4400 KOH ROOKIE Contestant Build/Questions #KOHRookie23Savage

Zsavage81

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At the first of the year I accidentally sold my 1 ton/LS/Go-fast'ish(for South Carolina)/tubed out TJ. A buddy and I were at my shop working on a '46 CJ2A for another friend and he see's a guy on FB looking for a crawler like mine and next thing I know it's on a trailer headed to Utah. This started a chain of events that has brought me here. I've always wanted a u4 car and with the TJ gone and a pocket full of cash (found out only like 1/4 as much as this is going to take ) I decided I'd toss my hat in the ring and intended to build a 4800 car. After discussions with shock tuners and the long lead time I was quoted on 3.0 IBP's I sorta got talked into carriers and bypasses and this thing all the sudden became a 4400 car!

Fast forward 6 months and Ultra4 announces a King of The Rookies contest for folks that have never raced u4 before and are planning to race 4400 at KOH 2023 and I think "PERFECT"! My co-driver and I submit a video and wait, hoping we'll be the lucky winners (I was most excited about the driving lessons with Jason Scherer and Loren Healy so I could experience what it really means to go fast). The contest sorta morphs into something else and they decided they're going to have a larger class, then it morphs again and I think we gotta go head to head with the Campbell's, anyone named Gomez, anyone in a Miller car, and Randy Slawson for the Rookie title now . You can't be the best if you don't beat the best and I like seeing where I stack up to the greats so it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out! First things first, I gotta finish the car and make it to the lake bed!

Here's the contest submission video, #KOHRookie23Savage :



There's like a side bet in the rookie deal for whoever's hashtag gets the most exposure. I don't have the right kinda butt hole for onlyfans and nobody's buying pic's of my feet so like and subscribe to youtube and follow me on IG @Z_D_Savage and like all my stuff so I can ho myself out like a dirty pirate hooker and win some money!

So I full well admit........I don't have a clue what I'm doing! I've built a handful of crawlers but never a race car, the furthest west I've been wheeling is Utah, so there's a ton to figure out in a short time! I feel like I run into 100 car building questions every time I touch the thing, I haven't really started figuring out coms/navigation/race week logistics/pit logistics/pit strategy/race strategy/etc. Dave's been extremely helpful so far but I also don't want to wear him out with questions. This place has been an excellent resource so far and the folks here seem to know whats up. I'm coming from South Carolina so stuff that might not even be a second thought to yall might not ever even cross my mind, but here we go!

Here's the general plan for the car and everything's subject to change:

-2" Partially Committed Racing Racing Chassis
-GM Performance crate 6.2L LS3
-Edelbrock Flo-pro kit (Intake, TB, Injectors, fuel rails, harness, ecm, sensors, etc)
-Reid case TH400
-Atlas Race Case, 3.0
-Super Duty front 60: Branik light weight brakes, 1550 shafts, JHF weld on high steer arms, Ball-joint eliminators, yukon 5.38 gears, yukon grizzly locker (debating if I should sell and go to a spool?)
-14 Bolt rear: Yukon 5.38 gears, yukon chromo shafts, yukon spool, has gm disk brakes but probably going to swap to Branik, artec back bone truss, TMR shave kit
-Steering: Scotts custom off-road pump, PSC 10" race ram, eaton orbital, CBR steering cooler, reservoir TBD
-CBR Radiator and trans cooler
-Chris Durham Motorsports hood, grill, cowl
-PRP Seats, harnesses, and steering wheel
-Radflo 2.5 remote reservoir coil carriers
-Radflo 3.0 5 tube by-passes
-Wheels and Tires TBD (leaning towards some mud whomping 43" SX's but still not sure on that)

I started with a Partially Committed Racing 4 seat chassis. Why the F would I start with a 4 seater you ask.......because i'm gonna drink beers and rec wheel this thing way more than I probably end up racing since I'm a poor and on the East coast, and my wife was hardcore serious about not wanting radiator fans sucking air behind her head all day when we're crawling! The 2 seater wouldn't allow for a front mounted radiator. She's been a good sport about me taking on this bucket list adventure of mine so if that's the only concession I gotta make for her I think it's money! I also think I could pretty easily add a 3rd seat for my daughter when not in race mode and IF I can't keep the car cool I can always stick it in the back.

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OFFRD-JNKIE

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Looking at your list of things to take care of. I would suggest talking to the Dust Junkies and letting them handle your pit duties. They provide a pit service at KOH. Much easier than trying to divide your pit crew between the 3 pit locations to make sure your covered.
 
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Zsavage81

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Looking at your list of things to take care of. I would suggest talking to the Dust Junkies and letting them handle your pit duties. They provide a pit service at KOH. Much easier than trying to divide your pit crew between the 3 pit locations to make sure your covered.
How much does something like that costs? What all do they take care of?
 

E.Hagle

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Call Keith at KDM shock technologies. Really nice guy that’s local to us, I know he does a few U4 guys including Levi Shirley who’s a pretty big name in the game. He has a really great connection with shock manufacturers and could probably steer you in the correct direction as well.
 

johnnyweb

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Hey there fellow #kohrookie23 I could make a couple suggestions. Ditch the Edelbrock fuel injection setup I would go to Holley, Emtron on the econo side or Motec if you have the budget. Best transfer case combo going today is SCS t case and a Magnum low range box, I would do custom axle housings with drop out 3 members. As for shocks I would go King or Fox as my second choice. Also no on the swapper tires BFG is the first choice there for sure. Either way get it done and let’s race.Just my opinions as #kohrookie23webster #kohroty2023
 

snivilous

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Lmao at the replies in this thread, OP you seem to be on a budget, want a trail rig that is race legal, and have a lot to do! Paying people for pit support seems like a total waste imo, you can easily piece some people together to help pit even if you show up with no friends (hell I'll pit for you assuming my 4400 isn't running like usual). KDM shocks is super cool, I have pimped out shocks on my Can Am from him, but again that is an expensive and imo unnecessary path at the current stage you're at. Based on your pictures I would get the thing running and driving functionally, then you can eventually throw whatever shocks at it but getting it going with anything is better imo. Obviously custom axles are the way to go, but if you're even considering 60/14 then I'm guessing they're (currently) out of your budget.

From how I read your post, you want to race but don't want to spend an arm and a leg where as everyone else is made of money and you really dont take racing so seriously you want to drop $100k. I think your build goals look very realistic for a (sadly) low end 4400 build, and it would be a ton of fun and can be upgraded as time goes on.

If those pictures are where you currently stand I think you have a LOT of work cut out for you for the next 5 months! Don't forget you need a race compliant (ie super expensive unless it's like a Jaz) fuel cell, you'll want intercom and radio, helmets, fire suit, gloves, and all that other poop that doesn't matter for rec wheeling and adds up fast. If you haven't checked out irate4x4.com I would go there too, it's where a lot of the pirate guys moved to and since Ultra4 doesn't get much attention on RDC (let alone people knowing about solid axle and link geometry stuff) you might get more advice over there.

I think it's very cool and wish you the best of luck! I've been building a very similar 4400-esque car to mostly trail wheel and occasionally hit races, but it's currently at the build burn out stage after a few years. 60/10.5, atlas, supercharged 408/4l80e, Holley, prp, Jaz, Aeromotive, ADS with trailing arms, Howe, and some other stuff. Started as a rock lizard chassis a long time ago. It takes a lot of work and a lot of money to button up the last few things past the point of "I can go wheeling in this" and get to "I'm allowed to race", so I completely understand your position. If you need pit support hit me up, almost everyone I go to koh with pits for a lower level class so could easily find people available and willing to pit for a 4400.
 
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Zsavage81

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Hey there fellow #kohrookie23 I could make a couple suggestions. Ditch the Edelbrock fuel injection setup I would go to Holley, Emtron on the econo side or Motec if you have the budget. Best transfer case combo going today is SCS t case and a Magnum low range box, I would do custom axle housings with drop out 3 members. As for shocks I would go King or Fox as my second choice. Also no on the swapper tires BFG is the first choice there for sure. Either way get it done and let’s race.Just my opinions as #kohrookie23webster #kohroty2023

That's all good stuff, but none of it's in my budget. EB Kit, Atlas, axles, and shocks are bought and paid for. I priced out fabricated axles and on the low end was going to spend $25K. This is a budget 4400 car!

After talking to Phil some and Wizzo a ton they both seem to believe ADS is the best shock made at the moment and Radflo is second. I was told Kings or nothing for IBS when I was still thinking 4800. The other major factor was availability, I could get the radflo's faster than I could get any of the others. I wanted Fox mainly because I've followed Wayne's work for years and have read everything he's ever put on the internet and set all the crawlers I've worked on using his philosophy. I guess now that he's back out on his own he'll probably tune any brand of shock? Wizzo is the only east coast tunner though so I'm planning to test and tune with him since we can meet at AOP which is only like 4 hours from my house vs JV that's 34 hours!
 

Zsavage81

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Lmao at the replies in this thread, OP you seem to be on a budget, want a trail rig that is race legal, and have a lot to do! Paying people for pit support seems like a total waste imo, you can easily piece some people together to help pit even if you show up with no friends (hell I'll pit for you assuming my 4400 isn't running like usual). KDM shocks is super cool, I have pimped out shocks on my Can Am from him, but again that is an expensive and imo unnecessary path at the current stage you're at. Based on your pictures I would get the thing running and driving functionally, then you can eventually throw whatever shocks at it but getting it going with anything is better imo. Obviously custom axles are the way to go, but if you're even considering 60/14 then I'm guessing they're (currently) out of your budget.

From how I read your post, you want to race but don't want to spend an arm and a leg where as everyone else is made of money and you really dont take racing so seriously you want to drop $100k. I think your build goals look very realistic for a (sadly) low end 4400 build, and it would be a ton of fun and can be upgraded as time goes on.

If those pictures are where you currently stand I think you have a LOT of work cut out for you for the next 5 months! Don't forget you need a race compliant (ie super expensive unless it's like a Jaz) fuel cell, you'll want intercom and radio, helmets, fire suit, gloves, and all that other poop that doesn't matter for rec wheeling and adds up fast. If you haven't checked out irate4x4.com I would go there too, it's where a lot of the pirate guys moved to and since Ultra4 doesn't get much attention on RDC (let alone people knowing about solid axle and link geometry stuff) you might get more advice over there.

I think it's very cool and wish you the best of luck! I've been building a very similar 4400-esque car to mostly trail wheel and occasionally hit races, but it's currently at the build burn out stage after a few years. 60/10.5, atlas, supercharged 408/4l80e, Holley, prp, Jaz, Aeromotive, ADS with trailing arms, Howe, and some other stuff. Started as a rock lizard chassis a long time ago. It takes a lot of work and a lot of money to button up the last few things past the point of "I can go wheeling in this" and get to "I'm allowed to race", so I completely understand your position. If you need pit support hit me up, almost everyone I go to koh with pits for a lower level class so could easily find people available and willing to pit for a 4400.

You've pretty much hit the nail on the head! I wish I had a million dollars to dump into a race program, but reality is I don't. Maybe Coors or Elisha Craig will pony up and start funding my stuff since I've supported them so faithfully over the years and I can get the nicest of everything. Until then, I'm just a regular blue collar guy paying my own way trying to make chicken salad out of chicken poop! This will be a real David vs Goliath kinda effort, hopefully we get there and are successful enough to find some partners to help us go further.

It's definitely a tall order to get this car built and tested in 5 months, there's no question about it. I have a 5x12 torchmate table and a big router (That I can cut aluminum on or make prototype parts on), my wife works at a machine shop and I built her boss a nice CJ crawler and he'll help me out with anything I need from him, so hopefully the fabrication phase goes pretty quick and I don't have to wait on brackets and tabs and that sorta thing. The crew of guys I regularly wheel with are all helping out so hopefully that speeds up the process as well!

I'm on irate4x4, I've just found a lot more go-fast desert info here. I joined pirate back in 1999 when it was really pirate! Those were the days! I also get on hardline.

As for the work, headers showed up about 30 minutes ago so I can see what needs to happen with the motor mounts now and get those built along with the transmission cross-member and the atlas mount. Was just waiting on that before burning in suspension mounts in case the motor location needed to be adjusted (Which it does have to go up like 1/2"). I have 2.5" 7075 lowers my wife's boss cut for me to go on the front. Building my own trailing arms for the rear, then as soon as I have dimension's he'll cut me some uppers so this thing can be a roller.

Oh and I hope that wasn't an empty offer on pit support because I'm probably going to need it!
 

snivilous

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Oh and I hope that wasn't an empty offer on pit support because I'm probably going to need it!
Not at all! I usually spend the whole week out there, and pit during EMC and this year codrove for a UTV. Between the guys I camp with, the 4600 guys I pit for, and the UTV guys I race with I have no doubt we could find a sufficient team even if you showed up all by yourself! In the unlikely event I finish my own buggy this year we can share pits 😂 It sounds like you have a lot of resources and capability, I'm sure you'll pull it off! If the Campbells or Horschel can build an entire car in a month, mere mortals can maybe do it in half a year!
 

dan200

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I formally want anyone in the rookie challenge to know that I will do my best to help you along the way. I am real excited about this.

If you don't know me yet we are probably going to be friends. I work for SDHQ (a very big off road shop in Arizona) and head up the best hard parts and safety equipment race support program you will find on the lake bed. Besides that, I do everything possible to be a concierge of sorts out there. Hammertown can be a bit overwhelming for a new guy.

I offer myself up to help any rookie in any way I can. Today, tomorrow and everyday up until you take the green flag. I am the only active person from our shop here on RDC but there is a wealth of information in the big brains of our showroom staff. Do not hesitate to contact me for anything. You can message me here or my email is dan200@sdhqoffroad.com
 
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Zsavage81

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I appreciate any help I can get Dan, showing up 2,000 miles from home not knowing anything is a bit overwhelming to think about at times.

My headers came in the other day and I think they’re going to work out so I’m about to go full tilt and get this thing into roller status in the next 3-4 weeks. Spent all last night cleaning my shop up and trying to get organized so I can work a little more efficiently.

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dan200

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I appreciate any help I can get Dan, showing up 2,000 miles from home not knowing anything is a bit overwhelming to think about at times.

Logistics can be a nightmare. Especially if ya have never been to the lakebed during Hammers.

Some tips off the top of my head.

Cell service is awful for most and as the place fills up the service gets worse. We invested in a starlink. Koh has wifi services you can pay for also. check in right away with them to have installation scheduled.

you can also schedule your RV water tank for refills and blackwater dumping. When you wait, they cant just rush right over. The shittter drainer dudes get busy. Also, TIP them.

Pack for it being hot. Also for it being freezing. And for rain. And for wind. The weather out there varies from day to day in big ways. It can snow one day and then you'll get a sunburn the next.

They sell firewood on the lake bed. You can buy ICE in hammertown. The food vendors are legit. Especially the pizza guys. Prices are like "state fair" prices but the stuff is delicious.

Rent one of the wedding tent garages for your pit/camp. TOTALLY WORTH IT. Propane patio heaters are nice to have also.

I'll add to this as it comes to me.
 
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