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On The Warpath

Posted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 2013
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Las Cruces, New Mexico, has always been a well-known spot for serious rockcrawling. For the avid four-wheeler its very name brings to mind images of skyward pointing vehicles climbing through some of the most challenging trails in the Southwest. The entire surrounding area is perfect for any kind of off-road enthusiast to enjoy the constantly changing terrain that keeps people coming back year after year.

Joe Wright was inspired by a few prior trips rockcrawling with the group that ran this trail, and he felt the urge to buy a buggy of his own only months ago. It runs the ever-popular Toyota powertrain and driveline, which crept over most everything without any issues all day long.

The Warpath Trail is located an hour north of Las Cruces and just east of Caballo Reservoir, and it definitely lives up to its name. The trail doesn’t get used very often due to its being so difficult, but from what we hear there are even harder trails in the area. We’re looking forward to covering them in the future.

Toyota trucks are very popular for rockcrawling because of their nimble size, reasonably priced aftermarket parts, and lightweight but durable drivetrain. Chris Serna has been wheeling this ’83 Toyota with a modified 22RE, a 5-inch Trail Gear lift, 30-spline front axles, and 35-inch grooved TSLs for seven years with nearly no major problems.

A large group of vehicles on a trail as hard as this can spell disaster, or at least you know you’re in for a really long day. It was definitely a long day, but our group of 12 vehicles was very well equipped and experienced with the area, which made all the difference. The entire group got through the mile-long trail in just around seven hours with no major carnage beyond a fan belt, one torn brake line, a tire knocked off the bead, and obviously a bit of body damage.

This slick-looking creation belongs to Tracy Hooker. It took about two years to complete and has all the good stuff. A 5.0L V-8 powers a 60 front with full hydraulic steering and a 14-bolt rear. Both axles are four-linked and are suspended with 16-inch coilover shocks for an extremely supple suspension.
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