UACJ-6D

PART 7: THAT’S A WRAP-UP

4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - Chris­tian Hazel BY CHRIS­TIAN.HAZEL@4WOR.COM PHO­TOG­RA­PHY VERNE SI­MONS, TRENT MCGEE, AND HARRY WAG­NER

PART 7: Wrap­ping it all up

WE COULD GO ON AND on for 12 more is­sues about our su­per-cool Cum­mins-pow­ered UACJ-6D project, but un­for­tu­nately it’s time to wrap things up. With the driv­e­train snugly in the chas­sis, axles hung, sus­pen­sion in­stalled, and brake sys­tem in place, it was time to put the fin­ish­ing touches on the UACJ-6D. We lit­er­ally worked un­til an hour be­fore the of­fi­cial start of the 2017 Ul­ti­mate Ad­ven­ture wrap­ping up the head­light in­stall, ad­just­ing the PSC Mo­tor­sports hy­draulic-as­sist steer­ing ram, torque­ing the mount­ing hard­ware on the TrailReady HD Bead­lock wheels, and tack­ling all the essen­tial trail items like find­ing a place for our 10-pound Power Tank, tools, re­cov­ery gear, and more.

In all, the UACJ-6D was one of the most prob­lem-free UA buildups in the his­tory of the event. That’s no small feat, but it speaks vol­umes about the ded­i­ca­tion and tal­ents of Tech Ed­i­tor Verne Si­mons, 4WOR free­lancer Trent McGee, and ev­ery­body else who lent a hand in turn­ing this for­lorn for­mer Bor­der Pa­trol 1971 CJ-6 into one of the most beloved UA builds to date. It’ll be hard to top, but you can be sure we’ll sure try when it comes time to break out the tools to build the UA2018 ve­hi­cle.

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To re­it­er­ate what we said at the start of the buildup se­ries, we used a JK frame to greatly sim­plify the sus­pen­sion, axle, and steer­ing in­stal­la­tion. We se­lected a full PSC Mo­tor­sports ram-as­sist steer­ing sys­tem, which, aside from the en­gine-mounted pump, was a di­rect bolt-on deal. Tech Ed­i­tor Verne Si­mons in­stalled the steer­ing gear to the fac­tory JK frame mount be­fore in­stalling the grille and cool­ing com­po­nents.

2

There’s sim­ply no other winch that looks as per­fect on a vin­tage 4x4 as the trusty Warn

8274. Si­mons built a cus­tom winch mount and bumper that sub­merged our Warn 8274-50 winch as low as pos­si­ble.

3

To keep the Flex-a-Lite TJ ra­di­a­tor out of where the power steer­ing lines and in­ter­cooler duct­ing wanted to be, we off­set the ra­di­a­tor slightly to the pas­sen­ger side. The driver­side head­light bucket was un­af­fected, but the pas­sen­ger-side bucket re­quired re­moval. Meh, sym­me­try is bor­ing.

4

With the PSC Mo­tor­sports power steer­ing lines con­nected and the Axis In­dus­tries in­ter­cooler mounted be­tween the ra­di­a­tor and grille, Si­mons mea­sured for the in­ter­cooler duct­ing. We got all the el­bows and tub­ing we needed to com­plete the job (in ad­di­tion to a lot of good ad­vice) from our friends at Diesel Power Prod­ucts.

5

We per­se­ver­ated for days over what backspac­ing to order for the TrailReady HD Bead­lock wheels. TrailReady can build the su­per-nice HD Bead­locks with any backspac­ing. Af­ter some quick math, we de­cided on a 4-inch backspac­ing, which, given the wheels’ 8.5-inch width and the full-width WMS-WMS of the Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 axles, would keep the side­walls just out­side the CJ body tub for a hot rod look.

6

Si­mons and free­lancer Tren­ton McGee mounted the 38x13.50R17 Falken WildPeak M/T tires on the TrailReady bead­locks, and then Si­mons trimmed the tub for clear­ance with the sus­pen­sion sit­ting on the bump­stops.

7

The WildPeak M/Ts are a nearly per­fect height for the UACJ-6D’s wheel­base and stay just out­side of the tub line while static. Check your lo­cal laws be­fore du­pli­cat­ing—or just stash away a huge fine fund and have fun.

8

The front ob­vi­ously has to con­tend with more tire clear­ance, es­pe­cially when turn­ing at full lock. Si­mons per­formed a very taste­ful trim job on the ragged, stock fend­ers that still kept some sem­blance of their round-fender ori­gins. A true flat-fender cut would have been a lot eas­ier, but this is how I wanted it. Looks killer.

9

With the ve­hi­cle sit­ting on the wheels and tires, Si­mons got to bending up a 2-inch­di­am­e­ter, 0.120-wall hoop out of DOM steel tub­ing. Si­mons the­o­rized that the larger pro­por­tions of the CJ-6 would look a lot bet­ter with the 2-inch tub­ing. He was right.

10

Af­ter a back-and-forth tex­ting ses­sion that ended with me pos­ing what I thought was a rhetor­i­cal ques­tion, “I won­der how it would look with 3 inches chopped out of the wind­shield?” Si­mons sent back this photo of the chopped wind­shield frame. We have a win­ner! 11

Rather than lower the main hoop and bring­ing it dan­ger­ously close to the oc­cu­pant’s skulls, Si­mons left the rear hoop in place and chopped out the seat mounts, putting them as low to the floor as pos­si­ble. Then he whipped up a lower front hoop that just poked above the level of the chopped wind­shield frame. It evokes feel­ings of a 1950s T-bucket build. Per­fect.

12

Si­mons fin­ished up the cage brac­ing and tied the whole thing to the frame. We left it raw, but hit it with some WD-40 to keep the flash rust at bay.

13

This was the scene a mere hours be­fore the of­fi­cial start of UA2017. Si­mons was swap­ping in a new 4.3L long block in his S-10 Blazer while I and the rest of the crew were thrash­ing on last-minute items for the UACJ6D. The wind­shield frame was sent out to a lo­cal glass shop for a cut wind­shield that fit the smaller open­ing. Our buddy Mike Tarvin swung by with an old bikini top and a set of killer old­school buggy head­lamps that fit just out­side the pas­sen­ger-side open­ing. 14

I hate elec­tri­cal wiring and gauges in my ve­hi­cles, so out came the fac­tory speedo as­sem­bly in fa­vor of the Mag­el­lan TRX unit. The Mag­el­lan serves as speedome­ter, al­time­ter, and nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, and, when plugged into the Cum­mins OBD port, can op­er­ate a full com­ple­ment of dig­i­tal gauges. Any­thing the OBD port mon­i­tors the Mag­el­lan TRX can dis­play. The only thing miss­ing is a fuel level gauge, but I just use a mea­sur­ing stick like the WWII GIs used.

15

The driver-side head­light is a Truck-Lite LED unit, while Tarvin’s buggy lamp sits out­side the pas­sen­ger-side open­ing. One of Si­mons’ call­ing cards is in­stalling an in­ter­est­ing ra­di­a­tor over­flow bot­tle. The UACJ-6D’s hap­pens to be a stain­less steel mar­tini shaker welded to the front bumper.

16

The UACJ-6D drives down the road just like a newer Jeep, gets a lit­tle bet­ter than

20 mpg on the high­way, and has plenty of room for trail tools, a full Warn re­cov­ery bag, VooDoo Of­froad rope and soft shack­les, and a 10-pound Power Tank. It turns heads wher­ever it goes and so far has been eat­ing up the trails all over the western side of the coun­try. Look for it at a 4x4 event near you. Chances are good you’ll see it.

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