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The CRAWL Mag Racing team took the #4560 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that we spent most of the summer building for the 2013 King of the Hammers Every Man Challenge race to Johnson Valley California for some testing during the week of Thanksgiving.
Equipped with Currie RockJock 60’s stuffed with Yukon Comp 60 Zip lockers, Clayton Off Road Manufacturing 4 link rear and 3 link front control arms, King internal bypass coil-over shocks, and PSC Motorsports hydro assist, we knew we had a combination that could tackle the vicious terrain that is Johnson Valley.
We worked with Mike Leighton at King Off-Road Racing Shocks to determine the best spring rates and shock valving for our application, without knowing what the actual corner weights would be. Obviously, King has extensive experience in this regard, and sent us coil-over shocks that were valved based on their best guess estimate, and the information we provided them.
With less than 10 miles on this build, we loaded the Jeep in the trailer for the 1300-mile trip to The Hammers without knowing how well it would end up performing. To say that we were surprised at how well it performed would be a gross understatement. We made several runs through the rough terrain in the desert, increasing our speed with each new run. This allowed us to get comfortable with its handling characteristics, and discover that we were bottoming out the shocks in the big whoops at around 40 MPH. Turning the compression adjuster knob on the reservoir to a firmer setting quickly cured this. We now refer to it as the magic knob – just like magic, we weren’t bottoming out any more. Once we got it dialed in, John and I looked at each other and said “holy crap!” Seriously - we couldn’t believe it!
“Leighton” rolled in Tuesday night, and after some tuning discussion we increased the nitrogen pressure in the rears by 50 lbs. Other than that, we were dialed in right out of the box. “You can spend hours and hours trying to make it 10% better, so you really need to decide if the time investment will yield results that are significant enough to make it worth the effort”, said Leighton. I think what he was really saying was that the car is already way better than the driver, HA! We agree!
On Wednesday, 2012 stock class winners Gerald Lee and John Currie decided we needed to know what we were in for, so they organized a run that would take us through the 2012 EMC course. A little nervous, off we went with the Savvy racecar, our entry, Jordan Pelligrino in the GenRight YJ, and 3 Ultra4 cars, including 2011 KOH runner-up Tony Pellegrino in the GenRight 4485.
Ripping through the desert at speeds of up to 75 MPH, we decided that these 2 old guys will have a blast no matter the outcome. But, we need more engine! Watch this short video as we begin to decelerate off a lakebed and Tony Pellegrino blisters by at a cool 107 MPH.