This past week BDS suspension was fortunate enough get involved on the Week O Wheeling (WOW, for short) event put on by Moab Offroad of Louisville, Kentucky. This year marked Max, the owner of Moab Offroad’s 10th annual WOW event, and it really showed in his awesome selection of trails and crazy surprises randomly thrown in when you would least expect it! The event has an Ultimate Adventure feel to it with a “run what you brung” mentality to build a rig wheel your rig, fix your rig if it breaks and drive to the next stop on the week long adventure. Moab Offroad has been a BDS distributor for year’s and this year we teamed up as title sponsor for the event to bring a video of all the action to you in conjunction with Zero to 60 Media.
The event started Saturday morning at Chinquipin Off Road Park in Tennessee and started are Adirondack adventure from there. 15 brave trucks followed or fearless leader and host, Max Dollinger blindly into the wilds of Kentucky and Tennessee embarking on a weeklong event of 4 wheeling and camping out of our rigs. Here is a small sampling of photos from the week and check out online for more from everyone else as they get around to uploading all their photos. Zero to 60 Media will have video available soon along with the photos already posted at MOABWOW15 album. See the other posts on Facebook and Instagram at hashtag #moabwow15.
BDS’s Carter and Dave are back with an update on Project KJ, our 2005 Jeep Liberty CRD getting prepped for the 2014 Ultimate Adventure. This week we received JE Reel driveshafts, and ARB twin air compressor, 40×13.50×17 Nitto Trail Grapplers, installed the Ox diff cover, fresh graphics and started fabbing up a new set of rock sliders. Follow along with the UA prep and this year’s trip on BDS’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Blog. 2014 Ultimate Adventure runs June 28 – July 5.
To see the video of this KJ in action on last year’s Ultimate Adventure, head to UA2013 Video
BDS Suspension is the official suspension of the 2014 Ultimate Adventure (UA), a week long, 1000+ mile offroad trail ride/back road journey hosted by 4Wheel & Offroad Magazine each year. We’ve been lucky enough to sponsor the event over the years, wheeling all corners of this great country building the type of friendships one can only make after 7 days spent without showers out 4wheeling, camping, and wrenching together. With roughly 25 vehicles in attendance, one perk of sponsoring the trip is one of the coveted spots to bring a trail rig to drive. Attendees include the event sponsors, magazine reps, camera crew and a half dozen hand-picked magazine readers in everything from JKs to flattys, Scouts to Blazers, PowerWagons and Tacos. Representing BDS this year we’ll have Dave Devormer from our engineering department and myself, Carter Reed from the marketing department taking on the UA in a 2005 Jeep Liberty Diesel.
In the past we brought a budget built TJ to prove it could be done. With a BDS 6.5” Long Arm, stock Dana30/44 axles, 5.13 gears, lockers, 37” tires, body armor and a winch we completed not one, but two UA’s. Last year we made the decision to retire the old TJ and build something new. After mulling over a few concepts, the idea prevailed was to transform the most universally disliked Jeep 4×4 and turn it into something cool and capable. At the top of a short list we had the Liberty KJ, successor to the Cherokee XJ and perceived flop due to its IFS, goofy design and soccer mom appeal. For 2 years however (2005-2006), Jeep offered the KJ with a torquey 2.8L common rail diesel (CRD) putting out 160hp/295tq. We picked up one with around 200,000 miles on the odometer for $5000 and within a few weeks the BDS R&D team turned it into a low slung, caged, solid axle’d diesel crawler on 40s.
Project KJ, as it was dubbed, debuted at the 2013 Ultimate Adventure. At the time we had yet to work the bugs out or even complete a test drive longer than around our parking lot. Due to a few electrical gremlins, a few mechanical failures, and some plain old bad luck Project KJ was down and out for parts of the adventure. It received Mcgyver-style fixes to get us caught up with the rest of the group only to have another issue creep up farther down the road. As some have described it “the alternate adventure” was a long and painful trip and we had a blast regardless. Since the trip, the BDS R&D team has dug into the Liberty to work out the bugs and get it running at its best. Over the last year its been 4wheeled out in Utah at Easter Jeep, Michigan’s Rocks & Valleys and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes along with Pennsylvania’s Outback Adventure among others; all the while picking up battle scars to prove its not just a mall crawler.
With the 2014 Ultimate Adventure less than a month away, BDS has the KJ back in the shop as it prepares to redeem itself on this year’s trip (wherever that may be). There’s a fairly long list of updates to the rig, replacement parts, spare parts, adjustments and repairs. Stay tuned as we continue to prep Project KJ for the 2014 Ultimate Adventure and watch us on Facebook and Instagram June 27th-July 5th for daily updates from the trip. #UA2014 will keep you informed.
It seems to be tradition now. Each Spring thousands of Jeepers make the journey from around the country and beyond to converge on the quiet town of Moab, UT for a weeklong event that combines trail rides, parties, a 2-day vendor show and raffling off of more than $250,000 in aftermarket goodies. With daily trail rides and events every night, Easter Jeep Safari has become a bucket list event, that thousands check off each year again and again.
BDS Suspension made the trip out to run trails, test new products and chat with customers at the 2-day vendor show. With the rigs loaded BDS made the long haul from Michigan to the red rocks of Moab, UT with Project Slate our 2013 Ram 3500 Diesel, Project KJ, our 2005 Liberty CRD, and the BDS Ram 2500 Diesel. The week in Moab was amazing. From catching up with old friends and making new ones out on the trail, EJS continues to be an amazing event bringing together OEs and aftermarket manufacturers, media reps and Jeep enthusiasts. The event is organized and hosted by the Red Rock 4Wheelers and continues to grow in size each year. BDS has been attending for 5 years now and every year the event seems to get better. While the terrain may not change much from year to year, the numerous trails and countless miles of off-pavement paradise is just what you need to break the cold coming out of a long winter like this past one. We met up with companies and customers alike to run Poison Spider, Behind the Rocks, Hell Revenge, 7Mile Rim, Gold Bar Rim, Steel Bender, Area BFE and a few other trails by day and held a weeklong free pint special at the Moab Brewery to entertain by night.
The BDS crew went hard all week long, on vendor trail rides, the annual Crawl Mag Reader’s Ride, several photoshoots, the annual Fullsize Invasion in the BDS Ram 2500, and a 2-day vendor show where we had a chance to talk with Jeepers and see many of our customers. Following the show we hit the road for Florida with only 3 days to make it for the start of Jeep Beach. Check out some of the photos from out week in Moab and follow along on social media sites for daily updates from events.
Easter Jeep Safari continues to impress each year. With next year marking the 50th Anniversary you can bet the Red Rock 4Wheelers have big plans for the event. BDS is excited to make it back next year and hope to see you there. For more on the event and to keep up with plans head to Red Rock 4Wheelers.
This past weekend BDS hit the highway for a short 3 hour trip up north for the snowy 4wheeling adventure known as SnoFari. With Project KJ in tow, we took our 2013 Ram 3500 dubbed Project Slate up for a weekend of wheeling in the snow cloaked trails around West Branch, MI. Hosted by the Soldiers of Fortune Offroad Club (SoFo) SnoFari brings out roughly 80 rigs for 2 days and nights in the powdery white stuff. This marking the 8th annual event was on the snowier side with plenty of accumulation this winter in Michigan and several inches of fresh powder and single digit temps all weekend long.
BDS hit the trails in our ’05 Liberty CRD and took turns carving a path through the 12-30” snow drifts out on the trail. We had a blast wheeling with the group, catching up with old friends and making new ones along the way. Following the Saturday trail day we came inside to thaw out at the banquet, serving up a great spread of food to grub out on, raffle off sponsor donations and hand out the SoFo trail awards. We were honored this year to take home the “So Bling” award for turning our mall crawler KJ into the super cool crawler it is today.
We appreciate everyone’s hospitality and look forward to next year’s SnoFari. Check out the links below for more photos from SnoFari 2014 and to keep up with the planning for 2015 head over to GreatLakes4x4.com
Many of you have followed along as Project KJ took shape over the last year. What started as a 2nd hand bone stock ’05 Jeep Liberty CRD was transformed last Spring into the unique low slung solid axled Liberty rolling 40s that you see today. We documented every step of the build with photos, videos, and weekly writeups as the BDS R&D team prepped it for a shakedown run on the 7-day, 1000+ mile offroad roadtrip known as Ultimate Adventure. Following that trip, bugs were worked out and its been out wheeling and promoting at shows around the country. During one weekend at nearby Rocks & Valleys Offroad Park in Harrison, MI we met up with John Herrick from Crawl Magazine who jumped at the chance to shoot the Liberty. Along the way John “crawled” behind the wheel (cheesy, I know) of the Liberty CRD for what ended up being the better half of an afternoon spent weaving through the trails and getting a feel for how a KJ on 40s handles. In John’s words “they almost had to pry me out of it. You certainly don’t think you’re in a first gen Liberty when running this rig. I exited with my man-card still in my wallet”.
Out on the newstands January-February 2014, Issue No.44 of Crawl Magazine has 8-pages of ink on Project KJ in an article titled “40s on a Mall Crawler: How a Jeep grew up”. That article has plenty of shots of the KJ in action and tells about John’s experience behind the wheel of the mighty little coal roller. Pick up your copy and read all about the KJ and other great stories, tech and features in the magazine.