If you have been in the off-road and automotive scene for any amount of time then you have undoubtedly have heard the term “rolling chassis” from time to time. If not, then a vehicle that can be rolled around on its own axles and wheels then it’s considered a rolling chassis. Some builders feel the motor and drivetrain need to be installed before you have a true roller, but whatever! We’ll hit more about the motor and transmission install in Part 4 of the Diesel Challenge Build-Off. For now, we’ll focus on the four-link design, driver’s seat location, and the measuring and placement of the Duramax diesel engine in the race rig known as “Next Level”. It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s all there really is on a race truck!
We also mounted 14.9x24 Superior Traction tires on Adam’s brand new American Force wheels. Once the wheels are bolted to the 2.5-ton military axles, they can be rolled under the truck and connected to the suspension—the rolling chassis. The Ouverson Super 8-lug Rockwell axle hub conversion and alloy 16-spline shafts should make these axles almost unbreakable. Dennis Rueger’s hand-built frame has been meticulously bent and welded together over the past few weeks and its level of quality is impressive. Each and every weld is perfect, which should give Adam a little peace of mind as he hits the jumps at 50 mph. This is definitely not going to be your average, run of the mill mud truck. The sophisticated monster will be a build most off-road enthusiasts can only dream about, but a little aspirational motivation goes a long way on our average trucks!
When Rob Pigue from PlanB-Fab pulls up to the starting line and looks down from his 5-ton F-350 at the paddle shifting Next Level truck next to him, we’re sure he will wondering if his truck is up to par. Rob is no stranger to competition and the Methanol injected tubro-diesel 7.3-liter Ford he’s building is proof of just how seriously he’s taking the competition. The original plan was to rebuild a previously hacked up Cummins powered Ram, but Rob wanted to start with a fresh canvas so he picked us this completly stock 2001 Ford F-350. The 28Lx26 Goodyear R2 tractor tires that Rob is mounting to his locked up 5-ton military axles will be taller than Next Levels hood and right in Adam’s face. His four-linked, four-door Mega Truck is going to be running a 19-inch drop, standard rotation SCS transfer case, PSC 3-inch dual hydraulic steering, and PlanB-Fab 24-inch travel coilovers. Naturally, all the metal brackets, brakes, and wheels will be built in-house since that is what Rob’s company specializes in. A fully built billet transmission and some engine performance mods like high-performance injectors, upgraded turbo, and a computer tune from Tim at Performance Injection Systems in Polk County, FL will make this rig move. These two trucks are going to be put through some of the toughest mud competitions most off-road trucks have ever been through. There will be five separate challenges that each truck has top compete in. Each of the challenges is designed to find the weaknesses of the two trucks.
The first test will be a simple quarter-mile drag race that will give the spectators a little sampling of how much power and torque the rigs are cranking out. The next test the trucks will prove their handling performance by driving laps around the oval track at Redneck Yacht Club, the fastest time after 5 laps wins the round. The third challenge is a straight up tug-of-war on RYC’s concrete pad. Both trucks will be connected at the bumper with a Bubba Rope. Fourth on the competition list is a trip through the big mud hole—whoever makes it the furthest without stopping wins round this round. The final round in the competition will be the Hill n Hole track at RYC. This will be a freestyle race that gives the spectators the final vote. Each competitor will have two and a half minutes to finish the course and show off for the crowd. The audience will vote at the end by yelling for their favorite driver and he will be declared the 1st annual Mud Life Build-off Challenge Champion.