When we last left off, our Ultimate Avalanche was running and driving and had two new Dynatrac Axles with Detroit Lockers under some Tuff Country springs and shocks. This month we'll move away from the running gear and address some of the protection issues. First we stopped by the local Rhino Linings shop in Van Nuys to get the interior sprayed with a custom color lining. Our buildup then became a road trip when we headed east from Los Angeles to Denver with a stop at Poison Spyder Customs. Our Avalanche was outfitted with some custom rocker panel protection and a new rear bumper, and during that visit we also had a new Trail Ready front bumper and Warn winch installed. Then we headed back to California where we visited some folks in Santa Rosa for an interior rollcage. After that it was back to L.A. for another round of Rhino Lining for the bed. This was all done in about two weeks of insane driving, fabbing, and living off of 25-cent Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies, fudge rounds, coffee, and Red Bull, which can be found at 8 out of 10 gas stations. Our Avalanche was starting to look very healthy. We, on the other hand, were beginning to look a bit ragged and scruffy. So follow along on the third round of the wrench and fab fest that goes into any Ultimate Adventure vehicle. Then watch next month when the final episode wraps up and the Adventure really begins. With the current scare of the infectious disease SARS, we figured a full plastic bubble around the Avalanche was a good idea. Actually this was part of the protection of the paint done before spraying the interior with a Rhino Lining.With the current scare of the infectious disease SARS, we figured a full plastic bubble ar This interior is also protected with paper and plastic, and the seats, console, and carpet are removed. Next the paint is scuffed up and cleaned. Then all the bolts or threaded holes are either covered or filled with masking tape to make clean-up easier.This interior is also protected with paper and plastic, and the seats, console, and carpet When the tedious prep work is finished, it's spraying time. This actually goes pretty quickly, and it didn't surprise us that Jose Monreal was in a protective suit since this stuff sticks to just about everything. Before long we had a custom tan color sprayed to match some of the plastic interior cladding.When the tedious prep work is finished, it's spraying time. This actually goes pretty quic Our friend Jose Chavez did part of the prep and clean-up on the lining. Here he goes through with a sharp knife and pliers to cut out the masking tape that protects the bolts and threaded holes in the floor. Within 24 hours we had the seats and center console back in and were on the road to Denver.Our friend Jose Chavez did part of the prep and clean-up on the lining. Here he goes throu After a few days on the highway, we got to Denver and headed straight to Poison Spyder Customs. These guys are known for their fabricated rockcrawling parts and custom Bruiser Chassis tube cars, and since we expected to see at least some rocks, we figured they could help us out. The first step was to get rid of some of the junk on the truck, such as the stock front and rear bumpers and some of the plastic body cladding that was behind the back wheels.After a few days on the highway, we got to Denver and headed straight to Poison Spyder Cus Justin Trumble of Poison Spyder chopped off some of the truck bed that was hanging a bit too low behind the back tires. This should help the departure angle and the general look of the truck to transform it from a modern day El Camino into a more trail-worthy rig.Justin Trumble of Poison Spyder chopped off some of the truck bed that was hanging a bit t After a bit of measuring and some quick design discussion, Trumble was bending up some tube. The bumper and rocker bars were made of a mixture of 1 3/4-inch by 0.134 and 0.120-inch wall DOM tubing.After a bit of measuring and some quick design discussion, Trumble was bending up some tub Meanwhile, Tim Turner was mocking up the rear bumper. Notice the nice tight fit of the tubes. This is a true lesson in tube fabrication, because it's not the weld that makes a bumper or cage strong, it's the fit of the tubing joints. All the tubes and bumper were MIG-welded.Meanwhile, Tim Turner was mocking up the rear bumper. Notice the nice tight fit of the tub Once the rocker bars and rear bumper were welded, Trumble welded some 3/16-inch plate with the laser-cut Poison Spyder logo in between the bars.Once the rocker bars and rear bumper were welded, Trumble welded some 3/16-inch plate with The bumper is backed with some stainless steel to make the logo jump out at the guy behind us. Finally the whole thing was welded and gusseted to the frame for a good solid mount.The bumper is backed with some stainless steel to make the logo jump out at the guy behind While in Denver we also stopped in at Super Trucks USA to have a new Trail Ready bumper installed. The guys there did a great job of wrestling the 3/16-inch-thick prototype bumper into place on the front of our Avalanche. The first step was to install some frame-mounting brackets. We had to modify the brackets a bit to work with our front leaf-spring hangers, but they were solidly bolted in place when we were finished.While in Denver we also stopped in at Super Trucks USA to have a new Trail Ready bumper in Before we installed the bumper on the truck, we first bolted in a Warn 15,000-pound winch with an estimated final weight of more than 8,000 pounds. This winch should be adequate. We have had good experience with these winches and will not be surprised at all if it gets a workout on our Ultimate Adventure trip to the southeastern United States. With 90 feet of 7/16-inch wire rope, and a 3.15:1 gear ratio, we should be able to drag ourselves out of most any mess we get in.Before we installed the bumper on the truck, we first bolted in a Warn 15,000-pound winch In order to install the more than 300 pounds of bumper and winch, the Super Trucks crew used a combination of hydraulic lift and muscle to get the bumper in perfect position. One warning we will give you is that getting the final bolts on can be about as much fun as digging a dime out of a running garbage disposal. However, we really like the final fit and finish of the bumper and already feel confident enough to bounce it off rocks and other trail obstacles.In order to install the more than 300 pounds of bumper and winch, the Super Trucks crew us During the rebuild ATS also installed one of its triple-lock converters. This innovative design not only has a stator that matches the stall speed specific to the engine torque curve, but also has a three-clutch design to reduce heat, increase the locking ability, and help the longevity of the transmission. Plus, the converter comes with a billet cover instead of a stamp-steel version to give it the strength to hold up to diesels so strong that some are used in drag racing cars. In the end we should have more than enough transmission to hold up to the 496ci engine and even a possible future supercharger.During the rebuild ATS also installed one of its triple-lock converters. This innovative d After the tranny was back in the truck, we hit the road again and headed back towards sunny California. We did have the small problem of running out of gas along the road in Utah, and when we stopped for a speed run at the Bonneville salt flats, we found only mud as can be seen in the lead photo. Another stop was made in Moab where we tried to blend in with the many Jeeps that live there.After the tranny was back in the truck, we hit the road again and headed back towards sunn When we finally made it to Santa Rosa, California, we headed to FabWorx to get an internal cage built. Our goal was to build a safe internal cage that would survive a reasonable rollover and yet not make the truck uncomfortable. Thus the seats had to still recline, all the gauges and buttons had to be accessible, and we preferred that no one would be bouncing their head against the cage during normal wheeling. Luckily FabWorx took all our wants and didn't just laugh, but rather pulled out some tube and started working.When we finally made it to Santa Rosa, California, we headed to FabWorx to get an internal Welding in a brand-new truck with leather seats and fresh Rhino-Lined floors is nerve-wracking for any fab guy, but add the fact that this is a national magazine's truck that will be at some of the biggest shows around, and that there is a demanding photographer in the way, and most guys would crack. The guys at FabWorx instead set up all types of fire protection, sent us out to get lunch, and just started laying some beads.Welding in a brand-new truck with leather seats and fresh Rhino-Lined floors is nerve-wrac The final product was, in a word, awesome. Even now, with more than a few thousand miles in the truck, the cage has never been in the way. The seats recline perfectly and the light switches are all within reach. We would never claim this to be a NASCAR-approved cage, but with six points at the floor, we are not scared to get a bit crazy on the trail if need be.The final product was, in a word, awesome. Even now, with more than a few thousand miles i Stay tuned next month when we tie up a few loose ends, visit KC Customs in Santa Rosa for paint and Flowmaster for exhaust, get our rear steer hooked up, and finally mount our exclusive top-secret extra-special tires from BFGoodrich. Plus, we'll tell you about some of the cool products we'll be taking along on the Ultimate Adventure and even let you in on why the Avalanche has a tendency to run out of gas along deserted highways. SOURCES ATS Diesel Specialists www.atsdiesel.com Fabworx www.fabworxinc.com Warn Industries 1200 SE Capps Rd. Clackamas OR 97015 8-00/-910-1122 www.warn.com Rhino Lining of Van Nuys KC Customs N/A www.kccustoms.com Rhino Linings www.rhinolinings.com Super Trucks USA Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!