CUS­TOM: CODE1 JEEP

THE JEEP GIRLS GO BE­HIND-THESCENES WITH TONY CARVALLO AND FRED WIL­LIAMS ON CODE1’S FIRST TRIP TO MOAB FOR THE EASTER JEEP SA­FARI.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - WORDS ASH­LEY HILL PHO­TOS BRIT­TANY HILL

OVER the last four years, it has been an an­nual tra­di­tion for Tony Carvallo and Fred Wil­liams to work on build­ing Jeep ve­hi­cles to­gether for the an­nual Easter Jeep Sa­fari at Moab, Utah, USA.

The tra­di­tion is that Tony comes to Cal­i­for­nia, he helps out Fred, and every year Fred prom­ises Tony that they will go to the brew­ery and do some­thing fun. Well, what’s more fun than play­ing with Jeeps? And Tony is still wait­ing for the op­por­tu­nity to visit the brew­ery. He likes to joke that the brew­ery doesn’t ac­tu­ally ex­ist be­cause he has yet to see it.

Two years into their an­nual Jeep build tra­di­tion, Fred and Tony were con­vers­ing on the phone dur­ing one of their cre­ative brain­storm­ing ses­sions and loosely talked about do­ing some­thing with the next new Wran­gler.

Over the years, Brit­tany and I have got­ten to know Fred and Tony well. They’re a lit­tle bit silly, al­ways down for a good time, and re­ally good at the work they do. Brit­tany and I caught up with Tony and Fred to chat about the cre­ation and evo­lu­tion of the CODE1 on its first visit to the red rocks of Moab, Utah, for the Easter Jeep Sa­fari.

AH: How did this idea come about?

TC: I asked my­self how to con­dense fear of the new. The new Wran­glers typ­i­cally were not wel­comed with open arms. With the YJ, peo­ple said, ‘Oh no! Square head­lights!’ With the TJ, peo­ple said, ‘Coil springs on a Jeep?’ With the JK, peo­ple said, ‘That thing is too big for the trail!’ And I said to my­self, ‘What about the JL?’ Work­ing on de­vel­op­ing the new JL for Jeep as the JL Prod­uct Plan­ning Man­ager, it was a project that I put so much blood, sweat and tears in. Fred and I wanted to do some­thing cool with it on our own, with­out sup­port of ma­jor builders or Jeep corp, to show that any­one can eas­ily mod­ify the JL.

AH: The CODE1 sketches are amaz­ing!

TC: It’s very funny, be­cause grow­ing up as a kid, I would get in trouble for doo­dling and sketch­ing Jeeps dur­ing class. It was al­ways Jeeps! I still can’t draw peo­ple, but I’ve got­ten good at sketch­ing Jeeps!

AH: This “Jeep thing” is in your blood?

TC: I knew I wanted to work for Jeep since I was 10 years old. I was close to grad­u­at­ing (and) I sent my re­sume

to HR 1000 times. At the time, I was work­ing mak­ing piz­zas and serv­ing brews at the col­lege brew. Shortly af­ter, I got an in­ter­view at Jeep. I worked for Jeep ul­ti­mately for my pas­sion.

AH: You worked for Jeep for 18 years, and now you’re on a new ad­ven­ture?

TC: I love the JL so much, I just wanted to take it to the next level. It’s funny be­cause I have this per­son­al­ity that once I fin­ish a project I have to do some­thing next. My mis­sion has al­ways been, I set a goal and I go do that. I set an­other goal and I do that. With­out goals I get kind of lost. It’s kinda crazy be­cause the stars aligned. I al­ways wanted to live in Cal­i­for­nia and be close to the world of off-road­ing. It was like a dream come true. I cur­rently work for Dy­na­trac as an en­gi­neer.

AH: Tell us about your ideas on de­vel­op­ing the CODE1 with Fred.

TC: There are two key items that Fred and I to­tally planned out on the new JL. Fred said that it had to have 42-inch-tall tyres and I loved the idea of a two-door stretch LJ, so we thought we’d start with a four-door JL and take off the rear doors. The Dy­na­trac Pro­rock XD60/80 axles def­i­nitely gives the ve­hi­cle a sig­nif­i­cant per­for­mance in­crease; that was very help­ful on the red rocks in Moab.

AH: Is this the first time the CODE1 has been to Moab?

TC: Although we were tempted to visit Moab on our road trip from Detroit to Cal­i­for­nia af­ter we pur­chased the JL, we were on such a time crunch. We waited in Michi­gan for al­most a week to pick up the JL we had ordered. We couldn’t wait any­more for the JL we had ordered, so last minute we lo­cated a dealer that had a JL Sport model in Ohio. The JLS were lit­er­ally sell­ing as soon as they ar­rived at the deal­er­ships. We rushed to Ohio to buy this sil­ver one. So yes, it’s the first time it’s been in Moab. It re­ally stood out in Moab be­cause it was the first JL built to this ex­treme level, with a re­ally

unique green colour. The JL plat­form is awe­some, it is the ul­ti­mate can­vas.

AH: Are there any things you were wor­ried about dur­ing this build?

TC: I was wor­ried about the whole thing. We def­i­nitely had a deep con­cern for the new power elec­tric steer­ing be­cause it is brand-new on Wran­gler. We also had a few is­sues with the trans­fer case, but I took the trans­fer case apart and worked some magic.

AH: How did you fit 42-inch-tall tyres on the CODE1 while main­tain­ing the orig­i­nal fender flares?

TC: We went with a four-inch lift from Off Road Evo­lu­tion and used MOPAR fender flares that al­lowed us to fit larger tyres.

AH: You guys were the first to mod­ify a JL, and you guys did it fast.

TC: Yes! There was very lit­tle sleep dur­ing this build, but we would sleep at least four hours each night. This project took se­ri­ous co-or­di­na­tion. We had to

make sure all of the pieces ar­rived on time. We did the en­tire build in about eight days.

AH: They say that it takes a team to make a dream.

TC: We had such a great team to help us get the job done. Mel and Drew from EVO helped for two days. Bestops’ Fer­nando came with an in­dus­trial sew­ing ma­chine and made the cus­tom top in one day. Ja­son from Hans came and helped for two days. Aaron from Baja De­signs came out for two days and pro­vided the CODE1 with lights, and he came with tons of parts and pieces to make it hap­pen. Mike Kim came with Fox, mea­sured the CODE1 for shocks and even helped us mount our bead­lock tyres. The en­tire Dy­na­trac staff were in­cred­i­bly help­ful and sup­port­ive. AH: Fred and Tony, what were your thoughts about driv­ing the CODE1 in Moab com­pared to a stock JL? TC: I felt like I was off-road­ing a big La-z-boy on lock­ers. FW: Af­ter driv­ing the JL in stock form from Ohio to Cal­i­for­nia it’s an ob­vi­ous im­prove­ment over a JK in that the ve­hi­cle is more re­fined and the eight­speed au­to­matic is far bet­ter at keep­ing the Pen­tas­tar V6 in its power band. Once we com­pleted the build of CODE1, this JL has re­ally grown up. The beefy Dy­na­trac axles have no is­sues turn­ing the 42-inch-tall tyres, and the power and gear­ing seemed spot on for an al­laround fun Jeep. Our big­gest con­cern was the new elec­tric power steer­ing sys­tem, but even that didn’t hin­der our off-road driv­ing for the CODE1 out here. Sure, time may even­tu­ally re­veal some steer­ing or other driv­e­train or elec­tri­cal weak­ness as can hap­pen with new ve­hi­cles, but so far we feel the Jeep is work­ing great.

AH: Tell us about the other com­po­nents on the CODE1 that made it per­form so well out in Moab.

TC: It’s hard to point one. Moab is a re­ally spe­cial place with slick rock and in­cred­i­ble ter­rain. It was re­ally spe­cial to use the equip­ment we put on the ve­hi­cle. It’s one thing to mod­ify a ve­hi­cle, and it’s an­other to ac­tu­ally use the equip­ment. All of the com­po­nents meshed so well and made CODE1 per­form so smooth and amaz­ing on the trails.

AH: Fred, can you run us through all of the parts you guys added to the CODE1?

FW: Of course! • Off Road Evo­lu­tion: We mocked up an EVO Man­u­fac­tur­ing front bumper and winch mount, the bumper im­proves the ap­proach an­gle and pro­vides sturdy D-ring mount po­si­tions. Although this was a pro­to­type bumper, pro­duc­tion bumpers will be avail­able soon. We also used the first EVO Man­u­fac­tur­ing four­inch Ex­treme Over­land­ing sus­pen­sion sys­tem for a JL. The sus­pen­sion uses ad­justable front and rear con­trol arms with swivel joints to set the ideal lo­ca­tion for the rear axle. It also al­lowed us to have great ar­tic­u­la­tion and sus­pen­sion travel. The EVO Ex­treme Over­lan­der sus­pen­sion for JLS is avail­able in two-inch and four-inch lifts. We went with the four-inch lift so that we could clear the 42-inch Maxxis Tyres. • Warn ZEON 10-S winch fits great on

“WE’VE SEEN A LOT OF JL WRAN­GLERS IN MOAB THIS YEAR, BUT THERE’S ONLY ONE CODE1”

the JL, with great pulling power. • Baja De­sign LP9 off-road LED lights are very bright and fea­ture both a low-beam and high-beam func­tion, per­fect for on- and off-road trail use, es­pe­cially in Moab. • MOPAR High Top fenders al­lowed ad­di­tional clear­ance for 42-inch tyres, but keeps the fac­tory look. We also used MOPAR rock rails, an aux­il­iary switch pod, floor mats and a fuel filler cover. • Maxxis Tyres: We used bias ply 42-inch Maxxis Trepador tyres; they gave the Jeep ground clear­ance, trac­tion and an ag­gres­sive look. • Method Race Wheels: 17 x 9-inch Matte Black 105 Bead­lock Wheels com­ple­mented our black softop, black fender flares and black bumpers. •Pro­rock XD60 axles: The Dy­na­trac team went back to the draw­ing board to find ways to in­crease flex­i­bil­ity and strength. The patented de­sign pro­vides the in­dus­try’s best ground clear­ance, yet still holds a larger dif­fer­en­tial and 10.1-inch ring gear. The Pro­rockxd60 uses a unique 1550LT wheel ends which re­duced wheel scrub and stress on the all of the steer­ing com­po­nents, mak­ing it eas­ier for us to steer while fit­ting a mas­sive steer­ing joint. This is one of the ways we we’re able to steer with 42-inch Treps and keep from overly stress­ing the fac­tory elec­tric pow­er­steer­ing pump.

Pro­rock 80: It’s the ul­ti­mate rear axle up­grade. It’s the in­dus­try’s light­est axle in its class that han­dles the most torque and ground clear­ance. It can han­dle a gi­ant ve­hi­cle, mas­sive tyres and a heavy right foot. It’s re­ally per­fect for any sit­u­a­tion thrown at us, and it’s re­ally suit­able for any of Moab’s trails. • Bestop cus­tom soft-top used the JL frame­work, but has solid-zip out­side pan­els that can be re­moved or rolled up. This gives us ac­cess to the bed, but also a dark-cave-like sleep­ing space if we want to camp out in the bed of the CODE1. • Fox 2.5 ad­justable shocks with re­mote reser­voirs and Dual Speed Com­pres­sion (DSC) ad­justers. These per­for­mance se­ries shocks have up to 22 dif­fer­ent set­tings for both hig­h­and low-speed com­pres­sion, al­low­ing each cor­ner of the CODE1 to be di­aled in for op­ti­mal ride con­trol. • ARB re­frig­er­a­tor, stor­age com­part­ments and re­cov­ery kit give us room for gear and grub. • Hans Pow­er­pack 300 por­ta­ble power and so­lar gen­er­a­tor were po­si­tioned in the cargo area for our up­com­ing over­land­ing ad­ven­tures.

AH: CODE1 is a real head-turner out here in Moab.

TC: We’ve seen a lot of JLS in Moab this year, but there’s only one CODE1. It’s re­ally funny, be­cause the first thing peo­ple say is, “It’s the CODE1!” Then they ask me where Fred is. One of my favourite parts of this project was work­ing on it with Fred.

AH: When can we see the CODE1 again? TC: Next stop, Over­land Expo.

AH: Thank you Fred and Tony for spend­ing some time with us out in Moab. We can’t wait to see what you guys will do to­gether next.

The CODE1 cre­ation took only eight days to build from go-to-whoa. Crazy, huh? a week’s work

An over­lan­der with rock­crawl­ing abil­ity? Mis­sion ac­com­plished.

Left: No space wasted, even the tail­gate be­came part of the slide-out kitchen.

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