Part 5: The Rubi Wagon Gets Paint & Bumpers
It's the fifth and almost final installment of our Ultimate Adventure Jeep buildup, and there is still much to cover. We started with a two-wheel-drive '07 Jeep Wrangler with less than 1,000 miles on it, and we cut out the factory rollcage and installed acustom cage at Twisted Customs in Rapid City, South Dakota (Sept. '07). Then we took it to American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) in Missoula, Montana, where we proceeded to have it torn apart and cut up to fit a new drivetrain (Oct. '07). We then revealed how we shortened a Dodge Mega Cab frame, channeled and manipulated the Jeep tub to fit over it, and then started fabricating a new firewall to clear the Cummins diesel that will power our Jeep. Last month we got into the nitty gritty of bolting the Cummins to an NV4500 five-speed transmission and Atlas transfer case from Advanced Adapters, adjusting the suspension with some Superlift shocks and add-a-leaves, and finally bolting in some axle from a new Dodge Power Wagon (equipped with 4.56 gears and selectable lockers). We christened her the Rubi Wagon, since it epitomizes all the best stuff Jeep and Dodge have to offer for the off-roader-part Jeep Rubicon, part Power Wagon.
This Jeep was being built to lead a troop of 18 rigs during a weeklong off-road trip known as Ultimate Adventure (seen elsewhere in this issue), and as such it has to be capable off road, driveable on road, and have all the gear and requirements for the trip. Since a winch is required on the trip and both Warn and Fab Fours are sponsors, we had the Jeep outfitted with some of Fab Four's Jeep bumpers with the most timeless winch Warn makes-the 8274. And since the rig has to be unique (as if a Cummins-powered Jeep isn't unique enough), we had to get the Jeep painted a non-factory color so it doesn't get confused with all the other new four-door Jeeps out there. The final touches required to finish up a freshly built Jeep before a long trip, like the PSC steering, the Poison Spyder Customs bead-lock wheels and tube fenders, and the sliding-drawer toolboxes installed from Slee Off Road. We'll try to stuff them all into these final two installments, but don't expect to never see this Jeep in the magazine again. It will definitely be getting other upgrades over the years, plus you can see it at upcoming events like the Off Road Expo in Pomona, California, October 6-7 as well as out at Moab for the Red Rock Fourwheeler's Easter Safari next year.