Introducing: Jeff Stevens' "Dirt Squirrel". If you 4 wheel in Moab, chances are you've had a chance to see Jeff's rig in action because he seems to always be out on the trails. Check out the specs and the photos below and you will see why we chose Jeff's 1987 bodied Samurai for our Featured Rig. Not to mention that he's one of the nicest 4 wheeling enthusiasts out there, Jeff puts just as much work if not more into cleaning & maintaining the trails around Moab as he does his rig.
- 1.6 liter 8-valve with factory EFI from a ’92 Sidekick
- Stock Samurai 5-speed, Petroworks clutch
- Stock Samurai with a 6.1:1 gear set, Trail Tough t-case bucket, and rear drive shaft disconnect
- Wagoneer Dana 44’s modified for 5 on 5.5 lug pattern, 5.38’s, Detroits, 4-wheel discs
- Home-built with 2x.25 DOM lower links and Fox Air Shox. Rear uses a “Y” upper link, and the front is a single-radius arm design with panhard. I’m using a single limit strap in the rear, and suck-down winch in front. Wheelbase is 102”
- 36x13.5 Iroks on 15x10 Allied beadlocks
- Hydro-assist, using a RockLogic ram, Toyota IFS box, and PSC pumpand reservoir
- I did all the tube work in my garage. It has been re-done so many times, it’s starting to look like a jungle gym!
- Tube flat fenders look kinda funny, but get me past inspection with the addition of some rubber flares. They’re also strong, and protect the body from close encounters with large rocks or the occasional flop. I also made quick-disconnect mud flaps / bumper extensions.
- Cheap-o JC Whitney seats, custom dash, stock fuel tank mounted in bed behind the seats.
RME - What is the story behind your rig?
drtsqrl - My first 4x4 was a tin-top Samurai that I bought around 1990. I drove it for a couple years, but decided I wanted a soft-top, so I found a stocker that had been rolled, and started building. The original build had 32’s sprung-over on CJ axles, ARB’s, and the 1.6. I’m still on the same engine, frame, and body, but just about everything else has been changed or modified several times over by now.
RME - Why did you choose this particular model as a base for building your rig?
drtsqrl - It was cheap and easy to build, and the small size worked perfectly for the tight trails we ran when I lived in Washington.
RME - What is/was the goal behind building your rig, and have you met the goal?
drtsqrl - It’s a Moab rig! I wanted to be able to do trails up to and beyond the likes of Pritchett, Coyote, Helldorado, etc, and still be semi-legal enough to drive it to the trails. It needed to be able to climb Rock Pile in Pritchett, and White Knuckle on Behind-the-Rocks. So far, mission accomplished.
RME - If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different?
drtsqrl - I would probably cut off all the old junk between re-builds, instead of just adding on. It would be much cleaner that way. It would be nice to have a bit more power, so if I did it over I’d probably start with a 16-valve or a 2-liter. One of these days, I may make a doubler out of a Sidekick t-case I have laying around, and a little bigger tire would be nice.
RME - What is your favorite feature of your rig?
drtsqrl - No one thing really stands out, but it works well as a whole.
RME - What is your favorite trail?
drtsqrl - I love Pritchett Canyon, and I have a lot of fun out at Area BFE, but I’m happy on any trail in Moab.
RME - What kind of influence has this vehicle had on your lifestyle?
drtsqrl - Before I started jeeping, I was a dirt biker. I absolutely loved it, but I usually went riding alone while my wife stayed behind. Jeeping is something we can both do together. In fact, she likes it so much, we built a rig for her too, and she does all the same trails that I do.
If you ever want to catch up with Jeff and his crew in Moab, be sure to visit
We Be Jeepin' Moab! and Moab Friends-For-Wheelin'
We can't wait to hit the trails with you again, Jeff! Keep on Wheelin!