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January 2008 Off-Road Rides - Readers Rides

Posted in Features on January 1, 2008
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Traversing the Rubicon Trail in Northern California is a favorite pastime of Eric and Barbara Zimmerman and their family. Their '85 regular-cab Toyota pickup truck has seen many an off-road mile. A few modifications include 5-inch All-Pro Off-Road springs, a 3-inch body lift, a Marlin Crawler 4.70 transfer case, a Warn winch, ARB Air Lockers, and more.

Randy Buescher of O'Fallon, Missouri, has been wheeling his '97 Jeep Cherokee for more than a decade. It is his pride and joy, and it does a great job of draining any extra money from Randy's bank account. A few of the modifications include a 3.5-inch Tuff Country lift, 31-inch Hercules Trail Digger tires, Airaid intake, and Flowmaster exhaust. The trails near his home can be tough for any ride, so he was sure to add parts that would take the type of abuse his Jeep would see.

This may look like a Land Cruiser 80-series, but it's actually the Land Cruiser's cousin, the Lexus LX 450. Landon Beales sent us this photo of his Lexus wheeling through Moab, Utah, on the Fins and Things trail system. He has already supercharged the V6 powerplant and installed an ARB suspension, a Warn winch, ARB bumpers, an amateur radio, GPS guidance, and more. Because the LX 450 features the same body lines as the Land Cruiser, it shares many of the same aftermarket goodies.

Many of our readers submit their images and forget to include information about the vehicle. This was not a problem for Scott Hulin of Great Falls, Montana. The tech sheet he submitted with this image of his '89 GMC 2500 Suburban was three pages long with over 100 listed modifications. A few that stood out to us were the Dana 60 axles, Detroit Truetrac lockers, Warn hubs, crossover steering, Skyjacker springs, Pro Comp shocks, Mile Marker winch, and custom front and rear bumpers. Some of the terrain Scott tackles in his GMC often puts him into the middle of nowhere, so he needed to make sure his vehicle was ready for anything.

Sgt. Cole B. Griggs sent us this photo of the HMV-39 he is assigned to in Hamburg, Germany. He tells us that most of the time his off-road routes are covered with snow, but during a few short summer months the snow melts and he can have some muddy fun. This ride doesn't have a laundry list of modifications we can share with you, but we love featuring images from our men and women overseas fighting for our country.

Although we don't feature a great deal of off-road rides driven by female enthusiasts, we do know there are quite a few out there and they're being seen more often on the trails. Sasha Oakley has been working on her '86 Suzuki Samurai for the past few years and is a member of the Rainier Ridge Rams four-wheel club based in Whatcom County, Washington. With the help of her husband, she has installed 32-inch BFG M-T tires, a suspension lift, Trail Tough transfer-case gears, Detroit Lockers, Calmini reverse shackles, custom drivelines, and more. Sasha wheels her ride as often as possible along the beautiful Naches Trails just outside of Seattle.

When Justin Sherman isn't fighting with his wife over the keys to his truck, he's spending time with his friends hitting the hills near his home in Missouri. Modifying your ride just the way you want it takes a lot of hard work, time, and money. Justin tells us that although his truck is not super-modified yet, he plans on making it one incredible rig. So far, he's added 31-inch Hankook tires, a rear nerf bar, and off-road lights. He plans on lifting his truck about 4 inches and going up to 33-inch tires very soon.

This '85 K5 Blazer has been a reliable daily driver and off-road ride for Devon Androes of Mountain Home, Arkansas, for more than a decade. As soon as the vehicle was brought home, he immediately started tearing it apart and modifying it. First up was cutting out the fenders and installing a suspension lift large enough to clear 36-inch Super Swamper tires. His travels take him through a great deal of muddy terrain, so oversize rubber is necessary. The engine bay has also received a wealth of upgrades, from a new 700R4 transmission to a bored-out 350ci engine.

Rob Slikkerveer and his son built this '62 Land Cruiser Series II pickup in just three months. With a complete build such as this, the modifications list is necessarily long. A few of the mods include reverse crossover steering, Superior axles, Lock-Right lockers, a Toyota 22R motor, a Centerforce clutch, Rancho shocks, a 32-gallon fuel cell, and an Inchworm transfer case.

Extreme off-roading is a familiar concept to the Slikkerveer family (as if you couldn't tell from the photo). Extreme or not, there's nothing like a little quality time with the family.

Dan Henderson of Fort Worth, Texas, built his Ford F-150 4x4 as a vacation vehicle for off-roading with his family and friends. He installed Rancho shocks, a 10-inch suspension lift, a 3-inch body lift, 4.88 gears, and massive 41-inch tires. The truck sits tall, and that's just how Dan likes it. The only problem he runs into is parking the truck and driving under low bridges close to his home. Modification plans include new front and rear bumpers, a winch, and engine performance parts.

Over the past two years, Robert King has been off-roading his '90 Ford Bronco to the extreme. He's thrown tons of rock, dirt, mud, and even snow at his monster truck. Keeping it reliable are a 4-inch Tuff Country kit, KC lights, FlowTech headers, and a Flowmaster exhaust system. He is a member of the High Desert Off-Road Club and typically wheels three times a month.

Craig Shultz says his '93 Toyota 4x4 pickup is the perfect off-road truck. The truck is light, has a solid front axle, has plenty of wheel travel, and is high enough to clear most obstacles. A few of the parts that made this truck into Craig's dream vehicle include Rancho 9000 shocks, Longfield joints, crossover power steering, a Centerforce clutch, Optima batteries, and 35-inch Pro Comp M/T tires. He tells us his most embarrassing moment off-road was pulling a girl wheeler to safety and then showing off for her only to get himself stuck.

Rich Buckley drives his massive '04 Dodge Ram 2500 over 60 miles each day to and from work. That's a lot of abuse on 46-inch-tall tires. In order to keep a ride quality that wouldn't leave him bouncing down the road, he installed a custom 15-inch coil-sprung suspension and custom four-link setups both front and rear. This allows Rich enough adjustability to keep things rolling smoothly. Also installed are an HX40 turbo system, Rancho shocks, Flowmaster exhaust, and 16.5x12 Monster Mods wheels wrapped in 19.5x46x16.5 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw tires.

Four-plus-rated trails are something Mike Carrier of Henderson, Colorado, tackles with ease. His '77 Jeep CJ-7 has been completely rebuilt with not much from the original Jeep remaining. Included are a new small-block Chevy motor, an Atlas II transfer case, a 14-bolt GM rear axle, Detroit Lockers, 4.56 gears, 42-inch TSL radial tires, and TrailReady beadlock wheels.

Was your ride missing from our readers' rides blowout? Well, then you probably didn't submit your photo. What are you waiting for?! Every month we enjoy giving back to our readers and featuring their off-road rides in our pages, so don't hesitate to send in your favorite photo of your vehicle in the dirt. If you'd like to send us images via e-mail, please make sure to send three to four high-resolution photographs, preferably from a 4-megapixel camera or better. For sending through U.S. mail, please include three to four prints of your choice as well. Don't forget to include your full name, hometown, and information about your ride and what modifications you have done.

Please submit your images via e-mail to Include Off-Road Rides in the subject line of your e-mail.
To send us prints, please mail to:

Off-Road Magazine
Attn.: Jordan May
2400 E. Katella Ave., Ste. 700
Anaheim, CA 92806

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