Hi Everyone.. I am excited to share with you yet another exciting Jeeper – Jeff Hiltz! If you would like to see your name up on the XtremeTerrain Blog just drop us a note on our facebook and we will get in touch with you so we can get things rolling! 🙂
Now.. without further ado.. allow me to let Jeff take things from here.. Enjoy everyone! 🙂
My name is Jeff Hiltz, A.K.A. “The Pirate” (I was blinded in one eye as a teen and have worn an eyepatch ever since.) I’m 46 years old, although I don’t really act, look or feel it! My Jeep keeps me young!
I’m in love with a sweet Jeep girl, Cindy (Luvmyjeep on our message board) who I met on on a “Support Our Troops” run with the Nova Scotia Jeep Club and we have been together ever since, I have already been down on one knee in the mud to ask her for her hand in marriage and we’ll be having a Jeep themed wedding in the next year or two.
My Jeep, A.K.A. “The Pirateship” is a 2003 Jeep TJ Sport that I purchased new in 2004. Right away I fully skidplated (Diff covers, oil/engine, steering box, Warn rocksliders) and wheeled her hard for a couple years before putting some lift and 33’s, and it wasn’t much longer I was bitten by the rock crawling bug and had a need to crawl. I picked up some cheap d44’s (Scout front and XJ rear), loaded them with Chromoly shafts, lockers, 5:13’s, then to really slow her down installed a 231/d300 doubler giving me a crawl ratio of 155:1. The build got out of hand and I decided to change the suspension and went with a 8″ Rock Krawler long arm kit with coilovers. One of my latest modifications are my custom boatsides giving me 3 feet of clearance under my doors.
I run 37″ Maxxis Creepy Crawlers on the trails and being that it is still my grocery ghetta and daily driver I run 37″ BFG KM2’s for the streets and mild wheeling. For front end recovery I have a Warn Powerplant. Underneath attached to my engine skid you’ll find a Runva 3500 winch for suck down and soon to have one for rear suck down also.
Video of my Jeep from the past Summer
My only regret is that I didn’t go with tons right away, although I have only broken one axle and that was purely because I was on my side and tried to drive out of it. I have since picked up some RCV Performance CV’s for the front to be installed before the snow melts off the rocks.
The next mods are to stretch her nine inches, a full cage and then move my coilover mounts up higher to bring it all down a little.
Nova Scotia has an amazing amount of trails, there are many hundred year old j-class roads which have been abandoned for years allowing wash outs to form making for some great wheeling and granite boulders are everywhere. A good friend of mine has 500 acres that we have built Jeep and Land Rover specific trails that zig zag back and forth down the North Mountain of the Annapolis Valley on the most slick and slippery most challenging mud you’ll ever find. Then I have another friend with a big chunk of land that has been concentrating on building some crazy buggy trails all over his property. Nova Scotia has everything from mild to wild!
My favorite spot to wheel is probably “High Voltage” which is a powerline trail that has xtreme rock faces going up and down for 4 miles; with lines, you could run with 33’s or lines to challenge the best of buggies.
Video mostly shot on High Voltage at an annual event the “Valley Crawl”
I’ve had a few Jeeps over the years but it wasn’t till close to ten years ago that I got real serious into wheeling. Originally my Jeeps were purchased to get me to the fishing holes but then I started to find it more fun getting to the fishing holes than actually fishing. Wheeling fast became a severe addiction, I couldn’t stay home. I’d lay in bed at night craving an urge to put the Jeep in 4 low; it was getting out of hand. There was a few years that I spent at least 4 days a week wheeling and if I wasn’t wheeling my friend and I were cutting new trails on his property. I just couldn’t get enough. If anyone ever wanted to go wheeling they knew that they could count on me going out. I just wish I had a hour gauge on my Jeep rather than an odometer to keep track of the thousands of hours logged behind the wheel; you know those days when it takes five hours to go five hundred meters. Those are usually really good days!
Back in 2004 I became a member of the Annapolis Valley Chapter of the Nova Scotia Jeep Club. For the first 4 or 5 years I was extremely active in the club, organizing weekly trail rides, weekly coffee nights and getting involved in everything I could with the club. My first year with the club yielded several awards for “Rookie of the Year”, “Club Spirit Award” to the “Trail Clearing Award”, not that the awards mattered, I was doing it because of my huge passion for the sport and the club. I then started trail guiding for Jeep Jamboree Canada until Daimler Chrysler pulled their funding for the event in 2007 but that wasn’t stopping the NSJC from hosting the event. Beings we did all the work of organizing the event anyways, from choosing the trails and clearing the trails for the event, our club took the reigns and turned it into the NSJC Jamboree which fast became a huge success continuing yearly in June and welcoming well over one hundred Jeeps yearly from all across the maritime provinces of Canada into the States bringing Jeepers from New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and others. Check it out http://nsjc.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=jam
When asked if I had any stories or incidents that I would like to share, there is always one that pops into my head immediately.
It was the 2006 Jamboree and I was trail guiding a trail we call Tia’s Trail (named after a loved member of the NSJC Tia, it was her favorite trail, our much loved friend Tia was taken from us after a courageous and hard fought battle with Cystic Fibrosis at a young age of 21). Back to the story, I was trail guide and tail gunner on Tia’s Trail and at the drivers meeting that we hold at the trail head, we gave our usual little spiel of do’s and don’ts and then I proceeded to tell the participants about the trail. I told them “Tia’s trail” is a very tight trail that winds down the mountain and most of the trail is quite off camber; you will really feel like you might go over but you won’t, no one has and no one will!! Big 6, our trail leader that day, took everyone down the first hill and through the first off camber section without incident, then it was my turn and having run the trail a hundred times before I was feeling a little cocky and tried to hold the high side of the trail but the wet slimy mud didn’t allow me to hold the high side sending me sliding sideways and flopping my Grand Cherokee on it’s side. Back at the closing ceremonies I was fired as a trail guide (all in fun) and they gave me a certificate for the Jeep 101 that participants who took the 101 course receive, except mine had “REVOKED” written across it. I have never lived it down and till this day I am still the only person to ever flop on that trail.
As much as I love off-roading I also enjoy photography and videography. On almost every trail ride I enjoy shooting and editing my pictures and video and upload to my Youtube Channel, “Pirate Jeep Productions” and my photography to my Pbase photography site.
Hope to see you all on the trails!!