4WDrive - - Contents - Story and photos by Bryan Irons

Maybe not the wis­est proverb, but one that makes us smile is, “you can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but

you can’t pick your fam­ily”. Like we said; not the wis­est, but it can be uni­ver­sally trans­lated into al­most any­thing we do that in­volves choices we can make ver­sus the heart pal­pi­ta­tions over the things we can’t. This motto can be drilled down to ev­ery­day life and the fo­cus of our spe­cial here — se­lect­ing a project rig.

Back in the days of yore (2014 to be ex­act), we pined for a truck that was sure to de­liver ex­treme sat­is­fac­tion and thought we had hit the jack­pot dur­ing a “fish­ing trip”. We scooped a 1969 In­ter­na­tional Har­vester Trav­e­lall 1000D that was just yearn­ing to be re­made. You can read about the time suck ad­ven­ture at http:// suncruisermedia.com/4WDrive/trucks/canyonero---the-start-of­pro­ject-truck-sea­son/.

We dreamt big and reached out for a Nav­is­tar all iron 6.0 diesel and driv­e­train to go un­der the hood to mate up to mas­sive king­pin Dana 60 and Cor­po­rate 14 bolt axles. The fin­ished road war­rior was go­ing to get a vinyl wrap and a fresh in­te­rior laid out for long drives in style. The il­lu­sion of a cus­tom 4-link sus­pen­sion and a boxed frame felt in reach. Mild trails, camp­ing and tow­ing our hard­core off road rig around the coun­try was its des­tiny… or so we thought. Ty­ing back to our proverb, we picked the truck, we may or may not have picked our nose, but the rest of the plan fell apart like a Hat­field/McCoy fam­ily re­union.

It would seem “Com­pro­mise” would have been a bet­ter project

name then “Canyonero”. Two years af­ter in­cep­tion we had a GM 6.0 LS series gas mo­tor and driv­e­train with eleventy bil­lion kilo­me­tres on it, a set of F-350 Su­per­duty axles that look like they spent their en­tire life in a salt mine, a cab, a chas­sis that re­quired a te­tanus shot, and a re­cur­ring mes­sage from the bank, some­thing about “over­drawn over­draft”, etc.

Pick­ing our nose was about all we had left, and the nose­bleeds were be­com­ing an is­sue. It was time to cut our losses and re­group. Our sig­nif­i­cant other was all too happy to see the Trav­e­lall get plucked from its nest and on to an­other home, so much so, we may have got­ten lucky that night, “may”. With our tail tucked be­tween our legs, it was time to get a game plan to­gether and stick to it this time. No more rusty, non run­ning hulks; we wanted a clean rig, with a solid driv­e­train, and parts avail­abil­ity was para­mount. The math was sim­ple.

Rare = Ex­pen­sive Cus­tom = Time Killer Good Base Truck + Easy to Find Parts = Plau­si­ble Fin­ished Prod­uct Parts on Hand + Work Done at Home = Bank Ac­count in Black It was time to hold fast to our new al­ge­bra and start look­ing for a good base truck, and it just so hap­pened that a fam­ily mem­ber had the per­fect rig for us to start with — a 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport Club Cab. The one owner truck needed min­i­mal body­work, had a strong frame, a 5.2l Mag­num V8 with a trans­mis­sion and trans­fer case that could hold up with only a few mods. The in­te­rior was show­room fresh and the best part was the price; The

“Fam­ily Dis­count” brought the ini­tial lay­out down to a set of tires for his other truck. SOLD!

With all the poor de­ci­sions made with­out brain power dur­ing the Canyonero days, we dubbed this truck the “Do­hQuota” and knew where we wanted the fin­ish line to be this time. We’re mak­ing this a big tire snow ma­chine and plan to get there with as many easy to find, qual­ity parts as we can, while us­ing what we have. Un­der the hood will re­main un­changed, un­less our hand is forced and the same goes with sit­ting be­hind the wheel — noth­ing changes. The Su­per­duty axles will get steer­ing, braces and pro­tec­tion from TMR Cus­toms, and Jeep JK sus­pen­sion mounts from Cur­rie En­ter­prises. Anti-Rock Sway Bars (also from Cur­rie) will start the mount of the axles to the chas­sis. A Clay­ton Off-road Long Arm sus­pen­sion kit de­signed to mate up to the Cur­rie JK brack­ets will ac­cu­rately at­tach the links with preengi­neered and tested ge­om­e­try. This will save both fab­ri­ca­tion time and link cal­cu­la­tor headaches, as we know the Clay­ton kits use only top shelf ma­te­ri­als and are well de­signed.

We just got the truck back af­ter some horse trad­ing with White Stag Auto Body to fix up the mi­nor cos­metic prob­lems. They did a great job and we’re ready to get started.

We don’t have all the de­tails worked out, but we know the goal is to mount 44" or bet­ter tires.

Any size of ele­phant can be con­sumed; it just de­pends on how long you plan to be at the ta­ble. We de­cided to switch to crow and re­think where our ap­petite was tak­ing us af­ter chok­ing on the Canyonero. The Canyonero wasn’t a to­tal fail­ure, as we can al­ways use it as a bad ex­am­ple. When choos­ing your next project, take a sec­ond look at our ‘math’, and you’ll likely end up with a sat­is­fy­ing meal.

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