Trail’s End: Doctor Doolie—Four Wheeler’s Wheelstanding Exhibition Puller
Stuck with a nasty bout of the 4x4 blahs? Fear not, our medical specialists are standing by to tug you out of the doldrums with a dualie-dose of Chevy-powered, sled-pulling, wheelstanding action. As we flipped back through the Four Wheeler appointment book, we landed on August 1985 and something that used to be our project monster truck—an '81 Chevy dualie, which lived with Larry Lee, vice president of circulation and promotion at Four Wheeler at the time. Larry enlisted the help of Don Ferguson, Four Wheeler's manager of new products and promotions, to send the dualie to medical school, making sure it graduated with full honors. Larry wanted the truck to be an over-the-top, crowd-pleasing machine, and Don was up for the challenge.
The dualie's stock engine was replaced with a '74 650hp 454ci block, fully built by Reynolds Race Head Engine Service. Engine accoutrements included Champion spark plugs, a pair of PCI Predator carburetors, an Offenhauser manifold, Hedman headers, a valvetrain and camshaft from Competition Cams, TRW 11.0:1 pistons and internals, Fel-Pro gaskets, and a Mr. Gasket engine dress-up kit. Behind the engine was a Turbo 400 transmission built by B&M Automotive.
To get pulling power to both axles, Don decided the dualie needed two transfer cases. An NP205 was bolted up to the trans and was joined via short shaft to another case from a 1 1/2-ton Dodge. Axles came in the form of Rockwell steering axles (front and rear), and they were filled with Detroit Lockers and fitted with Warn hubs. Supporting the 12,000-pound truck was a set of Superlift springs and 14 Trail Master shocks. Staying true to its moniker, the dualie was given six Armstrong 17.5Lx24 backhoe tires and 24x15 chrome wheels, each with the extra-large lug pattern to stand up to the abuse of pulling a 50,000-pound sled. Steering the dualie was made easier with front and rear hydraulic steering kits from Boyce Equipment & Parts, which allowed the truck to crab-walk at 30 degrees. Disc brakes were used at each corner.
With its r sum of mechanical improvements, all the truck needed was good looks. Lights from Dick Cepek and Trailblazer went on top of the cab, while a custom front bumper held a Ramsey 12,000-pound winch. Hungus was the name on the rollbar out back, Hadley Bully air horns were on board to celebrate a full pull, and the exterior was treated to custom striping and lettering. The last task was finding a way to pull the 12-foot-high puller, since law enforcement might frown upon it cruising the interstates. The dualie traveled between shows on a custom-designed, 20-foot-long, 96-inch-wide, three-axle Pack Mule trailer fit with 12-ply tires, a 2-foot beaver tail, 4-foot ramps, electric brakes, and more.
Do you remember our puller truck? Perhaps you saw it in action tugging the 50,000-pound sled down the dirt strip or atop its trailer on the highway. Let us know, and if you have one, send a high-res image of your favorite dualie to firstname.lastname@example.org!