The Durango Teardown
It's the newest heavyweight to rock onto the pages of 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, decked out in deep purple and black leather. Let's hear it for this '99 Dodge Durango, better known as the Heavy Metal Mudder! Now you may ask yourself, "Self, what the heck does heavy metal and mud have to do with a Durango?" Well, it could have something to do with the 4WOR crew's job moonlighting as an '80s hair-metal cover band, but when you mix in the massive weight of 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axles, killer mud cleats, and a healthy V-8, it's a pretty fitting title-and way better than Durangosaurus, Barney, or Mutated Purple Peanut.
Though we love all types of terrain, lately we've missed the golden days of just going out with our buddies and spinning our tires in the mud. So with this 5.9L Durango's seating for seven, a dirt-cheap price, and most of the mud-truck essentials already in place (light weight, strong V-8, and a stout frame to make for a solid build platform), we couldn't resist tearing into it.
And since this SUV is destined to be a big rig, we packed up and headed out to the far east corner of Texas, a state that knows a thing or two about rolling big. Heading up the build is Carl Yarborough and his crew at Old Town Customs, which specializes in big buggy and Rockwell builds. Follow along as we spend the next few months grinding this Durango down to the essentials and transform it from a pint-sized grocery-getter to a monstrous mudslinger that won't be a trailer queen. That's right, Rockwells on the road! We'll show you just how we aim to tame the 2 1/2-ton axles.