A few people have asked me about how the rig was going. It has undergone a huge transformation since my Bear Birthday Bash trip. My last drive on the rig was the tranny overheating and me yanking it out. Rita was frustrated with the constant work on the rig, so she said “Fix it…all of it.” So I did. The first step was the tranny. I took it back to the builder (with 2 months left on the warrenty). He cleaned it up, said it all looked good, but there could have been something lodged in it, so I put it back in and it stopped cooking itself at idle. To keep the tranny cool while I was crawling, a call was placed to ORD to order the Doubler and 205 “Bulletproof” Kit, which consists of a 32 spline input and front output to convert the 10 spline units in each. The case was machined by a friend of a friend, and rebuilt by Scott (4X4HIGH) with me helping. I cleaned up the 203, installed the Doubler and installed all of the shifter linkages at night, in the rain, by myself, so that it could be ready to go to Sierra Off Road to have the gears installed (5.13’s of course!) and the Deee-troit in the front. No blown o-rings for me. A few small issues with the gears were quickly remedied. Next, the doors came off and I finished installing the interior I had ripped out. So finally a bit of sound deadening. The week before the Memorial Weekend run the following happened: replace the steering box, 2 new drive lines, fix the pinion nut, install rock lights, new cross memeber for the Doubler, and make it all work. The last fiasco was a 205 linkage problem. Along with the mods to the transmission tunnel never seem to end. I trimmed a lot out of it and the shifter boot still won’t fit! Maybe this weekend…. So I was off this past Saturday morning for Hollister Hills. The gears had about 400 miles or so on them, the Doubler had only been in 4lo a few times. But Rita and I were off to Hollister to see just how well it would all work. Above was the first test of the rig. The front Deee-troit kept the passanger side tires climbing and traction never broke. I was in 4:1 and VERY light throttle was all it needed. Steering took effort (no hydro assist, ORD X-over with AGR Super Power Steering Pump that has always squealed) but was not nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be, not on dirt and rock anyway. Rita was able to pilot the Black Bear though the mini-‘con, steering was OK for her, but she was still able to execute on the rocks. Hydro Assist is in my future, but more to allow Rita to drive with greater ease and take the stress off the frame than anything else. The 5.13’s along with the Doubler gives me a 102:1 crawl. I probably need more like 125:1, as the 350 at idle doesn’t have the power to climb BIG rocks without gas pedal input. It never took much, but I don’t want to even have to use the gas. Along with the Springer Suspension, the tires kept the rig moving at all times. Flex was great, all four tires rub the wheel wells. In this pic, I had to ram the bumper of mine (which is getting chopped ASAP) to get it so the tire was flush with the wall. The wall is nearly as tall as my tire (39.5” TSL) but the Deee-troit and the low crawl goes right up. No more heavy throttle like what was needed with the 350/203/4.10 set up. The Mini-Rubicon is getting easier, also. Overall, it is a completely different truck. Having the low gearing and both ends locked will allow me to go places I have not been able to in the past. IMHO, the fact that I am not a throttle jockey and have the gearing so that I don’t have to be will ensure less breakage, but the body will continue to take hits as the rig will mechanically make it places that the body shouldn’t be. And that’s the right way to do it in my book.