Wood’s Dodge Ram 1500

4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS -

DRIVER: Johnny Wood CO-DRIVER: Am­ber Me­drano HOME­TOWN: San Mar­cos, CA

Johnny Wood and Am­ber Me­drano had the long­est drive of any­one at UA, trav­el­ing from the south­west cor­ner of the coun­try to the north­east cor­ner. And even when the rest of the group was staying in ho­tels they camped on most nights in the back of their Ram truck. Wood bought the truck new and it has been a work in progress ever since. Me­drano has a rig of her own as well, and the cou­ple brought them both to Moab ear­lier this year for the Full­size In­va­sion, demon­strat­ing to our staff that they have no is­sue go­ing on wheel­ing trips far from home.

>DRIV­E­TRAIN

EN­GINE: 360ci V-8 TRANS­MIS­SION: 46RE 4-speed au­to­matic

TRANS­FER CASE: Of­froad De­sign Mag­num and NP205

FRONT AXLE: Dana 60 with 4.56 gears and ARB Air Locker

REAR AXLE: Dana 60 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker >SUS­PEN­SION

SPRINGS & SUCH: Cus­tom 3-link with King coilovers (front); Sky­jacker 5-inch leaf springs and Bil­stein shocks (rear)

TIRES & WHEELS: 38x13.50R17 Falken Wild­peak M/T on 17x8.5 Race­line Monster bead­lock STEER­ING: PSC hy­draulic as­sist WINCH: Warn XP9.5

OTHER: Cus­tom rollcage, York air com­pres­sor, dual bat­ter­ies, ARB El­e­ments freezer-fridge

WHAT BROKE?: Fried ECU, dented driv­e­line, dented gas tank

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU

AP­PLIED FOR UA?: 4

WHY DID YOU WANT TO AT­TEND?: As a long­time reader I looked up to the peo­ple and the rigs they built. I made it a goal of mine to build a ca­pa­ble, road­wor­thy, and re­li­able ve­hi­cle. I wanted some­thing dif­fer­ent. At the same time, I built what I had. Daily driven, driven to and from the trail, shop rig, and even a tow rig.

MOD­I­FI­CA­TIONS AF­TER BE­ING SE­LECTED: When I found out I was se­lected my rig was al­most there. I knew wheel speed was nec­es­sary on the East Coast so I up­graded all the axle­shafts to 35-spline chro­moly units. New winch line, set­ting up re­cov­ery gear, and plan­ning the load-out were also in­cluded. Know­ing the east has un­pre­dictable weather and I sleep in my truck, main­tain­ing a dry sleep­ing area and gear was at the top of the list.

AD­VICE FOR NEXT YEAR’S READERS: Don’t give up. Wait to ap­ply when you and the rig are good and ready. Don’t rush it—there will al­ways be an­other trip. Lastly, keep ap­ply­ing! You never know what kind of ve­hi­cle the staff will be look­ing for next year. Don’t mod­ify what you don’t need to. It’s hard to find cus­tom parts on the quick. I left my en­gine stock. Lack of power keeps the driv­e­train alive. I can find any sen­sor at nearly any auto parts store. Also, beat your rig at home so you find the short­com­ings and weak parts. Carry spares or up­grade. If you have a unique ve­hi­cle, carry spare parts that oth­ers won’t have, as well as the tools to get the job done. The cronies are there to help you, not fix your rig for you. Hav­ing knowledge of your rig and me­chan­i­cal abil­ity are both im­por­tant.

“This is the trip of a life­time ”

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