Keeping Track Of Off-Road's Project Vehicles
Let's stop for a second and take stock of how many project vehicles we currently have enlisted at OFF-ROAD. After all, we're starting to lose track, and it's time to put some out to pasture. We have some new projects that you might have already caught a glimpse of in a random picture or story, and we have some old favorites coming back out of the mothballs.
OFF-ROAD received this Super Duty from Ford in 2003 with the new (at the time) 6.0L engine that was supposed to be so much better than the 7.3L Powerstroke diesel. In case you haven't read the last ten stories on this truck, it's been pretty much a headache ever since it was brought into our fleet. The frame, body, suspension, and drivetrain have all held up, but the engine has been a nightmare. Currently, the truck is running better than it did when it drove home from the dealer, and we're going to try to keep it this way from now on. Long live the STD.
OFF-ROAD got a brand new Tundra on long-term loan from Toyota when the body style changed. Feature Editor Jordan May built it into a SEMA show truck for Pro Comp's booth, and it remained largely unchanged after its inception. Over the last couple years, it has been used for hauling parts and transportation, but was never really a favorite off-roader. Lately, its horrific fuel economy with the 37-inch tires kept it sitting in our storage garage until Toyota recently repossessed the truck to go to the crusher. Goodbye, Tundra.
If you couldn't tell from its name, this infamous Dodge has been quite the problem child over the last 8 years of project building. A carryover that Editor Jerrod Jones brought from his years at Petersen's 4 Wheel Off-Road, Jinxy has probably been built and wrenched on more than it's been off-roaded during the last decade. A recent rebuild in 2009 has revitalized this truck and it's now being used for off-roading and daily driving. Its days as a project vehicle are just about over.
Our project Bronco has been a ton of fun to build and off-road, and has probably seen more off-road miles over the last couple of years than any other project vehicle we have. The Skyjacker radius arms and front coils are still on it, but we've swapped on some Deaver leaf springs and Bilstein 5100 shocks to help out the performance. It's still running great, and by the time you read this the Juice should have a new Camburg coilover front end and some fiberglass. It's not done quite yet.
Jordan's New '97 Chevy
Jordan May has made a new purchase of an old truck and is now getting ready to build our new '97 Chevy 2WD prerunner project. It's already got a 2WD lift kit with some 33-inch tires on it now, but we'll soon be yanking that kit to make room for a long-travel suspension and a bunch more mods. Stay tuned.
The K500 (aka Premudder)
Editor Jones brought more than just his old red Dodge over when he took over OFF-ROAD; an old '74 Blazer that was known as the Premudder came with him, too. The Premudder was a project that was built way too fast in order to meet story and trip deadlines, and it was built for a different purpose than what it's used for these days. It spent a couple years sitting with a bent frame, cracked body, wasted tranny, and out-of-tune engine, but we've recently been busting knuckles trying to re-release this beast as the K500. A resurrection is coming.
This was maybe the shortest-lived projects we've ever had. Half the staff hadn't even gotten the chance to drive this truck before Suzuki took it back, but we had some fun in it before it was gone. Basically a Nissan Frontier with different badging, our little Equator was fun to drive and didn't get too bad of fuel economy. The PRG long-travel kit made it fun for fire roads and other mild off-roading activities, but a lack of power and some lame traction control left us wishing for something a bit less tame. Goodbye, little truck.
When we got the idea to start driving to work on 47-inch tires, we tried to figure out what the heck we were going to put these tires onto. Passing by Jeeps R Us one day, we looked at their high-horsepower fullsize Cherokee that had remained dormant for a year. After stopping in and chatting with the owner, we had ourselves a new project truck to make 47-inch tires work on. It's been interesting, to say the least. And to date, no tickets yet! We'll see how it goes....