Having read of my off-road travails with my Promaster, CC reader and contributor Dave Skinner decided to make me feel bad about having ditched my ’77 Dodge Chinook. He sent me an ad for this heavily modified 4×4 Chinook, with these words: “Given your recent off-road adventures, perhaps your old Dodge was the right answer all along”.
Yup, I blew it once again. Stephanie and I could be riding in comfort over hill and dale in this finely-crafted globe trotter. And it’s only $32,000; that’s five grand less than what I have into my Promaster. And it’s in Portland! The few minor compromises it would require will pale against the ability to scale the steepest mountains in utter serenity.
Italics are from the ad copy:
1978 Dodge Chinook 23-foot, fully self-contained and insulated, Cummins turbo diesel swap, intercooled, 5-spd tranny swap, NP205 t-case, Dana 60 axles, 8-inch lift springs, Bilsteins, 35-inch tires, runs and drives great.
And how does it ride? A wee bit stiff, perhaps? Is there a ladder to get into the rear door, or?
Dodge 5.9L Cummins mechanical 12-valve,
New custom Holset HE351 Turbo,
Intercooled with full-size intercooler,
Yes, the mechanical 12 valve Cummins, the noisiest diesel engine ever made. Every time I’m next to one at a light I have to close my window to protect my ears. But I’m sure the “dog house” engine cover will eliminate all that intense clattering, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want a Cummins inches away from your calves and thighs? No need for massages ever again.
Of course the original dog house would never fit over the mighty Cummins, so the modifications include hand made fiberglass protrusions to the passenger side to make room for the turbo, and an extension in the middle for the extra length of the inline six. I’m sure Stephanie won’t mind giving up about half of the already almost non-existent leg room. And I’m sure she’ll love the sound of that big turbo spooling up between every shift. Marriage is all about compromise, and these are minor.\
Oh right; no air conditioning too. We won’t tell her about that just yet. One compromise at a time.
Here’s a better picture of the extension to the rear. Nicely crafted; artisinal, in more ways than one.
New 5-spd Getrag transmission,
New Velair triple disc ceramic clutch,
New Velair flexplate and bearings,
NP-205 gear-drive transfer case,
New hydraulics and all cylinders,
Here’s a view of the two sticks protruding through the floor. They’re going to make stepping into the main cabin a wee bit awkward, but I’m sure we’ll get used to that too. And I always did fancy having a stick shift Chinook.
The tv will be useless for us, but maybe we’ll join the rest of the world and start watching tv in the boonies. I don’t see a solar panel in the specs, so let’s get a generator to run the tv. Who cares about the quiet out in the boonies anyway? It’s much more comforting to have the place lit up by a big tv and hear the roar of a generator. That’s what real camping is all about: getting away from it all.
The interior shows the benefits of a lick of paint or two, although the sofa beds’s upholstery job is a wee bit improvised, especially for $32k.
Dana 70 rear with Detroit Locker,
Dana 60 front, KP, both 4.10 gears,
Goes over 75mph on the freeway fine,
Custom steering box and cardan shaft,
New steering arms and crossover steering,
Rebuilt kingpins, custom brake valve,
New brake booster and master cylinder
New Skyjacker DR60s-D600s 8-inch springs,
New Bilstein 5100 shocks spec’ed for this rig,
New front and rear driveshafts and ujoints,
Yup, this puppy is built to take it all in stride.
Custom front bumper setup for 8274,
Tied into a custom sub-over-frame,
LOTS of custom metal work to make it fit,
Completely Rhino-Lined two-tone exterior,
Easy to maintain and easy to touch up.
Yes, I do love me some texture.
Rebuilt injection pump and injectors,
All new motor seals, including rear main,
Tabbed KDP and locked all case bolts,
Crankshaft work done with a sleeve,
New oil pump and many internals,
New sensors for factory gauges,
New lines for fuel, breaks, etc.,
New engine and cab wiring,
No factory vans had manual,
So custom manual pedals,
Custom throttle setup,
Fully gone through and rebuilt,
Extremely reliable and simple,
Everything is fully mechanical,
Only “requires” 1-wire to starter,
EMP resistant and runs upside down,
60% moving parts of other engines,
Extremely durable and reliable,
Will never leak or get scratched,
Only 500 miles on the build.
Only 500 miles on the build? So why the hell are you selling it? Isn’t quite what you expected? A few compromises? The wife isn’t enamored of it? Pray tell?