Part 4: Bump And Drive
Project vehicles are never finished. No matter how hard we try to convince ourselves that we're done, there is always one more thing that keeps us from saying "fin."
This philosophy has never been more apparent than with our '99 Dodge Durango, dubbed Heavy Metal Mudder. Last month we set our 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axles in place and fitted the Durango with a fresh multilink suspension using a mix of off-the-shelf parts and custom mounts and brackets from Old Town Customs.
After spending a couple months in Nacogdoches, Texas, working with Carl Yarbrough and his crew at OTC, we had the rig running and driving. We even managed to sneak in a little time for a shakedown run at the popular eastern Texas OHV area, Barnwell Mountain. With a few items still left on our never-ending to-do list we loaded up the mighty Mopar and headed back to home base in Los Angeles.
Though the truck had been ready to hit the dirt when it left the Lone Star State, we still needed to address a few items, such as a winch mount, exhaust, and the always important mud flaps so we can appear to look somewhat legit on the road. Back in sunny SoCal we enlisted the help of the metal magicians at Off Road Evolution to finish up our list and give our mudder some much-needed front end protection. Like most projects, this one is far from finished, but for now it's ready to hit the trail.
So where do we go from here? The first plan is to get the truck dialed in, and then we need to find some mud! So far the Durango seems to be adapting well to a variety of terrains, and we are extremely impressed with how well the suspension is working and enjoy the overall feel of the rig. On the road the steering takes a little time getting used to, and we found that the Boggers handle well around 10 psi. While the 5.9L is a strong engine from the factory, we wouldn't mind a few more horses under the hood. Stay tuned as we continue our search for mud and keep progressing on Heavy Metal Mudder.