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TrailTestedMFG 02-15-2017 04:52 PM

1969 Wagoneer - Built for Adventure
We rescued this 1969 Wagoneer from a ranch, where it had been sitting covered in weeds for many years. We knew it had potential but we weren't sure what we wanted to do with it. Our co-owner Courtney had been wanting to do the 2017 Rebelle Rally and realized it had potential to become the perfect dual sport adventure rig. A few days later a plan was a made and a team was formed! Courtney will be teaming up with Martha Tansy, an established fabricator from Alaska to complete the build and participate in the Rebelle Rally with. The Rebelle Rally is the United State's first women's only rally raid, which starts in Lake Tahoe, NV and ends 7 days later in San Diego, CA. This thread will be about the build, but if you are interested in learning more or supporting these awesome ladies you can check them out on Facebook or on their website.

As the Waggy sits it has no motor and minimal structural rust, making it the perfect base for our build. We have already picked up a 6.0 Vortec V8 out of a 2010 Suburban with a 6L90E transmission. We will be ditching the transfer case that came with the motor as Advance Adapters came on board as our first sponsor and will be hooking us up with an Atlas 2 speed! The rest of the build is still being determined as we acquire sponsors, but here is a rough plan.

- Custom Frame
- One Ton Axles
- Coilovers
- Four Link Rear
- Three Link Front w/ Track Bar
- Roll Cage
- 35" Tires
- Custom Bumpers
- Fully Updated Interior

Fabrication should begin in the next few weeks and we will update the thread as we go!

TrailTestedMFG 02-16-2017 12:46 PM

First step of of the build was to clean it out! The interior was covered in several inches of rat poop and the rats had been living in the headliner. We completely stripped the interior, scrubbed it really well and were pleasantly surprised to find almost no rust. The floor is in great shape! I removed the rust from the chrome with some tin foil and diet coke to get it looking better for pictures.

bkilby 02-17-2017 08:25 AM

That's going to be a great project. Can't wait to see what you come up with on the suspension etc. :thumbsup:

Heavy_Metal_Thunder_81 02-17-2017 11:36 PM

Hey, I saw that on Dirt Every Day Extra! Looking forward to seeing this thing GO! :thumbsup: :drivin: :fsj:

TrailTestedMFG 02-20-2017 05:20 PM

We are back from a week in the desert for King of the Hammers and the build should begin this week. I'll post up pics as we remove the body and start building the new frame. In the mean time, here's a link to the first episode of a series we will be making to document the build.

You can also see more about the build on a recent episode of Dirt Every Day Extra!

EKWagoneer 02-20-2017 06:26 PM

Looks to be an interesting project! The 6.0 is a great motor, and you can't beat GM for parts availability and aftermarket support. Easy to upgrade without sacrificing reliability.
Look forward to progress, and good luck at the rally!


TrailTestedMFG 02-21-2017 10:39 PM

We spent this afternoon removing the body from the frame. Aside from a few seized bolts it went fairly quickly.

The frame was in much better shape than we had anticipated so we decided to use it instead of building a new one. We pulled the trans/tcase, cut out the old exhaust and removed both the factory and auxillary fuel tanks. We will finish cutting off the remaining factory brackets and take it to get sandblasted tomorrow.

Strode 02-22-2017 06:07 AM

Don't booger up that grille! It looks about perfect, which is rare. Keep posting :)

mud89 03-03-2017 01:57 AM

Great project, do you still have the yellow sticker with the VIN and the production date ?

TrailTestedMFG 03-14-2017 05:08 PM


Originally Posted by mud89
Great project, do you still have the yellow sticker with the VIN and the production date ?

I believe so! Is there something on there we should be interested in?

TrailTestedMFG 03-14-2017 05:13 PM

Martha was in town last week so we spent a day boxing the frame in and reinforcing anywhere that had numerous holes. When I have a chance I'll upload all of the pics. In the meantime, here's a video the ladies just released.

Link to Youtube Video

mud89 03-15-2017 03:00 AM


Originally Posted by TrailTestedMFG
I believe so! Is there something on there we should be interested in?

If you have it, it's actually an early '70 (model year)
I am interested by dates and figures :D

Jeeper555 03-16-2017 03:17 PM

Subscribing to this beautiful project! Enjoy

TrailTestedMFG 05-25-2017 02:06 PM

As parts start to arrive the build is picking up momentum quickly! Last week we picked up the axles from New Image Automotive down in El Monte, CA. We will be running a Chevy Kingpin Dana 60 in the front and a 14 bolt in the rear. Step one was to cut off all existing brackets (luckily there weren't that many). The gears in both axles match (4.10) and since we are only going to be running 35s (for now ;) ) and a 3.8 Atlas we decided there wasn't a need to regear.

As we wait for our suspension parts to arrive from Ruffstuff we started working on mounting the motor. The L96 fits very nicely inside the engine bay so the mounting process went fairly quickly. We started by making the mounts on the motor side.

Then we designed the frame side mount, which is also a removable cross-member. It was important to make it removable because the motor drops out from the bottom A LOT easier than trying to take it out the top.

For now the transmission is just held up with a piece of angle iron. We will build the transmission cross-member after we are able to check for driveshaft/exhaust clearance.

Next up is suspension! We have the axles sitting underneath the Jeep and once the parts show up we will get to work. We will be running 35s for the Rebelle Rally, but we are setting up the suspension so that a 37 will fit in the future.

bkilby 05-28-2017 03:06 PM

Nice work! Are those shackle bolts you're using to hold the cross member to the weld on brackets? :D

TrailTestedMFG 06-12-2017 01:50 PM


Originally Posted by bkilby
Nice work! Are those shackle bolts you're using to hold the cross member to the weld on brackets? :D

Good eye! We had a set laying around that were convenient for mock up. They will get replaced with grade 8 when we reassemble after paint.

TrailTestedMFG 06-12-2017 02:09 PM

While we waited for suspension components to arrive we got to work on the cage. The goal for this cage was to add strength in the event of a rollover, while keeping plenty of headroom for the helmets we are required to wear during the Rebelle. We started by building the A, B and D pillars. The cage will solid mount to the frame so we used a hole saw to put slightly oversized holes in the floor. We then removed each side, fully welded each node and painted the back side that will be up against the body. We then placed them back in and held them up with ratchet straps.

Next we did all of the overhead bracing, lowered the cage through the floor, fully welded all nodes and painted the top. In an attempt to minimize potential over spray we rolled on the paint. For the paint we used Rustoleum Hammered in Dark Bronze with an added hardener. We had never rolled on the Rustoleum Hammered before but it actually worked really well.

Now that the top portion of the cage was complete it was time to insert the headliner. We have never done any sort of upholstery work before so bear with us! The original headliner was eaten to pieces by rats so we had to start from scratch. We started by lining the roof with Reflectix, which is basically a foil covered bubble wrap. We wire wheeled all rust of the roof, primed it with rusty metal primer and stuck it up with 3M heavy duty spray adhesive.

For the headliner board we started with a piece of corrugated plastic board. One sheet was not wide enough so we had to piece two together. To form the two bends that the roof makes we slit partially through the board. Once we were pleased with fitment we covered it in headliner fabric, using their recommended headliner spray adhesive.

Once the headliner was cured we placed it up on the roof and raised the cage into place. The cage fits tight enough to the roof that we did not need to fasten up the headliner anywhere except the back section. We placed a piece of plastic sheeting in between to hopefully keep the headliner clean until the build is done.

We will finish the remainder of the internal lacing once we have seats (dash bar, windshield spreaders, harness bars, seat mounts, etc).

TrailTestedMFG 06-20-2017 09:50 PM

We got about as far as we were comfortable on the cage without having seats to work with and without knowing if the wheel well was going to need to open up so we decided to switch gears and work on the suspension.

In order to get suspension geometry we were happy with we needed to go to a double trianglulated 4 link and get a little creative with the frame side of the lowers. We decided that for this build optimizing the suspension geometry was going to be more important than squeezing every inch of ground clearance out of the belly, so we fabricated a sort of sub frame cross member that will double as a mount for the belly skid.

The center portion will get boxed once we can asses driveshaft clearance at full droop. Next we sleeved one of the dimple died holes in the frame boxing to provide a solid place for a RuffStuff 3 legged link bracket.

Time to move on to the axle side! Courtney made quick work of the RuffStuff axle truss.

We are also using the RuffStuff truss extensions and their upper link bracket. Boone says this stuff looks BEEFY.

In order to get the roll axis numbers down we had to move the lower axle side brackets (again provided by RuffStuff) about an inch above axle center line. Yes it will put more force on the joints and more leverage on the brackets. Thanks to RuffStuff 1.25 heims and beefy brackets all around, we aren't worried about it.

Now to the fun part. We are trying to keep the interior of this thing as usable as possible, which means no shocks through the floor. Enter the cantilever. I got lots of tech info and inspiration for these from Pirate4x4.

First up was to fab the bell crank:

Next up was the frame side brackets:

Then we added some plate work and extended it backwards on the frame to where the shocks will eventually mount.

Motion ratio at bump: 1.2:1
Motion ratio at droop: 1.6:1
Shock travel: 10"
Axle travel: 14"

The cantilever will pivot on a 3500# trailer spindle with a custom made hub using high strength bronze bushings. There will be a cross member connecting the two spindles together. More on that in a future post.

Shocks are Fox 2.5 Performance Series remote resi from Accutune Offroad. Huge shout out the Ryan and the team at Accutune for their awesome customer service. Give these guys a call for all your shock needs. Up travel will be controlled by Fox 2.0 2.5 stroke bump stops also from Accutune.

bkilby 10-15-2017 05:41 PM

I see the Rebelle Ralley is under way, did you guys get this Jeep built in time?

JPSwapMohn 03-17-2018 11:46 PM

What became of this? I was looking forward to seeing the interior complete. I like what you did with the roll cage. I have been trying to figure out how to minimize encroachment into the cabin area, but have a cage. The oval DOM might be the ticket.

Please don't leave us hanging!

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