Ok, looks like Round 7 of modification is happening. For the past two years JeepM715 and I have been racing an 88 Grand Wagoneer in the TREC C-class (stock) down at the Badlands. We have both become far more addicted than we ever thought when AlumCJ talked us into building something to race.
As the season was coming to a close, we decided we had pushed the Wagoneer as far as we wanted and started talking about building a new rig. After a few false starts, I talked JeepM715 into redoing my Wrangler. Hell, it's only been redone something like 6 times, what's one more?
Before making the jump, we poured over the current rules and competitor cars, as well as looking at the new Ultra4 Modified class rules. The TREC-B and Ultra4 Mode rules have a lot of overlap, and we think we can build a reasonable car that should allow us to race in either class. As 2012 schedules come out, it looks like we could possibly run TREC, the Ultra4 Regional series, and DirtRiot races as they've managed to not step on each others toes.
Big things we gotta address
1. I need more stock frame. Over the years I've chopped and rechopped my frame until there's maybe 1/3 of the original left. To fit U4mod, we need at least from engine mounts to behind the seats.
2. U4mod says no hydro steering.
3. I love manual transmissions, and even when going V8 I kept my manual. But after racing, I have been converted to wanting an auto trans, but with a manual shift kit. I also like my 4.7 V8; sure it was in the list of Top 10 dumbest engine swaps in JP magazine, but that engine revs like crazy and is fun for bumping ledges. But it's also more expensive than GM parts to upgrade.
4. Airshocks are great for trail riding, but we need more shock. One thing we learned in C-class with our V8 was that it was fun when you could use it, but with 10" travel shocks the time for WOT was limited. The desire to go faster is why we are in this mess. Sad part is U4mod limits to 14" travel; but that's a world of difference over 10".
5. Tires. U4mod allows DOT 37", TREC-B limits to 35". We'll wait until closer to the season start to buy some new tires, but the 39" iroks will be retired.
6. Safety. Hey, at least it made the top 10. Getting hurt sucks.
So here's where it started. My mostly completed dovetailed TJ. We were mid-project on the back end when I drove it to the barn 2 years ago and we moved on to the C-class Wag. Since then the TJ has been largely neglected, and it always made me sad when I walked in the barn. I hate seeing sad jeeps.
Here it was down at the Badlands before we put the rear corners on.