Step By Step
John Kimball let Albert White drive his near-stock 46 CJ-2A. Aside from the four-wheel discs, 21/2-inch springs, Warn 8274, and 34x9.50 TSLs the flattie is pretty much stock. Albert did an admirable job of driving despite being frozen from the neck up. Cold is for refrigerators.
Even with a noreaster due to strike later that day (thats a bad ass snowstorm to you and me), John Barnes made the trek all the way from Massachusetts to bring his 36-shod 81 Scrambler. An AMC 360, a T-18A tranny, and a Dana 20 case push twin Dana 44s with 4.56s and lockers, but the real news is the starter motor-powered spare tire for 5WD.
Peter Ballard of Griffinoffroad.com totally thrashed wife Emilys 89 Cherokee. With 4.56 gears in the stock axles and a Lock-Right in the rear, Peter throttled, bashed, and whanged down the trail like a fugitive on Cops. Emily promises gratuitous payback when they take his rig out.
For the most part, stock drivetrains, spring-under lifts, and big mud tires are the ticket in the Northeast. This 84 CJ-7 still sports the stock 258 six, T-176 tranny, and Dana 300 case. Deviations from stock are Lock-Rights in the Dana 30 and Model 20, and Q-78 Swampers.
Clay Gould put to rest any doubts we had about the strength of Toyota axles. He stuck a 4.11-equipped pair under his 81 CJ-7 and Billy-Bobwelded the rear. With the AMC 360 screaming at redline, Clay crab-walked up one of the icier hillclimbs.
Billy Saine did all the work himselfincluding the painton his 83 Scrambler. Despite the best efforts of the 36-inch TSLs, the 4.56d Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rear stayed together during this big-throttle ascent.
Yeah! What the heck is it? How about an 85 CJ-7 with an 88 Wrangler tub, a 0.030-over, cammed 258 six with a header and Weber carb, and a Chrysler 904 slushbox? Even with Moser shafts, how Jim Palmer kept the Detroited AMC Model 20 rear alive with 38.5x11-inch Boggers is beyond us.
There was a whole lot of three-wheelin no-traction action going on. Pete Cyr tested out the M.O.R.E. engine mounts on the way-built 258 six. Other cool stuff included discs, a Lock-Right, and Moser shafts for the Model 20 rear, Warn axles and a Truetrac for the Dana 30 front, and a T-5 tranny in front of the Dana 300.
Its a different world on the other side of the Mississippi. On the West Coast we say bitchin, dope, and gnarly. Mainiacs of Maine say pissah, killah, and wicked. On the West Coast we wheel on boulders, sand, and rocks. Mainiacs wheel in mud, snow, and slime. On the West Coast we drive open-air Jeeps when its 105 degrees. Mainiacs drive open-air Jeeps when its 5 degrees below zero. Weirdos.
Lots of you have threatened us with grievous bodily harm if we dont provide you with more mud and snow action, but unfortunately, we dont have as much access to the stuff as wed like. Thats why we were gladder than Oprah at a pie-eating contest to hook up with the Overland Jeepers of Maine. Even though there wasnt an event scheduled, Overland president John Kimball got on the horn and arranged for a couple dozen members to congregate in waaaay below freezing temperatures for an impromptu run.
The Overland Jeepers are fortunate in that theyve got over 30 miles of trails spread across 1,400 acres of private land on which to play near the town of Bethel. The terrain varies from dirt to rocky hillclimbs to stream crossings to eyeball-deep mud holes. But none of that matters when its all covered in more than a foot of snow. Try tooling along the trail only to have the front of your vehicle drop out from under you into a semifrozen stream. Or try climbing a rocky hillside covered in snow and ice. You steer as much with the throttle and luck as you do with the steering wheel. If you love the frozen white stuff or want more info on the clubs May Mud Madness event, contact the Overland Jeepers of Maine at P.O. Box 1176, Bethel, ME 04217, www.midcoast.com/~jeeps. Its pissah.