View Full Version : Mark's 2005 Colorado Pilgrimage

08-31-2005, 12:17 PM
So I went on my semi-anual Colorado pilgimage last week. Here are some of the highlights that you might be interested in:

I rented an H3. See my review in the Kitchen. Overall I am very positive about this diminutive Hummer. Itís a little heavy and way underpowered, but comfortable and capable off road. Itís got style, but everyone I ran into assumed it was a total gas hog, which it isnít and they assumed it was super expensive, which it isnít. Would I buy one? Not right now. There are rumors of a turbo version of the 3.5L I-5 but it has only appeared in their H3 pickup concept. In that form, they advertise 350HP and 350lb-ft of torque. Of course, it will push the price over 40K.I donít think it is worth that much considering they sell for close to sticker. It also needs a front locker. If Jeep can lock both ends of a WK, so can Hummer. It needs to go on a diet and it needs enough power to tow in the 7K pound range. For reference, it is just as heavy as a Grand Cherokee with 110 less ponies.

I wheeled about 100í of Chinamanís Gulch near Buena Vista. The first obstacle was a little tough for the H3. I rolled up to the first rock and tried to drive over. It would get halfway up the rock and stop in a flurry of clicks and buzzing from the traction control system. Denied. After trying a different line I made it up. But running the entirety of the trail like that would have been a PITA besides, I needed to get going.

Later in the week, I took the H3 for a full day of easy to moderate wheeling across Elwood Pass near the town of Summitville. Only one steep rocky section gave the Hummer pause, but the traction control knuckled down and brought us through. I did scrape a wheel up a little. Hopefully Avis hasnít noticed.

The only other damage to the H3 was a nice rock chip to the windshield as I drove back into Denver. Iím afraid to see if Avis has charged me for a new windshield.

The last wheeling of the trip was at the Fab Fours workshop. Greg evidently procured the best remote controlled Jeep money could buy (at WalMart) so RJ and I decided it needed to be wheeled. It had a relatively soft suspension, locked axles and a low range. WalMart even provided it with soft MT Baja Claw-looking tires that dug nice little holes despite being mounted backwards. RJ demonstrated the course with Ash, the shop guys and me taking turns climbing little rocks. The tires even made the ďthump-thump-thumpĒ noise that swampers make when the lugs are biting for traction. It was a great way to waste most of the afternoon for the workforce at Fab Fours.

Other points of interest:

Fairplay has a little known monument to Prunes-A-Burrow. Itís right next to the Hand Hotel. Prunes was a burrow who worked all the local gold mines from 1867 to 1930. Prunes outlasted most of his owners and eventually became so reliable that his owner would send him into town for supplies unassisted with a note explaining what he needed. Prunes never failed to return with the goods. Prunes retired after 35 years of working the mines and lead a nomadic retirement living off the handouts from local Fairplay residents. In 1929, Prunes became trapped in a collapsed shed after seeking shelter from a blizzard. Townsfolk found him two weeks later, starved and near death, but nursed him back to health by feeding him flapjacks and oatmeal. But Prunes was never the same and died the following spring at the ripe old age of 63. The town soon erected a memorial to their unofficial mascot. To commemorate Prunes and the tradition of mining with burrows, in 1949 Fairplay hosted the first International Burrow race. They just finished the 2005 race but the results havenít been posted on the monument yet.

I also drove to the top of Mt. Evans. At 14,120í it is the highest paved road in North America. Just as a side note, one should always check with their passengers before driving to the top of Mt. Evans. Be sure to point out that the narrow road has sharp curves, steep drop-offs and no guard rails.

On the way to the top, a Mazda MPV filled with Italians came screaming up behind me on the winding mountain road doing around 65 (in a 30). I pulled off to the side because it was apparent that they were going to kill me or themselves trying to get around me. They did the same to the vehicle ahead of me. Shortly thereafter I passed them on the side of the road pulled up behind a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 testing at altitude. This thing has 1001hp with a top speed near 250mph. With a price tag north of a million, this was one sweet ride. It wonít go on sale here for a few more weeks.

Oh one last thing, RJ called me the day before Greg was to leave for a comp in Phoenix. In my role a psychic mechanic, RJ described the symptoms and I came up with suggestions. The motor was getting harder and harder to crank. After suggesting the obvious, I finally had him check the oil for shavings. Yep, the bottom end was toasted. Somewhere during the cam swap, the oil pump was disabled and thatís all she wrote. Last I checked, Greg managed to get a replacement installed by Arizona Speed and Marine and proceeded to flip the buggy a couple of times at the comp. Other than a broken axle shaft and dodgy hydraulic steering, the 2005 Comp season is off to a flying start for Fab Fours.


08-31-2005, 01:25 PM
sounds like you had a blast mark...

you forgot to mention that the size of the walmart crawler is either a 1:6 or a 1:18...and they have aired down tires...

also is troy still driving for greg?

08-31-2005, 01:42 PM
The motor was getting harder and harder to crank. After suggesting the obvious, I finally had him check the oil for shavings. Yep, the bottom end was toasted. Somewhere during the cam swap, the oil pump was disabled and thatís all she wrote.

Yeah, that oil pump is eccentric like a 231 tcase pump. If you don't use a feeler gauge and get it aligned properly, it will go ahead and shread itself. My guess is whoever put the cam in didn't know that.

08-31-2005, 01:49 PM

08-31-2005, 02:18 PM
I have to do a bit of resizing on the pics but will post a few. I didn't get any of the Bugatti, but found a few on the net from the same day on the same stretch of road.

Greg and RJ had one of their shop guys do the cam swap. I am sure he missed the detail about the oil pump. Its driven off the snout of the crank isn't it?

Troy no longer drives for Fab Fours. He is evidently building his own buggy to compete with. Scott is still spotting for the team with Greg driving. There are still a few bugs in the buggy, particularly that the hydraulic steering ingests air at steep angles. Greg said that on a number of occasions he would have the front and rear steer working when the pump would quit. That makes it hard to be competitive. But this was the first comp for the buggy so they should have it all fixed for the next one. They'll also have a spare LS-1 now.


08-31-2005, 02:26 PM
yeah, the oil pump is driven off the crank snout right behind the timing cover on the LS motors.

08-31-2005, 03:14 PM
Renee's good with the camera. This is one of her nature shots.
Prunes-A-Burro Monument with the aforementioned Renee
The road to Mt. Evans
The view from the top of Mt. Evans. Look closely for a blue speck. Thats the Bugatti.
One fried LS-1. Can you spot the performance parts?
Mark trying on hats. I almost bought this one.
Ashley trying on Elton shades.
The train just outside Ash and RJ's door. What an alarm clock!
Mark and Renee at Elwood pass. Thank goodness she thinks I'm a Cowboy.
The H3 at Elwood pass. Poser picture
Treasure Falls, near Wolf Creek Pass
Mark and Renee at Treasure Falls. Sickening isn't it?

08-31-2005, 04:55 PM
When I told my friends I was going to Mt. Evans, they said "wear the fox hat!"

AWWWW, that's so cute! :flipoff2:

08-31-2005, 05:11 PM
When I told my friends I was going to Mt. Evans, they said "wear the fox hat!"

AWWWW, that's so cute! :flipoff2:

i dont think that joke could've been applied any better :D

However I would've gone 3rd grade with "Nice Rack!!!!.....on the H3" :D :flipoff2:

09-02-2005, 09:16 AM
other pics

09-02-2005, 11:07 AM
so what numbers did it lay down on the dyno???

09-02-2005, 11:36 AM
I never saw it go over 275hp. They still had somer tuning to do. We left it with them sfter the comp to get it working better...

09-02-2005, 11:43 AM
so who is this Renee character??? You found a girlfriend?

Did ya'll grab a beer at the highest bar in the USA in Alma?

09-10-2005, 09:36 PM
Man, from the looks of it you guys are as good as hitched! My first "redhead" sighting. Good stuff.