ORD Blog

  1. Kevlar Bushing Update

     

    We are working with a second generation Kevlar reinforced polyurethane bushing material that is proving to be another step stronger and more durable.  At this time the new material is only available in the same grey color as our Kevlar tierod end boots.  Due to shortages in all our materials we are not able to offer most of our kits in all grey or all black for immediate shipment.  If we ship at regular in-stock timing you will receive a mix of grey and black and we have very limited control over what bushings are what color.  We understand some of you are working on some super good looking truck builds and we don’t mind a bit doing all we can to make our stuff match for you.  To help you keep it all looking matched up we are offering the option to hold your order and ship all black bushings as they are available.  This option will be a mix of our Kevlar bushings and regular polyurethane but the colors do match and will be all black.  Timing for the matching bushings option could be a few weeks in some cases.  Just click which option you like when you order and we’ll get you fixed up.

    Stephen Watson
    President
    Offroad Design

     

    Below is a picture of what the grey bushings look like:

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  2. Reloaded pages from the old website: ORD on the trail

    Here is a reloaded page from our old website

     

    This section shows you ORD rigs and our customers' rigs in action on the toughest and best trails in the country. 


    We've grouped these photos roughly by suspension type -- leaf springs front and rear;  front coils with rear leaves; and coil springs at all four corners.  Whichever setup you like, we're pretty confident that we -- and ORD customers -- have built and 'wheeled the very best of each breed using ORD parts.

     

    David Kennedy's K5 at 4WOR'S Ultimate Adventure '05

     

     

    MOAB Easter Jeep Safari 2002

     

     

     

     

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  3. Reloaded article from the old website: KOH 2012

    KOH 2012

    KOH 2012 was GREAT!  We finished 12th overall out of a field of 137.  We're really hungry for a top 10 but this is our best finish yet and we can see the top from here.  We have pictures and comments on our Facebook page HERE.
    There are also some good pics on our photobucket page HERE.
    GoPro video of our qualifying run with a good near rollover HERE.
    GoPro video of the first 2 hours of our race HERE

    We'll update this page more as we go but that's a LOT of material to check out along with our build threads in some of the links below.

    Pretty familiar looking racer on that poster!  This is the official course map poster from the 2011 event, definitely an honor to be on that one!

    On our way to KOH 2011 we stopped by Superior's warehouse in Las Vegas to pick up some of their chromoly 14 bolt shafts.  They're awesome, Mac said they had to really work on them to make a shaft significantly better than stock and they did it. 

    Here's Wally pre-running the course:

    New LED light bar from Baja Designs on the race car:

    Getting ready to run the course again!

    Click HERE to check out the great Pirate4x4 site for more race photos and info. Our buildup forums are on the Pirates site HERE (#4488)

    e'd like to thank some of the parts suppliers that we've been working with for years and whose parts have been race and trail proven to be the toughest and best on the planet.  That's why we're using 'em on this race buggy and offer 'em in our online catalog!

    King Shocks, Tom Woods Custom Driveshafts, Bighorn Graphics, Premier Power Welder, Trail Ready Wheels, PSC Steering, Light Force Lights, Amsoil, Crane steering knuckles, and Stage 8 Locking Fasteners. 

    Click HERE for more about how we transformed our King of the Hammers "General Lee" to take on 1000 miles of BAAAAD desert.

    For interviews with Brandon and Stephen by the amazing Charlene of the Pirate 4x4's live race coverage forum, click HERE, then click "Wednesday Contingency" and scroll down to 2:19 for more.

    Click HERE for Robin Stover of Fourwheeler magazine's excellent blogs and pics.  He co-drove part of the race! 

    Click HERE for more Pirates 4x4 forums about the race. 

     

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  4. Re-loaded "Our 4x4s" from the old website: Cheap Truck

    Below is the build thread on Cheap Truck from our old website!

     

    One piece of advice we often throw out for anyone building a truck on a budget is to pick up someone else's truck or even just an abandoned project.  You can get a great deal on some good parts that way, or even pick up a complete running truck that just needs some tuning to get it dialed in.  Just to prove the point, we decided to put our money where our mouth is and now we have our "Cheap Truck".

    We actually had a local guy come to the shop to tell us about this truck he was selling because he was moving, hadn't used it in years and just needed it gone.  It's a '74 long bed 3/4-T with a fresh GM 350 (335hp maybe?), SM465, NP205 and a 4.10 geared 14-bolt and external hub D44.  The guy had a ton of added goodies like a Detroit in the rear, 4" stiff lift, dual batteries with isolator, MSD ignition box with a Mallory distributor, electric fuel pump and a bunch of AN lines, suspension seats, fiberglass cowl induction hood, cool footprint gas pedal, Rancho 9K shocks, etc.

    We picked the truck up on a Thursday afternoon for $1000, and spent some time Friday pulling the Go-Rhino axle trusses and the cowcatcher front bumper and then installed some of our ORD goodies:

    • Shackle flip to replace the blocks
    • HD rear shackles to replace the ones we had to cut apart to get them off
    • Swaybar disconnects
    • HD front shackles
    • Low profile front bumper

     We swapped out the old Mickey Thompson 35's for a set of old 2nd hand 37" Goodyear MT's and after an oil change in everything, it was ready to go, conveniently just in time for our Holy Cross City trip with Petersen's 4WOR. 

     

                                                                                     
    On the trail we were really pleasantly surprised by how well it worked overall.  The gearing wasn't as bad as I expected and the truck was a decent climber, as long as you were going straight up.  The Carter carb could use some tuning (like turn it into a Q-jet or fuel injection) and loaded up really bad on any kind of side hill. 

    Luckily the premium ignition system would clean the motor out better than we expected also so as long as we kept moving through off camber parts, it would clean out and keep going. 

     

    Driving this truck is a whole different deal than my normal ride, Wally.  Normally; a trail like this is no challenge at all, just a pretty drive.  In the Cheap Truck I was thinking all day so that wasn't all bad.

    All was fine on the trail till we got to the French Creek crossing with the really big rocks.  Even on the easy line, the combination of lack-of-gearing, greasy mud, aired up tires (on 16.5 wheels) and a carb that didn't like anything but level and gentle left the new truck on the winch line to get through.  But we had put another vehicle in front and beefy tow points on the bumper for just this occasion so it wasn't a big deal at all.  Everything was easy from the creek on up but we did just park the truck and walk up to Cleveland Rock to watch.  We barely got the fully built trucks up that one, much less one that's just started.

     

    Coming down was just driving down, nothing very exciting.  We managed to drive the creek crossing unassisted since downhill is way easier and the only real issue was the stiff ride from the really old school springs.  Even in some decent seats we were pretty tired of being in the truck by the end of the day.

    This type of truck is the deal to look for, it's pretty sound overall with most of the big parts done right and a few hundred in add-ons and it's ready to hit mild trails or even go to work hauling toys, firewood, whatever.  Yeah, it's got some issues but for the price they can be fixed!

    Where is it going from here?  We don't have a solid plan yet, there's talk of using it for the next Ultimate Adventure trip, we've thought about selling it, basically we're not sure yet.  But no matter what we have a solid old truck to drive when our other rigs are overkill or we just need a truck.

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  5. Re-loaded "Our 4x4s" from the old website: Burly Burb

    Below is the build thread on Burly Burb from our old website!

    This buildup runs in chronographic order, the earliest mods at the top and the latest mods at the end.

    Our green K5 has been getting a little bit biased toward trail use, so when it came time to pick up a general purpose traveling, camping, fourwheeling truck, we ended up with this '88 Suburban.  Now that 3 kids are part of the general traveling package, the full size rear doors are great to have and the cavernous interior means we can carry all the people and gear we need, and sleep in the truck too.

    The overall goal is to leave it low enough to get decent gas mileage, add a little lift and a little bigger tire to help with the offroad use, and not spend a bunch to do it.
    Here's what we started with:

     

    Here's what it looked like a day and a half later with what we're now calling the "Stage 1" buildup:

    It started out with stock suspension, a fuel injected 350 motor, TH700 trans, 208 t-case, 10 bolts front and rear and 235/75 tires.  We added what is now the core of our complete 3-inch lift system (minus the steering box brace and drop pitman arm which we added later, and we use different shocks now):

    3" Tuff Country EZRide front springs
    Semi-custom rear springs that were left over from my K5. (stock 52" pack with 4 added leaves and no overload)
    #GU38010 4" shackle flip in the rear
    #GU37011 HD Greasable front shackles
    #GU37012 Greasable front main eye kit
    #GU38003 Greasable rear suspension bushing kit for 1 3/8" shackles
    New U-bolts front and rear
    #GU0010 Braided Stainless Brakeline Kit
    4 new TCI-SX8000 shocks for 4" lift
    #GU37001 Swaybar Disconnect Kit

    We also added #BU09009 4.5" Bumpstops and a set of new 33x12.50R15 Goodyear ATS tires on 15x8 military surplus steel rims.

    Total cost for the suspension upgrades was $1003.00 and the tires ran about $600 mounted and balanced. The rear springs and the wheels were left over from previous projects but neither are real high dollar items.

    Then we loaded up and went to Moab for some Memorial Day ('02) fourwheeling with the family.  We ran a tiptoe through Hell's Revenge, Kane Creek, and part of Steel Bender.  The 'Burb performed quite capably, we never had to be winched or strapped, and only needed extra rocks in a couple of spots.  Not bad for a truck the size of a whale with open diffs.  And the best part was that it did it all with the AC running and got 11-12 mpg on the road trip down there. Overall pretty nice.  Here are some trail shots from that weekend:

    We had a few minor tuning changes to make after running the 'Burb for a while:
    The 3" front lift and 4" rear lift was intended to set the typically saggy suburban level or a bit high in the rear and measurements indicate that it sits exactly level, so a set of our Zero Rate Add a Leaves may find their way into the rear suspension in the future to make sure it stays up where it belongs.

    We ran the stock steering setup for a couple months and while its function was fine, it had a small bit of bumpsteer so we added a 2" drop pitman arm and now the truck drives as good or better than it did to start with.  Part # is SKYCA50 for $95.00.

    The rear driveshaft geometry worked out OK with no changes after the lift but when the truck was loaded we were picking up a vibration so before the last road trip we dropped the transfer case 3/4" and shimmed the axle up about 6 degrees to get it all lined up perfect and now it runs nice and smooth all the time.  Axle shims are #U8004 and cost $25.00 for the pair.

    At this piont, (Fall '02)This truck is pretty capable as is, but since no truck is ever "done" we do have some future plans to upgrade it for on and offroad use:

    Add a 4.56 geared 14 bolt FF and gear the front axle to match, in addition to adding 8 lug hubs to the front. This will make the overdrive a much more useful gear, give us better braking ability, and let us run a set of 34-35" tires that we have kicking around here.

    We plan to add our bolt in steering box brace to make sure the box stays attached to the frame. This truck has a factory engine oil cooler so the box brace install will take a little more than on most trucks.

    Body Protection. We need bumpers and nerf bars, no question. Proper body protection will allow us to do trails we wouldn't attempt otherwise. Or just allow us to get out of some trails with doors that still open. They might help fend off some parking lot dings too.

    Locking differentials? Maybe, in the rear only. If the front gets a locker it will have to be selectable so we can still run in 4wd on snowy and icy roads.

    Now for the "Stage 2" modifications

    We had run some decent trails with the 'burb through the summer and used it for a few camping trips and started itching for a bit more durability and off road ability, along with some deeper axle gears so we could run our transmission in overdrive again.  So before a Thankgiving '02 trip to Moab, we decided to make some more changes.  I don't really recommend wrestling with a 14FF axle with a belly full of turkey, but it's done now.

    While the 3.73 geared 28 spline Corporate 10 bolt rear had been an adequate performer for us, we were a little nervous about locking the rear up and running bigger tires.  So we started looking into a 3/4T axle swap.  What we happened to have around was a 14 bolt FF rear axle from a military CUCV truck with the standard issue Detroit Locker and 4.56 gears.  So we cut the spring perches and shock mounts off, put them on in the proper locations for a 1/2T or 3/4T truck and bolted it up.  We went the cheap and easy way on the driveshaft and used a NAPA conversion ujoint at the pinion and used our 3/4T ubolt conversion kit to bolt it up.  We also added a set of our Zero Rate Add-a-leaves to the bring the rear up a little more at the same time.

    The front 10 bolt was re-geared to 4.56 and fit with 3/4T 8 lug wheel bearing hubs and rotors to match the rear. We also added the proper 3/4T caliper mounting brackets but used the original '88 calipers. We were tempted to drop in the Lock-Rite we have left over from the K5 but resisted since we know how they handle on icy roads. It'll stay open for now and be just fine.

    The "new" tires are actually a set of 315/75 Procomp All Terrains on our old Stockton 16x8 steel wheels. These tires have made the rounds on several different vehicles so they're new to the 'burb and that's about it.

    After this swap, we're pretty sure all subs should have come as locked 3/4T trucks.  The bigger brakes are great, it's nice not having to worry at all about the rear axle strength or durability, and the Detroit locker is almost invisible except when you want the traction.  The 4.56's work out fairly well for overall use but the motor could use a bit more power. 4.88 gears would be OK but we'll be looking into some motor mods to get the power to run in overdrive up moderate hills or with a headwind.

    We did a bit of grinding on the bottom of the 14FF to smooth it up and get better ground clearance and it's definitely paid off.  More than once it's slid it's way over a rock instead of hanging up on the stock diff's lip.

    The 35" tires required some more fender trimming, partly due to the size, partly due to the width of the new front axle configuration and the steel wheels. The trim job is not really obtrusive but was definitely necessary. A 1" body lift may be in the future to give them a bit more room but it definitely works now in all but the twistiest situations.

    Here's a list of the parts added this time:

    4.56 gear set for the 10 bolt front axle
    8 lug hubs, rotors and brake backing plates
    3/4-T u-bolt reversal kit
    14 bolt full floating axle with 4.56's and Detroit locker
    1" Zero Rate Add-A-Leaf kit

    After taking us on a few winter camping trips and some snowmobile towing through the winter, it came time for a trip to Canyonlands NP for Mother's day and luckily the radiator started leaking before we left instead of after. We replaced the radiator with a new stock replacement and did a minor motor tuneup at the same time.  After adding plugs and a cap and rotor, we had a noticeable increase in power and mileage.  It's easy to forget all the regular maintenance that has to be done when we're busy doing performance upgrades, but it never goes away.

    The camping trip was great, we had a comfortable vehicle to ride in on the way down, we did Elephant Hill (a 3 or 3+ rated trail) with no difficulty and drove home.  Overall the truck did just what it should do, everything we asked with no problems.

    As of August '03 the 'Burb has been a daily driver for about 2 months and is doing great.  Mileage is about 13 mpg on 55-65 mph roads and it just keeps doing it's job with no major problems.  It's been on a few easier 4wd trips up here in the mountains showing off the views for the relatives and it works great for these milder trips.

    OCTOBER '03 Time for a few changes.

    Through a summer trade deal, we came across a set of 16x10 Weld aluminum wheels with some MT Baja Claw tires on them so we made the best of the situation and put a set of 315/75-16 BFG All Terrains on the wheels and slapped them on the 'Burb.  We've used the BFG AT's before and been extremely impressed with the overall road manners and offroad traction so they were a pretty easy choice.  The Weld wheels?  We do like them but they don't exactly fit the "budget" part of this buildup.  A set of black steel wheels would do the same job for a fraction of the cost.  Since we have them, they'll probably stay for a while.

    We also had our old K5 bumper sitting around so we went mounted it up for a little rock and deer protection. The Hellas come in pretty handy too.

    Here's a "beauty shot" with the new wheels and tires and the mods mentioned below.  The ride is pretty level and this is with most of a full tank and a load of camping gear.

    We have been planning a return trip to the Hole in the Rock trail in SE Utah for about a year now and having been there before we knew some more changes were in order.  This is a somewhat demanding trip in that it involves a LOT of time in the truck.  You start and finish with a 6 hour drive on the asphalt, over everything from 75+ mph interstate to some slower speed twisty canyon roads.  Then you hit the dirt (and rocks) for about 90 miles of rough offroad driving with a little bit of medium grade rock crawling mixed in.  We definitely wanted premium shocks and this is where the thought process gets a bit strange.  We decided to add the standard Ford shock towers to the front to allow us to mount longer shocks but with the short suspension lift (3"), the towers would hit the floorboards, so a 1" body lift became a natural thing to add.  This also gave us a bit more tire clearance which we needed with the 35's and provided us with a good excuse to replace the body mounts with some of our urethane mounts.  Some of the factory rubber mounts were totally gone so it was really time for new mounts.

    True to the nature of such processes, we just did get the body mounts and body lift installed in time to pack up and leave for the trip so instead of using the extended shock mounts, we had to bolt a set of ProComp MX6's into the factory mounts.  Luckily the shocks intended for a 4" lift worked as well as can be with the 3" springs we have on the 'Burb so it wasn't too big a deal.

    This is from the lower section of the Hole in the Rock trail:



    Once again, we were really happy we made these changes before the trip.  Apparently the body mounts being blown out had been creating some body creaks and groans because with the new mounts the truck is a lot quiter in twisty situations.  The 1" body lift gained the tires a bit more room and helped with clearance between all the chassis parts and the body, and last but definitely not least, the shocks....  High pressure gas shocks are the hot ticket for keeping good ride quality on rough roads and the ProComps did their job well.  The adjustment feature let us control the body roll in the more rugged sections and still turn the damping down for running over washboards, and the high pressure gas monotube design did just what it's meant to, provide quality fade-free damping despite being hammered by a heavy truck.  The shocks were hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch 3 separate times and never showed any sign of excess fade.  We've run lesser shocks in similar situations and been totally without damping after 15 minutes of run time.  We still have plans to re-mount longer shocks but even in the stock mounts, the MX6's did a good job.
     
    Here's another shot from the trail, this makes me glad we didn't do this in a wagon like the guys that cut this trail out.

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  6. Re-loaded "Our 4x4s" from the old website: Wally

    Below is the build thread on Wally from our old website!

    Wally

    Wally, our K5, morphed again. This time in response to a bent and twisted front axle housing, a desire for better side clearance, a bunch of bent up metal and of course a desire to improve performance.

     

    Here it is on the trail in Poteau:

     

    Here are some shop pics of the recent changes. Here you can see the stripped chassis with the new tube work in the previously open door areas and the raised nose.

    This is the repaired t-case crossmember with the rear suspension mounting brackets. It was bent up to the point the crossmember was hitting the 205 so now it's beefed up and trussed to prevent that.

    These show the new "boatside" job on the rocker area. Up to this point, the nerf bars were in the same location as they had been with the full body, now they fit the rest of the truggy much better.

    Here are a couple of pics of the configuration before summer '05. After the rolls in Farmington we ran the truck a couple more times and then started on the rebuild. The front was converted to a full tube structure and the original body panels were beat to fit. The factory core support that was used in the original taper job was pretty mangled so custom radiator and cooler mounts were built into the new tube structure. The winch was also integrated on a new lighter weight mount and some headlight/blinker housings were added so we would at least have DOT legal headlights and signals. These pics are all from our Rubicon trip the first of July '03.

    As for performance, the truck is a whole new beast since the body was removed. It still weighs in around 5200# but is about 1000# lighter, somewhere around a foot narrower and the ends taper in from there. We used to ask if we could fit on trails, at this point, we don't bother. All restrictions have been removed. There's still room to carry the kids in the back (luckily they're still small) and/or enough gear to spend a long day on the trail. It's a very fun truck to drive.



     

    The shot below is the only photo we have of the truck after the original taper job.  It really was a clean looking vehicle for about 2 days.  Some advice: take pics at every oportunity if you care to remember what your rig looked like, it may not stay nice very long.  If anyone has pics they took at the Supercrawl check in that they would like to share, we'd sure like to see them.

    New Additon as of 10/8/02, we tubed out the rear of the K5, mounted a fuel cell, changed the cage design, tapered the nose, and mounted bed skins in the rear. Then took it to the UROC Supercrawl and rolled it. Oops.

     

    New addition as of 8/24/02, we linked up the rear suspension and put the coils over the shocks. We also went with triple rate springs all around. We'll be adding some shop pics of the system but here are some action shots from Upper Helldorado and Pritchett Canyon in Moab.



    You can see the lower arms for the triangle for the lateral location and the upper arms run parallel to the frame. The lower arms also start above the axle tube in the rear for maximum ground clearance and to keep the arms flat for best torque control and to minimize axle steer under articulation. Here's a shot of the mock up in the shop:

    Here's the info on the rest of the truck and the older leaf spring rear suspension that we ran from June'01 to Aug. '02.

    This page contains a lot of pretty large pictures. This means there's lots of cool details but it takes a long time to load over a phone line. Have patience, it will be worth it.

    After attending and competing (as a spotter) in Fourwheeler's Top Truck Challenge in 2000, we were hooked and basically decided to build our shop K5 into a serious competitor for the title of "TOP TRUCK". After competing in TTC2000, we knew that a truck built to do well in this competition would be a good vehicle for just about any type of off road use, so we didn't feel we would be too specialized for real world use after the event.
    We had a few criteria that we felt were important after watching and competing in TTC. We really felt that there was no way to win without a 40" or bigger tire, wanted big block power just to make sure we could spin the tires and knew that it would take a well engineered, built and maintained rig to do well. Our components were chosen from the ground up specifically to do this job.
     

    15-42-16.5 TSL Swampers were the choice as the best balance of a truly huge tire without a lot of width or added rotating mass. The TTC rocks are big and the mud is deep and the only way to get true ground clearance is with big tires. We grooved them to get more biting edges and increase the flex in the carcass of the tire for better grip. The wheel choice came down to the last minute, but Trail Ready came through with a set of prototype 16.5" beadlock wheels that worked out really well. We were able to use 5" of backspacing on the wheels to keep the track width reasonable, and keep the majority of the tire in the fender without having to run flares. The steering also works well with the tires centered over the knuckle. The tires pretty much set how the drivetrain was built due to the torque and power required to make them work.

    We knew that stout axles were a must (that's pretty much a no-brainer) so the 14 bolt full floater went back into the rear, and a D60 was built for the front. The Corp 14 bolt full floater had already been in the truck for several years and had just lost it's place to a lighter axle when we were running smaller tires, so it was ready to bolt it. We had disc brakes and a Detroit locker installed already, so we changed the gears to 5.13's and shaved the diff to get it ready to thrash. Here are some shots of the 14 bolt shaved and the custom cover we built for it.

    .
    We air-arc'd (electric gouging process) the lip off and ground the rest smooth. This was determined to be the best clearance gain for the time invested. More could be had by actually cutting out the bottom of the housing and plating it in, but the time involved vs. extra clearance gained wasn't nearly as good as just removing the lip. Plus the external grinding could be done with the gears installed in a driveway.


    We plated the factory cover with 1/4 and 3/16" plate to rock proof it. You can also see our dual braided lines dropping down to the axle. One line controls each brake via a cutting brake valve.


    We knew we needed a Dana 60 front axle but the final form took a little while to materialize. We eventually came to the conclusion that it would be reasonably economical to use a Tera60R diff housing and build it to use all GM axles and outer parts. Even though the diff is on the left side, it uses GM inner shafts and outer hubs, etc so it's easy to find parts. The high pinion was necessary to keep the driveshaft angles good through the entire suspension travel we had planned. By starting with a brand new housing and tubes we were able to point the pinion right at the driveshaft like it needed to be, and rotate the knuckles to retain perfect steering castor. The Tera60R diff was filled with reverse cut 5.13 gears which gives a nice strength bonus to the gearset. An ARB air locker was the choice for the front due to previous good luck with them and the fact that the truck handles really well with the front unlocked but needs full spool traction in some of the terrain we play in. 35 spline outer shafts were added along with a drive flange in place of the locking hub to make sure we didn't break parts.

    We knew our Doubler kit was ideal to handle the tires and the torque necessary to drive them, so that was set up next. A unique Doubler was designed using the GM NP203 rotated 90 degrees and a Ford 205 rotated flat. This let us use a driver's side front driveshaft for more clearance past the transmission and left nothing hanging below the frame rails. The 203 and 205 were both rebuilt and the 205 was modified to use a twin stick shifter enabling the front wheel drive only position. This helps tighten the turn radius in tough terrain. The front and rear use 32 spline output shafts with Tom Wood's Custom Driveshaft flanges for their 1350 high angularity CV driveshafts. Not much to see here of the Doubler, it's all kind of hidden which is exactly the point! You can see the top of the NP205 disappearing through the floorboard.

    The transmission choice was pretty tough. We've always run a TH700 in the truck with no problems, but with increased power and torque, a TH400 was strongly considered. An beefed up TH700 finally made the cut, mostly due to the availability of an overdrive, and the lower first gear. We have the ability to run a 37-38" radial tire at highway speeds, and have a deeper 1st gear for crawling. They say it's good for 700HP so I think we'll be OK. It's fitted with a manual valvebody to allow us to run in any gear any time we want, and about every conceivable beef up trick you can do to a TH700. We retained our marine type gate shifter since it works just like we want it.

    The engine was a pretty simple choice.We felt that big block torque was necessary to spin the 42's in the acceleration and the mud and any other situation that needs pure power. The old 383 may have been OK with the added gearing of the Doubler, but we wanted every edge. There was a nicely built 468ci big block in our snow plow truck that dropped right into the K5. It had been assembled with 9.5:1 pistons, a balanced rotating assembly and some well ported factory heads. We did install an Edelbrock multi point EFI system, JBA headers and a new Comp cam, but overall it was a pretty easy swap compared to a ground up build. The Edelbrock EFI was chosen because it controls the fuel and the timing, is an efficient and powerful multipoint design, and is tunable using a small handheld computer furnished with the kit. No laptop is necessary to change any of the operating parameters so we can make it do anything we want at any time. The headers are JBA shorties designed for a late model Vortec truck and were basically chosen for ground clearance. Frame rail mods were required to make them fit but they allow everything to be tucked up and away from the big rocks.


    The airbox was custom built by a local sheet metal shop with a 5" diameter neck for the snorkel hose or for a conical air filter.

    There's not a lot of room for the motor left here! Passenger side view above, Driver's Side of the motor is below. It's pretty easy to take the pictures since there are no inner fenders.

    Driveshafts were a major criteria in the design of the supension and layout of the drivetrain. We knew that reliability is the A#1 priority so strength of the components and attention to the angularity throughout the travel were VERY important. We used Tom Wood's Custom Driveshafts' special 1350 high angle CV jointed shafts to make sure there were no problems. They're good to 30+ degrees of motion at the CV and we got 36 degrees with some custom handwork. Both diffs use 1350 yokes and ujoints also. We lucked out on the length of the driveshafts in that both front and rear can use the same length shaft. That's really convenient since it allows us to carry one spare, or interchange them if need be.
     

    The suspension is where the true engineering came in. Our overall goal was 14-15" of vertical wheel travel, the best handling possible, quality fade free damping, and enough strength to live through some minor "crashes" while still staying tucked up enough to give the truck good overall ground clearance. We're not asking too much here are we?
    Lift height is about 6" in the suspension and we also have a 1" body lift. It measures about 15" from the top of the front axle to the bottom of the frame and is pretty adjustable given the coilovers allow you to change ride height by several inches. We picked this supension height because it allowed the suspension room to work without the front diff hitting the motor while still keeping a pretty low center of gravity.

    We boxed the frame from the front end to behind the transfer cases to add strength and bracing to take the new loads of the link and coil suspension. The roll cage has been frame mounted for several years and a few new points were added to make the frame as rigid as possible.

    Link and coil suspension was chosen for the front to give the steering response, wheel travel, and articulation needed for all around use. Previous buildups using leaf springs with high quality shocks and various steering setups indicated that the level of performance we were after just wasn't there without the precise axle location of a linked up suspension. We did consider separate coils and shocks, but by the time you mount a 2.5" shock with a separate spring, it's easier and cheaper to just mount the coilover shock and be done. So King 2.5" coilovers got the nod. This picture shows the construction of the suspension and the installation of the AGR Rockram hydraulic assist cylinder. The ram is mounted behind the axle to keep it out of the way of the steering linkage and the rocks.



    The photo below shows the routing of the brakeline, ARB Heavy Duty air line and the breather hose from the axle. We used a single flexible brakeline and a "T" at the axle instead of 2 drop lines.



    The steering system seems pretty complex, and it definitely more involved than a stock type or regular crossover setup. Steering systems really only need to achieve 1 goal, turn the tires to the stops all the time and not steer itself as the suspension moves. We used the AGR Rock Ram system to get the power to move the tires when it's bound up.
    The linkage geometry came about for a couple of reasons. One is the new link suspension allowed enough articulation and steering to run the tire into the steering box on the outside of the frame rail. So the box had to move inside the frame somewhere and the easy place to snake the steering shaft to the box was with the box in the front right corner of the frame. This location also let us use an idler arm in the steering which made it easier to set up the angles to eliminate bump and roll steer. It's all very dense but works VERY well.


    The above picture shows the steering box mount and linkage, the photo below shows the mounts for the panhard bar and the idler arm. Note the weld in frame repair kit from the previous steering system.

    The rear retained leaf springs for simplicity but the springs were stretched to 63" and are a custom ORD pack. We moved the rear axle back 3" to increase departure angle and lengthen the wheelbase a little. The 2.5" King shocks were mounted to the ubolt plates and run through the floor to custom upper mounts. We haven't measured the rear wheel travel but it's pretty safe to say we got our 15" of vertical. Traction bars were added to keep the pinion in line since we now had the power and traction to really rip stuff up. The bars work well for keeping the driveshaft alive and don't compromise clearance by a lot but we are looking into ways to streamline the mounts.



    Here's the rear shackle, it was custom built longer and wider than stock to have a good arc of motion and still be stable. Our old shackle fllip bracket is still mounted backwards on the frame from the previous suspension buildup. 
     

    The truck ramp tested about 860 on a 30 degree test ramp at the event so we know the suspension will move!

    The truck already had good bumpers and a nice cage, so the interior was classed up with some racing buckets and some additional cage bracing and that's about it. We did have to build a good sized tunnel in the floor to accommodate the transfer cases and the shifters were custom built to fit in with the cage. The door panels were also swapped out to match the overall tan and green color scheme. This shows the custom glovebox we built to have lockable storage. It also houses the computer, fuses, and relays for the EFI system to make them totally weatherproof. The snorkel is pretty obvious too.



    Below is the rear of the truck, shows the rear shock mounting hoops and rear cage.


    And here's the driver's side interior.

    We stopped by Moab on the way back from TTC and took some pics to show the overall clearance under the truck.
     

    Here's the TTC lineup at the acceleration event: Never thought my K5 on 42's would seems so short.

    Final Placing:
    1st: Brian Waddell ('72 Suburban)
    2nd: Stephen Watson ('82 K5)
    3rd: Ferris McCullom ('30 Ford)

    Event placing: (at least what we know at this point, June '01)
    Engineering: ORD 82K5
    Acceleration: ORD 82K5 or '72 'Burb (both were pretty quick)
    Braking: Don't know
    Tow Test: White F150 and the Burb were pretty close, along with the Moeser Dozer (C30)
    Mud Pit: the Burb had the only full run
    Frame Twister: The hybrid S10 made a record setting run for the win
    Mini-Rubicon: ORD 82K5 set a new record, zero points, about 3 1/2 minutes!
    Hill climb: ORD 82K5
    Obstacle course: ORD 82K5
    Tank Trap: Hybrid S10 sets another record

    Read more »
  7. Past 4x4 articles we had on our old website

    Below are some old magazine articles that we had on our website:

    We're grateful ( and kinda proud, too) that the major four-wheel drive magazines have included us in their pages, on their TV shows and videos so many times over the years.

    Below: Our green monster made the 4WOR cover!

    It gives us the idea that ORD products and our particular brand of 'wheelin wackiness must be on the right track!

    This is where we'll share some of our magazine coverage - features on our rigs, plus tech and installation articles involving our products.  Check out the first samples by clicking the small pictures at the left and below.  They're from the 4Wheel & Off-Road's Ultimate Adventures in 2006 and 2007.  And be sure to check out www.4wheeloffroad.com for more great event coverage, and to subscribe if you don't already get this great mag!

    We had a great time on the Ultimate Adventures in 2006 and 2007, and we look forward to lots more in the future!  Click the small pics below and look for the GREEEEEN!

     

    John Hughbanks' amazing Bronco on the cover above is packed with ORD hardware. 

     

    The 2006 Adventure was so Ultimate
    that Petersen's devoted two issues to it!
    Go to www.4wheeloffroad.com and enter
    2006 Ultimate Adventure in the search box
    to see both complete articles.

    Click the small pics for larger views. 

     

     

     

    We're proud to have been featured in this ad
     for FOURWHEELER TV.  Go to www.fourwheeler.com/tv
     for great 'wheeling action!

    Click the small pic for larger view.

     

    Does this make us famous or INFAMOUS in Japan?  They seemed to be having a great time when they were here, but we can't read what they wrote, sooo...  Anyway, we're happy that they devoted 12 pages to the ORD shop, our Blazer and the 'wheeling we did on 21 Road near Grand Junction, CO.  Here are a few samples...

     

     

     

     

    Here are a couple of samples from a 6-page feature in the Winter 2006 issue of the great new mag, Dirt Trucks. 

     

     

    Read more »
  8. Re-loaded "Our 4x4s" from the old website: Cousin WIllard

    Below is the build thread on Cousin Willard from our old website!

    Cousin Willard

    Cousin Willard started life at ORD as a battered old parts-getter.  But what seemed at first like maybe a downright silly idea - to build the long-bed crew cab into a capable trail rig -  has turned Willard into livin' proof that, with the right buildup stuff, even Gigantosaurs can 'wheel right along with the best of 'em. 

     

    Cousin Willard wore a bright orange coat of paint for Petersen's 4Wheel & Off-Road's 2008 Ultimate Adventure.

    ABOVE:  Here's Willard sporting the new ARB tent near Moab at the 2010 Easter J**P Safari.

    BELOW:  Cousin Willard in action during the 2007 Ultimate Adventure.

     

     

     

     

    TECH BONUS: Many of you have asked how we decided where to slice and dice for Cousin Willard's boatsides.  They make a huge difference on gnarly trails.  Look below to see how the cuttin' was done

    Cousin Willard's Boatsides

      
    click pictures for larger views

     

    Above: Before (left) and After (right)

     

     

     

    Read more »
  9. Leaning Truck?

    Below is a customer question about leaning springs and what to do to remedy the situation. We figured it could be helpful for many people:

    A lean is fairly common and is a byproduct of a soft spring and kind of unique to this truck platform because the front springs’ mounting width is fairly narrow. A small difference in the height of the springs can make an exaggerated difference in side to side height and a small weight difference can also also cause an exaggerated ride height change. To put some numbers on it, the springs are about 32” center to center and the outside of the body where you see and measure is about 80”. The body has about 2.5:1 leverage over the springs so a ¼” change at the spring pad should convert to 5/8” at the body line. It also works the opposite for weight, any weight change has a big lever arm over the springs and makes itself look way bigger than it should.

    We have yet to have a spring problem that was causing a lean so I’m betting your springs are just fine and we need to work out what else is going on. It is possible there’s a small variation in the spring height and if there is ¼” of difference (typically more than they vary) and the low side is on the heavy side of the truck it would amplify that weight difference. Simple solution (that’s not so easy to execute) is swap them side to side. This does a few things:
    1: if there is a slight height difference in the springs you can put the taller spring on the heavy side of the truck and make a little improvement in the lean.
    2: if there is a big height difference in the springs we know about it and can fix it.
    3: if a large ride height problem follows the springs when they’re swapped side to side then we know it’s a spring problem.

    Some deep background info on springs
    The height of a spring under load is set by the spring’s rate and starting height. Spring rate is set (in a leaf spring) by the number of leaves and the thickness of each leaf along with spring length, some factors that have to do with construction technique and a material property (modulus of elasticity) that is essentially the same for all grades, types and heat treats of steel. Height under load is just the weight on it divided by the rate. The important detail here is that the variables that effect the springs performance are all very visible, measurable properties. Boiling it down, if a pair of springs has the same number of leaves, length of leaves, and thickness of leaves, they’re going to be the same rate. That’s a big important point. If the material has all the same measurable characteristics, it is the same rate. If the height is the same between the two, they will hold an identical load at the same height also.

    The “hidden properties” are material grades and heat treating but their effect is seen in the strength of the material that will be apparent when the spring is at its highest stress point meaning at full load or bump travel. The way a weaker material or heat treat will become obvious is that the material won’t flex and spring back when loaded heavy, it will flex as far as it can and bend permanantly to some extent so it won’t return to it’s original arch. To illustrate, if your spring has 5” of arch when it’s brand new and you install it and take it to full compression and check it again, it should still have 5” of arch. If there is a material strength problem you may measure 4.5” of arch. The actual rate still didn’t change but the height that the spring will hold a load changed because it bent a little instead of just “flexing”.

    So the way this translates to the real world and your leaning truck is that the spring rate itself is very unlikely to be the problem. Unless one side is missing a leaf or a spring is built with the wrong material thickness, they will be the same rate. This leaves 2 variables, the arch of the spring and the weight on it. The arch is easy to check when the springs are on the floor and it’s always a good idea to check them side by side when they’re new so you have a baseline height when it’s easy to check. Unfortunately it’s hard (virtually impossible) to check the free arch on the truck but it’s the only way to know if the spring height is the problem. This comes back to pulling the springs, measuring them and swapping side to side to see if a problem follows the spring. You might be able to read between the lines in all of this and say there is no reason to swap the springs side to side if you know the construction is the same and the height is the same but it is the ultimate test in proving if the lean follows the springs.

    The last variable is the weight on the spring. There’s nothing that says any given truck is loaded the same on every corner and a softer spring will make a load change from one side to the other more apparent than a stiffer spring. This is something we run into fairly often: a guy’s old lift kit springs sat level but when he installs his ORD springs the truck has a lean. The old springs were stiff enough that the weight difference was not obvious but our springs make the weight difference apparent.

    So, what to do?
    If you can remove springs to measure and swap that’s a great start. If all the checks on the springs come out OK then it’s time to start adjusting things. The available options are (in no particular order):
    Add a swaybar
    Move weight around on the truck
    Shim the springs to correct heights
    Build custom springs with individual rates for the corner weights on the truck.

    A relatively easy step is to put a swaybar on it (assuming you haven’t already) since the extra roll rate on the bar can help level the truck side to side. There’s also room to preload the bar a little if the end links are adjustable. If you have a swaybar installed, make sure it’s not bent and preloading the suspension the wrong way.

    Moving weight around is sometimes pretty simple. If you have your toolbox tied down on the low side, move it to the high side and see what happens. Sometimes it’s not simple, like if your spare tire carrier is built to mount the tire offset to one side. Just look for the easy stuff and do what you can. If you want to get really official with this stuff, you can weigh the truck on each corner and have an idea what’s going on and what it would take to correct it.

    It’s totally fine to fine tune things with some short shims between the spring and axle. With the narrow spring mounting on the front of most GM trucks, a little bit can go a long way and ¼” to 3/8” of shim under one side probably won’t be noticed by most people but will go a long way toward leveling the ride.
    At the end, we can build custom spring systems with 4 individual different rate springs for each corner. This is getting pretty specialized but if you know your load is not centered it might be what needs to happen. The example that comes to mind is a K5 with a wheelchair lift

    Read more »
  10. Offroad Design Pictures

    Ever want to see pictures from events we go to or trucks we build? Below are a couple links to some huge photo dumps!

    BLAZER BASH 2019

    ULTIMATE ADVENTURE 2019

    PHOTO BUCKET

    Read more »
  11. Throw back build thread of the UA2500 from the old Pirate4x4 days

    Below is the original text from the build thread copy and pasted here. Some of the text might not make much sense since some of the conversation is missing. To find the whole thread check out HERE

    Also you can find the parts we used HERE

    Now the only thing left in the truck is the long block.:shaking:
    We actually shopped a little for this truck, we wanted the 88-98 type body style with the big block and after our recent headaches with 4L80's we really wanted the NV4500. Plus I've never wheeled a properly set up truck (low geared) with a manual so it'll be fun driving something different. We wanted a running driving truck so that we wouldn't be building an engine and transmission and we kind of achieved that.

    Turns out the 454 had the standard manifold leaks and some exhaust leaks so we're fixing that. At least it's easy to just fix stuff and put it back where we found it rather than building from scratch. We are resisting the urge to add a cam, headers and custom exhaust since we have about 3 weeks to put this thing back on the road.

    The trans and clutch were OK but it's hard to not put in new stuff when the trans is held in with a few bolts. Seems the throwout bearing/slave system is a problem on these trucks too so we'll just put a new one in with the new clutch.

    That's about the end of the stock mechanical stuff. The 241 is hitting the road and we have our GM203/Ford205 Doubler ready to bolt to the trans. Front axle is a 79 ford D60 and rear will be the stock 14 bolt housing. They're now empty housings waiting on the ARBs and Reid knuckles to assemble. We have the rest of the goodies:

    They're 5.13's and we'll put some CTMs in shafts so it'll be pretty tough.

    There's a spy shot of the ORD SAS kit we just got into production which we'll need since this pile of poo is laying on the ground now:

    We happen to have a spare ECM here that we might take with us. Anybody with ideas on spare motor parts to carry should feel free to post them up, I've never played with the Vortec motor other than driving this one around for a while.

    Don't need to wait on the ARBs anymore:

    That just added to the workload a little bit.

    Suspension is going to be leaves front and rear using our ORD custom packs. Fronts are a 3"-ish lift for a heavier 73-87 truck and the rear is a 65" long custom pack. We're leaving the tension shackle setup in the rear to pick up a little more travel and so the tail of the spring isn't the bumper. Fronts could have used our brackets for a 52" spring but I don't like losing the approach angle and I think the 48.5" will flex plenty. We generally use up all of a 14" travel shock in articulation so it'll be fine.

    Sooner or later someone is going to wonder about the "shortbed" part:

    Here's what it looked like before, at least the frame part:

    Here's what it looks like after yesterday's fun:

    It's missing 15" now, which should put the wheelbase in the 117" range. Maybe a bit more since our SAS brackets will move the axle forward a bit.

    Here's the splice under the cab, it'll have a diamond shaped reinforcing patch when it's finished.

    Little weird huh? Dad's old dually had 4.56's with a 465/205 and only ran 32" tires so I guess technically it had pretty deep gears. But we never really wheeled it. Our cheap truck now has a 465/205 with 4.10's and 37's and it did great on the hole in the rock trail but that's not really very technical. I ran my wife's stock '97 tacoma on hole in the rock with a 5 speed and it brought some suck in a few places, similar trips with the family '84 S-10 did the same. This will be fun.

    I like your main eye idea norby, it might even work out to run a heavy wall sleeve all the way through the frame for the bolt. We didn't think that much about it. I think it's a marine corp motto, "a good plan now is better than a perfect plan later", or something like that. We're using some of that ideology now.

    Today we started with the rough cut frame looking like this:

    And ended with it looking like this:

     

    There is a LOT of cleanup involved with this process, holy cow. We went a little far with it maybe, the front crossmember looks like this now:

    In other news today, the ARB is in the front housing, then we realized we didn't add plug welds to it like we usually do so we have that problem to address. The dash is loose in the truck so we can run the cage through the front of it and I think that's about it. We have the new PSC box in there now so we can place some new crossmember parts and we might call it a night a bit early.
    Now that the heavy grinding is done we can start bolting brackets on and finish assembling the front of the motor and move back with the drivetrain. Material for the bed showed up today too so it's time to bend the B pillar and start working from there on the bed and the interior cage. Holy cow there's a lot going on!

    We did some mockup with the 40s to verify some bed dimensions:

    And couldn't resist sticking the tire in the front fender to see what it looks like. it looks like it's going to take some work to make it fit.

    Thanks guys, quack update since I'm working from my phone...

    203 on the 4500

    05 installed. Bed framework is on the table now, I'll get ashot tomorrow.

     

    the bed is taking shape. We're going to use a 99 suburban gas tank that will sit at the front of the bed and the tire will ride behind it.

    I mounted the res for the power steering today, along with the ARB compressor. Buddy Alex Santiago, came up for the weekend and wired the aux fan override and the clutch safety bypass among a whole bunch of other things.

    Ok, I have a keyboard now and can answer some questions.

    4L80 problems:
    On the original crewcab build (the green year "texas tour", '07) we had trans #1 in the truck through the build process and thought we'd better test it out a week or so before we were supposed to leave. This trans was rebuilt by a local builder who did great work for us, like my 700R4 that's still alive. He installed the trans-go full manual VB kit that involves some tricky work apparently.
    Can't remember the specific problem but it either didn't have 2nd gear or locked up in 1st.
    Spickler lets us borrow his trans by a different builder with the same kit. My aunt picks it up for us since we're all hands on deck building, then we put it in and it either doesn't have 2nd gear or locks up in 1st. We probe the valvebody and try to troubleshoot it ourselves but give up on it due to time.
    Trans #3 was an off the shelf rebuild from a shop in Grand Junction combined with a Compushift kit and I do have to say it was flawless. It bolted in, the harness was total plug and play and it worked great. I had about $1700 figured on the 1st trans and ended up with more than double that by the time we were done. But it was good.

    Fast forward to 2010 and I climb widowmaker and 2nd gear is all wonky at the top. Not terribly noisy but definitely not there. I figure it's moving fine in the other 3 so maybe it's a solenoid or something so I drive it home by skipping 2nd with the manual valvebody feature in the Compushift system. Turns out the trans is now full of metal and basically dead. So another new trans later (took till this spring to make that happen) and we're getting it together for Dad to make a trip down Lockhart basin and into Needles. New trans doesn't have 4th gear. So we put his gear in the Cheap Truck and the 465 and carb never let him down on the trip.
    We fight pretty hard to get a new trans in it before EJS so we can have it at the show there and as we're getting ready to drive home the convertor seal is leaking so bad we put it on the trailer and I drive Wally home. That's how it sits now.

    Given our really good luck with the 700R4 in Wally and the TH350 in Brandon's car, i'm not really down on autos and there was no specific problem with the 4L80 but that trans and truck seem to have gathered all our bad luck in one spot. I've talked to several others that had similar installation problems with the transgo kit, it's tricky to do but awesome when done.

    Hence looking for a truck with the NV4500.

    Cramer, the stock pile-o-poo does have 4.10s and I might consider parting it. I have a secret IFS fetish though and I'm not sure what to do with it...

    As Chris said (77K5) that's the 2" up with a drilled and tapped 203, all pretty standard procedure for us by now. This system would bolt directly into our orange crewcab on the back of the 4L80.

    Matzell, what do you want to see? I can get more pics, it's right there easy to do at this point.

    After finishing the bracket to bolt the power steer res and ARB compressor in place of the ABS system, I hooked up the -12 feed hose and realized that any motion between fender end engine is going to cause problems. The direct route with the hose has no way for any flex to be taken up and it's going to kill something in the system so we ditched a few hours worth of carefully laying everything except that detail out and did this: :shaking:

    It makes me wonder what the hell I was thinking, except that after you do the wrong stuff, the right way is that much more obvious. Now there's still a short straight shot to the pump but the res and engine move together. We may put a little heat shield over it to keep some exhaust heat away though it's probably not going to be worse than anything else under the hood.

    We started work on the 14 bolt too, we pulled an old housing off the rack since we're changing spring perches, shock mounts, diff and brakes. The '99 housing has all the ribs on the bottom that would just add grinding time to smooth it out too. Here's the housing during grinding:

    We like to add some plug welds to these while we're working on them since we have spun a couple.

    We just drill some holes with a holesaw and burn in some new "pegs", typically 2-3 on each side.

    The ARB and ring gear became best friends just before quitting time too:

    Enough of the bed is framed up that we can take it off and finish on the bench.

    Other fun stuff going on like motor mounts and exhaust manifolds going back on and holes being cut in the cab to run the cage through to the "B" pillar along with final axle assembly and probably some more stuff too. More pics to follow...
     
    We got the holes cut in the back of the cab for the roof cage tube to come through.
     
     
    I guess something else came through the cab holes too. Must be one of the new style flipoff smilies.

    We got the lubrican here today.
     
     
    We'll be making sure everything is sealed up well since we don't want water contamination in this stuff. The grease is looking really cool, the offroad grease seems to be designed specifically for equipment use where they work a lot of pins super hard which is exactly like what we do with Ujoints in our world so it should work great. We got NLGI#1 to run the CTMs since they like a grease that can flow a little bit and NLGI#2 for pretty much everything else. The water washout numbers look good on this stuff too so it'll definitely be running in the front wheel bearings where we're pretty much guaranteed to leak a little.
    That MTG is listed specifically for the NV4500 so it is the right stuff to keep that guy happy. The rest of the gears should be more than happy with the standard Severe Gear. Probably the best lube this bunch of junkyard drivetrain parts has ever seen. I guess there's not much left from the junkyard inside the axles but the t-case guts are all stock 1970's hotness.
     
    So we got some stuff added in to the bed today:
     
     
    We rounded the back corner where the square tube was mitre'd so that it would look right with the round perimeter tube coming in:
     
     
    It's about time to put it back on the frame to mate the interior cage tubing to it and start fitting the nerf bars to it also. We finally got the motormounts in but it was a several hour affair since we put the exhaust manifolds back on and that was a lot of cleanup including a broken stud in one head. It'll be nice in the end though, we've fought problems with O2 sensors due to exhaust leaks and don't want to do that again.
     
     
    Axles are ready to bolt in and start setting up shocks and driveshafts as soon as we have the springs which should be mid day tomorrow. No it's not a 6x6, the one in the back is a customer's.
     
     
    The interior is about as close to being stripped as it can get and luckily it's about done since Dad and Brandon are finishing up the A-pillars now. There's going to be some time involved in just putting the dash back together. It'll be nice not having the tubing in the way but it's sure a pain now.
     
     
    here's the cage getting primed before it gets shoved up in place:
     
     
    Here's the hole in the back of the cab:
     
     
    The tube will run straight out the back to the "B" pillar that's built into the bed. This lets us X brace the heck out of the B pillar and keep the seat against the back of the single cab. It makes it hard to put anything overhead in the cab section.

    We gusseted the corners both ways with sheet gussets
     
     
    Tubes are tucked up pretty nice so they're out of the way. The windshield crossbar has an offset bend in it to keep it out of forward vision too:
     
     
     
    Turns out the rear driveshaft plunges about 1/4". :smokin:
    We also marked mount locations for the traction bars while cycling and they're not going to bind at all, as usual. i didn't take a picture of the apparatus for cycling the leaves since it's a bit ugly but it involves a bar across the frame and a couple of chain hoists to the axle. It gets the job done but it really enforces how nice it is to cycle a linked up suspension compared to leaves.

    The rear uses a tension shackle with about a 2" longer shackle and looks like it'll cycle between 13 and 15" of vertical depending on what we do with the shackle.
    Here's the rear at full droop:
     
     
    It's old news now but here's a shot of the new body mount we built to replace the one that was lost in the frame chop and splice job.
     
     
    This is the front of the 203 where we drilled it to bolt to the stock tailhousing on the NV4500:
     
     
    This is the transfer case mount bracket that helps build a higher clearance crossmember. We use a couple of plain urethane pucks in there for isolation.
     
     
     
    Here's the speed sensor installed in the 205 tailhousing
     
     
    Here's a start on the T-case x-member. Still a little work to do around the front driveshaft, drill mounting holes and fit the skidplate. Just when it seems so close..
     
     
    I need to get some more pics today. There's a lot going on now that doesn't look like much, like finish welding the crossmembers and bed and another big fun project: figuring out what's wrong with the front axle.

    It all started a couple days ago when the super awesome Dynatrac hubs showed up. (I never thought we'd ever pay that much for a set of hubs but after breaking 2-3 sets in my blazer, it seems OK) The driver's side bolted on just perfect but when we were done the pass. side didn't lock. So I start working out what's wrong and find that the inner gear has to be forced a little to go inside the outer gear. So something's wrong in the alignment of the spindle and wheel hub. Switching parts around between the 2 sides confirms that the hubs are just fine so we clean everything up and find that maybe a race isn't seated all the way. Check it out and that's not it. Try another wheel hub, that's not it. Try another spindle and BINGO, it all works. Just when it seems like it's all done, we tighten up the 3 screws on the cap of the Dynalock and the dial won't spin. So it seems the stub is sticking out to far. Why is the stub sticking out too far? Turns out the "C"s on the stock housing weren't seated onto the tube as far as usual and the inner axle is hitting the "C" and won't let it slide in the little bit it needs. So we clearance some on the shaft and on the housing and I think it's all good now. Nothing like a combo of parts that's supposed to bolt together and just barely won't.

    So here's the photobucket album with a lot more pics in it that I'm posting here:
    http://s1181.photobucket.com/albums/x439/ORD2/Offroad%20Design%20UAK2500/

    Here's an unexciting pic of the fully functional Dynaloc on the end of the housing that just bolted together.
     
     
    We decided that the huge unsupported length of frame under the engine was a bad idea so we have this convoluted item now.
     
     
    Turns out that trying to keep the ride height low with a low ride height (6" of lift is low in this case) is pretty tough. The Ubolt nuts are going to try to hit the bottom of the frame and there's barely room for steering linkage. And to make sure the diff doesn't hit the crossmember it's a bit whacky too.

    No telling what has to be sliced out to fit a 40" tire in there. Looks like the washer tank will go in the back since it's probably not staying on the core support. AARRGG
     
    We added a tab on the bottom of the bracket to spread the load out on the frame a little and I'm hoping that the nerf bar system is going to help stiffen it up some too.
     
     
     
     
    The front legs of the cage drop on top of the nerf bars toward the front and the "B" pillar on the bed ties into the back end of the nerf bar where it bends around the back of the cab so it'll be pretty well supported overall.

    There are also stiffeners on the inside of the frame at each tube and the t-case crossmember is about 2 feet long all together which should help keep it all from wiggling too.
     
    it's pretty busy in the shop right now but here are a few pics of where it sits now.

    This was the most awesome trans fill job ever. I haven't messed with a manual that much and this might be their best feature.
     
     
    This is one case that the Amsoil juice might be cheaper than the dealer fluid that the 4500 requires. Their allison spec fluid is the same way, the "torque drive" that I run in my ZF6 in the tow rig.

    Power steering cooler is mounted and plumbed so that system will be happy. All AN8 return lines with full flow fittings so it's about as happy as it can get.
     
     
    The 180 on the end required some trimming on 2 of the fins but it makes the line routing work great. These log coolers are a pain to plumb without this trick.
     
     
    The bed is just about ready for paint, shock res mount are on:
     
     
     
    We had a big weekend for finishing up wiring and plumbing. We got this pile of hotness:
     
     
    Luckily they have a pretty nice harness system in addition to some kick ass lights so they're not hard to install. Now we just need a bumper to bolt them to but that'll probably happen tomorrow.

    Alex Santiago came back over for a couple days and fit all the switches and wiring under the hood and in the dash. With a little trimming the switches fit right in the factory hole.
     
     
    That's got the BD Prerunner HIDs on the top, the LED bar switch and mode button in the middle and the ARB compressor and locker switches on bottom. The extra on the left is for the clutch safety defeat.

    This side of the dash has the fan control switch for the extra cooling fan in front of the radiator. On-off-auto. The computer will turn it on at 206 now instead of 230 or whatever the factory setting is too.
     
     
    There was a hour meter in that hole to start with but we don't need it anymore.

    The parking brake is now gone since the discs are on so we put this line lock valve on the A-pillar for the rear circuit. Bleeding will likely be a pain.
     
     
    Shifters for the 203 and 205 are in now but this is how the holes laid out. The shift handles ended up being pretty convoluted to clear everything just right. I'll get pics of that later.
     
     
    Back to the grind for me. Lots of little stuff going on now like running brakelines and I started on the 2 link traction bar system earlier and need to finish that today.

    Here's the photobucket link with all the pics, there are a few more in there that I haven't posted.
    http://s1181.photobucket.com/albums/x439/ORD2/Offroad%20Design%20UAK2500/
     
    one more quick one:

    We hung the grille system back on it this morning so it looks a bit more like a truck now.
     
     
     
     
    Only fluids left to add are power steer and brake. maybe some washer fluid since the res had to be relocated to the bed.

    Shock mounts in progress and bump can mount:
     
     
     
    T-case shifters got a little convoluted but they clear the seat, dash, driver's leg, trans shifter and each other while being relatively convenient to use and leaving some room for one of my kids in the middle seat.
     
     
    We've found that a 10" BD LED bar on the winch works like peanut butter and jelly. The top of the winch is typically open space and it's typically set up perfect for the light placement.
     
     
    And we managed to get this painted up and dry enough to not get dusty in the afternoon windstorm.
     
     
    Fans of "expo" white may now rejoice even though we left a good part of the bed in "easy to match with krylon after you scuff it" black.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Here are a couple of battery "junctions". One is to replace the battery under hood so you have a place to hook up all the stuff that used to bolt to the battery, the other is in the bed to let us bolt up stuff like the Warn compressor without going directly to the batteries since they're a little hidden and the side posts are not usable due to space problems. You can also see where we tucked a pair of Optima Yellow tops alongside the fuel tank in the bed.
    In the stock battery tray:
     
     
    In the bed:
     
     
    Here's where the fuel fill comes out for the 40 gal '99 suburban fuel tank we put in there. We wanted plenty of capacity and more important, we needed a tank that would take the factory sender quick and easy and the '99 burb did it.
     
     
    The washer reservoir ended up in the bed with the fuel tank since it started out right behind the driver's side headlight and the tire likes that space too. It's hard or impossible to see in the pic but there's a hole in the front of the tank cover to pour washer fluid in and it works just fine. We figured that it would since factory subs and tahoes pump the fluid all the way to the back anyway.

    We ended up putting the ball valve for the rear brakes down near the factory ebrake location since it wouldn't bleed easily up high like we started. We might have been able to get it done but not in the time frame we had so i pulled it down. Luckily that was just that easy since we used flex lines. Glad I didn't hardline it up to the top of the dash.
     
     
    We ran the rear brakeline, breather and ARB air hose all together from frame to axle to protect them a little better. This also shows the space available in the wider IFS truck frame rails. The exhaust has a ton of room around it where it's normally really tight. Makes it nice to install and gives some peace of mind for everything staying cool too.
     
     
    Here's one nice "sub-feature" of the Crane cover, being steel it's easy to weld to so we just welded a bolt to it for the "T" block in the brakelines. We used our production longline disc kit to go from the T to the caliper which makes it all really straighforward to install. And in the grand scheme we're only adding about 2 feet of flex line so i don't think we're losing much if any brake feel.
     
     
    Keeping a CB antenna alive in trees has been a challenge and they never seem to work worth a crap when mounted low so we started mounting them on a hoseclamped post so we (or a tree branch) can rotate the antenna down when necessary. It must have worked, we seemed to have one of the better radios on the trip and it's a cheap radio shack unit but maybe a nice long antenna on top of the truck makes it work it's best all the time.
     
     
    So after the trip we pretty much just brought it home and washed it up and the next trip was a camping wheeling trip with my 2 youngest boys over Schofield Pass and Pearl Pass up here close to home. Camped out 2 nights along the way. Gear storage was nice and the bench seat worked just fine for the 3 of us.
    Bottom of the Punchbowl on Schofield:
     
     
     
     
     
    Boys and truck on the top: Jackson (9 yr old) is now big enough to reach the pedals so he got to drive a few miles. He likes the manual, or at least likes being a 9 yr old that can drive one.
     
     
    The wheeling was standard Colorado high country passes, just rocky narrow roads. There were miles and miles of roads where missing the road by 2 feet would kill you but none of it that hard. This was my first real experience with snow crawling with a manual and that was AWESOME! There was a left over avalanche over the road between Gothic and Crested Butte that we played on a little. I was able to blast up on the snow with the tires aired up (20-something psi) but I couldn't hold the side hill to get across it so we dropped to 6-7 psi and pretty much owned that snow patch. At the worst spot I just put it in all the low gears and let it chug it's way along. Pretty cool.

    We ended the trip driving from Aspen to Rifle for my brother in law's birthday including a 80 mph rip down the interstate. 80+ is not great in the truck, you can feel there's a lot of drag and I can just about watch the gas gauge move. Overall milage has been really hard to check since with a 40 gal tank the use is always mixed but with a trail/road mix it's around 8 mpg and is running about 10 on the highway at interstate speeds, around 70.

    On that trip the manual trans was good, no situations we didn't have the right gear to do stuff and it was kind of nice not ever thinking about the trans temp.

    I guess the point of what's essentially a trail report on a build thread is the fact that the truck took us on what turned out to be a real vacation for me. It's comfortable, reliable, over capable, has plenty of room for our gear and took us into some amazing places not everyone gets to go with no stress at all. And it was ready to go with very little prep work, that's really important to me right now.
     
     
     
     
    So the next real trip (other than some daily driving which is kind of cool) was the Blazer Bash trip in Moab. I ran Hell's Revenge twice playing tour guide and wheeling school teacher, then Golden Spike and Pritchett. The truck did all but the rocker knocker and rock pile and I never really tried the rockpile since it was 7:00 at night and it was time to leave. I wasn't really willing to tip the truck over far enough to drive the rocker knocker line so I took the Warn line. It's very reliable that way.

    Hell's Revenge with a bunch of super nice K5s getting lost in the scenery:
     
     
    Here's our group on the 'Spike trail, typical all day trip with some drama thrown in:
     
     
    And one from a play area in Pritchett of a buddy entertaining himself with his rear steer and my kid. His quote of the day: "I wish I'd thought of this yesterday, it makes the trails lots more fun"
     
     
    Now to the serious stuff. The manual was great on everything but the toughest stuff we've done and while I've driven through all of it, I'm still sold on the auto for the hardest parts. I don't like the fact that you're a lot more committed to any line you take since stopping involves all 3 pedals or killing the motor with the key switch leaving you pretty much dead in the water and recovering from any problems on a climb means you push the clutch and hope you don't need reverse since you're probably not going to find it in time.

    It's also hard to transition smoothly from a slow crawl to a stop. With the auto that's just taking pressure off the gas and/or putting more on the brake. With the manual you may have to go from holding back with the brake while pushing on the gas to pushing the clutch with the left foot and grabbing the brake with the right and it's not going to be as smooth as is should be. When traction is at a premium that situation makes me nervous.

    For this truck's purpose in life (a do it all exploring camping trail capable truck) the NV4500 is great. It really only gets uncomfortable in places that it probably should not be and to give the trans some credit, I'm still learning to play with it and there's room for me to close the gap to the auto's performance in the hardest spots. I just don't think it will ever be as good which I'm not the first to find and probably won't be the last. I remember when Pat Gremillion finally got rid of his NP435 in his bronco after a backward roll while he was trying to get it into reverse and missed. That's been a while.

    I drove the truck from our shop to Moab and back and it was really pretty pleasant. The cab has some wind noise to work on from the B pillar area but otherwise it's pretty comfy. That became a bigger deal on the way back since I drove home after running pritchett which meant a 10:30pm departure from Moab and about a 2:30 arrival at home after stopping to take 2 naps. Driving an uncomfortable truck would have been worse than that trip already was.
     
     
     
     
     

     

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  12. Hydro Assist Tech

    Best Way to Setup Your Steering Gearbox For Hydo Assist

    Recently we were asked about the steering box end caps and why we don't offer a tapped one for hydro-assist. Since this is an often asked question we figured the answer could help a few others out as well!

    "I'm planning a hydro assist conversion using the part below (tapped end cap for steering gearbox), tapping the other hole for the system in the aluminum cap on the top of the steering box (there's a link in his description to a video on youtube where a guy does this on a jeep). If you made a part like that, I'd buy it from you. Is there a specific reason that you don't make that, or wouldn't recommend it?"

    On the hydro assist, the problem with the end cap kits is that they don’t tap into high flow areas of the steering box so steering response is really slow when you add the ram. There’s a small diameter, long length passage connecting the valve in the head of the box to the end cap and trying to send and return ALL of the fluid through it just can’t happen fast enough. This is why the higher end systems tap the box where they do, they’re pulling fluid off right at the valve so they have a large diameter fitting and hose heading to the ram PLUS the original passage going to the piston. You’ll read the common complaint with an end cap kit is that they have plenty of power but you just can’t steer fast. This is an issue often enough with a properly ported box and a good pump that I see a stock pump and end cap kit as an open invite to smack a tree or spin out on something slick because you can’t steer fast enough. This can be mitigated a little bit with a small diameter cylinder but then you lose steering power and still don’t fix the problem.
     
    Another thing we’re running into more and more now is the reason PSC quit rebuilding steering boxes: they’re all wearing out. It’s harder and harder to build a good box and internal leakage robs power making all the problems worse. I hate the fact that the price of hydro assist has gone up so much over the last few years but in the end there’s a good reason: it’s worth it. When you get to start with all brand new components you have a good chance of a troubleshooting free install and a long service life. Realistically, service life is beyond what most people will ever see from a truck but we all like to dream of really being able to use our stuff a lot so it’s nice to have. The other side of it is that losing hydro assist doesn’t make a truck undriveable but it can cause some other problems and make a potentially really valuable vacation a lot less fun. A lot of people don’t consider that aspect but when a “big trip out west” can be a lot of vacation time and a once in a lifetime thing, taking a vacation toy that you’re not 100% happy with is a problem. Especially if you’re driving it there and back.
     
    Hope this helps
     
    Stephen Watson
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  13. FOURWHEELERS article on a 72 K5 with coilovers and magnum 205!

    View orginal article HERE

    This Vintage 1972 K5 Blazer Has All the Right Hardware

    LS-Powered, 1-Ton K5

    k5-blazer-lead-photok5-blazer-lead-photo

     

    Square-body Blazers are commonly spotted on the trail, and for good reason. They came from the factory with V-8 engines and solid axles, the top is removable, and an 18-year production run ensured that there are still plenty of them out there. First-generation (1969-1972) Blazers are much rarer, and we can't recall seeing many of them that have been repowered with an LS engine and fitted with coilovers and 1-ton axles.

    Nate Jensen from Nate's Precision has built a lot of custom trucks over the years, many of them for Jack Stanko. Stanko commissioned Jensen to build this Blazer, knowing that he would apply the same level of detail he does to every project. The original plan called for 37-inch-tall tires and uncut fenders, but things quickly got out of control. All it took was seeing a set of 40-inch Goodyear Wrangler MT/Rs sitting next to the Blazer for Stanko to know he needed them on it.

    One of the reasons Jensen has built so many vehicles for Stanko is that he has a hard time keeping anything for long, often giving his friends killer deals on past projects so he can make room for new ones. That is how this Blazer ended up with Vincent and Inez Guss. They wanted something different from the standard square-body Blazer, and they got just that. With air conditioning and a full interior, along with locked 1-ton axles and linked suspension front and rear, this Blazer can go just about anywhere and keep them comfortable along the way.

    02 k5 blazer ls3 engine02 k5 blazer ls3 engine

    03 k5 blazer ls3 engine03 k5 blazer ls3 engine

     
    04 k5 blazer dana 60 front axle04 k5 blazer dana 60 front axle

     

    05 k5 blazer coilover front suspension05 k5 blazer coilover front suspension

     

    06 k5 blazer coilover front suspension06 k5 blazer coilover front suspension

     

    07 k5 blazer ord magnum07 k5 blazer ord magnum
    08 k5 blazer interior08 k5 blazer interior

     

    09 k5 blazer 14 bolt rear axle09 k5 blazer 14 bolt rear axle

     

    10 k5 blazer coilover rear suspension10 k5 blazer coilover rear suspension

     

    11 k5 blazer rigid light bar11 k5 blazer rigid light bar

     

    Tech Specs
    1972 Chevy K5 Blazer
    >Drivetrain
    Engine: 6.2L Gen III V-8
    Transmission: 4L65E 4-speed automatic
    Transfer Case: Offroad Design Magnum
    Front Axle: Dana 60 with 5.38 gears and ARB Air Locker
    Rear Axle: 14-bolt with 5.38 gears and ARB Air Locker
    >Suspension
    Springs & Such: Offroad Design 4-link kit with 14-inch-travel King coilovers (front and rear)
    Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50R17 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R on 17x9 TrailReady Creeper beadlock
    Steering: Crossover with PSC steering box, hydraulic assist ram, and pump
    Lighting: Dual Rigid 20-inch Midnight Series LED light bars in the grille, Southern Rods Silver Bullet headlights with integrated turn signals
    Other Stuff: Offroad Design front bumper, AutoMeter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite gauges, Winters Sidewinder shifter, Warn VR10,000 winch, Factor55 fairlead and winch thimble, custom Nate's Precision TIG-welded 1 3/4-inch DOM rollcage, PAC Spring sway bar, custom Nate's Precision TIG-welded rock sliders, Camaro SS front seats, Vintage Air air conditioning, Ididit tilt steering column

    Read more »
  14. FOURWHEELER's article on Eddie Loomis's K5 blazer! Links, Magnum, and custom springs

    Original article can be found HERE

     

    This 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer Goes Anywhere, Almost

    Eddie Loomis brought his K5 to Hammertown, and check out what he’s done with the cargo area.

    01-1984-koh-king-of-the-hammers-2020-koh2020-chevy-blazer-k5-40s-tons-overland-crawling-lead01-1984-koh-king-of-the-hammers-2020-koh2020-chevy-blazer-k5-40s-tons-overland-crawling-lead

     

    Even though its paintjob almost blended in with the dusty desert, we spotted this 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer at the 2020 King of the Hammers race. Eddie Loomis gave us the rundown of how he turned the stock Chevy into a dirt-blasting machine.

    How Eddie Found The 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer

    "I found the '84 Blazer on Craigslist, traded a quad for it, and drug it home," Eddie told us. He then dug into the K5 and what the seller described as a "blown transmission." But this wasn't Eddie's first Chevy.

    22 1984 chevy k5 blazer before22 1984 chevy k5 blazer before

     

    "I got my first Square Body when I was 17—a rusted-out '74 GMC Jimmy," he explains. "I started fixing it up until I realized the body was toast. I found a '73 K5 with no rust and combined them to make one good one. When I started to wheel it in the local canyons, I decided the body and frame had way too much flex. The tailgate would fall open, and the doors would bind up. I turned my attention to trucks and swapped all my drivetrain into a shortbed K10 chassis." Eddie then found himself searching for a rig with more rigidity in the body, perhaps a Blazer without a convertible top. That's when he happened upon the Craigslist gold from 1984.

    27 1984 chevy k5 blazer cage install27 1984 chevy k5 blazer cage install

     

    Blown Transmission?

    The K5's allegedly "blown transmission" gremlin was really a transfer case stuck in neutral, and after Eddie replaced the bound-up automatic locking hubs, he had it rolling again. However, he was not infatuated with what the previous owner did with the engine. "They stuck a big-block in there, a Gen V with a carburetor. Gutless. It ran hot, and I hated it." His solution was to replace the mill with a 383 Stroker. With the engine in place, he continued under the philosophy of wanting "to build something to take me almost anywhere." Using the home garage as the workshop, he assembled the Blazer from a mixture of donor parts and hand-built creations until it worked, as he described it, "perfectly." Whether it's grilling out in the local desert or wheeling hard-core trails across the American West, Eddie's combination of a linked coilover front suspension, internal rollcage, and payload of compartmentalized camping gear gets it done—at least for now. His tentative to-do list includes deciding whether or not to link the rear suspension, and adding more to his rollcage. And, as Eddie put it, "When the old-school 383 gives up the ghost, I'll be swapping in a Gen V series engine, at least a 6.2, maybe an LT4."

    02 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling engine02 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling engine

     

    Engine

    The carbureted 454 that came with Eddie's 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer didn't last too long. Instead, he chose a stroked 383 for motive power. You'll find no carburetor under the hood; instead, a TPI manifold, MSD ignition system, and MegaSquirt EFI make sure gas is turned into pure horsepower. Behind the engine sits the SM465 transmission, and its 6.55:1 granny gear contributes to the Blazer's 159.2 crawl ratio. Eddie used 2.5-inch tubing to direct gases from the Sanderson headers into the 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust.

     
    03 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior wide03 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior wide

     

    Interior

    "I wanted everything where I can reach it with my harness on," is how Eddie explained the layout of the 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer's cab. While he's firmly planted in his PRP Daily Driver seat and restrained by a four-point harness, he can easily get to the console, dash controls, and his iPad held in place by a RAM mount.

    04 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior console04 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior console

    filterSEE ALL 30 PHOTOS

    His custom-built console sports a vinyl wrap courtesy of Eddie's friend, which is home to the display for the ARB fridge, the triple-stick controls for the NP205 and its Magnum Underdrive, switches for the air compressor, locking differentials, and off-road lights; and USB charge ports. The parking brake handle came from a '90s Camaro. Communication devices include a 50W BTECH race radio and a Cobra 19 DV IV CB radio.

    05 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior seats05 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior seats

     

    Starting with some parts from DIY4X, Eddie built a rollcage for the Blazer's cab, which he plans to extend to the rear of the rig.

    06 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling wheel tire06 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling wheel tire

     

    Wheels And Tires

    Eddie's logic for the 40-inch boots on the Blazer goes like this: "I've run 35s forever, and I wanted to go bigger so I wasn't dragging the axles over rocks. I was gonna do 37s, but I have a lot of buddies in the Jeep club who say 37s are the new 35s. Then I looked at Stephen Watson at Offroad Design who has 40-inch Nittos on his trucks, and he raves about them, so I went for it." Don't forget about the 17x9.5 aluminum Pro Comp wheels.

    07 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling stuff and tuck07 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling stuff and tuck

     

    Wheelwell modifications were necessary to stuff and tuck the 40-inch meats. "I trimmed as much as I could without gutting the inner fenders and it is maxxed. "

    08 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling frontend08 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling frontend

     

    Frontend

    Eddie took his Dana 60 down to bare metal before dressing it up with 35-spline axleshafts, Yukon hubs, with an ARB Air Locker and 4.56:1 gears behind his RuffStuff differential cover. Ram 3500 brakes found their way onto the frontend thanks to the kit from Torq Motorsports and even though "they barely clear the 17-inch wheels, they're worth it." You won't see any high-dollar rock lights under the rig; instead, the 4.5-inch bargain-basement round LEDs do a fine job. If one takes an errant stone to the lens, "that's why I ordered a six-pack of 'em."

    09 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling action fast09 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling action fast

     

    Steering

    Steering 40-inch tires through bumpy stuff is as important as keeping them straight on the road, and Eddie's PSC hydraulic-assist crossover steering setup makes that task simple.

    10 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling front suspension10 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling front suspension

     

    Front Suspension

    The technical reason Eddie selected 14-inch-travel King 2.5 coilovers? He's seen them performing on race trucks for decades. The not-so-technical reason? "I like the blue. The truck's mostly black and tan, so it's gotta have some color in there." King 2.5-inch hydraulic bumpstops are also on hand to keep the axle from smashing into the frame.

    11 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling transfer case11 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling transfer case

     

    Eddie chose Offroad Design for his front suspension links, first, because "the company's local, family-owned, they eat, breathe, and sleep Square Bodies; and they'll talk tech with you all day." He's also a fan of the 2-inch-diameter, 0.25-inch-wall tubing used in the four-link conversion kit. With 1.96:1, 2.72:1, and 5.33:1 low-range ratios, the NP205 transfer case and Offroad Design Magnum Underdrive give him more than enough choices when it comes to how fast or slow he wants to take on obstacles. 1350-series driveshafts from Adams Driveshaft & Off Road get the power out to both axles.

    12 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling rearend12 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling rearend

     

    Rear Axle

    Once he's sick of the traction bar tearing its weld off at the axletube, Eddie has an AAM 10.5-inch rearend sitting at the ready in his garage. Until then, the semi-float 14-bolt with its 4.56 gears and ARB Air Locker get the job done.

    13 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling rear suspension13 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling rear suspension

     

    Rear Suspension

    Offroad Design and Alcan are at work in the Blazer's rear suspension with 52-inch leaf springs and a 4-inch shackle flip, while a pair of Pro Comp shocks are on duty to damp the axle's movements.

    14 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling action bumper14 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling action bumper

     

    Bumper

    Fabricated from a mix of 2- and 1.75-inch-diameter tubing, Eddie's bumper was home-built and is full of function. A single 150-watt halogen KC light sits at each end of a Badlands 12,000-pound winch, while a quartet of New Osram 60-watt LED headlamps take care of non-trail illumination. The bumper's hoop is extended to give Eddie an idea of where the front end of his rig sits when squaring up to obstacles (or garage doors), and the tubing ties into his custom-fabbed radiator skidplate underneath.

    15 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling fold down tire carrier 15 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling fold down tire carrier

     

    Tire Carrier

    "I wanted a swing-down tire carrier instead of one that swings out, so I can stand on the thing to climb into the truck. You also don't wanna pick up a 40-inch spare (roughly 134 pounds with the wheel) by yourself all the time." Eddie lifted the springs from a heavy equipment trailer ramp and devised his swing-down system. He found that two springs were too much and wouldn't let the tire lower, so he opted for a single spring. A pair of red pins keep the carrier locked in its upright position.

    17 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling softopper17 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling softopper

     

    Soft Top

    In addition to adhering to the black-and-tan color scheme of the rig, Eddie says the Softopper was "a very good investment," and he will "never go back to a hardtop." "It's lighter, you can roll it up and run like a safari top, and you can fold it back by yourself."

    18 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling arb fridge storage overland wide18 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling arb fridge storage overland wide

     

    Cargo

    When it came to the cargo area of the truck Eddie told us, "I wanted to sleep in the back and I wanted storage, and I was also lucky the ARB fridge fit below the sides of the bed." His solution to organization was a wooden divider system with a platform for his 4-inch memory foam mattress. On the driver side there are two 5-gallon water cans strapped into place, next to the ARB fridge and its sliding tray. About the bins on the passenger side: "I used to just push the bins in until I built the slide. I modeled it after the fridge slide and used angle iron with rollerblade wheel bearings. I'll rotate bins in and out of the truck based on the trip to leave heavy stuff at home."

    21 1984 chevy k5 blazer power port21 1984 chevy k5 blazer power port

     

    Battery Power

    The ARB fridge is connected to its own separate AGM battery under the hood, and when the rig is parked at home, a power port through the bedside allows Eddie to pre-chill the unit for the next trip.

     
     
    16-1984-koh-king-of-the-hammers-2020-koh2020-chevy-blazer-k5-40s-tons-overland-crawling-tire-carrier-underneath16-1984-koh-king-of-the-hammers-2020-koh2020-chevy-blazer-k5-40s-tons-overland-crawling-tire-carrier-underneath

     

     
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  15. King of Hammers 2020

    King of Hammers 2020!

    Offroad Design is proud to annouce that we have two racing at KOH this year. We have Jackson Watson #171 racing in the King of Motos. Stephen Watson Co-Driving with Kevin Stearns in the #11 car for the 4400 race. This is the first year they are running the IFS car so should be really exciting! Like always the Magnum is going to be putting in work. To see more about the drivers bios click the link below:

    Jackson Watson

    Kevin Stearns/Stephen Watson

    Dirtbike

     

    racecar

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  16. How do I get my truck to ride better?

    It’s common question with any truck and especially the older trucks we specialize in. 
    We always start with the basics, the suspension has to move to follow the road so you don’t have to. 
    • The first step is to make sure there isn’t an existing component limiting wheel travel. Seized up shocks, spring and shackle bushings and even seized driveshaft slip joints can keep the suspension from moving all together. 
    • Do the shocks have enough travel to let the suspension move? In general you need to have at least 3” of travel in each direction for good street ride and a little more helps. For offroad use, the more the better! 
    • Do the shocks have some resistance when you try to move them? Any dead spots or places they change as you move them indicate a problem. 
    • Make sure tires are at a realistic pressure, they help a lot with small bump compliance and don’t have to be aired up to the max all the time. 
    • Make sure your brakelines, breathers and any add-ons like hydro assist lines have enough room to droop all the way without coming up tight. They probably won’t limit ride quality for very long but either way if they’re too short you’re going to have a problem! 
    hitting frame
    Common problems with leaf springs are corrosion in the leaf pack and worn leaf packs that have steps cut in them. Sometimes you can help things move easier with just some spray lube between the leaves, if it’s really gnarly in there you may need to take them apart and clean the leaves so they can slide by one another. We often notice that our trucks ride better when we get back from an offroad trip and it comes from making the leaves move through their whole range of travel over and over so they polish each other and move more freely.
     
    Find some products to fix your suspension here
     
    Now that everything is at least functional let’s move to the next step, making sure you have the right stuff to have a chance at a good ride. It’s fairly obvious but a heavy rated spring isn’t going to ride nice with no load on it. There just isn’t much you can do with an unloaded K30 short of putting a load in it. Heavy axles with duals or other super heavy wheel and tire packages are tough to deal with since un-sprung weight is harder to control. A lot of off the shelf lift springs are going to be stiff, especially deep arch springs and especially on lighter vehicles.
     
    That does bring up another free tip for ride quality though: get rid of squeaks and rattles. A new 1-ton truck still rides stiff but they don’t feel as bad as an older truck because they’re tight and quiet. This is something we see with all levels of offroad vehicles, a bunch of crap bouncing around in the bed, a bare steel interior and a bench seat that doesn’t hold you in place will feel like it rides terrible where the same truck with a supportive seat and everything tied down and quiet will feel much better.
     
    Suspension Flex
     
    Now we’re down to looking at changing parts. Let’s visit our first basic rule again, the suspension moves to allow the tires to follow the road so you don’t have to. So the suspension has to move. 
    This is important because it ties into what we looked at with a 1-ton, stiff springs can’t move when they’re lightly loaded. 
    It’s also important when we look at a common place that guys look when trying to improve ride: the shocks. 
    Shocks only work when they move so you can bolt all the fancy shock you like next to a really stiff spring and you’re still going to have a stiff ride. This is not to say that a good shock can’t help a little but the spring is the biggest factor. 
    Again, (maybe beating a dead horse but it’s a big important point) the suspension has to move and soft springs let it move. 
     
    What this boils down to is the reason we came out with our ORD Custom leaf spring system, we need softer springs for better ride. Yes they’re expensive compared to an off-the-shelf lifted spring but they move so you don’t have to, so it’s worth it! 
    We fully understand that everyone has a budget of some sort and put a lot of thought into how to make any of them go as far as possible. 
    In this case the specific advice is to spend money first on the springs, and then on the shocks. 
    You will have a better ride from a set of our custom springs with a set of $50 shocks than you’ll get with a stiffer spring with all the cool shock tech thrown at it. 
    Yes, $50 shocks have some limits in durability and performance but they can be upgraded later if necessary. 
    Check out our custom springs Here
     
    Custom Springs
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  17. Check Out our New Tech Center!

    Once upon a time (with our old site), our technical information was scattered among product descriptions. We've tried to get a little more organized and have moved most of the technical information to our new Tech Center! This is where you can get a solid knowledge base on a wide variety of topis and components, including transmissions, transfer cases, suspension, and much more! We'll be continually adding to our Tech Center, so be sure to check back often!

    You can check out the new Offroad Design Tech Center HERE.

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