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Readers’ Rides - March 2015

Posted in News on February 5, 2015
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Dune Dart
Vehicle: ’00 Jeep XJ Cherokee
Owners: John and Tara Popp, Libertyville, IL
Tires: 35x12.5 Goodyear MT/R Kevlars
Suspension: Approx. 5-inch Deaver custom coils and leaves (built for vehicle specs and use), Clayton long arms Drivetrain: 4.0L I-6, AW4, NVG 242, trussed Ford Dana 44 front axle, Yukon Zip locker, trussed Ford 9-inch rear axle, Yukon Grizzly locker, 4.88 gears, Yukon chromoly shafts, Tom Wood’s driveshafts
Other Doodads: Thor Design cowl intake, Reid knuckles, Branik steering arms, 1-ton steering, Smashhole Motorsports LED lights, Powertank, custom cage by Sean Kelly Welding
Funniest Wheeling Incident: After the first build to the Jeep we were at Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Michigan and crested Test Hill to find out the back side was gone for about 10 feet. Being we had already got out of the gas to gently land on top of the crest, we were now in the air coming up for a very bad landing. After hitting about halfway down the back side, we hit nose-first. The sand was so soft we planted about a quarter of the front clip in the sand with no damage. The Jeep stayed planted like that until we got winched down.
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: Almost. It’s a work in progress.
Anything You Would Change?: 2-speed Atlas transfer case, 37-inch tires
Anything to Add?: Great Jeep that wheels all around the country now (Moab being a favorite) and can still do 70 down the highway like it was stock

Joezuki
Vehicle: ’88.5 Samurai
Owner: Joe Ortiz, El Cajon, CA
Tires & Wheels: 28-inch off-brand AT tires on chromed steel wheels
Suspension: 8-inch SOA lift, Rocky Road kit with Jeep YJ springs in the front, owner-built rear
Drivetrain: Stock
Other Doodads: Desert Rat 8K winch, frame extended 16 inches, rear axle extend 16 inches, rear door removed, body mod to accommodate custom aluminum toolbox
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Drag racing through a large mud puddle—after several passes my wife asked me to go back out and stop for a photo shoot. Like a dummy, I did. It sank to the frame. We got it out 20 minutes later.
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: Works OK for now. It actually surprises me how well it does.

Jackal Of All Trades
Vehicle: 1994 GMC Sierra called Anubis
Owner: Richard Venola, Phoenix, AZ
Tires & Wheels: 265/75R16 Cooper Discoverer ASTs on stock wheels
Suspension: Aftermarket heavy-duty rear springs, Rancho shocks
Drivetrain: Stock, posi 12-bolt rear axle
Performance Mods: H.O. Chevy 350, K&N intake
Other Doodads: Built as a platform for remote varmint hunting, it has a service bed of mysterious origins, circumcised 13 1⁄2 inches to fit behind the extended cab, home-made bumpers and rack to support hydraulic stabilizers and shooting patio
Funniest Wheeling Incident: A summer cloudburst on a desert hill sent Anubis sliding into some trailside boulders, tearing out a sidewall. I fought to reach level mud and it took two hours to swap—the dozen or so 4-wheelers passing by all stopped to offer help and ended up as old friends.
Anything you would change?:Stronger mill (turbo? more cubes? belt-driven supercharger?), 33x12.5 Cooper SSTs
Anything to Add?: I’ll never own a truck again that doesn’t have a service bed

Suzi Islander
Vehicle: 1988.5 Suzuki Samurai
Owner: Dylan Porras, Ewa Beach, HI
Tires & Wheels: 31x13.5R15 Super Swamper TSL SX bias-plies, 15x10 Alcoas
Suspension: Spring-over and shock bar in rear, Rancho RS5000 shocks
Drivetrain: Stock, 6.5:1 transfer case gears
Performance Mods: Weber 32/36 carburetor, K&N intake
Other Doodads: Bushwhacker flares, 15-gallon gas tank, custom front bumper, rattle-can paint job, removable doors, spring-over steering
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Went in deep mud at Kaena Point State Park, asked a brand-new F-150 to stick around in case I got stuck but told him not to follow me. I got stuck and turned around to see he had followed me and got stuck too. Three hours and a diesel Ram later he was finally free, minus his bent-up rocker panels.
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?:Yes, only been stuck that one time
Anything You Would Change?: 1.6L engine swap

Canoe Carrier
Vehicle: 2006 GMC Sierra Z71
Owner: Eddie de Arrigunaga, Mobile, AL
Tires & Wheels: 35-inch Pro Comp Xtreme Mud Terrains, Pro Comp 8069s
Suspension: 6-inch Pro Comp lift, 3-inch
Performance Accessories: body lift
Drivetrain: Stock
Performance Mods: AEM intake, dual exhaust
Other Doodads: Pro Comp prerunner light bar, Pro Comp lights, ARE hard tonneau, Hi-Lift jack, Sureco/Yakima roof rack, Mad River canoe
Anything to Add?: This picture was taken on the Tensaw Delta as we got ready to catch some reds and specs. I use my truck to get to hard-to-reach places where I can run my canoes.

Puff the Magic Wagon
Vehicle: 1999 K2500 Suburban
Owner: Chris Wrigley, La Crescenta, CA
Tires & Wheels: LT315/70R17 Goodyear Duratracs, 7-spoke 8-lug rims
Suspension: Rancho 4-inch kit, RS9000XL shocks, trimmed fenders
Drivetrain: 4L80E with finned pan, NVG 246, AAM front axle, 14-bolt rear axle with Mag-Hytech cover, Gov-Lock that still works, 4.88 gears
Performance Mods: Stock 454, Gibson exhaust, Mallory ignition, ProCharger supercharger with intercooler, K&N filter
Other Doodads: T-Max 12,000-pound winch, Xenon fender flares, front and rear cameras
Funniest Wheeling Incident: After 4-wheeling all day at Azusa, we were crossing the stream and had to go up a 20-foot climb to the other side. My wife said to put it in 4-Lo and gas it at the bottom of the climb. After following instructions exactly, said vehicle did become airborne. The 7,500-pound projectile returned to earth, spitting out parts never to be found again. Wife turned and said, “I thought you knew how to drive this truck.”
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: Almost
Anything You Would Change?: Brakes (in the works)
Anything To Add?: I can park in my garage, or 95 percent of parking structures

PhotosView Slideshow

Overdriven XJ
Vehicle: 1988 XJ Cherokee
Owner: MSgt Tyson Hillis, U.S. Air Force
Tires & Wheels: 38x12.5 Super Swamper TSLs on homemade beadlocks
Suspension: 10-inch custom-built lift, front long arms
Drivetrain: 4.0L I-6, swapped-in AX15 transmission, NP231 transfer case with PORC Off-Road SYE, high-pinion Dana 44 front axle with a Lock-Right, Ford 9-inch rear axle with Detroit Locker, 5.38 gears
Other Doodads: Homemade bumpers, rollcage, skids, snorkel from PVC pipe, roof rack from electrical conduit, 8-point cage, welded in 2x6 rockers help keep the body straight, chopped top, Comanche tailgate fabricated in.
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Less than a year after I got it, a few newbs were having a hard time getting through a mud hole. I told my wife to “get some” to get across it. She proceeded to launch the XJ into the mud pit. As people were diving for cover, she sheared a transmission line in half and ripped a tire off the rim. I was proud of her, as she made it across with only three tires.
Anything You Would Change?: No. I’ve spent lots of time with my family, camping, educating my boys, and seeing some of the most beautiful parts of Alaska with this rig.
Anything to Add?: If you can read this thank a teacher. Since it’s in English thank a soldier.

PhotosView Slideshow

Rocky Scout
Vehicle: 1979 International Scout II
Owners: Emily & Dave Caudill
Tires & Wheels: 35-inch Goodyear MTRs on 15x10 steel wheels
Suspension: 4-inch spring-over, 1-inch body lift, Pro Comp ES9000 shocks
Drivetrain: Stock 345 V-8, 727 automatic, Dana 20 transfer case, Dana 44s front and rear, spool front, welded rear, 4.10 gears
Other Doodads: Full interior cage
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Getting major-league stuck when I had 285/75R16 ATs
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: Need hydro-assist steering and fuel injection, but other than that it’s awesome
Anything You Would Change?: Improved suspension travel, Mopar motor
Anything to Add?: Couldn’t have made this happen without my wife.

Dog House Dodge
Vehicle: 1983 Dodge Ram Miser
Owner: Jessy Rousseau, Lone Butte, B.C., Canada
Tires & Wheels: 285/35R16s on Ford 16-inch rims
Suspension: 4-inch Rough Rider lift kit
Drivetrain: 225ci slant-6, 4-speed manual, Dana 44 axles
Other Doodads: New stereo, speakers, drill-pipe bumpers
Funniest Wheeling Incident: Got stuck in the snow. My friend walked 5 km all the way back to his truck. When he returned we realized it wasn’t locked in 4x4, and I drove right out.
Does Everything Work the Way You Want?: Runs great, dependable
Anything You Would Change?: Needs better lights

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: readersrides@4wheeloffroad.com
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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