Full Size Overland Rigs

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JimBill

Rank IV
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Contributor III

1,097
Tres Pinos, CA
First Name
James
Last Name
Madison
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18747

Previous full size rigs include a 76 Blazer, 76 Cherokee, 99 Silverado, and 2003 Silverado. All have been daily drivers and "hunting rigs" spending a lot of time in the national forests hunting and camping. Currently my daily driver/family adventurer is a 2001 Tahoe. I bought it used with about 117k on it. Included were the G80 locker, full skid plate package, and front tow hooks, so I had something to work with. The mods made are as follows: Replaced 20 inch rims with factory 17s and 265-75 all terrains, replaced front torsion bar setup with coil overs from Atomic Fabrication, removed air ride/autolevel system and replaced rear springs with heavy duty coils and Bilstein shocks, removed plastic running boards, and after dragging the stock hitch receiver, cut it up and put it back together with the receiver 3 1/2 inches higher and hugging the bottom of the bumper, and trimmed the front plastic air dam up about 2 inches.

The height sits about like a cranked up Z71 truck from the same vintage, but with the coil overs in the front it rides like a Tahoe should. The vehicle is very capable. For example, in 2018 with full load for a 10 day trip, it made it up Goler Wash and Mengel Pass no problem. It is pretty good to go, other than I wish someone made rock sliders for it and I need to fab a front radiator skid. I enjoy all the room. My tools, air pump, recovery gear, etc fits under the rear seats and with the third row seat mounts I can secure gear easily and secure my high lift with J hooks.

Run what ya brung, just get out and enjoy!
Tahoe Now.jpgFront Trim.jpgSpring Overs.jpgHigh Lift Kit.jpgHitch Receiver.jpgUnder Seat Room.jpgBallarat.JPG
 

JCWages

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Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
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18693

For those of you on HD chassis, how do you soften up the ride off-road besides airing down? I'm talking about Suburbans, F250/F350 type vehicles.

On our recent OB trail run we had a couple of members that suffered from a really harsh ride on the rocky trail and I was at a loss when trying to figure out how to make their families more comfortable.

My thoughts:
1. Air down more. With strong off-road tires and slow speed mild terrain 15psi should be ok.
2. Disconnect the front sway bar.
3. Buy better shocks with adjustable compression and better springs with a rate that matches your use.
 

MidOH

Rank IV

Enthusiast III

1,135
Mid Ohio
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John
Last Name
Clark
Ham Callsign
YourHighness
Air down with the smallest wheels, biggest tires, possible. Consider wheels too narrow for recommend street use, of off road tires as well.
Disco the sway bars.

Get the firmest stiffest shocks available. ''But waa, makes ride stiffer.'' Then you can reduce spring rate. Coils are cheap up front, Deavers in the rear.....not so much.

You have to soak up bumps, and have very limited travel to do so. Cheap way, is stiff progressive springs and worthless shocks. Expensive way, is $1000+ a piece shocks and correct softer springs. Obviously stiff rear springs for towing/hauling mess that up. You'll need extremely firm reboumd in the rear to compensate for it.

Comp adjusters are near useless. Bypass shocks don't work effectively on pickups due to such low amounts of travel and the heavy weight chassis. Get the biggest Kings that you can afford, and the tools to valve them yourself. Accutune, and Filthy Motorsports can get you really close though.

Consider mild lifts that increase suspension travel a hair.

Consider softer bump stops.
 
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RoarinRow

Rank V
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Enthusiast III

1,721
Elk Grove, CA, USA
First Name
Rolando
Last Name
Nispiros
Member #

17011

For those of you on HD chassis, how do you soften up the ride off-road besides airing down? I'm talking about Suburbans, F250/F350 type vehicles.

On our recent OB trail run we had a couple of members that suffered from a really harsh ride on the rocky trail and I was at a loss when trying to figure out how to make their families more comfortable.

My thoughts:
1. Air down more. With strong off-road tires and slow speed mild terrain 15psi should be ok.
2. Disconnect the front sway bar.
3. Buy better shocks with adjustable compression and better springs with a rate that matches your use.
I definitely could have air down more. When we first air down, I went from about 50psi to 40psi. Probably first mistake right there. Then after camp fire talk with Mike, he recommended going down further. Next morning I went down to 28psi all around. Second mistake was air down when tires where cold. At the end of the ride psi was up around 35psi.

The roads were rocky with a lot of dips, ruts, and stuff that was hard to avoid. When there were not so many rocks, the truck performed as expected.

For shocks, the ones I have a brand spanking new. They are Pro Comp Prerunner Extreme shocks. They are not adjustable, but I never heard or felt them bottom out during the ride.

For the sway bar, I'm actually non-technical/mechanical so disconnecting would scare the heck out of me lol.

I could maybe lessen the load in the back. Half of the stuff back there was not used because our sleeping arrangement changed due to the colder weather.

I probably just need to get out there more often to improve my driving/overlanding skills. It's probably at this point, not the truck, but the driver.
 
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JimBill

Rank IV
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Contributor III

1,097
Tres Pinos, CA
First Name
James
Last Name
Madison
Member #

18747

Switching the torsion bars in front, especially if they are keyed and cranked, for adjustable coil overs in front and Billstien 5100's in back made all the difference in my Tahoe. Also airing down to about 22 psi (lower if you can give up the ground clearance) drastically helps. Serious miles of Death Valley washboard on a 10 day trip were no issue in the Tahoe. All others on the trip were so happy to make camp ever day and get out of Their Jeeps. I'd just loosen up or stiffen up the fronts depending on the terrain that day.
 

RoarinRow

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Enthusiast III

1,721
Elk Grove, CA, USA
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Rolando
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Nispiros
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17011

Cummins_Overland

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Contributor I

233
Fairfield, CA, USA
First Name
Bradley
Last Name
Davidson
Member #

17660

Nice rig. I am looking at hitch tire carriers. Which one do you have?
Mines is actually some what custom, it was originally designed for the US Military HMMWV's did some minor fab work so it would work on my truck. But there was one I that I was looking at if I wasn't able to get the hmmwv tire carrier to work. Check out the Wilco Offroad tire Carrier
 

Cummins_Overland

Rank I
Member

Contributor I

233
Fairfield, CA, USA
First Name
Bradley
Last Name
Davidson
Member #

17660

For those of you on HD chassis, how do you soften up the ride off-road besides airing down? I'm talking about Suburbans, F250/F350 type vehicles.

On our recent OB trail run we had a couple of members that suffered from a really harsh ride on the rocky trail and I was at a loss when trying to figure out how to make their families more comfortable.

My thoughts:
1. Air down more. With strong off-road tires and slow speed mild terrain 15psi should be ok.
2. Disconnect the front sway bar.
3. Buy better shocks with adjustable compression and better springs with a rate that matches your use.
You pretty much hit the nail on the head, although the last run we did I aired down to only 35 psi. I also have a torsion sway bar as opposed to disconnecting sway bar end links, the sway bar alone night and day difference . And without a doubt a good suspension set up, the heavy duty trucks ride like dump trucks off road when they're stock have to remember the original intent tow and haul a lot of weight. Figure out what route you want to go with the sway bar and good suspension and you'll be fine.
 

Charles M

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Enthusiast I

1,547
Sparks, NV, USA
First Name
Charles
Member #

17640

Mines is actually some what custom, it was originally designed for the US Military HMMWV's did some minor fab work so it would work on my truck. But there was one I that I was looking at if I wasn't able to get the hmmwv tire carrier to work. Check out the Wilco Offroad tire Carrier
I have been using a Wilco for about 2 years there have been no problems carrying my 35's I am working on making / mounting a fold out table for cooking.
 
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RoarinRow

Rank V
Member

Enthusiast III

1,721
Elk Grove, CA, USA
First Name
Rolando
Last Name
Nispiros
Member #

17011

Mines is actually some what custom, it was originally designed for the US Military HMMWV's did some minor fab work so it would work on my truck. But there was one I that I was looking at if I wasn't able to get the hmmwv tire carrier to work. Check out the Wilco Offroad tire Carrier
Yup the Wilco is the one I ordered. Not sure when it will be shipped. I need my truck bed space back.
 
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