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2002 Top Truck Challengers 1956 Jeep CJ3A

Posted in Project Vehicles on October 1, 2002 Comment (0)
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2002 Top Truck Challengers 1956 Jeep CJ3A
Photographers: Craig Perronne

In Oklahoma, big Jeeps with lots of stout running gear seem to be about as common as prairie dogs. Jerry Cantrell's '56 CJ3A isn't the first Oklahoma competitor with a large-and-in-charge Jeep to try to tackle Top Truck Challenge, but it's one of the nicest.

Along with standing as high as an elephant's eye, another common theme we have seen from the crop of Oklahoma Jeeps is plenty of horsepower, and Jerry's Jeep is no exception. Under the hood rests a Chevy LT1 V-8 that has been stroked to 383 cubic inches and stuffed with TRW 11:1 pistons. Other power-producing goodies include a Comp Cams camshaft with 0.510 of lift and stock heads that are equipped with Manley valves, Crane springs and Crane rockers. Fuel and air are shot into the heavy-breathing engine through the standard LT1 injection system that has been outfitted with 32-pound injectors. Once the mixture is ignited, the stock exhaust manifolds and Flowmaster mufflers evacuate the spent gases. Equipped with all these goodies, the LT1 makes 380 hp at 4,000 rpm and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm.

The setup in the rear is almost identical to that in the front. A Dana 60 stuffed with 5.38 gears and an ARB Air Locker is used. A three-link coil suspension is also deployed, along with another set of Rancho RS 9012 shocks. Jerry's Jeep also features two winches-a Warn XD 9000i up front, and another XD 9000i out back for rear extraction. He also built a handy storage area in the back for easy access to anything needed while on the trail. The setup in the rear is almost identical to that in the front. A Dana 60 stuffed with 5.38 gears and an ARB Air Locker is used. A three-link coil suspension is also deployed, along with another set of Rancho RS 9012 shocks. Jerry's Jeep also features two winches-a Warn XD 9000i up front, and another XD 9000i out back for rear extraction. He also built a handy storage area in the back for easy access to anything needed while on the trail.

Jerry chose a TH350 to stand up to the power built by this potent engine. It is equipped with a B&M Traveler torque converter with a 900-rpm stall speed and controlled with a B&M shifter. A Flex-a-lite cooler ensures that the transmission fluid is kept cool. Power is then handed off to an Atlas II transfer case equipped with the creepy 4.3:1 low-range ratio.

The theme of stoutness continues on to the axles. Up front rests a Dana 60 built by WMS. It's equipped with an ARB Air Locker and 5.38 gears. In the rear rests another WMS Dana 60, and this, too, is equipped with an ARB Air Locker and 5.38 gears. A rear disc brake conversion polishes off the rear, while a rear driveshaft with 1410 U-joints and a front with 1330 U-joints finishes off the drivetrain.

For suspension, the big Jeep uses a custom coil setup. A three-link was built up front and equipped with long Rancho RS 9012 shocks for maximum travel. Another three-link was built for the rear, where more Rancho RS 9012s were grafted into position. This suspension makes enough room for 44-inch Boggers wrapped around 15x10 Weld Racing Scorpio wheels equipped with Champion bead locks. To help turn these big meats a little easier, an AGR Rock Ram is employed.

To protect the occupants, a six-point cage was fabricated and attached to the frame, which was stretched 16 inches and then boxed. Beard seats help to keep the driver and passengers in their places, while a dash with a full complement of Auto Meter gauges relays all the necessary information to the driver. With a sturdy drivetrain, flexible suspension and plenty of tire, Jerry's Jeep seems ready for everything Top Truck Challenge can throw its way. Next month we will see how ready it really is.
-Craig Perronne

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SPECIFICATIONS


GENERAL
Owner Jerry Cantrell, {{{Mustang}}}, Oklahoma
Vehicle/Model 1956 Jeep CJ3A


ENGINE
Type Chevy LT1 383 V-8
Aspiration Stock fuel injection with 32-pound injectors


DRIVETRAIN
Transmission TH350
Transfer Case Atlas II


SUSPENSION
Front Three-link with coils
Rear Three-link with coils
Shocks Rancho RS 9012s


AXLES/DIFFERENTIALS
Front Dana 60 with ARB Air Locker
Rear Dana 60 with ARB Air Locker
Ring-and-Pinion 5.38:1


WHEELS/TIRES
Wheels 15x10 Weld Racing
Scorpios with Champion bead locks
Tires 44-inch Boggers

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