Folks spend a ton of money trying to get the best, biggest, and most capable off-road trucks. Imagine if you bought a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, a rig renowned for its off-road capability and named for one of the toughest trails in North America, took it to Moab, Utah, and immediately sheared a front wheel off. Well, you don’t have to imagine because that is sure what happened to this person trying to conquer the infamous Devil’s Hot Tub.
It’s worth saying that, at a glance, this Gladiator appears to be modified with larger wheels and tires compared to a stock Rubicon. Larger tires are heavier, which burdens the rest of the driveline and increases load and stress, which have been specifically calculated at the factory for the stock wheel and tire package. This is important because of the type of failure that the Jeep suffered, which can be attributed to operator error.
In a video shared by Joseph Tweedy on Instagram, the driver of the Gladiator tries to aggressively climb the Devil’s Hot Tub, the deepest and steepest of the so-called Hot Tubs on the Hell’s Revenge trail in Moab, Utah. From the start, there’s heavy throttle application with no regard for the terrain—a surefire way of breaking stuff off-road. It could be that the driver was frustrated and stuck for a while, or he could have been showing off for his friend in the backseat of his truck.
Either way, disaster struck after the Gladiator hopped several times on the rocks. That hopping aggressively unloads and then shocks the drivetrain, which is an ideal way of breaking something. It’s like axle hop on a front-wheel drive car, except the Jeep has wheels and tires that could weigh close to 100 pounds. That much inertia hammering away at the front axle is obviously not great.
The hub and upright stayed attached to the wheel, leaving behind a bare front axle. It’s only for a split second, but you can actually see the remnants of the front kingpin. Not only did the wheel shear off, but it also looks like it sheared off at the front ball joints. Meanwhile, the driver reached for the shifter and tried to stop the truck from crashing into the Hot Tub but failed.
Take this as a lesson: Once the truck starts hopping, let off the throttle. Or you’ll end up like Jeep Gladiator Guy.
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