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mdskier

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Posts: 12
 #16 
No choice, I lived in MD till 5 years ago and had to fly west and get a rental car.

One time I did rent a Jeep Cherokee for peace of mind ! 2x as much.
A Farabee jeep would be 4x as much.
peneumbra

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Posts: 143
 #17 
If you had some ready-mix (and some water and a wheelbarrow), you could fill the tire with concrete...

I've never had tire problems going to or coming back from the Springs (0ver 200 trips), but I drive REALLY slow.

I mean, one time I headed out for Thanksgiving, and arrived just in time for Easter...
Sam D.

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 #18 
N. Pass was littered with pieces of shredded tires when I went out. I picked up a bunch but more cleanup is needed. Slow down and be safe. As far as plugging a tire, worth comes to worth you can try shoving towels and sleeping bags inside the punctured tire. Then duct-tape it and drive slowly. I've done it before stopping frequently to add more duct tape.
peneumbra

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Posts: 143
 #19 
Good thing you don't use rental cars any more. Your rental insurance is likely VOID if the car is taken offroad - including non-paved roads. 
mdskier

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 #20 
I've had sidewall trouble 3  times when entering with crappy POS rental cars.

Been lucky though only had to call Millers once. Got that one to the paved rt 190 and
it became a standard tow (free) with AAA. That one was the worse. Came in south in a garbage
Daowoo rental car (they don't import that brand anymore! Horray!) Had the worlds worse Kumho street tires with 1 ply sidewalls. Got stuck 1/2 way down the Grapevine in snow as the tire spun becoming unmounted. 2 hours later a truck came by  and pulled me out as I was blocking the road. At the bottom of the Grapevine I decided discretion was the better part of valor, gave up, turned around without visiting the springs.

Defeated I reversed and headed out over South Pass and a second tire punctured a sidewall heading down Lee Flat. Great now 2 tires and a donut spare. Being only 5 miles from pavement I decided to drive very slow (3 mph) to rt 190. The flat totally shredded to only about 1 inch of jagged rubber left but the rim was undamaged when I got a new tire in Reno.  Millers remounted the spun tire so I was good.

Now moved to CA and have BFG K02 off-road tires on a Highlander AWD. These tires never have any problem !
genocache

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Posts: 29
 #21 
I remember a few years back of reading about some guys in the desert and they had a sidewall tear. Took all 30 of their plugs but eventually it held enough air to get out. Now they carry 100 each.

So just because it's bigger than the 1 plug doesn't mean you are doomed.
Glidergeek

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Posts: 36
 #22 
Yes I agree but watch a YouTube see how it is supposed to be done then get your hands dirty.
DharmaBum

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 #23 
Youtube is helpful but there is no substitute for getting your hands dirty in this case.
Glidergeek

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 #24 
YouTube
Sparky of SoCal

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Posts: 122
 #25 
Buy a kit. Get an ice pick. Late at night go next door and flatten neighbors tire. In the tread section. Next morning offer to be a hero with your tire kit for such emergency. You get the practice, you are a hero. Win,win.
Romy

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Posts: 17
 #26 
Personally I'd find a local 'llantera' (or other small, locally owned tire shop/garage) and ask them to show you how to do it and kick them $5-10 or 6 pack or whatever.  Those kind of places typically have messed up tires and rims around and could run you through it and let you practice if they aren't busy.  For the large chain shops it's a liability and they will almost always try to sell you some crap.  Plus, it's not a terrible idea to establish a relationship with a local tire shop for when you actually need help down the road.

Note that in addition to the plug kit, you'll want some pliers or something to pull our the source of your puncture.

Also, the large shops will almost always try to tell you that you can't plug a puncture unless it's like within 1" of the center of the tread.  That's bull.  If you have a flat try to plug it however you can.  Sidewalls included.  Even if it only gets you another 10 miles, that's 10 miles closer to home.  And if a sidewall plug does get you home, you may begin to think it's legit to keep driving on that sidewall plug; it's not.
DharmaBum

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Posts: 2
 #27 
I think it's great idea to practice plugging tires at home before doing it in the field.  But how do you set up a realistic situation at home.  I don't have a old tire I could just puncture to practice on. 

I guess I could go to a tire dealer and as them if they have an old tire to use.

Any suggestions?
Sparky of SoCal

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Posts: 122
 #28 
Romy you make a lot of sense. I agree with most everything you said. This subject is the one I get the biggest pleasure in following. I have to stop now so as not to have my post pulled. Not to say people don't have the right to do it.
Romy

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Posts: 17
 #29 
I've not had a flat in SV, but did pick up a nail coming in South Pass a few years ago which yielded a slow leak.  Never had an issue on North, Steele, or Lippincott.  I think flats are generally a mix of tire condition and driver experience (or lack thereof).  There is indeed something to be said for having good tires with a good driver, and assuming adequate clearance, the vehicle is kind of irrelevant.  I've been to many remote areas of the west in my VW Bus (on 14" factory-spec LT tires).  Regarding tire or rim size, tires with a sidewall apsect ratio >0.65 are also a good idea for dirt roads but rim size isn't very relevant...14" rims with 185R14C tires on a VW Bus or Vanagon work just fine.

I'd also mention that never fail at SV I hear someone mention no one should be driving faster than X mph on the dirt roads because it creates washboard.  X usually is between 10 and 25mph.  I believe the speed you get washboard at is a bit slower than that even - one source says 5mph (http://perso.ens-lyon.fr/nicolas.taberlet/washboard/)  The chance of people driving 5mph into SV is near-nonexistent.  But there is indeed a sweet spot where you 'get on top' of the washboard, and that seems to vary by tire size.  In my 4runner with 33" tires, that's about 40mph.  In my Subaru with 27" tires, it's about 45-50mph.  And so those are the speeds I go on dirt roads, in SV or not (I live in central NV - dirt roads abound).  Maybe for those folks coming from concrete jungles, 5mph for 40 miles is fine, but for those who live off of dirt roads, it would be laughed at for the well graded state of Wacouba-Saline road.  Heck, all the park rangers I've come across in DV have indicated they drive 45mph on the remote gravel park roads to stay on top of the washboard.  

The most important thing on any remote trip is to know your vehicle, know it's condition/limits, and pay attention while driving.  Dirt roads are, obviously, dirt and can change day to day.  After one storm in my valley this past winter, the road from my place to the nearest hot spring developed one hell of a gully overnight, which was quite the surprise at 45mph!  Carry an 'oh shit' kit (full size spare tire/plug kit, tools, parts), and have a plan if things go south.  Practice plugging a tire at home; the first time you plug a tire should not be in the middle of nowhere, miles from help.  Even in a rental, if I know I'm going to spend a majority of the trip on dirt, I'll bring or pick up a cheap plug kit from harbor freight or a truck stop, especially given most rentals have cheapo tires and a donut spare.  And it should go without saying that on any remote trip, always let someone know where you're going.


D.A. Wright

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Posts: 18
 #30 
Re: sweet spot. As mentioned that differs with the road condition and vehicle. In my old ‘70 Ford F250 4x4 simply putting the truck in 4WD smoothed things out considerably. But in my old ‘96 Chevy S10 4x4 and current ‘02 Tacoma 4x4 TRD, that doesn’t work. In my experience with short wheelbase, lighter trucks, the sweet spot is harder to find.

My practice when running the valley - and all DVNP and regional dirt roads - was keep it 25-35 unless recently graded.

The last time I traversed the valley, it was with a group of several rigs. We had just descended Lippencott. I was last in line and got off from the junction with the main road about five minutes after the group took off for CA190. It was dusk and I went faster than I like, maybe 45. Just before hitting Grapevine Canyon, I felt two solid items hit my bare feet (I changed into flip flops at the junction). At the junction of CA190 I looked and found two bolts that had fallen from within the dashboard. To this day I have a substantial resonance rattle in the dash over course pavement and wasboarded dirt. Apparently the bolts fell from near the top of the dash, for by applying pressure on the top center of the dash close to the windshield quiets the noise.

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D.A. Wright
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