the running gear, we would accept nothing less than the attributes
offered by one ton components. We gave serious consideration to
2 1/2 ton military axles, which we will offer as an option to our
customers, but for this light-weight application, we chose the strength
and reliability of a Dana 60 front and a Corporate 14 bolt rear.
We stuffed the differentials with 5.13 gears and Timken bearings
from Randy's Ring and Pinion and full Detroit Lockers provided by
TracTech, Incorporated. Even though we are running 44-inch tires,
the weight of the XTV Raptor allows the axles to handle the larger
the same principle in choosing an engine. Although several engine
options will exist for our customers, Mike and I decided on the
venerable Vortec 4.3. With headers, this engine will produce approximately
230 horses and it's so light, that I can almost throw it around
the shop by myself. Due to the Raptor's low gearing, this engine
provides instant fuel injected throttle response and superb power
throughout its gear range. We scavenged this Vortec 4.3 from a GMC
Safari mini-van that was hit in the rear. I suggested to Mike that
we should register the vehicle with a personalized tag that reads,
For the drivetrain,
a Turbo Hydromatic 350 was outfitted with a rebuild kit, shift kit
and Hurst Quarter Stick Shifter. This bolts via an Advance Adapter
to a Klune Industries Klune-V "David" Planetary Crawler.
From there, we are the test pilot for a new adapter from Klune Industries
connecting their planetary crawler system to an NP205 manual version.
This all equates to an approximate 131+ crawl ratio times the torque
converter. The Klune-V planetary crawler is responsible for an additional
4.7 times the current gearing. It makes the extreme low range possible.
Once again, this setup is plenty strong for the XTV Raptor. (Note:
an Advance Adapters Atlas II would increase the low range considerably.
Klune Industries Klune-V will bolt up directly.)
traction is needed, Interco is always there. Mike and I decided
on 44x19.5x15 TSL Boggers for the rear. As soon as the tires were
unloaded from the delivery truck, we started cutting out every other
lug. Talk about some funny reactions from customers. For the front,
we chose 44x18.5x15 TSL Swampers. We didn't cut these, but rather
chose a reptilian pattern to groove. Although it looks pretty cool,
the grooves make the tire much softer. With 2 lbs. of air pressure,
you can press your knee into the tire and it will literally pinch
through your jeans to the skin. Talk about traction!
our application were a must-have. Beadlocks, however, are very expensive.
We decided to make our own, utilizing black steel wheels and beadlock
rings from Bart Wheels. None of our distributors offered 15x10 black
wheels with an 8-lug pattern. They all offer these in white, but
not black. Most wheel manufactures would gladly build us a set,
for about the same amount as buying the beadlock wheels. Go figure!
No problem, we ordered the white ones and Mike Trammell Paint and
Body handled the rest. We dropped them off white and got them back
agility to move swiftly through a boulder strewn trail, the ability
to take a rock ledge with authority and drop off the same ledge
and soak up the fall. We accomplished this with the use of Bilstein
shocks, Firestone airbags and a proven suspension setup. For the
front, we utilized Bilstein 9100 series coil-over shocks with 17
inches of travel. The Firestone double-convoluted airbags tuck directly
in front of the mounting point between the chassis and the upper
four-link brackets. The rear suspension is quarter elliptic, utilizing
our custom-designed quarter elliptic spring mounts. The airbags
are mounted atop the springs right in front of the brackets next
to the chassis. Mounting the airbags in this manner allows for 7.3
inches of travel at the wheel for every 1-inch of travel at the
airbag. Each bag is controlled separately via a three-way return-to-center
toggle. This provides us our up, down and side-to-side equalization.
The toggles we use are important because they are air-valved instead
of electric oriented with solenoids. This means they are more expensive,
but relatively simple and rebuildable.
Both front and
rear suspension setups are held in place by an upside down four-link.
Not "reversed" necessarily, the front is reversed but
it's upside down as well. The front outer links are heavily armored
to accommodate the incredible amount of force applied by the airbags.
All other links are made of 1 1/4" OD 5/16" wall tubing
and sleeved with 1 1/2" OD 1/8" wall tubing. This combination
is not impervious to bending, but resists it quite well.
One of the things
I despise most is trying to steer a vehicle straight and getting
a bunch of guff! For the steering, Mike and I chose a dual hydraulic
cylinder setup. We sell this setup as an XTV Hydrosteer System for
most solid axle applications. As with the XTV Raptor, components
consist of two 2500psi hydraulic cylinders, orbital, quick disconnect,
3 1/2" column, and steering wheel. It easily operates off of
the existing power steering pump and allows one hand control. Aftermarket
pumps are available from AGR.