The truck is a 2000 Ford F250, with the 7.3l diesel engine and 4wd. When I picked it up it had just shy of 140,000 miles on it, just broken in for a diesel. The truck was bone stock when I first got it, but It wasn't long until I started the modifications. Brandon the previous owner had outfitted the camper with the basic necessities, electrictricity, water, propane system, hot water heater, and a fridge. So far i've done quite a few modifications to the truck and camper, here’s a full breakdown of what it has done.
From the start of this build, I knew I would need a dual battery system. For this, I selected a Genesis Dual Battery kit with Dual Odyssey Group 34 PC1500's. This would provide more than enough power to handle the auxiliary lights, inverter and a fridge. Thanks to Genesis' YouTube video, installation went smoothly.
Heavy duty camper trailers and off-road vehicles are a great way to enjoy the great outdoors. Unfortunately, they often require a substantial financial investment. Luckily, you can experience joys of backcountry camping at a fraction of the cost, and without mortgaging your house. Renting is also a great way to see if a particular platform is a good fit before shelling out loads of cash. We have compiled a list of companies that rent off-road vehicles and campers -with a few light-duty honorable mentions.
I got the idea to build a 4WD ambulance after seeing a Unicat Terracross, but they were far too expensive. So, I did a lot of research on what would be a good donor vehicle to base my build off of. I ended up looking at older ambulances with the 7.3L turbo diesel, a true workhorse that could run on pretty much anything, and get serviced practically anywhere in the world. On top of that, ambulances have a full 2.2" thick aluminum box on the back -perfect for building off of.
By Chris Tracy
Jeep has teased about bringing back the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer for years. It’s becoming a bit of a white whale for some Jeep enthusiasts. There is nothing official from Jeep, but we should see something (a concept if not an actual production) by 2020. The FCA group does amazing vehicle concepts, just look at everything from the Easter Jeep Safari from the last ten years. My favorite is the Forward Control Concept.
I love to search the Internet for project vehicles. I rarely search for new or expensive vehicles, except for Unimogs. Mogs, Pinzgauers, Toyota Chinooks, and the GM Chalets are always out of my price range. Every now and then I stumble on something amazing.
This is the Woodland Kit. It attaches to a JKU Jeep Wrangler and gets us a little closer to the Grand Wagoneer. The kit is an attempt to create a one day, do-it-yourself restomod Grand Wagoneer. Pricing starts at $20,000 USD.
To begin your conversion, you will have to remove some of your stock pieces. The kit replaces the grille, headlamps, hood, both bumpers, both front and rear fenders, the roof, tailgate, and the rear lights. There is nothing that has to be done to the doors, except prepping them to attach the vinyl wood panels.
All of the kits include:
- Front Grille with LED headlights
- Front Bumper with LED lights
- Front Fenders
- Extended Roof with Windows and Tailgate
- LED Taillights
- Rear Fenders
- Rear Bumper
- 9x Wood Panels (3M)
- Chrome Roof Rack
- Chrome Moldings
- Chrome Emblems.
The new panels are made from 2mm & 5mm Fiberglass reinforced polyester with a gel coat surface. Those looking to restore older Wagoneers will be looking for steel panels, but fiberglass has been used on so many different types of body kits over the years that it should hold up quite well. Half the body panels on the new C7 Corvettes are still fiberglass from the factory.
The new roof and rear section from the kit extend the back of the Wrangler by nine inches. You are losing the versatility of being able to take the hardtop on and off, but you will still be able to take the front two sections of the modular roof off; something no Wagoneer or Grand Wagoneer could do. There is a hidden rubber strip that seals the kit to the original body in the cargo compartment. The kit comes with OEM carpet to help blend it all together. There is also an optional cargo mat.
Even if you don’t want the whole kit, there has to be a market for adding nine inches of length to the back of a JKU. Oh, the overland drawers systems we could create with nine extra inches to work with.
We did a little research on the JKU and the SJ (Wagoneer) dimensions. It surprised us how similar they are.
We reached out to Kristoffer (CEO/Creative Director) about the kit. The idea for the kit came in response to what they were seeing on the classic vehicle marketplace; modern performance with vintage looks. Instead of a six-digit restomod, you can purchase a new JKU and the kit and still be in the five digit range. The kit is currently being finalized in Sweden with the production of the first 50 kits to be ready in May of 2018. They are willing to take (non-binding) orders now. The Woodland Kit is making its debut at SEMA 2018 of a production model. We’ll keep an eye out for it.
We love to support small businesses at Overland Kitted. If you are interested in the Classic Factory Woodland Kit, send Kristoffer an email. Woodlandkit.com in no way funded this article. They did allow us to use their press images, which we appreciate.
If you’re of a certain age, you remember Looney Tunes. Most of us do. Something new had to happen in those cartoons every 7 minutes to keep kids’ attention. Whether it was the anvil falling on the coyote or the rifle exploding in the nimrod’s face, something had to change.
I taught middle school for a decade; I did my time. With the advent of video games, seven minutes is an eternity for a kid’s attention span. The new standard is that something new must happen every 7 SECONDS or they lose interest… Or least it was three years ago, it’s probably even less now.
I can remember a time when we didn’t have video games. I can remember having to grab multiple books from the library because we were leaving on a family road trip and we didn’t have a TV and VCR in the minivan like the Joneses. At least we had a minivan.
My three sons have no memory of a time without personal electronic devices. They can’t comprehend spending hours staring out the side of minivan. What can I do to find a solution to keep my kids interested in more than just birds who are angry or a mouse, his mouse girlfriend and his racecar friends (this one is new and not too terrible)?
Yes, I could be one of those parents who constantly controls how much “screen” time their kids get. But I’m not. It’s exhausting to endlessly “hawk” your kids to make sure they’re not watching the TV, the laptops, their Kindles, the extra smart phone or staring across the backyard into the neighbor’s living room. Sorry, if I don’t live up to your expectations of parenting. We have ground rules and limit their time, but we need more solutions than that. The technology isn’t going anywhere. Unless Skynet does happen, then we’re doomed anyway.
My favorite times as a kid and strangely as an adult are when I am completed disconnected. No phone, no computer, no Wifi, nothing. It’s quiet, calm, tranquil. It’s bliss.
Don’t have a panic attack while you read this on your mobile device/laptop. I’m not saying it’s all evil, but all the time on your device probably isn’t the best for your self-esteem and emotional health. Smarter people have written articles about that stuff.
Lead image provided by Jason Hamasu of Ox Overland.
Camping beyond the confines of a traditional campground requires lugging every item that you will need to support yourself for days or even weeks at a time. Of course, the duration of the trip will dictate which items need to come, but all too often many find themselves taking everything “just in case”.
This lack of planning is the primary reason for the epidemic of exceeding GVWR. Most people don’t even realize just how overweight they are. Though it is your responsibility, it’s not entirely your fault. It’s often difficult to locate the weights of individual pieces of kit, and gaining access to a scale large enough for an entire truck isn’t always an option. Though, finding a scale is best practice.
Load up your rig for a trip, then drive over a truck scale (landfills and race car shops often have scales). Compare this weight to the GVWR that’s located on the driver’s side door sticker. These weights are likely for highways and may be less for off road. Most military vehicles and trailers list separate weights for on and off road (off road tends to be half). I have yet to see a civilian vehicle with separate designations, but I trust the military’s discretion here.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to verify those tire pressures! While inspecting the door sticker for GVWR, double check that there isn’t a second tire pressure listed for heavy loads. Often the required pressure is greater when towing or hauling heavy items. This would also be a perfect time to verify that your tires are the correct load rating, don’t assume that the previous owner, or the tire center got this correct. I have seen more than a few people buy new tires and the installer accidentally grabbed the incorrect tire.
For replacement parts, we can subtract the weight of each part we remove. If possible, weigh these items rather than arbitrarily estimating weight -you may be surprised at how far off you are. Stock bumpers tend to be mostly cosmetic and lightweight since they are only designed to sustain a 5 mph impact.
Below you will find a list of most of the items we tend to see out on the trails. Feel free to let us know if we missed anything in the comments below. Also, if this article inspires you to weigh your vehicle, let us know what you find.
*Unless otherwise noted, the second generation Toyota Tacoma 4x4 was used for vehicle specific items. Weights of popular brands and models were used throughout.
Weights to consider:
Don’t forget to include weight of occupants and personal items.
If towing, don’t forget to factor tongue weight into GVWR.
Maxtrax: 15 lbs/pair
Winch: Warn M8000 74 lbs (steel cable)
Lighting: Rigid 50” light bar, 14.25 lbs; Rigid 20” light bar 8.8 lbs
Larger tires: 35” BFG K02, 67 lbs (x 5) vs 48.4 lbs stock 245/75/16 (x 5) (net gain 93 lbs)
Wheels: varies significantly but should be considered
Roof rack: Front Runner Slimline II Extreme, 101 lbs (Jeep JKU)
Front bumper -ARB Toyota Tacoma 175 lbs (without winch)
Rear bumper -CBI w/tire carrier and fuel caddy, 175 lbs (empty)
Fuel cans: Jerry can +5 gal gasoline (41 lbs); Rotopax +4 gal gasoline (33 lbs)
Water tanks -Rotopax +4 gal water (41 lbs); Scepter Military +5 gal water (46 lbs)
Ground tent: 5-100 lbs
Roof tent: 100-220 lbs (Tepui for reference)
Bed Rack: Front Runner Slimline II, 53 lbs
Awning -ARB 2000mm, 35 lbs
Cooler: YETI Tundra 50qt, 26 lbs empty, add 10-20 lbs for ice
Fridge freezer: 49.6 lbs, ARB 50 qt
Cooking gear: include propane, varies significantly
Fridge slide: 35 lbs ARB for 37/50 qt fridge
Drawer system: ARB Single Drawer, 106 lbs (Jeep JKU); TruckVault, 130-265 lbs (Taco)
Skid plates: CBI full skid, 90 lbs
Rock sliders: CBI 150-190 lbs (depending on cab configuration)
Recovery kit: 20-25 lbs
Storage boxes: 10-12 lbs
Fender flares: Bushwacker, 30lbs
Air compressor: ARB CKMA12, 7.7 lbs; ARB CKMTA12, 17.4 lbs
Tool kit: 25-50 lbs
48” Hi-Lift jack: 28 lbs, +16 lbs for ORK (off road kit)
Images courtesy of Sean Jennings
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably seen photos of Sean Jennings' incredible 2013 Toyota Tacoma (AKA Defconbrix) circling the web.
It was featured in TruckVault's SEMA booth in 2015, and more recently appeared in this short film put together by the team at ROTIFORM wheels. It's also appeared in numerous magazine ads. Let's face it, this truck is incredibly photogenic, but that isn't why it was built.
Sean is a veteran, gun enthusiast and family man. He's also a gifted photographer and outdoorsman. In order to manage all of his interests, he needed a flexible vehicle that could be reconfigured to support each activity or combinations thereof.
There are many possibilities for used off road vehicles such as the Landrover Defender, Toyota Troopy, or other ubiquitous rig, but Sean wanted something new and, more importantly reliable.
There are few fresh from the lot vehicles that compare to the Toyota Tacoma, the Jeep JK/JKU comes to mind, but it has half the towing capacity and payload. It's also difficult to haul bicycles and other tall gear inside. So, for Sean the Tacoma was the only viable option. Let's take a look at what makes this rig tick.
At times the truck can be seen with an ARE Z Series bed cap to keep gear dry and free of mud, other times it can be seen without -hauling his RAD bicycle or other tall equipment.
Regardless of configuration, his gear (which consists of firearms at times -relax, they're for the range, not camping) stays warm and dry in a secure Truck Vault -which is the same system used by law enforcement and government agencies.
A full extension BedSlide is mounted on top making it easier to access gear and beer. It also makes it easier to load and lash equipment which becomes even more important when traveling off road.
Items that are only accessed occasionally such as a pair of Maxtrax and Rotopax fuel containers are mounted to the Frontrunner roof rack. This rack also provides the low profile mounting point for a Baja Designs dual function LED light.
The stock suspension is great if you're spending most of your time on pavement, but driving long distance off road with all of the compromises built into factory springs and dampers can be painful and uncomfortable. To address these compromises, Sean turned to Total Chaos and Fox.
The front consists of a Total Chaos +2 long travel, race series kit. The springs of choice are a set of Fox 2.5 DSC coilovers mounted to a Total Chaos shock hoop. Damper duties are carried out by Fox 2.0 Bypass shocks.
Rear suspension also consists of Fox 2.0 DSC's mounted to Pelfreybilt shock relocation hoops. The leaf springs consist of an Expo pack and Archive Garage shackle flip kit. To help smooth and control the axle's movement, a set of Fox 2.0 bump stops were also fitted.
Wheels & Tires - Axles
A set of 17x9 Rotiform SIX- OR bronze wheels provide a aggressive looks and the correct backspacing necessary for larger tires. Sean decided to go with 35/12.5/17 Toyo Open Country R/T tires. In addition to the suspension lift, a set of Bushwacker flares were mounted, and trimmed 3", to accommodate the new shoes.
Both front and rear axles were outfitted with ARB airlockers, which are controlled by ARB's powerful twin air compressor. To compensate for the taller tires, he factory ring and pinion were swapped for a set of Nitro 4.88 gears.
A few months back, I put together a storage systems buyer's guide for Expedition Portal and needed a photo of the Truck Vault system.
I reached out to Sean and he delivered what would turn out to be the most liked photo on Expedition Portal's Instagram feed. I also posted it to the @overland_kitted feed where it was viewed over 105,000 times! This truck's popularity is just insane.
If you'd like to build something similar, the spec sheet can be found below.
Pelfreybilt Shock Relocation Hoops
Expo Leaf Pack
CVT 55″ awning (with mesh kit)
BedSlide – custom width to go over fender wells
WHEELS / TIRES:
Rechelon Aesthetics RetroFits – Custom MultiCam
sPOD SE Touchscreen – control and switches for all lighting
Bushwacker fender flares (trimmed off approximately 3″)
Cab Mount Chop & Inner Fender Massaging for proper 35″ tire fit
TrekPak – lined TruckVault and Center Console
Victor Axe & Tool Limited Edition Black Axe and Hatchet
Yeti Bottle Opener mounted on the rear bumper
Rockford Fosgate POWER slim sub, components and amps
custom fiberglass box built by SoundWarehouse in SLC
Custom Y-Pipe with the Exhaust Tip dumped out over the Axle
Katzkin full leather custom Tuscany leather/suede interior w/Degreez heated & cooled seats
RAD Bicycle Co custom Fat Tire bike
On July 7th, 2017 Ford celebrated one hundred years of pickup trucks. From it's humble origins as a farm tool, the Ford truck has grown up to be the best selling vehicle in America -for 32 years. Henry Ford created the Model TT to address the growing need for a purpose built vehicle to haul and tow farm equipment and goods. Prior to the Model TT, people were forced to either modify cars or resort to horse and buggy in order to tend to their land.
The Ford truck is greatly responsible for helping to build America into what it is today. From four doors to four wheel drive, to Super Duty pickups, Ford continues to be the choice of contractors and a growing number of overland explorers who need the extra payload.
Thank you Ford for your role in making pickup trucks what they are today. Without you leading the way, we couldn't explore the backroads of our country, or haul a load of lumber to a job site.
Whether you call it DIY, built-not-bought, or run-what-you-brung, the absolute best way to become intimately familiar with a vehicle is to build it yourself. Hours spent wrenching in the garage or driveway will not only save hard earned cash, but the knowledge gained by doing it yourself may save your bacon when Mr Murphy shows up deep in the backcountry. Building your own rig will also make it easier to assemble a spare parts kit, and the tools needed to replace them. Jim Feehan is the mastermind and the hand that created the 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 you see before you.
The initial model of the Raptor was possibly the most advanced, mass-produced truck ever built. Despite this achievement, Ford knew that they could do better. Enter the completely redesigned, all new 2017 F-150 Raptor. Poised to kick it’s predecessor off the podium, this truck is chock full of high tech improvements. The largest change comes in the form of the military grade aluminum body and composite hood and fenders. Ford claims that this body saves 500 lbs over the previous steel version. Not only is this a huge engineering feat, it’s a big deal for performance. Shedding weight not only improves acceleration, but braking and handling as well. Any time you can increase performance by removing something, it’s a big win.
Importing a vehicle to the United States can be an absolute disaster. We've heard stories of vehicles procured at great expense that only to be sent back to their country of origin because a single step of the import process was missed. One way to skip this heartache is to hire the help of an experienced import concierge. Dutch Safari is one such company. Car enthusiasts Erica Plumlee and Nick Van Den Akker are true car enthusiasts. They have an penchant for finding exotic vehicles. From Ferraris to the Range Rover Classic in the video below, they can find that one special vehicle that makes your heart pirouette.
Unlike many importers who operate in a shroud of secrecy, Dutch Safari works directly with their clients to locate the exact vehicle, in the condition specified and for a margin of the price of other outfits. The video below provides a snapshot of the type of experience you can expect behind the wheel of one of their classic gems. Be sure to check the current inventory to see if they have your dream car in stock. If not, don't be afraid to ask -they have several vehicles already vetted for import.
If you are like most people, when you see the words “Grand Cherokee” pressed together, you tend to imagine the typical Jeep SUV -four doors, a rear lift gate, maybe a spot of leather, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. Until now. In accordance with the brand’s hard hitting marketing campaign where FCA attempts to shock and awe consumers with a barrage of insanely powerful (think Hellcat and Demon) vehicles it seems that Jeep has been invited to the party.. The Demon claims the World’s fastest production car 0-60, fastest production car ¼ mile, highest horsepower production V8 ever produced and the list goes on and on, but I digress. We aren’t here to talk about an 840 hp Challenger, but just how far off track am I? The Grand Cherokee TrackHawk is insanely fast in its own right, establishing new performance records for SUV’s. And here’s how.
A tour of our adventure mobile Hooper, a 2002 Chevy Suburban Z71 4x4. This tour includes some info on what we had to do to make the burb livable for a year of adventure travel from Baja to the Arctic. Luxurious amenities include: a refrigerator, custom built shelves, ample storage for adventure gear, a sliding lockbox, and a solar system that let's us live off grid for weeks at a time! If you want to know more about something we mentioned in this video, ask in the comments below!
Since this is a list of budget rigs, it should go without saying that most of them will have high mileage and a few years under their belts. Of course, as most of us already know, the simplicity of older vehicles means that almost anyone with a wrench and a good service manual can repair them -do yourself a favor and skip the Chilton’s manual. Instead opt for a factory service manual; these can usually be found on Ebay for a fair price. So, if you are the type who doesn’t mind some grime under your fingernails, then these rigs are perfect for you!
Just for fun. All images are from the original manufacturer's sales ads.
As payloads continue to skyrocket and payload capacities continue to plummet, the shift to larger rigs was bound to occur. Though it’s still a small segment, the full size truck market has experienced a healthy growth spurt in the last year or so and companies such as American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) and ARB have responded positively to this budding group.
As the popularity of modifying our vehicles for overland travel grows, so does the market for vehicle modifications. New companies continue to pop up offering yet one more thing that you just can't live without. Although it is incredibly fun, and easy to get carried away, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern that which is needed from that which we want.