Title sponsor/Official tire
Well, what can we say about BFGoodrich and the Krawler? Yes, we are thankful to have them as a title and Official Tire sponsor. Also, it is nice to have the big rig there to help us with tire-changing duties and that marvelous high-volume, 250-psi air compressor. Yet, above all, we do enjoy using the Krawler itself on the Ultimate Adventure. While we indeed managed to kill one this trip, the Krawlers overall held up again to simply brutal abuse in the rocks, roots, dirt, and mud. Additionally, it's not just that they held up to the abuse, but they also performed well in this environment they were so well designed for.
Sizes used on the trip ranged from a set of 35s to three sets of special DOT-legal 39s. Yes, we said DOT-legal 39s. That size will be available some time in 2006 for all of you to abuse and neglect. The Ultimate K10 sported a set of the 39s, which were aired down to 9 psi for rock use. Our sole loss came at the hands of a rock, which was hunting for a sidewall to damage and found it.
UA newbies Motive Gear also supported our week of fun - er work - this year. While the company was unable to bring a rig for the trip, its gearsets and install kits found their way into the pumpkins of the Ultimate K10. As you may recall, the front axle of our big yellow machine is supported by a Dynatrac Pro Rock 60, for which 5.13 Motive Gears were called upon for duty along with an ARB Air Locker. Our trusty 14-bolt, following behind, housed another set of Motives mated to an ARB as well, which is relatively new for the 14-bolt.
Whether Warn was the Official Winch of the Ultimate Adventure or not, the company was still the predominant brand of winch on the trip. Styles ranged from old-school favorites like the 8274 on Keith Bailey's CJ to the new ti series found on the Ultimate K10 and our M715.
Our K10 sported not one, but two ti's, a 9500ti up front for the bulk of the cable-related duties and a 16.5ti nestled in the floor of the bed out back. While having a winch out back beats turning around on a trail to assist the truck behind you, it also can aid in holding down the rear of the vehicle during periods of steep egress. A 16.5 also graced the front of Big Ugly, our M715 support truck.
Our Chevy was a perfect test bed for the hard-core use of Tuff Country suspension pieces. If you recall, last year's official vehicle, the custom coil-sprung Tacoma, could not accommodate any off-the-shelf Tuff Country components. This year we are able to by using its Chevy 4-inch leaf springs in front and special packs out back. As always, we were looking for the best of both worlds - the ability to support a proper load and still retain generous articulation. So far, through the punishing the truck has seen on its first 4,000 miles, it appears we have what we are looking for.
Flowmaster has supported the Ultimate Adventure for more than a few years now. While the company has not been able to send a rig on the trip for sheetmetal reduction purposes as of yet, we sure enjoy the sound of its exhaust systems on our own rigs.
This year's official vehicle, the Ultimate K10, was brought directly to Flowmaster for a special fitting of pipework. The resulting system is actually bits and pieces taken from various kits the company offers. You can't replicate those pieces yourself, but don't worry, you don't really have to. Start with a pair of 50 series Flowmaster mufflers as we did and head down to your local exhaust shop. For an engine similar in size and horsepower to our RamJet 350, Flowmaster suggests a 2.5-inch system from front to back. The result is a distinct, powerful note that didn't give us any reverberation or other unwanted noises.
Our first welding sponsor, Hobart, came on board to sweat it out with us. The company's involvement with UA started on the build process of the Ultimate K10. Hobart shipped out an Ironman 250 MIG and an AirForce 625 plasma cutter to assist in the disassembly and assembly of our rags-to-riches 1/2-ton miracle.
We'll admit we're already spoiled by plasma cutters, in general, over a traditional torch. The 625 bumps us up another notch on the spoiled scale by being able to clean cut 1/2-inch steel with ease. As for welding, the 250 was more than capable to cover frame repair, mounting of the steering-box brace, and other suspension tidbits that required substantial welding.
Hobart then brought its support truck on the Ultimate Adventure itself. While it didn't grace any of the more difficult trails, it sure was a good feeling to see those orange and purple colors waiting for us at the end of each day.
But wait, there's more!
Many thanks to Poison Spyder for special fabwork on our big yellow monster and serving as "tail-gunner superior" throughout the week. Off-Road Design's beautiful bumper and 205/203 doubler which graced the K10. Dynatrac crafted our front Pro Rock 60 and supplied the rear 14-bolt cover. Finally, Sam's Offroad, who not only aided us in superior trail selection, but also served up a healthy dose of friendly personality.