Part 2: Rebuilding An Ultimate Adventure Rig
Keeping in step with tradition here at 4-Wheel & Off-Road, our '09 Ultimate Adventure truck build is extreme and moving along. Every year we build a flagship vehicle to lead our band of merry adventurers (and some misfits) across lands not fit for the average vehicle. Occasionally we build the rig with economy in mind, and sometimes we go a little crazy and weld on the best of everything we can find on it.
This year we started off with an economical build in mind ("The Ultimate Ranch Truck," Aug. '09), but found ourselves saying, "Hey, wait a minute. With a little more effort and more trick parts, this old truck will be way too cool and extremely capable."
In the end our Ultimate Ranch Truck will be the culmination of hundreds of hours of work and detailed engineering. The paramount goal is having the truck survive the harshest terrain our fearless leader Rick Pw can find around the country without too much breakage or catastrophic failure.
Of course, every year our UA vehicle has a minor mishap: a broken axleshaft, a shattered window, a caved-in door... But our rig always finishes. Besides, an Ultimate Adventure free of carnage wouldn't really be an adventure. This is where the ranch/work truck theme of the vehicle comes in. The truck will be fitted with every tool necessary to fix a vehicle or mend a fence along the way, and still be able to capably wheel the toughest terrain we can find.
Our UA Ford F-250 has a history with 4-Wheel & Off-Road. It has been in our stable for a number of years, but has been neglected for the last few. With the help of Stephen and James Watson, the truck made its way to Offroad Design's shop in Carbondale, Colorado. The Watsons, along with their crew of skilled fabricators, immediately tore the truck down and started cutting, welding, and fabricating. The list of custom modification to our UA truck includes swapping the front axle, shortening the wheelbase, boatsiding the Super Cab, installing a set of Bilstein coilover shocks up front, and 9100 remote reservoir shocks in the rear.
The well-used and mangled truck bed was removed from the rig. It had seen better days--of course, it would still hold a couple loads of cow manure, but we need it functional yet trail safe. ORD is designing a custom flatbed with tool storage and places for a generator, a welder, a plasma cutter, and everything else that goes along with a functional work truck. Almost a foot of needless rocker panel has been trimmed off the truck, and the rollcage is just about finished. Stay tuned for Part 3.