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The Sniper

Posted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 1999
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p24568 large+Sniper Custom Offroad Vehicle+Front Driver Side
A ZZ4 Chevy 350 V-8 crate motor provides plenty of reliable horsepower and torque. Fuel injection is handled by Holley and allows the Sniper to keep climbing over obstacles at any angle without stalling the engine. A ZZ4 Chevy 350 V-8 crate motor provides plenty of reliable horsepower and torque. Fuel injection is handled by Holley and allows the Sniper to keep climbing over obstacles at any angle without stalling the engine.
The no-frills cockpit’s only features are gauges, seats, and harnesses. Its occupants are protected by the cage, which is tied into the rest of the chassis, giving it enough strength to survive serious rollovers. The no-frills cockpit’s only features are gauges, seats, and harnesses. Its occupants are protected by the cage, which is tied into the rest of the chassis, giving it enough strength to survive serious rollovers.
Super-long Doetsch Tech shocks were used along with hydraulic steering to help increase articulation. Using hydraulic steering is a little more involved but eliminates the need for linkages, which could limit suspension movement. Super-long Doetsch Tech shocks were used along with hydraulic steering to help increase articulation. Using hydraulic steering is a little more involved but eliminates the need for linkages, which could limit suspension movement.
The rear uses dual Doetsch Tech shocks; the front uses singles. The rear shocks mount to the upper link. In the lower left-hand side of the photo you can see the lower link, which mounts at a 45-degree angle to triangulate the rear axle and keep it from moving laterally. The rear uses dual Doetsch Tech shocks; the front uses singles. The rear shocks mount to the upper link. In the lower left-hand side of the photo you can see the lower link, which mounts at a 45-degree angle to triangulate the rear axle and keep it from moving laterally.
A view of the front suspension from the passenger side shows the custom quarter-elliptical springs built by Alcan. The front uses a three-link design but is different than most we have seen. Instead of using a Panhard Rod, the single upper link mounts to the axle at a 45-degree angle similar to a four-link design. A view of the front suspension from the passenger side shows the custom quarter-elliptical springs built by Alcan. The front uses a three-link design but is different than most we have seen. Instead of using a Panhard Rod, the single upper link mounts to the axle at a 45-degree angle similar to a four-link design.
A close-up of the front 63-inch wide Dynatrac Dana 60 shows lots of custom fabrication along with a hydraulic steering setup. To aid in traction, a Detroit Locker was used along with 5.13 gears. A close-up of the front 63-inch wide Dynatrac Dana 60 shows lots of custom fabrication along with a hydraulic steering setup. To aid in traction, a Detroit Locker was used along with 5.13 gears.
A look at the rear shows the stout, 63-inch-wide, high-pinion Dynatrac Dana 60 filled with 5.13 gears and a Detroit Locker. The two upper links, used to help keep the axle in place, mount to a tube that is welded to the axle.  Aircraft cable is used to keep the axle from drooping out too far. A look at the rear shows the stout, 63-inch-wide, high-pinion Dynatrac Dana 60 filled with 5.13 gears and a Detroit Locker. The two upper links, used to help keep the axle in place, mount to a tube that is welded to the axle. Aircraft cable is used to keep the axle from drooping out too far.

Troy Myers of Attica, Indiana, obviously has a zeal for off-roading. How many people go out and buy small pieces of land until they have one big one and then open the whole area to the public as an off-road park? Owning Badlands Park also has the benefit of giving Troy plenty of opportunities to go 'wheeling, something he definitely takes advantage of. All that playing in the dirt has led Troy through his fair share of vehicles. He built several rigs, but each usually ended up as a smashed ball of metal by the end of its tour of duty. Troy lusted for a take-no-prisoners, no-holds-barred trail rig that could go anywhere and do anything. That's when he came across the Sniper.

Built by Avalanche Automotive Engineering in Bayfield, Colorado, the Sniper is a completely tube-frame creation dreamed up by Steve Rumore and the rest of the crew at Avalanche. It's offered as either a welded chassis or a complete turnkey vehicle with anything you want on it. Being a busy man, Troy opted for the latter and had Avalanche build it. All he would have to do was hop in and go romping.

Per Troy's request, the crew at Avalanche went all out and filled the Sniper with the best parts available. A ZZ4 Chevy crate motor was put into place and topped off with a Holley Digital Pro-Jection system. Exhaust manifolds from a Corvette were squeezed into place and distribute gas into a 3-inch exhaust with a Flowmaster muffler. Shifting duties are handled by a TH400 automatic tranny equipped with a Trans-Go Stage II Shift Kit. Power is then handled by an Atlas II transfer case, which passes the horses to Avalanche-built driveshafts.

Having a super-trick chassis and drivetrain also meant that the suspension needed to be up to snuff with the rest of the Sniper. Avalanche decided to keep things custom but simple. A quarter-elliptical spring design with a three-link was used up front. Out back, quarter-elliptical springs built by Alcan were used in conjunction with a four-link to keep the axle in place. Hydraulic steering guides the Sniper down the trail while eliminating steering linkages and maximizing suspension flex.

Held in place by the trick-but-functional suspension are two full-width Dynatrac high-pinion Dana 60s. Both were stuffed with 5.13 gears and Detroit Lockers. Disc brakes on the ends of each axle slow down the massive 42-inch Swampers mated to MRT 15x10 steel wheels.

Troy’s Sniper was one of the first produced, and he reports that he is happy with his decision to go totally tubular. So far, the Sniper has been tested in Utah, Colorado, Arkansas, and Indiana, all with good results. Its massive tires and better-than-90-degree approach and departure angles allow it to traverse obstacles with ease. Troy hopes to put the truck--and himself--to the ultimate test in the upcoming Warn National Rock Crawling Championships.

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