Partially Finished 4-Wheelers
Everybody wants to get their truck in the magazine, but not everyone has a ride ready to wheel. Not a problem, as we're starting a Your Project Trucks section. Consider this a chance to show off what's going on in your garage. Send us a digital photo of your truck partially or barely finished. Give us the lowdown on what you're doing; the better the build plan, the more likely you'll end up in the magazine. Also tell us what you're going to do with it when it's done. Hopefully you'll see your 4x4 in the pages of an upcoming issue of Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road. Send your photo and info to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Projects" in the subject line.
Tom from Millstadt, Illinois, is currently serving as an active duty United States Marine, but back home is this '65/'77 3/4-ton GMC 4x4 project truck. This truck started life as a two-wheel drive that his great-grandfather bought new off the lot in 1965. It was handed down to his uncle, who handed it down to Tom when he turned 16. It is a '65 GMC 1500-series two-wheel-drive body mounted on a '77 3/4-ton 4x4 frame.
It has about 3 inches of body lift and 4 inches of suspension, a 14-bolt rear and GM 10-bolt front with 4.10 gears, a TH400 automatic transmission, and an NP208 transfer case. The front clip parts are all brand new, and it rolls on a set of 37-inch Dick Cepek FC-IIs. Plans include new floors and rockers in the cab, swapping in a fresh 383 stroker motor, and then heading to the occasional Mudbash in Bloomsdale, Missouri.
Jack Adams wanted an import tuner, but rather than a Honda with a giant coffee-can exhaust, he chose a Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser. To keep the other kids in baggy pants at bay around his Phoenix home, Jack stuffed a '04 Chevy 5.3L V-8 under the hood. Power is fed through a TH350 automatic and dual Toyota mini-truck transfer cases and down to Toyota axles.
The rear axle is out of an '80s Toyota pickup; the front is an original Land Cruiser axle with mini-truck hubs; both are equipped with disc brakes. A Saginaw power steering upgrade makes rallying the little Cruiser that much easier. By the time this goes to print, Jack should be running trails and racing red lights.
Diesel Dodge Do-Over
Nick Fleckner wanted to build a Dodge for cruising around Santa Rosa, California, so he started with a '48 and stretched the body into a crew cab. Then for a late-model ride he set the body on an '03 Cummins-diesel-equipped Dodge frame. The engine is followed by the factory six-speed manual transmission. The truck is four-wheel drive with a 6-inch Fabtech lift, though more height may be required depending on whether he goes with 37- or 42-inch-tall tires. A custom "Stepside" bed is in the works, and a front clip from a '53 dodge should clear the engine and custom radiator.
UFO Tube Car
Jeff Russell and John Reynolds have teamed up to build a new off-road racer, the UFO (Ultra Four Offroad). It may only look like a jungle gym right now, but this pile of pipe (chromoly tubing) will eventually be a mid-engine 4x4 desert and rock racing machine. The design will put the LS7 V-8 engine behind the driver and copilot, with the TH400 mounted between their seats. A divorced Atlas transfer case feeds a Super 14-bolt rear axle and a Currie 9-inch IFS front centersection with Pro-Am axles and IFS components.
Yes, this will be one of the new craze of IFS 4x4 rock buggies. The buggy will have a wheelbase of 112 inches with coilover and external bypass shocks and will run on 39-inch BFGoodrich KRT-B tires. The guys are aiming for a summer 2010 debut to start testing and then hopefully race the 2011 King of the Hammers Ultra Four series.
John Currie makes a living selling axles, and he likes to test his products off road. His latest creation was started at Campbell Enterprises as a full tube chassis. Campbell, known for its meticulous metalwork, stuffed an LS-series GM V-8 under the hood, followed by automatic transmission and an Atlas transfer case. Axle duties are carried out by Currie Rock Jock 60s with a Detroit locker up front and an ARB Air Locker out back. John now has the buggy at home, where he'll plumb and wire it. He plans on using it mostly at the Johnson Valley Hammers trails but will likely have it at Moab, on the Rubicon, and anywhere else "axle testing" is required.
Mark Hesser's Toyota truck is a mix of leftover parts and a previous owner's upgrades, with a dash of new tubing thrown in for a fresh start. What started as an '82 Toyota is now fitted with a '94 4.3L Chevy V-6, a 4L60E automatic transmission, and an Advance Adapters Toyota dual transfer case setup. The cases are stuffed with 2.28 and 4.0 low ranges, while the front and rear Dana 60s have 6.17 cogs. Ten Factory and Yukon supplied the axleshafts, while Super Swamper TSLs of the 42-inch variety fulfill the rubber roll. Weld-on beadlock wheels, Poly Performance link suspension components, and 14-inch Sway-A-Way air shocks round out this little rock machine's menu. Mark plans to take it to Johnson Valley and the Rubicon as soon as he gets her done.