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Readers’ Rides - March 2014

Posted in News on January 10, 2014
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Photographers: Readers

Ultimate Toy
Vehicle: 1982 Toyota 4x4 longbox
Owner: Sandi Honican, Spokane, WA
Tires & Wheels: 36-inch Iroks on 15x10 Pro Comp Rock Crawlers, 33⁄4-inch backspacing
Suspension: 6-inch All-Pro Extreme lift kit with long-travel leaf springs, Bilstein 5100 shocks, 2-inch body lift (for clearance to fit the engine and tranny)
Drivetrain: NV3550 and adapter from Advance Adapters, stock Toyota 21-spline gear-drive transfer case, stock front axlehousing with Marlin Crawler 4340 chromoly 30-spline shafts and Birfields, stock rear axle
Performance: ’07 5.3L LM7 Vortec V-8, Walbro fuel pump from Summit Racing Equipment, Pace Performance Corvette fuel filter regulator kit, LS F-body oil pan for front axle clearance Other Doodads: Crossover steering, custom cowl hood, homemade bumpers and rock sliders, Be Cool radiator, Spal fan, 360-degree lighting system via Rigid, KC, and Tuff LED lights, Tom Wood’s driveshafts, auxiliary 25-gallon gas tank
Does It Work the Way You Want?: Pretty much. The power is a lot of fun and very smooth.
Anything You Would Change?: Hope to one day upgrade to ARB Air Lockers or Toyota E-Lockers, 4.88 or 5.29 gears, onboard air, rear All-Pro Off-Road disc-brake conversio
Funniest Wheeling Incident: My stereo and whole dash fell out into my passenger’s lap. But to my wiring credit, the music did keep playing.
Anything to Add?: I need to finish fabrication on my rear bumper and install a rollcage. My goal is to participate in the Ultimate Adventure if it comes back the Pacific Northwest.

Air Force Patriot
Vehicle: 2013 Jeep Patriot FDII
Owner: Anthony Palmer, Travis AFB, CA
Tires & Wheels: Stock (215/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler SR-As) on factory wheels
Suspension: Stock
Drivetrain: Stock
Other Doodads: Cut off the muffler and trimmed the back bumper after the muffler melted part of it
Does It Work the Way You Want?: Yes. It’s no Wrangler, but still a lot of fun.
Anything You Would Change?: 2-inch coil lift, 15-inch wheels with bigger tires, tubular front bumper, rock sliders, hitch-mounted tire carrier, quick disconnects for front sway bar
Anything to Add?: Who said Patriots can’t go wheeling?

Track Rover
Vehicle: 1996 Geo Tracker
Owner: Jason Wodarcyk, St. Clairsville, OH
Tires & Wheels: 38.5x11-15LT Super Swamper Boggers on old-school Jackman steel rims
Suspension: Skyjacker YJ leaf springs and shocks, Dodge Ram shackles and leaf spring mounts
Drivetrain: Stock 5-speed transmission, Samurai transfer case with Trail-Gear Creeper gears, Samurai front axle with Lock-Right, Tracker rear axle with welded diff, 5.12 gears
Performance Mods: 1.6L 16-valve 4-cylinder engine with ported and polished head and custom exhaust
Other Doodads: Owner built bumpers and snorkel, Optima YellowTop battery, KC Daylighters
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Overhearing bystanders on the trail arguing about which model of Land Rover my rig was due to the Rover spare tire cover
Does everything work the way you want?: Usually
Anything you would change?: Swap to Toyota axles with 5.29 gears and beadlock wheels
Anything to add?: My rig usually has polka music jamming on the trail

Hand-built High Hood
Vehicle: 1962 Jeep CJ-3B
Owner: Jared Bradford, Salida, CO
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.5R17 Goodyear MT/R on Helo rims with Staun internal beadlocks
Suspension: Custom leaf spring with Pro Comp Nitro shocks
Drivetrain: AX-15 5-speed manual, Advance Adapters Atlas 4-speed, Dana 44 front with Alloy axleshafts and super joints, trussed Dana 44 rear with Dana 60 outers and disc brakes, ARB Air Lockers, Ballistic Fabrication diff covers
Performance Mods: Rebuilt 2.5L 4-cylinder
Other Doodads: Cage built into body and frame with 1⁄8- and 1⁄4-inch-wall DOM tubing, fire alarm air horns
Funniest Wheeling Incident: So many crazy incidents, from using the bikini top as a stretcher in Moab to calling “high side” on Carnage Canyon to avoid rollover. Every adventure has its incidents and rewards.
Does everything work the way you want?: Everything works exactly how I want
Anything you would change?: I need new seats, hopefully this spring
Anything to add?: It was so rewarding to have built this with my own hands. I could not have done it without Ty Best of The Shop in Salida. Friends like him are hard to come by. Thanks to my family for all the time I spent on it and for joining in the adventure.

Staff Sergeant’s TJ
Vehicle: 2004 Jeep Wrangler TJ
Owner: Rob Murphy, Fairbanks, AK
Tires & Wheels: 36x12.50R15 Super Swampers TSL Radials on steel wheels
Suspension: Rock Krawler long-arm kit, Rubicon Express 8-inch front coils, Skyjacker 8-inch rear coils, RE extreme-duty front shocks, Trail Master SSV rear shocks, 1-inch body lift, BellyUp skidplate, 4-linked rear suspension, RE adjustable track bar with drop bracket
Drivetrain: NV3550 manual transmission; D300 transfer case, flipped, twin-sticked with Lomax 4:1 gearset; D30 front axle, 4.56 gears, OX locker, Alloy inner axles/seals, Warn manual hub conversion; D44 rear axle, disc brake conversion, 4.56 gears, Truetrac limited-slip, Superior axleshafts
Performance Mods: RE 62mm throttle body, Banks header, K&N filter, snorkel, Banks exhaust, electric fan, 1-inch motor mount lift, dual batteries, 62mm Hesco throttle body spacer
Other Doodads: Currie Anti-Rock front sway bar, Corbeau seats, custom front and rear bumpers, OR-Fab tire/jerry-can holder, Kilby interior rack, T-Max 10,000-lb winch, Hella foglights, ORO crossover steering, rock sliders, B&M short-throw shifter, Tuffy center console, wheel spacers, tire tread fender flares, flat fenders up front, custom shovel mount, RE hand throttle, onboard air tank and compressor, Toys by Troy rollcage
Funniest Wheeling Incident: First run after my initial lift, went wheeling with the local club, Arctic Offroad, and slid into a big ice berm, denting in my passenger door and earning the name Titanic
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: The combination works better than I had hoped
Anything You Would Change?: Wish I would have gone with 10-inch-wide rims and 14.50-wide tires
Anything to Add?: Not really happy with the Truetrac in the rear, but it does the job. Should have gone with a selectable locker, though.

Miss Toolbox’s TJ
Vehicle: 1997 Jeep TJ
Owner: Stephanie “Miss Tool Box” Cotnoir, Quebec, Canada
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.5R17 BFGoodrich KM2s on 17x8 Rock Crawlers
Suspension: Rubicon Express 61⁄2-inch lift, Elka shocks
Drivetrain: AX15 5-speed manual transmission, NP231 transfer case, Dana 30 front axle, Ford 8.8 rear axle with a locker
Performance Mods: Stock 4.0L I-6
Other Doodads: Winch bumper, Warn winch, snorkel, KC lights
Funniest Wheeling Incident: I got stuck pretty bad and had to climb out the window, and there was a tree in the way
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: It never does! In one summer, I blew the transmission, got the muffler stuck on the driveshaft (yeah, only me), broke two U-joints and had to replace both front axleshafts, my radiator exploded at the Jeep Rallye, my crank sensor also broke, and I cracked my windshield on the highway ’cause a bird smashed into it.
Anything You Would Change?: I would love to get more-aggressive tires such as the Iroks, maybe switch my suspension to coilovers
Anything to Add?: It is liberating and nothing else matter when you are covered in mud, hanging out with awesome people. Worries are all gone, and getting stuck doesn’t matter. We always make it work. I love my Jeep and wheeling is so much fun!

Vehicle: 2002 Jeep TJ
Owner: Dean Wish, Ridgecrest, CA
Tires & Wheels: 31x10.5R16 Mougal Couragas on stock 15x7 aluminum rims
Suspension: 2 1⁄2-inch Pro Comp lift
Drivetrain: Stock 30RH 3-Speed automatic transmission, NP231 transfer case, Dana 30 front axle, Dana 35 rear axle, 3.73 gears
Performance Mods: 2.5L I-4, Spectre intake, Flowmaster muffler
Other Doodads: 9,000-pound Bulldog winch, Viair portable compressor, KC lights, Hi-Lift jack, 40mm ammo/tool storage can, Cobra CB
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: Yes
Anything You Would Change?: This summer will be upgrading rear to a Super 35 with an E-Locker
Funniest Wheeling Incident: The first time we took it out with the new military-style look, people were hiding their beers and others were approaching us, wondering if they were allowed in certain locations
Anything to Add?: Yes, all you idiots who thinks it’s funny to break your beer bottles on the rocks need to break them in your backyard, not ours

Mighty M-715
Vehicle: 1967 Kaiser M-715 5⁄4-ton
Owners: David & Dalton Brantley, Jasper, AR
Tires & Wheels: 40x12.5R20 Michelin XLs on 20x10 Marsh Racings
Suspension: Custom 6-inch lift, Rancho shocks, 1-inch body lift
Drivetrain: T-98A 4-speed manual transmission, NP200 transfer case, Dana 60 front axle, Dana 70 rear axle, 5.87 gears
Performance Mods: Chevy 350 V-8, Edelbrock 650-cfm carburetor, Hooker headers, custom exhaust
Other Doodads: Custom hood, grille, bumper, fenders, bed, roll bar; KC lights, power-steering conversion, onboard air
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: Yes, it goes wherever I want to go
Anything You Would Change?: No
Anything to Add?: Build time was 2½ years. My stomping grounds are Buffalo River and the Ozark Mountains.

Beachin’ TJ
Vehicle: 1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ
Owner: Austin Smith, Boerne, TX
Tires & Wheels: 33x12.5R15 Goodyear MT/Rs on 15x8 steel wheels
Suspension: Rough Country 31⁄4-inch lift
Drivetrain: Stock with 4.56 gears
Performance Mods: 4.0L I-6, Banks Ram Air, Banks Headers, Magnaflow high-flow cat, MBRP exhaust, Superchips Flashpaq
Other Doodads: Gas tank and steering box skidplates, Rusty’s 1-ton crossover steering, adjustable front track bar, relocated rear track bar, differential armor front and rear, sway-bar disconnects, four KC lights, tube fenders, custom front bumper, sliders, winch, tons of recovery gear
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Talking my girlfriend into driving up a “short cut,” which turned out to be a level 5 trail. We almost rolled.
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: It literally works at work and makes me money
Anything You Would Change?: Front chromoly axleshafts, locker, rear axle swap, tummy tuck, skidpate, stubby bumper, improved sliders…never ending
Anything to Add?: I have lost count of recoveries in this thing, but the 40,000-pound-load semi with another Wrangler was memorable

Foxy MJ
Vehicle: 1987 Jeep Comanche Pioneer
Owner: William Blinn, Clayton, IN
Tires & Wheels: 31x10.50R15 General Grabber Red Letters on 15-inch American Racing Outlaw II wheels
Suspension: 2-inch spacer lift, Fox 3.0 bypass race shocks
Drivetrain: Built TH400 automatic transmission, NP205 transfer case, stock axles
Performance Mods: Edelbrock Performer RPM E-Tech Pro-Flo XT EFI crate motor with headers, 3-inch exhaust, Flowmaster Super 10 mufflers
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: Everything works amazingly. I absolutely love it.
Anything You Would Change?: I’m probably going to lift it a little more, go to fiberglass body panels and a roll bar, bigger tires (35s), paint it, and call it good

Cheap Truck Champion
Vehicle: 1985 Dodge W150
Owner: Bill Kirby, Ada, OK
Tires & Wheels: Dayton Timberline MTs on stock wheels
Suspension: Stock
Drivetrain: 727 automatic transmission, NP208 transfer case, Dana 44 front axle, Chrysler 91⁄4 rear axle with Trutrac
Funniest Wheeling Incident: My wife slid sideways off a dam in slick mud into a tree and killed the right door! Took a tractor and a winch on a Wrangler to get it out.
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: Does everything I want around the farm and hunting
Anything You Would Change?: I’d like a lot of super upgrades
Anything to Add?: I’d win the Cheap Truck Challenge on price. It was given to me, and I haven’t spent $100 since I’ve owned it. It has 88K original miles.

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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