‘04 Dodge 2500 4x4
Frequent OFF-ROAD contributor Jon Acuff’s project Dodge might just very well be my favorite diesel tow truck in existence. Not to brag too much, but how could we not be pleased with a 2500 4x4 truck on 37-inch tires, packing a thousand foot pounds of torque under the hood, getting more than 18 mpg with all the factory emissions equipment in place, that hasn’t been to a dealership since the day it was purchased?
This NV5600 six-speed monster has an ATS manual transmission cooler, a Truetrac diff with 4.10 gears, water-methanol injection, a Bully Dog tuner, an ATS turbo, Banks intercooler, and other miscellaneous external engine modifications done to improve the towing ability and efficiency of the engine. The suspension is a mixture of DT, Lorenz, Sway-A-Way, and Deaver parts that allow 37s to move 12 inches in the front and rear of the truck. Not bad for a daily driver.
Contributing Editor Kevin Blumer’s 4 Runner has gotten way more radical than I ever thought it would. When he got rear Tacoma bedsides and started to cut the rear of his SUV to fit 35-inch tires, I thought he was crazy. Front fiberglass is one thing, but getting so serious on such a new vehicle is a big step. I must say that I’m impressed at what he’s accomplished with it. He now has 35-inch tires that tuck under the body, long-travel suspension with 4WD, and it’s his daily driver that has had no interior functionality taken away. Though he still does little modifications on it here and there, Blumer’s 4 Runner is basically done and working wonderfully.
Freelancer Anthony D. Saters’ All-Purpose Cherokee has taken a little longer to complete than we thought it would (don’t they always?) but it was an fairly easy build that copied other successful builds that have been done a thousand times before. With a four-link rear conversion, long arms in front, a healthy 4.0L with an aluminum head, and a long list of other modifications that make this XJ so much fun to drive, we’ve definitely put some cash into this one. But with a buy-in price under $1,000, I still think Cherokees have to be the absolute best deal in off-road machines available in the classifieds section. Saters can go fast in it, crawl in it, and sleep in it; what more do you need out of your off-road vehicle?