As proud supporters of Petersen’s 4 Wheel & Off-Road Magazine’s Ultimate Adventure for the past two years, we have the opportunity to attend this insane week long event. In 2012, we put our recently built 4BT Cummins powered Jeep JK to the test, along with our Ram Mega Cab that was responsible for camera crew transportation. Last year, we set our JK on the trails again, with a host of further upgraded parts. But for Ultimate Adventure 2014, we’re planning a whole different approach. We are in the process of building a unique 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief Wide Track with a V10 Viper power plant that is undergoing a complete frame off in order to ensure complete indestructability.
While this project is being dubbed the Ultimate Adventure Cherokee Chief, its uses will be many, including the upcoming Easter Jeep Safari that is approaching all too quickly. The entire build is unique for us in several facets. For starters, we’re beginning with some old, American iron, when all of our builds in the past have been conducted on later model (and rust free) vehicles. Secondly, this entire build will be performed in house, with us at the helm controlling every phase, including all of the SolidWorks design work for custom cross members, engine mounts, and so forth. By keeping the entire build in house, we will be able to preserve the quality of the entire build, as this will be the highest profile project to date for us.
As we’re sure everyone is wanting to know some details on this build, let’s dive into some of the specifics of what’s going into the UACC. For starters, there have been some extensive body modifications that we outlined with our friends at Perfection Auto Body. This build, like most of our others, needed to clear 40” tires, but we didn’t want an atrocious amount of lift, causing the vehicle to be top heavy and hard to handle on the trails. In order to make this feat happen, Perfection opened up the fender wells in a manner that made it look completely factory, and while this may sound simple, it is quite the opposite. Further body modifications were conducted in house that involved removing the back of the cab area in order to allow for a custom rack for spare tires, tools, and equipment.
Underneath the body of the Cherokee Chief we made a ton of frame modifications to ensure it wasn’t zigging when we were trying to zag. How about a fully boxed frame? CHECK! Custom boxed cross members? YEP! Fully boxed and sleeved rear bumper welded to the rear frame spars? WHY NOT?! Some might think we’re going completely overkill on making this rig indestructible, but if anyone has witnessed our driving style, we prefer to go big, and not have to go home. Further custom modifications include custom engine mounts, heavy duty body mounts, and basically anything that gets mounted to something else, it was designed and built. And many of these products couldn’t have been accomplished if it weren’t for our friends at Shamrock Machining. They make it too easy for us. Once we have the completed design in SolidWorks, we send the file to them and they go to work with their laser cutters and CNC equipment. That just leaves welding everything together and mounting it on the vehicle for us.
To really get the Chief to the point we wanted it, it’s obvious we wouldn’t be able to build EVERYTHING, and would be sourcing many rock solid products from various manufacturers, and still building some of our own. To start things off, a set of Dynatrac axle assemblies were in order, and to accommodate this build, we decided to go with none other than a Pro Rock 80 in the rear and a Pro Rock 60 in the front. If you’ve never had the opportunity to see these in person, you can’t imagine the physical girth of them, and our driving style will be a true testament to their indestructability. At the ends of each axle assembly are a set of 40” Maxxis Trepador Bias Ply tires wrapped around TrailReady wheels that will together keep our rig moving in, out, and around any obstacle that dare lie in our path. And to further provide testimony that getting stuck is not an option for us, we looked to ARB for a set of their Air Lockers that will give us the ability of locking and unlocking the carriers at will. And if none of the above gets us out of whatever mayhem we’ve found ourselves in, WARN has taken care of us with one of their new Zeon 10-s winches that features 10,000 pounds of pulling capacity and their newly designed planetary gear train for quick recoveries.
Now in order to ensure the Viper’s horsepower is properly getting to the Dynatrac axles, BD Power hooked us up with one of their billet 48RE transmissions that we’ve used numerous times in the past behind high horsepower Cummins power plants and has truly proven itself. Mounted behind the BD 48RE is one of the highly acclaimed Atlas II 3:1 Highland Transfer Case that will allow us to crawl when necessary, but also test the rev limiter on the Viper when we can.
In order to provide a robust mount for the Atlas II to prevent against any deflection that can occur, we designed a billet transfer case support in SolidWorks and made a trip to our friends at MachineHead Racing for the machine work. Built from a solid piece of 6061 billet, this mount bolts around the outlet of the transfer case and is a true piece of artwork.
As this newsletter is being written, its nearly already outdated with the constant progress being made on the UACC, so be sure to check out our next newsletter with a finished product and some testing results of this behemoth!