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March 2009 4x4 Readers Trucks - Readers' Rides

Posted in Features on March 1, 2009
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Submission Information
Send us a picture of your ride if you've never done so. We keep a surplus of Readers' Rides submissions, but only one submission per person, and we love all off-road vehicles so send in your entries whether your rig is stock or not. Make sure each digital image is at least 1600 x 1200 pixels (or two megapixels) and saved as a TIFF, EPS, or maximum-quality JPEG file.

Write to:
Readers' Rides
4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
fax 323.782.2704

Email to:

Vehicle (year, make, model)
Owner (name, city, state)
Tires & Wheels (size, make, model)
Suspension (lift, springs, shocks)
Drivetrain (tranny, transfer case, axles)
Performance (engine mods)
Other mods
Does it work the way you want?
Anything you would change?
Funniest Wheeling Incident
Anything to add?

Hot Shot Solid 1500

Vehicle: '03 Dodge Ram 1500
Owner: Chad Oertel, Phoenix, AZ
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.50 Cooper STTs on Unique 17-inch
Suspension: Custom 7-inch lift via a straight-axle conversion using a triangulated four-link with King coilovers, 63-inch rear leaves, custom shackles, Bilstein shocks
Drivetrain: High-pinion Dana 44 front with a custom truss, Dedenbear knuckles, and chromoly shafts, 14-bolt rear, disc conversion, ARB Air Lockers, 4.88 gears
Performance mods: Hemi, Flowmaster muffler
Other doodads: High steer, custom winch mount, bumpers, sliders, skidplates, tire gate
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes, it's good on nearly every terrain, and it gets wheeled every chance I get
Anything you would change?: Hydraulic assist and a 'cage

Super Slinger

Vehicle: '99 Ford F-250
Owner: Jeremiah Kundel, Davenport, IA
Tires & Wheels: 38.5x15 Boggers on 16.5x12 American Racing
Suspension: 8-inch Fabtech
Drivetrain: Dana 50, 10.5-inch Sterling, 4.10 gears
Performance Mods: 5.4L, K&N air filter, 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust
Other Doodads: 3-inch body lift, Optima RedTop
Anything you would change?: Selectable lockers and a winch

3/4 Jeep

Vehicle: '67 Jeep Gladiator J-200
Owner: Tyson Newell Tires: 35x12.50x15 on Wildcat radials
Suspension: Custom 6-inch
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance mods: 230ci
Does everything work the way you want?: So far
Anything you would change?: I'm making a list
Anything to add?: I haven't made many changes to it yet, but considering that I only paid 75 bucks for it, I have a little extra change to make it better!

Trail King

Vehicle: '02 Toyota Tacoma
Owner: Matt Strahan, CA
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.50 Goodyear MT/Rs on 15x8 Allied steel beadlocks
Suspension: All Pro 4-inch front springs, 63-inch Chevy 1/2-ton rear springs, All Pro Johnny Joint hangers with 6-inch shackles
Drivetrain: J.E. Reel driveshafts, Dana 44 front with 30-spline axles, and an Ox Locker, stock Tacoma rear axle with an E-Locker, 4.88 gears
Performance mods: Poweraid throttle-body spacer, K&N cold-air intake, Magnaflow muffler
Other doodads: Front Range transfer-case crossmember, custom axlewrap bars, Adventure Trailers Expedition bed replacement, 19-gallon water tank, propane and power hookups, Ezi-Awn rooftop tent, onboard air
Does everything work the way you want?: For now
Anything you would change?: I'm building a Dana 60 to go in the rear, and an Inchworm transfer case would be nice

Blazing Home

Vehicle: '84 Chevy S-10 Blazer
Owner: Lucas Aguilar, Lakewood, CO Tires: Custom-cut 38.5x15 Thornbirds
Suspension: Custom via 4-inch Chevy 1/2-ton springs with two leaves removed per pack, custom shackles, Pro Comp shocks
Drivetrain: TH400, NP208, Dana 44 front with a Aussie Locker, 14-bolt rear, welded, 4.56 gears
Performance mods: 5.7L, Advance Adapters headers, 2.5-inch Cherry Bombs, K&N filter, ACCEL ignition, custom mapped ECM, 100 shot of NO2
Other doodads: Removable hardtop and doors, interior 'cage, custom armor Funniest Wheeling incident: Twisting the TH400 in half playing with the NO2 100 yards from the trail head
Does everything work the way you want?: Almost. It's a project with a steep learning curve
Anything you would change?: Should have started with a K-5 frame for symmetry and support
Anything to add?: This just shows what can be done with an angle grinder, welder, and flat garage floor!


Vehicle: '98 GMC Z71
Owner: Allan Kennedy
Tires & Wheels: 35x12.50 Pro Comp Mud Terrains on 16x10 Rock Crawlers
Suspension: 6-inch Pro Comp
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance mods: Poweraid throttle-body spacer and chip, Flowmaster exhaust, Airaid intake
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes

Swamp Time

Vehicle: '94 Ford F-250
Owner: Michael Short, Paxico, KS
Tires & Wheels: 35-inch Pro Comp Xterrains on 16-inch
Suspension: Custom 4-inch
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance mods: 460ci
Other doodads: Custom intake
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes
Anything you would change?: I want Swampers!


Vehicle: '83 Jeep CJ-7
Owner: Brian Pikerowski, Martinsburg, WV
Tires & Wheels: 39.5-inch Iroks on 17x9 beadlocks
Suspension: Stretched to 100 inches via stock XJ springs
Drivetrain: T-18, Dana 300, Dana 60 axles, Lincoln locked, 4.10 gears
Performance Mods: 358ci I-6 bored 0.030 over
Other Doodads: 8,000-pound Ramsey winch
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes
Anything you would change?: Full hydraulic steering

Ranger Conversion

Vehicle: '00 Ford Ranger
Owner: Michael Smith, Oxnard, CA
Tires & Wheels: 33x12.50 MTZs on 16-inch Classic Lock
Suspension: 5-inch RCD coilover conversion
Drivetrain: Heavy-duty front driveshaft, 4.10 gears
Performance mods: 4.0L, K&N intake, Flowmaster exhaust
Does everything work the way you want?: Works well, but I wish there was more wheel travel
Anything you would change?: Dixon Brothers long-travel kit, lockers, and maybe 35-inch tires

Extra Sun

Vehicle: '06 Nissan Xterra
Owner: Robert Kalmbach Tires: 33-inch BFG A-Ts
Suspension: 5-inch Calmini
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance mods: Stock
Other doodads: Shock Works bumpers, skids, and sliders, MileMarker winch
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes

Kansas Crusher

Vehicle: '95 Jeep Wrangler
Owner: Aaron Blaylock, McPerson, KS
Tires & Wheels: 35x15 TSLs on 15x10 steel
Suspension: 5-inch Rough Country
Drivetrain: AX-5, NP231, Dana 30 front, Dana 35 rear
Performance mods: 4.0L, Brute Force intake, Dynamax header and exhaust
Other doodads: Custom front bumper, suspension seats, custom skids and taillights
Does everything work the way you want?: Other than the clutch wearing thin, everything works extremely well
Anything you would change?: More power and a coil-spring conversion

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