Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pictures From Gunung Bunder Trip

These are some pictures from our last trip to Gunung Bunder. To see more, please click here.

The photos are taken by Gita Sapta Adi, Darren Alderson and Dany Darwis.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tread Lightly!

Tread Lightly! is a non-profit organization offering educational material, training courses, restoration opportunities, communication pieces and a variety of tools to help arm recreationists with a set of outdoor ethics.

Tread Lightly! offers specific ways to minimize impact when four-wheeling, off-highway motorcycling, mountain biking, geocaching, riding an ATV, hunting with an ATV, snowmobiling, camping, fishing, boating, hunting, horseback riding, backcountry skiing, hiking, sand duning and using a personal watercraft. Click here for some quick tips.

Tread stood for some outdoor ethics as follows:

Travel and recreate with minimum impact
Respect the environment and the rights of others
Educate yourself, plan and prepare before you go
Allow for future use of the outdoors, leave it better than you found it
Discover the rewards of a responsible recreation

In Indonesia, similar efforts are being built by 4-Wheel Adventure Indonesia to pioneer the Friend of Nature program so called the "Sahabat Alam" in Bahasa Indonesia. The effort would initiate a nationwide nature preservation movement related to outdoor lifestyle of people in Indonesia.

Your support in the Sahabat Alam program is appreciated. For info on how to make your support, please visit the web page here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Gannet's Unique Homebuilt CJ-3B

This is the picture of Gannet's unique homebuilt CJ-3B. He rebuilt the off-road machine from scratch with off-road ability and comfort in mind.

The Jeep CJ-3B is an old Civilian Jeep version made during 1950-1970s. It is the predecessor of the Jeep CJ-5 which production started in 1972. CJ-3B production was also outsourced under license to the Japan Mitsubishi company which continue producing the units until 1983 with various engine models, diesel and gasoline.

CJ-3B originally came with Jeep L-Head engine so called the Devil as used in some of the military Jeep M-38. It has 2.2 litre displacement with around 60 horse-power capacity. The original transmission was produced by Dana Spicer (I am still trying to find the types on this) which moves the front Dana 27 and rear Dana 44 axles. The Jeep CJ-3B is a quite successful Jeep production with mostly used by the Japanese military and government as utility vehicle.

Gannet rebuilt the CJ-3B with a totally upgraded performances from engine to transmission. His green cute CJ-3B is fitted with a Toyota 7K 1.8 litre engine which power is sent to Toyota automatic transmission commonly found in Toyota Kijang (Indonesian version of Toyota van) or Toyota Cressida. Well, with such automatic transmission he surely could perfectly control the vehicle's traction on the trail, and leave his left foot to rest.

For the 4-wheel drive function, he couples the Toyota automatic transmission with the transfer case taken out of a Suzuki SUV (not sure which type), with a 1:2.8 low range ratio. This gave him a total crawl ratio of 40% combined with the final drives of 1:5.38.

The car is equipped with a Warn 9500 winch and 31" Super Swamper tyres. I will post a complete report on the vehicle soon.

Pictures taken by Gita Sapta Adi at Gunung Bunder.

A Wonderful Trip

Last weekend we made a trip to Gunung Bunder. There were 8 cars altogether, mine (CJ-7), Gita Sapta Adi (CJ-7), Ganet (CJ-3B), Darren Alderson (CJ-7), Yuri Kusweri (Suzuki Vitara), Indra Riana (Suzuki SJ-410), Erce and Abduh (both Suzuki Vitara).

We left Jakarta on Friday 25th August midnight, in two groups. One group (mine) starts from Pondok Cabe gas station, taking the Parung route, and the other group led by Indra Riana which took the Jagorawi toll road. Indra's caravan was already arrived at Gunung Bunder when my caravan arrived at around 2am on Saturday 26th of August.

We have decided to start hitting the trail that early morning, so after a short break and preparation at around 3.30am we head to the trail entrance. Ganet led the way with our local course masters Imang and Sa'id. After Ganet lined up the Suzukis, then Gita's CJ-7, Darren's, and my car as the tail, also acting as sweeper.

The Entrance

The entrance is what we called the Ace Point, a short climb of around 45 degrees inclination with slippery soil and some rocks on the way. It is only around 100 meters long altogether, with the hardest part is the last 50 meters where the ruts are quite tricky and ended by a small river. Ganet's and the Suzuki's were winched up since they were using smaller tyres, while Gita's and mine could pass the challenge with less difficulty for we were using larger diameter tyres. On the climb, Gita's front right tyre went flat due to too low pressure. So we try to fix the problem for almost an hour, using hi-lift jack and air compressor.

The air temperature was very cold at around 23 degrees Celcius, plus a very strong wind, really chilling up to the bone. That 100-meter entrance took us around 3 hours to finish, could you imagine that? Really challenging and fun. After everybody passed that first obstacle, we headed to the first camp site at around 7am on Saturday, a flat field of pine trees where we stop for resting. Everybody fell asleep instantly because we haven't had enough rest that night.

At around 9am, Gita waken up everybody to have breakfast. Yes, that is the good thing about 4-wheeling on Gunung Bunder, we could order for breakfast, lunch or dinner prior to entering the trail to the local tavern. They will send the food to any point on the trail. We had white rice, fried chicken, soya cake and tofu for breakfast... mmm... yummy...

Country Road

After breakfast, at around 10am we start moving for the country road, a 3-kilometer jungle trail. The trail is really challenging with tricky ruts and slopes we have to overcome. It was really slippery at some parts, where your car would slide just anywhere out of control if you are not careful enough. Fortunately what we have along the route was only fun, and fun and fun!

At the point we so called 'Point of No Return', there were 3 lanes, the left, center and right lane. The level of difficulties are heavy, moderate and lighter on the right (still difficult though). So everybody started taking the right lane, which required serious winching and controlling the traction at the same time. I was, however, curious and attempted to try the far most left lane, which looks easy although it's not. Well, the temptation grew so big and I took that left lane. Smooth ride in the beginning until my front right tyre make a successful climb over a root, and after that the car stucked, bellying on the root until it could not move at all. I ask Dany, my co-driver to arrange a recovery strategy, because winching alone is not a solution. The car's transfer case cut into the big root almost half, the front tyre stuck in thick mud, while the rear tyres did not have enough contact to the ground for a good traction. Firstly we tried a single line pull to a tree in front of us, it didn't work at all. So, I told Dany to go on double-line pull using the snatch block. The effort provides us an around 5 centimeters progress! What a trouble! It feels still very hard for the winch. So, we try one more effort on a triple-line pull using two snatch blocks, again, not much progress because the transfer case was cutting into the root.

So, Dany came to the idea of lifting the car with a hi-lift jack. At first we were arguing where to jack the car, near the root (at the right side), or at the back. We then tried jacking the car on the right, but it didn't work as planned because the space was too tight to work with the jack. So, we tried lifting the car's rear. Jacking and winching at the same time and, it works! The car started to move bit by bit. We move from one winching point to another to gain best pulling direction and less obstacle. After about a 30-minute fight with this obstacle, my Jeep successfully recovered and a very deep satisfaction was all around my body. What a challenge! The rest of the group was watching the recovery effort while giving some help. A real off-road brotherhood there is.

At the final of the Point of No Return, we found Darren was quite upset that his winch was broken while trying to get out of the right lane. The bar that holds the drum was broken in pieces because the wire rope was bulging at one side and no one realized that. Poor Darren, he also got a leak in the radiator. Fortunately I brought some wire and radiator stop leak so we could fixed the troubles. The winch didn't really fixed, only a very temporary fixing because to fix it would require moulding a new bracket. We tied the winch with wire as temporary effort.


It was around half past noon when we finished the Point of No Return challenge. We then head to the rest of the trail until we reach the Charlie intersection at 1.30pm. At this Charlie intersection we could choose 3 routes with 3 levels of difficulty. Because we haven't had lunch and some of the party has had enough adventure, we then decide to head for exit, taking the less difficult trail. We found a broken pine tree with quite a large diameter. Ganet with his automatic CJ-3B managed to go over the trunk without much trouble. Our friends with their Suzukis decided to move the trunk from the path since their cars weren't using runner guards. So they move the trunk out of the way using winch, before we continue to head for the exit. Near the exit, there was another small challenge, a slippery downslope with tight trees formation which required us to carefully manouvre.

At 2.30 pm the whole party has made the exit and we took our rest and lunch at the base camp. It was really an adventure, everybody satisfied I hope. For me, I am very very satisfied... really a nice trip.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

4-Wheeling Basics: COPING WITH MUD

By David Lovejoy, extracted from Difflock.

Mud varies so much in so many places, sometimes it is a beneficial surface and at others a blessed nightmare, this is also why no one tyre type can be said to be the best.

Remember, always Stop & Check before you got stuck in the mud! Put on your boots and walk around in the mud. Most small and medium sized four wheel drives exert a similar ground pressure to the human foot (some even less with wider tyres). So if you get stuck walking, what is going to happen to your vehicle?

Look for a route through, gauge the situation and ask questions (people think you are mad anyway so talking to yourself matters little) like "do I need to drive through here, can I go around?" Always remember Tread Lightly - in other words try to make as little impact on the microenvironment as possible. Huge 'rooster tails' of liquid mud, twenty feet in the air, make for good anti-off road public relations and in the long run don't exactly aid to drive train longevity.

When you have no choice but to go through (say, for example its almost closing time or your tea is on the table) pick your route using the following criteria:

  1. Remember mud is like a city, it doesn't just start, it has its slightly soft suburbs and a potentially bottomless center, with varying districts in between.
  2. Stay out of ruts deeper than the height to the bottom of your diff casing to avoid bellying out the vehicle.
  3. Avoid mud or water you don't know the depth of; it's a world of trouble.
  4. Always start off your approach in a suitable gear i.e. one you can change down from if you need to (deep mud saps power like a thick blancmange).
  5. Do not 'floor' the throttle, use gentle amounts of power - too much momentum reduces the amount of control you have over the vehicle and generally you just end up stuck further away from hard ground, thus further from easy recovery by the friend you brought in the last episode.
  6. When you start to lose traction immediately do two things, feather the throttle (lightly) and move the steering wheel slowly side to side from lock to lock.
  7. When you grind to a wheel spinning halt don't just sit there spinning, dip the clutch, select reverse and slowly and gently attempt to reverse out of the situation you are in - remain calm and collected, remember, despite all those people taking photos and laughing, you still have your pride.
  8. When reverse has no motive result STOP, now is the time for recovery - once again remain calm and collected, this makes you appear very cool in front of your public :)

Picture shown is Ruby, courtesy of Jejelogy.Com