So there I was, waist-deep in quicksand, being chased by angry natives, and suffering from a horrible case of Montezuma's Revenge. Oh wait, that's a different story altogether. This story is about my Ultimate Adventure debacle or, as I like to call it, the Alternate Adventure. To recap, I didn't get my Fun Buggy done for Ultimate Adventure 2008, so I pulled an all-nighter and swapped a Detroit Locker into the front of my '86 diesel-powered Chevy 1-ton CUCV, affectionately known as the Army Truck. I left sunny Los Angeles and traveled across the desert in a lovely 104-plus-degree steel box while my coworkers followed in the luxurious '08 Toyota Land Cruiser (it even has a center-console refrigerator from the factory!). About four hours into the drive I lost my power steering and brakes due to some dirt in the power-steering pump. I limped it into Las Vegas (roughly 185 degrees in the shade) and swapped in a new pump. We got back on the road, stayed the night in Utah, and made it to western Wyoming the following day before my Army Truck coasted to the side of the road with no more forward power. The engine still ran, but the truck wouldn't go into gear for some reason. I thought it was the clutch even though it's brand new, but we luckily found some other Ultimate Adventurers to tow me up to the start of UA in Rapid City, South Dakota. There I found out that the insides of my brand-new NV4500 manual transmission had melted due to lack of gear oil. Meanwhile my Lowmax 205 transfer case was doing just fine since all the missing gear oil had pumped into the transfer case. And this is what happened next. When we last left off, I was pretty much stranded in Rapid City, South Dakota. For some reason the seal between my NV4500 manual transmission and Lowmax 205 transfer case leaked. All the expensive special synthetic gear lube pumped its way out of the transmission until the gears simply melted. In terms of carnage, this was top-notch stuff. In terms of getting back on the road quickly and inexpensively, this wasn't going to be easy.When we last left off, I was pretty much stranded in Rapid City, South Dakota. For some re Belly full, I tore into the transmission while my friends from Twisted Customs (where they build rock buggies and use absolutely no manual transmissions) watched and laughed at my good fortune. I didn't know when or how I was going to make it back to the official Ultimate Adventure group, as they had already moved on from South Dakota, but I knew that the Twisted crew would help me in any way possible. They're top-notch guys like that. As I got the transmission apart, I was greeted with the sickly smell of burnt gear oil and more melted bearings and wasted synchros. I began second-guessing the rebuild plan since it would require every single part inside the case getting replaced.Belly full, I tore into the transmission while my friends from Twisted Customs (where they As with any setback I think it's a good idea to take a step back and look at the big picture. I have found that a plate of biscuits and gravy and a few cups of strong coffee help immensely. So after this gut-busting breakfast we concluded that tearing the transmission apart and fixing it was going to be the best option.As with any setback I think it's a good idea to take a step back and look at the big pictu I spent another day running around Rapid City looking for parts and making phone calls before I finally decided that replacing or rebuilding the NV4500 was going to be extremely expensive. Many of you may assume that we magazine writers are living rockstar lives and rolling with big bank rolls, but it's just not true. We are not "living fat" as the kids say these days, but rather just getting fat from too many servings of biscuits and gravy. Finally we found a solution in the pile of old trucks behind the Twisted Customs shop-an '89 Chevy work truck.I spent another day running around Rapid City looking for parts and making phone calls bef This truck, affectionately known as White Cloud, was an old railyard truck that one of Twisted crew had purchased some years back. It was sitting with no doors, a tired TBI V-8, and a four-speed manual transmission. The transmission, an SM465, was a rare version with a long tailhousing, an aluminum top, and 32-spline output, and its length just happens to be within half an inch of the NV4500 five-speed I had burnt up. Plus the bellhousing would bolt right to the Army Truck's 6.2 diesel.This truck, affectionately known as White Cloud, was an old railyard truck that one of Twi Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!