Modifications Round Three
“I ordered up a Dana 60 from Boyce Military Equipment and I bought a 14-Bolt full-floater from a junk yard. I talked some friends at Knecht’s Automotive into helping me build the rear axle. But, the catch was that I already had five-lug beadlocks and really did not have the money at the time for new wheels. What to do? I found a company called Gear Tech Heavy Duty, which happened to make a hub and all the parts I needed to convert the 14-Bolt full-floater to a 5 on 5.5 bolt pattern. Hallelujah! Another quick call to Boyce to confirm that they could also build my Dana 60 with the same bolt pattern and it was game on.
“I needed to have the tranny rebuilt and found Mike’s Transmission, in Albuquerque, which was not only able to rebuild it but was also willing to warranty if I put in an aftermarket cooler with a thermostatic fan and a remote filter. I ordered up the parts and I am happy to say he has stood by his word 100 percent. I swapped the axles in and I was on my way. Tragedy struck (my truck) when I was going through the big D. Divorce took its toll on the project and it had to sit for a while until I got everything sorted out.
“During the downtime I decided to remove the interior and the dash and install a rollcage from Jeg’s. Easter Jeep Safari 2009 was the first outing since I got the axles built under the truck. The 5.13 gears, rear spool, and front Detroit locker and matching gears and everything was working well for still sitting on leaf springs and still using the NP-208 transfer case. What was I going to do with this lackluster equipment?
Welcome to Round Four and the Final Build-Up
“I took the truck to my brother’s shop (La Cueva Automotive and Towing) and we started a massive rebuild. My brother, Martin Crane, and I started an ambitious build to include a double transfer case, four-link front and rear, new wheels, tires, a crossover with a high-steer kit and a wheel base stretch for good measure. The tranny also needed to be gone through again so I sent it back down to Mike’s Transmission and he (again) worked his magic.
“I did some reading online about where to get my measurements and how to make them work. I ended up copying two articles written by Fred Williams of Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road and started working on some graph paper. I called the folks at Blue Torch Fab and started asking a lot of questions. The owner (Jason Carner) was understanding and was very helpful.
“I also got in touch with the folks at F.O.A. Shocks through the email and ordered up a set of their 16-inch-travel 2.5 remote reservoir shocks and springs. The springs are one of the only lucky breaks I caught for the whole build. I was able to order the right springs the first time out. How often does that happen?
“I also placed an order with 4X4 Group Buy.com for 42-inch Pitbull Rocker tires and 17X9 Spyder Lock wheels. The rear end actually came together very quickly after we got the creative juices flowing.