Rock royalty Jon Bundrant returns to hardcore competition
Jeff Miller, owner of Mad Dog Offroad Products, found himself saying, “I can do that” after attending the King of the Hammers (KOH) competition in California’s Johnson Valley. Miller had been over the Hammer trails in his custom 2008 FJ Cruiser, which was built by hardcore Toyota specialist All-Pro Off Road. (Miller’s off-road baptism was the 2008 All-Pro FJ Cruiser Challenge, where he was amazed by what FJs could do with the proper modifications.)
After attending the inaugural KOH in 2008, Jeff Miller approached All-Pro owner and former SuperCrawl champion Jon Bundrant about building a truggy for the competition. All-Pro began accumulating components. Then the economy tanked.
Miller made a Plan B: The accumulated parts intended for the buggy — Currie Rock Jock II Dana 60 axles, Fox bypass coilovers — would go on the FJ instead. All-Pro had already given the FJ a solid-axle conversion with Fox 2.5-inch coilovers up front to create about 14 inches of travel. In the rear, All-Pro cut the frame behind the seats and replaced the stock rails with 2 x 0.120-inch chromoly tubing. The rear also got competition-worthy Fox bypass shocks and a Currie Rock Jock II Dana 60. At the axles’ ends are BFG Krawlers, chosen because this tire logged more rock-crawling wins between 2004-2008 than all other brands combined. Similarly, Walker Evans beadlocks are used because of their proven reliability in extreme competitions.
Next, Jeff Miller convinced Jon Bundrant to un-retire from competitive driving and demonstrate how capable a part-factory/full-bodied Toyota 4×4 could be against purpose-built truggies.
As background, Jon Bundrant dominated competitive rockcrawling in 2003. His previous ride — Nelson & Nelson’s innovative VW-powered “Tiny” buggy — indirectly helped promote All-Pro but didn’t use any of the Toyota products Bundrant sold. As a former stock-car racer, Bundrant jumped at the chance to drive a cutting-edge machine. The attraction this time: The FJ was built by All-Pro using many of its over-the-counter components.
The goals are realistic for the Team All-Pro UltraFJ. “We’re doing this to get the hardcore Toyota/FJ following excited,” Jon Bundrant says. “Everybody knows the rig on the forums, and the normal guy can relate to a built-up FJ. We want to show what a built FJ can do.”
In order to go 100-plus MPH on the KOH desert sections, a TRD Supercharger from TRDParts4U.com was installed by Toyota Performance in Tucson, Arizona. Custom headers and exhaust help uncork the extra power. A Mike’s Transmission Ultimate Turbo 400 provides gear-reduction between the Toyota V-6 and Advance Adapters Atlas transfer case.
The team’s first goal is to qualify for the 2012 King of the Hammers competition. Jon Bundrant thinks the FJ will really shine at the Last Chance Qualifier session in Johnson Valley, where this local team has a home-field advantage. Then Toyota fans will root for the UltraFJ against Shannon Campbell, Loren Healy, JT Taylor and the other top King of the Hammers competitors in their custom buggies.
Long-term, Jeff Miller will campaign the FJ in Ultra4 competition. “I’ll drive it while Jeff learns the vehicle,” Bundrant says. “He’s a real enthusiast, a good vendor and a great customer. Jeff will do well when he takes over.”
Vehicle: 2008 Ultra4 FJ Cruiser
Owner: Jeff Miller/Mad Dog Offroad Products, Lake Elsinore, CA
Driver: Jon Bundrant, All-Pro Off-Road, Hemet, CA
Engine: 4.0L V-6, TRD Supercharger, AEM intake, custom exhaust
Transmission: Turbo 400, Hayden cooler
Transfer case: Atlas 3.8:1
Front Axle: All-Pro solid-axle conversion, Currie RockJock II Dana 60, Currie chromoly shafts, ARB Air Locker, 4.88 Motive Gears, Warn hubs
Rear Axle: Currie RockJock II Dana 60, Currie chromoly shafts, ARB Air Locker, 4.88 Motive Gears
Driveshafts: J.E. Reel Driveline
Steering: All-Pro pitman arm, Howe ram-assist
Brakes: Wilwood discs with Dynalite 2 calipers
Front Suspension: All-Pro 3-link, Fox 2.5-inch-diameter 14-inch-travel remote reservoir coilovers, Fox 2.0 air bumps
Rear Suspension: All-Pro 4-link, Fox 2.5-inch-diameter 16-inch-travel remote reservoir coilovers, Fox 2.0 air bumps
Wheels: 17×8.5 Walker Evans beadlocks
Tires: 42×14.50R20 BFG Krawler T/A KXs
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