Builds West Coast Wheeler Build

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.


Mar 26, 2006
Houston, TX
A few years ago @Bossman and I started having a discussion about how nice it would be just to keep a rig out in Northern California so that we could fly out and wheel whenever we wanted to. For a while, it was just an ongoing conversation about how cool that would be. Well, then a series of opportunities presented themselves and the dream is becoming a reality. The West Coast Wheeler project was born...

The first thing that happened is that @bkcruiser found himself with a 95 in need of a head gasket. He acquired this thing on a trade for some work on another truck. It sat for a while until the next opportunity popped up...the Alaska Cruiser Trek. I have wanted to make that trip for years, but being in Texas and not having a rig set up for it, it wasn't going to happen soon. Until there started to be chatter about some of the CottonLand Cruisers making it...Bossman included. So we started thinking "why not just build it now and take it to Alaska?" So off we went.

So the base of the rig is a locked 95. It was missing suspension, sliders, bumpers, and we knew the head gasket was bad. Well that was just the beginning as it turns out...

I'll post up pictures and more soon...
Glad you started this. You and Bill have put a ton of work into this rig and I'm looking forward to watching you experience Alaska in it! Carry on.
Jumping into the way back machine, this rig was owned by Pat Kennedy in California. Tom Boyd bought it to cannibalize the 4X4 labs rear bumper, sliders, suspension and some other random parts and pieces. Here it is back when Pat had it.


By the time I saw it, it was bare bones, bounced like crazy, and sounded very, very sad given the head gasket and cooling system issues.


That being said, Bill (@bkcruiser) being ever the optimist, saw it as an opportunity for a Rubicon/overlanding rig just waiting to happen. That's when the partnership crystalized. I'm in Texas, as I said, so my time to work on it is limited. Bossman is in the same situation being in Arkansas. So Bill is the keeper of the truck and doing the majority of the work. I'm providing parts and flying out when I can to help. Bossman provided suspension, tires (more on that later), sliders, a front bumper and various other stuff.

I was out there for a bit to go to the Hammers and did some work...with the help of Bill's daughter Jen who is an awesome welder and spent some time working for Georg at Valley Hybrids.
Last edited:
Luke at 4X4 labs let me get in to the group buy deal, and given he is close to Sacramento, Bill ran up and got the bumper kit from him. Double swing out with spare and 3 Jerry can holder. Jen and I started tackling the assembly. This was after I scored a deal on a Baja roof rack and Tepui RTT from @ChitownORD and installed those on one of my trips out west.




The other thing that happened is that I stripped out the interior. It was, um, warn. We also were not going to need the rear 2 row of seats for Alaska so no need to keep them in. In fact, we needed the room for gear.

Last edited:
I did put the front seats back in for you smart asses that were ready to comment on that. But not before I had fun driving it around sitting on a bucket.
This is the point in the build where I stopped doing much of anything and flew home. Bill took over from here. He finished up the rear bumper and the build went on a temporary hold for the Lone Star LandCruiser Roundup. There, he picked up parts from Bossman. Included were the suspension (ironman), a CottonLand Cruisers made front bumper, sliders and some tires. The tires, unfortunately came off a beadlocked rig and had a few the hunt for tires continued.


Here is the bumper using @jrob's 80 for fitting.


The tires had a few leaks from the beadlocks and use on Bossman's lovely wife's rig.

Up until now, it's mostly just been bolting things onto the truck. But the head gasket was the next project. Well, that and just going through things to make sure stuff works. That turned into a lot more than we bargained for. I flew out for a week at this point to get in some quality wrenching time. The truck was FILTHY to the point where function was compromised. So it went up in the air for a good pressure washing so we could inspect and fix whatever needed to be done under the truck.

s***, now I remember this truck. Now that you say it was Pat Kennedy's old 80. He brought that thing on the Rubicon in 2009 and beat the snot out of it....




Awesome @k9crazy
Once cleaned up a bit, I dug into the knuckles, etc...and figured out that all for corners needed completely rebuilt. The brake lines were rotten, the rotors were grooved, the calipers were stuck. You name it. So that was my week...
So as I was working on the bottom half of the truck, Bill started in on the headgasket issues. Well, in addition to the gasket being bad between 5 and 6, 5 was bad too. In the process, every single piece of rubber in the truck was brittle and either broke on removal, or was broken already. Thank goodness @beno had set us up with all that we needed for the cooling system and head gasket. I mean besides a different head...that was @orangefj45 who gave us access to a spare engine that had bottom half issues, but the head was good. Tyring to save money where we could at this point.





s***, now I remember this truck. Now that you say it was Pat Kennedy's old 80. He brought that thing on the Rubicon in 2009 and beat the snot out of it....




Awesome @k9crazy

No one has every accused me of having a lick of good sense. And this one is proof.
So the "spare" head went to the shop and got all fancied up and Bill is in the process of putting everything back together. Oh, and a new radiator as well.


In the process a bolt fell into the engine, so Bill created a magnet to retrieve it. Kinda clever.

Nice. I hope you are left handed since the latch on your swingout will always feel backward if you use your right hand.

Source: have same bumper in same config

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom