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Old 05-31-2009, 10:20 AM   #1
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"PROJECT XXX" 4X4 Cross Race X-90 build

Spring 2009 Project:

"Project XXX"

UWHARRIE 4X4 Cross Here We Come!


A few days ago I got a good deal on a 1996 4wd Suzuki X-90 which ran great, but the body was mashed in from a pretty bad front end collision, the headlights were held in with plumbers strapping, and the frame was bent. As any true Suzuki enthusiast would want to do I really wanted to restore it, well until I took a good look at all the rust and the cost to actually buy al the parts to fix a bent up rust bucket ..... so the next thought was that I could race it at the Uwharrie 4X4 Cross Off-Road race which was coming up in about a week: 4x4crossracing.com
The first question people seemed to ask when I told them about racing the X-90 was "WHY?" Well, the power to weight ratio was a good start and these little two-seater SUV's (It actually says "SUV" on the title otherwise I would have to call it a 4wd car) weigh only 2650 pounds and have a 1.6 16 valve motor in them so the power to weight ratio is really good. This one actually has only 103,000 miles on it and has the 4-speed (3-speed + overdrive) and 4.62 front and rear differential gears and it really goes 0-60 fast on the road .... even with the auto transmission. Honestly, I would have preferred a 5-speed for racing, but I intended to take what I had and planned to make it work.


I pulled her into the garage rolled down the power windows and pulled off the T-top's ........she is just soooo cute ....But not for long! First went the front bumper and then the radiator support had to be pulled out about 6 inches then it was apparent that the front of the frame was a little tweaked The front cross-member was straightened and reinforced and then she was put up on jack stands and the real work started. How do you fit 30" - 31" tires under and X-90 with tiny little wheel wells? Well it starts with a 2" suspension lift using coil springs from a 2000 4-door Suzuki Vitara. The old X-90 coils were dwarfed by the Vitara coils and a strut mount flip had to be done for the struts to even reach the strut tower mounts again. While I was in there I removed the front and rear 4.63 3rd members and replaced the front with an open 5.83 front and a spooled (always locked) rear 5.83 3rd member. This would over gear the little Suzuki so it would be able to keep up with the racers with much bigger motors and the spool would help maximize traction.


Next I installed an AFTERMARKET4X4.com Front Skid Plate that bolt to the front cross member and them up to the lower cross member under & behind the motor. This would prove to be one of the MOST important additions to the X-90. After the gears and skid plate were installed I tried to make the 30" Dunlop All Terrain's fit, but it had major rubbing issues on the back side of the front fender wells meant that some Extreme fender trimming aka: "virtual lift" had to be performed on her. So with about four inches removed from the back of the fender wells the tires cleared and with minimal lift the center of gravity would be really low which was very important for the 4X4 Cross Racing event that was only a couple of days away. Last I removed the catalytic converter and the existing rusted out exhaust system and installed a 2 1/4" Dynomax Super Turbo muffler from the down pipe back. She sounded a bit meaner and the exhaust was more throaty when you nailed the throttle...I love that sound!
I spoke to a good friend Mike Whitfield who had raced the event in a Tracker the year before and he mentioned that I should reinforce the steering idler arm on the passengers side of the frame and to install a strut tower brace across the top of the motor. The idler arm brace was simple, but the strut tower brace was not going to happen because the hood cleared the motor by only about 1/2 inch and so without cutting a huge hole in the hood that was not going to work. Not building a strut tower brace would soon prove to be a big mistake.
So that is the build.....very simple and that's the way I hoped to race her .... looking as close to stock as possible......a kind of "Sleeper". Now it's off to the races!

[img width=700 height=525]http://members.cox.net/suzukispecialists/x9020.jpg[/img]

OK, so you don't need to hear about the boring 5 hour drive to the event where we lost a trailer tire tread. Yep, just the tread flew off and we had thought we heard something an hour earlier before we stopped and there it was ....a tire with no tread riding on the metal. The tire was changed at the rest area and we were back on out way in under 30 minutes. We arrived about and hour and a half later to a huge open field where we would be parking and camping. Above is a pic of the X-90 and Zach's ("SpecialEdition" on the BBS) white Samurai on the trailer behind my trusty Dodge 3500 diesel. The Zuk's fit quite nicely on the 20 foot long trailer and tow very well behind the dually.

[img width=700 height=525]http://members.cox.net/suzukispecialists/x9019.jpg[/img]

We pulled everything out of the Zuk's and got them off of the trailer Did a poser shot of the "cute little car" and went to sign in. Zach entered the Rock Crawl Competition and I signed up for the 4X4 Cross Racing. Zach went and looked at the Rock Crawl course and all I remember him saying was "I hope they don't make the stock class drive all the way up there" while pointing to the top of the hill strewn with insanely huge concrete pipes and boulders. The course looked tough, but was definitely do-able with the right tire placement. I had a chance to pre-run the 4X4 Cross track after signing in and waited in line to do so. the deal was that we could put around the track at 5 mph, but about 1/2 way around the track I noticed most people were not putting and were breaking their trucks then getting towed off of the track....and this was the PRE-RUN! So after watching the others driving at a fast pace I sped up and had some fun drifting the 90 degree turns and jumping some of the hills. I was starting to get a feel for the course on my second pre-run and then they shut off the entrance to get ready for the rock crawl competition.


About the same time we met up with Will (Willc) and David (NorZuki) and we all hung out and watched the festivities. The rock crawl started with the 36" up to 44" tire class and most were 4-linked buggy's with all the goodies on them and some even had rear-steer and a few were bobbed bed Yota's. The big tire class struggled over the obstacles and only a few actually made it to the top of the hill. There were several broken drive shafts, a broken axle shaft and some bent up links, and re-arched/bent/broken leaf springs which stopped all the competitors in their tracks. This was a VERY hard rock garden and is much, much steeper than it looks in the pic's!


About the time it was getting dark outside they finally started the small tire class and Zach was one of the only two entries and he went first. He took a line directly up the middle of the left side of the rock course and pulled the front wheels off the ground several times when attempting to climb over the largest boulder in the center of the course. I was his spotter and pointed him towards the correct location for tire placement and after a few tries he pulled a wheelie and conquered the huge rock. As intimidating as the huge rock garden was and despite the drivers rear tire getting caught in the undercut near the top Zach did not let up and gave her hell just at the right time cresting the top of the boulder strewn hill in just over 3 1/2 minutes which was faster than most of the buggies made it up with similar lines. Next came the only other competitor which was the now infamous GSXR Samurai (Yes, that is a stretched, 4-linked, and tubed Samurai with a 750 GSXR motorcycle motor in it!) In the above pic Zach is on the left and the GSXR Sammy is on the right. Sorry the pic is so dark, but not many of the night pic's came out at all. The GSXR Samurai with the sound of the high revving motorcycle engine whining got into about the middle of the rock garden and then became high centered several times in the same location that gave Zach some trouble and when he got tired of trying to finesse his way through the rocks he back up and smoked the tires for about 20 seconds then proceeded to launch the Samurai up over the upper section of the rock course and over the top of the hill. It was a sight to see and I am amazed the driver kept it from flipping over while throttling through the tall rocks. It was exciting ....and scary all at the same time! Unfortunately, with the GSXR Sammy launching over the rocks this meant that Zach was now in second place ...and this was a "winner takes all" event.


MORE TO COME!


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Old 05-31-2009, 10:21 AM   #2
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After the rock crawl event we decided to go out and do some night wheeling across the street at Uwharrie National Forrest so I went over to Will's campsite and we found this idiot on his roof. Evidently he was doing donuts in the field and lost control and flipped his 2003 Tacoma onto it's roof. "No Officer, those aren't our beer cans all over the ground next to the truck!" At least no one was hurt!
Now with our trail passes on our vehicles Zach in his white Samurai with Stephanie as hi co-pilot and myself with Will as my co-pilot in the X-90 we all drove over to the trails. Now Will had a few drinks at camp so he was definitely not driving so he was elected "navigator" and it was too bad for him that I was driving.... Once we got to the trails we started "speed wheeling" which was a way of testing out the X-90's suspension on the whoops on the trails and this is was one of the reasons I wanted to go out before the 4X4 Cross race. Poor Will had just poured his drink into a cup and we hit a big 'ol jump and his drink flew all over the interior of the X-90 so his next thought was "I can hold it out the window". So on the next jump he showered the X-90's T-tops with drink and for the next few minutes it rained down and dripped on us. We all laughed so hard and even Zach and Steph laughed while driving behind us. Will should have known better than to pour a drink into a cup with me driving! LOL! After a couple hours of wheeling and torture testing the X-90 and Zach's Sammy both vehicles survived and we made it back to the huge field where we were camping. It was completely full of trucks and tents with loud country music cranking and rednecks hooting and hollerin' and somewhere between 1-2 am we went to bed.



DAY 2: Off to the races!

We woke up about 7:30 am and Zach, Steph and myself drove over to the Eldorado Outpost and had a killer breakfast feast. Man they can cook! After breakfast we had a few minutes before the 9am drivers meeting and so I proceeded to remove the doors and the T-tops off of the X-90 to lighten her up a little. The door came off in about 10 minutes each and the T-tops lifted right out of the roof and this also made for better visibility. The drivers meeting went quickly and then they lined us up to race starting the stock vehicle class know as "A" class which I was in. There was a bright orange Cherokee tube vehicle first driven by a guy named David Wall and I pulled in behind him to be the second in line to run the 4X4 Cross race course.


The Cherokee tube buggy finished in just under 5 minutes which was great for such a hard course. Above is a pic of the long table-top jump which few people were able to get enough speed up to clear it. I was up next in the X-90 and YES I was nervous as I had never run a race like this before and I was definitely intimidated by the other competitors rigs and by the difficult course itself. I pulled up to the starting line and Lorenzo asked if I was ready ....then if I was SURE I was ready, then again asked once more. The whole time I was holding the throttle down with the exhaust roaring and the my left foot on the brake to hold it in place. He yelled "GO" and I sped down the first steep hill and off to the right at the bottom then after a 75 ft straight away with several jumps in it I did a 180 degree left turn while sliding sideways down a 6 foot embankment next to the lake and bicycled it on my right two tires and then pulled it back onto all four and stomped the throttle. Yes, my seat got al little bunched up on that turn, but I didn't go into the water that was only two feet to my right and I kept on going. The next section brought racers back up to the left near the starting line and I hit the first two jumps pretty fast and cleared them without a problem landing nicely and comfortably then the course started its way back up the hill with a near vertical ledge before a flat plateau. Well to say the least I hit it too fast and reportedly I caught about six feet of air in the X-90 and she landed hard on the right front tire and I heard a hissing sound. The right front tire just got punctured probably by getting pinched between the tire and the ground since I was only running 8-10 psi in each of the Dunlop all terrain tires. I had only run about 1/4 of the track and now for the the last 3/4 of the track I had to run it with a flat passengers side tire and it was incredibly hard to steer to the left! So there was lots of stopping and backing up then stomping the throttle again once I was back on the course. I was winding my way up the hillside and here's the video Steph and Zach took. I am not so good with getting the "embedded" video's to come up so here's a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHxgz5aaIa0

As you can see in the video the X-90 wouldn't steer hardly at all and I had the hardest time turning left, but still tried to drive as fast as possible. Also, with the flat front tire the front skid plate was keeping the front end and cross member from digging in and helping slide me over the steeper jumps and hills that looked like big Ski moguls. With the flat front tire the X-90 was landing hard directly on the rim....I could feel EVERY BUMP and it was not pleasant so I had to slow it down a bit. ....yeah right! I stabbed the throttle as hard as I could and as often as I could while still maintaining control of the vehicle, but I was still not always in total control. After what you see in the video the track turns 90 degrees to the right and there's a 100 foot straight-away until the next 90 degree turn and I ran her as fast as she would go and then couldn't stop in time to make the 90 degree left and ended up hanging the passengers side front tire off of the 6 ft ledge above the other side of the lake. I put it in reverse, but she just spun tires so I unbuckled and jumped out then locked the front drivers hub then hung over the side of the vehicle and locked the passengers side hub, jumped back in, buckled back up, then shifted into 4 wheel drive and stabbed the throttle. With 3-wheel drive she backed up onto the track and I hit the gas pedal again going as fast as I could while trying to ignore the steep drop off on into the lake on the passengers side which looked to be a 15-20 foot drop at this point in the course. The track wrapped around the back side of the lake and then came a series of three steep valley's and steep hill climbs one right after the other then up on top of the last hill climb there was a 180 degree turn around some trees, a jump, and then another couple turns. Well, the X-90 decided it wanted to go down the hill and into the trees. I hit the breaks as hard as I could, but she slid about 20 feet and was out of sight from the announcer deep in the trees and the brush. I heard the announcer say "We've got a racer off the track" and they called for the Bobcat to extract the X-90. I slammed her into reverse and punched the throttle and spun the tires while sawing the wheel left and right until I drug myself out of the trees carrying parts of weeds and vines back on the course with me. Then I heard the announcer say "Nevermind, he's back on the course" and I hit the throttle and headed up through the last few turns and down the last few straight-aways then up and across the finish line. Now slowly limping all the way back to the starting line area Lorenzo game me my horrible time of well over six minutes. Disappointed I did so poorly, but happy I was able to finish the race and amazed that the X-90 was still moving I continued limping her back to the campsite and on to the trailer. Time to asses the damage and fix what I broke.

Back at the trailer I looked her over and saw that the front of the frame was leaning in a little, the strut towers were also leaning in (I should have taken Mike's advice and installed a strut tower brace!), the front control arms were bent back a bit, and the skid plate was pushed back into the frame cross member. She was still driveable so I attempted to put two Swampers in the front, but with the camber so far off they rubbed horribly and I did not want them to get cut up. So I removed the rear tires installed them in the front and figured out that I needed more lift for 31" Swampers to fit on the back. Here is another video Steph took while I was doing the "virtual lift" to the X90. A few people came by to see what I was cutting and banging on and you can just barely hear people laughing in the background.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f37yYtVQLII



MORE TO COME!


Sean DeVinney
AFTERMARET4X4.com


Last edited by AFTERMARKET4X4; 07-08-2009 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:10 PM   #3
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Nice goin, looks fun.
Glad you didn't do anything dumb...

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Old 05-31-2009, 07:28 PM   #4
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looks like fun,

will that virtual lift kit be available on your site?
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:04 PM   #5
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looks like fun
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:57 AM   #6
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That looks like a blast did you get them swampers to fit.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stafford01 View Post
That looks like a blast did you get them swampers to fit.
You will see ......PaTiEnCe GraSShoPPer... LOL!


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Old 06-02-2009, 12:51 PM   #8
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are you turbo charging this rig?
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:28 AM   #9
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CONTINUED:

About twenty minutes later the 31X11.50 Swampers were on the X-90 and we all drove over to the upper section of the course to watch some of the other competitors. The pic's below are the first place and second place vehicles flying around the course and the silver cherokee almost rolled on this tight curve.



With all the extra time between races because of competitors destroying their vehicles we got bored waiting for the track to be cleared and Zach decided to park on my hood. Just click on the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ITk6hPP56M

We had a good time and the fender and hood were already bent up and my only concern was making sure the windshield did not get broken. Here's a still picture of it:


Like I said, we just got a little bored and started playing around. Poor little "X"....looks tiny with Zach's Samurai parked on it! After we had seen enough racing we drove across the street to play on the trails at Uwharrie again. We hit quite a few more trails including Rocky Mountain Loop and stopped when people would stop us to ask "What is that little car?" and most every time I stopped it scared the crap out of people when they heard the crunch, because Zach Samurai was playing bumper cars with the X-90's trunk and tail lights. The expression on peoples faces was hilarious and when he would run into the X-90 their eyes would get sooo big and we would all start laughing! LOL! Here we stopped for a quick break on the trail:


This time Will was driving his Samurai and after Rocky Mountain Loop we ended up on Slab Pile. I figured I'd try to tackle it and attempted the front side of the big rock only able to get the front tires up onto it.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH4CoUQG9BA

With the lack of ground clearance and lack of flex the X never had a chance of getting up over the rock, but it was fun trying. On the other hand, Zach in his Samurai on Toyota's with 35" Krawlers made it look easy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZExXEtfVqGo

We continued the X-90's torture test all afternoon and still unable to kill it with the countless jumps and rocks it was constantly ramming into we finally cruised back to the campsite with the X-90's front tires leaning inward at the top so badly the tires squealed as it was driving down the road. We got back in time for the night's festivities which included a truck pull and lots of clowning around on the hill overlooking the track. Later that evening on the hill Zach got the bright idea to drive his Samurai up onto the hill and ram the X-90 a few more times. Lots of people just stared and laughed as he pushed it off the hill and it slid down facing forward then turned sideways as it hit the bottom of the hill. As it turned we thought it may just roll over, but no the X was too low to the ground and too stable to flip that easily. It was funny to see the expression on peoples faces as it came sliding down! Later that night we were invited over to a 200 hot dog cookout with a group of guys that were up on the hill with us. They were all from Williamsburg, Virginia and had come down for the rock crawling event in their Toyota Truggy's. We all hung out and played some Ladder-ball (aka:"Redneck Golf") then soon after we were done eating and everyone had a significant amount of their choice of beverages a hot dog fight broke out with the remaining wieners flying across the campsite and striking the unsuspecting drunks sitting by the campfire. I just stepped back and watched the wieners fly and it was hilarious to say the least! After things calmed down I turned in for the night.


MORE TO COME!

Sean DeVinney
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:12 PM   #10
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Day 3: Wheeling till the wheels fall off....

We woke up to a nice pouring rain and knew it would be the start of a great day. So in between rain showers Zach, Steph, and I packed up camp and said goodbye to Will and David then proceeded over to the awards ceremony in the stables. We hung out for a few minutes and talked with some of the other competitors then they proceeded to give out the awards. Everyone was in good spirits and lots of cool prizes were given out that were donated by local vendors. Here is a link to the 4X4 Cross racing results:

http://www.nc4x4.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65591

Looking at the stats you can see that Cherokee's dominated the A class and A class ran faster than any other class and we also noticed that local people that had more time on the course and knew what to prepare for definitely had an advantage. If I had made it down for the pre-run I would have built my little X-90 a bit differently. There's always next year....unless they start racing bi-annually.....hint, hint!
After the ceremony Zach jumped in his white Sammy and I jumped in the X-90 and squealed tires (because the tires were leaning in at the top and the alignment was screwed, not because I was spinning tires) all the way across the road to the national forest trails again. We wanted to get in one last adventure before going home and I was itching to try running up Daniel in the X to see if she'd make it. We started in the central Rocky Mountain Loop trail head and I wanted to do some jumping on the hills and burms so I went first launching the X over every obstacle I could find. After all, I wasn't worried about damaging it anymore and if she made it through Daniel in one piece I'd be amazed. I led until we got to the U-turn switch -back where we stopped to play. We quickly realized we had an audience and they were laughing hysterically at us playing bumper cars and spinning tires thereby throwing mud onto each other's windshields. Zach was still in 2wd and started spinning up the trail past a bunch of the guys that were laughing and I followed right behind him still in 2wd as well and spinning all the way. It was extremely muddy with water pooling in between the hills and even with the 5.83 gears, spooled rear, and 31" Swampers on the back the X was not going to make it up the steep and muddy inclines without 4-wheel drive......but it sure was fun trying! I would nail the throttle and get to the top of a hill then unable to crest it I would have to throw it into 4-wheel drive before I slipped back down in the reddish-orange mud and pull up over the hill slam it back into 2wd and nail it again. This went on most of the way up the middle portion of Daniel until we reached the large clearing where we stopped for a few pic's and to play around in the rock garden and ledges:


Showing the battle scars from Zach driving over the X-90's fender I drove up an over a few of the steeper ledges and went sideways trying to pull up over the larger rocks. Having no front locker was no fun when it came to trying to slowly crawl the X over large rocks. We stopped for a few poser shots....WOW...Look at that flex! LOL!


We got a little farther up the mountain trail and I went through the harder section on the left side making it through everything until I hit the top of the rock garden. I tried the larger rock section several time and kept hitting it harder each time until finally the passengers side front tire was punctured and the tire lost all air pressure. Without a spare I turned around and figured she could three-wheel it back down the the way we came up since it was mostly downhill. Steering was no so easy with a flat tire and with all the jumping and bouncing around the front tires had already been rubbing on the inner fender and it was hard to turn which only complicated things even more. On the way down the hill it was very difficult to control it and it turned sideways several times on the steeper hills making me back up and straighten up the go at it again. Almost at the bottom of the long steep section the X-90 would not stop and slid into a tree stump that was off to the left side of the trail and it blew out the other tire and sandwiched the steering linkage between the frame and the pitman arm so she would not turn at all. Boy am I glad I disconnected the air bags!


The pic above is the result of the tree stump jumping out in front of me. Only a few feet down the trail were the same guys that were laughing their butts off earlier and they stared in amazement at the sight of the X then asked if we needed any help. One guy had a lifted Tracker and the other had a lifted Toyota and the Toyota pushed me over onto the trail and then Zach drove around me and we hooked up the strap. The headlights in this thing were already busted up and held in with plumbing straps and this broke loose all but one of the straps and the headlight ended up falling out so we picked it up and threw it into the floorboard with the other parts that fell off it this weekend. The passengers side tire was not doing very well and was continuously trying to escape off of the rim and making steering harder than it already was.


Without any steering control we had to shorten the strap up so it was close to Zach's Samurai and he drug me through the rest of the trail with the X-90 hitting every rock and tree stump all the way out until we got it to the parking lot. Below is a pic of how close together the vehicles had to be for Zach to keep the bent up front end aiming semi-straight.



We laughed a bit as I really was not worried about the X and we were just happy it made it almost to the top of Daniel. With what this vehicle has been through in the last few days I could not believe it made it as far as it did!



Once in the parking lot we left the X-90 sitting there and went to go get the truck and trailer from the stables camping area then went back. Once we returned there were two rangers in white trucks standing over the X-90 and staring at it. First I thought I was about to get a ticket for littering and then one turned at me and asked if everyone in the X-90 was OK. I just looked at them and smiled and explained that everyone was fine and this vehicle was never expected to make it off the trail under it's own power.



The rangers were actually cool about it and left the parking area as Zach used his Samurai to push the X sideways and line it up with the trailer. With the steering locked up, the passengers side tire flat, the drivers tire almost off the rim and the power steering pump puking fluid we tried to drag it up onto the trailer with Zach's Sammy, but it did not work and neither did pushing. So we put the pass side tire on the front and fought with the steering until it was straight enough and actually ended up 3-wheeling it up on to the trailer and strapping her down. WE pulled Zach's Sammy on the trailer and strapped it down as well then headed to the outpost to clean ourselves up and check over the truck and trailer before heading home. In the parking lot I have a guy ask "What happened to that thing....and what the heck is it?" I explained it was a Suzuki X-90 that we torture tested at the race and on the trails all weekend and he laughed and kept staring at it as I walked inside to clean the red mud off of my hands and arms. Zach, Steph, and I all jumped into the Dodge and started the 5 hour trip back home. On the way back we discussed how much fun we had all weekend and how well the X wheeled even though it was only lifted 2 inches and how much fun it was to drive and then we discussed what to do with it next..... fix the IFS, fix the steering, straighten the frame, and do some major body work? transfer the parts into another vehicle? light it off and have a bonfire? This vehicle is way too much fun to just take apart....Hmmmmm.............

TO BE CONTINUED!


For those of you that remember Krusty the Tracker, here is a link to the original torture tested Tracker that made me respect Tracker's, Sidekick's, and X-90's sooo much click on the link below:


KRUSTY the TRACKER ...Joke or Not?[/b]

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Old 07-08-2009, 09:57 AM   #11
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DAY 3: Undestructification (is that a word?)

We made it home late Sunday night and the next day about two o'clock on Monday afternoon I managed to get the X90 into the garage on three wheels and a rim. My boxer, Annie thought the rim smelled really good as I checked over the badly beaten X90.


The more I mud I cleaned away from the frame, body, and suspension the more damage I found. In addition to the issues we found the day before the front crossmember on the drivers side also was pushed back about 3 inches, the lower crossmember was bent backwards and upward about 6 inches, the drivers side frame horn was twisted then tilted downward, and the front frame sections were actually buckled in three places!


There was no way in the world to repair the IFS so after staring at this thing and checking her over for almost an hour I made my decision on what to do with her. Now that I had a plan I got to work on unbolting most of the IFS and the steering.


Surgery was going quickly until the bent up parts did not allow the control arm bolts to be extracted so they had to be cut off and ground out of the crossmember.


The front aluminum 3rd member, differential housing, diff mounts, driveshaft, and other associated parts were removed. In this pic it is easier to see that the drivers side frame horn is twisted and you can also see a bit of the bend and twist on the drivers side of the rear crossmember if you know what you are looking for. Hmmm, wonder why the tire rubbed the fender? LOL!




Next the torch came out and all of the strut mounts were cut off of the frame then grounded down flush. Lots of scrap parts left over! It was getting to be evening and so I stopped for dinner and to think on how to repair/rebuild the buckled frame and crossmember parts.




The next morning about 9am ....still lagging from the lack of sleep all weekend, I decided to use a hacked up old Samurai frame to rebuild the X-90 frame and do a solid-axle swap (SAS). I bent and beat and twisted the X's frame as straight as I could and had to cut large sections off of the underside of the frame. It's not the prettiest work and I would have preferred to use standard box tubing, but this was getting done FAST and on the CHEAP! The Samurai frame sections had to be moved to directly under the Tracker frame (they are not the same width) and then the frames were clamped the together and fully welded and gusseted with 1/4" plate for strength.


Some scrap 3" X 3" angle iron was used to buld a new crossmember in the front and strengthen the front of the frame. For the suspension I had a Trail Tough missing-link YJ kit lying around from the same frame and I used it along with an old set of Jeep Wrangler YJ springs and some old Con-Ferr shackles to hang the springs from the frame. I grabbed the old front Samurai housing I pulled out of my Turbo Samurai a while back that was gusseted for racing and jumping. I bolted it in Spring-Under-Axle configuration since I only wanted enough height to run 31" tires under her. Next the 5.83 gears were swapped into the Samurai housing and the stock shafts and knuckles were installed. Then I bolted the stock X-90 driveshaft into the front with a 1" spacer. I moved the front axle 2" forward, but a 1" spacer would have to do as that is all I had. With the frame strengthened and the axle installed I installed the factory rotors and calipers on the Samurai front end since they used the same mounts and then welded a set of Ford Shock towers, that I pulled off of the same old Samurai frame, onto the X90 and installed a pair of 32" long travel shocks on the front. For the rear I added a 2" spacer on top of the rear coil springs to level out the vehicle and by about 5 pm Tuesday evening I had here rolling. Next the steering box had to be moved forward and down several inches and the steering shaft had to be extended and by about 7pm she was not just rolling, but actually driving around the yard.


This was about as fast as I could do a solid axle swap and about as cheap, too! Here is the first test of the suspension and all I could find to flex on was one of my old trailer tires. The Trail Tough front missing-link shackles in the front seemed to work really well and it was much, much more flex than she's ever seen.

So with all the work that was put into resurrecting the X-90, well, it was time to torture test her some more!

OFF TO THE ZOOKIMELT ... at the Badlands in Attica, Indiana!!!

PROJECT XXX is for Sale: $2500 cash

Serious inquiries call Sean directly at (757)685-6161 or come see it at the ZookiMelt July 9th through the 12th.... I don't want to bring it home!!


For those of you that remember Krusty the Tracker, here is a link to the original torture tested Tracker that made me respect Tracker's, Sidekick's, and X-90's sooo much click on the link below:


KRUSTY the TRACKER ...Joke or Not?

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Old 01-14-2010, 11:20 AM   #12
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keep building it dont sell it thats a nice toy to beat on let it evolve
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88 soft top stock 1.3l 2.25 exaust into a 3" in 2 2.5" out spoa yj new shocks and mounts custom front bumper boss clutch 31x10.5x15 2.5bs bfg at kos recaro seats camo steering wheel cover pioneer deck and sony 10" with 700 watt alpine and cheep front speakers futrue: rock sliders new rear bumper and gears
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