Little Bear Recovery

Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
180
Location
Bozeman, MT
I have to give a HUGE shout out to Stephen, Ross, and Darren tonight. These guys went above and beyond to help me out if a real bind today.

I decided to take my kids up Little Bear today for a drive and picnic. On our way down the mountain I heard a clunk and suddenly the truck was pulling left. I found the clearest spot I could and stopped.

This is what I found:

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The nut and washer meant to hold the through bolt of my Upper Control Arm was gone. The bolt pulled out of one side of the UCA entirely and could just barely be seen sticking out of the strut tower.

My truck had suspension repairs (including new UCAs) in November. I can only assume the nut was nut torqued properly.

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You can see the front passenger tire had serious camber issues. I couldn't drive. I had no cell service, apart from occasional 1x signals. I could text but could not call.

I managed to get one HAM radio and got some fellow HAM users to call Darren for me. Thank you Darren for rounding up help! Stephen and Ross came up with Darren to my rescue. Stephen even managed to buy the right size nut to bolt me back together. I got lucky and the through bolt appears to be straight still as Ross got it pushed back onto place pretty easily.

Other HAM users were able to coordinate Ross by radio using his APRS system (which he JUST installed yesterday) to find me on the mountain.

I'm so thankful this didn't happen on the highway or at higher speeds. I don't know if or how myself and my three children would have survived had the UCA come off at speed.

Lessons for the day:

1). Torque everything properly. Even if it's not your vehicle.
2). HAM radio. Get one.
3). If you know something sounds wrong or feels wrong with your rig... something probably is wrong. Don't ignore it.
4). Know where you are. Be able to obtain GPS coordinates for rescuers.
5). Take food into the mountains. My kids were hungry and bored.

All told, trouble began around 11:45am or 12:00pm. I got back onto pavement at about 7:25pm.

Thank you Stephen, Ross, and Darren!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
180
Location
Bozeman, MT
Looks like I'm in a rental car for the next 3 days.

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Service Manager at Ressler is all over my truck issue. They installed my UCAs so I took it to them to see about making sure it gets fixed and doesn't come off again. They're ordering a new UCA bolt, washer, and nut.
 

4gotalot

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 26, 2012
Messages
217
Location
Bozeman MT
Your steering stuff may have been stressed so I would want them to ck the alignment while it is there and ask for a copy of before and after. No charge so why not. I would hate to see that tire after a few miles if it were out of specs and then have to go back.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
180
Location
Bozeman, MT
Your steering stuff may have been stressed so I would want them to ck the alignment while it is there and ask for a copy of before and after. No charge so why not. I would hate to see that tire after a few miles if it were out of specs and then have to go back.
It's going to get aligned for sure. We've discussed that too. I told Ben, the Asst. Service Manager, that I prefer Tom's Alignment to do alignments on my truck. They're the ONLY place in that's ever gotten it to track completely straight (including when it drove off the lot 100% stock).

That being said - it sounds like there was some internal finger pointing happening between departments (service vs body shop). And that someone tried to point the finger at Tom's Alignment since they did the alignment for Ressler when the vehicle was last repaired (Oct/Nov). I told Ben that made no sense as no alignment would require loosening or adjusting the UCA bolt.

Regardless, Ben assured me they'll fix anything that's determined to be broken/damaged. Once they get the UCA bolt replaced with a new one he plans to get the truck up on a rack to further inspect it. The bolt itself was really close to what Ben thought was a powering steering line (hard metal line in my first photo above) so I pointed out that I wanted to make sure that got looked at as well.

So far Ben has been all over it. He did mention to me however, that a similar incident happened with another customer... and the same technician was involved. So... that's probably not going to bode well for someone.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
180
Location
Bozeman, MT
I just pulled Dashcam video from my incident on Sunday in which my children and I got stranded in the mountains. I thought we were going about 15-20mph. Turns out according to my GRDIAN Dash Cam (which uses GPS for speed measuring) we were going between 6 - 8 MPH the entire time. As you'll see this road is NOT that rough. The fact that this upper control arm had not fallen off anywhere else after repair is an absolute blessing. This truck is a daily driver and sees 75 - 80MPH trips on Montana interstates.

Always listen to your intuition. I heard the thump, noticed the truck pulling slightly left, and 'knew' something was wrong. It would have been very easy to just keep driving and hoping everything was fine.

 

REZARF

 
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2003
Messages
4,780
Location
Bozeman, MT
I just pulled Dashcam video from my incident on Sunday in which my children and I got stranded in the mountains. I thought we were going about 15-20mph. Turns out according to my GRDIAN Dash Cam (which uses GPS for speed measuring) we were going between 6 - 8 MPH the entire time. As you'll see this road is NOT that rough. The fact that this upper control arm had not fallen off anywhere else after repair is an absolute blessing. This truck is a daily driver and sees 75 - 80MPH trips on Montana interstates.

Always listen to your intuition. I heard the thump, noticed the truck pulling slightly left, and 'knew' something was wrong. It would have been very easy to just keep driving and hoping everything was fine.

Glad you're okay. Lots of win considering the situation. Good on you for getting out safe. WAY TO GO DARREN, ROSS and STEPHEN!

Just one comment from me, whenever the season gets going it's good practice to go through the rig with a wrench and check everything for torque... I don't torque every bolt to spec, but I try to get a socket on everything to make sure nothings obviously loose. It is also prudent after a day on the dirt or every few days on the dirt to power wash the undercarriage and inspect for anything obviously out of place, loose or leaking. This quick inspection has saved my bacon more than once.

Glad your safe, good lessons all around.
 
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