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2007 Ultimate Adventure Rigs - Killer Rigs Of The UA

Posted in Project Vehicles on December 1, 2007 Comment (0)
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Photographers: The 4-Wheel & Off-Road Staff

There has to be a pro in every group, and ours was professional rockcrawler Dean Bulloch. This guy is a blast to watch and gave us a great look into how the pros handle real-world wheeling. This veteran of our sport was representing BFGoodrich Tires and throttled his supercharged Wrangler through the Adventure.

Codriver: Todd Little
Representing: BFGoodrich Tires
Stomping Grounds: Utah
Vehicle: '99 Jeep TJ
Engine: Supercharged 4.0L
Transmission: NV3550
Transfer Case: Four-speed Atlas II
Front Axle: Terra 60 R, ARB Air Locker, 5.38 gears
Rear Axle: Terra 60 CRD, ARB Air Locker, 5.38 gears
Steering: Hydraulic assist
Suspension: 10-inch Rock Krawler
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch BFGoodrich M-Ts on 17x9 Walker Evans bead locks
Other Stuff: Front and rear Warn bumpers, Warn 9500i winch
Best Breakage: None

If there is one guy that you could hear coming it was Phil Rohr and his 406ci CJ-7 that made the trees shake as his Flowmasters muffled the monster rumble. His short-wheelbased Jeep could often be found with one tire, if not all four, bouncing in the air. We would like to thank Phil for his attempt to launch his Jeep to the top of the hill via the 5-foot ledge. Only next time try to put more helium in the tires and give us a heads-up so we can stand on the other side of the tree.

Codriver: Chad Howell
Representing: Flowmaster
Stomping Grounds: Idaho
Vehicle: '85 Jeep CJ-7
Engine: 406ci
Transmission: TH350
Transfer Case: Dana 300
Front Axle: Dana 44 narrowed, five-lug, Dutchman inner axles, Warn hubs, Warn outer shafts, Detroit E-Z Locker, 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: Dana 60, Dutchman 35-spline shafts, five-lug welded, 4.88 gears
Steering: Stock
Suspension: Superlift 4-inch with a spring-over axle
Tires & Wheels: 39-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on 17x10 Allied Rock Crushers
Other Stuff: NOS, custom bumpers, Warn 9.5ti winch
Best Breakage: U-joint, ran out of gas three times, one flop

Representing flatties across America, Jake did an awesome job of keeping the 57-year-old Jeep on all fours. These guys fought through a series of problems that would have sent most guys heading for home, but in true Ultimate fashion they rigged, welded, and glued it back together each time faster than the last. These guys are true real-world wheelers.

Codriver: Glenn Leighton
Representing: You the reader!
Stomping Grounds: Nevada
Vehicle: '51 Jeep CJ-3A
Engine: 350ci
Transmission: SM420
Transfer Case: Dana 18
Front Axle: '77 J20 Dana 44, Detroit Locker, 5.38 gears
Rear Axle: '77 J20 offset Dana 60 welded, 5.38 gears
Steering: PSC hydraulic assist
Suspension: Spring-over axle with 2-inch Superlift springs, shackle reversal
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on 17x9 steel
Other Stuff: Warn 9.5 XP winch, homebuilt bumpers, dual Optima batteries
Best Breakage: Radiator, rear driveshaft, broken weld on torque arm, 56-year-old light switch, one flop, one roll

When it comes to fullsized GM trucks, no company knows them better than Offroad Design. Navigating their colossal rig through the trees and over the rocks with ease were James and Stephen Watson, a father-and-son team that knows the importance of good communication and spotting when out on the trail. From assembly of the ORD Doubler to the countless man hours boatsiding their '85 Chevy, the Watsons have created a truly functional behemoth that will make you think a little bigger the next time you're shopping around for a trail rig.

Codriver: Stephen Watson
Representing: Offroad Design
Stomping Grounds: Colorado
Vehicle: '85 Chevy K30
Engine: 463ci
Transmission: 4L80E
Transfer Case: ORD Doubler, GM 203 and Ford 205
Front Axle: Dana 60, ARB Air Locker, Yukon 4340s and CTM U-joints, GM knuckles, Teraflex 35-spline hubs, 5.13 gears
Rear Axle: 14-bolt, Detroit Locker, ORD 1.5 wheel spacers, 5.13 gears
Steering: Hydraulic assist
Suspension: 6-inch ORD 14-inch-travel coilover system in the front using Sway-A-Way coilovers and Hydro bumpstops, 64-inch Tuff Country rear leaves, ORD extended shackles, ORD traction bar, Sway-A-Way internal reservoir shocks
Tires & Wheels: 39-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on 17x8.5 Trail Ready bead locksOther Stuff: 5 inches removed from the door bottoms and rockers, boatside, ORD front bumper, Warn 9.5xp winch
Best Breakage: Broken wheel studs, leaking hydro boost, idle air motor

To come on Ultimate Adventure once is a dream for most, so when Kane and his wife Denise received the invite for the second time, they were more than happy to make that long trek down from the northeast to yet again torture his mint CJ-8 through some of the toughest trails Texas has to offer. If there was a sleeper in the group this was it, not to mention that Denise was behind the wheel making all us guys nervous to the teeth as she conquered trail after trail with ease. Soccer mom she is not!

Codriver: Denise Riccardi
Representing: You the reader!
Stomping Grounds: Maryland
Vehicle: '81 Jeep Scrambler
Engine: 408ci V-8
Transmission: TH350
Transfer Case: Chevy 203 Ford 205 Offroad Design Doubler
Front Axle: High-pinion Dana 60 narrowed, Eaton ELocker, 4.56 gears
Rear Axle: 9-inch, 35-spline axleshafts, Detroit Locker, 4.56 gears
Steering: Hydraulic assist
Suspension: Spring-over with custom offset center pins
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on Walker Evans 17x9 bead locks
Other Stuff: Warn bumpers, Warn 8274 winch
Best Breakage: Radiator, starter, exhaust

A few weeks before the Adventure we received a call from Clay Parish stating that the garage that held his beloved Dragon Wagon had caught on fire with the 4Runner still inside. Our reply was simple-fix it and let's go! Pulling it back together after hundreds of man hours of work, Clay and Eric arrived in Texas ready to wheel even with a melted taillight lens. After watching Clay's '91 4Runner crawl across the great state of Texas we're pretty sure that this caged 'Yota is really nothing more than an overgrown Slinky. Crawling from one obstacle to the next, this 'Yota with its soft coilover suspension swallowed ledges and hillclimbs over and over again. Even with a laundry list of breakage we never caught these two 'Bama boys without a smile on their faces. These guys are what the Ultimate Adventure is all about.

Codriver: Eric Jones
Representing: You the reader!
Stomping Grounds: Alabama
Vehicle: '91 Toyota 4Runner
Engine: 3.4L
Transmission: Factory five-speed
Transfer Case: Dual Toyota cases with Marlin Crawler adapter
Front Axle: '85 Toyota, Longfield axles, Detroit E-Z Locker, 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: Factory, Detroit E-Z Locker, 4.88 gears
Steering: Hydraulic assist
Suspension: Front and rear three-links with 15-inch coilovers
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on 17x10 steel
Other Stuff: Dual Optima batteries, custom exterior cage, Warn 8,000-pound winch
Best Breakage: Ring-and-pinion twice, rear locker twice, rear driveshaft, blown bead, and an electrical gremlin

Using the Ultimate Adventure for R&D testing may sound crazy to some, but the crew at Slee Off Road had the urge to test out their freshly converted solid-axle Land Cruiser, which happens to be the only known solid-axle 100 series in the United States. Without a doubt the most plush ride on the adventure. Christo and Ben squeezed their Land Yacht through trail after trail, proving yet again that Toyotas are just plain tough.

Codriver: Ben Swain
Representing: Slee Off Road
Stomping Grounds: Colorado
Vehicle: '98 Toyota Land Cruiser
Engine: 4.7L I-force V-8
Transmission: Factory four-speed auto
Transfer Case: HF2A fitted with Marks Adapters 3:1 gears
Front Axle: Custom Diamond housing, 80 series rear differential, 80 series knuckles, custom axleshafts, ARB Air Locker, 5.29 gears
Rear Axle: Factory 100 series converted to a six-bolt pattern, Toyota electric locker, 5.29 gears
Steering: Slee Off-Road Hi-Steer system, PSC hydraulic assist
Suspension: Custom Slee Off-Road 7-inch lift
Tires & Wheels: 39-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on 17-inch Tru-design wheels with Staun internal bead locks
Other Stuff: Slee Off Road front bumper, Warn M12,000 winch, Slee Off Road rear bumper with tire carrier
Best Breakage: Four hub dowel pins, two ring-and-pinions, carrier bearing bolts, bent ARB Air Locker, rear axleshaft, side bearing adjuster, alternator, bent wheel, wheel bearing, rear locker collar

Making sure all the participants stayed powered up was Ryan Hagel from Optima batteries. With only a mild lift and body protection, this mostly stock Jeep Unlimited Rubicon represented how competent the big brother of the legendary two-door is off road. However, we will have to give them the award for most techno garbage. Honestly, who needs two TVs to see the rock behind you?

Codriver: Matt Gannan
Representing: Optima
Stomping Grounds: California
Vehicle: '07 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
Engine: 3.8L
Transmission: Stock
Transfer Case: Rock-Trac 4:1
Front Axle: Factory Dana 44, 5.13 gears, Factory E-Lockers
Rear Axle: Factory Dana 44, 5.13 gears, Factory E-Lockers
Steering: Stock
Suspension: 4-inch Rancho long-arm
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch Pro Comp Xtreme MTs on 17x9 Pro Comp Alloys
Other Stuff: Warn 9000 RC winch, Mastercraft seats, Optima batteries (blue, red, and yellow)
Best Breakage: Front axle U

When it comes to being original on the trail, John Lambert's sick Sidekick takes the cake. Built for navigating the tight forest trails of the far northeast, this homebuilt 'Zuk goes to show how a little time and planning can transform almost anything into an awesome wheeling machine. One of the two father-and-son teams that were on the trip, these two quietly cruised their way through the entire adventure conquering overheating issues, balmy humidity, and each obstacle without a single complaint.

Codriver: Gary Lambert
Representing: You the reader!
Stomping Grounds: Vermont
Vehicle: '93 Suzuki Sidekick
Engine: Chevy 4.3L
Transmission: TH350
Transfer Case: Toyota mini-truck with 4.7:1 gears
Front Axle: Toyota mini-truck 4.10 gears, spool
Rear Axle: Toyota mini-truck 4.10 gears, spool
Steering: Hydraulic assist
Suspension: Custom three-link front with coils, leaf-sprung rear
Tires & Wheels: 35x12.50 BFGoodrich Baja T/A on 15x8 Trail Ready bead locks
Other Stuff: Custom bumpers, Warn 8,000-pound winch
Best Breakage: U-joint and a water pump

Answering the demands of mini-truck lovers across America, American Expedition Vehicle's Brute created a new chapter in the never-ending book of what can be done to your TJ. Need a Hemi in your new JK? They've got you covered. These Jeep masterminds kept the truck honest to its name by plowing through obstacles that would have sent most mini-trucks heading for the hills. Finally a pickup that simply rocks!

Codriver: Dave Harriton
Representing: American Expedition Vehicles
Stomping Grounds: Michigan/Montana
Vehicle: AEV Brute with Highline body kit
Engine: 5.7L Hemi
Transmission: 5-45RFE
Transfer Case: 241 Rock Trac
Front Axle: Dynatrac Pro Rock Dana 60, ARB Air Locker, 5.13 gears
Rear Axle: Dynatrac Pro Rock Dana 60, ARB Air Locker, 5.13 gears
Steering: Currie HD
Suspension: Nth Degree Mobility 6-inch long-arm
Tires & Wheels: 39-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on Hutchinson Rock Monster wheels
Other Stuff: Optima yellow-top battery, Warn 9.5ti front winch, Warn M8000 rear winch
Best Breakage: Steering box, sector shaft

"Go Prepared" has been Warn's motto for quite some time now, and with the legendary Fred Perry behind the wheel and our official winch master Steve Schoenfelder pulling cable for all of those in need, they couldn't have sent two better guys to represent just that. If you wanted to know which was the right line to drive, Perry was the guy to watch, but don't blink because you just might miss what "making it look easy" really means.

Codriver: Steve Schoenfelder
Representing: Warn
Stomping Grounds: South Carolina
Vehicle: '01 Jeep Wrangler
Engine: 4.7L V-8
Transmission: 545RFE
Transfer Case: 3.8 Atlas II
Front Axle: Rock Crusher 60, CTM U-joints, chromoly shafts, Detroit Locker, 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: Rock Crusher 60, chromoly shafts, Detroit Locker, disc brakes, 4.88 gears
Steering: Hydraulic assist
Suspension: Teraflex LCG long-arm, Fabtech Dirt Logic air shocks
Tires & Wheels: 39-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on 17x8.5 Walker Evans bead locks
Other Stuff: Fiberglass hood and grille sloped and lowered for better visibility, Warn front bumper, Warn rocker guards, Warn 9.5 Powerplant
Best Breakage: Heim joint, two bent shocks, ripped link bracket off frame, busted fitting on hydraulic ram

If the Ultimate Adventure had a best attendance award it would go to Tom Boyd. This resident jokester has attended every single UA since the beginning and each year figures out how to create a disguise for what's left of his '71 Ford Bronco. If you're ever lucky enough to see this collage on the trail, our best advice is stand back and enjoy the show.

Codriver: Only the daring
Representing: Legends of the UA
Stomping Grounds: California
Vehicle: '71 Ford Bronco disguised as a CJ-5
Engine: 5.0L
Transmission: TH400
Transfer Case: Atlas II Klune-V Goliath underdrive
Front Axle: High-pinion Dana 44 front, Detroit Locker, Warn hubs, 4.11 gears
Rear Axle: Ford 9-inch, Moser 31-spline shafts, Detroit Locker, 4.11 gears
Steering: Hydraulic assist
Suspension: Custom linked front with 14-inch King coilovers, four-link rear with 16-inch King coilovers
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch Krawlers on 17-inch Poison Spyder bead locks
Other Stuff: Warn 9,000-pound winch, dual Optima batteries
Best Breakage: Hub and starter

Another legend of the UA, Trent McGee has gone from magazine guy to invited guest and has now fallen into the proud position of official suspension representative for this year's Ultimate Adventure. Watching him blast through the trails in his freshly built TJ buggy was a blast, and made us all wonder how that Dana 30 could survive much longer under all that abuse. We have to assume that the engineers at Superlift are a pleased set of individuals after seeing their suspensions hold up to the abuse Trent puts them through.

Codriver: Sam Gillis
Representing: Superlift
Stomping Grounds: Louisiana
Vehicle: '97 Jeep TJ buggy
Engine: 4.0L
Transmission: AX-15
Transfer Case: Atlas four-speed 2:1, 2.72:1, 5.44:1
Front Axle: Dana 30, chromoly shafts, Super Joints, Warn hub conversion, Superlift Xtreme ring, Detroit Locker, 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: Ford 8.8, Eaton E-Locker, 4.88 gears
Steering: PSC steering box and pump
Suspension: 4-inch Superlift long-arm system with flat bellypan, SSR remote-reservoir shocks
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on 17x9 Poison Spyder Customs Spyderlocks
Other Stuff: Warn 9.0 Rc winch, JE Reel driveshafts, Mastercraft seats
Best Breakage: Twisted axleshaft, front ring-and-pinion, hub, steering bracket, track bar

If there was one vehicle that could easily be spotted from space, it was Tom Allen's Highlighter yellow Wrangler. Wrenching on the YJ until the very last day, he was able to finish what only a few weeks prior was completely disassembled and literally sitting on a work bench in his garage. Luckily for us he was able to pull it together and showed up without any shakedown time and still managed to dominate each trail he came to.

Codriver: Carl Yarbrough
Representing: PSC Steering
Stomping Grounds: Texas
Vehicle: '87 Jeep Wrangler
Engine: 5.3L
Transmission: TH400
Transfer Case: 4.3 Atlas
Front Axle: Narrowed high-pinion Dana 60, Detroit Locker, 5.13 gears
Rear Axle: Dynatrac Pro Rock 60, Detroit Locker, 4.88 gears
Steering: Prototype PSC dual ram
Suspension: Three-link front, four-link rear, 14-inch Fox coilovers
Tires & Wheels: 39-inch Krawlers on 17-inch Poison Spyder Customs Spyderlocks
Other Stuff: Poison Spyder cage, Ramsey 9,000-pound winch
Best Breakage: Leaking transmission

Redefining what quality craftsmanship really means are the metal magician and his team of fabricators at Poison Spyder Customs. This year he brought out his fire-breathing big-block-powered Bruiser that somehow managed to make even the toughest of terrain look easy. Running his new Spyderlock bead-lock wheels he was able to air down the massive 46-inch rubber and try some lines that have never yet been conquered. His rig is the definition of custom.

Codriver: Keith Bailey
Representing: Poison Spyder Customs
Stomping Grounds: Colorado
Vehicle: Poison Spyder Bruiser
Engine: Ramjet 502ci
Transmission: TH475
Transfer Case: 3.8 Atlas II
Front Axle: Dana 80, Detroit Locker, 40-spline shafts, 1480 CTM axle joints, 5.13 gears
Rear Axle: Dana 80, Detroit Locker, 40-spline shafts, 5.13 gears
Steering: Full hydraulic
Suspension: Four-link front and rear, 16-inch Sway-A-Way coilovers, Sway-A-Way nitrogen bumpstops, abundance of anodized and polished parts
Tires & Wheels: 46-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claws on 20x10 Poison Spyder Customs Spyderlocks
Other Stuff: Optima blue-top battery, Ramsey 15,000-pound winch, 200 shot of nitrous
Best Breakage: Air compressor

Tim Hardy is without question one of the smartest, most hard-core wheelers that you will ever meet. Although he missed the first day due to being stranded in Death Valley with his niece Bridgette, the two managed to find their way back out and continue onto our second muddy destination. As the only independent-suspension vehicle on the trip, all eyes were on the front end of the Vitara to see how long it would last. Although she did give him a little grief, Tim managed to crawl his baby Grand all over the great state of Texas, figuring out along the way what the weak points are and how to machine it back together on the trail.

Codriver: Bridgette Carillo
Representing: Legends of the UA
Stomping Grounds: California
Vehicle: '00 Suzuki Grand Vitara
Engine: 2.5L V-6
Transmission: Factory five-speed
Transfer Case: Samurai 2.1 case mated to the factory case
Front Axle: Factory housing with modified stock air locker, 5.12 gears
Rear Axle: Factory with custom side gear and 31-spline axleshafts, Detroit EZ Locker, 5.12 gears
Steering: Factory
Suspension: Custom 5.5-inch lift
Tires & Wheels: 35-inch BFG Baja T/A on 15x10s
Other Stuff: Warn 6,000-pound winch, custom front bumper and sliders
Best Breakage: Front differential side gears, birfield joint, cracked housing mount

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