Part 3: Building The '09 Ultimate Adventure Rig
The deadline to complete the Ultimate Ranch Truck is coming up faster than an interstate mile marker at a 110 mph! Our goal is to have the truck built and trail-tested a few weeks before the Ultimate Adventure. James and Stephan Watson at Offroad Design in Carbondale, Colorado, have their crew of topnotch fabricators cutting, welding, grinding, and wrenching around the clock. We are looking forward to leisurely cruising the Ultimate Ranch Truck across America for the start of UA!
If you are reading about the Ultimate Adventure and our ranch truck for the first time, then here's the skinny. We spend a week challenging our vehicles and ourselves on the toughest trails we can find around the country. Our procession of UA rigs travels from trail to trail by highway. All repairs must be made on the spot. There's no trailering or towing any UA rig. The Ultimate Adventure also requires many nights roughing it the wild, and that means plenty of meals cooked by oily and smoking engine blocks. This year we plan on completing nine trails in seven days and driving thousands of miles through three states-we've nicknamed it Rick Pw's Death March.
Each year the staff builds the coolest and toughest vehicle we can for Ultimate Adventure. This year we are turning our once-abandoned '02 Ford Super Duty fitted with a 7.3L turbo diesel into a rockcrawling adventure rig that's able to fix anything from axles to barbed wire fences. The Super Duty has been around the block a time or two. It was well used and definitely needed rebuilding. To date, the truck has had its rocker panels boatsided, the doors have been cut down to match, the old suspension has been stripped off the frame, a new rollcage has been welded in place, and the cab has been unitized to the frame. The Ford Super 60 front axle has been replaced with a Dynatrac Pro-Series 80.
We've overcome major hurdles and are at a turning point in the build. All the math and suspension geometry has been completed, and the major fabrication work is well on its way to being finished too. There's still a number of components to build, bolt on, and wire for power, but the worst is behind us. If we've blown our budget and lost sight of our aspirations of building an economical truck, then oh well. We'll just have to live with this soon-to-be amazing adventure rig.
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