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Wheeling SW Utah with Trail Hero + We Up Armor Our Project JK

a e om s Hand

This TJ Fits the Bill


62 Jan/Feb 2017


US / $6.99 CAN


Display until 3/26/2017

You Built What? Jeep Engine Swap, Part 3 Wheeling in NH, MN, CO, UT

• JK Specific (corner optimized) • 2.25” Type 3 Hard Anodized Aluminum Body • 3/4” Hard Chrome Shaft • Piggyback and Monotube Options • Fast Adjust Compression Knob & Cartridge System (Piggyback Models)


IN THIS ISSUE 24 TRAILHERO 32 Discovering More of Utah EFFECTIVE ARRANGEMENTS 38 M4O's New Crawler LITTLE RED TOYOTA 46 Oh, What a Feeling! DESIGN/CUT/BUILD 54 Lincoln Electric Cuts Loose FALL CRAWL 2016 60 New Hampshire is Hard! LOU'S BETTY 64 The Buggy Bacon Built IRON RANGE WHEELING 72 Minnesota is For Real ON THE INSIDE 80 Clayton Off Road HANDSOME This TJ Fits the Bill

The Regulars 12 Intake 16 Newswire 18 Land Use 20 Proving Grounds 22 Tonic 84 Tech Cover photo by Tim Magee TOC photo by John Herrick

Vol. 12 Number 62 Publishing John Herrick Larry Nickell Chris Hughes

Publisher and Managing Director Associate Publisher Marketing

Editorial John Herrick Tim Magee Taylor Herrick Derek Trent Kurt Schneider Contributors:

Editor in Chief Director of Photography Layout & Graphic Design Tech Editor Land Use Editor Ted Feg Josh West Cindy Creighton

CRAWL Magazine is published bimonthly by CRAWL2 Media, LLC. CRAWL2 Media, LLC PO Box 61091 Reno, NV 89506 (775) 393-9056

Advertising questions? Subscription questions? Spend time with us at

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Navigating a dry creek bed in New York during the Catskills Jeep Jamboree.
















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INTAKE It all started a little over three years ago. Derek Trent and I were listening to the back & forth discussion on Pirate of Dave Cole’s idea for a Legends class of race cars. The vision was a class that would allow older cars, cars that were no longer competitive at the highest levels, to compete against one another. Ultra4 rules being what they are, Derek and I thought that maybe the race car build we were talking about should be re-focused on the 4800 class rules. A purpose built and brand new car for the new class of racing. Who knew this would launch one of the great adventures for me, the magazine, and Trent Fabrication? Derek was at the point where decisions needed to be made on whether this would be a 4400 Unlimited car or would we take it into the new 4800 class rules. Little did we know, we were entering uncharted waters. The CRAWLmerica would be a simple machine. The rules required solid axles, two occupants, a single shock per corner, a front engine and a few other things that were intended to prevent a 4400 car from dropping to a lower class and dominating. At KOH 2014 the driving crew of Matt Messer and Nick Poudrier from Trail-Gear took the car and whooped on it all day, battling with Brad Lovell in his old Amsoil car. It was a true case of Legends, both of the guys driving were very experienced and had been around quite a while. They were also battling new vs. old, fresh vs. tired, experienced car vs. untested. It was a battle that Brad ultimately won, by roughly eleven minutes. He was first in class, second overall behind the Currie/Savvy 4500 car. Matt and Nick pulled in with a 3rd overall, 2nd in class and that was from a starting position behind all the “faster” 4500 cars. The new Legends class was a success and so was the CRAWLmerica/Trent car. It had what it took to be on the podium. With an entire series of races on the schedule, I chose Dave Schneider to drive the car for the balance of the year. He had exhaustive experience in the first Trent Fab Top Shelf chassis ever built and, combined with certain knowledge of where the edge was and how sharp it would be, he seemed to me to be the guy to take this car to its literal limit. He did. What a year this would be. Wrapping up the points needed by the time the Ultra4 race series ended in Reno, Dave won the first ever


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Legends class National Championship for 2014. Even with a DNF at KOH in 2015 he repeated the National Championship Legends class win in 2015. All told, this is the most successful car in the Everyman Challenge classes since it started competing in 2014. It has five 1st place finishes, two 2nd place and two 3rd place positions for a total of nine podium finishes, plus two National Championship trophies. A combination of skill, luck, good prep and a strong car have all combined to make history. Through all of this, Derek was at the shop quietly building more cars. The old line about “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” really holds true. The success of the CRAWLmerica was in part responsible for the growth of the Legends class as well as a large part of the success Trent Fab experienced over those years. It seemed every time I popped into the shop to see how things were going there was a new variation on the 4800 class theme. I still think this class is the place to be for guys that weren’t born rich but have racing in their blood. It’s been over three years now since the car was introduced to the world at the 2013 SEMA show. For me, it’s been three years of watching this car perform with people that are passionate about the class and the sport. I’ve always felt that media can cover things like KOH from a high level vantage point but there are experiences that can’t be felt without being truly engaged. How frustrating is it to hit a rock and break your axle while you were in contention? I know that feeling, I’ve been as close to it as one can get, when the car comes limping in and the crew has to make tough decisions. This experiment in enthusiast media and running a race effort has been inspiring and filled with passion. I also recognize that this experiment needs to end for me and carry on with the people that are really focused on taking it to its logical destination. That passion will continue in 2017, as Bailey Cole (son of KOH cofounder Dave Cole) takes the CRAWLmerica wheel and aims for his own championship. Dave Schneider will step out of the cockpit and take on the role of team owner. I’m stepping out of the way and letting them focus on the big prize, developing a young talent and giving him the tools he needs to be successful. Derek will be at the shop quietly building more cars. You should call him. He would love to build you a winner.

Please tread lightly and travel only on routes and in areas designated open for motor vehicle use. Remember, Respected Access is Open Access.



G A SW m o c . g a m L W A A l l at C R










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NEWSWIRE BF Goodrich and the 2016 Baja 1000 After 854 miles of the toughest race conditions, Rob MacCachren made history with his 3rd consecutive Baja 1000 overall win. He did it on BF Goodrich tires which scored its 28th overall win at Baja. These conditions are difficult at best and represent the perfect research & development space for BFG.

They continually take what they learn in these parts of the world and make that knowledge part of their consumer tire lineup. Our congratulations to Rob and the entire BF Goodrich support team.

CRAWLmerica Team Names New Driver Dave Schneider, team owner of the CRAWLmerica 4800 class car, announced that Bailey Cole will take the wheel for King of the Hammers 2017 and beyond. The 19-year-old son of Dave Cole, co-founder of the event, was racing in the Legends class in a remaining Spec class car after that class ended. During a Thanksgiving week of pre-running and shock tuning,


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Dave Schneider said “Bailey is running 90+ mph in the shock tuning wash. He went to run trails and desert with the GenRight cars and is keeping up.” The car has been continually improved since its introduction in 2013 and is now the most winning car in the EMC since its introduction.


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LAND USE By Todd Ockert

Running a land use organization has no perks. I do not have a nice, big, cushy office, a company car or a corporate jet to run around the country fighting to keep public lands open for recreation although I do wish our organization had the kind of money it would take to afford those things. Sharetrails has been around 30 years now and we’ve had our share of wins and losses. It takes a great team in our office and our contractors to ensure we as an organization are engaged on the ground and where we need to be. If one of our people is not there, we reach out to others to help ensure we can gather the information to make informed decisions with the team to ensure a win for recreation. I do think (and know) that we hit far above what our average should be on many cases that have come across our Pocatello desks. People might think that just one organization can preserve recreation across the nation for everyone. It takes a group of us that have contacts in central points that understand the Land Use landscape and can get people involved and help generate the cash flow for the fight to keep moving along. Glamis is a great example of the collaborative efforts between organizations. I would try and list them all, but would forget one and then they would drop me from their Christmas list forever. It took a team effort over the course of 15 years to win that case in order to preserve and increase the area that we can recreate within the dunes. I wish we had a crystal ball to see whether offroad recreation is important to the new administration. We hope to be better positioned once the new president takes office to understand where he will lead the country and the organizations that currently control the land we recreate on. Do we think that some of the previous land use regulations that have locked up lands might be over-turned? Our gut tells us that they will be. Will some of the restrictive rules and regulations placed on users be lifted or made easier? Again, our gut tells us that those changes could happen. I do believe our future is bright for OHV recreation and recreation in general. I also believe that things like H.R. 4665 that would require the Secretary of Commerce to conduct an assessment and analysis of the outdoor recreation economy in the United States is a step in the right direction. Congress wants to know what the economic impact is of recreation to this country. We have seen the report from the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) completed in 2012, which stated that recreation accounts for 6.1 million jobs, $646 billion in outdoor spending every year, $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue and $39.7


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billion in state and local tax revenue. I have not seen a new report, but I would be willing to bet that the next report from OIA will show well over $700 billion in outdoor spending. The federal government wants to see where and how that money is being spent, and the direct impact it has on the economies of the areas around some of our favorite recreation areas. If you are asked to participate in a survey like this, please take the time to fill it out. Changing gears here a little, I always get asked “what is my money getting me?” When you donate to an organization like Sharetrails/BlueRibbon Coalition, you can be sure that we are spending your money wisely to keep recreation accessible across the country. We pay guys like Don Amador to be engaged with land managers and other grass roots folks to ensure we have standing when issues arise. Currently, Don is focusing on issues like the Sage Grouse in the western states and the land grab by the Navy and Air Force in Nevada, among others across the country. Our newest eastern representative, Randy Block, has helped with some issues around the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway and an issue down in Austin, Texas at the Emma Long Motorcycle Park. We have our attorney, Paul Turcke, in constant contact with these guys and other folks when land managers make decisions that adversely affect OUR access to lands for recreation. Martin Hackworth, our Executive Director, keeps our ship headed in the right direction. What can you do? Be engaged with the local land managers, join a local club, state organization or a national organization like Sharetrails/ BlueRibbon Coalition. We partner with many different organizations like Cal4Wheel, SFWDA, ASA, ISMA, ORBA to represent and keep access open for everyone. If you are a member, I thank you, and would ask that you ask your friends to join us to continue the fight for access. In closing, what is it going to take to reopen and keep our access? Everyone being engaged in the land use fights around them. We have to worry about “All Trails,” and not just the one that may never be closed in my backyard. I enjoy the work I do here at Sharetrails, and I know that we are the best grass roots organization in the country that is fighting for access… period.

Editor’s Note: Todd Ockert is the volunteer President of the Blue Ribbon Coalition which is headquartered in Pocatello, Idaho. Todd and his wife live in central California. He’s often found manning the booth and answering questions at shows and events throughout the country.


Congratulations to Jason Scherer, the Rage4th team, and the #76 car on taking home the 2016 Ultra4 National Points Championship. Thank you for choosing Air Lockers as your go-to selectable locker since 1996. ARB wishes you many more successes on the track in the coming years!

ARBUSA.COM/AIRLOCKERS Š2017 ARB USA, all rights reserved.

PROVING GROUNDS TubeShark Cordless Digital Protractor The new Cordless Digital Protractor from TubeShark was designed to make finding and setting angles simple and precise. It can be used either with the TubeShark Pipe & Tube Bender or on its own with the optional Torpedo Mount. This special piece of equipment is very versatile and can be used on anything that rotates on a vertical plane for the purpose of finding an angle. When used with the TubeShark Bender, the wireless sensor is mounted to the dorsal plate and the exact angle you have created is displayed in a large format on the separate wireless display unit. When used for other applications with the magnetic Torpedo Mount, the Digital Protractor can find and set angles and can be reset to zero at any angle, making tasks that need precise angles much more simple. It can be used in many aspects of construction, pipe and tube bending, and finding angles in any application. Made in the USA.

Mychanic Work Lights From are two new work lights that are really well thought out and would make great additions to your shop, truck and trail rig. The first one we tried out is the A/C powered MEK light that has a 900 lumen output from a tough CFL bulb that is replaceable. The noslip grip makes it easy to hold or pop the legs out to stand it up. The power cord is any extension cord you have and it plugs in right to the base of the unit, above the legs. Add the hook on the top and it goes anywhere in your shop. The second unit is an LED rechargeable that uses USB technology to plug into your 120 volt in the shop, your 12 volt outlets in the rig or USB plugs found in lots of places today. The LEDs are bright and have the folding legs and hook of the 120 volt light. The no slip grip is nice and the little magnets holding the legs closed are a cool touch.

QUICK FIST Ratchet Clamp I found these at SEMA and immediately knew they were something I needed. Instead of fighting with a ratchet strap tie down setup, you simply run the QUICK FIST strap through the handle and tighten it down. It’s simple, rugged, easy to use and affordable at less than $20. The design allows you to clamp down tools, fire extinguishers, co2 bottles, whatever needs to be in a semi-permanent spot with ease of access and security. I think you’ll like ‘em.

20 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Coyote Boltless Beadlock Tire Liner With confirmation straight from Ultra4, the Coyote Boltless Beadlock Tire Liner is approved for racing use in 2018. The basic idea is to have an inflated inner tube that supports and keeps seated the tire bead and keeps the tire fairly round if you suffer a failure, like a sidewall cut or major tread puncture. Since the tube is inflated it also serves to save your expensive wheels by keeping the edge of the wheel off the ground. This product has been used for years and is DOT approved, warranted for five years and made in the US. If you’re concerned about losing your balls, think about adding some tubes at considerably less expense.










canadian strawberry jam







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A showcase of some of the custom aluminum work done on Cyril’s Jeep at The Flop Shop. 24 Vol. 12 — Number 62

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A TJ on the Progress Fast Track Words & Photos by Tim Magee


Cyril Bacani is hooked. From the first time I met him five years ago I could tell he had been reeled into this wheeling lifestyle. His Jeep was modestly built, and he had been wheeling less than a year, but his enthusiasm for pushing the Jeep to the limits in the rocks was obvious. He wasn’t on some bunny slope of a trail that day either. His Jeep advanced alongside his wheeling locales; very quickly. This last year he dropped it off at The Flop Shop for a thorough rebuild, and the result is a TJ built for the toughest trails and keep up with his “all in” attitude. The Jeep has had 35s, 40s, hydro assist, minimal stretch, full hydro, and stickies throughout its life. It has seen the phases thanks to Cyril wheeling nonstop with guys like Spenser Theriault. The season before last he clocked 42 trails. This time around, Jon and Sam at TFS focused on a clean stretch to the rear as well as a cage rework, boat sides, and some frame work up front. It started with a simple idea for the next step in the Jeep’s progression and the boys were let loose. The hardware was there when the Jeep was first rolled into The Flop Shop. A 14-bolt rear and HP Dana 60 front were decked out in Yukon hardware and RCV 300m shafts. The 4.0L was left alone. The original manual trans was previously swapped for an AW4 with a Montana Auto & Fab trans controller, and Cyril already had a trusty Atlas II transfercase. With the hardware in place, a refinement of sorts began. Up front the guys got rid of the steering box and rebuilt the frame with more clearance and an awesome approach angle in mind. They frenched a location for the winch to mount right under the grill and tucked the tubing as tight as possible with a very simple ramp skid/bumper only a few inches off the front and below the bottom of the reshaped grill. Full hydro was a step up with a single ended ram from PSC working

The rear of the Jeep is a work of art.

26 Vol. 12 — Number 62

alongside a tie rod behind the axle keeps it out of the rocks. The rear axle was pushed back to get the wheelbase to 110” and a pair of King 2.5” 14” travel coilovers were installed. Not ones to pass up an opportunity to put the plasma table to work, The Flop Shop created a truss and upper link mount design that ties things like limit straps and brake line routing into it for a very clean, well thought out result. The limit straps mount to the upper link mount and the brake lines are projected running through tubing for the truss. TFS always puts a certain style and a little something extra into their builds. Cyril’s was supposed to stay relatively simple, but that didn’t last long and ideas at the shop snowballed as the build started to take effect. The rear of the Jeep was lopped off behind the seats and completely rebuilt to full Juggy status using 1.75”x.120” wall DOM as a base and .188” wall for everything between the A and B pillar. When Cyril came to Jon about the build, he said he was going to roll it, so they built it as sturdy as possible. His matter of fact and straightforward attitude has definitely played a role in his quick progression and commitment to hardcore wheeling. A simple corner rehash turned into a drastic dovetail that was designed and skinned with some clean aluminum skins that maintain the Jeep look but, make no mistake, it is more buggy out back than first appears. The rear floor was skinned with Lexan to allow for some extra visibility of the rear tires. The boatsides are backed by ¼” plate, skinned with UHMW and tied directly to the frame and cage tubework. As always, the small details really set a rig apart. From the way they attached and rolled the roof with custom brackets to the cutting brakes being worked into the stock center console where the e-brake handle used to reside; TFS strives with creative solutions to make things right. They’re constantly using their Torchmate to come up with

the right parts for the job. The result was a Jeep that ended up being named Handsome after Cyril’s husband, who had recently passed away. It is undoubtedly a Jeep that Larry would have been happy to ride along in, as Cyril tested its limits. Everything about it was stepped up and finished right; from the custom corners and battery mount to well thought out and executed fabrication TIG welding throughout. The name Handsome just fits the bill perfectly.

Clockwise from top right: Cyril's TJ is all busines with proper wheelbase, belly clearance, and center of gravity; The Flop Shop worked the cutting break controls into the stock center console; The rear corners are basically just buggy skins that help keep the look of the TJ intact. They're far enough out of the way to be of no concern; Small fabricated bits, like the radiator and grill supports, are found everywhere on the build; The rear axle truss is simple and well thought out, tying into the upper link mounts, which double as limit strap attachment points; Without stretching the front axle out too far, the guys moved everything in front of the grill further back and frenched the grill to clear the winch.


Penny, Cyril's dog, loves trail days. 28 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Cyril trying a new-to-him sketchy line out of the V-notch in Carnage Canyon.

Cyril runs 14�x2.5� King coilovers with reservoirs at all corners. 3-link up front and 4-link rear.


a SPECS e om s d Han

p owertr a in

INFO Owner Hometown Vehicle Type Builder

Cyril Bacani Denver, CO 2004 Jeep TJ Jon Aursland and Samuel McIntyre @ The Flop Shop

b ody / interior

Engine Manufacturer Engine Displacement, Liters or Cubic Inches Engine Horsepower Engine Torque Engine Induction, Normal or Forced Battery Radiator / Fans Air Intake Exhaust Transmission Make & Type Transmission Adapter Transmission Cooling System Torque Converter

Body / Body Panels

Custom Flop Shop Aluminum Body Panels

Body Modifications

Chopped, Dovetailed, Aluminum

Skid plate / Material

3/16" Platefor Skid Plates and UHMW for Boatsides

Painter Name

Raw Aluminum and Rattle Can's

Hood / Grille

Chris Durham Fiberglass Composite Hood-Custom Wrapped

Floors / Firewalls

Front Floors are Stock and Rear Floors are Custom

Dash / Gauges / Switches


Transmission Shifter

Steering Column / Wheel

Stock Column / Joe's Racing Steering Wheel w/ Quick Disconnect

Pedal Assembly / Cutting Brakes

CNC Dual Handle Cutting Brakes

Seats / Harnesses

PRP Daily Driver Low Backs

Lights Interior / Exterior

IPF Headlights

Winches - Front / Rear - Brand & Capacity

Warn VR8000

Transfer Case(s) Front Driveshaft Builder & Components Used Rear Driveshaft Builder & Components Used Fuel Cell or Tank, Type, Size & Builder Fuel System Pumps & Filters

a x l es


Front Axle Housing Front Differential / Locker Front Axle Shafts Front Drive Flanges / Hubs Front Brakes Front Steering Components Rear Axle Housing Rear Differential / Locker Rear Axle Shafts

Ford High Pinion King Pin Dana 60 Detroit 300M RCV's Yukon Hardcore Locking Hubs Ford 1 Ton PSC Full Hydro Single Ended Ram Chevy 14 Bolt Yukon Grizzly Yukon Chromo's

Front Suspension Type & Material Front Shocks Rear Suspension Type & Material Rear Shocks

Rear Brakes Ring & Pinion Manufacturer & Gear Ratio(s)

Chevy 3/4 ton Yukon 5:13:1

Tires & Wheel s Tire Make / Size Wheel Make / Size / Bolt Pattern/ Backspace

30 Vol. 12 — Number 62

39" BFG Red Label Krawlers 17" Raceline Monster

Jeep 4.0L 190 235 Normal Optima Aluminum Radiator and Spal Fan K&N Cone Magnaflow AW4 Advance Adapters Custom Stock Stock AW4 paired w/ Montana Fabrication AW4 Override Shifter Atlas 5:1 1350 Spicer U-Joints 1350/1410 Spicer U-Joints Double Cardan 16 Gallon RCI Fuel Cell Stock Fuel Pump

3 Link w/ Panhard. 2" 7075 Aluminum Lower Links. 14"x2.5" King Coilovers w/ Reservoirs 4 Link Triangulated Lowers, Parallel Uppers. 2" 7075 Aluminum Lower Links 14"x2.5" King Coilovers w/ Reservoirs

Ch a s sis Chassis Design Frame / Chassis Materials Cage Builder / Cage Material Overall Wheelbase Overall Length Belly Pan Clearance Overall Height Wheel Track Width Overall Weight (Estimate if uncertain)

Modified TJ Frame and Tub Tube and Modified TJ Frame 1.75x.120 DOM & 1.75x.188 DOM 110" 149" 20" 77.75" 89" 4200 lbs.

With friends like Spencer Theriault, Cyril has plenty of trail miles under his belt. With the new build he can push things even further. 31

Words by John Herrick Photos by Tim Magee & John Herrick


It started with a ride in Rich Klein’s old flattie buggy while we were out in Moab last year. He’d been working on this idea for quite a while and he finally got me in one spot long enough to tell me about it. I was hooked. The idea was to have an event where the spectators were also participants, where trail runs ended for the day with a great meal and a comfortable bed whether that was in a fine hotel or your favorite sleeping bag. The Trail Hero that Rich told me about was all centered on having choices. His primary sponsor was CargoGlide, the truck bed outfit, and they were giving him the support he needed to get this idea off the ground. The event was held in the Sand Hollow State Park and the adjacent Sand Mountain near Hurricane, Utah, just a few miles up the road from St. George. It boasts 20,000 acres of property and over 6,000 acres dedicated to OHV use. It’s possible to load up and head south and be at the rim of the Grand Canyon for lunch while seeing the most beautiful

backcountry Southwest Utah has to offer. For simple trail riding, we learned that there are various levels of difficulty, all with phenomenal scenery and if that’s your thing, you won’t be disappointed. But Trail Hero is much more than trail riding. It’s a comp rock crawl, the Trail Breaker Challenge, a bounty hill climb, an overland rock race and much more. It honors our veterans with opportunities and supports land use and advocacy. Combined, it was an event that packed four days with a huge amount of offroad excitement. The final piece that made it all worthwhile was the location near St. George. Unlike other Utah OHV destinations, the cost of hotels and restaurants didn’t seem to fluctuate based on our presence and the selection was large. If you want to check it out for 2017, head over to the website at for more information.

The trail wheeling was as difficult as you wanted to make it with a huge variety of places to see and go.

Sneaking a peak at the slot he’s in, Kowboy Holt pilots his Hemipowered JK.

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Above: The SpiderWebShade 4-door hits the dunes at Sand Hollow.

ALL-PRO TRAILBREAKER CHALLENGE Words by Tim Magee There is a breed of trail that is only driven by the best in the game. Big and hard and mean as hell, these trails offer no mercy as the hardest of hardcore trail wheelers figure out the lines and work their way through them. It happens every weekend throughout the country, but hadn’t been put in front of a crowd and laid out in a competition until Rich Klein put together the All-Pro Trail Breaker Challenge, the main event at the inaugural Trail Hero event in Sand Hollow State Park, UT. As the sun rose over the sandscape, the biggest names in rock crawling started to roll up to tackle the untouched All-Pro Trail Breaker course. Three stages with 3-4 obstacles each made up the All-Pro Trail Breaker course. With 15 minutes to clear each stage, a DNF for the stage if you hit a feather flag or need recovery, and points awarded for clearing each obstacle based on difficulty; the rules were relatively simple. The winner would be based on highest score and lowest time, with time being the tiebreaker. Alan Woodson was first to attempt the big or tight, depending on your approach, first obstacle in Stage One. He tried every way up, eventually sliding off a line straddling it and needing a lift out. Jesse Haines, a big advocate for an event like this, was up next, but only managed to put on a smoke show as he had lost a cylinder the day prior. Justin Keilman showed everyone that it was drivable when he took a big bite out of the rock wall and walked the straddle line, cleaned course with only a few tries at the next throttle-inducing climb, then cleanly around the next two notches like they weren’t even there. Stage one was just like the AZ trails he plays on back home; big technical climbs with a little throttle water fall worked in. Heavy hitters like Tracy Jordan and Kevin Carroll were up next; Tracy cleaned course putting on a clinic with his ultra smooth driving. Kevin got taken out by a broken rear ring and pinion in the gate keeper. Jason Feuilly was out with a new build and had trouble with the rear engaging on his air actuated t-case. Without the rear pushing he somehow managed to make it most of the way through the first climb. Just getting past the first obstacle was no joke! The highlight of the

first segment was Cary Gleason’s run in which he walked everything in a tubed-out Toyota pickup with a turbo 22RE and no rear steer. Voted in to the event by Pirate4x4, he didn’t disappoint. He is the wheeler’s wheeler! Stage Two started with a tricky stair step climb that put you into a canyon featuring one of the more talked about obstacles in the event; a tight squeeze under an overhang at the bottom of the canyon. Rick Klein blasted rock to clear a path for the best of the best to get through. It was no joke and took out a rear shock on Woodson’s car and a 300m rear shaft on James Treacy’s when he got wedged in. Cary put on a show as his rig caught fire when oil got onto the super heated turbo and Josh England jumped in to put it out. The squeeze left a mark on everyone’s hoods, no matter how low they were! Mr. Lasernut himself, Cody Waggoner, made quick work of the stages all day. Without beating a dead horse too much here, his lack of rear steer didn’t seem to be an issue for him at all in his moonbuggy. He just knew how to work the rig through the tough spots. The man can drive! He came away with second place, only 57 seconds out of first. Putting in quick and clean lines on the trail all day was Jeff Mckinlay in his Red Dot car. As with a lot of the guys that day, Jeff has broken many trails out wheeling with the likes of Kevin Carroll and Justin Keilman. Watching him on the Third Stage it was clear when he picked the smartest lines through that he’d done well. The off camber first obstacle might as well have been a flat freeway with his rear steer and ORI strut-aided control and stability. Jeff came away with a win and was named the trail Iron Man. The fact of the matter is this is just another day on the trail for a lot of these guys. You don’t hear about a lot of the wheeling they do as they are just in it for the fun of it and not typically in it to win it. There are trails these guys have created that you don’t typically hear about because you couldn’t make it through even if you had a Red Dot car. They push the limits of their vehicles and their skills nearly every time out. The Trail Breaker was an awesome opportunity to witness the some of the best drivers break open a new trail and is most certainly the next big thing in rock sports.

Cody Waggoner pilots his moon buggy through the tight undercut squeeze section on stage 2. 33

Alan Woodson was first up on the first stage in the inaugural running of the All-Pro Off-Road Trail Breaker Challenge. He tried a few lines but couldn’t get one to stick before his motor started spitting oil.

Jeff McKinlay cruises through the off camber start to stage 3 on his way to becoming the first Trail Breaker winner and naming the trail Iron Man.

Justin Keilman was the first to clear the first stage with his typical clean and smooth driving. Later in the week on to 34 Vol. 12he — went Number 62win the W.E. Rock Maxxis Tires Night Crawl.

Tracy Jordan lets the SCAT V4 power up a climb and find traction.

Cary Gleason fighting his way through the squeeze, just before oil leaking onto his red hot turbo put on a fire and smoke show.

James Treacy drags his roof and takes a rock along for the ride.

BOUNTY HILL Words by Tim Magee $10 bought you 10 minutes on the Bounty course with all money going to the Utah Public Land Alliance to help keep our public lands open. How could you go wrong with that?! There were two lines, with the harder of the lines featuring a steep climb up a sand hill directly into a six foot tall rock ledge, a big eight-foot drop after that, and a $2000 purse! Sounds simple, right? Well, sand provides no traction to get to the rocks, and you definitely had to earn it! It was fun to watch the likes of Brian Kille try the climb with paddle tires on back or a RZR just peeling out on the first small climb. Cody Waggoner came away with the win and was only one of two to make it through all day. Rock legend Craig Stumph was the other.

Brian Kille tried his best to make a combination of paddles and 42� Red Label Krawlers clear the Low Range Off-Road Red Desert Vol. 12and — Number 62 Off-Road Bounty Hill course.


W.E. ROCK NIGHT CRAWLING COMP Words by John Herrick One of the most interesting events during Trail Hero was the WE Rock Night Comp. There is nothing better than traditional cone dodging under the lights. As the shadows lengthen and certain areas become harder to see, it’s a distinct challenge for competitors to see and then commit to the best lines. Further, they are all fighting for a spot in the shootout that will be held on a course they haven’t seen yet that will be completely under lights. The evening just got better and better. With spectators able to get up close and personal with the crews and see the action from just a few feet outside the course, it helped open the eyes of newcomers that hadn’t seen this type of crawling before. There were plenty of “ooohs” and “aahhhs” throughout the night. Whenever a particularly difficult move was pulled off, they knew it was time to applaud. The night event was well attended and a lot of fun.

36 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Steve Nantz going for a bonus line as the smoke settles in.

Josh Severson backs down one of many steep bonuses.

Justin Hall makes his way through the first tough gate in the shoot out.

Tracy Jordan backs off the big bonus drop, taking a cone with him. 37

With new knuckles from Teraflex, Steve is pushing 52-degrees of steering, front and rear, on 42” Maxxis Treps. Big tires, big steer! 38 Vol. 12 — Number 62


Through the Gates Or on the Trail, M4O's Newest Build Has It Where It Counts Words & Photos by Tim Magee


Steve Nantz has been around this stuff for ages. Competing, he started as a spotter for Kevin Hawkins at the BFG rock crawl in Las Cruces in 1998. ARCA, UROC, XRRA…he spent some time competing. On the trail, living in Moab, not many have probably spent as much time out there. After taking a few years away from competing to focus on his shop, Moab 4x4 Outpost, he got back into it about three years ago in W.E. Rock, driving a Campbell Enterprises-built moon buggy. Last winter he went to work on a new build using nothing but effective arrangements and well thought out design. His goals were to build something as light and small as possible, but still be able to spend long days on the trail. He had a car in the early 2000s that he competed in with a similar design to this one which was nothing but good times. He thought he’d mix a little nostalgia with some new school tech to build a fun, super capable rig. Light and strong 1.5”x.095” and .083 wall 4130 chromoly was TIG’d together around a throttle body injected 4.3L GM V6 that Steve had lying around, a 700R4 and an Atlas II 4.3:1 transfer case. The layout of the rig put Steve’s seat on top of the drivetrain with his legs straddling the transmission tunnel. This helped keep the chassis as narrow as possible for getting through tight gates on course or up through the tightest squeezes in big trails. There is video out there of him taking the line through and out of the crack that is to the left of Upper Heldorado’s waterfall! All clearances are tight, and like most comp rigs there is only what is needed. There is a certain genius to the design at every corner. Everything is arranged with purpose. From the driver’s seat, Steve can see all four tires with ease; the visibility is really good! The layout of comp rig cockpits always amaze me with the amount of stuff crammed into such a small space, Steve’s is no exception. From the seat, looking up there is an Intellitronix five gauge digital display mounted at the roofline for keeping track of vitals. Next to it a kitchen timer helps keep track of time on course. To his right a M4O Speed Shifter resides with switches to control the axle mounted front

40 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Superwinch Rock98 and rear Superwinch 4500 mounted right into it. CNC cutting brake handles and t-case shifters somehow fit in there too. Down at the floor, the brake pedal sits to the left of the trans tunnel and the throttle to the right! In an evolving hardcore world of rock crawling, gobs of steering and mountains of sticky tire are needed to keep up a lot of times. Steve knew this going in and built using a Teraflex Super 60 in front and a CRD60 housing in back, both using Teraflex knuckles that he has limited to about 52-degrees of steering. 11” stroke 3” diameter doubleended rams from PSC and a 1650PSI CBR steering pump get the big rubber turning. Shafts are Spidertrax and joints are Yukon Super Joint at all corners. 5.38:1 G2 ring and pinions turn a spool up front and a Detroit in the rear axle. Big tires are becoming more and more available with another manufacturer making a 42” sticky available, the Maxxis Trepador. The 42x14.50-17 Treps are huge! With tons of steering and huge tires, clearances quickly become a problem with most rigs, but the narrow design of the chassis is a perfect application for big turning tires. Not just for the comp circuit, there is even room for a cooler to be strapped in out back. They built the fuel cell to handle 10-gallons and worked in enough radiator and trans cooler to handle a day on the trail. To have a rig that can handle both comp and long trail day duty says a lot. You can have the best of both worlds, AR500 plate skids, 50+ degrees of steering, 42” tires, and just one seat doesn’t have to limit you to a world of competition only! When it comes to wheeling there is no place better, in my opinion, than Moab, UT. The slickrock trails in the eastern Utah landscape offer some of the best wheeling around. Since 2004, Moab 4x4 Outpost has been the shop in town, with Steve Nantz at the helm. Time and time again I’ve witnessed or heard about Steve going out of his way for his customers and four wheeling brethren. His awesome attitude, experience, and history in the rocks undoubtedly helped when it came to putting together a rig that is packed full of effective arrangements.

The view from the driver’s seat, right above the drivetrain.

Transparent skins add to the already awesome visibility.

Hand controls are easily accessible to driver’s right with winch controls built into the Moab 4x4 Outpost Speed Shifter.

Clearing cones on the W.E. Rock night crawl at Trail Hero. 41

A Superwinch Rock98 is mounted to the front axle for recovery and suck down using gear from JM Rigging Supply.

Double triangulated 4-link suspension front and rear uses 1.75”x.250” wall tubing. The drive shafts are 1350 non-CV from Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts.

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Without having his trusty YJ around anymore, Steve uses this for a trail rig and built it with a cooler for lunch and beverages as well as plenty of fuel for a day on the trail in Moab. 43

Plenty capable with gobs of steering and massive tires, Steve will be one to watch at W.E. Rock and on the trail with this rig. 44 Vol. 12 — Number 62

EFFECT IVE A R R A N G E MENTS p owertr a in

INFO Owner Location Vehicle Type Builder & Location

Steve Nantz Moab, Utah Single seat comp buggy Moab 4x4 Outpost, Moab, Utah

b ody / interior Body / Body Panels

1/8" Lexan skins. Aluminum hood and roof

Skid plate / Material

3/16" Mild steel

Hood / Grille

Custom Aluminum and stainless mesh

Floors / Firewalls

1/8" Aluminum

Dash / Gauges / Switches

Intellitronix digital gauge package/ K4 triple sealed switches

Steering Column / Wheel

Joes Racing steering wheel and disconnect

Pedal Assembly / Cutting Brakes

CNC brakes and cutting brakes

Seats / Harnesses

Corbeau seat/ Crow seat belt 5 point


Quake led lights/ Lux rock lights

Lights Interior / Exterior Safety - Fire Extinguisher

H3R Performance Maxout fire extinguishers and disconnects

Winches - Front / Rear - Brand & Capacity

Superwinch Rock98 front/ Superwinch 4500 LBS rear JM Rigging winch ropes/Hooks/Spotter strap

a x les Front Axle Housing Front Differential / Locker Front Axle Shafts Front U-Joints Front Drive Flanges / Hubs Front Brakes Front Steering Components Rear Axle Housing Rear Differential / Locker

Teraflex Super 60 Spool 5:38 G/2 R&P Spidertrax 50 degree chromoly Yukon super joints Teraflex drive flanges Teraflex large caliper PSC 3" x 11" double ended ram Teraflex CRD60 Detroit 5:38 G/2 R&P

Rear Axle Shafts

Spidertrax 50 degree 300M

Rear U-Joints

Yukon super joints

Rear Drive Flanges

Teraflex drive flanges

Rear Brakes

Teraflex large calipers

Rear Steering Setup Ring & Pinion Manufacturer & Gear Ratio(s)

PSC 3" x 11" double ended ram 5:38 G/2

Tires & Wheel s Tire Make / Size Wheel Make / Size / Bolt Pattern/ Backspace


42" Maxxis Trepadors TrailReady HD 8 lug 4.25" b/s

Engine Manufacturer Engine Displacement, Liters or Cubic Inches Engine Horsepower Engine Torque Engine Induction, Normal or Forced Engine Modifications Battery Radiator / Fans Air Intake Exhaust Transmission Make & Type Transmission Adapter Transmission Cooling System Torque Converter Transmission Shifter Transfer Case(s) Front Driveshaft Builder & Components Used Rear Driveshaft Builder & Components Used Fuel Cell or Tank, Type, Size & Builder Fuel System Pumps & Filters

GM 4.3L TBI 175 235 Normal Just headers Odyssey extreme Northern with Spaul 16" fan Spector Custom 2.5" 700R4 Advance Adapters Derale 13700 Stock M4O Speed Shifter Atlas 4.3 Tom Woods 1350 non CV with H/D Carrier bearing Tom Woods 1350 non CV M4O Custom With internal pump Chevy internal pump and sender

suspension Front Suspension Type & Material Front Shocks Rear Suspension Type & Material Rear Sway Bar Rear Shocks

1.75" .250 Wall DOM Fox 2.0 x 18" Airshock 1.75" .250 Wall DOM 1" Generic Fox 2.0 x 18" Airshock

Ch a s sis Chassis Design Frame / Chassis Materials Overall Wheelbase Overall Length Belly Pan Clearance Overall Height Wheel Track Width Wheel Track Width

Moab 4x4 Outpost 1.5" chromoly 108" 149" 19" 81" 76" 89"

little red toyota Words & Photos by Ted Feg

Built to race, the LIttle Red Toyota looks big on the Ultra4 stage. 46 Vol. 12 — Number 62


48 Vol. 12 — Number 62

“The Little Red Toyota is what everyone calls her, and I guess it’s just kinda stuck” said Tom More of Kalispell, Montana, the owner and co-driver of his Jimmy’s chassis, Ultra4 4500 class Toyota truck. Although he had wheeled for years, he heard about this thing called “King of the Hammers” (KOH) developing through various online Forums and became interested. He heard later on that in 2012, it would have an “Every Man Challenge” (EMC) race and, that was it, he was bitten. Over the next couple of years, Tom continued to follow up on all the information he could gather about the EMC class on forums and watched every ‘Live Stream’ feed put out to follow along with what it took to win this class. In 2013, Tom, along with his longtime high school buddy and driver of the Little Red Toyota, Marty Mann, wound up getting a 1985 Toyota 4Runner to build as their 4600 stock class car. Working as much as they could to get the car ready, and with hopes of it being completed in time to enter in the Ultra4 2014 EMC class, they quickly learned there was a lot involved. Making it a competitive race car wasn’t going to work and they scrapped the idea of using the 4 Runner. In 2014, Tom and Marty decided to head out to Johnson Valley and see KOH in person so they could see how these cars were built. They got to see the EMC 4500/4600 cars up close, watch them race and talk to several of the teams entered. Tom decided then and there they would need to build a 4500 Modified class car. The next year, Tom and Marty headed back to Southern California for KOH and as things would have it, Marty entered the 2015 “King of the Motos”. Not only did Marty enter this grueling motorcycle race, which included the top racers from around the world, he finished 18th overall. Tom says, “I often get asked why I don’t drive my car. Marty has the heart of a racer and that’s why he drives the car. I want to win.” Tom spent that trip to KOH by himself, further checking out the latest evolutions and differences in the cars of the EMC 4500/4600 classes. Tom decided he was ready to build a completely new 4500 Modified class car. Tom had some ideas on this, and knew as an avid Toyota owner, he did not want an LS Motor. He was set on this vehicle being a Toyotapowered, First Gen Toyota truck. The first person he reached out to was Wes at LC Engineering in Lake Havasu Arizona. Wes had previously built another motor for one of Tom’s earlier projects. Tom called up Wes and said, “Here’s my idea…I want to build a 450 H.P. 4 cylinder Turbo 3RZ. Can you do it”? Wes told Tom, “Sure, no problem. Let’s do it”. Finding a chassis on the other hand, proved to be more time consuming. Several builders said they could sell or build Tom a chassis but they seemed to lack the enthusiasm that Tom had for this build. Tom eventually contacted Randy Rodd in September of 2015 over at Jimmy’s 4x4 in Cortez, CO and asked Randy if he would be interested in building a chassis for this Toyota 4500 class race car. Randy quickly answered, “Hell, Yea!! My first truck was a 1979 Toyota truck and I’ve got some ideas. I’ve got this steering design, a hydraulic, linked and cantilevered set up which is a work in progress, and a few other things I think you will like.” In December of 2015, Tom picked up the chassis from Jimmy’s 4x4 and, knowing from their previous experiences that they wouldn’t be ready for KOH 2016, Tom headed off to KOH2016 to see what tweaks and upgrades everyone else in the class was doing on their current race car builds. For the next seven months Tom, Marty, and their crew chief/wipe down guy Jeff Carlson, worked at a steady pace, making sure to take

their time and that everything was just the way they wanted this car to be. Tom hand built all the steel paneled exterior skins for the car which are currently being used as the molds for all new fiberglass panels. Tom also built the aluminum dash by hand. By the end of June they were able to take the car out to test and their first shakedown run was at the end of July in the YORR (Yellowstone Off Road Racing) Moonlight Mayhem 110-mile night race in Columbus, Montana. They were lumped in with all the Ultra4 class cars plus the V8 Pro class. They beat them all and took first place their first time out. The next race was huge for them and they knew it. It was the Ultra4 Nationals in Reno, Nevada this past October. They would be racing not only against seasoned series racers and cars at the top of their game at height of their season, they knew that they needed to do well here as their next race would be the “toughest one day race in the world” KOH. They had a rough start qualifying and busted up the front end of the car for their race. They worked feverously and welded the car back up to be ready for the main race. Marty drove the Little Red Toyota cleanly and for all it was worth. As other cars were cutting tires and hitting the hot pits, the Toyota truck kept going, passing the top guys who were visiting pits and Marty and Tom wound up winning the class at Nationals. That win is just what this team needed to further fuel their desire to race the Everyman Challenge at the King of the Hammers. When asked if they were going to pay the newly added Ultra4 Racing $250 qualifying fee for a chance at a better starting spot in their class, Tom replied, “Yes, we are. We want the best chance we can get to start up front. We don’t want to start first but we want to be up front. We are not heading out to Johnson Valley to say we ran in the race. We want to win the race and put a Toyota on the top of the podium.”

Above: A nice stance and a classic look. Opposite, from top left: High-quality choices throughout, like Spidertrax housings; Simple, clean lines; The Toyota 3RZ four-cylinder pumps out 450 horsepower; PSC double-ended ram is in concert with a manual bellcrank. Opposite, bottom: From a few feet back, it's just another minitruck.


Fox got the call for suspension; there's a lot going on under here.

LInks at both ends give this 'Yota a ride like no other. 50 Vol. 12 — Number 62

American-made TrailReady wheels all the way around.

Under that minitruck, it's all race car. 51

little red toyota SPECS p owertr a in

INFO Owner Location Vehicle Type Builder & Location

Tom More Kalispell, Montana Ultra4 4500 class race car Tom More

b ody / interior

Engine Manufacturer

LC Engineering Toyota 3RZ

Engine Displacement, Liters or Cubic Inches

2.7 liter

Engine Horsepower


Engine Torque

420 Garrett T3/T4 hybrid turbocharger

Body / Body Panels

1980 Toyota

Engine Induction, Normal or Forced

Skid plate / Material

AR500 steel


Optima Red Top

Barges Body Shop

Radiator / Fans

CBR 31 x 19 inch with dual Spal 14" fans

Hanneman fiberglass hood/stock grille

Air Intake


Floors / Firewalls



Magnaflow 2.5" exhaust, 6" diameter muffler

Dash / Gauges / Switches


Steering Column / Wheel

PSC column/Longacre wheel

Transmission Make & Type

Maximum Offroad TH400, Reid case, billet internals, reverse manual valve body

Pedal Assembly / Cutting Brakes

Wilwood pedal

Transmission Adapter

LC Engineering TH400 to 3RZ

Transmission Cooling System

CBR 16 x 14 inch with Spal 12" fan

PRP Podium seats/PRP harnesses

Torque Converter

Coan Racing 4200 stall

PCI radio & intercom/Lowrance HDS5 gps

Transmission Shifter

Winters reverse pattern

Lights Interior / Exterior

KC HID headlights/RuffStuff rock lights & interior lights

Transfer Case(s)

Atlas 3.8:1 Commercial Machine Services

Safety - Fire Extinguisher

Drake Quick Release mounts on three 2.5 pound extinguishers

Front Driveshaft Builder & Components Used

Winches - Front / Rear - Brand & Capacity

Commercial Machine Services

Warn 9.5xp-s

Rear Driveshaft Builder & Components Used Fuel Cell or Tank, Type, Size & Builder

Jaz 32 gallon

Painter Name Hood / Grille

Seats / Harnesses Electronics

a x l es Front Axle Housing Front Differential / Locker Front Axle Shafts Front U-Joints Front Drive Flanges / Hubs

Rear Axle Housing Rear Differential / Locker

Spidertrax 3.5 Ultimate GearWorks HP 10" with ARB Comp Air Locker Spidertrax Ultimate 300m 35 spline Yukon Spidertrax Ultimate 35 spline unit bearings Wilwood 4-piston calipers/Spidertrax Ultimate rotors Sweet hydraulic servo/PSC double ended ram/ manual box to bell crank Spidertrax 3.5 Ultimate GearWorks HP 10" with billet Detroit Locker

Rear Axle Shafts

Spidertrax Ultimate 300m 35 spline

Rear Drive Flanges

Spidertrax Ultimate 35 spline unit bearings Wilwood 4-piston calipers/Spidertrax Ultimate rotors N/A

Front Brakes Front Steering Components

Rear Brakes Rear Steering Setup Ring & Pinion Manufacturer & Gear Ratio(s)

GearWorks 5.88:1

suspension Front Suspension Type & Material Front Sway Bar Front Shocks Front Bump Stops Rear Suspension Type & Material Rear Sway Bar Rear Shocks Rear Bump Stops

4-link with 7075 links PAC Racing Fox 2.0 coilovers/PAC springs/Fox 2.5 four tube bypass shocks Fox 4-link with 7075 links PAC Racing Fox 2.0 coilovers/PAC springs/Fox 2.5 four tube bypass shocks Fox

Tire s & Wheel s Tire Make / Size Wheel Make / Size / Bolt Pattern/ Backspace

Cooper STT Pro 37/12.50-17 Trailready 17 x 9

Ch a s sis Chassis Design Frame / Chassis Materials Cage Builder / Cage Material Overall Wheelbase Overall Length Belly Pan Clearance Overall Height Wheel Track Width Overall Weight (Estimate if uncertain)

Jimmy's 4x4 2" x 3" box tube and 2" x .120" main cage Jimmy's 4x4 110" 166" 19" 73" Front 83" Rear 80" 4500 pounds


design cut build Lincoln Electric and CRAWL Create a New Event Words & Photos by John Herrick

It seems whenever Jeff Knoll and I get to talking, what results is usually far bigger than we imagined. Just a year ago, at Lincoln Electric Cutting Systems, we were talking about marketing ideas for the plasma cutting tables and other products they manufacture right here in Reno, Nevada. Jeff is now running the sales, marketing and technical help desks at LECS and he runs hard every day and when this project idea became a reality, we both knew it was going to be good. The idea was fairly simple in concept; a little more difficult in execution. We invited three teams of fabricators from various backgrounds to Reno for a three day build-off using Lincoln Electric tools. They arrived with no idea what they would be building. They designed their project with the parts and pieces available, cut it out using the tools provided, and then built it to completion. The teams were quite varied by design and we hoped that their differing backgrounds would help in the creation of widely different projects. From Washington State, John Mathews, owner of Auburn Car Repair & Offroad brought along Ian Foley and Jeremy Benson, builder of the #racetractor Dodge Power Wagon featured in CRAWL. Traveling the furthest, Chris Burger of Blue Note Fab came out from North Carolina, with Brent Baxter and Peter Bartell. The final team of three was from GenRight Offroad, a national Jeep parts fabrication firm. Led by Tony Pellegrino, the team consisted of Tony’s son Jordan Pellegrino, a student at the Fab School and Ultra4 racer, Darren Ruzicka, GenRight’s lead fabricator, along with Jami Pellegrino who was ostensibly along for the ride. More on Jami later. Day One consisted of classroom learning on the Lincoln CAD system used in the plasma tables. The tables being used were the new 4400 and 4800 series which, when delivered to a customer, is fully constructed and ready to generate parts within 30 minutes of arrival on site. The three teams crammed about three days of education into six hours and we knew ten minutes into the second day that they were “fully gettin’ it”. They were shown the pile of parts, the tools and equipment available to them and told they were building a tricycle of their own design. Left with laptops filled with CAD software, they spent the evening into the next morning designing and prepping for the build. Day Two dawned and these guys were ready to go. Plans had

54 Vol. 12 — Number 62

been made, designs determined, and now it was “game on” to get the projects built using what they could find. One of the trickier aspects of the contest was the pile of used parts. Knowing what was being built a few months earlier, I reached out to a local guy that is really involved in the local BMX bike scene and also helps kids in the neighborhood with their bicycles. John Crabtree is “the guy” if you need help with a bike out where I live. I called him up on the hunch that he may have some less than perfect bikes he would like to get rid of. Soon enough, my truck was loaded with about 12 bicycles in various stages of disrepair. He was happy to see them go and we were excited to have what would be hard to make parts. For the competitors these were the parts they would have had a real problem making from scratch. Things like head tubes where the handlebars meet the fork. Seat posts, seats, pedal cranksets…it was all available and could be cut up and used however they wanted. When the competitors got into the build mode, they were confronted with a strategy issue. It had been decided that the teams would pick from the bicycle “boneyard” one at a time, starting with the Auburn team. The other two teams couldn’t pick parts until the first team had gone. When they realized that the Auburn team didn’t need anything immediately from the boneyard, they also realized they might get screwed up on their plans if they couldn’t get what they needed. They decided to start building around that contingency. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to throw a strategy component into such a short project build window and, honestly, I’ve always thought shows like Survivor were stupid. The rules got pressed hard and finally the Blue Note Fab team got called out for sneaking into the boneyard out of turn. They immediately pointed a finger at the GenRight team for an illegal procedure call about having too many players on the field. Turns out Jordan, Tony and Darren were all out fabricating while Jami was back in the classroom banging out designs and dropping them onto the memory sticks the team members were swapping out. Something about racers and “you ain’t winning unless you’re cheating.” The Lincoln judges huddled, yours truly trying very hard to stay out of it, and it was determined the GenRight team would take a one hour delay penalty starting the next morning. Jami was banished and would have to wander aimlessly with the rest of the media guys.

Day Three dawned and they were hard at it again, as this was the final day and moment of truth. The three teams completed their trikes, put all the finishing touches on them and made sure they were ready to be presented and also used for their intended purpose. About the time lunch rolled around, they were done. The entire Lincoln crew came for lunch and the chance to vote on their favorite, as well as witness how well they worked. The people that came out included master fabricators from the factory line; guys that build the tools these teams had been using. They know what good welds and cuts look like and were prepared to judge. The technical help desk people came down to look and they could tell if the tools were set correctly and making the correct cuts. Everyone watching could see through the BS and tell if these three teams knew what they were doing. They all agreed: these competitors weren’t posers. In the end, even with a penalty, the GenRight team took the first ever Design/Cut/Build trophy. Their project was 100% fabricated with no outside parts and was not a gravity device, but rider propelled. They were down to the wire getting it done but it was a clever project done with a lot of hard work and commitment. Jeff and I have already talked about the next event and the consensus was we are having one. This first year’s success was across the board and everyone agreed it was time well spent. A big thanks to these guys for coming out and being the guinea pigs for our proof of concept. For more photos and videos, check out the CRAWL Facebook page and select photos or videos from the left toolbar. For more information about the Lincoln Electric Cutting System product lineup head to their website,

Tony Pellegrino leads a design strategy talk.

Jami Pellegrino is working on Lincoln's tubing cutter.

Chris "Goose" Burger, short of work space, MIG welds while on the floor.


The screen will show you the project, the cut program and progress.

Tony watches while the 4800 table cuts out some critical pieces.

Goose laying down some last-minute beads on the seat.

Darren Ruzicka is busting tail with the clock ticking closer to the end.

The CRAWL logo getting cut for added performance.

56 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Jami is prepping the all-steel wheels for finish welding.

Darren is tig tacking the final frame assembly.

Jeremy Benson takes a little break.

Goose adding the head stock for the trike fork.


The view from inside the wheel that Jami is welding together.

John Mathews and Jeremy make sure everything is tight and ready to roll.

Getting to the end, the finishing touches go on.

58 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Goose is determining stance. Brent Baxter and Peter Bartell are giggling.

John is grinding the outer wheel. Having the right tools made the difference.

GenRight has suspension on their trailing arm setup.

From left, teams Blue Note Fab, Auburn Car Repair, and GenRight.


FALL CRAWL 2016 in NEW HAMPSHIRE ! e m o H m o fr y a W g n o L a e We'r

Words & Photos by John Herrick You start talking about an event early enough and, if that talk is from one of the great advocates of the area, you’re going to be really ready by the time something like the NEA Fall Crawl rolls around. Eric Weybrant saw my editorial in the January 2016 issue and invited us out to the Fall Crawl, one of the premier events on the calendar in the Northeast. We started heading east in August and made a few stops on the way. After hooking up with Cora and Erik Jokinen from Torq-Masters, we caravanned to the New Hampshire property where we would wheel for a few days. I ran into some old pals from previous trips and made plenty of new friends. Eric Weybrant is the president of the Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs and they have a unique relationship with the owners of the Field and Forest venue in Harrisville, New Hampshire. The only clubs that can use the property must be affiliated with the NEA. That has had an interesting consequence as more people have joined multiple clubs to create more opportunities to use the private property which is common here. Unlike the West, most every location that allows offroading is privately owned. There are very few public property venues that allow the type of use we take for granted out West. The Field and Forest property is about 120 acres, is roughly broken into a 40-acre campground area and 80 acres of some gnarly trails. Once we got back into the woods I knew why rig owners were in three different clubs. They wanted to hit this place as often as they could during each wheeling season. I’ve been to a few events in the Northeast and I’ve always wondered where the really hardcore guys were hanging out. Now I know. There were some serious buggies, built Jeeps and Toyotas and the only thing missing from the whole crowd was fear. They were in it to win it. Check out the pics and then follow the Association so you can see for yourself what it’s like.

For more information, visit

This page, from top: Wet... Nasty... And slicker than snot.

60 Vol. 12 — Number 62

If you bail out, all trails lead back to the campground.


This page, clockwise from top left: They are a serious bunch in New Hampshire; The Long John Silver being piloted by Scott Arruda for the day; Todd Thome isn't afraid of anything; The alternative is the exit; There is a little something for everyone.

62 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Serious hardware does exist in the Northeast.

Narrowed, twin transmissions, beat to hell. Great fun to watch. 63



The Buggy that Bacon Built Words by John Herrick Photos by Cindy Creighton

64 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Let’s be honest, Boggers usually mean business. 65

Like a 1940’s comic book look at the space age, this truck is just cool. 66 Vol. 12 — Number 62









lay Nova Scotia. It’s actually not too far from the US state of Maine, sitting offshore like a bumper on an old truck. It gets the brunt of the harsh Atlantic winters yet has enough hardy souls calling it home that Lou Parker can make a living and find time to run his buggy called Lou’s Betty. He lives in Wittenberg, about the middle of the province. He’s a busy member of a family-owned meat shop because you can’t live on lobsters alone. Lou told me he’s really good at what he does which is smoking meat and makin’ bacon. He also told me he’s not mechanically inclined at all but that’s what he enjoys doing. And from that skill set and determination was born Betty, the 1941 Dodge truck that will take your ear drums and crush them like saltines in your chowder. When the first quote I got from Lou was “I wanted the Rockwell axles to be the weak point” I knew this was going to be good. The project started with a plan to put an old truck cab on a running Toyota frame. The donor ‘Yota turned out to be too nice so he built that into its own rig. After stockpiling parts, this beast started to become a reality. With a Dodge truck cab, a Ford hood and a dream in his head, Betty took shape. To hear him say it, he has no skills. Yet, he had a vision and started bending tube to make it a reality. Like many big projects, it’s hard to see the finish line when reaching it seems so far off. Betty took six years to finish in three different garages. Said Lou, “Anything I could build or do myself, I would: wiring, tubing, welding, plumbing, etc. I even built some homemade tools to accomplish tasks more quickly.” He even used stuff laying around some other trucks he has, even finding the hood ornament at yard sale. Over those six years with the help of friends he built a really cool rig. Powered by a built Ford of 545 cubic inches fueled by propane, it releases 627 horsepower through open headers when he lets Betty get sassy. That power is being fed through a C6 auto trans and a Stak three speed Monster Box. The front driveshaft is a two-piece with 1550 joints, the rear is equipped with 1480s.

The headers are a point of contention. I’ve seen video of this rig and Lou is wearing ear protection to drive it. He wanted to run a full exhaust system but couldn’t quite make room for it. He built the headers himself. Lou said, “They took about 30 hours to build; they will be the first and last set of headers I will ever build.” The propane fuel system makes sense. He uses propane at the meat shop and it was an “easy access” fuel as well as being an inexpensive fuel injection system for an all angle vehicle. However, he hadn’t quite planned where the bottles were going to go. The 2” DOM cage had already been built and the obvious placement for the cylinders blocked his rearward view. Some time spent thinking about it resulted in the installation of a rear view camera and an in-cab monitor so he can see what’s happening on Betty’s backside. The suspension is double triangulated 4-link front and rear from the Lou-built chassis to the Rockwells. The links are 2” diameter .50” wall DOM finished with EMF heim joints. Each corner has a King coilover measuring 2.50” x 16” stroke with King bump stops out front. The axles are “mohawked” for clearance and the pinion brakes are retained with Wilwood calipers providing Betty the opportunity to stop what she’s doing. The terrain in Nova Scotia is a mixed bag of rocks and dirt, hills and woodlands. Lou knew that custom cut Interco Boggers were the tire of choice for a rig like this. With the tires still bathing the shop in that “new tire smell”, Lou cut them up and still uses the pattern you see on them here. He knows from experience that they work. Lou has been reading CRAWL for what seems forever. He and I have exchanged email for various reasons over the last five years or so. So when he sent me a few pictures and a short video of the day the motor fired, I knew this was a CRAWL rig. We’ve been talking about it for nearly 18 months, me getting progress pics along the way of Lou’s work and then we knew it was time to get the rig shot. Betty turned out to be a unique project. These are the garage built rigs I love and I really enjoy watching their owners take pride in a project well built. Lou’s Betty is a tight truck.

The cab is a ’41 Dodge, the hood from an unknown Ford. Fordge?

The rear shows off its Rockwell axle and lets you see behind the curtain.


The big Ford motor with its propane injection.

Front Rockwell, mohawked for clearance and lower links in the middle.

King coilovers all the way around.

The open headers let you know Betty is ready to rumble.

Propane bottles created a need for a backup camera.

The office. Strictly business in here.

68 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Plenty of flex in the old girl.

Winch is usually for suck down duties, Wilwood pinion brakes handle stopping.



Betty SPECS INFO Owner Hometown Vehicle Type Builder

Lou Parker Wittenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada 1941 Dodge Buggy Lou Parker

Ch a s sis Chassis design: Frame/Chassis materials: Cage builder/material: Overall wheelbase: Overall length: Belly pan clearance: Differential clearance: Overall height: Wheel track width: Overall weight:

Lou Parker 2” × 4” square tube Lou Parker, 2” DOM 129” 170” 24” 13” 83” 80” WMS, 100” overall 6,000 lbs

Dri v e tr a in Front suspension material: Front sway bar: Front shocks: Front bump stops: Rear suspension material: Rear shocks: Rear bump stops: Front axle housing: Front differential/locker: Front axle shafts: Front u-joints: Front drive flanges/hubs: Front brakes:

2” with ½” wall DOM, EMF Heims

none 2.5” × 16” King Coilovers 2.5” Kings 2” with ½” wall DOM, EMF Heims 2.5” × 16” King Coilovers none 2.5 ton Rockwell (custom skids) mohawked pot welded stock stock stock Wilwood pinion brake EMF 3” double ended ram, PSC pump/reservoir & Front steering components: cooler Rear axle housing: 2.5 ton Rockwell (custom skids) mohawked pot Rear differential/locker: welded Rear axle shafts: stock Rear brakes: Wilwood pinion brake Ring & Pinion stock 6.72:1 gear ratio Manufacturer: Tire make & size: 44” cut Interco Boggers 15” × 14” with 7” backspacing and EMF 32 bolt Wheel make/size/bolt: beadlocks

70 Vol. 12 — Number 62

p owertr a in Engine Manufacturer: Engine Displacement: Engine Horsepower: Engine Torque: Engine Induction: Engine Modifications: Battery: Radiator/Fans: Air Intake: Exhaust: Transmission make and type: Transmission cooling system: Torque converter: Transmission shifter: Transfer Case: Front Drive shaft: Rear Driveshaft: Fuel Cell: Fuel System:

Ford 545 cubic inches 627 655 Propane Scat forged crank, diamond forged pistons, John Kasse p51 head, Kasse oil pump, stainless roller rockers, Weiand dual carb intake, arp head studs Dual Optima yellow tops, homemade tray CBR Racing/Derale dual fans K&N Custom open headers C6 with transbrake Derale fan/cooler TCI 3500 stall B&M Stak 3sp Monster Box 1:1, 3.4:1, 5.4:1 2 piece with steady bearing & 1550 joints 1480 joints Dual 30lb propane tanks Propane kit from

Tire s & Wheel s Tire Make / Size Wheel Make / Size / Bolt Pattern/ Backspace

39" BFG Red Label Krawlers 17" Raceline Monster

b ody / interior Body/Body Panel:

1941 Dodge

Skid plate/material:

3/8” belly pan and oil pan skid


unknown Ford hood/ 1947 Fargo grill


custom 1/8” steel

Dash, gauges, switches:

custom stainless steel with autometer gauges, custom switches

Pedal Assembly:

Wilwood, separate front and rear brakes

Seats/ harnesses:

RJS racing equipment


custom, rear facing camera


1,300 lumen LED tractor lights


1 fire extinguisher

Winches front/rear:

Front Samurai Warrior 12,000 lbs. with synthetic rope

In quite repose, when it’s running trails it’s a beast.

The loose rocks and the woods of Nova Scotia keep Lou busy.


IRON RANGE WHEELING Words & Photos by John Herrick

After spending a few foggy days in Duluth, Minnesota, we moved about 60 miles north to Eveleth and the heart of the Iron Range. We were invited by Brent Baxter of to come up and experience what most of America doesn’t know exists. My thoughts of Minnesota, before I got here, were of flat prairie and the 10,000 lakes they talk about on their license plates. It’s not terribly far from the truth. What I didn’t know, and would soon enough find out as my rig went back on the trailer, was this area has some legit wheeling and showing up on 37s sometimes means you’re the small kid wheeling with the big boys. The group we wheeled with was a definite mashup of different rigs. From built buggies to Raisinet TJs and Blazers. The thing I noticed, a little later than I should have, was that most everyone was on 40s or larger, the 43” SX being a popular choice. Minnesota in May can be a tough one for weather. While the rain we got kept the mosquitoes at bay, the trails were wet and the traction was a little tough. Day One found us wheeling the trails at the Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area near Gilbert. They have a great parking area for tow rigs and trailers, a wash-down bay to get the red mud off your rig before it stays forever, and easy access to the trail system. With 36 miles of trails, there is a little something for everyone. We saw stock rigs wandering around getting their feet wet and hardcore buggies bangin’ the daylights out of their rigs on huge boulders. On Day Two we headed to the Mesabi Mountain Trail near Eveleth. It’s about four miles long and the entire trail is rated Most Difficult. It was in the first mile that I was bouncing my junk on a ledge and blew a hole in the trans pan with an errantly long bolt. This necessitated a hot lap out of the park and on to the trailer before running out of fluid. Brad Baxter followed me and we made good time catching back up to the crew in his Baxter Buggy, the Willys rig we shot in Harlan and featured in Issue 54. I spent the rest of the day simply enjoying the ride. The terrain here is big rocks, slippery approaches and some nice views when you get up on top. It’s another destination worth the effort. I’ll be coming back with the buggy next time .

RESOURCES MN-4x4 Mesabi Mountain Trail Iron Range OHV Eveleth Veterans Park Campground


Vol. 12 — Number 62

This page, from top: Goose is behind the wheel of LJ Silver; Bad weather won't stop Brent Baxter in his buggy; Clearing the boulders, Mike Manis avoids scratching the paint. Opposite, clockwise from top left: Tyler Landman in his Chevy. There isn't much left but spirit and determination; The military flattie is on a mission with Josh Sutherland in command; Patriarch Bob Baxter in his buggy reminded the kids that he's right there with 'em; What? Bob again, this time in the Long John Silver proving he can drive anything; There were plenty of rocks for Mike.


Goose stretches out the LJ climbing out of a hole.

The whole Baxter clan: Brent, Bob, and Brad. 74 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Brent misses and leaves the panel unscathed.

Josh is just moseying through the woods. This is a super clean rig. 75


Ac r o A mses ri



20 16

Words & Photos by John Herrick I’m driving down the Interstate in Connecticut on my way to see Clayton Walters and Adam Wycislo at Clayton Off Road, the suspension company these two guys own. I’m in the motorhome and towing the big trailer and off in the distance I see a Clayton Off Road sticker on the back of a truck. What are the chances? I follow the truck and it leads me right to their door. Tucked away in a business park in East Haven, the shop is just about smack dab in the middle for Adam and Clayton, who are coming from opposite directions each morning. When they get to the office, Adam runs the sales, marketing, accounting and other office duties while Clayton handles R&D, manufacturing, running the shop side of the business. Since 2001, this formula has worked really well. Recognizing that short arm lifts on 4-link suspension systems being used in Jeeps at the time made for a rough ride and “grocery cart” -style steering, Clayton wanted his Jeep to be fun to drive again. Starting with the Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ, the first long arm suspension system was developed. From there, they built packages for the Cherokee XJ, Grand Cherokee WJ, the Wrangler TJ and LJ and then, in 2007, the JK. They are, and always have been, Jeep guys. The shop tour was interesting as Clayton talked about the things they are doing to be even more efficient and consistent in their product output. I’ve always been impressed with the quality of the parts and the components they choose to use. I use the 3-link front/4-link triangulated rear in the Project LJ Silver and that came from my experience racing with Larry Nickell in 2013 at KOH. He’s run Clayton stuff on his LJ since what seems forever. It’s simply tough. One of the obvious characteristics you’ll notice right away is that Clayton has always used square tubing for the link arms. The claim is they are stronger in this application and they back that up with a lifetime warranty for bending and breakage. They are put together by both a human and a welding robot and the product looks great. The

78 Vol. 12 — Number 62

typical setup is a 2” square tube lower link with a .25” wall thickness combined with Currie Johnny Joints for their durability and comfortable ride. The threaded inserts are made specifically for Clayton and they are designed around the square tube. The robot drops a perfect weld every time. Links combined with model specific link mounts, trackbars, steering, shock mounts and skid plates. You name it, they have it figured out so that it works and it works off road. The shelves are stocked and virtually everything is always available. If you’re ready to start on a project, the entire package can be at your door in a matter of days from guys that know what you need and how important the build is to you.

For more information, visit

Opposite, clockwise from top left: Some things are best left to a human welder; Clayton doing what he does best: Designing parts; Threaded bung for square link tube. Can't have enough; Machine welding is really consistent; Plenty of ready-to-ship stock on hand.


Real-world, hands-on happens here.




New link arms installed and ready to go for the customer.

80 Vol. 12 — Number 62

Clayton is not desk bound. He wants to know what his customers are going to see.



Jeep Engine Swap Part 3 PAGE 90

80 Vol. 12 — Number 61

Jeep JK Armor Package By Derek Trent In the last issue we swapped in Dana Ultimate 60s, installed a 4" Ready Lift suspension kit, J.E. Reel drivelines, and put on some 37" Patriot Tires with Raceline beadlock wheels. You would think that's all that is needed to be ready to tackle some serious trails but, if you want to keep your Jeep looking good, then it's a good idea to armor up. People often think bumpers are all that is needed but the rocker panels are much more vulnerable to damage and are very expensive to repair. As different as a JK is from its Wrangler ancestors it still shares similar construction, a steel frame with a body tub and front clip. The tub is a welded unit from the windshield to the tailgate and the rocker panel is a crucial part of the structure. If damaged seriously the doors might not close and it's even possible that a hard top might not fit correctly. When rock crawling, it's also an easy spot to damage on a JK Unlimited because of the long wheelbase. Bumpers are also important and a great way to improve approach and departure angles. Stock bumpers are great for deflecting shopping carts but the plastic will not hold up to rock rash. Speaking of plastic, the fender flares also have got to go. Not only because they are plastic but because the tires rub them when the suspension flexes and they would, at the very least, need to be trimmed. There are a lot of options out there for aftermarket JK fender flares and I chose GenRight because I really like the soft lines of tube fenders as opposed to the boxy Mad Max look offered by some of the other manufacturers. I talked to Tony Pellegrino from GenRight several times before we started this project and he advised me to be weight conscious. The JK Unlimited is already heavy and adding steel bumpers, fenders, and rocker panel guards would be a significant weight gain. That's why GenRight developed a line of light weight aluminum armor products that protect the body of the JK without adding hundreds of extra pounds. I also like the raw look of uncoated aluminum and I think it looks great with the silver paint on the CRAWL JK. GenRight offers aluminum bumpers, fenders, and rocker panel guards individually or as a complete armor package. I chose to do the complete package and all of the options. On the front bumper I added the Low Profile Winch Guard and all of the Steel Rash Guards. Steel Rash Guards bolt onto the bumpers and rocker panel guards to protect the bottom edges and corners from being damaged when they come into contact with rocks. They add weight to the package but they provide serious protection at a fraction of the weight of full steel products. The first thing we installed was the front bumper because the 37" Patriot tires were rubbing the stock unit when the tires were fully turned. Along with an armor package, it's important to have the ability to self recover so a Warn 9500XP was installed. It's a compact unit and tucks neatly inside the GenRight Ultra Clearance Lo-Pro aluminum front bumper and it doesn't block air flow to the radiator. It's a traditional style winch that is compact with remote solenoids; it's fast, powerful, reliable, and built to handle 9,500 lbs. of pulling power with the fastest line speed of any Warn winch under load. Fueled by strong 6 hp high output, parallel series wound motor and 3-stage planetary gears, this winch has extended-duty control packs, full-face contact drum seals, and motor and end housing gaskets so you can handle the most demanding pulls. Next the rear bumper was installed and we chose to eliminate the stock receiver for better departure angle. Removing the stock receiver is easy to do before the auxiliary rear gas tank is installed but we didn't have the GenRight rear bumper when the tank was installed so we

will have to partially remove the rear tank to gain access to the bolts that hold the stock receiver in. It's not a big deal but it is two steps backwards to take one step forward. Next we tackled the rocker guards and fenders. This is the step that really transformed the look of the Jeep. Until this was done it really just looked like a lifted JK to me but once the fenders and rocker were installed it really stands out in the grocery store parking lot as a highly modified vehicle and I have been constantly bombarded with questions about it since they were installed. The rocker guards are works of art that are built from three separate pieces that bolt together to form a solid unit. The inner piece features a number of vertical gussets that give the rocker guards significant structural strength. These are not just for looks. They provide serious body protection and tie into the body mounts. It's an extremely well thought out design for serious offroading as opposed to mall crawling like a lot of the products that are available for JKs. The GenRight aluminum tube fenders are my favorite in the industry. They are truly beautiful and they give the JK a refined look that is tough to duplicate. They are tough but classy at the same time and they open up the wheel well to provide more clearance for bigger tires. This means not as much lift is required to fit 37" or even 40" tires. I really like the soft traditional lines of the GenRight armor package. The last item installed in this round of modifications is a spare tire mount. I chose the TeraFlex JK Heavy Duty Adjustable Tire Carrier. It's an ingenious patented product that simply beefs up the stock tailgate with a strong but lightweight piece of cast T6 aluminum and replaces the factory hinges with larger heavy-duty hinges that can handle the weight of up to a 37" tire. The tailgate can easily be opened with one hand to access the rear cargo area so this heavily modified JK can remain a competent grocery getter. It also has additional mounting holes that can be used to mount a jack tall enough to actually change a 37" tire since the factory jack is now too short. It's hard to believe how far this Jeep JK Unlimited Sport has come in such a short time. By not buying a Rubicon a lot of money was saved on the vehicle purchase and with the exception of not having the low transfer case gears everything on this Jeep is now better and far stronger. The cost of the parts involved in this project is staggering but the total time into this transformation is sitting at about two weeks of labor. That means if you are willing to shell out the dough you can go from a stock stripped Jeep to wheeling on one-tons ridiculously fast with all bolt on parts. There are still a lot of modifications that I intend to do but at this point the CRAWL JK is extremely capable and the body is protected.



The GENRIGHT ALUMINUM ULTRA CLEARANCE JK LO-PRO WINCH GUARD FRONT BUMPER is well-designed, with two pieces that function as a unit. The inner steel structure reinforces the frame and securely mounts the winch. The outer structure is made out of lightweight aluminum and gives the bumper its shape. It's a no-nonsense design with a lean profile that leaves only enough room for necessary equipment and holds the winch as low as possible in the chassis.

To fit the outer aluminum skin of the front bumper onto the chassis the lower portion of the frame needs to be trimmed. This increases approach angle and allows the new narrower front bumper to slip over the front frame rails. The narrow width of the new bumper will provide necessary clearance to keep the front tires from rubbing.

An air grinder is used to trim the excess parts of the frame. Some people don't like the idea of cutting up a brand new vehicle but this is what creating a custom vehicle is all about. 82 Vol. 12 — Number 62

The aluminum skin of the bumper is extremely lightweight and it solves the issue of the 37" tires rubbing the stock bumper.

Next the rear bumper, factory tow hooks, and rear receiver are removed. Unfortunately the auxiliary rear fuel tank needs to be partially removed because the bolts for the receiver on the factory tow package go through the frame from the back side and the GenRight rear fuel tank prevents them from being removed.

With the mounting bolts for the rear tank removed and the tank partially lowered, it's possible to get a wrench on the bolts that attach the receiver to the rear frame cross member. These bolts were installed at the factory and are extremely tight. Note the double wrench trick that doubles the leverage on the bolts making it easier to break them loose.

The rear bumper looks really good installed and works well with the GenRight rear gas tank. The rear departure angle is very favorable and the gas tank skid plate is durable and takes rock hits much better than the stock muffler that usually occupies the space. The advantage of sticking with one brand of aftermarket products is that they are often designed to work together.

The rear bumper comes with two 3/4" thick steel D-Ring recovery points that will bolt directly to the frame. They fit neatly through laser cut slots in the rear 6061-T6 aluminum bumper. The bumper itself weighs only 19 pounds and lacks the structure needed for a recovery point so GenRight came up with this innovative solution. With both front and rear bumpers installed it's time to get started on the rocker guards and tube fenders. The stock fenders are removed in preparation for the rocker installation. Trail wheelable race car? You tell me.

Since the bumper will block access to the ends of the frame rails this plate with nuts welded to it is slipped inside the frame rail for the bumper lower mounting points. The rear bumper has two mounting bolts on the bottom and three from the side on each frame rail so a total of 10 1/2" grade 8 bolts hold the rear bumper onto the chassis. Each 3/4" D-Ring mount is also securely mounted to the frame with three of those 1/2" bolts in shear providing an extremely strong recovery point.

The rocker guards are built out of three aluminum pieces that bolt together. The fourth piece that is the one on the bottom in the photo is made out of steel and it caps the outer edge edge of the rocker guard to protect the aluminum from possible rock hits.


The first part of installing the rocker guards is to place the U nut anchors in the factory holes on the bottom of the stock rocker panels. The U nuts are easy to install and they slide over the hole and a spring loaded portion of the U nut holds it in place.

More U nuts are installed on the top edge of the inner structure of the rocker guard. The second piece of the rocker guard will bolt to these U nuts and locate it.

With the U nuts installed the first portion of the rocker guards can be installed next.

The second piece of the rocker guard bolts on to the first piece. All of the fasteners are started but not tightened so that the second piece can be located.

The first piece of the rocker guard bolts on utilizing the U nut anchors. By itself the internal structure of the rocker guard is not very strong but when combined with the other pieces and the multiple anchor points it will become a strong structure.

Clamps are used to locate the second piece of the rocker guard and the mounting holes in the body can be marked.

84 Vol. 12 — Number 61

Holes are drilled in the body of the Jeep that will be used to anchor the upper portion of the rocker guard securely to the body.

The Thread Setter tool is used to install the Nut Serts in the body.

Once all of the holes are drilled in the body, the second piece of the rocker guards is removed so the anchors can be installed.

With all of the Nut Serts installed the second piece of the rocker guards can be installed.

The nut sert anchors are installed into the holes that were drilled into the body.

The first two pieces of the rocker guards fit together perfectly and we are now ready to install the third part of the rocker guard.


The body mount bolts need to be removed so that the third piece of the rocker guard can be installed.

Masking tape is used to mark the portions of the rocker panels that will need to be cut off. The tape also protects the paint.

The third part of the rocker guard fits over the other two pieces and button head Allen bolts attach all three pieces together. The bottom of the rocker guard is securely fasted to the rocker using the body mount's bolts.

The body mount bolts are reinstalled through the bottom of the rocker guards. The vulnerable body mounts will now be well protected.

For the third piece of the rocker guards to fit over the body, the rocker panels need to be cut away. This will also make the wheel wells larger and improve tire clearance.

The front and rear fenders are then installed in place of the stock ones and the rocker panel rash guard is put in place. The top bolts share some of the same mounting bolts that are used to hold the third part of the rocker guard in place.

86 Vol. 12 — Number 62

The bottom mounting bolts that hold the rash guard in place will need to have holes drilled.

Now it's time to install a rash guard on the front bumper. It fits really well. Holes are drilled through the aluminum bumper and counter sunk Allen bolts are used to attach it to the bumper.

The third piece of the rocker guard needs to be removed so that a nut can be attached to the bottom side rash guard mounting hardware.

The steel rash guard will protect the bottom edges of the aluminum bumper. It's a great way to have a durable and light weight bumper.

Now that the steel rash guard is installed the rocker guard can be installed for the final time.

A Warn 9.5XPS winch is installed in the front cross member. It fits really well and will also be very well protected. The winch comes with synthetic line, a hook, a fairlead, and a compact remote solenoid box that can be mounted anywhere.


The completed package looks really nice and provides a great balance between strength and weight. The winch is extremely well protected and does not inhibit air flow to the radiator. For now the remote solenoid will be mounted to the winch with the bracket provided but I have the option to move it later to make room for auxiliary lighting.

Now it's time to install the TeraFlex JK Heavy Duty Adjustable Tire Carrier. It's designed to carry up to 37" tires. For now we are running 37" tires on the CRAWL JK project but in the future I am considering 39" or 40" tires. A 37" tire will work fine as an emergency spare even if the tires on the Jeep are larger. The upper plastic hinge cover is removed to expose the bolts that attach the hinge to the tailgate.

Both factory hinges are removed. It's important to keep the tailgate closed and latched during this part of the installation. 88 Vol. 12 — Number 62

The T6 cast aluminum main body of the spare tire mount is installed to the hinge points on the Jeep body tub. The factory Jeep body provides substantial internal gussets and bracing that easily supports the new tire carrier and oversized tire. The HD hinge brackets are forged steel and the HD 5/8� hinge pins are constructed from cold formed highcarbon hardened steel. The combination of mounting location and HD mounting brackets provides one of the strongest, rattle-free tire carriers on the market today claims TeraFlex.

Spare tires are heavy and loose bolts create rattles so as a precaution red LOCTITE is being used on all mounting hardware.

The cast T6 aluminum portion is fastened to the tailgate. This tire carrier spreads the load and weight of the tire to more than just one hinge point. Incorporating and using the factory tailgate, the hinge mounting points spread and separate the load as far apart as possible, resulting in maximum strength and durability.

Next the fabricated steel portion of the tire carrier is bolted onto the tailgate. It has an additional adjustable piece that will be installed next.

The spare tire clears the rear GenRight bumper. I am worried about hitting the spare on ledges when doing drop offs. Because the spare is mounted to the tailgate if it does come in contact with rocks it might damage the tailgate and cause it to not open or close.

The adjustable piece of the tire carrier slides into the piece that was just installed. It has a number of different holes and slots that allow for a variety of different spare tire mounting locations.

The rear bumper also has optional rash guards to provide protection from rocks.

Wheel studs will hold the spare tire to the rack. There are three different possible mounting heights. I tried a couple of different holes before settling on the lowest mounting position because it will provide the best possible visibility out of the rear window.

The GenRight armor package really looks nice installed. The raw aluminum looks great against the silver paint. A couple of people have told me that it looks unfinished but I really like the way it looks just how it is. One big advantage of leaving the aluminum raw is that if I scratch it up on the trail I can take a D/A sander and some Scotchbrite and make it look new again. 89

Jeep Engine Swap, Part 3 Words & Photos by Josh West Any engine conversion requires some thought on a fuel system and with this being part time race, redundancy needs to be a thought as well. Typical thought on fuel supply with injectors and pumps is you want 20 percent surplus. With an engine making 460HP, 575HP worth of fuel is desired. That pointed right at a 255 Walbro pump. To reduce external clutter and noise, in tank was the best route. The LJ already had a fuel cell that used the stock Jeep pump module, so a custom module needed to be built that would fit the existing tank. Most internal pumps have a built-in check valve which eliminates the need for inline valves while running dual pumps in an either or configuration. The pumps were simply Y’d together inside the tank so a single supply line exited. Getting wiring in a tank can be tricky without the proper parts. Some like to build an isolated stud system. It is all preference. I like to use a fuel safe wire pass through system with a connector on the outside. It makes for a bench built system that is quickly removable without the worry of arc-ing a stud. The module itself is very simple design. It just holds the pumps in place and uses long socks as pickups and pre-filters. The socks have internal baffles to prevent them from being crushed. I say that because the module needs to sit tight against the bottom of the tank to keep it from moving around and possibly bending, breaking or dropping a sock. Foam or baffles can be used and not cause a pickup issue. This module was meant to directly replace a stock jeep module. To get gauges working properly aftermarket gauges were used. There are ways to use the stock Jeep instrument panel, that involves running the Jeep ECM in tandem with the GM ECM, running extra sensors and conversions boxes. Why add all the clutter just to use the dash when you can keep things simple with a great look. The stock LQ4 harness was used in the conversion. It was modified by Team 208 Motorsports for standalone use. It was originally a stock drive by wire harness but with the engine now being drive by cable, it would need altered. Gen 3 GM 1 Meg Blue Green ECMs can control Idle Air Control for drive by cable if the ECM has the driver installed on the board. To 100% verify this you have to split the ECM and physically look. Luckily the ECM had it and was ready to rock. With the stock LQ4 harness now being thinned and modified for standalone cable drive, it received a coating of cloth harness tape. This is tuff stuff with a 300-degree direct contact rating and very high abrasion resistance without the bulk of loom. It will provide a reliable covering for years to come. With the wiring all in, the engine was ready to fire, followed by some custom ECM tuning. One thing done differently was the harness was modified for Speed Density operation rather than stock MAF operation. This was done to ensure reliability while racing. Speed Density brings on some common misconceptions about fuel correction caused by changing elements. This can be argued but would be an entire article on its own. As far as tuning, I believe that any vehicle has to be tuned in its natural environment. That means if you own a drag car, you tune it at, and for, the drag strip. If it’s an Ultra 4 car, you tune it in the desert, rocks and short course. Wow, that’s a lot of tuning for one car, why not just dyno tune? Truth is, which a dyno only tuner won’t tell you, the dyno is a great tool to check your wide open long hard pulls. They have their place and they are an awesome tool to ensure you are safe under tremendous load but what is your actual time spent at that point? There has to be

90 Vol. 12 — Number 62

real transient fuel tuning not just static load. I’ll give a quick example and move on. You can watch all the videos of rigs being tuned on a dyno without off dyno drive tuning. You notice they have to get the RPM high enough to load the dyno first. This is usually about 3000 plus RPM, then the throttle goes wide open. Sure sounds great but what are you really getting except wide open 3k to redline tuned? Now take that same rig and stomp it from idle in the parking lot, without finishing the tuning you get a spitting sputtering mess, then, wham, it hit 3k and pulls hard. Another thing to think about is what about the setting the rig for corners and obstacles? That’s true on, off, on, off the throttle. This has to be tuned, you cannot tune this with wide open hits. On throttle, manifold vacuum decreases, off throttle it increases and RPMs fluctuate. This hits many spots on the ECM’s fuel table in a matter of seconds but none of those spots were tuned with wide open pulls only. Now we are back to drive tuning but tuning the car in its environment. What you end up with is a hard pulling, clean running rig no matter the throttle or load conditions. With that said, Larry’s LJ was first tuned on the street to get a decent baseline. After that it got to hit some trails with tight fast running sand washes. Once the rig was within a few percent it was run on a chassis dyno to double check loaded pulls and to see what was being put to the ground. With the rig strapped down the first pull was made. It made a laughable 250HP to the ground, this just didn’t feel right. A quick look at the data log of the run and the throttle never exceeded 85%. A quick inspection revealed a roll of electrical tape had fallen in the floor and was under the mat, holding the pedal up. Oops! With that quickly fixed and thrown as far as possible out of the shop, it was time to continue. The next run yielded much better results, 305HP and 330LBFT to the tires. Not bad for a high mileage 9.5 to 1 engine with just very minor parts running a 4L80E, Atlas, One Tons and 37s. A few runs later the HP increased but at the cost of safe AFR. Losing a few high load HP for the sake of safety in this application is okay in my book. The transmission was adjusted for the new gear ratio, tire size, sift kit and driving style. Electronic transmissions can be tuned for manual shifting as well. With this one first and second shifter location are full manual. Back to tuning style, drive tuning in the sand, rocks and street put enough load on the engine that the fuel table was not touched on the dyno, only the commanded AFR was changed.


Building your own fuel pump module is not as hard as it may seem. This is the beginnings of Larry’s.

The stock LQ4 harness was in great shape and would work nicely for the conversion.

One thing to keep in mind when building a submerged module is what is fuel safe. Wiring, tubing, connectors, retainers, all need to be something that will not break down when used in tank.

On a normal Jeep LS conversion, the Jeep harness would get modified to run the LS engine harness, meaning there is only the stock fuse block. With this being Larry’s LJ, he wanted a true standalone for simplicity of diagnosis if something were to go awry during a race. The Jeep injection wiring was removed and only necessary Jeep wiring remained.

The 12 Volt Unlimited TJ dash panel fills the void removing the stock cluster leaves. Adding a set of Autometer Phantom gauges lets you easily keep track of what’s going on.



On the left is the fuel table from a driven only tuned Ultra 4 car. From left to right is RPM, note how fast the engine requires fuel. The highlighted row is 3200 rpm. On the right is the fuel table from a dyno only Ultra 4 car, the same car. On the highlighted row you can see this is where the dyno loading began. At this row is where the car would start to pull when in the dirt. Below it went from too fat down low, to too lean, then it was correct where the dyno could run. Both graphs are to the same scale. 91

It's hard not to love a nice, flat torque curve.

In the end, what do you call this rig, a budget-minded daily drivable, trail wheelable race car? You tell me.

92 Vol. 12 — Number 62



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We bring the hardcore offroad world to our readers through edgy writing and breathtaking photography. CRAWL is your source for the content t...

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