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Custom Off-Road Buggy - A Lumberman's Buggy

Posted in Features on February 6, 2007 Comment (0)
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Steve Williams has been rolling over rocky trails in various 4x4s for a little over 30 years now. He started with an old-school '73 Bronco. We use the term old school loosely because it's definitely built right - we're told that the vehicle landed on the cover of two different magazines.

When Steve isn't working in his lumberyard in Sebastopol, California, he's usually off on an adventure or wrenching on one of his many vehicles. This very functional, custom scratch-built buggy is the cumulative effort of great friends and good mechanics. Steve and good friend Don Dunn from Yucca Valley, California, fabricated the chassis, which is constructed from 1-1/2x0.095-inch DOM and chrome-moly tubing. The Dana 60 front axle is fitted with 5.89:1 gears to compensate for the rolling mass of tire rubber. The innards of the housing are Moser custom alloy axles, an ARB Air Locker, and CTM U-joints. The hybrid Dana 60 axle in the rear is quite unique-looking but certainly serves its very stout purpose. The axlehousing was built by Papola Offroad in Santa Rosa, California. It is fitted with Summers Brothers alloy-steel halfshafts, custom-made CTM axles, a Detroit Locker, and a 5.89:1 gearset. The yokes were custom-made from billet steel. A rear-steer setup with hydraulic ram finishes off the rear axle.

An immaculately installed Ram Jet 350 pumps its power and torque through a TH400 transmission and an Atlas II transfer case. The Atlas is geared to 3.8:1 for low-gear crawling. A 2-1/2-inch MagnaFlow exhaust and BBK headers help the engine breathe.

For the custom suspension, Bob Roggy from C&R Motorsports used a three-link design and King 16-inch coilovers front and rear. The buggy rolls around on 16.5x8.75 H1 wheels and custom-siped 39x15.5-16.5 Super Swampers from Interco.

Recently, Steve told us he was in the process of tearing this buggy apart to rework the suspension, completely redesign an all-new, all-chrome-moly tube chassis, and test out some new, state-of-the-art air shocks. We thought this buggy worked just fine when we witnessed Steve drive up and over some of the huge rock waterfalls around Las Cruces, New Mexico. But we understand because, like Steve, most of us don't just use our vehicles for wheeling - we wrench on them for therapy. If it works, rip it apart and make it even better!

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