Finally on the road.
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We headed partway back home, then stopped and did some riding in Rabbit Valley. It is a nice little riding/hiking/horseback area near the Colorado/Utah border. The Kokepelli Trail goes through. I have driven by a bunch of times and never stopped. It's actually very nice. We did some exploring and looked for campsites for a future visit. The very end of the area to the south hits the Colorado River and is beautiful. It's a relatively calm part of the river, upstream from the "WestWater" area that is whitewater rafting country.

Two geologists acting like they know something. (Or one acting like he knows something, and the other acting like he's listening?)
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Cool little 'monocline' (beds go from flat, to tilted up, back to flat at the higher level.)
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Packing up and heading home.
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Wow...what a trip and ordeal. And we do this for fun! All in all, we had a great couple of weekends, saw some great scenery, rode some new trails, met some new people, reaffirmed how important it is to have good friends who help each other out, learned more about my truck and what it takes to tow it....etc etc. Kudos to Nations Towing who can tackle just about any job with the various rigs they have. They've towed vehicles out from the Shaeffer Trail and White Rim including a Hummer caught in a washout that was almost completely buried in sand by the time they got out there. I'd hate to see that tow bill...but in any case, they're a good outfit I think.

Life sure is a great deal of fun if you get out there and take it head-on. Let's quit arguing about DRW/SRW and all go camping. Who's in?

(edited to put spaces between photos and spell La Sal correctly!)

* This post was edited 04/03/09 02:57pm by btggraphix *


2006 LanceMax 1191 - loaded and well-used
2005 C4500/Kodiak 4x4, GVWR 17,500


dgo1369

Georgetown, TX, US

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Posted: 04/02/09 05:06pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the pix and the story. I'll be in Moab next month for a couple of days but I bet I don't have as much fun (?) as you did.


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Intheloonybin

Twin Cities, Minnesota

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Posted: 04/02/09 05:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I enjoyed your story and the pics. I'm glad that it worked out ok, and was not too expensive.

And thank God for a lightning fast internet connection!


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CampBHappy

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Posted: 04/02/09 05:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing your pics and story. Glad it had a good ending and not a huge bill for you.
Safe travels!


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Raften

Northern Calfornia

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Posted: 04/02/09 05:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So educate me a little on a DMax fuel filter. Is it a spin on or a drop in? Is it upside down or can you fill it with fuel before sealing it up. It sounds like you had air in the system, how easy is it to crack and bleed a injector line or two?

btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 04/02/09 05:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Raften wrote:

So educate me a little on a DMax fuel filter. Is it a spin on or a drop in? Is it upside down or can you fill it with fuel before sealing it up. It sounds like you had air in the system, how easy is it to crack and bleed a injector line or two?


It screws in from underneath, so you probably could fill it up with diesel first. Of course, I'd have had to pull a line somewhere to get diesel since I don't carry any with. The Kodiak hodd tilts forward of course, and then you pull a couple of clips to remove what is analogous to the inner fender, exposing the side of the engine nicely. There is a built-in manual pump on the top of the mount for the filter, which worked really well....I pumped it until I could no longer compress it at all, which is part of why I thought there was enough pressure. The other thing I had to be really careful of, was the sand. A front was starting to move in (you can see it in the background in one of the shots looking back at the tracks) and every so often a massive sandstorm was blowing around and I had to be extremely careful to cover the filter housing while I changed it, and not get any sand in or on anything before I put it back on. You also have to unscrew the plastic piece at the bottom of the filter (the drain) from the old filter to the new filter, and it was on so tight I had to use channel locks to remove it from the old filter. I should have broken loose the drain itself before I mounted it, as once it was on I tried to release it but I was afraid of breaking the plastic and making my issue worse. If all of that sounds like justification or rationalizing why I failed...it IS! It does really bum me out I didn't do it right because I could have skated out of there cheaply and quickly. We got home at 4AM to Denver and I had to take that next morning off. My buddies Ford (that we drove home in) was making some bearing noise, so I actually helped him drop it off Monday morning before we went to work. His bill was over 2 grand for new front bearing, brake pads, carrier bearing etc. So I guess I still got off easier than he did.

btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 04/02/09 05:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PS: Not sure about the injector lines, I didn't even look at them. I've changed the filter on my skidsteer a few times and have always opened the drain at the bottom - I should have known it was required. Live and learn, and do it with a smile if possible....

MrPhelps

Huntsville, AL

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Posted: 04/02/09 06:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great story and photos.. thanks!! glad it was nothing to serious and everything worked out.


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leaddog

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Posted: 04/02/09 05:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not a truck camper but found your post interesting. Glad to see you are back on the road and took it as well as you did. As they say, if life deals you lemons, then make lemonade. Nice pictures.


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Virgil_Diesel

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Posted: 04/02/09 06:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I always carry extra fuel filter with me and a WIF(Water In Filter) sensor with me. WIF is located at the bottom of the filter and this gets easily break. Here is the instruction how to replace the filter

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