We took a trip to our friends over at Brenthel Industries last week to get some tips on prepping your front end for the desert. In the last couple races the team had zero trouble with any moving parts on the front and rear ends of the both trucks. Even after a roll at the Parker 425 race they only broke an upper link on the 6100 truck. They have designed some amazing trucks but maintaining and preparing them for the roughest environments is what keeps these trucks together for hundreds of miles. Even though not everyone will own a race truck, the same principles of prep can be used on any vehicle you wish to take out on a weekend adventure. Nothing worse than a mechanical failure that could have been avoided with some attention to detail!
With fabricators all around working on some of the fastest trucks in off road racing we were watching dreams become reality. Rather then going through the entire trucks full prep list we wanted to focus on the front end from the beadlocks to where the heims mount to the frame and what to look for on your own vehicle when prepping it for a trip or just going through general maintenance.
Starting off we take a look at our custom powder coated 101 beadlocks. After each race Brenthel takes the tires off the wheels and inspects the wheels for any type of damage to either the beadlock ring, the wheel itself, or even the grade 8 hardware. The hardware gets replaced after a couple of mounts and dismounts due to the threads eventually stretching after repeated use.
After the wheel has been gone through its time to go over the wheel hub. The hubs go through an MPI (Magnetic Particle Inspection) once a year to ensure there are no cracks that were missed during prior visual inspections. First, the bearings are removed and thoroughly cleaned. They leave the hubs and bearings in their solvent tank for about 24 hours to ensure all debris is clear. When asked how often they replace the bearings, Jordan surprisingly replied, “Never, only if they are bad. The key to this strategy is simple maintenance. They're cleaned and greased every time the truck is used whether it is for testing or racing."
While the hub and bearings are getting cleaned, the spindle and snout are inspected. If no signs of wear are discovered, it is time to move the whole A arm package with spindle attached around for any type of abnormal movement. With everything attached you can feel any type of clunking that may occur due to wearing parts.
If the heims and uniballs are in good shape and there is still movement the tabs may have wallowed out some. Wallowing tabs usually occur from to thin of metal for the tabs in combination of the bolts becoming loose during use of the vehicle. The guys at Brenthel were big fans of 'weld washers' as they were utilized on every tab made with moving parts.
Up next are fluids. Fluids are like the vehicles blood. Unfortunatley, unlike blood it doesn’t fix itself so its up to you. The brake fluid gets changed every race, using Castrol React SRF Brake Fuild at a whopping $100 per quart!
The very last and perhaps most important step of doing prep and maintenance is to keep proper documentation of everything. Having some kind of checklist and calendar made up while you are going through your vehicle will ensure you don’t forget anything. The guys at Brenthel printed up a quick sheet of some items they go through before every truck leaves the shop. With space below it allows for notes to be taken as well in case you need to stop by the auto shop on the way out to grab spare fluids or a tool.
We would like to thank the guys all the guys at Brenthel for taking time out of their day to go over all of this with us and letting us tell the world about it. We'll leave you with a shot of their SWEET 4-seater pre runner.