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Vermont Overland Birdwatching Safari Recap

Main Line Overland had the pleasure of spending some quality time with customers on the trails of Vermont this past weekend at the Vermont Overland Birdwatching Safari. With a few rain-filled days leading into the event, the trails were slick and challenging. We had a very diverse group of vehicles in the group: Land Rovers, Jeeps, Toyotas, Tray backs, Four Wheel Campers, etc. Capable rigs, skilled driving and solid teamwork got all vehicles through the more challenging trails. We used just about every piece of our recovery gear at some point during the weekend, which is always good practice and sometimes more fun than just rolling through every obstacle! Even a little trail breakage didn’t stop our progress, and a quick field repair had us back in action for the six hour ride back to PA. 

We are proud to say that we have been to every VOR event for the past 7 years, and Peter Vollers and crew never disappoint with an amazing location and hospitality. The only thing that rivaled the enjoyment of time spent on the trails, were the evenings sitting around the camp fires with friends sharing a few frosty beverages and loads of laughs.

Field Repair on the RRS

We have always carried some degree of trail spares especially when running the Vermont Overland Trophy and other high-attrition off-road events.  When we ran our FJ Cruiser we kept 2 spare axle shafts, gear oil & pump, axle seals, and luckily never had to use them.

When we prepped our Range Rover Sport for this years Vermont Overland Rally we put together a spares list that was a little more comprehensive.  The L320 RRS has 4-wheel independent air suspension, which, in and of itself, requires its own set of spares not normally necessary on a coil sprung truck (think extra air struts, compressor etc (an issue we are working on a fix for, stay tuned)). The biggest concern during normal offroading would be the CV axles, which are unequal length front and rear. Unlike your typical IFS truck that uses and extension housing on one end of the diff to extend out and keep the axle shafts interchangeable, the RRS uses extra-long axle shafts to make up the length, requiring 4 different axles to carry as trail spares.  Not every LR3, LR4 or RRS needs to carry spare shafts, but we know we are pushing the limits on our RRS with 35” tires and the LLAMS suspension override system. 

Ironically, while pulling a Disco II with broken rear axle shafts uphill using a K-Rope we broke our driver’s side front cv joint on the diff side.  It was captured on video in all of its “bone crunching” glory (see the forthcoming episode-length cut).  Luckily, we were able to limp out of the trail and ride the 45 min back to camp. Once in the vendor area we cleared some space, utilized our Hi-Lift Jack and some additional safety measures, and our team was able to swap out the offending CV. The autopsy revealed that a broken limit strap, which allowed the axle to droop too far likely “dislocating” and breaking the CV. 

Some trail lessons are learned the hard way, but you don’t truly know a vehicle’s limits until you’ve exceeded them—just bring a few spares and some wrenches if you are looking to try the same.