An all-around rig that everyone can enjoy.
Must everything be so extreme? Not according to the responses we've had recently from you, our readers. In our July 2005 issue, Editor Phil Howell included a mail-in survey form in OFF-ROAD Notes asking for feedback. As of press time, the majority of those who responded listed trail riding/exploring and camping as their two top picks for what they did most often with their vehicles. We found it refreshing to realize that there's a large contingent of off-roaders who choose to use their truck for the very activity that got us out in the dirt in the first place: going exploring and having fun.
Scott Griesbach of North Ogden, Utah, has one of the cleanest, best-built "go exploring" rigs we've ever seen. "I've always liked the '69-'72 Blazers/Jimmys, so when I found this one, I bought it," Scott told us. "All I was going to do was put a 2-inch lift and 33-inch tires under it." We've found that mild-style buildup plans are quickly derailed once we learn about a few products or truck-building techniques that will get us farther down the trail. So it was with the '72 Jimmy. Scott put it succinctly: "Once I started, I couldn't stop."
We've yet to come across a vehicle that's truly "done," but we can safely say that if the buildup remains in its current state, there won't be much left to do but change the oil, and decide which trail to explore next. This rig is good to go. The short list includes a set of 40-inch Goodyear MT/Rs, a Dana 60 front axle, a GM 1-ton 14-bolt full-floating rear axle, an Off-Road Design Doubler, ORD/Alcan leaf packs, Bilstein dampers, a Bestop soft top, and two child seats in the rear. Huh? With a "who's who and what's what" laundry list of trail-capable hardware and seating for Scott, wife Dani, and their two daughters, the Griesbachs are in for eons of adventure and exploring. There's something about a rig that drives down the freeway, takes on the toughest trails, has room for everyone in the house, and is equipped with bomb-proof running gear. Something extremely cool.
Keeping lift height to a minimum adds up to better handling on the street and more confidence when the trails begin to tilt. New suspension lifts the Jimmy a mild 4 inches, and the body was bumped only an inch skyward. To let the 40s fit with this combination of suspension and body lift, stealthy fender trimming was performed to let the suspension flex without contact between the sheetmetal and rubber. The lower lines of the body are coated in Rhino lining for scratch and rust resistance. Although the truck's body panels were straight and true when he purchased the truck, Scott was surprised at the amount of rust present on the floorboards. To remedy the rust, the body cancer was cut out and new body panels were welded into place. We don't know why the state of Utah continues to use salt on the roads in the winter when there are better ways of making the roads safer when the weather turns snowy. The salt does melt the snow and ice, which increases safety on the road. Salt isn't the only means of making the roads safer in the winter, though. Sand does a fine job of increasing traction on the roads during the winter months and doesn't corrode the undersides of vehicles the way that salt does. Savvy vehicle owners can fight back with products such as Rhino lining and POR-15, which was used to coat the Jimmy's framerails and the body's entire underside. Those who let the rusty cancer eat away at their vehicles end up at either a body shop to get new sheetmetal spliced in, or at a new-car dealer when the rust situation has gotten completely out of hand.