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Campbell Enterprises Custom Jeep - Nacho Jeep

Posted in Features on May 4, 2007
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What do you do when you've owned several highly custom Jeep vehicles and are looking for more? Do you opt for the newest model found at your local car dealership, or do you turn to a custom-fabrication shop to build you a complete custom rig? Well, if you have the cash as Dwight Duncan of Phoenix, Arizona, did, you turn to Campbell Enterprises Custom Fabrication in Gilbert, Arizona.

There are a number of reasons why a fully custom rig is a great choice, but right away we can think of two that stand out.

Number One: Choosing a team like Shannon and Nick Campbell to build your Jeep is like choosing Ivan Stewart to drive your Toyota in Baja. As brothers and teammates, their experience behind the wheel and with fabricating competition-winning vehicles is vast.

Number Two: Having a completely custom-built rig means every part fabricated and installed is done with the consideration of every other part in mind. Having one person or shop welding, notching, wrenching, and bending tubes will always ensure a much more trouble-free vehicle than spending 10 years going through 20 different fabrication shops installing countless aftermarket components and hoping everyone is thinking along the same lines.

In the end, only one question comes to mind: Is it worth it? Go out and spend a day with the Arizona Rough Riders 4WD Club and ask Dwight for a ride, then let us know what you think. We had a blast taking a ride through the Lower Woodpecker Trail, proving that 40-inch tires and big horsepower sure do make a trail ride feel like room service.

The body of Dwight's Jeep was originally from a Wrangler TJ Unlimited, although much of the cab was cut out to make room for suspension and various modifications. The entire floorboard was removed and replaced with steel and cut to accommodate suspension clearance. Chrome-moly tubing was used to cage the Jeep from front to back, assuring that strength would never be an issue. The frame has been boxed in for even more strength, tying in both the front and rear bumpers with chrome-moly. Although the majority of the body is made of steel, both the hood and front grille have been swapped out with Campbell Enterprises fiberglass. Underneath reveals skidplates covering everything from the oil pan to behind the transfer case, all fabricated with 3/16-inch-thick steel plate. Several LED rock lights have also been added throughout the wheelwells to help aid with nighttime wheeling duties.

A clean, well-organized, custom dash can really make your project stand out from the rest. Dwight spared no expense when it came time to add creature comforts to the cabin. MasterCraft front and rear seats with G-Force Camlock five-point racing harnesses keep his wife and children firmly planted even through the roughest terrain. As with the rest of the build, Campbell did an incredible job installing and wiring up a slew of Auto Meter gauges, including transmission temp, oil, water, voltage, fuel, speedometer, tachometer, and more.

Although most Jeepers use the top-down attitude for air conditioning, Dwight opted to install a Vintage Air system to keep the wife happy when the dust and heat get to be too much for her to handle. Also inside are a Painless Performance dual-battery switch controlling two Optima RedTops located under the driver seat, a Magellan GPS system, and a Cobra CB unit all above a floor covered entirely with Rhino Lining. Between the front seats are an Art Carr race shifter and dual sticks shooting through the floor which control the Atlas 2 transfer case. Oh, and of course we can't forget the handlebar-style, passenger oh-no! handle.

Now we get to the really good stuff. The frame has been stretched, pulled, narrowed, and notched so much that it gave the vehicle its nickname - the Nacho Jeep (because of all the custom notches and measurements that needed to be made to have it finished properly). The front suspension consists of King 2x12-inch coilovers as well as King hydraulic bumpstops. Campbell wanted to be able to control every aspect of the travel and knew coilovers were the only way to achieve that. In the rear are a set of King 2x14-inch coilovers and a matching set of King hydraulic bumpstops. These help control the rear four-link suspension. Custom-bent Currie Antirock sway bars were installed on both sides front and back. Dwight chose a set of massive 40-inch Goodyear MT/R tires and Walker Evans 17-inch beadlock wheels to keep his rig rolling. The front brakes are stock Ford disc, and the rear disc brakes were supplied by the Street Rod Company. Keeping the vehicle straight on the road is a Flaming River steering column drawing its strength from Dedenbear heavy-duty Dana 60 steering knuckles and OTT steering links.

A stock Jeep powerplant just wouldn't do this ultimate trail machine justice. An LS1 out of an '02 Camaro was installed and pushes an estimated 515 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. The engine modifications and installation were performed by RPM Engine Developments of Tempe, Arizona. Campbell added a Ron Davis aluminum radiator with a custom-made shroud as well as hand-bent a unique exhaust system to keep all tubes safe from trail carnage. All transmission work was performed by Hughes Transmission of Phoenix, Arizona, which swapped in a 4L60E built to handle the high-horsepower numbers Dwight needed for this project. A custom fuel cell and skidplate were fabricated but still remain in the stock locations.

Loads of horsepower and big suspension-travel numbers necessitate heavy-duty axles. Up front is a '78 Ford 1-ton axle turning 5.38 gears and an ARB Air Locker. The rear runs a '79 Ford 1-ton King Pin axle using the same gears and locker. Both lockers draw their power from ARB mini air compressors.

Saying this vehicle is custom just doesn't cut it. We could easily write several more pages talking about all of the precise cuts and measurements required to make a Jeep like this go from dream to reality. Give the guys at Campbell Enterprises a call sometime if you want to make your off-road dreams come true.

SPECIFICATIONS
Vehicle: Campbell Ent. custom {{{Jeep}}}
Owner/Hometown: Dwight DuncanPhoenix, AZ
Engine: {{{Camaro}}} LS1
Transmission: 4L60E
Transfer Case: Atlas 2 4.3:1
Front Axle: '78 {{{Ford}}} 1-ton
Rear Axle: '79 Ford 1-ton
Ring-and-pinion: 5.38
Suspension: Campbell four-link
w/King shocks
Tires/Wheels: 40-inch Goodyear MT/Rs
17-inch Walker Evans
beadlocks
PhotosView Slideshow

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