Trying to Crawl Out of a Moab Hot Tub

Subaru 4-wheel-drive SUVs are pretty much a thing of the past. Seeing them languish in junkyards, though, is only inviting a mechanic to dream big. That’s precisely what this crew did when they saw the infamous “Mickey’s Hot Tub”. It’s a finely worn sandstone pit where trucks can get in but good luck ever getting back out. It’s the perfect test to see how much punishment this Subaru’s custom four wheel drive and hydraulic suspension can handle!

Well, first thing’s first – The Subaru GL was never meant for this sort of off-roading activity. The GL has been around in various formats since the early 1970s but the big thing that made them stand out was their 4WD transmission and suspension. It’s doubtful that this one is an original suspension or transmission, but it seems the owner isn’t too concerned about scuffing it up “in the hot tub”.


In fact, it looks like they took an old 1989-1994 Subaru L series wagon and turned it into an SUV by greatly upgrading its suspension and probably giving it a new transmission altogether. From the bangs, bruises, and scuffs, however, this Subaru GL has seen and felt some major damage in its time. And now that we think about it – the engine definitely isn’t stock, either. The original 1989 series Subaru GL engine only had a measly 65 HP – definitely not enough to fight your way up an almost straight rock face with no traction.

That’s the biggest problem with specialty courses like this – there’s always gonna be the same basic pitfalls that either leave you with a smoking heap of wreckage or a smoking heap of wreckage stuck in a place that’s very hard to get out of. In the case of this Subaru, though, it appears some significant amount of after-market modification has taken place. While it fails multiple times to fight its way out of the hole, you can see that 4WD working overtime and those tires struggling for any traction. Definitely last point on that – please note the under-inflation of the tires. This was likely an effort by the driver to get just a little more traction that properly inflated tires just wouldn’t get on that smooth stone face. It’s a perfect bowl, after all!

Who’s Mickey And What’s His Tub Doing In The Middle Of Nowhere?

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is no push-over. They strictly enforce safety regulations when it comes to how federal land is used. This makes it even more cool that they’re so willing to let roughnecks jump their super-modified trucks and SUVs through a series of – essentially – pot holes out in the middle of nowhere. The reason “Mickey’s Hot Tub”, in particular, gets so much attention is because it’s one of the few potholes in the region that offers a straight up and down angle that’s really difficult to get in and out of. It’s a true test of a well engineered suspension and a true tragedy if your truck gets stuck down there. If you get stuck in Mickey’s Hot Tub, you’ll likely need to be wenched or pulled out. A lot of transmissions meet their fate in this hole so it’s definitely not recommended for those who aren’t willing to risk it. That said, it’s a true challenge befitting a retro-upgraded Subaru GL modified.

Mickey’s Hot Tub is just one of a series of natural obstacles out in Moab, Utah. The series itself is called “Hell’s Revenge” and it’s a true 4×4 nightmare for the unprepared. Throughout this trail, you’ll see scorch marks left from tires and even a few exploded trannies and engines. It’s a veritable death dealer when it comes to how trucks and cars meet their fate. Before dropping into Mickey’s Hot Tub, check out a few of the courses offered prior to that – namely “Side Trip” and “The Escalator”. Both offer challenging off-road feats similar to Mickey’s, but are a bit more forgiving for the beginner. More importantly, if you find your truck or SUV can’t live up to the 4WD hype, it’s better to find out in either of those places than in Mickey’s. It’s hard to get a wrecker out there and guaranteed, the bill will be even more painful than the wait itself. And if you do manage to get out to that pristine neck of the woods with your 4×4 truck or SUV, make sure to bring a spotter. A lot of these challenging courses require a second set of eyeballs on the ground to help shift you in the right direction. Have you ever gotten the chance to dig through Moab with your 4×4? What are some exciting trips you’ve got in store? Tell us in the comments section below.

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That’s the biggest problem with specialty courses like this – there’s always gonna be the same basic pitfalls that either leave you with a smoking heap of wreckage or a s