Donny and Trish Dinsmore from central Virginia like camping, being outside, and spending time with their family and friends. So like many of us they quickly discovered four-wheeling. But unlike many of us, they somehow ended up with one of the leanest big trail Jeeps on 2 1/2-ton axles we've seen in a while. Jeeps on Rockwells are popping up more and more these days and with good reason. These heavy-duty axles, often found under military big-rig trucks, are stronger than most trail Jeeps will ever need and cheaper than almost any junkyard Dana 60 we've seen. In fact you can often get a pair for the price of just one front 60, and if you want rear steer, then Rockwells quickly become the cheapest choice.
While on recent trail rides in Virginia, Alabama, Wisconsin, and California we were seeing Rockwells everywhere under buggies with barely any motor, and under big Jeeps like Donny and Trish's. Though the buggies were cool, the Dinsmore-mobile not only has some mojo in the motor, plus it looks good enough to take home to Mom. Read on and you'll see why we're ready to build a big-rig Jeep.
Engine: Ramjet 350 Chevy V-8
Transmission: SM465 four-speed manual
Transfer Case: Advance Adapters Atlas 4.3
Front Axle: Steering Rockwell 2 1/2-ton with Detroit Lockers and 6.72 gears
Rear Axle: Steering Rockwell 2 1/2-ton with Detroit Lockers and 6.72 gears
Tires & Wheels: 44-inch Super Swampers on MRT bead locks
Suspension: Sway-A-Way 2-by 14-inch coilover shocks with Eibach dual-rate coils
Under the hood sits a piece of American pride, the Ramjet Chevy V-8 factory fuel-injected crate motor. With 350 horses and 400 lb-ft of torque, this iron block definitely puts the mean in mean green machine. Donny also added a Griffin aluminum radiator, an Optima battery, a ginormous steering fluid reservoir (for the front and rear steering), and a York air-conditioning compressor run off the serpentine drive belt for onboard air.
Donny controls steering with a Grant steering wheel and a center-mounted rear-steer joysti
The custom-built frame is made of 2x4 box tubing and the front three-link with Panhard lin
Donny runs Sway-A-Ways and hydraulic steering in the rear as well. He started with an '87