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Spidertrax Builds the Ultimate Rock Spider

Posted in Features on July 23, 2002 Comment (0)
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The brainchild of Eddie Casanueva and Tom Kingston, Spidertrax has become famous for turning Suzuki Samurais into extreme rockcrawlers. Both Eddie and Tom are avid hard-core four-wheelers, and they both own Samurais equipped with the full range of products they offer (including a few prototype pieces). Recently, they decided to build the ultimate Samurai, pulling out all the stops to create a 4x4 that could go anywhere and compete with any vehicle, even the high-end rock buggies that are turning up around the country. The result was the Arachnid.

Early in the project, it became obvious that even with all its resources, Spidertrax was going to have to slow down because of expenses. Luckily, Enelio Ortega jumped in, purchased the vehicle, and allowed Spidertrax to continue the buildup.

Arachnid started out as a clean '94 Suzuki Samurai. Spidertrax immediately stripped the vehicle to the bare frame and went to work. They wanted to use most of the Samurai body, so 70 percent of the stock frame was retained. The chassis was separated into two parts: upper and lower sections. The upper section is removable, which allows easy access to the lower section. The lower chassis boasts integrated skidplating for greatly reduced weight and appealing simplicity.

Eddie and Tom wanted to use material that was lightweight yet strong enough for the stresses that would be placed on the vehicle. Toward this end, 1-5/8x0.120-inch wall tubing was used for the cage; 1-1/4x0.120-inch wall tubing was used for selected chassis members; and 1x0.065-inch wall tubing was used for the front clip. The bellypan/skidplate is made of 1-1/4x0.120-inch wall tubing and is protected by 7075T6 aluminum panels. It attaches with three bushing-style mounts.

To further aid servicing and repairs, the front clip is easily removed with four screws, and nothing is mounted to the front clip itself. The sheetmetal body provides no structural support. In fact, the only vehicle parts attached to the body are the clutch, the brake, the accelerator pedals, and the battery. The sheetmetal was left for appearances only. In keeping with this theme, the rear fenders are easily removed for access or replacement.

The stock Suzuki 1300 EFI four-cylinder, as well as the stock five-speed transmission, were retained. A GRS II transfer case from Petroworks was chosen because of its excellent 4.89:1 Low-range ratio. The only underhood modifications were the additions of a K&N air filter and headers to help the squirrels inhale and exhale more easily when they're at work in the little mill.

The rearend is a fully trussed Spidertrax full-floater axle that is 3 inches wider than stock. The third member houses 5.125:1 gears and a Detroit EZ Locker. The frontend also uses 5.125:1 gears, a Detroit EZ Locker, and Spidertrax Birfield rings for increased strength. And for optimum pinion and caster alignment, the knuckles were cut, turned, and rewelded. Arachnid runs four-wheel disc brakes with cross-drilled rotors. And there is an in-cab proportioning valve and front-line lock to boot. A Spidertrax emergency brake kit was also installed. The Spidertrax E-brake is a single disc that's driveline-mounted and supplies more than 30 percent greater stopping power than the stock E-brake. It also works just as well in Reverse.

In back, Arachnid sports a modified Spidertrax quarter-elliptical suspension. The axle is located 1-1/2 inches back from the stock location, and the lower links are 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Rancho RS 9012 shocks perform damping duties. The rear suspension allows an incredible amount of articulation, yet still provides excellent control, especially on steep climbs where most super-articulators fail. Up front, there are 12-inch static, 3-1/2-inch OD, 150-pound coils, and a four-link suspension with a Panhard bar. The front suspension is soon to be available over-the-counter as a Spidertrax kit.

To turn the 33x12.50R15LT Goodyear Wrangler MTRs on the 15x10-inch steel bead locks, Spidertrax installed a Suzuki Sidekick power steering box with a Saginaw pump and ram assist. Custom linkages and a crossover steering arm keep everything hooked up and pointed in the direction Enelio wants to go. The stock Samurai steering column and cheesy plastic cover were discarded in favor of a chrome-moly steering shaft with a lightweight, removable steering wheel.Spidertrax installed driver and passenger Lexan windows in the firewall for visibility. The rear floor of the body was removed to make room for a custom 12-gallon aluminum fuel cell and an aluminum toolbox. Each of the 6061 aluminum dash panels is removable, with each panel having its own electrical connector for easy service. The Auto Meter Ultralight gauges include tach, oil temp, water temp, voltmeter, and clock. The controls for the Warn M6000 winch are also dashboard-mounted. The Warn M6000 is the sleeper deal of the year.

It has a 48.5-fpm line speed under no load and still pulls at a whopping 10 fpm at full load. That's fast. The 6,000-pound winch has more than enough power to pull the Samurai up anything. There are four exterior rock lights, interior floor lighting, Hella driving lights, and LED taillights to illuminate the night.The entire undercarriage of Arachnid was powdercoated, and the body was painted bright silver. To shield the body from harm, Spidertrax angled rocker panels were installed to protect Arachnid's sides.

We had the opportunity to go on the trail with the Spidertrax crew, Enelio, and Arachnid. The little Samurai worked so well that those with other vehicles just shook their heads in awe. Enelio was able to crawl obstacles that even 38.5-inch tire-equipped Jeeps were hanging up on.

This is one spider that you won't want to exterminate.

02034wd 01zoom+1994 Suzuki Samurai+Front Passengers Side View On Rocks
02034wd 02zoom+1994 Suzuki Samurai+Drivers Side View On Rocks
<br>The dash is a work of art. Auto Meter Ultralight gauges are used for quality and visibility. Each aluminum panel is removable and modular, making servicing the switches, lights, and gauges a breeze. The switches include lighting controls and an in-cab winch control.
The dash is a work of art. Auto Meter Ultralight gauges are used for quality and visibility. Each aluminum panel is removable and modular, making servicing the switches, lights, and gauges a breeze. The switches include lighting controls and an in-cab winch control.
<br>The full-floater rearend from Spidertrax houses 5.12 gears and a Detroit EZ Locker. The disc brakes at all four corners use drilled rotors.
The full-floater rearend from Spidertrax houses 5.12 gears and a Detroit EZ Locker. The disc brakes at all four corners use drilled rotors.
<br>The flat bellypan attaches with three bushing-style mounts, and the GRS II transfer case is mounted rigidly to it. The 7075T6 aluminum panels provide protection. All armor is attached directly to the undercarriage.
The flat bellypan attaches with three bushing-style mounts, and the GRS II transfer case is mounted rigidly to it. The 7075T6 aluminum panels provide protection. All armor is attached directly to the undercarriage.
<br>The 1,300cc EFI mill was left stock, except for the addition of a K&N air filter and a header. You can see the top of the Saginaw power steering pump/reservoir sticking up in the lower right.
The 1,300cc EFI mill was left stock, except for the addition of a K&N air filter and a header. You can see the top of the Saginaw power steering pump/reservoir sticking up in the lower right.
02034wd 08zoom+1994 Suzuki Samurai+engine View

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