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  4. It’s Done: “Finishing” Ultimate Adventure Long Range Jeep on the Fly #UA2020

It’s Done: “Finishing” Ultimate Adventure Long Range Jeep on the Fly #UA2020

Part 24: A Chris Durham Conversion Hood to finish the 2020 UA LRJ.

Verne SimonsAuthor, Photography

Truth be told, UA project vehicles are rarely done when they must leave for the start of the event. That's just the way the cookie crumbles. And if comparisons need to be made, the 2020 Ultimate Adventure Long Range Jeep was farther along than some UA rigs have been when they left for the event, but not by much. The rig ran and drove. (And it drove much better once the issue with the pressure plate, flywheel, and pressure plate to flywheel bolts was resolved. See Part 23). One of the largest hiccups was solidly and solely the fault of one of our nation's largest shipping companies who I am going to push in front of the bus right here.

Early on we'd talked Chris Durham of Chris Durham Motorsports (CDM) into building us a new hood. A hood that would fit both a TJ/LJ cowl and a flat fender grille. A part that a few people have contemplated, but no one, to our knowledge, had yet created. Chris Durham has built all kinds of cool hoods and conversions including his gladiator conversion for JKs, TJ/LJ cowl to late model CJ grille and much, much more. We figured we could build the UA LRJ the way we wanted, and at worst CDM would have one more part number for a rad retro TJ. We were right, and everything was going well until UPS, the United Parcel Service, stepped in to help—for a fee—and screwed everything up. As these things go, Chris' new hood (that we'd asked for) was finished just in time to be shipped from South Carolina to Arizona with a few days in the wash for us to paint and install the hood. These are the facts: UPS told Chris, on August 31, that the hood would make the trip to Arizona in 2 to 3 days. It would be (Chris assures us that the UPS representative all but guaranteed) in Arizona by September 4 (a Friday). That is despite COVID-19, weather, and the impending Labor Day holiday. Well, UPS was wrong, very wrong, and no amount of calling customer service for days yielded any usable results. The hood was delayed somewhere in Texas due to weather and didn't make it to the UPS hub in Arizona until early in the morning Saturday September 5. The UPS hub was closed Saturday and Sunday. as well as Monday for the holiday (although both Chris and I were told, by employees of UPS over the phone that the hood would be available on Saturday the 5th). We were then assured we could get the hood Tuesday (the 8th) as soon as the hub opened (this is the morning of which we'd hoped to leave for the event), but apparently the hood was placed in a storage trailer and was still unavailable. So we left without the hood that we needed to complete the vehicle.

UPS, the not-so-good-at-logistics-company, really pooped in the bed this time. Luckily Chris had a backup plan that involved a second custom hood that he could bring to the start of the event. We would paint the hood in a parking lot and install some front fender extensions and hood latches to hold the finished product together. Here's how "we" (mostly Chris Durham) "finished" the car at Steve Settle's shop in Kalispel, Montana. Thanks again, Steve! The good news is you too can buy one of these hoods and the other parts from CDM at http://cdmracing.com/ for your TJ to Flatfender conversion.

The end of this debacle for which we blame UPS: The original hood arrived at my house in Arizona September 22. Well after the event started, had a midway point, and had subsequently ended. We sure hope Chris got his $190-ish in shipping back, and we'd sure like an apology to both him and us. That would be nice. We won't hold our breaths.

Source:

Sponsors:
Cummins, 800.286.6467, www.cummins.com/engines/repower
Dana, 800.621.8084, spicerparts.com/applications/crateaxle
Falken Tire, www.falkentire.com/
IH Parts America, 530.274.1795, www.ihpartsamerica.com/
Offroad Design, 970.945.7777, www.offroaddesign.com/
onX Offroad, onxmaps.com/offroad-app
Quick Draw Brand, 513.446.9654, quickdrawbrand.com/
Quigley Motor Company, 800.233.9358, quigley4x4.com/
Skyjacker Suspension, 318.388.0816, skyjacker.com/
VooDoo Offroad, 844.866.3661, www.voodoooffroad.com/
Warn Winch, 800.543.9276, www.warn.com/

Other Sources:
Chris Durham Motorsports, 864.420.1274, cdmracing.com