The Rock Bug: How It Was Built
Construction on the Rock Bug began in late 2008 at Spidertrax Off-Road in Longmont, Colorado. Jordan consulted with owners Eddie Casanueva and Tom Kingston on the overall goals and requirements, not only for rockcrawling, but also for running in the King of the Hammers race.
"Through years of experience, I let them know what I wanted. We decided we wanted it to look like a bug. They pretty much threw it on CAD and built around that," says Jordan.
Weight reduction was the key strategy. In rockcrawling trim for Pro Modified, the Rock Bug tips the scales at just over 2,300 pounds. That's at least 400 pounds lighter than most other Pro Mod cars. Add about 200 pounds for rear steer and bigger tires for Unlimited. And Tracy adds another 150 pounds plus a co-driver for the KOH race.
The frame is constructed from 4130 chrome-moly tubing. Front and rear suspensions are a four-link design with the upper control arms triangulated. Again, chrome-moly is used for the links, and Spidertrax fabricated their own hollow chrome-moly mounting hardware to save weight over traditional Grade-8 nuts and bolts. King quad-bypass shocks will be installed for KOH, while King air shocks designed for 16 inches of wheel travel are used for rockcrawling
"I like a certain amount of ride height at the skidplate, about 17 inches. And I need as much downtravel as possible for the way I drive," explains Jordan. "With a 17-inch belly, I think we're running about 31/2 inches of uptravel. That gives me more than a foot of downtravel. It starts to be a problem with King of the Hammers because you want more uptravel for that. We had to find a happy medium. It's not perfect for any one event, but it's pretty good for both."
Spidertrax fabricated and heat-treated the axle assemblies, using chrome-moly for the housing, axletubes, spindles, and knuckles, while the hub is machined from 6061 T6 aluminum. Axleshafts, and every other type of shaft on the vehicle, are rifle-drilled to save weight. Spidertrax also fabricated the 14-inch drilled brake rotors, which are squeezed by Wilwood four-piston calipers. Most competitors use hand-operated, two-way boosters (a.k.a. cutting brakes) to control braking. Jordan utilizes electronic line-locks at each wheel that are operated with toggle switches mounted on the custom dash panel. It all rolls on 17x9 Trailready beadlocks wrapped with BFGoodrich Krawler T/A tires: 39 inches tall for Unlimited and 37 inches tall for Pro Modified.
Power comes from an aluminum Scat V-4 engine built by Powerhouse Motorsports. The Scat V-4 was originally designed for midget sprint cars and is capable of revving over 9,000 rpm. Powerhouse worked with the cam timing and a FAST engine-management system to lower the torque curve and give Jordan 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. The engine is backed by a modified Ford C4 transmission that offers Jordan three speeds, but is as compact as a Powerglide. The transfer case is a Stak Dana 300.
The Rock Bug satisfies the Pro Mod requirements with a Baja Bug fiberglass front clip. The interior features Mastercraft seats and a custom console for the gauges, controls, and shifter. For racing, a Parker Pumper is installed along with a larger fuel cell and spare tire.