Skyjacker Built America's Multipurpose Extreme-Duty Utility Pickup to Do It All
As you've probably noticed, almost half of each month's Off-Road magazine is now dedicated to the off-roading lifestyle. Adventure and trail features showing you places to go and things to do with your vehicles have proven to be immensely popular. And why not? You built your vehicle to not only go off-road but also so you can tow your pop-up campers and toy haulers with ATVs or motorcycles, ride your mountain bikes, use your kayaks, go fishing and camping, and so on. Most of you also use your vehicle to tow work equipment and carry tools during the week. Skyjacker's Project A.M.P.E.D. U.P., America's Multipurpose Extreme-Duty Utility Pickup, enables people to live the lifestyle they want while allowing them to do more jobs with one vehicle.
Skyjacker started with an '07 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ 4x4 in Sport Red Metallic. The new '07 GM trucks have great drivetrains, but their stock suspensions are the absolute worst available for those who actually take their trucks in the dirt. It looks as if GM told its engineers that nobody who buys its trucks will ever really take them off-pavement, so build accordingly. In our opinion, if you own an '07 GM truck and plan on driving it anywhere but glass-smooth pavement, you have to install an aftermarket suspension to make it work well. Skyjacker has designed a system that fixes what the factory broke. The company's new 6-inch suspension allows the uptravel that isn't there in stock form and makes the Avalanche ride and handle great on- and off-road. Adjustable Platinum Series Performance Struts provide three height positions that allow adjustment for weight differences in the vehicle and achieve a full 6 inches of lift in the front. Replacement CNC-machined ductile-iron steering knuckles maintain correct steering geometry, so there is no need for modifications to the factory steering assembly. This complete system features heavy-duty front and rear crossmembers along with the necessary differential drop brackets, plus sway-bar drop brackets and swivel-ball end links.
Unique to Skyjacker's engineering design is its new Anti-Torque Rod. This new fully adjustable rod attaches to the new front crossmember and a factory location on the differential. Skyjacker's Anti-Torque Rod design minimizes pinion wrap due to the new OEM-style rubber differential-isolator mounts, resulting in virtually no driveline vibration. By isolating the torque/twist of the differential during acceleration, the Anti-Torque Rod actually transfers this motion of torque back to the tires for improved traction.
The lift's rear features Softride coil springs, relocation brackets for the upper and lower arms, and replacement sway-bar end links. Skyjacker Nitro N8000 shocks complete the system.
OEM tires and wheels can still be used with the Skyjacker 6-inch suspension, although we know that you'd be changing your tires and wheels when you build your truck. Skyjacker did too. The company chose 35x12.50R22LT Interco TrXus MT tires mounted on 22x9.5 KMC Clyde alloy wheels with correct 5.625 backspacing for A.M.P.E.D. U.P. McGard lug nuts with locks keep the wheels on the Avalanche.
As we already said, GM powertrains are great, so under the hood the only modifications made were the addition of an Optima YellowTop sealed gas recombinant battery and a Gibson Performance Exhaust after-cat system that performs well and sounds nice. A Precision Grilles 3D Solid horizontal grille accentuates the new front design and retains the Chevy Bow Tie. The N-Fab prerunner bumper provides protection, looks good, and is a mounting point for three Soltek La Paz halogen lights from Baja Designs. Steelcraft Automotive supplied taillight guards.
On top, a Yakima MegaWarrior rack allows more gear to be carried and is strong enough to be a spare-tire carrier if needed. It also has four front and two rear light brackets, where Skyjacker mounted six Baja Designs Soltek Fuego halogen lights. The Yakima MegaWarrior is so cool and has so many options for carrying gear, we know you'll be seeing it on other projects soon.
AMP Research Power Steps afford easy ingress/egress and automatically fold against the body when not in use. We've used the Power Steps on other trucks and can report they work - and stand up to tremendous punishment and keep working. An AMP Research Bed X-Tender allows longer cargo to be carried in the short Avalanche bed. A BedRug bedliner protects the cargo area and has the Chevy logo embossed for a custom look. The BedRug is a plastic bedliner that feels soft and looks like carpet but is incredibly strong. We choose to use BedRugs in our truck projects too. WeatherTech FloorLiners and Classic Premium rubber mats keep the rest of the interior protected in the mud and dirt encountered off-road.
Xtreme Paint & Graphics applied the gold flames with color overlay and chrome outline, while Signpros Custom Lettering made and applied the Skyjacker and sponsor logos. We think you'll agree their work really makes A.M.P.E.D. U.P. stand out in any environment - in the mud or at the mall.
Skyjacker's A.M.P.E.D. U.P. is truly a multipurpose, dual-sport vehicle. It also shows how well the new GM trucks can work on- and off-road with the addition of a good suspension system. If you get a chance to see this Avalanche in the dirt or at a show, we think you'll get as amped up as we were when we saw it.