I would like to introduce you all to David Lane.. David Lane is the founder of MUD NY out of Central New York, a Marine, a Student, and a Jeep Off Roader! Read on to learn more about David Lane, the man.
We asked David to tell us a little about himself… here is what he shared:
My name is David Lane. I am 23 years old and hail from Candor, NY. I spend four years in the Marine Corps as a tank mechanic and served two tours to Iraq. Now I spend almost all my time working on school work. I am attending Broome Community College working towards an Associates of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology. I am engaged to a wonderful woman who I actually met when I was stationed in North Carolina, her name is Zeina, and she supports my off-road addiction. We are set to be married in May of 2011. That is also when we both graduate from college and as soon as possible after that I plan on starting my own off-road fabrication business.
XtremeTerrain: What type of Jeep do you run?
David: I have had a few Jeeps over my life. My first was an 88 XJ that was bone stock and was a reliable daily driver that could handle the abuse I put it through. I also had an 81 CJ7 with a 360 V8 on 33″s. That was a beast for sure but needed a lot of attention that I could not afford to give it. Both of those were when I was in high school and before I went into the Marines. I did no off-roading while in the Marines, other than that in the M1A1 and M88A2 vehicles.
A few months after I got out of the Marines I bought a 98 XJ Sport from North Carolina; that was the best part of the Jeep as up here in New York everything is rusted. It is a 4.0L and 5 speed with the AX-15 transmission. The Jeep came with a Rusty’s 3″ lift and 32″s. Since then I have done a lot to the XJ. Being a 5 speed it had 3.07 gears and this was absolutely horrible on any sort of hill. I decided it was time for a gear change, but if I was going to do that sort of work I would go all out. Here are the list of mods I have completed so far:
1. 31 Spline Ford 8.8 Axle w/ Disc Brakes swapped from a 2001 Ford Explorer
2. Superior’s Super 88 kit w/ Chrome Moly Axle Shafts and C-clip eliminators
3. Had a Auburn ECTED locker in the rear that caused some problems, in the process of replacing it with an OX locker.
4. Advance Adapters Slip Yoke Eliminator and Tom Woods Double Cardon rear driveshaft
5. EATON 31 spline E-locker up front
6. Superior’s Super 30 axle kit, with axle tube seals
7. Iron Rock 8″ Long Arm suspension
8. 4.56 ring and pinion gears
9. OR-Fab Bumpers
10. Smittybilt XRC8 with a 10,000lb synthetic rope
XtremeTerrain: Favorite spot to off road?
David: I like wheeling any place that is legal and free. It is sad that a lot of places are getting shut down and turned into hiking only trails here in New York. The trails would not even exist for hikers if the off-roaders hadn’t made the trails. But, I do not have one single place that I could choose, as a favorite; as there are always new places to be discovered and wheeling the same thing over and over can get boring.
XtremeTerrain: Favorite off roading quote?
David: “I’ll make my own trail” I say this all the time, jokingly, when people are stuck on the trail if front of me.
XtremeTerrain: If you could have any modifications done, what would they be?
David: Number one priority is getting my rear axle fixed up with the OX locker. I plan on making a custom center console to make the OX actuator look like it belongs instead of just bolting it to the side of something. I’ll also be moving my row of switches to the center console and have a cutout for a CB radio.
I am also in the process of designing my own 4-link front and rear suspension system. When I have the design phase completed I will have the parts made up and I will install them. It will be a good chance to test the design for my future business as well.
Sometime in the future, I would like put some 1-ton axles under it, and a stoker motor. That is more work than I am willing to do right now though.
XtremeTerrain: What was your best/worse modification if any?
David: The gear change was by far the best modification. It put my crawling speed right where I want it with 35″ tires. I can just put it in 4 lo and just let the Jeep crawl.
The worst mod I have done is install the Auburn ECTED locker. The design on the locker is probably one of the worst on the market. On the right side of the locker there are two sets of splines, about a half in wide each, which hold the axle shaft. When the axle is locked the inner most set of splines is all that is turning the axle shaft. As one might imagine that is not a good idea to have all that torque transmitted on such a small section of the axle shaft. It is sure to shear the splines of axle shaft. I would not recommend for anyone to buy the ECTED locker; I found out the hard way.
XtremeTerrain: Do you belong to any off roading organization, if so which one(s)?
David: I actually started an off-road club back in January, about the same time as I bought my Jeep. The club is called MUD NY and we are out of Central New York. We allow all types of 4×4 vehicles. For more information on our club you can visit our website. www.mudnyclub.com
XtremeTerrain: How old were you when you first started off roading?
David: I was 16 years old when I first started off-roading. My first vehicle was a 2WD 1993 Ford Ranger, which I hit mild trails with. I had that for about 6 months and the transmission blew. That is when I got my first Jeep and I was off-roading everyday.
XtremeTerrain: Why you love Jeep Off Roading?
David: There are many reasons I love off-roading. It is an escape for me. When I am on the trails, I can forget about all the stressful things in life. I also love nature and being outdoors and I don’t think there is any better way to spend time outside. Now that I am part of an off-road club, I enjoy it even more because I know I have people I can count on if something ever happens on the trails.
XtremeTerrain: Any off roading story or incident you would like to share.
David: I will first say that this is back when I was young and stupid, I am now a responsible off-roader. When I was in high school, it was raining a lot one day. Knowing the trails would be muddy, me and a 2 Cherokees full of my friends got crazy. For some reason we were on a trail and decided to turn around. I attempted to turn around at some guy’s cabin and I backed up in the opening, when I hit the brakes I just kept sliding, all the way down this guys hill. It was so rainy that you would sink into the ground just by walking on it. I tried to get back up the hill on my own but it was too muddy for a stock Cherokee. So there I was at the bottom of the hill and my friend in the other Jeep was still on the main trail. I told him not to come down but he didn’t listen. Once he got down close enough to hook up a chain he realized that he was stuck too. He finally got his Jeep moved out of the way of mine, and there were 4 or 5 people pushing on the back of my Jeep while I was rocking it back and forth trying to get it moving. For at least an hour, I did not move but maybe 2 or 3 inches back and forth. So everyone pretty much was just standing around trying to call people who might be able to pull us out. However after being stuck for so long I got incredibly pissed off. I rocked it back and forth, this time with as much gas pedal as possible. I think I even bent the pedal a little. After a few rocks, I finally started making progress up the hill. I did not let off the gas until I made it make to the main trail. At that point, I got out of the Jeep and went back down to help my other friend get unstuck. I looked up at my jeep and the Catalytic converter was glowing red-hot and my friends told me flames were coming out of it. My buddy made it up the hill okay by just staying in my ruts.
At another point during that night we were on another trail where there was another cabin not far off the trail. I ended up spinning my tires on the trail and it slung mud all over the side of this guy’s cabin. The funny thing about that is the mud is still on the cabin today, 7 years later.
Today, I am a much more responsible off-roader and would never purposely damage another person’s property, and the club I started promotes safe and sensible off-roading.