Recovery rig thoughts

LT.

Well-Known Member
Hey y'all, I have gotten the go ahead to purchase a new (to me) off road truck. The main focus of this rig is going to be recovery and the like. The truck is a 1977 Dodge Power Wagon step side that has a 400 big block and manual tranny. I really don't want to cut up the classic sheet metal but, would like to run a tire large enough to get the job done. I have a big winch for it but, want the opinion of the RME faithful as to how, what, where, and why for the modifications. What do y'all think? I have lots of thoughts but, I really have not had to do any major recoveries before.

Thanks in advance,
LT.
 

turbosniper1

6x6x6 / Commando
Can't go wrong with 3 Rockwell axles, and 42s at a minimum... The gearing in the Rocks would be awesome with 42s, (Think T-REX 1), and the grunt of the big block would kick a$$ for pulling stuck vehicles out of the mud. If it is not injected, I would think Propane would be a smart route to go. And a simplistic exo-cage for body, and your body, protection.
That could be T-REX 3 and we would have a mini-fleet!!!!! :)
- Matt
 

iamsparticus

Take your Rig to the Edge
Location
Ogden,Ut
I think keeping it around 37's would be good, selectable lockers front and rear and a good roll cage. Tie your bumpers together with tube aka tube fenders and keep the truck low and stable. If you go to super large tires its just asking for a break and the last thing you would want on a recovery vechile is breakage. What you want is reliable and stout, i second the propane if its still a carb motor
 

I Lean

Mbryson's hairdresser
Supporting Vendor
Location
Utah
I think the biggest concern for any "rescue" rig is the ability to get there at all....so reliability is priority #1. It doesn't need to be the best rock crawler, or a big mud truck, or anything. So, assuming you'll be using the stock axles, I'd say something like a mild lift and 33's.
 

LT.

Well-Known Member
I think the biggest concern for any "rescue" rig is the ability to get there at all....so reliability is priority #1. It doesn't need to be the best rock crawler, or a big mud truck, or anything. So, assuming you'll be using the stock axles, I'd say something like a mild lift and 33's.

I agree. Reliability is the key here. It dose not make any difference what I run if I cannot get there with out breaking I like the thoughts. I was thinking of keeping it leaf sprung, simple, reliable, and durable. I have a few 14 bolt FF's around I think I will use that as the rear axle. Front end is still up in the air. I am a big fan of Dana 60's, and I think I have another one kicking around. But, I am unsure of what to use for diffs. I was thinking of detroits again due to how simple they are but, air lockers would be a great idea for running on the street and making tires last longer. It may also be a good idea so I could have an air compressor on board for what ever. The truck already has a big block, manual tranny and is a 4x4. I was wanting to run 37's or maybe up to 40's radials of course.

On a different note. Does anyone know the difference between 1973-87 chevy leaf springs and 1973-93 dodge leaf springs? Is it just the length or is there something more?

Thanks again in advance, y'all rock and I like the ideas. Keep them coming.

LT.
 

mbryson

.......a few dollars more
Supporting Member
I think the biggest concern for any "rescue" rig is the ability to get there at all....so reliability is priority #1. It doesn't need to be the best rock crawler, or a big mud truck, or anything. So, assuming you'll be using the stock axles, I'd say something like a mild lift and 33's.


This. Reliable is critical. Capable is handy, but with careful driving/spotting a rig with a single locker will take you places.

I agree. Reliability is the key here. It dose not make any difference what I run if I cannot get there with out breaking I like the thoughts. I was thinking of keeping it leaf sprung, simple, reliable, and durable. I have a few 14 bolt FF's around I think I will use that as the rear axle. Front end is still up in the air. I am a big fan of Dana 60's, and I think I have another one kicking around. But, I am unsure of what to use for diffs. I was thinking of detroits again due to how simple they are but, air lockers would be a great idea for running on the street and making tires last longer. It may also be a good idea so I could have an air compressor on board for what ever. The truck already has a big block, manual tranny and is a 4x4. I was wanting to run 37's or maybe up to 40's radials of course.

On a different note. Does anyone know the difference between 1973-87 chevy leaf springs and 1973-93 dodge leaf springs? Is it just the length or is there something more?

Thanks again in advance, y'all rock and I like the ideas. Keep them coming.

LT.


I'd stick to 35" or smaller if you keep the stock axles. If you move up to one tons, I'd stick to 35" or 37" tires. You'd be super reliable and more capable than you think.

If I built something similar to what you're thinking, I'd have a York for air, on onboard welder. I'm a fan of ARBs so I'd go for that for the on-road comfort/convenience if you wanted to lock it up. A rear locker would get you wherever you would need to go I'd bet.

If you're sticking with leaf springs, I'd try to figure out some long and flexy stuff. The Toyota guys like the later model Chev stuff (63" or something?) and I'd assume you could find something like that in a stock or 2" lift config for pretty cheap? Should flex/ride fairly nicely with the lack of arch and the length of the spring. Run something like that front/rear.
 

LT.

Well-Known Member
This. Reliable is critical. Capable is handy, but with careful driving/spotting a rig with a single locker will take you places.




I'd stick to 35" or smaller if you keep the stock axles. If you move up to one tons, I'd stick to 35" or 37" tires. You'd be super reliable and more capable than you think.

If I built something similar to what you're thinking, I'd have a York for air, on onboard welder. I'm a fan of ARBs so I'd go for that for the on-road comfort/convenience if you wanted to lock it up. A rear locker would get you wherever you would need to go I'd bet.

If you're sticking with leaf springs, I'd try to figure out some long and flexy stuff. The Toyota guys like the later model Chev stuff (63" or something?) and I'd assume you could find something like that in a stock or 2" lift config for pretty cheap? Should flex/ride fairly nicely with the lack of arch and the length of the spring. Run something like that front/rear.

This is exactly why I like asking the crew on RME. I just was thinking about using the Chevy 63" springs. I was even looking at using the chevy spring hanger because they are longer than the ones on the Dodges. I was thinking it would net about a 2" lift with stock springs. Then maybe just a shackle flip would give me around 4 to 6 inches.

I had not thought about using a york compressor. Great idea. I think I had one on one of my 440's. I need to make contact with the fella I sold them too.

Any other ideas? This is great, ideas from everyone.

LT.
 

Bart

Registered User
Location
Arm Utah
I like what MBryson said, but would throw a twist in there. You'll most likely be running selectable hubs in the front, so why not throw a Detroit up there. That way if you ever have problems with a compressor, you'd still have one locker.
 

LT.

Well-Known Member
I like what MBryson said, but would throw a twist in there. You'll most likely be running selectable hubs in the front, so why not throw a Detroit up there. That way if you ever have problems with a compressor, you'd still have one locker.

Good point. I like it. The more research I do the more I can't make up my mind. At first I was set on 40 inch tires, then I was just about set on 38 inch or so. Now I am even thinking about using some 35 or maybe even 37 inch rubber. Smaller rubber means less lift, better drive line angles, and even less breakage. Again, reliable is key.

LT.
 

Johnny Quest

Web Wheeler
Location
West Jordan
onboard air with multiple chucks, onboard welder, medical supplies, aux lights front/rear/sides, winch's front/rear, a plethora of straps, chains, tree savers, gloves, warm weather gear, shovels, ax's, house boat anchor (im serious), duct tape, bailing wire, gum wrappers...
 
Last edited:

ozzy702

Registered User
Location
Sandy, UT
Good point. I like it. The more research I do the more I can't make up my mind. At first I was set on 40 inch tires, then I was just about set on 38 inch or so. Now I am even thinking about using some 35 or maybe even 37 inch rubber. Smaller rubber means less lift, better drive line angles, and even less breakage. Again, reliable is key.

LT.

One tons and 37's is bulletproof but would be less capable offroad. Shaved rock's with a 40ish inch tire is bulletproof and would give you much better ground clearance and would be the same price or cheaper than going tons.

Edit: Back in the day I used to go to Holister Hills in CA and would occationally help a guy named Jesse with vehicle recovery there. He had a 70's chevy pickup on one tons , a big block and 44" boggers with 12,000 or 15,000lbs winches at each end. It seemed to be a GREAT recovery vehicle because it was capable enough to go just about anywhere and weighed enough to be used as a good anchor.
 

LT.

Well-Known Member
onboard air with multiple chucks, onboard welder, medical supplies, aux lights front/rear/sides, winch's front/rear, a plethora of straps, chains, tree savers, gloves, warm weather gear, shovels, ax's, house boat anchor (im serious), duct tape, bailing wire, gum wrappers...

I think that the first aid kit is a must. And I am glad you thought of it because I had not given that any thought. Aux lights is also doable as well as the straps, chains, tree savers, gloves, warm weather gear, shovels, ax, and assorted tools. Why the boat anchor? It is like a poor mans pull pal? Front and rear winches may be out of my budget as well as the on board air and multiple air outlets.:(

LT.
 

LT.

Well-Known Member
One tons and 37's is bulletproof but would be less capable offroad. Shaved rock's with a 40ish inch tire is bulletproof and would give you much better ground clearance and would be the same price or cheaper than going tons.

Edit: Back in the day I used to go to Holister Hills in CA and would occationally help a guy named Jesse with vehicle recovery there. He had a 70's chevy pickup on one tons , a big block and 44" boggers with 12,000 or 15,000lbs winches at each end. It seemed to be a GREAT recovery vehicle because it was capable enough to go just about anywhere and weighed enough to be used as a good anchor.

Why is this? I always thought of rockwells as being something reserved for really big tires. 40's seems really small for those axles and I am not sure the gearing would work too well going down the road to the hunting grounds. I am also not real convinced that the rockwells would be cheaper. The axles themselves would be but, the modifications needed to make them work is where a lot of money would be spent. It also seems like they always leak and this would not be very good for reliable. Correct me if I am wrong as I always enjoy getting an education for cheap.:)

I think I remember seeing this truck. Is it the same one that had a tow bed on it? Dark in color if it is the same one I remember.

LT.
 

DALTON

New Member
I have wanted this truck for ever and building it with my bro 78 4 door power wagon, personally we went 60/70 42" pits. wheelin full size must have larger tires from experience anything less of 42's on full size is training wheels. if you still wanna run bfe and some harder, tire and protection or body damage!! were workin on all the same generator, welder, air, storage, haul it all. IT IS A LUNCH BOX BUSS THOUGH..
 

Attachments

  • 2011-05-01_10-38-06_356.jpg
    2011-05-01_10-38-06_356.jpg
    189.1 KB · Views: 73

ozzy702

Registered User
Location
Sandy, UT
Why is this? I always thought of rockwells as being something reserved for really big tires. 40's seems really small for those axles and I am not sure the gearing would work too well going down the road to the hunting grounds. I am also not real convinced that the rockwells would be cheaper. The axles themselves would be but, the modifications needed to make them work is where a lot of money would be spent. It also seems like they always leak and this would not be very good for reliable. Correct me if I am wrong as I always enjoy getting an education for cheap.:)

I think I remember seeing this truck. Is it the same one that had a tow bed on it? Dark in color if it is the same one I remember.

LT.

Rocks have great ground clearance and are very strong. Yes they're heavy but not that much more than a 14 bolt. Yep, they usually weep gear old but I would say you won't find a more reliable axle out there overall.

After looking at the gear ratio calculator and re-reading your build it sounds like you're using an NP435 so a 1:1 final drive so yeah, rocks are geared too low for highway operation with 40's and that trani. You would need an overdrive along with 42's or larger to have comfortable RPM's.

So looks like a set of one tons with 37" or larger tires is your best bet if you want to travel on the highway comfortably.
 

LT.

Well-Known Member
I have wanted this truck for ever and building it with my bro 78 4 door power wagon, personally we went 60/70 42" pits. wheelin full size must have larger tires from experience anything less of 42's on full size is training wheels. if you still wanna run bfe and some harder, tire and protection or body damage!! were workin on all the same generator, welder, air, storage, haul it all. IT IS A LUNCH BOX BUSS THOUGH..

That thing is killer looking. Do you have anymore pictures of it?

LT.
 

LT.

Well-Known Member
Rocks have great ground clearance and are very strong. Yes they're heavy but not that much more than a 14 bolt. Yep, they usually weep gear old but I would say you won't find a more reliable axle out there overall.

After looking at the gear ratio calculator and re-reading your build it sounds like you're using an NP435 so a 1:1 final drive so yeah, rocks are geared too low for highway operation with 40's and that trani. You would need an overdrive along with 42's or larger to have comfortable RPM's.

So looks like a set of one tons with 37" or larger tires is your best bet if you want to travel on the highway comfortably.

Cool.

LT.
 
Top