The Off-Road Expo, which has taken place at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, for the past three years, has become a must-attend event for novice and hard-core off-road enthusiasts alike. This year's Expo was bigger and better than ever, with all the latest parts and accessories on display. Additionally, race trucks, custom 'wheelers, and just plain tricked 4x4s were poised for spectator scrutiny.
Traditionally held at Summer's end, the '02 Expo attracted more than 20,000 spectators and showcased 250 vendors during its two-day run. This year, the Off-Road Expo expands to three indoor buildings with a corresponding increase in outdoor exhibit space for race and show trucks. Further information on the '03 Off-Road Expo can be found at www.offroadexpo.com.
For now, here's a look at the Expo's best trucks as well as a few of the neat new goodies that were on display. Enjoy!
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Whiplash Suspensions had one of the new Dodge Rams at its booth.
Explorer Pro Comp is going all-out in the performance shock market. Following the successful launch of the six-way adjustable, monotube MX-6 damper, Pro Comp has taken the next logical step and introduced a high-end damper, known for now as the Take-A-Part model. With a nitrogen-charged, floating-divider piston design, a billet alloy body, an attached "piggyback" reservoir, and internally adjustable valving, the new Pro Comp damper is intended for Ford's Super Duty 4x4s. At press time, Pro Comp had Take-A-Part dampers nearing production for GM's Heavy Duty trucks.
The crew at Currie Enterprises is always cooking up something new; at the Expo, Currie showed a trick 9-inch front axle assembly with F-450 steering knuckles, brakes, hubs, and U-joints. Wilwood disc rotors and calipers complete the rugged package. Interestingly, the very strong Currie front axle isn't intended for a fullsize truck; rather, it's manufactured for use under hard-core, rockcrawling Jeep TJs. Unbreakable is the word that comes to mind. In the background is Currie's tried-and-true 9-inch Prerunner rearend, showing off its heavily cross-braced housing.
Jeff Becker made a strong showing at the Expo with his Off-Road Unlimited-built '00 F-250. The Super Duty 4x4 is mighty high, as it rides atop 14-inch-lifted spring packs from National Spring and 44-inch Boggers on Weld wheels. L&G scratch-built the front bumper, using inverted Lincoln Navigator headlights. A Powerdyne supercharger helps the Triton V-10 power the Crew Cab, Bilstein dampers smooth the ride, PIAA lights and a custom light cage accent the front end, and a complete array of ORU steering and suspension mods highlight the Ford's undercarriage.
Gale Banks Engineering had one of its all-powerful Dodge Cummins diesel engines on display. Sporting full performance trim, including Banks' Otto Mind computer, an upgraded turbocharger, turbo plumbing, Banks' Ram Air Intake, and a 4-inch-diameter exhaust system, the 24-valve I-6 -- used in '98-'01 Rams -- whips out an additional 145 hp and 288 lb-ft of torque over the stock engine's output.
We ask you: What would Expo coverage be without a photo of a pretty woman? We stopped by the Wheel Parts Wholesalers' booth to pick up a bag for our catalogs and chat with the lovely Ali Carmel. The Lake Forest, California, resident is a Construction Manager for A&W Builders during the week and does modeling gigs and works shows on the weekends.
Dynatrac made a big impression at the Expo with the introduction of the Pro 60 Combo Kit for the front axle of Ford's Super Duty 4x4s. The Dynatrac kit replaces the Super's Dana 50 knuckles, hubs, and spindles with heavy-duty Pro 60 knuckles, fixed spindles, and wheel hubs. Additionally, the Dynatrac system uses strong 35-spline axleshafts. The Pro 60 Combo Kit's upgrades for the SD's steering include a crossover steering linkage and a longer, repositioned track bar; both mods deliver improved steering response and accuracy as well as increased suspension travel.
I-beam-equipped two-wheel-drive Rangers remain a mainstay of prerunner fanatics, mainly due to the fact that gobs of wheel travel are possible with the right mods. Destroy Motorsports' Expo booth showed a slick bolt-on front suspension system for I-beam Rangers, with 22 inches of wheel travel via 8-inch-extended I-beams. There's also a bolt-on Ranger engine cage from Destroy Motorsports as well as a bolt-on rear shock cage with a quickly removable cross-brace that allows the bed to be used for cargo-carrying chores when necessary.
OMF, a recognized leader in the development of bead-locks and bead-lock-equipped wheels, had some trickery on display: the bolts holding the outer bead-lock ring are encased in billet alloy "Domes," which protect the bolt heads during rokcrawling. Due to the design of the Domes, only alternating bolts need to be equipped because each Dome protects the bolt it is mounted on as well as the adjacent bolt. The OMF Domes are easily installed on any bead lock and are replaceable if damaged.