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theksmith

Late to the Party: theksmith's 2016 JK Unlimited Rubicon (Gadget)

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project "a bit more hardcore"...

 

the recent Red Creek trip made me realize that i needed to get on the ball with a few additional mods if i'm going to keep dragging Gadget over "moderate" trails.

 

  1. rock rails (DONE) - the factory Rubicon rails are decent, they just don't stick out far enough to give any body protection if i'm off-camber while scraping along some boulders.
     
    i installed the Garvin rails that i got for Christmass the other weekend.
     
     
  2. beefy diff covers (half DONE) - i managed to accidentally peel back the rear cover enough that it was leaking, and both diffs were overdue for fluid service, so i decided to go ahead an upgrade the covers. heavy duty ones can take being bashed in to rocks but should also add rigidity to the entire housing.
     
    i went with the Teraflex HD dana 44 covers, but i can't recommend them. the rear one overhangs the bottom of the diff housing 1/8" of an inch. i had read this was a problem on another forum and in a review on Teraflex's site - but those were old posts and my experience with their stuff has always been great, so i just assumed they would have corrected the issue by now. trimming down the 3/8" thick iron cover with a grinder was a big PITA.
     
    here's the rear one installed:
     
    bxLhS1mYhvt3Q-1ipxbpq01KrlpCUT_3xvCtAoMCw3IJRIojpmmCQUiuE-PQqYXlZHT5EkJukxGbWVVHxJFkJo8ddce6gcwzmnJaSuIgn9JZ9XBgb6cbX-HVHZXZsQRmYILHH1XmlpCdz4kb_3Bn5xp_Kh-yFDylBpu74imVzIBX3qcj2ZKwkDYmF99Drv3Cb0f0rFNj_TwRlNsm8xaHdvTwnoTpbYgzR8uKh_uGZY2nShFYaK4jy3WZeCx99DI0qZvZlhVrsDnJuDy3vznP8UaJL25wU2P7Bqui6PeK12ladhvheIAm70Ka81VIas_pMOjZbMZ2-i-7wyUYKkwtoxkT6Ue_fb2SAnkq9x_IG0NLvdUDZg3y7wbPzadtKyCotIScp1yhkBAnFlI897OxvtFsfyDfml_ScO3Erb3pS7csFwLRBPFQNsgjGKShDuq7aSZdHVTKMvosBP1Yu4l2cvLSE382zQKhCzJHJD4pUkq4AJhAShX_NVjhK_Hu1aHhrRwtb64Ke2o00FAB7GC7eghy8dn1tGxObDnhwATRcz4G_p4Emj2s34o1YeeVkxEDdK7VeTSj4OwQmXvcImseGnolIdjuFjT0AELjnHNFCjE_QlRBLib5GvdSrLW6mw23rfpfDjg0_kReIIwTMFeZ_t7IeKxvKWId=s800
     
     
  3. evap relocate (ordered) - the factory evap canister seems like it's just waiting to get ripped off - it hangs down low and has only a thin factory skid. you can buy a better skid for it but i prefer relocating it above the rear axle, completely out of the way.
     
    there are several relocation kits or you can DIY. after reading the various installation instructions, i decided on the Rock Hard kit.
     
    BjJdY7R_k-nu7wrnqyh4fGfmDNEtT0NUnZiL626GvPsouuNKAYzwNBTcY7xYtLAojmOBE2FzfdLOhPf3ovQrpAXRLaXj5403Oy8V0hlsdSf1Wu8pkOJuYoa4jCD1M-tNBLx1n1fr0W-_sB2nbwBB9unNB8LQRTLYqTX41QjhZngqrJ6KqjeIQY4D5lmrqZTblRlPJsSNJFvZ7AKCwTN6th4NsnpBK528R-td1394H7Lgx0kpshT3h1KcpVJjER7roiQAoHt9emlpUprShtUWGgYYb6InMLgKMI8Y_K61NYFVvGMDYvl78avUdWkH59MhN0Z3_Wtu753aB0HHHmk6DGh0eFq_FtBbZKDpS_0OF1zXtLpwFg38S2DYxjqSsRPSiza3qFmPkSoL_b0LIzNJ5zLPNrokGpQzNc_VEXqmqx53-OwcmCBZ8vDujkF9u5bvnSpT3Ak-T6hx2zxGiJEYnv8uS8xGeJG45xKfDWbXn-4Ba97D4nMoSa5MGKX59DOYB3QdjeA6QJzv2e2hPrC3wADY0OszM38mKiJGm61g3Q2dh5mXCcpG1kZQtlgfLDZPxE_048e_hr6uIlMun7g_wJWBr6Eopv1_HRKiMjFi7TyGRHWIeN1tS2hEdsMm5LFIBLZ2fdmy9lVs9gfoENBkppbGhUQffHlQ=s800
     
     
  4. front control arm skids (ordered) - plenty of companies also make these little weld-on plates. i went with the Rough Country ones since Northridge4x4 had them for $20 and they're the same thickness as most others.
     
    6lXjq6W8_VOSlNRcVHQEHYRyhTKccfTrtH_lI04eTzeWUF7PI9JCYAQcgvSqbzVGlwmtjrFjkoNIggmY5OZPxGOTn7ZBetuLoEGxPEjDr2EAa5AdAyWb3UV4Ypdq21WBvmqXaRRVf2-3ehGlPZiC59jugui-EMrEMAOex26WcjVtwVXFbt5AE_tIZvP1PPg6e5fsDH6hY7gDSUu2ZWzfIAdu0hKQHgFiK8Q4tWvtUJXQbcEHCaOZifTsefeCD0kQXQ4u4dKiiCSaG1KDejn6LJMHWjQqkP7UAH2_Lr2JnhmMKBekCzqipP0riVuLF484RZIoVGFrijeMvn0F0hkOHAAvIKrx8FJF8jM1n1h227bhwXxiPPLM2N_xzdXMtjc90LrEAx143ijNBuXox8YCml9il11fzRNeK1ncM072dUax-s46BivatM2uPcrkJAfm9bwN5Grd0GSLl5fQzaGbZv4Sj2MfnPzqRuPJKE4K8piNEWq5vVUmKbeHoXTkW8yGOIOiwSG6Ez7J2Y6SdTipvMRHnsTjGueBZeT9NviYtaCOyKYvoK0u4BV01bM53M2QXdHD0msPDrd0bLq54ZvdVGhZoGtFgVy5Wu7F66TON8JOMqwAYHZRgcFwW2EoqXOX3xG0xz6n7knHoXuSnurLsd1q5uAk8z29=s800
     
     
  5. rear control arm & shock mount skids - George gave me some EVO rear control arm/shock mount skids that he never got around to installing on Ricky Bobby. i just need to weld these on.
     
    I1LIE1hMuNdM3m5fekpekjvLU0vmqgTgF1Tt8NvEbOpsbVSdfZSEbK9fgrkJCclMakLavcfybxGKlJ-bef1pOc8Zr3bK9QiV3bkJQWe4jvZPbemc8q8Kv_sl3UIwOwfLX_z8AJ_ZUtVpSYQcFRNDR6QvPdImS6ybU2tx1kydtwzSoWqygsSH4mGS7WjxEq_IevLdE2pWotoUcL6PQ0glgFYmeUB5ko_q6e7fZWyoT_w1PHWhongvbAqW7FE7EdDsDK7122t7YhygYx2q8muNua94XhiT7wytv6J_-eATbPRhiDcF1REn45nPnqN_Xu9IEQl3yeLYyLMUQW6Nwg8q6aYZ39yohva7DvQwryi1ss0fKuyqs_9qn8cicSL2KQAt2hdDIJH1hxItiwJ8qSgBrWHU98Dn-iQ6MJw95d8xAx5WHl8gbOQSJ9iJw8mrU1RyH5SmC_C3MgkdmhBZ30JFO7An2MTuodB4g46GhCh_wsrKQ0VUTUzdvZWHYy_Owu7Z_TeQrfhPaWH47fpH1BeGicFr9ehqOrDXvT_eoA2jMe5QZ2Naq8TV7OEAJqhYR7RVw7ZQdU-FxD7VVuEm75c6WlRthR73GjWYyUw3O1eSyNj5IJ76PsxWyAga-XAWb7lfghYAtYnjuZzN94Woqx-ZBgXXhdSGUXrE=s800
     
     
  6. sway bar motor flip (ordered) - i added the Ace Engineering Rubicon swaybar motor flip bolt to my cart on Northridge as well. rotating the motor up out of the way is cheap and easy insurance, see the video below:
     

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If it’s that simple to protect the sway bar motor the Jeep development engineers must have lost a battle with the Jeep production engineers.

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If it’s that simple to protect the sway bar motor the Jeep development engineers must have lost a battle with the Jeep production engineers.

 

ha, everything goes downhill once production, finance and marketing get involved!

 

rotating the motor doesn't fully protect it like an aftermarket skid could, but it certainly improves the clearance. i haven't found anyone mentioning a downside to this "flip" trick yet.

 

the only issue i could see is that now your mounting bolt is also one of the clamping bolts for the housing. so if it were to loosen up from the additional stress then the sealing of the assembly could be compromised. i'll probably add some loctite when i install it.

 

Metalcloak sells basically the same bolt but their instructions say to rotate the motor all the way to the next hole which gains even more clearance. doing so requires either trimming a plastic shroud or bending a line (depending on model year), so i'll stick with the way Ace Engineering suggests.

 

EDIT - it looks like you might not be able to do this flip if you have an aftermarket bumper that sits the winch down between the frame rails.

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did the sway bar motor relocate this weekend. i'm not sure if the lower factory "crash bar" is different on 2012+ models or what, but in order to not hit it, i had to rotate the motor assembly the way to that second hole i was mentioning.

 

the washer Ace Engineering includes is also way too large (outer diameter) to fit into the machined area that it needs to sit flush against. fortunately i had a "skinny" washer in my pile-o-parts.

 

besides the washer, i'd recommend you have some blue loctite for this bolt, and a zip-tie fasten the wiring with.

 

here's the mod all finished:

 

dfvk58Ht1_eWmQDCV4UfrDSv5WwKs055ZWCUR1OX_hcRQZ3A59AJtcjoJJwImM-QkwW_BnF5XWRwnvB3BfItnF6RdHYH8S_bzfxB-j5istWEnW1g-pb31txgu-Rgmav9_zvfD_1k_-3uduQ5n4i2h778xeMHUfMS1NRVu6MwIaATVE95m8QwQOYxKHX98-NcFPF_DV87L5ekeHHesnHmJ0dLv5CHlR98HEXkx6MBS6sZUlYxFVsQS0_HMTuj51M7Z1Cv2zn8ZwyeYTQeBWoAXaADd2bp8ak5jnfE7y71QTbaQK6onJFmyuFq8TIc8nHJQVQzB6BosBQynb5v4DTemWSgycuCowMuKs47JGI5nICYHXLc_aK9mUU3h8fKsuN1C_SnkVdvbI0NC_v775EestXS4krtb_DJLLeRFzYG3blqWc9HS7YkndPSDS9QCE_2xeQVZvnx-ADE5j9GQ8j1hCKtYWkas7Rtz__v-9b6lBfWtPliFUJS8EvovrERavAfrRjSdWgvO14OulSfqaB-90Ko2EuFeg6fY0rhxYkh21QjFJiaqVxtxL1pr0TmExUOHzXi66vBTgibbsnlDVXV2Hs2yPREDx7X7NiZEsGPUZhDNzhhAXKPzabB3_HLlmdCvz33umPpjICVjltzUu8DlkINefrBQdxX=s800

 

i didn't have the plastic shroud to cut that Metalcloak mentions, but i did have to bend a tube upward a bit (i think it's a power steering line):

 

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i also had to temporarily unbolt the anti-swaybar bushings from the frame in order to actually do the rotation (in order to clear the crash bar), a step that was not in the video.

 

 

i forgot to take a "before" shot, so here's someone elses rig from the internet:

 

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that photos does greatly exaggerate how far the motor hangs down due to the angle of the camera. this whole mod really isn't necessary for most folks - only if you're going to be bashing into rock ledges and such ;)

 

here's my "after" shot:

 

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Jim, i see now why the engineers didn't do this to start with, at least on the 2012+ models... the clearance to the radiator and another cooler is way too tight once done (a quarter inch or less). there's no margin for error anymore - if the rubber hanger that locates this assembly was become worn and allow it to rotate then it could easily smash other things:

 

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i ran up to the Needle Rock area on the edge of town for a couple hours yesterday and came across a group of desert piggies (Javelina):

 

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of course i had to take a couple poser shots while out there. i like the juxtaposition of a freshly washed Jeep on a dirt trail (before it got all dusty)!

 

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Mmm bacon!

I was going to call you this weekend to see if you wanted to run! Want to test out my front drive shaft in 4lo.. You were most likely out before I woke up anyway.

EDIT - it looks like you might not be able to do this flip if you have an aftermarket bumper that sits the winch down between the frame rails.

Nice job on the flip kit, no plans to get an aftermarket bumper & or winch down the road?

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Mmm bacon!

I was going to call you this weekend to see if you wanted to run! Want to test out my front drive shaft in 4lo.. You were most likely out before I woke up anyway.

 

Nice job on the flip kit, no plans to get an aftermarket bumper & or winch down the road?

 

 

i only went out Sunday afternoon spur of the moment for literally a couple hours. i wanted to see if i fixed a suspension noise and was also just craving some more time in the outdoors.

 

 

yes, i do hope to have a set of nice light aluminum bumpers one day, and maybe a Superwinch with synthetic line... those things are on the list after a roof rack, better skids, taller long arm lift, stronger axles, bigger brakes, 37s, proper gearing, upgraded steering components, different fender flares, etc.!

 

if/when that day comes i can decide if i want to just unflip the motor and run a bumper/skid that will protect it, ditch the whole e-disconnect system, or what.

 

i initially liked the idea of the Teraflex selectable dual rate sway bar system, but the JK doesn't seem nearly as bobble-headed as the WJ was when disconnected, so i'm much less concerned with having a "trail rate" bar currently.

 

as far as bumpers, i like this Genright except they laser cut their logo in the lower portion. and they have this really clean one if i wanted to delete that factory crash bar and e-disconnect. i also like the looks of the Crawler Conceptz aluminum front and rear bumpers.

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the evap relocation is done. this isn't a big project or particularly complicated, but it turned out to be a much bigger PITA than it should have been!

 

 

installed

 

here's the factory skid and charcoal canister mounted next to the rear driveshaft:

 

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removed:

 

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besides relocating the canister to protect it from rocks, i wanted all that space it opens up. i might put a long skinny water tank in there one day.

 

here's the new home for the canister (above the rear axle), and the new hose routing:

 

OfdvH_n8IhH5mWzLG-3c8VtD9TNkvxQ6BRX3vAYph6h7b4OsjonkzJxdIjqNvGqZu7-WRX8BcDPUbHcqatyhaoa4fBlOqhNFMHWbati15SoySAjD0hh2lA697Hhbir3rYN-FJynty3jZ7B-LjNSuzSMdzKY-bLT9QWnSmlomt8UUSOsEHnzJHBkqgy565ze8NGqfc7v1ZQXSdc9-9pn-4KKRbSt8OEIr5ZY_U1iAQgcBeMseyi57uutxwVMMPry7qwKS8vpeNxHiW3AjFBeXqFtI7tQLrMjQvc8gp53pe3qN_3T84TEmBN1zFHxlb4c2_1wMfoSiDVWd87iA5ezP_A2X9DHpGHe73nQ3w2j_5lcqhdLP_msHGSf8etgoNM5IxXcjFHAGF1m1mUqpG_-TuppCAkOk1vLpyusj4WQ9b1EbcxDEgmA30GxM4Co5461zRaImRnKOrGrOhtQy8P2nruenJtmyvIabAWPWXCL0Z2wWDw6_1bYN_OTtELEuKJnxZnZy-KQVi_ggc1GDV6nS-YVPqEQtVjEjGj32vtuOTSTJJxYlupqzRSvJzzSUgbuFaujsT3-e6u6BVBv7_uXGbT7gNjqzTA1gQkhcy40WhEPiUANhqAMqS2ib3J2O-INxHUjPm42cJd6bvMOtKWy2DzpaosXShOmc=s800

 

 

 

issues with the product (ROCK HARD 4X4 EVAPORATOR CANISTER RELOCATION KIT FOR JEEP WRANGLER 2012+)

 

  • there was so much powder coating in the nuts on the nut-plate that it destroyed the threads on the first bolt i tried to install. i didn't have another one the right length so i had to make a trip to the hardware store. then i had to chase the threads in both nuts with a tap to make the plate usable.
     
     
  • it didn't fit correctly. part of the canister was hitting the parking brake line drop bracket. since i was running out of time, i went with the simplest fix which was to drill another hole in their canister mounting bracket to rotate the whole thing back a bit on one side...
     
    mRXEr9F5QPgcM8-34BTS3c5EzpD2BGeP5FTLImyO_5eDPUVH4dyUUrbYwWS43HRIz3L5o_APPvG-7DK7QqrivyRL1D6fPUYvdK8tAxV9rQKBKtcQTwzO5jFG2Y-Gl9Tqs5zjJUvrEEl_r-jrrGFHWeHB5jVeJQr4kjcSVSGYeugJKDMAyQF8eX0FmHAmPetMj8Z5PR-qVgSeNhhvaYn4nIZvfu6L841HJjmVTLHQEP97XXrfoi4UBSM1o_g3SfYey163A4Ce4QJjqFOTa3YI4qWdTnKPVahC3uqQUlyvX0J7b8tmvBTonSWJZOX83j_VGBouHWTr6sNM1Z8AY4T-VqQztBGrMG5SFZlQcovZs-lyVrg1qcahQJShnwPmgdlWN7_DFYsQcVGI59ECxHD0JUw9PiVHmOcKjdNHLj-DGSKnXu7jOdC-PQ1CctTIC3jgVxUnRws52kivtDMkO269bQ3MuRUIRXIMJ-5fZzcO5mWB-u8Mq8zxV5IYxggWINozsQ7-YDRcLlVmxilX1ubqOv3O_Epz-fywRQBylQ8jsPz7qKAfJAbzY_kAJGg-App5fwogGUfWnwNz2qazFPQd_thvRbYv64B-XKmYrG_b3xMYekX2K7l2SI5bDTiELR8sWx6FBfNrpXdjuanHcVtjQSb3g2CgOVg2=s800
     
    fffkchNbzg8BNGJ3g424wW0PfbUBcYb-Y1NMNH_DItz-BLZlaInPniR1sXVHTGJbSlwSro47SgxrE7vVx2o_Gt5OCJuElhVvuInQm6bTWNfcImvlBR_DYTUtcs2C7ZboyOU317LfN6x5wndcBAkpq9pzs9gXoE1eHVrPAyzI4ZobohwC90OcvcgacIY2vjaggM7VcHY8xFS-9Y7o_mcfnj9QzKTLOfFUp37-4wK_FcaYmbrzXQ0gkwzzRphaLwONehRyq1EHhr_bx0hCxlGeKvuqYcMSdp8RRMxg5_PNRsVCxVZ9PkpOHomsiSfre6IW2j5VXrpWG0FDT5nSR60ImtgGRljOVblvKvxbNx6OUH29z5vLbWrcK0Sh0OiVzKmgVWJglektAains9mIKS0egZtfNbreAupZoT47g5Vqqd3FSaCsvPgssx-IOd6fOlLcDMp7MUmma2vrkJdFWVahSWDZ29kX2UqY034GgWOU7uQrZn7-jxsoaRXJYNDIZxcLb-x11Z9oXOMD0Hb27VTQBb05eTh8yImuhtV0MKwmSdn0oIJSFmL0mRXf7nJfLHGza0-I5INBeBxcKDgKv_HsKFLJzoJdIrk9pNjCdH0eUisRSNsraOY-xruZ5RDHyhskW0Zwcbvj-argPCY2cVrnbIno1aGlpfYL=s800
     
     
  • this product positions the new rubber hoses closer to the exhaust than i like or is necessary. if they added just a few inches of metal to their bracket then the whole canister and the hoses could be moved closer to the passenger side, further away from the exhaust. it would also eliminate the parking brake line drop bracket clearance issue.
     
     
  • the vertical portion of their bracket just wedges against the floorboard and i'm worried about a rattle or squeak developing. other products either use a rubber isolator or position the canister and bracket a bit lower so it doesn't contact. i slit a piece of plastic hose and used that on the top edge of their bracket so at least it's not rubbing metal on metal.
     
    3uY303GG_SGm3evLq0fygpRXssFT6zNQojp1dQMTEVyzoGil6kILevGqOqOxu4_DXjgravh4Sgkstl5XjiN1hI0DzJitUMwSEumr17YqYJSwa9ES4GRP47WLHek_Ein1LodaSG07WqX6NcI_yqXRWkx0rX8OJsSKlEL4ALmeP2eV-INbKW9zrugI6jHvMSHdY9DPoc0UqlxVAM-wYlL877bEqx7OiCybw3nPabk6jfu1MVvDBCzFIH097-NnbWHoPQ7tHYDSf_gTLxgWTUE7kjDkm3vDcHUxk-DJM9ZU_5InnWXKblPHQYbULMZweRzd_98gUw3hy8lcnGFhkQIjD5P7L2JoPNBVZ8qBJP9kqEsZHmGTaMo2tWWw6K2Zz2eizc2bSApbnECDO6cag0Xq8lhGWnoi6qHuFFjg_V-AFfVCmFgAbENPYZ2zY3sDagTK9FifCPoFaVLFD7fO0xbRtyk78jVnSyRor0myBWz4_66PDcRYNKhwRbpsBznSdZs6IcuqTy5uzf4QTsQixhHndLlPmQcudyDHiq0GqXNNC4oKwwo4WoLVFwGNsA8e29GwdJ6Aae0UvPIrKz82AnNFMrX1aFAnPEfu4VF7BCJ_qOUvAaAkbdJ9IGN_KKDt5NoljRmdXd-QHcyNHuHOha2MpV18AXqmmxfb=s800
     
     
  • this thing is mounted like a diving board with all the weight out on the tip. this design combined with it just pressing against the floor is why i'm worried about it rattling or slapping the floor when hitting bumps. the 2007-2011 version actually looks much better, like some thought went into that one. the 2012+ seems like it was engineered by an accountant. the Nemesis and PureJeep versions both support their bracket in the front and rear.

 

 

issues with the instructions

 

actually i'm bored of typing so i'm not going to call out the many ways these instructions suck.

 

if you google it, i'm not the only one that thinks they should be printed on toilet paper so at least you could use them for something. Rock Hard replied to one person on another forum that they must have gotten old instructions... well the instructions on their site are the same ones that came printed and they are half-assed.

 

i actually read the instructions online for this and some other kits before purchasing. i noticed some disconnects and proofreading issues with the Rock Hard kit, but it still seemed straightforward and that's why i purchased this brand.

 

 

alternatives

 

looking back at the alternatives, there are still some things i don't like about each of them. i think i'd go with the Nemesis kit if i had to do it again but plan on securing the rear portion differently than they call for.

 

Rock Hard 4x4 kit... and the instructions...

 

Nemesis Industries kit... and the instructions...

 

Metalcloak kit... and the instructions...

 

JeepSWAG kit... and the instructions...

 

PureJeep kit... and the instructions...

 

also, i didn't know about the PureJeep kit when i looked at these, in fact it might have the best overall design/install. or just fab your own right from the start!

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Please don't refer to this trail as "moderate" anymore.

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Please don't refer to this trail as "moderate" anymore.

 

you lost me man, which trail?

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