5 Fullsize Rigs that Prove Bigger Can Be Better Off-Road
While the Overland trend continues to be at the forefront of the off-road hobby, there’s another area that’s gaining serous momentum. We’re not talking about one particular part of the hobby or even a specific vehicle make. What we are referencing is the popularity of fullsize 4x4s back on the trail. Fullsize is a generality used to encompass any truck or SUV that’s ½-ton or larger.
Vehicles such as the Ford Super Duty, Chevy Suburban, Dodge Ram, and Ford Bronco (fullsize generations of course) all have become a part of the fullsize trend. For those looking to create a larger base camp and casual off-road explorer, the fullsize option has long been a popular choice. The big difference here is that this mix of full-bodied classics and modern tow rigs are now joining the action on more serious trails. Recently, we took at look at some of the main reasons why fullsize rigs have made a comeback (read about it here). In this article, we’re going to look at five outstanding and very different examples of fullsize rigs that are proven winners on the trail.
Taking a Crew Cab, Cummins-powered Ram rock crawling might sound a little crazy, but for Cooper Rasmussen, it's just another adventure behind the wheel of the 2017 Ram 2500 he calls Sledge. While many tow rigs see the occasional dirt road, Sledge pushes the envelope of what a tow rig can (and should) do. It’s fit with a twin-turbo 6.7L Cummins diesel engine, which has been thoroughly gone through by Dynomite Diesel Products.
Putting down over 600hp to the ground, this truck has no problem moving the 40-inch-tall Nitto Trail Grapplers. Of course, 4.88 Nitro Gears in the differentials, along with a fully built BD Diesel 68RFE transmission, helps with that effort. On the bed, a Nemesis Industries rack secures the James Baroud Discover XXL roof-top tent. With an assortment of upgrades from companies such as American Expedition Vehicles, RCV Performance, and PSC Motorsports (to name a few) this truck has the right gear to survive the trail and maintain status as a daily driver. It’s an amazing example of just how far you can push the late-model Ram platform.
What our full video feature on Sledge HERE
When it comes to building hardcore fullsize Chevy and GMC trucks, there’s no name more well-known than Offroad Design. Based out of Carbondale, Colorado, Offroad Design has been turning out some of the toughest off-road products and General Motors vehicles for years. Using events such as King of the Hammers and Ultimate Adventure to hone in its wares, ORD has proven time and time again that there are plenty of capable non-Jeep options for those looking to conquer trails in a domestic platform.
Loosely based on a 1985 Chevy K30, ORD owner Stephen Watson showcased that the classic square body Chevy has plenty to offer in the rocks. Using a Cadillac Escalade sourced L92 V8, TH400, and ORD’s Magnum underdrive box mated to a NP205, the powertrain is a great mix of new and old. With a multilink coilover suspension holding the 1-ton axles in place, the limitations of the original leaf-sprung suspension are long removed. The combination of off-the-shelf parts, wonderfully executed fab work, and well-fitting 40-inch Trail Grapplers makes this Bowtie a posterchild for fullsize potential.
What the full video feature of the K30 HERE
With nearly 300,000 miles on the original engine and trail scars from front to rear, Mel Wade’s 2000 GMC 1/2-ton has the right parts to let this pickup go the distance. From the Baja 1000 to the JL Experience, this solid-axle converted GMC has seen it all. Originally built by Off Road Evolution for Ultimate Adventure, the truck has evolved into a chase truck of sorts for the Wade family.
The high-mileage GMC uses a mix of EVO MFG parts, 1-ton axles, and most recently, moved up to 42-inch-tall Nitto Trail Grapplers. The EVO Z71 (or Chase 12 as the Wade’s often call it) is a great example of taking an incredibly common platform and transforming it into a multipurpose rig. With incredible cage work keeping occupants safe, a custom cantilever bypass setup out back, and a frame chop that took place at the front, not the rear of the bed, there are plenty of small details to uncover on this truck.
Check out our full video feature on it HERE
Part of the draw of the military HMMWV is that they are extremely bare bones. Short for High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle, the HMMWV boasts an impressive 16 inches of ground clearance. While something so stripped down may scare many away, for Joey Osborne, the ’92 HMMWV was the perfect blank canvas to create something beyond your run-of-the-mill wheeling machine. Using Predator Motorsports to install the modern Duramax powerplant and assortment of bolt-on upgrades, the vehicle was then moved to Vice Unlimited.
There, it would receive a variety of armor, body, and interior upgrades that would bring this war machine into the future. While most of these rigs were originally paired with 36-inch-tall treads, this one got a bump up to 40s. Though they are becoming a bit scarcer, HMMWV’s and even H1 Hummers have gained serious popularity and aftermarket support over the past few years.
Read more about the Ultimate HMMWV HERE
Before moving to the J2000 you see here, Harris Wells owned a heavily modified Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon JK. While the JK had taken him everywhere he wanted to go, it was something that he felt he had to be more cautious with on the trail. Once he sold the JK, he was looking for a rig that could fill the 4x4 void in his life, but also double as a useful work truck around the house. That’s where the 1973 classic Jeep pickup comes into the picture.
Dubbed Thunder Truck, this build would take its fair share of serious upgrades (new axles, coilover suspension, custom bumpers, and so on). Even with the new parts, it would still be a fraction of the investment of the JK. With the help of Godde Welding out of Rosamond, California, Harris was able to breathe new life into a classic fullsize Jeep. Sure, now that the Gladiator is out, Jeep trucks on 37’s are commonplace. However, it still doesn’t take away from this classic iron on Ridge Grapplers.
What our full video feature on the J2000 HERE
More From Driving Line
- Need more fullsize trail action? Check out this Rock Crawling Ram!