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July 2013 Readers’ Rides

Posted in Features on July 1, 2013
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Photographers: Readers

Pure Jeep
Vehicle: 2007 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited
Owner: Steven Davis, Lexington Park, MD
Tires & Wheels: 34x10.5-15 Super Swamper LTBs on 15x8 US Steel Rock Crawler wheels
Suspension: 4-inch Skyjacker kit with coils, track bars, control arms, sway bar disconnects, and Nitro shocks
Drivetrain: Dana 30 front axle, Dana 44 rear axle
Performance Mods: 3.8L V-6 with K&N cold air intake and chip
Other Doodads: Skyjacker Nitro steering stabilizer, Pure Jeep Crawler bumper, 48-inch Hi-Lift jack
Does everything work the way you want?: You bet!
Anything you would change?: Lockers, thicker skidplates
Anything to add?: I am more impressed with my JK then I was with my TJ build. The power distribution at low rpm is awesome!

Jersey Four
Vehicle: 1989 Toyota 4Runner
Owner: Ricky Beltran, Vineland , NJ
Tires & Wheels: 35x12.5R15 red label General Grabbers on Mickey Thompson Classic 8s
Suspension: 4-inch Trail Gear solid axle swap
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance Mods: 22RE with K&N filter, Flowmaster 40 Series muffler, and 21⁄2-inch exhaust
Other Doodads: Full Pioneer stereo system, custom front driveshaft
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes
Anything you would change?: Front and rear lockers
Anything to add?: Took me about 5 months to complete this truck. I had to put new fenders, quarter-panels, and new paint.

Foreign Reader of the Month
Vehicle: 1991 Jeep Wrangler YJ
Owner: Mario Hornuss, Toufen Township, Taiwan
Tires & Wheels: 34x10.5x15 Super Swamper LTBs on 15x8 aluminum rims
Suspension: Spring-over with Revolver shackles and Skyjacker shocks on custom mounts
Drivetrain: 5-speed manual, NP231 transfer case, Dana 30 front, Dana 35 rear, ARB Air Lockers, Yukon chromoly axleshafts
Performance Mods: 2.5L 4-cylinder with custom exhaust
Other Doodads: Come Up winch, custom rollcage, cutting brakes, air compressor, Smittybilt front and rear bumpers, MasterCraft Safety Baja RS seats, dual batteries
Does everything work the way you want?: Great reliable setup for 4-wheel competitions and weekend trips in Taiwan to come safe back home
Anything you would change?: TeraLow gears for the transfer case
Anything to add?: I like this Jeep and plan to keep it how it is

Military Reader of the Month
Vehicle: 2005 Jeep Wrangler TJ
Owner: Ryan Snelson, Norfolk, VA
Tires & Wheels: 33x12.5R15 BFGoodrich All-Terrains on 15x8 black steel rims
Suspension: 2-inch Rubicon Express budget boost
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance Mods: Stock 4.0L
Other Doodads: Tube fenders
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Floated it for about 30 seconds in a deep hole when it only had 1,500 miles on the odometer. My wife was pissed! Pulled the drain plugs in the floor and went on goofing off.
Does everything work the way you want?: Not yet
Anything you would change?: Gears, lift, lockers, and more

Super Jeep
Vehicle: 1973 Jeep CJ-5
Owner: Bret Gadbury, Cheyenne, WY
Tires & Wheels: 35x12.5R15 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains on white steel spokes
Suspension: 21⁄2-inch Pro Comp springs
Drivetrain: Stock transmission and transfer case, Dana 44 axles
Performance Mods: Heddman Headers Other Doodads: Blake-built bumpers and tire carrier, LED brake lights, ’75-plus windshield and soft top, braided stainless steel brake lines, Optima RedTop battery, Grant steering wheel
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Repeatedly getting stuck on easy stuff because I forgot to shift into 4WD
Does everything work the way you want?: Yep, she’s pretty stout
Anything you would change?: Power steering and hydraulic clutch would be nice, a few more tranny gears, a rear locker, and a winch would about round it out
Anything to add?: This isn’t the biggest rock we could find, just the easiest to capture and definitely wasn’t the hardest line of the day! Love my Jeep, love the mag, life is good.

The Mule
Vehicle: 1990 Isuzu SpaceCab
Owner: Kyle Curtis, Riverton, UT
Tires & Wheels: 31- to 33-inch depending on the day
Suspension: Cranked torsion bars and Old Man Emu upper control arms in front, add-a-leaf and longer shackles in rear
Drivetrain: Stock 5-speed manual transmission, 10-bolt front axle, and 12-bolt rear axle
Performance Mods: 2.6L 4-cylinder with straight pipe to 5-inch stack
Funniest Wheeling Incident: The Mule doesn’t usually get stuck, but when she does it takes a least two fullsize rigs to get her out!
Does everything work the way you want?: Can’t complain for a stock truck
Anything you would change?: Full-width Chevy axles, transfer case gears, lockers
Anything to add?: It is a great truck for all-around use and gets good gas mileage, but it isn’t a fullsize truck. If you get an early model, good luck finding parts!

Van Rangerburg
Vehicle: 1989 Ford Ranger
Owner: Tyler Van Valkenburg, Alger, WA
Tires & Wheels: 35x12.5R15 Goodyear Wrangler MT/Rs on steel beadlock wheels
Suspension: Custom 6-inch springs, James Duff extended radius arms, Skyjacker Hydro shocks, 3-inch body lift
Drivetrain: NP435 transmission, divorce-mounted NP205 transfer case, Dana 44 front axle with Lock-Right and Yukon chromoly axleshafts, Ford 9-inch rear axle with mini spool and Moser axleshafts, 4.56 gears
Performance Mods: 302 V-8 bored 0.040 over with RV cam and Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor
Other Doodads: Full in-cab cage, custom rock sliders and bumpers, Warn 9.5xp winch, custom fuel tank in bed under toolbox
Funniest Wheeling Incident: There was a rock wall climb that people said they had never seen anyone go over. My first friend failed, my second friend failed, then it was my turn—no problem! The jaws dropped and we left them in the dust.
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes
Anything you would change?: 4-link the rear, stretch the wheelbase 5 inches, and bob the bed
Anything to add?: I bought the truck bone-stock in 1998 as a 4-cylinder and a 5-speed, and built it from there

Swamp Thing
Vehicle: 1953 Chevy pickup body on ’76 Suburban frame
Owner: DelShane Kluge, Hankinson, ND
Tires & Wheels: 44-inch Ground Hawgs
Suspension: 12-inch lift springs
Drivetrain: TH400 transmission, divorced NP205 transfer case, Dana 44 front axle, 14-bolt rear axle, 4.10 gears
Performance Mods: 454ci big-block, cheapest headers I could find
Does everything work the way you want?: Would like to add hydro-assist steering
Anything you would change?: Stronger axles when they break
Anything to add?: I started building the truck in 2008 and ran into a snag with driveshaft angle with my original build plan, so I scratched it and went with divorced transfer case. Found one under an old International Harvester pickup and it has worked out perfectly so far. Waiting for the inevitable Dana 44 front axle failure to upgrade it to a Dana 60 or just skip a step and go with Rockwells and Ag tires!

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Tuff Taco
Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Tacoma
Owner: Jeff Brathovde, Fayetteville, NC
Tires & Wheels: 32x12.5R16 Pro Comp Mud Terrains on 16-inch Pro Comp rims
Suspension: 8-inch Tuff Country
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance Mods: 4.0L V-6 with Flowmaster dual exhaust
Other Doodads: Road Armor bumper, 9,000-pound Ramsey winch, hard-shell tonneau cover
Does everything work the way you want?: Everything on it does want I want it to
Anything you would change?: A solid front axle would be nice

Endless Summer
Vehicle: 1996 Jeep Cherokee XJ
Owner: Mason Coughlin, Clayton, NY
Tires & Wheels: 33x12.5R15 Mud King on 15x8 chrome steel
Suspension: 3-inch Rough Country coils and 2-inch spacers and Rough Country 2.0 shocks in front, custom triangulated 4-link in rear with Ruff Stuff uppers and JK lowers, F-250 shocks
Drivetrain: Dana 30 front, trussed Chrysler 81⁄4 in rear, 3.55s
Performance Mods: 4.0L with short ram intake, OBX header, and Cherry Bomb muffler Other Doodads: Stretched the wheelbase to 103 inches in anticipation of 37-inch tires, rear window from an ’82 Datsun pickup, new 1⁄8-inch unibody framerails in back, custom front bumper and rock sliders, LED rear lights
Funniest Wheeling Incident: I wasn’t really wheeling, but I parked at school one day with my front tire flexed on top of the front tire on my brother’s Samurai. It drew a lot of attention and looked pretty cool, but needless to say the principal was not impressed. It was the only letter I ever had sent home in high school.
Does everything work the way you want?: The transmission computer intermittently stops, so not really
Anything you would change?: 700R4 transmission, 1-ton axles, 4.88s, 37-inch tires, long-arm front suspension, high steer
Anything to add?: I want to thank everyone who helped me pull this off. I built the Jeep last summer between work and my transition from high school to college at RIT for mechanical engineering technology. I had a lot of fun watching it come together and still got a long way to go. I bought this for $200 with 229,000 miles, and seeing it come this far is a good feeling of success.

Desert Warrior
Vehicle: 2005 GMC Sierra 1500
Owner: Jesus Moreno, El Paso, TX
Tires & Wheels: 33-inch Grizzly Grip on 17-inch Pro Comp Xtreme rims
Suspension: 6-inch Pro Comp lift with MX6 shocks
Drivetrain: Stock except for 4.56 gears
Performance Mods: 5.3L, cold air intake, Superchips programmer, MagnaFlow exhaust
Does everything work the way you want?: Yes
Anything you would change?: Bigger tires

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?

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