Do 4x4 owners modify their trucks differently depending on what area of the United States they 'wheel in? Clearly, North America contains many different types of terrain, and each creates its own obstacles to four-wheel-drive vehicles. Yet the question is, are there modifications that are universal to the four-wheeling world, or are they regional?
To answer that question, we introduce our "Trucks Of..." series, which will run every three or four months (or depending on how often we can sneak out of the office to visit these areas). In this special series we'll feature vehicles that provide insight into how folks in various regions build their trucks. Some will be trail toys, some will be daily drivers. While in the area, we'll also visit with a local 4x4 shop or two and see what's going on in the local tech scene. Of course, we'll also explore trails with a local club to see what obstacles lurk off the paved roads.
This month, we kick off with a visit to the state of Florida. The following five trucks offer an insight into the modifications required to reign supreme over the area's deep mud and serious water.
Scott Allen's Wrangler
A V-8-Powered Mud Plow
Florida mud has a way of sucking horsepower from even the hairiest engines. So you'll understand why Scott Allen of Ocala, Florida, did what he did to his 2000 Jeep Wrangler.
Opening the hood of this Solar Yellow beast reveals a Chrysler/Jeep 4.7L V-8. This 250hp engine sports a custom dual exhaust with high-flow catalytic converters and Flowmaster mufflers. The changeover from the stock 4.0L engine to the new V-8 required scores of custom parts, including significant modifications to a Dodge Dakota wiring harness. As you can imagine, the work didn't end there, as a Lakewood bellhousing was highly modified to allow the engine to be mated to a new NV4500 transmission (with custom fabricated flywheel and modified hydraulic clutch slave cylinder). Other drivetrain mods include an Atlas II transfer case, custom American Powertrain driveshafts (with beefy 1350 U-joints), a front high-pinion Dana 60 differential with Spicer axleshafts, a rear high-pinion Dana 60 differential with Strange Engineering axleshafts, Detroit Lockers front and rear, and 5.13 gears.
A custom-built Dana 60 front axle contains a 5.13 ring-and-pinion, and traction is enhance
Scott then went to work creating a long-travel, flexy suspension, which is based on a modified Rubicon Express Long Arm conversion kit. A custom steering assembly was created using 1 1/8-inch diameter chrome-moly rods and rod ends. A Currie Antirock antiroll bar keeps the Jeep from being a handful at highway speeds while still ensuring full suspension travel off road, and Doetsch Tech shock absorbers help create a smooth overall ride. The Wrangler rolls on aggressive 38.5x16-15 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw tires, which are mounted on 15x10 Center Line aluminum Thruster wheels.
The Jeep features scores of functional exterior bolt-ons, including a Currie rear bumper/tire carrier/receiver hitch, Tomken 3-inch Rocker Skids and front bumper, Warn HS9500i winch, and Hella driving and foglights, while the interior of the Jeep sports a custom full rollcage, Permatech lining, a Realistic CB radio, Garmin GPS, Nextel cellular phone, modified center console, and Wet Okole seat covers.
With the help of Jeff Priest at Jeff's 4x4 in Ocala, Florida, it took Scott about 6 months to complete the buildup of this Wrangler, which is impressive when you consider the number of custom parts that were fabbed for the Jeep. The finished product is more than capable of handling the Florida terrain, and Scott uses it regularly on club outings with fellow members of the Ocala Jeep Club.
|Owner ||Scott Allen, Ocala, Florida |
|Vehicle model ||2000 Jeep Wrangler |
|Estimated value ||$50,000 |
|Type ||Mopar SOHC V-8 |
|Displacement (liter) ||4.7 |
|Aspiration ||Sequential Multiport Fuel Injection, dual exhaust, high-flow catalytic converters and Flowmaster mufflers |
|Transmission ||NV4500 |
|Transfer case ||Atlas II |
|Front ||Modified Rubicon Express Long Arm kit, Currie Antirock antiroll bar, 3-inch drop pitman arm, Doetsch Tech shocks |
|Rear ||Modified Rubicon Express Long Arm kit, Doetsch Tech shocks |
|Front ||Custom high-pinion Dana 60, Detroit Locker |
|Rear ||Custom high-pinion Dana 60, Detroit Locker |
|Ring-and-pinion ||5.13:1 |
|Wheels (in.) ||15x10 Center Line aluminum Thrusters |
|Tires ||16x38.5 |