A Series of Fortunate Events: Ryan Maggy’s 1984 Chevy K20 on 40s

    A Series of Fortunate Events

    Ken BrubakerPhotographerJered KorfhageWriter

    “My Dad warned me that this truck would never be a full rockcrawler—boy was he wrong!” The truck was an ’84 Chevy K20 with a 6.2L Detroit Diesel V-8, and it had spent its time hauling cattle around a ranch and transporting toys to and from the local dunes. Ryan Maggy’s plans for the truck involved more play than work; he wheeled hard on its 3/4-ton axles and 4-inch Pro Comp lift. Modifications began with flipped shackles and custom-built bumpers—and ended with a blown engine and a title transfer. Ryan’s heavy foot and the turbocharger wreaked havoc on the stock 6.2L, so he parted ways with the Chevy and sold it to a friend.

    A series of fortunate events took place in that interim. First, Ryan’s friend replaced the blown diesel with a ZZ4 350ci V-8 crate engine. Second, Ryan began dabbling in Toyota rigs, but he had an epiphany and realized, as he told us, “I’m a fullsize kind of guy.” He bought back the truck and went to work, once again wheeling and building.

    Looking at the truck, it’s hard to find a piece that wasn’t purpose-built for Ryan’s off-road needs. Tucked beneath an outdoor car canopy, he spent the better part of three years on custom items like the ’60s M101A1 military trailer that became the truck’s bed, the swinging bed-mounted tire carrier, the ’caged exterior, and more. The result of Ryan’s work is a truly unique Chevy that has survived the Rubicon, Fordyce, and Slick Rock Road trails, as well as the rocks of Johnson Valley, California. Ryan’s future plans for his Chevy include a four-linked frontend, deeper axle gears, and an additional seat—his first child (read: future off-roader) is on the way.

    The rear axle flexes beneath the frame on 56-inch leaf springs, which are attached via DIY4X flipped shackles. To combat axlewrap, Ryan used a backward-mounted WFO Concepts 14-bolt Torque Arm. A Rod End Supply Heim joint joins the 2-inch, 0.250-inch-wall lowers and 1.5-inch, 0.250-inch-wall uppers to the rear bumper, exemplifying Ryan’s ingenuity. In order for the Bilstein 5125 shocks to use all 14 inches of travel while maintaining a low center of gravity, hoops were installed and the shocks were routed through the floor of the bed.

    The Chevy’s bed is far from stock and far from typical. Ryan opted to swap out the dented and abused shrine to broken taillights with a bit of custom work—an M101A1 trailer. He mounted the bed 4 inches lower on the frame, making it easier to access the truck’s cargo area. He also shortened the bed by 9 inches to make room for his homebuilt tire carrier and rear bumper. The carrier was one of Ryan’s custom projects made from 1.75-inch, 0.120-inch-wall DOM tubing, beefy enough to hold the 40-inch spare tire. The bed is also home to the transmission cooler, 26-gallon JAZ fuel cell, toolbox, ice chest, fire extinguisher, and Hi-Lift jack. Max-Bilt taillights have also replaced the long line of damaged predecessors.

    At a Glance

    General
    Vehicle: ’84 Chevy K20
    Owner: Ryan Maggy
    Stomping grounds: Brentwood, California
    Build time: Three years

    Drivetrain
    Engine: ZZ4 Chevy 350ci V-8
    Transmission: TH400, Art Carr/Winters shifter, Hughes Performance full-manual reverse valvebody
    Transfer case: Trail Worthy Fab Hero 3-spd
    Low range ratios: 2.0:1, 4.33:1
    Crawl ratios: 22.6:1, 49.0:1
    Front axle/differential: Chevy Dana 60, DIY4X diff cover, 4.56:1 gears/Eaton Detroit Locker
    Rear axle/differential: Chevy 14-bolt, East Coast Gear Supply Disc Brake Conversion kit, RuffStuff diff cover, 4.56:1 gears/Eaton Detroit Locker

    Suspension
    Front: 52-in leaf springs, DIY4X spring mounts, DIY4X EZ-Inch kit, DIY4X 6-in shackles, DIY4X shackle mounts, WFO Concepts U-bolts and plates, Bilstein 5125 14-in-travel shocks, Fox 3-in hydraulic bumpstops, Trail-Gear limit straps
    Rear: 56-in leaf springs, DIY4X shackle flip kit, DIY4X shackle mounts, WFO Concepts 14-Bolt Torque Arm Kit, Bilstein 5125 14-in-travel shocks

    Tires/Wheels
    Tires: 40x13.50R17 Nitto Trail Grappler
    Wheels: 17x9 Battle Born Wheels Gatekeeper

    Miscellaneous
    Steering: PSC Motorsports double-ended hydraulic ram, Chassis Unlimited Springless Steering Arm
    Armor: Custom-fabricated 1/4-in steel rear bumper, front tube bumper, rock sliders, and exocage
    Cool stuff: Warn M12000 winch, LED light cubes, bed-mounted fire extinguisher, Hi-Lift jack, ice chest, toolbox, bed-mounted transmission cooler, 26-gal JAZ fuel cell, custom swinging tire carrier w/40-in fullsize spare