That Wiley Sami
Video Courtesy of Jimmy "Big Red" Vance

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Clayton, Oklahoma is home to the famous Three Stage Hill, which we've reported on many times. This time when Wiley Johnson rolled his Samurai, the cameras were rolling. Luckily, nobody was hurt. Please remember to wear your seatbelt and install harnesses and a proper roll-cage if you can.

That Wiley Sami

Anatomy of a Roll-Over
By, Wiley Johnson

If you are not real familiar with Three Stage Hill, the lowest hill is several hundred yards long and is basically slick, solid, hard rock with a 12 to 18 inch step about one third of the way up. The trick is to get your front wheels up on the step. Then, just as your rear wheels are at the step, you hit the throttle and keep on it as the rear climbs up over the ledge. If you are tentative or use too little throttle, you will not make it. But, of course, you do not want to bounce your vehicle and break something serious.


Sami Sami

First up was a Jeep and after a couple of tries it drove on up the hill. I was next. Shawn Pagan stood at the step to spot me. Dana and I got in and put the Sami in 4 to 1 low-low and crawled up the loose rocks to the slick part. I lined up on the left side and drove up to the step. I walked the front wheels up on the step and hit the gas. 4000 rpm and 12 mph. It was not quite enough, so I let it roll back down to where the front wheels were just on the edge and hit the gas again.

I am told that I actually got the rear wheels up on the ledge but, all of the sudden, I was not making forward progress!!! I was rolling backwards, even in gear with the gas pedal down. I immediately mashed the brake pedal to the floor and kept rolling backwards. I yelled for Dana to get completely back inside the Sami and steered backwards for all I was worth. It started to back left which would have turned us across the hill and set up for a multi-turn roll-over but I steered it straight. Unfortunately, the terrain on the side behind me was a steeply sloped bank. the Sami rolled back up on it and laid over on its side. Whew!!! Oh no!!! We are going all the way over on my head. Ouch!!!

Sami Sami

Sami Sami

I asked Dana if she was ok and then, immediately, there was someone there putting his back under me and helping me release my seat belt. Shawn Pagan was on the other side helping Dana get out. So, Kyote’s lil' pup now is Kyote’s lil' turtle. Not very dignified, but everyone is ok. Shaken, not stirred.

Looking at the underside of your vehicle is an amazing thing when you can just stand next to it. Also, it was immediately evident why this had happened. The front drive shaft had come apart at the slip joint. It had not been recommended to extend the driveshaft when I did the 5 inch lift on the Sami, but evidently, the motion at the step there on Three Stage caused it to slip out (pun intended).

The guys there immediately started recovery and pulled it over on its side, then slid it around enough to turn it back onto its tires. We then used the winch to slowly back it down the hill. The Pagans went to camp and came back in their new Dodge Ram 4x4 to pull the Sami back to camp. I removed the rear driveshaft while waiting.

Sami Sami

Sami Sami

I need a windshield frame, a windshield, the basket hoop over the top and all the rest of the top end to put it back on the street. I have some serious body dings, particularly on the right, rear corner. I cannot even put the full soft top on right now.

The Sami will go into the garage for repairs and the addition of a full roll-cage and maybe a new paint job. I have already tracked down the pieces necessary to get it back on the street.

Yes, it was expensive but it was fun and nobody got hurt. That is what 4-wheeling is all about; fun times with good friends and family. Oh, and Dana did not even threaten to kill me but is ready to get back in and go again. This time, I'll try to keep all four wheels firmly on the ground.


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