Custom Rock Crawler Explodes Trying What a 2021 Ford Bronco Did in Moab

A few months ago, a 2021 Ford Bronco made quite the spectacle when it climbed Hell’s Gate in Moab, UT, in reverse. The disrespect for this legendary off-roading site was so immense that it forced the entire motoring world to pay attention. Recently, a custom rock crawler tried to do something similar at the Devil’s Hot Tub. Given the small explosion, it’s fair to say it did not go very well.

off-road buggy flipped in the devil's hot tub
The Devil’s hot tub | Beat not Babied

An actual rock crawler couldn’t do what a 2021 Ford Bronco did

The Drive reports that someone tried to back their custom-built rock crawler out of the Devil’s Hot Tub about a week ago. This natural stone bowl is a famous off-roading obstacle in the natural playground that is Moab, UT

Despite what seems to be a solid rig, on his third attempt at escaping the Devil’s Hot Tub, the rock crawler bucked its rear end skyward and flipped over, immediately bursting into flames. The video of the incident is bizarre because the truck didn’t seem to flip too dramatically, yet the second it flipped, flames sprung out from every opening like weeds through the splits in concrete. 

Like the kick-ass 2021 Ford Bronco video that reversed up Hell’s Gate, this rock crawler pilot specifically wanted to back out of the infamous rock feature. Like Hell’s Gate, the Devil’s Hot Tub is a fully stone bowl that lies next to a bigger rock formation. After a few tries, the driver gives his rig the beans, accidentally catches a wheel on one of the bigger rocks, and flips the crawler end over end. The second the truck hit, flames erupt like something from a movie.

Thankfully, the driver – and somehow even the truck – came out fairly unscathed. The driver suffered some intense bruising from the safety harness. Although the truck damn-near exploded, the flames were put out quickly enough to not cause much lasting damage. The truck even drove out once it was right-side-up. Thankfully, the owner didn’t have to pay for some of Moab’s trusty off-road recovery crews.

Always carry a fire extinguisher

a rock-crawling buggy flipped and caught fire at the Devil's hot tub in Moab after to trying to navigate it backward.
Burning rock crawler | Beat not Babied

The video was originally posted on a Facebook group called Beat Not Babied. One commenter who was actually there when the crash happened provided a little more much-needed context. The commenter, Rory Irish, was not only there but was one of the first on the scene and grabbed the fire extinguisher needed to quell the flames. 

Like the kick-ass 2021 Ford Bronco video that reversed up Hell’s Gate, this rock crawler pilot specifically wanted to back out of the infamous rock feature. Like Hell’s Gate, the Devil’s Hot Tub is a fully stone bowl that lies next to a bigger rock formation. After a few tries, the driver gives his rig the beans, accidentally catches a wheel on one of the bigger rocks, and flips the crawler end over end. The second the truck hit, flames erupt like something from a movie. 

In a conversation with The Drive, Irish says that the vent tube for the fuel cell was routed up out of the tank and then back down under the passenger’s seat, which is the same place where the battery was bolted down. 

“The impact was so hard it caved the top of the fuel cell up, pushing fuel and vapors out of the vent tube,” Irish told The Drive. “It also bent the battery hold-down bracket just enough to cause the battery to shift and arc out on the mount.” 

The Devil’s Hot Tub got pretty hot

According to Irish, “…everyone on Facebook and Instagram saying it was improperly installed equipment or shoddy work. I call bullshit,” he told us. “The fuel cell was a name brand and mounted correctly; the battery mount was a name brand and mounted correctly.” 

This seems like a pretty clear-cut example of a freak accident. If the parts were quality and installed properly, then the fire was unavoidable. However, the 2021 Ford Bronco never even had a chance to see if it would explode. It skated up Hell’s Gate in reverse like it was going into town for a coffee. 

RELATED: The 2021 Ford Bronco Tried Moab Rock Crawling