Click for Coverage
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

May 2013 Readers’ Rides

Posted in Features on May 1, 2013
Share this
Photographers: Readers

River City Rockcrawler
Vehicle: 1974 Ford F-100
Owner: Dan Stites, Sacramento, CA
Tires & Wheels: 35x12.5R15 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains on black Pro Comp steel wheels
Suspension: 6-inch Deaver coils and custom long arm in front, 51⁄2-inch Deaver leaf springs and Sky Mfg. shackle flip in rear
Drivetrain: NP435 transmission, NP205 transfer case, front Dana 44, rear Ford 9-inch with spool and alloy axleshafts, 4.56 gears
Performance Mods: Stock 390ci V-8
Does everything work the way you want?: With the new suspension in front it works great!
Anything you would change?: Front locker and chromoly axleshafts, 4.88 gears, 37-inch tires

Homebuilt YJ
Vehicle: 1994 Jeep Wrangler YJ
Owner: Adam VanSlyke, Washington Court House, OH
Tires & Wheels: 35x12.5x15 BF Goodrich KM2s on 15x8 Cragar 342s
Suspension: Spring over axle with rear spring packs and main add-a-leaf, Skyjacker shocks at all corners
Drivetrain: Stock AX15 5-speed transmission, NP231 with slip yoke eliminator, Dana 30 front with 760 U-joints, 1-piece longside axleshaft, Tru-Trac, 31-spline Ford 8.8 rear with Aussie locker, 4.88 gears
Performance Mods: ’02 intake swap and TIG-welded custom header
Other Doodads: 10,000 Viper winch, A/C compressor converted into onboard air, Hi-lift jack, custom bumpers with rear swing-down tire carrier and front trail stinger, 6-point rollcage
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes
Anything you would change?: Chromoly shafts front and rear and a Dana 44 in the front
Anything to add?: Every bit of the work done on this YJ has been done by me in my own garage

Vehicle: 2004 Toyota Tacoma
Owner: Brett Ratell, Bay City, MI
Tires & Wheels: 285/75/16 Treadwright Wardens on black powdercoated FJ80 wheels
Suspension: Old Man Emu coil springs in front, stock springs with add-a-leaves in back, Bilstein 5100 shocks
Drivetrain: Stock with factory electric locker
Performance Mods: 3.4L V-6 with K&N filter
Other Doodads: Baja Rack roof rack, Mombasa Adventure rooftop tent mounted over the bed, All-Pro Off-Road rear bumper with an Ironman Fab rear tire carrier, Scion stereo, Lightforce 140 lights, DieHard Platinum battery, Trasharoo
Funniest Wheeling Incident: An impromptu “tire test” with my old Toyota pickup and my buddy that ended up being a daylong, stuck-past-the-axles late night deal
Anything you would change?: ARB Bull Bar and Air Lockers
Anything to add?: We love taking the truck camping, especially to Michigan’s U.P.

Big Red
Vehicle: 1966 Chevy K10
Owner: Rob Woods
Tires & Wheels: 35/16/15 Super Swamper Boggers on 15x12 Mickey Thompson Classic IIs
Suspension: 3-inch lift springs
Drivetrain: TH350 transmission, NP203 transfer case, 10-bolt front with limited slip, 12-bolt rear with locker, 3.73 gears
Performance Mods: ’98 Vortec 350 V-8 with Edelbrock high-rise intake manifold and 650-cfm carb
Other Doodads: ’78 K10 chassis
Funniest Wheeling Incident: My daughter sleeps to the hum of the Boggers. It is her redneck lullaby.
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes
Anything to add?: When my daughter is able to climb in on her own we are going up to a 6-inch lift and 40-inch tires

Zombie Crawler
Vehicle: 2009 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Rubicon
Owner: Sonja Grimaldi, Yuma, AZ
Tires & Wheels: 39.5x16.5x17 Pit Bull Rockers on 17x8 Stazworks double-beadlock rims
Suspension: 6-inch Teraflex lift with Monster control arms
Drivetrain: 42RE transmission, Advance Adapters Rubicrawler, NP241 Rocktrac transfer case, Tera 60 axles front and rear with ARB Air Lockers and 5.38 gears
Performance Mods: 3.8L with Banks intake and cat-back exhaust
Other Doodads: Zombie wrap by Sonja’s Banners Plus, Tom Wood’s driveshafts, PSC hydraulic assist steering, Mopar half-doors, full rollcage, 5-point harnesses, Lightforce lights, Warn 9500Ti winch, ARB fridge
Funniest Wheeling Incident: We thought we made it through a squeeze with no body damage, so we high-fived everyone. But when we started to drive on, the rear right wheel was going in and out like a cartoon, badly bent.
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes, it works great
Anything you would change?: Coilovers will be the last modification

Military Ride of the Month
Vehicle: 1998 Jeep Wrangler TJ
Owner: William Bixman, SSG, USAR, Paso Robles, CA
Tires & Wheels: 33x12.5R15 Dick Cepek FC-II on Pro Comp steel wheels
Suspension: Rubicon Express 41⁄2-inch Superflex with short arms and Rancho RS9000X shocks
Drivetrain: Stock AX15 transmission, NP231J with Teraflex SYE, front Dana 30 with ARB, rear G2-built Dana 44 with 35-spline ARB, alloy axleshafts, and disc-brake conversion
Performance Mods: 4.0L with K&N intake and Banks header and cat-back exhaust
Other Doodads: Custom rear bumper that doubles as air tank
Funniest wheeling incident: After I first purchased my TJ, I kept it clean inside and out and mostly just commuted with it. While running some errands one day, I got a call from a friend who was out mudding and needed some assistance. Lo and behold, my Chili Pepper Red Jeep became a North Carolina Red Clay Jeep that day and hasn’t been very clean ever since.
Does everything work the way you want?: So far, so good!
Anything you would change?: Wish I had waited for the Rubicon edition so I wouldn’t have started with a rear Dana 35 (RIP), but they didn’t come in Chili Pepper Red. Anything that has been changed thus far was due to necessity (broken parts, weak links).
Anything to add?: I’ve done almost all of the modifications and maintenance to my TJ. Every time I need a new tool, I buy it and add it to the tool kit in the trunk. Not once have I had to leave her on the trail because of a breakdown, and I intend to not have to trailer her to or from the trail.

Quick Learner
Vehicle: 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80
Owner: Asher Derrico, Atlanta, GA
Tires & Wheels: 285/75R16 BFG All-Terrains on factory Tundra rims
Suspension: Old Man Emu 3-inch lift with Metal Tech 1-inch spacers
Drivetrain: A442F transmission, factory full-floating rearend, Longfield birfields, 4.11 gears
Performance Mods: 4.5L 6-cylinder, high-flow catalytic converters, Chevy muffler
Other Doodads: ARB Bull Bar, Safari Snorkel, Warm M8000 winch with synthetic line, MetalTech sliders, Slee skidplate, Part Time conversion with Aisin hubs
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Passing a Jeep on a tight trail up at Beasley Knob and almost ripping my fender flares off on his tires
Does everything work the way you want?: Almost
Anything you would change?: Add some lockers, get larger tires, take the fender flares off, and add a rear bumper
Anything to add?: I’ve been reading this magazine for only a year, but I’ve already learned so much

No Use for a Car
Vehicle: 2008 GMC 2500HD
Owner: Dan Swezey, Blue Point, NY
Tires & Wheels: 325/60R20 Toyo Open Country A/T on 20x10 MKV wheels
Suspension: 6-inch Pro Comp lift with leveling kit and traction bars
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance Mods: 6.0L with K&N cold air intake, Hypertech programmer
Other Doodads: PIAA lights front and rear
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Driving down a river to wash my truck
Does everything work the way you want?: Hell yeah!
Anything you would change?: Aftermarket bumpers with winch, Whipple supercharger
Anything to add?: This truck is used like a truck!

Rocky Mountain Heat
Vehicle: 1994 Toyota 4Runner
Owner: James R. Smith, Mount Vernon, OH
Tires & Wheels: 32x11.5x15 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KMs on factory wheels
Suspension: Cranked torsion bars, Old Man Emu heavy-load rear springs, heavy-duty shocks
Drivetrain: Stock with auxiliary transmission cooler
Performance Mods: 3.0L V-6 with cold air intake and K&N filter and custom stainless MagnaFlow stainless 21⁄2-inch exhaust
Other Doodads: Homebuilt grille guard with Hella 500 driving lights, dichroic foglights, electric fan, rear bumper with jack mount, roof rack, skidplates
Funniest wheeling incident: When the penny-loafer-wearing, Corvette-driving yuppie at the gas station asked me where I bought my mud “graphics,” I politely explained that it was real mud, it comes from trails, and it wasn’t decals!
Does everything work the way you want?: Cooling system can’t handle hot ambient, heavy payload, and long, steep climbs
Anything you would change?: More power, less rust Anything to add?: If you’re planning a trip you really should do a trial run beforehand. I had driven my 4Runner for years and never had any cooling issues until I headed out fully loaded on a trip to Colorado. It would’ve been nice to have fixed some stuff at home beforehand instead of beside the road in 105 degree Kansas weather.

Vehicle: 2005 Ford F-150
Owner: Jeremy Eisenbarger, Maysville, MO
Tires & Wheels: 265/70R17 Hankook Dynapro MTs on stock wheels
Suspension: Stock
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance Mods: 4.6L V-8 with K&N air filter and dual exhaust
Other Doodads: Custom winch mount, Mile Marker 9500 winch, Go Rhino emergency light bar, four 100W off-road lights
Does everything work the way you want?: Almost
Anything you would change?: More horsepower, lift kit, front and rear lockers
Anything to add?: Since I am volunteer firefighter that is how my truck got the name Firebug. This is my daily driver and personal emergency vehicle, and several times a year I mud race it at different events.

The X Factor
Vehicle: 1997 Suzuki X-90
Owner: Mike Harper, Kenna, WV
Tires & Wheels: 32x11.5R15 Mastercraft M/Ts on 15x10 Center Line aluminum wheels
Suspension: Custom 2-inch spring spacers, custom 2-inch body lift, Suzuki side coils
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance Mods: None
Other Doodads: Custom front bumper, soon to have matching rock sliders and rear bumper
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes
Anything you would change?: 4.3L V-6, TH350 transmission

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 1,600 by 1,200 pixels (or two megapixels) and saved as a TIFF, EPS, or maximum-quality JPEG file. Write to: Readers’ Rides, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 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?

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results