For every Ultimate Adventure in the last 22 years, assuming time permits, we, the staff of Ultimate Adventure, have built or supervised the construction of an official Ultimate Adventure vehicle. Many iconic and cool vehicles were built for the event, including seven Jeep vehicles, ranging from a 1952 M38A1 (The Ultimate A1) to a 2012 Jeep JK (The Ultimate JK), three Toyotas (an FJ Cruiser, a Tacoma , and a Tundra), three GM-based versions (two Chevy and a GMC), three Ford trucks (two Super Duty and an F-150 with IFS), a 1990 Dodge Airport Tug, a Land Rover Range Rover Classic and an International Harvester Scout 80, for a total of 19 vehicles built (and one rebuilt) for the event. Sure, there are brands we’ve overlooked, but not intentionally, and there’s always room for more Ultimate Adventure Trucks.
The most recent build was on a 2006 Toyota Tundra known as the Ultimate Shop Truck. We’ve covered its 10-part build on FourWheeler.com, with the easiest access to all of the articles coming from the Ultimate Adventure landing page. The truck began its journey to Ultimate Adventuredom as a total 2WD, four-door V-8 Tundra, and over the course of 10 weeks it was integrated into what turned out to be a machine. killing southeast slickrock trails. Here are some final details on the build, how the truck handled during the trip and how it sits today.
Last minute additions: Tuffy storage and Dometic freezer/fridge
In Part 10 of the Ultimate Shop Truck build coverage, we talked about some of the final fabrications (exhaust), paint and bodywork the truck received before the Ultimate Adventure 2022 started, but the truth is that these items, while near the end of the build checklist, were not the last major upgrades we made to the truck. That accolade went to two items we added for utility and comfort during travel. The first, a Tuffy Box for the rear of CJ, YJ and TJ Jeeps, was intended to be used for general storage of tools, camping gear, salvage gear, fluids, spare parts, and its cavernous space makes it a great place to durably put the items needed for that trip, or any trip to come.
The next item we installed – and probably the last upgrade we made to the Tundra before Ultimate Adventure – was a set of tie-down brackets for our Dometic CFX3 45 freezer/fridge. This was a huge upgrade of the user-friendliness of the Tundra, with a storage capacity of 46 liters and the same footprint as the CFX3 35. That means high-performance cooling in a small space, and our impression of the unit on this trip (as well as on Four Wheeler’s Overland Adventure) was that Dometic is at the top of quality and reliability. This freezer/refrigerator reminds us of older units that were built like tanks and just a hard job. This unit has metal handles on cast aluminum brackets and all metal hinges for the lid. This is not a cheap replaceable fridge, but rather a freezer/fridge that will last for decades. Tapping on the side gives a solid thump rather than a hollow plastic tap. Sure, you can buy a lot of bags of ice before spending that kind of money on a freezer/fridge, but it adds up quickly, especially when you factor in the cost of modern non-disposable coolers, and that’s really nice not having to worry about getting ice or water draining on day 7 of an off-road trip like this.
How did the truck perform on Ultimate Adventure 2022?
Well the short answer to that question is that the truck handled amazingly well during the trip which proves that you don’t need a whole new engine or boxed axles or shock absorbers with coil springs and a link suspension to build a reliable, comfortable, and capable Ultimate Adventure platform. The long answer is only marginally longer – as we said, the truck did better than we had hoped, delivering decent fuel economy during the trip and conquering nearly every tough obstacle we set our sights on.
Of course, due to driver error, the body now has a bit more “credence on the trails”, but it was to be expected that pushing a long, tall and wide full-size truck on some pretty tough Jeep trails. The truck ended up being pulled by a Bubba Rope or Warn Winch about three times during the trip. Two of them were on mostly flat terrain where the driver was totally at fault, and one was on a huge ledge at Windrock OHV (check out the UA videos on MotorTrend’s YouTube channel to see footage). The rest of the time the truck only had a few steering issues, which weren’t from faulty parts, but from the unexpected loosening of the bolt holding the PSC steering cylinder to the Chris Durham Motorsports tie rod clamp. It ended with an easy trail solution. The other steering issues came from some bent tie rod ends after the aforementioned Chris Durham Motorsports tie rod was repeatedly beaten against rocks on the track. The only other issue, also caused by the driver, was a twisted and bent rear driveshaft, after said shaft was abused and beaten against rocks for a few days, and spun at high speed while driving down the highway.
After putting 2000 miles on the truck, what would we change?
Honestly, we wouldn’t change much on the truck. It’s incredibly comfortable, roomy, rolls down the road like a lightly modified truck, and is surprisingly capable on the trail (we sure wish there were more footage of this one slaying the slickrock trails at Windrock and Hawk Pride, but there can only be so many cameras in front of the group). From UA, we ran the truck on some relatively smooth Arizona trails and found that the front axle seems to move sideways a bit. That’s probably because the leaf springs allow some movement and the downright rowdy PSC steering system nudges it from side to side. A track bar can be useful to help eliminate some of this axle motion and help resist steering forces. Also, the truck needs a more modern radio. The factory radio works inside the comfy cabin, but with no Bluetooth or input jack, it just looks old and dated. Hell, a new bridge with Bluetooth, a backup camera would be awesome. As with any new build, there are tweaks and improvements to be made, but the truck is damn good at doing what it’s supposed to. We’ll probably keep it around for a while and keep adding on-road and off-road miles.
Ultimate Adventure 2022 Coverage!
Ultimate Adventure 2022, presented by Rugged Ridge, will take place the last week of September, so be sure to keep an eye on this website for daily event updates released from September 25 through October 2, event coverage in the pages of Four wheelsand, of course, the Ultimate Adventure videos on MotorTrend’s YouTube page in early December.