Last week we posted an update on our Suburban project and included a few of our employee rigs into the mix at the same time. We have a company full of enthusiasts though and there simply wasn’t room to get all the machines into that single blog without it being crazy long so this week we’ve dedicated the entire blog to our employees rides. Some of these projects are pretty cool with a ton of thought put into doing something different and unique.
Sales Manager Mike bought this rig for family use then turned into a tribute build which almost didn’t happen. The vehicle itself started life as a 1997 3/4 ton Suburban with a Vortec 454 mated to a 4L80e trans and a 243 T-case sending power to a 9.25 IFS front diff and a full float 14 bolt rear axle with 4.10 gears and the notorious G80 gov lock limited slip in factory trim. With over 207,000 on the clock, it was tired and worn out. Thanks to some amazing support from some great friends at Hired Gun Offroad the decision was made to move forward with the build and do it up right rather than just your standard lift and big tires. Project Suburban HD was born. The front IFS was removed and rails cleaned in prep to hang a solid front axle. A 2011 model full float 14 bolt with 4” main tubes, massive disc brakes and removable pinion support was found, tubes cut off and a front 14 was born using new DOM tube. Mike chose REID Racing for their super stout REID D60 inner C’s and Chevy Knuckles. A 3 link up front will be supported with coilsovers, Hired Gun Offroad stepped up with custom one off aluminum links for the project using big Currie Johnny Joints known for their strength and KOH level of durability. Ruffstuff Specialties was chosen as the go-to for link brackets as well as 14 bolt pinion support bridge and pinion guards.
The overall goal of the suspension is to keep this rig as low as possible on a 37”-40” tire with 14” shocks all around on a 50/50 split with 7” up travel and 7” down. Mike is trying hard to do this on NO lift, but will compromise where necessary to produce an end product that provides the results he’s after long term. If lift is needed, it will be minimal at best.
Low gears were also priority so after getting a spare 205 t-case a call was made to Northwest Fab up in Canada a NWF Eco box 241/205 doubler was built . NWF had the answer for lower gearing and better crawl ratio as the 241/205 doubler setup offers a 1:1, 1.96:1, 2.72:1 and 5.38:1 ratio split, which when paired to a twin sticked 205, offers front and rear axle separation independent of the other. This should prove to be the ultimate in both highway driving as well as off-road use with multiple gear selections depending on terrain requirements.
Ground clearance will be an issue and the massive 42 gallon factory fuel tank which in factory form, hangs well below the receiver hitch. Mike modified the factory crossmembers and tucked the factory tank up as high as possible without going to a custom fuel cell or running through the floor/cargo area in the rear. These mods allowed for over a 1.5” gain in clearance and brought the tank up higher than the receiver which should help greatly for off-road use and provide adequate clearance as well as better departure angles over tougher obstacles, keeping the tank better protected. This is a serious build for a home shop and the direction has changed a few times as it moves forward so we won’t be surprised if Mike adds or alters course a bit more along the way Expect a full feature once this big Chevy is back on the road and ready for primetime.
1968 Cougar- We call the owner Nitro Murph and he spends much of his day on the phone helping customers from all over the world, but he is a serious car guy (and Harleys too) with a couple 4×4’s and this bad ass Cougar. Under the hood resides a 429 big block Ford, cammed and topped with a Weiand Intake and 750 Holley. It’s lit by a full MSD ignition with billet distributor and exhausts through 3 inch duals making about 400HP. Spinning the Nitto tires on Torque thrust wheels is a 9 inch Ford axle equipped with Nitro 3.70 gears, Nitro Posi and Nitro 31 spline CTL axleshafts.
When you hear 37 inch tires you probably don’t think of a daily driver but that is exactly what Brad’s 2014 Jeep Wrangler is. In fact in has already made 2 multi-state trips, and there are more planned for it. How did we make it into a daily driver/ all-purpose trail rig? First he turned to our friends at Rock Krawler who build an amazing performing 2.5″ suspension perfect for street and trail. With the suspension installed, we swapped some American Racing ATX 17×9 wheels, paired with a 37×12.5xr17 Goodyear MTR tires. The big tires meant gearing and beefing up the axles were high priorities. Nitro 5.13 gears, Nitro tube sleeves and gussets, combined with Nitro 1.25” wheel spacers, and of course some Nitro Xtreme alloy differential covers add strength and good looks at the same time. Traction was greatly improved with an ARB Air Locker in the back and TJM ProLocker up front all driven off an ARB twin Air Compressor. Finally a SuperChips FlashPaq was needed to keep the transmission working correctly with the new gears and tires.
JCR Offroad brawler fenders, mid width stinger front bumper with matching rear mid width bumper added armor and clearance for the tires at the same time. Finally a Warn Zeon 8-S, some lighting upgrades from Dropgearz.com, a back up camera and swapping a hardtop on and this formally “little” 2 door JK is well equipped for everything from trail rides to Jeep Beach.
Marc’s 1988 Wagoneer- Your authors’ most current project is a bit of a basketcase that was hauled home a few weeks back. This 88 is pretty rough, but arrived with a full internal rollcage, sliders and about 6 inches of spring over suspension lift. I’ve gotten it running again and am beginning the process of bringing this old Jeep back to life. Once the basics are handled new Nitro Gears, lockers and 35’s will slide into the wheelwells along with bumpers and a winch as a starting point. I recently scored a NOS set of Alcoa hot die forged aluminum wheels for it that should improve the looks and retain a old school feel at the same time. Hopefully i’ll have fresh tires and the wheels on it in the next couple weeks. I’m building for the General Tire Lost River Expedition (formally MDED) next fall as well as planning on attending a Jeep Jamboree mid summer so this project is definitely on the front burner for the moment.