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Easter Jeep Safari: Phase 1 Prep

Driving Line – 1998 Toyota 4Runner Solid Axle Trail Grappler – Easter Jeep Safari

The 2016 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, is just a few short weeks away. Like many of you, I’m currently working at full speed to get my rig ready for a week of ‘wheeling. This will the 50th anniversary of the Easter Jeep Safari and the 75th anniversary of Jeep. I hope I’m not supposed to get them a gift….Either way, this year will also mark the first time since 2008 that I have brought out something other than a Jeep to EJS.

Driving Line – 2008 Toyota Tacoma FN Wheels Terra Grappler – Easter Jeep Safari

Blasphemy! A Toyota at EJS! Yes, yes. I’m taking a Toyota to the biggest gathering of hardcore Jeeps on the planet. It just so happens at this point in my stable of vehicles, a Jeep is not an option. My original plan was to drive out my 2008 Tacoma you see here. It’s been a work-in-progress over the past few months. While it does run and drive just fine, it’s not going to be able to make the big trip.

Driving Line – 2008 Toyota Tacoma Trailers Unlimited – Easter Jeep Safari

With my tow rig currently enjoying the sun down in Key West with my old man behind the wheel, I used my Tacoma to haul my trailer over to Trailers Unlimited for an overhaul. Since being built by Bear Trailersports in 2009, this trailer has seen countless cross-country trips. It’s has around 10,000 miles on it since its last thorough service, so I figured it was due.

Driving Line – 1998 Toyota 4Runner Solid Axle Trail Grappler Armor – Easter Jeep Safari

Here’s my chariot for EJS. It’s a 1998 Toyota 4Runner fit with a supercharged 3.4L V-6, solid-front axle conversion, and a host armor and upgrades. Since inheriting the 4Runner from another deal, I haven’t done much with it. So, this will be its first big adventure with yours truly behind the wheel.

Driving Line – 1998 Toyota 4Runner Solid Axle Ball Joints Reid Knuckles – Easter Jeep Safari

Aside from having a little over 200,000 miles on the odometer, most of the drivetrain is new or rebuilt. One thing I did find worn on my pre-trip inspection were the ball joints. So, a few hours later, and with the help from friends, the joints were installed and the Dana 44 will live to fight another day.

Driving Line – R16 Nitto Trail Grappler – Easter Jeep Safari

Another fresh addition are the 315/75R16 Nitto Trail Grapplers. The Trail Grappler is by far one of my favorite mud-terrain radials. It’s extremely civilized on-road and works great in the dirt. Moab’s slick rock tends to favor all terrains more than muds, but the southeast ‘wheeling I do necessitates the knobby mud cleats.

Driving Line – 1998 Toyota 4Runner Solid Axle Trail Grappler Paint Mark – Easter Jeep Safari

A pre-‘wheeling ritual that I have done for years is bolt checking and paint marking. This makes it easier to diagnose any potential problems or noises the rig makes on the trail.

Driving Line – Nitto Tire – Easter Jeep Safari

So, that’s where I am so far. There’s still a bit of packing, tuning, and tow-rig maintenance to be completed. Look for another update shortly.

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