During an attempt to conquer the infamous Hell's Gate off-road obstacle in Moab, Utah, a Rivian R1T owner encountered a mechanical issue. The driver, aiming to navigate the challenging terrain in the all-electric truck, chose an unfavorable path and decided to backtrack for a better line. Unfortunately, while reversing, an inner tie rod broke, rendering steering nearly impossible for the 7,148-pound vehicle.
Facing this setback without any spare parts on hand, the R1T owner reached out for assistance. Enter David Hellman, the proprietor of Xtreme 4×4 Tours and Moab Scenic Adventures, who came to the rescue in his Chevy K30 wrecker. Employing a resourceful yet unconventional solution, Hellman welded spare pieces of flat metal together to create a makeshift fix. Although the welded contraption held up well initially, the outer tie rod met a similar fate, snapping in half as the R1T approached the pinnacle of the obstacle.
Acknowledging the need to regroup, Hellman and the R1T owner decided to call it a night. They left the Rivian parked at the top of Hell's Gate, near the entrance. Undeterred, Hellman scoured his workshop for a sturdier alternative, ultimately finding spare rebar. He skillfully cut the rebar into four sections, fully aware that the tie rod was already compromised. Much to the relief of both Hellman and the Rivian owner, the rebar was successfully welded onto the tie rod, enabling the electric vehicle to eventually conquer the trail using its own power.
While this incident highlights a broken tie rod on the R1T during off-roading, it is important to note that a similar occurrence was documented on YouTube about ten months prior. However, it is premature to assume any inherent flaw in the R1T's suspension system. It is plausible that Rivian's engineers deliberately designed the tie rod to be the weakest link within the suspension setup of the R1T and its sibling, the R1S. By doing so, the component becomes easily replaceable and relatively affordable compared to other critical parts.