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The Rigs Of Ultimate Adventure 2012

Posted in Ultimate Adventure: 2012 on November 1, 2012 Comment (0)
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Photographers: 4-Wheel & Off -Road Staff

An adventure by yourself may be fun, but take a group of likeminded individuals and spend a week on some grand road trip and it becomes an adventure like no other, an Ultimate Adventure. Whether driven by readers, sponsors, Cronies, or staff, the troop of 23 4x4s you see here crossed a wild variety of terrain and states with a single goal: to have fun. The guys who comprise our band of merry men are experienced in four-wheeling to varying degrees, but when grouped together there seemed to be no obstacle they couldn’t surmount. This is the team, the campers, the gang, the adventurers of Ultimate Adventure 2012.

Title Sponsor
Jeep: Official Vehicle
2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Driver: Jim Repp
Co-Driver: Tony Carvallo
Stomping Grounds: Michigan, Moab

Many OEMs have sponsored our Ultimate Adventure over the years, and most of these big companies join the event, but Jeep went a step further and sent some of its top engineers along with us for a week of camping and wheeling and to showcase the Wrangler on the trail. Jim Repp has been with Jeep for 23 years and is currently tasked with Wrangler development. Tony Carvallo has been there 13 years and spends his days on the Mopar side developing performance accessories for Jeep owners. Together they made the perfect odd couple while wheeling a glossy-black ’12 four-door Wrangler Rubicon, with Repp constantly stressing about dents and dings and Carvallo giggling when the inevitable scratch happened. Their Rubicon, christened Darth for its dark-side look and the way it slayed more than a few obstacles, worked great all week, proving once again that Jeep brands are king of the OEM off-roaders. Their JK did have a few obvious upgrades, such as clearance for 37-inch rubber and the prerequisite winch, but it still resembled a factory-fresh Jeep in many ways.

Drivetrain
Engine: 3.6L V-6
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Transfer Case: ’12 Rubicon Roc Trac
Front Axle: Mopar Pro Rock 44 by Dynatrac, ARB Air Locker, 4.10 gears
Rear Axle: Mopar Pro Rock 60 by Dynatrac, ARB Air Locker, 4.10 gears
Steering: Stock

Suspension
Springs & Such: AEV 41⁄2-inch lift
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch BFGoodrich KM2s on Mopar/AEV wheels
Other: Mopar/AEV bumpers with Warn winch, a tent as big as the Death Star, Star Wars sleeping bags, a plush stuffed Ewok for cold nights (we won’t disclose which engineer this belonged to)

Reader
The Red Ranger
Driver: Bray Dierker
Co-Driver: Brandon Dierker
Stomping Grounds: Badlands and Redbird, IN; The Cliffs, IL; Turkey Bay, KY; Flat Nasty, MO

Bray Dierker and his brother/co-driver Brandon from north-central Illinois were the smooth operators of UA. Bray’s Ranger wasn’t extraordinary at rest sitting low on 37-inch BFGoodrich tires and packing a high-pinion Dana 44 front and Ford 8.8 rear, but when needed this truck tiptoed over obstacles with more grace and skill than the child of a ninja and ballerina. The Ranger flat-out works, and Bray drives it well. No trailer queen, this truck is Bray’s daily driver and weekend wheeler, requiring simple tough components and a smooth operator who can drive to keep it alive all week long.

Drivetrain
Engine: ’97 Ford Explorer 4.0L V-6
Transmission: M5OD trans
Transfer Case: BW1350/1354 doubler
Front Axle: narrowed ’79 Ford Bronco HP D44, 4.56 gears, spool
Rear Axle: ’99 31-spline Ford Explorer 8.8, 4.56 gears, welded
Steering: Ford power steering with custom Branik Hi-steer

Suspension
Springs & Such: 31⁄2-inch EB springs up front, Chevy 63-inch leaf springs in rear, approx. 5 inches of lift
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich KM2s on 17x8.5 Trail Read HD Beadlocks with Slim Rings
Other: Internal cage, fabricated sliders and tube doors

Old Crony
The Boyd Effect
1973 Toyota Hilux
Driver: Dave Chappelle
Co-Driver: Tom Boyd
Stomping Grounds: Coral Canyon, CA

Tom Boyd has been to every Ultimate Adventure, and he’s pretty much the class clown, but he was late this year so we are seriously considering revoking his application for Official Crazy Crony of UA 2013. Boyd came this year with chauffer Dave Chappelle in an old banana-yellow Toyota Hilux that was so new from the shop that the first testdrive was the 17 straight hours it took to get to the start of the UA. Built really low with linked suspension and airbags for springs, this truck brought lowrider mini truck technology to the trail and worked great once there. The cab isn’t much larger than a mailbox and rattles so much that Chappelle couldn’t hear Boyd’s wild stories, but maybe that was the plan all along.

Drivetrain
Engine: 22RE from ’85 4Runner
Transmission: W56 5-speed
Transfer Case: Dual Toyota cases with 4.7 gears in the rear
Front Axle: ’85 Toyota 5.29 gears, Lock Right, Trail Gear Dirty-30 axleshafts
Rear Axle: ’88 Toyota IFS rear housing with 5.29 gears and a Detroit locker
Steering: ’88 Toyota steering box

Suspension
Springs & Such: Track bar 3-link in front, wishbone 3-link in rear, Contitech airbags and Zone shocks front and rear
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers on 17-inch KMC Enduro beadlocks
Other: Warn 9.0RC winch; EMPI Racetrim seats; Deist harnesses; Chappelle Kustoms custom bumpers, cage, rocker sliders, and bodywork; 15.6-gal fuel cell; rotten banana paint scheme

Sponsor
Warn: Official Winch
2007 Custom Jeep JK Wrangler
Driver: Pat Meiwes
Co-Driver: Fred Perry
Stomping Grounds: OR, SC, CO

Warn Industries is the longest-running sponsor of the UA, and without them we might still be out on the trail! Warn winches are our off-roading parachutes. They literally save our butts when all else fails. Pat Meiwes, Warn’s Northwest sales manager, and Fred Perry, proprietor of Clemson 4-Wheel Center, represented the red W clan with the monster Big Red JK. This custom Jeep is stretched to a 110-inch wheelbase, packs a Hemi V-8 under the hood, and is outfitted with Warn parts, from dual winches to hubs to bumpers. Big Red suffered some minor issues during the week, such as a bent steering ram, a missing wheel, and a branch through the soft top’s window, but the Warn parts and representatives were always there to pull someone free or coordinate a rescue. Rumor has it that this is one of Big Red’s last trail rides. We are excited to see what Warn builds for 2013!

Drivetrain
Engine: 5.7L Hemi
Transmission: ’09 Dodge 2500 automatic
Transfer Case: Stock NV241
Front Axle: Currie Rockjock 60, 5.38 gears, ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: Same
Steering: Hydraulic ram assist, removed during trip due to bent ram

Suspension
Springs & Such: 6-Inch custom lift, Skyjacker springs and shocks, Rubicon Express Arms
Tires & Wheels: 40x14.50 BFGoodrich on 19x9.5 Raceline beadlocks, 5-on-51⁄2 wheel bolt pattern
Other: Warn Rock Crawler Stubby front bumper with Warn 9.5 CTIS winch, Warn Rock Crawler rear bumper with Warn 9.5xp winch

Reader
Jimmy Jack Jeep
Willys/YJ/TJ
Driver: Jimmy Jack
Co-Driver: Dusty Domenici
Stomping Grounds: Rubicon, Fordyce, Hammers

Jimmy Jack has some buddies with buggies, but he knew he wanted something more streetable than the average tube car. His solution is a tube chassis under a Jeep body with equal on- and off-road performance. Jack and navigator Dusty Domenici are both from Northern California with families they like to take outdoors, so they had no problem with the camping aspect of the UA. Meanwhile, Jack’s Jeep had a few hiccups with fuel delivery early on in the trip, but kept coming back for more. In the end his buggy Jeep-mobile was a well-thought-out vehicle for a trip like this, where a 4x4 has to be ready for anything.

Drivetrain
Engine: Chevy LT1
Transmission: Junkyard TH400 with Art Carr shifter
Transfer Case: Junkyard 203 with Offroad Design first-gen Doubler adapter kit to a 205 (205 also junkyard)
Front Axle: Kingpin Dodge Dana 60, 5.13 gears, welded
Rear Axle: Corp. 14-bolt HD from a Suburban with a ballistic shave kit, 5.13 gears, and Detroit Locker
Steering: Hydraulic ram assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: 3-link with Bilstein coilovers built by Off Road Addiction in front, 4-link with Bilstein coilovers built by Jim Hatch in rear
Tires & Wheels: 40-inch Nitto Mud Grapplers on 17x9 TrailReady beadlocks
Other: Frame/chassis is custom 2x3-inch, 120-wall built by Roggy Enterprise, bumper and stinger all built by Bob Roggy of Roggy Ent., winch is an old-school Warn 8274 with a new high-speed motor from Warn

Offroad Design: Official Transfer Case
1999 GMC 2500
Driver: Stephen Watson
Co-Driver: James Watson
Stomping Grounds: CO

There is no denying that the Watson family behind Offroad Design is the premier family for bringing gear for big trucks to the trail. Stephen and his dad, James, brought back their capable GMC flatbed but now equipped with ORD’s new Magnum Underdrive gearbox (“Magnum Box,” Oct. ’12). These guys make mincemeat of trail obstacles where most people would assume fullsize body panels would cave. Plus their ’99 regular cab is a great truck that a regular guy could duplicate without too much drama or coin. Built big with big strong parts, it’s no wonder ORD’s motto is “We make big look good.”

Drivetrain
Engine: Stock Vortec 454 V-8
Transmission: Factory NV4500
Transfer Case: ORD Magnum Underdrive/NP205 system
Front Axle: ’79 Ford Dana 60 Superior shafts, CTMs, 5.13 gears, ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: 14-bolt, ORD disc conversion, Crane diff cover, ARB Air Locker, 5.13 gears

Suspension
Springs & Such: ORD solid-axle conversion with ORD springs in front, ORD springs with extended shackles and 2-link traction bars in rear
Steering: ORD crossover with PSC hydraulic assist
Tires & Wheels: 40-inch MTRs on 17-inch TrailReady beadlocks
Other: Custom ORD cage and tube bed, Warn winch, 117-inch wheelbase (cut down to shortbed length from the original longbed length)

Old Crony
Jeepish Buggymobile
1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ Buggy
Driver: Trent McGee
Co-Driver: Sam Gillis
Stomping Grounds: AZ, AL

Trent McGee is the other crony who has been on every Ultimate Adventure, and he returned this year in his Jeep TJ tube car with Sam Gillis riding in the right seat. These guys worked tail gunner for most of the week helping broken-down 4x4s, eating the most dust on dusty days, and helping herd the cats that make up our UA group to camp each night. Gillis missed the trip last year because he was deployed to Iraq, so we were happy and honored that he could meet up with us for a week of wheeling. McGee has worked in many areas of the off-road industry, from magazine writer to television host to marketing guru for various companies. This year his buggy returned with a burly front Dana 60 axle, making broken front Dana 30 parts a thing of the past.

Drivetrain
Engine: 122,000-mile 4.0L I-6, AirRaid intake, JBA header
Transmission: AX-15
Transfer Case: Atlas 4-speed
Front Axle: 60 from ’96 Ford F-350, RCV shafts, Dynatrac knuckles and 5-on-51⁄2 hub conversion, 4.88 gears, Detroit Locker
Rear Axle: Ford 8.8 from Exploder with alloy shafts, 4.88 gears, Detroit Locker
Steering: Hydraulic ram assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: 5-inch lift with Superlift long-arm kit, Rusty’s Off-Road track bars, Rusty’s Off-Road steering, Fox 2-inch coilover shocks
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.50- Nitto Trail Grapplers on 17x9 Spyderlock wheels
Other: Warn 9.0RC winch

Reader
Folded Taco
2005 Toyota Tacoma
Driver: Jody Ardrey
Co-Driver: Joe Eaves
Stomping Grounds: Clayton and Disney, OK

Jody Ardery’s Tacoma, built by co-driver Joe Eaves of Toy Soldiers, started the week as one of the best-looking trucks in the group. The orange and blue paint was fresh and the fiberglass fenders and factory four-doors straight as can be. All that changed by the final day, as the Taco earned its stripes. These were the only guys on the trip running fully hydraulic steering, and although many have done it before, they had some major handling issues with it on the road days. The Tacoma performed great off-road and made for a five-star camping rig with both a fridge and microwave in the backseat, but a few dents and dings were earned during the week when this rather large truck was squeezed through rocks and boulders.

Drivetrain
Engine: 4.0L V6
Transmission: Stock automatic
Transfer Case: Inchworm dual cases 2.28/4.7 gearing, chromoly shafts
Front Axle: Chevrolet Dana 60, Yukon Joints, chomo 35-spline shafts, 5.38 gears, ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: Chevrolet 14-bolt with chromo shafts, 5.38 gears, ARB Air Locker
Steering: PSC full hydro

Suspension
Springs & Such: 3-link with ORI 14-inch struts in front, Alcan springs in rear
Tires & Wheels: 40/13.50/17 Goodyear MTR with Kevlar on ATX Slab beadlock
Other: Handmade front and rear bumpers, 10K Smittybuilt XRC, chromoly rollcage tucked up under the headliner and plastic panels, exocage tied to internal rollcage, most every single bracket on the truck is one-off handmade, Fiber-X front fenders and removable rear bedside, onboard air, custom tool/storage box, fridge, microwave

Sponsor
Hazzard FabWorx: Official Fabricator
2000 Jeep Wrangler TJ
Driver: Luke Shuman
Co-Driver: Rocky Dorame
Stomping Grounds: WA, Johnson Valley, Moab

Luke Shuman and Rocky Dorame signed up to build this year’s official vehicle, the orange JK we refer to as OJ the Off-Roadster (“OJ the Ultimate Orange Jeep,” Aug.-Nov. ’12 and ongoing). It has a stretched frame, front and rear steer, and of course the infamous trunk made from a front Jeep clip. As official fabricators of the UA, they also came along on the trip. For wheels they chose Shuman’s Jeep TJ over Dorame’s less than road-legal rock buggy. This TJ is a wild ride for sure, with coilover shocks and bumpstops in every corner, big Dana 60 axles, and a healthy 4.0L I-6. Dorame’s driving skill and Shuman’s positive attitude would have earned these guys a trophy, but as you well know, you can’t “win” the Ultimate Adventure—it’s about having a good time wheeling, roading, and camping in the dirt.

Drivetrain
Engine: 4.0L I-6
Transmission: Automatic
Transfer case: 4.3:1 Atlas
Front Axle: Ford Dana 60, 5.38 gears, ARB Air Locker, 35-spline chromoly shafts
Rear Axle: Dana 60, 5.38 gears, ARB Air Locker, 35-spline chromoly shafts, Stillen brakes
Steering: PSC hydraulic ram assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: Stretched short/long arm with Panhard bar in front, custom triangulated 4-link in rear, Bilstein 47mm coilovers front and rear with ACV valves and 4-inch air bumpstops
Tires & Wheels: 40-inch Nitto Mud Grapplers on 17-inch Raceline Monster beadlocks
Other: PRP seats; GenRight Comp-Corners; high fenders and sliders; custom Hazzard Fabworx cage, back tubular frame section, tire carrier, bumpers, and cooler mount; 22-gal fuel cell

Sponsor
Zone Offroad Products: Official Suspension
1990 Jeep Comanche MJ
Driver: Carter Reed
Co-Driver: Steve Fendt
Stomping Grounds: Anything to get out of the office

Carter Reed and Steve Fendt brought the Zone Comanche back for another shot at the UA after last year’s inaugural run. The Comanche is pretty well dialed in and worked great on all terrains, with just a hiccup from high engine temps during a road day. The Comanche has some very trick upgrades and works as well as a rockcrawler as it does a dune jumper. The suspension is custom but uses components being researched by Zone for future offering. A pickup bed is a great idea for the Ultimate Adventure because storage for camping and wheeling gear is invaluable, and this mini truck could haul and still twist its way through tight Northwest trails.

Drivetrain
Engine: Golen 4.6L Stroker I-6
Transmission: AX-15
Transfer Case: NP241OR Rocktrac (4:1)
Front Axle: Mopar JK J8 Dana 44, trussed, sleeved, Superior chromoly shafts and U-joints, Reid Racing knuckles with Superior 5.38 gears, ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: Mopar JK J8 Dana 60 with Superior 5.38 gears, ARB Air Locker
Steering: AGR hydraulic ram assist

Suspension Springs & Such: Zone 4-link long arm in front, triangulated 4-link long arm in rear, 14-inch Fox 2.5 remote-reservoir coilovers at all corners
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50 Nitto Mud Grapplers on 17x8.5 Walker Evans beadlocks (5-inch backspacing)
Other: Zone custom front/rear bumpers, TJM 12,000-lb winch, Hanneman fiberglass fenders/bedsides, 15-gal fuel cell, J.E.Reel driveshafts, complete unibody plating, full rollcage, Warn VTC compressor, dual Optima YellowTops, PRP seats, dimple-die hood, bumpers, and rock sliders

Sponsor
Nitto Tire: Official Tire
2007 Jeep Wrangler JK
Driver: Tim Coltey
Co-Driver: Mel Wade
Stomping grounds: Johnson Valley, Southern California desert

Nitto Tire returned as the official tire of the UA, and we couldn’t be happier. Two years running and the Nitto rubber on our official 4x4 went leak-free despite severe abuse. Tim Coltey, marketing madman for Nitto, and Mel Wade, Jeep wrench and driver extraordinaire, brought a well-built Jeep JK that was sitting extremely low on the new 40-inch Trail Grapplers, resulting in a stable machine with gobs of traction. Coltey and Wade had no problems running down the tarmac, ripping in the mud, crawling the boulders, or launching in the dunes.

Drivetrain
Engine: 3.8L V-6
Transmission: Automatic
Transfer case: Advance Adapters Rubicrawler and stock
Front Axle: Dynatrac ProRock 44 60 hybrid, ARB Air Locker, 5.38 gears
Rear Axle: Dynatrac ProRock 60, ARB Air Locker, 5.38 gears
Steering: Custom high-steer with PSC Motorsports hydro-assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: Evo Mfg. suspension with King coilovers
Tires & Wheels: 40-inch K-Spec Nitto Trail Grapplers on 17-inch ATX Slab beadlocks wheels

Reader
Long & Short Samurai
1985 Suzuki Samurai LWB
Driver: Nic Pook
Co-Driver: Lance Koch
Stomping Grounds: BC trails, Moab, Johnson Valley

The Suzuki Samurai is a great little 4x4, but its size can be its downfall. When you include all the spare parts and tools and so on that are needed for a week of four-wheeling and camping, a stock Sami gets downright crowded, especially for two guys. Luckily for reader Nic Pook and co-dawg Lance Koch, in British Columbia, Canada, where they are from they could get a slightly longer Samurai known as the LWB (Long Wheel Base). With roughly 95 inches of wheelbase to work with, Pook and Koch could easily pack their mighty mini with all the necessities for camp, road, and trail. Small, strong, and well engineered with room for gear, this little truck epitomizes the UA vehicle.

Drivetrain
Engine: ’91 Toyota 22RE
Transmission: ’86 Toyota W56 and Marlin Crawler 1,600-lb clutch
Transfer Case: Marlin Crawler dual cases with rear chromoly output and front 30-spline output; 4.7:1 gears in the back case
Front Axle: Diamond housing with Longfield 30-spline axleshafts, 5.29 gears, Toyota Elocker
Rear Axle: Diamond housing with Trail Gear chromoly axleshafts, 5.29 gears, Toyota Elocker
Steering: Toyota power steering with Trail Gear super pump and hydro-assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: Custom 3-link in front, custom 4-link in rear, Radflo coilovers and air bumps
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers on 17x9 KMC beadlocks
Other: Custom body, bumpers, dash, and suspension; Warn 8,000-lb winch

Old Crony
Painted Patina
1949-2004 Willys Jeep TJ Wrangler
Driver: Chris Durham
Co-Driver: Anyone brave enough to hop in
Stomping Grounds: Sea to shining sea

Chris Durham hails from a small town in South Carolina, and this year he showed up in his custom Willys TJ. Built for hardcore wheeling on 42-inch rubber, Durham’s truck also makes a pretty good road machine. Rather than tow it, he opted to swap in a slightly higher set of ring-and-pinion gears, throw a duffle bag in the bed beside his spare tire and tent, and road-trip across America to the start of the event in Oregon. In Redmond he swapped the gears to a lower crawler ratio and wheeled hard all week. Durham is our go-to guy when we need a cameraman shuttled ahead, but he is also always willing to jump in should someone need a spotter, or a hand wrenching. As we go to press he is still on the road, because he decided to take a few weeks off from his own shop, Chris Durham Motorsports, and do some sightseeing and wheeling on the long drive home.

Drivetrain
Engine: 2000 RT 360 Mopar V-8
Transmission: 904 automatic
Transfer Case: Atlas
Front Axle: Ford Dana 60, 5.38 gears, Detroit Locker
Rear Axle: Corp. 14-bolt, 5.38 gears, Detroit Locker
Steering: AGR hydraulic ram assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: Zone 3-inch coils and shocks, custom long-arm suspension.
Tires & Wheels: 42x17 Goodyear MTRs on 17x9 Walker Evans beadlocks
Other: MasterCraft seats, Premier Power Welder, custom truck conversion with faux rusty paint, Warn 9.0RC winch

Sponsor
Off-Road Power Products: Official Retailer
2009 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Driver: Cooper Ramussen
Co-Driver: Jeff Garland
Stomping Grounds: Pacific Northwest

Off-Road Power Products showcased its wares with a well-built four-door Jeep JK hiding in plain site under a wrap of urban camo, with a torquey Cummins 4BT four-cylinder diesel rattling under the hood. Erik “Cooper” Rasmussen looks like the type of guy who would fit better in the backseat of the Jeep so he could stretch out, or better yet, wheeling a fullsize dump truck, but don’t let his stature fool you. He is still a little baby when it comes to wheeling experience, having attended only a few trail rides before coming on our trip. But although a rookie behind the wheel in the dirt, Cooper is no crybaby. Not only can he lift heavy things, but he learns fast too, such that by the end of the week his little JK was scrambling over obstacles with the best of them. Carnage was suffered once or twice (a destroyed rear locker, for example), but a welder had him and co-pilot Jeff Garland back on the trail and ready for more.

Drivetrain
Engine: 3.9L Cummins 4BT with BorgWarner EFR turbo
Transmission: 4L60E with Compushift
Transfer Case: Rubicon Roc Trac
Front Axle: JK Dana 44 with 4.56 gears and Rubicon locker
Rear Axle: JK Dana 44 with 4.56 gears and Ox locker
Steering: Hydraulic ram assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: Synergy long arm with 31⁄2-inch progressive-rate coils, Bilstein shocks
Tires & Wheels: 37-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers on orange powdercoated stock JK steel spare wheels with Inner Air beadlocks
Other: Synergy bumpers and rollcage, Warn 9.5XP winch

Chile Willy
1942 Willys MB
Driver: Sebastian Varas
Co-Driver: Gonzalo Bravo

Stomping Grounds: All over Chile, from the dunes of the Atacama Desert to the rocky lands and forests of the south The coolest jeep on the trip also traveled the longest distance to get to the Ultimate Adventure in both space and time. We’re talking about Sebastian Varas and his ’42 Willys MB, which came all the way from Santiago, Chile. We can’t say it drove the farthest, because it spent a good portion of the journey on a seagoing ship, but this is still a record in travel time heading to the UA. Varas knows his little jeep like the back of his hand and is willing and able to slip, slide, and launch it through obstacles as needed. Co-driver Gonzalo Bravo is also a renowned off-roader, having broken the world record for the highest altitude in a four-wheeled vehicle (22,000 feet) in his Samurai. Having traveled so far to bring the coolest jeep on the trip, these two nonetheless shied away from no obstacle. They attempted everything and surmounted most.

Drivetrain
Engine: ’07 Chevy LY6 6.0L V-8
Transmission: TH350
Transfer Case: Dana 300
Front Axle: Dana 44, ARB Air Locker, 4.11 gears
Rear Axle: Dana 44, Detroit Locker, 4.11 gears
Steering: AGR steering box

Suspension
Springs & Such: Spring-over with Wagoneer springs and Fox shocks in front, 4-link with FOA coilovers in rear
Tires & Wheels: 36x13.50 Super Swamper Irok Radials on 15-inch Allied 32-bolt beadlocks
Other: ARB dual-motor onboard air, full rollcage, custom frame, MasterCraft military seats, Warn 9.5 Ti winch

Sponsor
Synergy Suspension: Official Armor
2007 Jeep JK Wrangler
Driver: Dave Schlossberg
Co-Driver: Rob Peterson
Stomping Grounds: Johnson Valley, Rubicon, Pismo Beach, Moab

This was the first year for Synergy as a UA sponsor, and they proved their mettle when things went bad. David Schlossberg and Rob Peterson arrived with their stretched two-door ’07 Jeep Wrangler outfitted with a wide variety of Synergy parts, and they weren’t afraid to let it stretch its legs. This Jeep has wheeled all over California and as far back east as Moab, and it raced in the notorious King of the Hammers race a few years back, but the UA would prove its undoing. Let’s just say disaster struck (sorry, you’ll have to read about it next month in part 2). Luckily, Team Synergy rose to the occasion and persevered.

Drivetrain
Engine: 3.8L V-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Transfer case: Atlas
Front Axle: Currie Rock Jock 60, Yukon 5.38 gears, Detroit Locker
Rear Axle: Same
Steering: PSC hydraulic ram assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: Synergy front and rear long-arm suspension, 12-inch Fox 2.0 coilover shocks, Fox 2.0 airbumps
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50 MTRs on 17-inch TrailReady beadlocks
Other: Synergy skidplates, Synergy hood louvers, Synergy cage, Synergy Baja basket, Synergy bumpers, Synergy rocker panels, custom bodywork

Sponsor
GenRight: Official Fenders
1987 Jeep Wrangler YJ
Driver: Tony Pellegrino
Co-Driver: Corey Osborne
Stomping Grounds: SoCal, Johnson Valley, CO

GenRight Off Road is a newcomer to our UA antics, but they fit right in with our crew. Tony Pellegrino and Corey Osborne enhanced our Jeep lineup with a well-built YJ, although most of the YJ bits have been twisted, tweaked, or tossed for even better off-road performance. Pellegrino’s racing background and Osborne’s experience driving in last year’s UA quickly had them lining up for any hard line we came to. Other than an annoying starter issue, the YJ clambered its way over most of the hard stuff. With a combination of skilled driving, lightweight GenRight aluminum parts, and solid, well-tested machinery, the GenRight YJ worked awesome and looked good doing it.

Drivetrain
Engine: 4.2L I-6
Transmission: Built 999 3-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Atlas 5.0:1
Front Axle: Currie Rock Jock 60 2009 with Super 60 ring-and-pinion, high-pinion, 5.38 gears, Detroit Locker
Rear Axle: Same
Steering: AGR hydraulic ram assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: GenRight Legend long-travel coilover 4-inch kit
Tires & Wheels: 42x14.50 Goodyear MT/Rs on 17x8 Walker Evans Racing beadlock wheels with 33⁄4-inch backspace
Other: GenRight rollcage, GenRight tube fenders, GenRight gas tank, GenRight 7075 aluminum Belly Skid, GenRight tire carrier, GenRight Mini Boat Side Rockers, GenRight corner guards, King Air bumpstops, 7075 aluminum control arms, PRP seats, Griffin radiator

Reader
I-6 Blazer
2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer
Driver: Steve Carroll
Co-Driver: Kaleb Black
Stomping Grounds: Salt Lake City area, Moab, Boise

We like seeing something different on the UA. Although we have had plenty of Blazers along before, this is the first TrailBlazer to make the trip. Steve Carroll and side-pilot Kaleb Black had no problem cruising the UA in this straight-six–powered wheeling wagon (even with a hole in the oil pan!). The factory 4.2L pushed the truck over plenty of obstacles (the oil pan hole is factory installed, mind you; it’s where the previous IFS axleshafts passed through), and swapped-in 1-ton axles did the dirty work. Carroll and Black came home with a few ding and dents, some busted driveshafts and brake issues, and minus one window, but they were blazing trails for new and unusual 4x4s on the UA, something we love to see.

Drivetrain
Engine: Chevrolet 4.2L I-6
Transmission: 4L60E
Transfer Case: NP231, NP241, via Box 4 Rocks Doubler
Front Axle: ’88 Dana 60, Drivers drop, kingpin, high-pinion, 4.56 gears, Spartan Locker, Reid Racing Knuckles, Yukon 35-spline shafts, Warn 35-spline hubs, BTF covers
Rear Axle: ’04 AAM 101⁄2-inch 14-bolt, full float, factory discs with parking brake, 4.56 gears, Detroit Locker
Steering: Ram assist with stock TrailBlazer pump, flow-modded, smaller pulley, Toyota gearbox, 1.5x8 PSC ram

Suspension
Springs & Such: 52-inch Chevy rear springs all around, about 12 inches of lift
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50x17 Nitto Mud Grapplers on 17x9.5 Raceline Monster aluminum beadlocks with steel rings
Other: 1-inch body lift, Trail Gear sliders, CO2 tank, custom bumpers

Old Crony
Ol’ Wrinkly
1987 Suzuki Samurai
Driver: Tim Hardy
Stomping Grounds: Northern CA

The red Samurai owned by Tim Hardy is always a favorite among the spectators when we roll into a small town for fuel. “Was anyone hurt in the accident?” is heard every year. Then when we hit the trail it’s not uncommon to hear, “Don’t dent it, Tim!” or, “I think you scratched the dent in the ding in your tub.” Hardy takes all the ribbing in stride, and then pulls the valve stems, shifts into low range, and chugs through obstacles like a walk in the park. If the old carbureted 1.3 stumbles he simply drives forward by cranking the starter, and before you know it Wrinkled Red has shown us all how it’s done. Of course you never know… He may just surprise us one day by showing up to UA with all the body panels straight and a fresh coat of paint.

Drivetrain
Engine: 1.3L I-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Transfer Case: factory transfer case with 4:1 gears
Front Axle: Samurai axle with 5.12 gears, chromoly axleshafts, and EZ Lockers
Rear Axle: Same
Steering: Stock

Suspension
Springs & Such: Custom leaf springs in front, quarter elliptical leaves in rear, Rancho shocks
Tires & Wheels: 35x13.50 BFGoodrich Krawlers on 15x10 American Racing wheels
Other: Brand-new Warn VR8000-S winch; custom smashed-tube front and rear bumpers; custom rollcage, rocker guards, and spare tire carrier

Reader
Purple Trail-O-Kee
1989 Jeep Cherokee
Driver: Paden Saracino
Co-Driver:Clifton Slay
Stomping Grounds: Rausch Creek, Moab

Paden Saracino returned this year to give the Ultimate Adventure another round. Last year his old XJ had it pretty rough, but this year was better. He still had some long days (replacing a busted ring-and-pinion, amongst other issues), but with crony/shotgunner Clifton Slay he worked his way through the week. His purple machine worked great when they weren’t working on it, and it chugged its way over obstacles with ease. Saracino traveled all the way from New York to accompany the group, and his never-say-die attitude is just what we’re looking for when choosing readers to attend this event.

Drivetrain
Engine: 4.6L stroker I-6
Transmission: ’89 Aw4
Transfer case: NP231
Front Axle: Jeep Dana 44, 5.13 gears, Ox locker
Rear Axle: Ford 9-inch, 5.13 gears, spool
Steering: AGR hydraulic ram assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: Custom Rusty’s Off-Road long-arm in front, custom 4-link in rear, 7 inches of lift
Tires & Wheels: 37x13.5 Nitto Mud Grapplers on 17-inch Moto metal 957
Other: Rusty’s rock rails, Tuffy storage box, snorkel, Warn winch, Angry Duck hood ornament

Sponsor
Bubba Rope: Official Recovery Rope
1974 Chevy K30
Driver: Matt Kime
Co-Driver: Faron Tidwell
Stomping Grounds: FL, SC, deserts of CA

What started as a mistaken order of a wrong-size rope for a Florida sling company has turned into one of the best off-road extraction tools available. We’re talking about the Bubba Rope, a high-quality snatch strap with elasticity to assist in yanking big buried trucks from the deep mud. Faron Tidwell of Bubba Rope enlisted Matt Kime and his Hulk of a Chevy truck to represent Bubba and showcase both the rope and the new Tree Hugger winch straps. The Chevy big green Chevy had a good week until the second-to-last day, when the TH400 began to whimper and die (it is hard to explain the “No Whining” rule to a transmission). They unfortunately missed the final trail in order to save the trans for the long drive home.

Drivetrain
Engine: 5.3L Gen III small-block, tuned ECM, Howell Racing Harness, Hooker Headers, custom in-cab air intake, K&N drop-in, Flowmaster mufflers
Transmission: TH400
Front Axle: Chevy Dana 60, Detroit No-Spin, 5.13s, Superior 35-spline inner and outer, Yukon Super Joints, Dedenbeer turning knuckles, Warn hubs, Offroad Design high-steer arm
Rear Axle: Corp. 14-bolt, Detroit No-Spin, 5.13s, Ballistic Fab shave kit, Blue Torch Fab rear disc conversion
Steering: PSC hydro-assist with PSC box, pump, and ram

Suspension
Springs & Such: ORD 6-inch coilover conversion, King 21⁄2-inch coilovers, King 21⁄2-inch bumpstops in front; King 21⁄2-inch shocks, Tuff Country 4-inch leaves, Daystar urethane bumpstops in rear
Tires & Wheels: 40x13Nitto Mud Grapplers on 17x10 Spyder Locks
Other: Warn M12000 Winch, Hella auxiliary lights, ViAir onboard air, MasterCraft Baja RS Bucket Seats, Hi-Lift Jack

Old Crony
Original UA JK
2007 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited
Driver: Keith Bailey
Co-Driver: Alan Huber
Stomping Grounds: Gray Rock OHV park

Art Director Alan Huber is integral to 4-Wheel & Off-Road. He makes every photo look good, he designs the layouts, and he makes sure the action looks exciting and the tech interesting. Unfortunately, he unloaded his own Bronco a year or so back and needed wheels for the Ultimate Adventure. Old crony Keith Bailey was more than willing to give Huber a ride, but wasn’t sure his own Jeep was ready for a transcontinental road trip. So the dust and mothballs were blown from the seats of our old project truck the UAJK, aka the Rubi Wagon (Aug. ’07–Jan. ’08), and a library loan of sorts was offered to Bailey and Huber. This big Jeep was built by American Expedition Vehicles and Twisted Customs, and it’s pretty good for long-distance road trips, not to mention trail rides and recovery with the big Cummins six-cylinder under the hood. Bailey liked driving it so much that he went home with schemes of turning his Dodge Mega Cab into a trail machine!

Drivetrain
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6
Transmission: NV-4500
Transfer Case: Atlas
Front Axle: Dodge Power Wagon 91⁄4 with 4.56 gears and Power Wagon locker
Rear Axle: Dodge Power Wagon 101⁄2 with 4.56 gears and Power Wagon locker
Steering: PSC hydraulic ram assist

Suspension
Springs & Such: Dodge Ram 2500 front coils with Zone shocks, Dodge Ram 2500 rear leaf springs with Superlift shocks
Tires & Wheels: 42-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on 20-inch TrailReady beadlocks
Other: Jeep body on shortened Ram 3500 chassis, Fab Fours bumpers, Warn 8274 winch, MasterCraft seats, ARB fridge/freezer

Support
Mobile Great White
Camera Crew
2007 Dodge Mega Cab
Driver: Bryan Howell
Co-Driver: Video crew
Stomping Grounds: Spokane

Every year a truckload of cameramen comes along to shoot the Ultimate Adventure for a DVD that you can purchase. This year Bryan Howell from Off-Road Power Products offered to come along in his massive Mega Cab Ram truck as the mobile video studio. Howell decided that the Mega Cab needed to stand head-and-shoulders above the average support truck, so it was fitted with 42-inch rubber and gobs of torque-adding diesel engine upgrades. The big truck had to be able to pull steep mountain passes so camera crews would be able to set up ahead of the group as well as run down the highways or trail should we need car-to-car or remote video footage. The big Dodge never wavered and happily rolled coal while hauling camera junkies and charging their various equipment from every 12V orifice it had. The best part is that sometimes our road days end up as trail days, and on one of them Howell got to weave the big rig down tight boulder-strewn stream crossings and narrow wooded trails.

Drivetrain
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Transmission: BD Trackmaster 48 RE
Transfer Case: Stock
Front Axle: AAM 91⁄4, 4.56 Yukon gears, Dynatrac free-spin kit and ball joints
Rear Axle: AAM 111⁄2, 4.56 Yukon gears
Steering: Factory, Red Head steering box, Borgeson steering shaft

Suspension
Springs & Such: Carli 6-inch lift with Carli radius arms with King 21⁄2-inch shocks
Tires & Wheels: 42-inch Goodyear Kevlar MT/Rs, factory Power Wagon wheels
Other: DPP triple parallel BorgWarner EFR turbos, ZZ Fab custom head and plenum, Mahle Monotherm pistons, Carrillo rods, Diesel Pros DP4 cam, Hamilton billet pushrods, DPP custom crank, 6.7L 39 LPM injectors, Smarty SSR, Fiberwerx Glass fenders and bedsides, Addictive Desert Designs HD front bumper with rigid 40-inch and 30-inch light bars, 70w HID conversion, Edge CTS Insight FASS HD 260-gph pump with remote fuel pressure regulator

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