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Old 11-08-2019, 01:14 PM   #1426 (permalink)
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Dang. Wish I had a rig to join you at SMORR. It's not that far from me.
Sold the Colorado?
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:41 PM   #1427 (permalink)
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well post the voting link, if there is one, here. I'd vote for ya
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:25 PM   #1428 (permalink)
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No voting, except by the magazine guys (I assume). But I hope my exposure in the magazine itself helps with that - they've got first hand experience seeing my rig in action
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:32 PM   #1429 (permalink)
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Prepping for SMORR over the weekend and I tackled better tie-downs for the totes. Now they can be opened up without having to undo the entire tie-down system and they're locked into place if I don't have all 3 in the truck at once.



Got lucky with where the ratcheting mechanisms ended up. Perfectly lines up with the corner of each tote. I cut the straps to length so it's pretty quick and painless on opening up each tote to access them.


I also wired up a fan override switch in the cab so I can force them on low or high speed. Since they still don't work with the AC and I've never been able to get the engine hot enough for high speed, I want to have the ability to force high speed if needed. Still working through the tune with my tuner, so better safe than overheated. No picture, but here's a video if it works for you guys: https://photos.app.goo.gl/28zmUxsU43pXGd4W9

Also, made sure the rock light still work. Fucking 4" of snow and single digit temps in early November... Crazy!
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:48 PM   #1430 (permalink)
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Sold the Colorado?
I did. A buddy with deeper pockets than me made me an offer I couldn't pass up.

I have another rig (slowly) in the works, so post up how SMORR is and hopefully you'll be making a return trip where I can join.
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:53 PM   #1431 (permalink)
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Sounds good. I hear great things about it, hope it lives up to the hype.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:10 AM   #1432 (permalink)
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SMORR wheeling trip was a success, but it was also quite the adventure, I must say.

My buddy Mike and I stayed at my parent's house near St. Louis on Thursday night and got to SMORR (and he unloaded his rig from the trailer) around 11am. Eric joined us shortly after in his Toyota on tons and BFG Red Labels (sadly very few pictures since he walked up just about everything first try).



The owner of the park recommended we get a feel for things by driving the main road, so we did. Here's the only difficult part on the main road (not difficult, but steep).


Trails are rated on a scale of 1-6. 6's are insane. I'd say 5s are doable by a very capable rig without winching. My rig did a handful of level 5s without and two or three with winching or stacking some rocks.

At the back of the park, our choices were a super-steep level 4 trail or a less-steep level 5 with a gatekeeper (huge 40"+ undercut) near the beginning. Eric walked up the gatekeeper so I decided to at least get tires on it and give it a shot.


No pictures or videos... but I gotta say, these new tires HOOKED. I'd never given my truck this much throttle in double low without spinning a tire. After a few tries, I gave it one final bump and snapped an inner shaft:


The annoying part is that I have no-neck-down 4340 inners sitting in my garage that just never got installed (had some things come up the week leading up to the trip).

Quickly swapped in my spare inner and continued wheeling. Gotta say, the 2500hd brake swap sure made swapping out a shaft much faster. The sprindle/bearings/hub a ll can stay together with slip-on rotors.


The Kansas City crew showed up much later that night due to a tow rig breakdown.

We did a bunch of level 4 and 5 trails throughout both days and some 3-5 trails at night (the 5s were sort of by accident/getting lost-ish ). More pics to follow.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:18 AM   #1433 (permalink)
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Rattler waterfall. After watching a few non-full-body rigs go up, I decided to save my bedsides. I *think* if my tires didn't slip I could do it without damage - but one mistake and it's goodbye bedside and possibly extended cab door glass.


Rocky road was by far my favorite trail. Wide, many line options, and nothing too easy.






We finally got Mike to break his dana 44 in the light blue truck (granted it only has a TBI350 and 38s). This was towards the end of day 2 so he just stuck it back on the trailer and rode with me.


One obstacle on Rocky Road I did need to winch up. There's an undercut around a big boulder and a secondary line a half-truck-width to the right of it. I started on the secondary line, but the truck slid left into the boulder and the left rear tire was in the undercut. There wasn't much getting back to the right without some major body damage (did push the driver's bedside in a bit, should push back out). So I winched up. Here's an interesting perspective on how the truck was oriented, though. I tried to get the phone as level as possible.



I think this is after we winched me past.


We turned around to go back down Rocky Road since Mike only had 3wd at this point and headed back to camp for dinner.
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Shortened 17" w/Bed, AAM 14B FF / Grizzly, Dana 60 HP / Chromos, Anti-Wrap Bar
4L80e, EcoBox/205 Doubler, 40" Mickey's, Rock Sliders, Hidden Winch, Hydro Assist
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:32 AM   #1434 (permalink)
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After dinner we putzed around on some level 3, 4, and 5 (by accident) trails and ended up at the entrance to Copperhead (level 6). One of the guys with us gave it a try (Jeep YJ, 43s, doubler, 5.3L, linked rear) and wasn't able to get the last couple inches.

Here's someone doing it it MUCH drier conditions. It was also night when we were watching:

Eric in his Toyota was able to make it in a few tries but we heard a pop sound as he crested it. Seemed to work okay so I rode shotgun with him to finish out the trail and return to the group. However, the rear driveshaft snapped at the last (very easy by comparison) obstacle on the trail and got lodged into the leaf spring. We were able to slowly winch him up and then found one of our friends finally at the top to tow him out the rest of the way.

I think this is somewhere around Double Whammy? It's one of the only night wheeling pictures I have.


Meanwhile, a stick had gotten lodged up in my undercarriage just driving around on the main road. I didn't think anything of it until my truck wouldn't shift out of 2nd driving back to camp.

It turned out the 'stick' was more of a log and had gotten wedged up against the back part of the trans pan. It dented it just enough to break both forward shift solenoids.



Borrowed a buddy's tow rig Sunday morning to drive 90 minutes round trip to get replacements, swapped them in, hammered the pan back into its original shape, and drove 550 miles back home without issue .

Also, probably need to replace this wheel... pretty sure this happened when winching up the undercut on Rocky Road.



Conclusions:
  • SMORR is an awesome park and I can't wait to go back. I'd call it my favorite non-Appalachian region Midwest Park.
  • I definitely need to fast-track my belly and engine/trans skids. Will also probably swap out the trans pan for a deeper one when I do this.
  • The Mickey Thompsons just hooked up on everything I threw at them. Loose mud, loose rocks, dry rocks, wet rocks... it was impressive. Very happy with that purchase.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:51 PM   #1435 (permalink)
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Looks awesome!

And what is this KC group you speak of?
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:01 PM   #1436 (permalink)
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Just a group of guys I know in the KC suburbs. Not an actual wheeling group, I should have been more clear.
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Old 11-19-2019, 03:49 PM   #1437 (permalink)
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Damn I'm pissed I didn't go, but will definitely be ready for the next one. Looks like a blast.
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Old 11-27-2019, 09:11 AM   #1438 (permalink)
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looks like a good trip and awesome to hear the new tires worked, would think they will just get better once broke in even more
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Old 11-27-2019, 01:19 PM   #1439 (permalink)
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looks like a good trip and awesome to hear the new tires worked, would think they will just get better once broke in even more
Thinking the same thing. Can't wait to try them out at the Badlands on my home turf so I can get a legitimate comparison!
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:24 AM   #1440 (permalink)
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Misc updates.

1. Got the wheel replaced with one I snagged on eBay. Discount tire has done a lot of work for me on all our vehicles, so they balanced it for free! Can't say enough about their customer service.

First picture shows the difference between the Patagonia (my spare) and M/T Baja Boss. The actual width of the Patty was 13.5" and the M/T was 13.75". The tread width of the Patty was exactly 11" and the M/T was a hair over 12", which is significant in my opinion.

2. I've had Chromoly inner shafts sitting in my garage for months, as mentioned before. A buddy is doing a shakedown at Badlands on New Years' Day and I figured now's a good time to install them.

Full circlips were already added and will be tack welding the caps tomorrow since I have the day off. Bggrnchvy mentioned that even with the circlips, he had the caps spinning in his Yukon chromos, so better safe than sorry. Aside from being 4340, they also do not neck down like the factory shafts did.

3. New old stock OEM 190A alternator (likely from a 3/4 ton SUV, government spec) to replace my originally 105A/rebuilt to 150A OEM alternator that has shot bearings. Been running an overdrive pulley to help keep amps up at idle (works great), so my shorter belt needed to be slightly longer. Back to the stock size and it fit perfectly with the larger alternator case and smaller pulley. It's hard to tell in the picture but the three countersunk holes on the face are in the same spot for both, so that gives a good idea for scale. The new alternator is massive compared to the old one.

4. Last picture is just something fun/festive.




Chromo comparison, inner short shafts (w/ busted shaft for fun):


Chromos on the inside here:




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Old 12-30-2019, 08:14 PM   #1441 (permalink)
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Wonderful build thread, thanks for keeping this alive. I've left this open on my laptop for the last week or so going through all the years of progress and finally got caught up before posting this.

Anyways, now that you have some trail time under your belt on this rig, I am curious if you could provide a lengthy review of the Ecobox and 205 pairing. How do you like it with the ring and pinion choice, the tire size, the 4L80E, the power of the engine, the weight you carry around, what pairing of gears do you find you use the most, ect?
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:47 AM   #1442 (permalink)
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Looking good as always! Chromos should treat you well! Hopefully you can do a better job being nice to your ujoints than I've done


Also reminding me that winter is cruising by and my truck is out back looking like a snowman instead of getting worked on.
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Old 01-02-2020, 09:24 AM   #1443 (permalink)
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Wonderful build thread, thanks for keeping this alive. I've left this open on my laptop for the last week or so going through all the years of progress and finally got caught up before posting this.

Anyways, now that you have some trail time under your belt on this rig, I am curious if you could provide a lengthy review of the Ecobox and 205 pairing. How do you like it with the ring and pinion choice, the tire size, the 4L80E, the power of the engine, the weight you carry around, what pairing of gears do you find you use the most, ect?
I actually was recently a guest on a friend's offroad podcast and talked a little bit about this. Check em out, and I'm specifically on episode 3.

https://open.spotify.com/show/6LL95sLySeLmCXOInxE8Ft

Anyway, the cliff notes are as follows:

The 4L80E has a terrible 1st gear (2.48:1). This is bad on-road and off-road. It also wasn't that cheap to swap in - cost me well over $1000 with the used trans, tuning, harness adjustments, cooler lines, flex plate, and whatever else was needed. Were I to do it again, I'd probably try and find a well-built 4l65e or 4l70e and swap that in instead. This would have brought my crawl ratio to 74.4:1 with the 3.06:1 first gear of the 4L60/70e.

With the doubler in single-low in the EcoBox (same low range as the NP241), I have to give it a lot of gas to climb stuff and thus have a lot less control - so a 4l80e and an NP241 would have sucked a bit.

Axle gears will help, though. 4.56s are way too long for 40s with most 3/4 speed transmissions. I selected 4.56s when I built the truck because I never expected to go to 40s. They were great with 37s. I have a set of 5.13s in the garage that will go in when I swap to a selectable locker up front. 5.38s would be better in-town but I'd be close to 3000rpm on the highway going 80mph, so I think 5.13s will be just right.

That being said... I'm dealing with the poor 1st gear on-road (not going to win any street races) and offroad I'm sure glad I have the doubler. My crawl ratio comes out to 60.2:1 which is decent for an automatic transmission rig in my opinion. It has a lot of control on obstacles and going to 5.13s gets me a tiny bit more low range (67.8:1) and I think that's where I'll settle, ultimately.

Overall, I like it a lot. It's super stout, never has issues overheating, and there's tons of gearing and drive options. I don't use front dig that often, so in hindsight, I probably should've gone with an Ecobox/NV271 instead - then my crawl ratio would be 83.6:1 with my current axle gears. It's not really worth it for me to change at this point, though - unless I grenade the NP205 which is unlikely.

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Looking good as always! Chromos should treat you well! Hopefully you can do a better job being nice to your ujoints than I've done
What kind of u-joints do you use? You've also got a lower crawl ratio and 42s...

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Also reminding me that winter is cruising by and my truck is out back looking like a snowman instead of getting worked on.
Get out there!
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Old 01-02-2020, 09:33 AM   #1444 (permalink)
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Quick update from yesterday's wheeling trip. The goal was to shakedown @Grohe 's rig, who recently shortened his wheelbase very similarly to mine.

Here's his build thread: https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/chev...0-14b-40s.html



Checking clearances while I waited for him to air down:




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Shortened 17" w/Bed, AAM 14B FF / Grizzly, Dana 60 HP / Chromos, Anti-Wrap Bar
4L80e, EcoBox/205 Doubler, 40" Mickey's, Rock Sliders, Hidden Winch, Hydro Assist

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Old 01-02-2020, 09:35 AM   #1445 (permalink)
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I made it up an obstacle I never had before and so did Grohe, so I was super stoked with the trip. His rig held up perfectly and he has just a few minor issues to address that he already knew about.

Mine held up, but not perfectly .

Sitting low:


Broke the lower leaf spring on the driver side and kept wheeling the easier obstacles. Got back to the parking lot to leave... and the middle one had also broken. So I took it SUPER easy and limped the truck home going 55mph and slowing for all railroad tracks, bridges, and rough spots. Made it safely and took this picture:





So now I'm looking into new rear leaf spring setups and thinking seriously about dropping some coin on custom rear leaves and going back to a tension shackle setup. Lots of research to do now, though. Short term, I'll probably just stab another junkyard set of springs in it.
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Shortened 17" w/Bed, AAM 14B FF / Grizzly, Dana 60 HP / Chromos, Anti-Wrap Bar
4L80e, EcoBox/205 Doubler, 40" Mickey's, Rock Sliders, Hidden Winch, Hydro Assist
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:15 AM   #1446 (permalink)
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What kind of u-joints do you use? You've also got a lower crawl ratio and 42s...
I was running full circle clip SPL-55's up until this last set of wiped shafts, now I'm giving superjoints a try.

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Get out there!
Shammmmmeeeeeeeeee
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Old 01-02-2020, 01:23 PM   #1447 (permalink)
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How did they fail / could you tell how they failed? Were your caps tack welded?

Bggrnchvy mentioned to me that he had caps spinning inside his Yukon chromos and eventually got so loose they started having issues.
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4L80e, EcoBox/205 Doubler, 40" Mickey's, Rock Sliders, Hidden Winch, Hydro Assist
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Old 01-02-2020, 02:51 PM   #1448 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Quick update from yesterday's wheeling trip. The goal was to shakedown @Grohe 's rig, who recently shortened his wheelbase very similarly to mine.

Here's his build thread: https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/chev...0-14b-40s.html



Checking clearances while I waited for him to air down:




None of the google user content pics are showing up?
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Old 01-02-2020, 02:55 PM   #1449 (permalink)
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They never show up for me... updates suck when it's just blackness with a negative sign in the middle...

Nice job on the spring pack derek!
You looking at deaver long travels or something similar? Just curious where you're going after this. I figured links would be next for you though?!?!
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:05 PM   #1450 (permalink)
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None of the google user content pics are showing up?
Try again on that post, I didn't double check in incognito mode. They work for me now.
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2001 Z71 Silverado, Ext. Cab, 5.3L V8 -
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Shortened 17" w/Bed, AAM 14B FF / Grizzly, Dana 60 HP / Chromos, Anti-Wrap Bar
4L80e, EcoBox/205 Doubler, 40" Mickey's, Rock Sliders, Hidden Winch, Hydro Assist
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