The final days of completing any project truck around here are a mad scramble, and the Ultimate Adventure buildup is the biggest scramble of them all. Every year we try to get the rig started early with plans of building and testing it prior to the UA trip. But then we look at the calendar, realize we have more time than the previous year, and we add even more extravagant buildup plans. This year we did it again with the most aggressive undertaking ever as we've been stuffing a Cummins 5.9L diesel and an entire Dodge truck drivetrain and frame under a new '07 Jeep JK Wrangler. It's earned the name Rubi Wagon since it's packed with the most extreme off-road parts from Jeep and Dodge similar to the Rubicon and Power Wagon. If you missed the build then you need to track down the last five issues or check it out on our Web site, 4wheeloffroad.com. Otherwise, here is a quick refresher.
We started with a two-wheel-drive four-door Wrangler that we took to Twisted Customs for a full rollcage. Next we worked with the crew from American Expedition Vehicles for more than eight weeks modifying the Jeep body and a Dodge frame in order to marry them with the Cummins diesel in between. The suspension uses a mixture of parts from Superlift and a stock Dodge truck, while the axles are AAM variants from a Dodge Power Wagon with 4.56 gears and selectable locking differentials. Then it was sent to get painted olive drab green (the only correct color for a Jeep, mind you), and finally hauled to Colorado for bumpers from Fab Fours. With just a week left we headed back to Poison Spyder Customs in Denver for final fit and finish. Luckily we had a Rolodex of friends to call on who we somehow conned into helping us wrench until midnight every night. Without all these amazing guys from all these shops we may never have gotten the Jeep finished. But once again we pulled it off in the nick of time and ended up with truly the ultimate Jeep rolling on the first set of massive 42-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains.
Now seeing as we have six to eight months before next year's trip we figure we better get started next Friday so that maybe in '08 we'll get at least a short testdrive in prior to the trip. Hmmm, with that much time, a trick hover suspension with dual big-block engines and eight-wheel drive in a new Kia wouldn't be too outrageous.