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2015 Bronco Canyon - Friends That Crawl Together Stay Together

Posted in Features on August 28, 2015
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Adam Parent has one of the craziest stories we ever heard. He owned a 4Runner that his friends affectionately referred to as the Disco Runner for the gold graphics over the red paint. It wasn't the most built vehicle amongst the group of friends, but as anyone who has experience with Toyota pickups and 4Runners will tell you, these vehicles don't need to be heavily modified to be extremely capable on the trail. One morning when Adam was leaving for work, the Disco Runner was missing.

This is not the first time we have heard of someone's pride and joy being stolen, but Adam's story just gets stranger from here. Months after it was stolen, the Disco Runner was recovered in the same region it was stolen from. One of Adam's friends was even the officer that responded to the call regarding the murder suspect that was driving it, but his friend did not recognize the Disco Runner. The body of the 4Runner had been hacked off and it was spray-painted black.

Not to be deterred, Adam found a donor 4Runner for cheap, but unfortunately it only wears a standard back paint job. With help from his friends, Adam transferred over all of the good suspension and drivetrain components from the Disco Runner. We joined the group of friends on Bronco Canyon for a shakedown run with Disco 2.0. This is a great trail near Reno that can be easily run in an afternoon and has options in the bottom of the boulder-strewn canyon to challenge a wide variety of vehicles. Finally back on the trail, Adam was all smiles behind the wheel of his new 4Runner, and it performed flawlessly.


Keith Hansen's Land Cruiser graced the cover of our May 2013 issue. He has considered swapping out the leaf springs for a coilover suspension, but the 5.3L-powered FJ40 works so well on the trail that it hasn't given him much reason to change anything.

Here Nate Jensen spots Adam Parent through the trail. Since this was a shakedown run for Adam's 4Runner and he doesn't have rock sliders yet, the spotting was appreciated. Dual transfer cases allowed Adam to creep along in complete control.

It was Jessica Erickson's birthday, and she spent it on the trail with her husband Dusty before heading to the old mining town of Virginia City for barbeque. Yes, Dusty is a lucky guy indeed!

Bronco Canyon is wide enough that we were able to wheel our fullsize Ford without any fear of smashing the vintage sheetmetal. Even though it is rusty and the paint is faded, the body is straight and we like to keep it that way.

Kyle Cogdon is always down for a wheeling trip, even on short notice. Nate's Precision linked the front of the YJ, which Kyle has built up over the years. First it got a rear 9-inch and rear coils, then a front Dana 60, and most recently the front suspension with King coilovers and air bumps.

One of the most appealing qualities of Bronco Canyon is that it offers options to challenge vehicles and drivers from Jeeps on 33s with a rear locker to full-on buggies. Here Matt Hartman works his Toyota pickup on 37-inch Pit Bull Rockers through the trail.

Much of the time Kim and Scott Pender can be found in their Polaris RZR, but they dusted off the family LJ for this trip. It has just about every component GenRight makes, so Scott was sure that Kim couldn't put a dent in it even if she tried.

Nate Jensen built this LJ for a customer, and when they decided to sell Nate's brother Weylin jumped at the opportunity. The LJ uses a custom link suspension with Fox coilovers and air bumps, along with 40-spline Dynatrac ProRock 60 axles so Weylin never has to worry about the 38-inch BFGoodrich KM2s breaking parts.

FJ60 Land Cruiser axles are 3 inches wider than FJ40 axles, so Keith Hansen swapped a set in with 4.88 gears, Lockright lockers, and Longfield birfields. The axles have held up admirably to a life between the V-8 engine and dual transfer cases in front of them and 37-inch Super Swamper Iroks at the other end.

Sherrie Hoss piloted the family buggy with their son Brody in the passenger seat while Nate Jensen spotted people through the trail and moved our Ford F-150 along when we were shooting photos and blocking everyone behind us.

Stock-width Toyota axles are a tradeoff. They are narrow enough to fit through tight trails but can also result in a high pucker factor in off-camber situations. The Toyota axles are strong enough though that Adam Parent has no plans to swap them out.

The Pender family Jeep uses King coilovers and a GenRight link kit to provide miles of articulation. Rolling stock consists of pre-Kevlar 37-inch Goodyear Wrangler MT/Rs on Raceline beadlock rims.

Our 1977 Ford is not the easiest vehicle to see out of, but with an Offroad Design Doubler and 42-inch Pit Bull Rockers on Super Duty axles with Detroit Lockers and 5.38 Sierra Gears, it goes just about anywhere. Just look far ahead on the trail.

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