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Fullsize 4x4s invade Easter Jeep Safari - 2016 Fullsize Invasion

Posted in Moab Experience: 2016 on May 10, 2016
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Photographers: Ken Brubaker

The first Fullsize Invasion was intended as a proverbial finger in the air to the masses of Jeeps that descended on Moab during the annual Easter Jeep Safari. Up until then, we had wondered where all the fullsizes went. You might have found a few here and there on random Moab trails during Easter week, but there were never more than two or three within a mile of each other. It was five years ago when Jerrod Jones of General Tire (generaltire.com) and Steven Watson from Offroad Design (offroaddesign.com) teamed up to gather a few fullsize 4x4s. It was never really an official trail ride, just friends of friends embracing the heavy metal on Moab slickrock. Every year the group grew, and this year was bigger than ever. There were almost more fullsize trucks than you’d find at a Texas rodeo. To make sure there were accessible and challenging obstacles for every kind of fullsize 4x4 attending, the Fullsize Invasion infiltrated two different trails during the week. Daystar (daystarweb.com), General Tire, Offroad Design, and Xtreme 4x4 Tours (xtreme4x4tours.com) embraced the 2016 Fullsize Invasion and provided stickers, T-shirts, and other prizes for the participants. With the event growing every year, we can’t wait to see what shows up in 2017. For even more Fullsize Invasion photos and video, go to fourwheeler.com. To keep up with the Fullsize Invasion, check out the event’s Facebook (facebook.com/fullsizeinvasion) and Instagram (@fullsizeinvasion) pages.

Moab resident Kenneth Minor did a great job of steering his ’92 Dodge W350 Cummins truck into precarious positions for our lenses. As evidenced by the labeled dents on the sheetmetal, this wasn’t Kenneth’s first rodeo. He and his kids combined the good parts from a ’92 and a ’93 Dodge pickup to create the truck you see. It features a hot-rodded 5.9L diesel, Getrag five-speed manual transmission, NP205 transfer case, a Dana 60 front axle with an Eaton E-Locker and a Dana 70 rear axle with a Detroit Locker. Skyjacker 4-inch springs make room for 35-inch BFG Mud-Terrain tires, which are directed by an Offroad Design crossover steering kit and PSC mechanicals.

Samuel McIntyre flogged this bobbed ’78 Jeep J10 pickup on both days of Fullsize Invasion. He revved the swapped-in 6.0L GM LS V-8 to the moon and shifted the NV4500 manual transmission flawlessly to make his way out of the Devil’s Highway hot tub. A 32-spline NV241 mated to a twin-sticked NP205 splits power to Dana 60 (front) and a 14-bolt (rear) axles. The front suspension was converted to a three-link with aluminum links, 14-inch FOA coilovers and nitrogen bumpstops. In the rear you’ll find YJ leaf springs, 14-inch Bilstein 5100 shocks, and a traction bar. The truck has no problem spinning all four 40-inch Toyo Open Country MT tires mounted to 17x9 Raceline beadlocks.

The original bed on the ’15 Ram 2500 of AEV engineer Dave Harriton was replaced with an AEV Tray Bed. The truck is propelled by a 6.7L Cummins fed via an AEV raised air intake, G56 manual transmission and the stock transfer case. A 3-inch AEV suspension system and AEV flares make room for 41x15.50R17 Super Swamper Irok tires mounted to 17x10 AEV Katla wheels. The stock axles are stuffed with 4.10:1 ratio gears and ARB Air Lockers. AEV bumpers lead the front and bring up the rear.

It’s not often you see a dualie on Moab trails. Kevin Walker drove this ex-Navy ’90 Chevy Crew Cab dualie more than 2,000 miles round trip from Texas to Moab for Fullsize Invasion. The truck is powered by a ’90 5.9L 6BT commercial Cummins backed up with an NV4500 manual transmission and an NP205 transfer case. The Dana 60 (front) and 70 (rear) axles are filled with Detroit Lockers. Offroad Design 5-inch front lift springs and rear shackle flip allow for fitment of 37x12.50R16.5 BFG Baja military surplus tires. Other features include custom bumpers and flatbed, Redneck Ram hydraulic-assist steering, 12,000-pound Warn winch and square tube driveshafts.

Cody Bornschein’s wife says she was in charge of the purse strings for the build-up of his ’87 Chevy Blazer. A GM V-8 spins into a TH350 automatic transmission mated to an NP203/205 Doubler transfer case and then on to 35-spline Dana 60 (front) and Dana 70 (rear) axles. The front suspension is made up of home-built leaf packs, and out back you’ll find a custom four-link with Radflo coilovers. The Blazer rolls on 42-inch Goodyear MT/R tires mounted to Raceline beadlock wheels.

Kevin Stearns was allowed to get behind the wheel of his wife’s ’11 Chevy Colorado. The truck is powered by a Tilden massaged 5.3L V-8, a 4L70E automatic transmission, and an Offroad Design Magnum transfer case. The independent front suspension was chopped out and replaced with a Dynatrac ProRock 60 solid axle. In back you’ll find a Dynatrac 60. Both axles are stuffed with 4.88:1 ratio gears and Detroit Lockers. The truck is suspended with a BDS long-arm Jeep JK suspension with Fox shocks and rolls on 41.5-inch Pit Bull Rocker tires on TrailReady wheels.

The CARC green ’00 Dodge Ram 1500 of Johnathon Wood features a modded 360 V-8, rebuilt 46RE transmission, and an Offroad Design Magnum box mated to a twin-sticked NP205 transfer case. The front Dana 60 axle was pilfered from a ’91 Ford and stuffed with an ARB Air Locker and 4.56:1 ratio gears. The ’96 Dodge Dana 60 rear axle was treated to Yukon axleshafts, a Detroit Locker and matching 4.56 gears. A Skyjacker 5-inch lift makes room for 37-inch Toyo tires wrapped around Raceline Monster beadlocks.

Baron and Amber Wheeler seemed to steer this ’99 Ford F-150 wherever they wanted to go. The factory independent front suspension and axle was scrapped in favor of Dana 60 from a ’08 Ford F-350. It’s located with home-built radius arms and 12-inch-travel Sway-A-Way 2 1/2-inch coilover shocks. A 10 1/2-inch Sterling rear axle was pulled from the same F-350 and tossed in the back via Alcan 3-inch-lift leaf springs and a Ruff Stuff Specialties shackle flip kit. Both axles house Yukon Zip Lockers and 5.38:1 ratio gears. The truck rolls on 17-inch Method wheels, InnerAirLock beadlocks, and 40-inch Nitto Trail Grappler tires.

Todd Farrand brought the first full-body Cadillac SUV we’ve ever seen run Moab trails. This ’03 Escalade is powered by the stock 6.0L LQ9 V-8 engine and 4L60E transmission. However, the factory single-speed transfer case was replaced with an Advance Adapters Atlas II. A Mercenary Offroad 3/4-ton GM IFS differential conversion kit and GM 2500 differential stuffed with an ARB Air Locker were used in place of the stock IFS axle. Other frontend components include RCV halfshafts and Mercenary Offroad heavy-duty tie rods. The Mercenary Offroad front and rear bumpers provide far better approach and departure angles than the stock plastic bumper bits. In the rear you’ll find a custom three-link suspension and track bar that locate the GM 14-bolt loaded with Gear Tech HD six-lug hubs, a Detroit Locker, and a Nitro differential cover. Both front and rear axle assemblies spin 5.13:1 Nitro gearsets. The whole shebang rolls on 37-inch General Grabber tires on 17-inch Ultra wheels.

Nobody gets more red rock wheel time than David Hellman of Extreme 4x4 Tours. He showed up with twin tour 4x4s. If you’re looking for extreme off-road thrills in Moab and don’t have a 4x4 of your own, David can help you get your fix. He runs the only adventure company that will drive you through the nastiest obstacles Moab has to offer. The vehicles have full rollcages, comfortable race seats, and harnesses to keep you secured. Other features include soft-riding link suspensions front and rear with a King coilover and bypass shock at each corner. They roll on 37-inch General Grabber tires on TrailReady beadlocks.

Joshua Gordon steered his ’72 Chevy Blazer through both days of Fullsize Invasion. A ’06 6.0L GM LS V-8 powers the short-wheelbase 4x4 and is backed by a 4L60E automatic transmission and an Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case. The 37-inch General Grabber tires on black-painted aluminum wheels are clamped to Dana 60 and GM 14-bolt axles.

You’ll find a ’00 355ci Vortec engine under the hood of Matt Johnson’s ’89 Chevy Suburban, also known as “The Burrito.” The V-8 is backed with an SM465 manual transmission and an NP205 transfer case. The ’75 Dana 44 front axle is plugged with an OX Locker, while the ’76 14-bolt is shaved for more ground clearance and filled with a Detroit Locker. Both axles spin 4.10:1 ratio gears. The front suspension is raised 2 inches and the rear features a shackle flip. These suspension mods make room for 37-inch Goodyear MT/R tires on 17x9 wheels. Other features include custom bumpers, a roof rack, a bed for sleeping, a refrigerator, and on-board air.

Homer Smith inadvertently completed most of the second trail day in two-wheel drive. A quick tweak to the shifter linkage and he was on his way as a 4x4 again. The ’87 Dodge Ramcharger has a 1972 fuel-injected 408 stroker engine under the hood, which is backed up to a ’93 518RH transmission and an NP208 transfer case. The Dana 60 front axle houses 4.56:1 ratio gears, an ARB Air Locker, and GM hubs. In the rear you’ll find a Dana 70 packed with a Detroit Locker and matching 4.56 gears. The Ramcharger rolls on 36-inch Mickey Thompson tires wrapped around 16x10 steel wheels. Other modifications include a boxed frame, on-board air with a hose reel, PSC ram assist, Offroad Design crossover steering, custom bumpers and front and rear winches.

Stephen Watson of Offroad Design seems to bring a different fullsize 4x4 every year. This year he brought along a Chevy truck that acts as a test mule for many of the parts his company produces. Those products include Offroad Design front and rear link suspensions with king coilover shocks. The trick looking bed may be available by the time you read this as a weld-together kit. Nitto 40-inch sticky Trail Grapplers wrapped around TrailReady wheels help the truck cling and climb ledges.

The worn red-ish ’77 Jeep Cherokee owned by Blake Anderson is used as a low-budget, vintage family rockcrawler. It features a Holley fuel-injected AMC 360, twin-sticked Dana 20 transfer case, and Dana 44 front and rear axles filled with lockers and 4.10 gears. The front spring-over and rear shackle flip make room for the 36-inch Super Swamper tires on 15-inch beadlocks.

Jim Lake’s ’01 Dodge Ram 1500 is powered by a 360ci Magnum V-8 pumped up with a Hughes intake manifold, AEM air intake, and SCT programmer. Power feeds into the stock 46RE automatic transmission filled with high-hold clutches and bands and then to an NV231HD transfer case with a Gilley’s Transfer Case Saver. The Dana 44 front axle received a truss and 4.56 gears, while the Chrysler 9.25-inch rear axle received like gears and a Detroit Locker. The front suspension was converted to a radius arm setup with 3-inch Fox remote-reservoir shocks and 2 1/2-inch King nitrogen shorty bumpstops. The rear suspension is made up of Deaver leaf springs, 2 1/2-inch Fox bypass shocks and King 2-inch hydraulic bumpstops. Rolling stock is made up of General Grabber 35x12.50R16 tires slipped over 16x8 Method wheels. The custom bumpers, sliders, traction bars, and heavy-duty steering are all home-built by Jim.

The Poly Performance crew flogged their ’10 Ram 2500 Cummins powered tow rig and proceeded to wedge it in places you would never think to take a newer Quad Cab longbed pickup. The 6.7L Cummins has been boosted with an H&S Performance tuner, AFE intake and exhaust and cooled with a Mishimoto radiator. It’s backed up to the stock G56 manual transmission. Up front you’ll find a Synergy Manufacturing 6-inch long-arm lift kit. Out back is a pair of Synergy Manufacturing 5-inch lift springs and 1-inch shackles. The front and rear suspensions provide 12 inches of wheel travel and feature 3-inch-diameter Fox shocks. Combine this with the Mercenary Offroad bumpers and trimmed fenders and you get the clearance needed for 42-inch Pit Bull Rocker radial tires on 20-inch TrailReady beadlocks. If you look close, you’ll notice a more than a few dents and dings. The truck is used as a Synergy suspension test mule and has been over the Rubicon and on trails in Johnson Valley among other areas.

The ’92 Dodge Dakota of Bob Parrish rolls on 42-inch Pit Bull Rocker tires mounted to recentered Hummer beadlocks thanks to a front and rear Dodge Dana 60 solid axle swap with custom suspension. The front his held up via a three-link with coilovers and the rear is made up of 63-inch Chevy leaf packs. A stock 5.2L Magnum V-8 engine rotates a Torque-Flite 727 automatic transmission and a NP203/205 Offroad Design Doubler transfer case. The axles house a Spartan Locker (front), a Lincoln locker (welded rear) and 4.11:1 ratio gears. Other features include triple transfer case shifters and on-board air.

The biggest and heaviest of the fullsize bunch had to be Sam Ayars’ ’74 Dodge Power Wagon 950. It sits on 46-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claw tires wrapped around Stazworks 20x14 beadlocks. The front and rear Rockwell axles were taken from a ’67 2 1/2-ton military 6x6 and filled with Grizzly Lockers. The front axle was cut and turned for better pinion angle and fit with disc brakes from a Ford F-550. The rear axle received Ford F-350 dualie disc brakes. The chassis is suspended with ProComp 56-inch leaf springs (front), 63-inch ProComp leaf springs (rear) and Bilstein shocks at all four corners. The monster is powered by a tuned non-intercooled 5.9L Cummins 6BT from a ’90 Dodge truck with 300,000 miles on it. This spins a ’95 47RH automatic transmission and a divorced NP203/205 Offroad Design Doubler transfer case. Other features include a ’78 front clip, custom bumpers, rock sliders, and belly armor, a shortened M101 trailer bed, front and rear winches, removable hardtop, 10-point cage, PSC steering, an engine-driven air compressor, and a heavy-duty Eaton Vickers V10F hydraulic power steering pump.

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