OK. Finally ready to talk about it...
Went with the group to the Gulches in April and took a friend Shawn to ride along as I was trying to talk him into buying a 4Runner and wanted to show him that with a 4x4 he could see parts of Colorado that most don't get a chance to see.
We met a group north of Woodland Park at a set of GPS coordinates. We were the first ones there and while waiting, a black JK pulls up behind us and the owner hops out to introduce himself. Turns out he's my next door neighbor (like right next door) named Marcus. This is a coincidence that turned out to be important later in the day. We were later joined by a few more rigs.
Great trip down to the river and a mile or two from the trail head I hit an exposed root at low speed and... BAM! Busted axle tube. Note that if you have a JK both the D30 and D44 have the same weak tubes. If you do image searches, you'll see many breaks in the same place as mine. As some insurance do the Nitro hammer-in sleeves using the dry ice method.
We improvised a trail fix with ratchet straps and were were able to drive back to the trail head. I had a come-along in the back of the Jeep that we were able to use to pull it together even better to drive back closer to civilization (no cell service). Marcus, my neighbor, volunteered to drive with us back to the fire station we saw on the way in.
At the fire station, the chief was there and let me in. I used their land line and made some calls and found a uhaul+trailer in Colorado Springs while Marcus grilled some sausages on his trail grill. Left the Jeep at the fire station and Marcus drove us down to the Springs to get the UHaul. We made it there by 4:45 and they closed at 5pm. Back to the fire station and had the Jeep loaded before dark. Unfortunately, took a wrong turn and had to turn a UHaul+trailer around on a gravel road at dusk (I don't know how to back up with a trailer so this was a mess). Made it home safe by midnight.
Fast forward to today. Picked up the Jeep from Northridge4x4 in Longmont this morning where they did a Teraflex Tera30 axle housing replacement. They swapped the guts from my Dana30 into the new Teraflex housing, put in new ball joints, and had me on my way in a 24-hour turnaround (after a 3-4 week wait). Weak spots now are the shafts and the small 5.13 ring and pinion.
- Greg (?) for thinking fast and helping with the ratchet strap and come along
- Marcus for all of his help
- Fire chief for letting us use the phone and park the Jeep there
- UHaul guy for telling me that the 35s would be too big for the straps on the trailer and having me get the extras
- My buddy Shawn for braving the day and still wanting to buy a 4Runner after all of that
This is the reason you wheel with a group. If we'd been on our own, we'd have been BSF (broke, stuck, and f*cked). Hope I can help next time someone else is in a bind.
Thanks to everyone here.