Adventures of Lafawnduh: The High Mileage Waptuh

gascapkevin

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May 9, 2023
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I picked Lafawnduh up in October of 2022 with 264k miles on the odo and quite a few battle scars on the body that showed it had earned those 264k miles. It was amazingly almost bone stock, it just had Eibach springs up front and a hideous rear bumper that had definitely seen an impact or two.

The morning after I got her:
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Got the coolant flushed... The stuff coming out looked more like an IPA than coolant
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Two weeks into ownership and Lafawnduh was ready for her first real off road adventure, a just under 15 mile section of desert sand wash. And when I say ready, I don’t mean I did any preventative maintenance or anything on her, I just finally had a free day to do some off-roading.

Probably mile 2 into the expedition:
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Lafawnduh sucked in the sand. Blown out shocks and stock rear leafs contributed to some horrendous axle hop. But stoke levels were still high. I was off roading in my very own Waptuh!
At about mile 14 of the journey, my friend who was passenger princess for the trip said, “wow this thing actually did really good today”....and that’s when things went downhill. Not half a mile later we slowed down to pick our line to climb a fairly steep hill and get out of the wash… and I noticed a cloud of smoke coming from underneath Lafawnduh. We jumped out and popped the hood…

That’s not supposed to look like that…
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Ford made these awesome plastic clips that are supposed to hold the transmission lines together. After 264k miles they decided to leave the chat. Both clips had cracked, and one line had completely popped off. It was at this point we noticed a fairly big trail of oil that led quite a ways back the way we had come…

The passenger princess calling for help
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We were able to reconnect the line once it had cooled down a bit. Then we nursed Lafawnduh out of the wash to a nearby gas station, but the transmission was not happy. We had another friend come pick us up at the gas station and take us back to town. We grabbed some tools and lots of transmission fluid and headed back to the gas station. We used a combination of zipties and hose clamps from the gas station to insure the line wouldn’t pop off again. I wish I had taken a picture of this fix as it was quite sketchy but worked well. I then hopped underneath Lafawnduh and started filling her back up. 8 qts of transmission fluid later and we finally had a reading on the dipstick! Now I could check “transmission flush” off the preventative maintenance to do list.
 
After my first real off road experience with Lafawnduh it was clear I needed to rebuild the shocks. So I drove to SoCal to pick up an SVC bumper I had found on Craigslist for cheap. Gotta look good in the Starbucks drive thru right??

The hideous bumper I took off:
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Cutting time:
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First side done:
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Finished product, ready for Starbs:
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Peep the classy custom exhaust( I chopped the stock tips off so I could cut the bedside easier)
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In December I had some friends come out from Pennsylvania for my birthday, so obviously I had to show them the desert. Took them the back way to the Desert Bar in Parker. They had a blast, and the blown out shocks weren’t terrible in the slower crawling portions of the trip.
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Blue tape on the sunroof because the sliders are broken and the sunroof will flap if it's not taped down lol
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Only thing that broke on the trip was a sway bar link!
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So I did the right thing and removed the sway bar. Been running sway bar free for 10k miles now with no complaints lol.
 
The best vantage point for long distance RC crawling
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At this point it was January, I still hadn't rebuilt the shocks, and I had aspirations of going to KOH.
I had the Schrader valve conversion and seal kit just sitting on my dining room table. I had rebuilt motorcycle forks before, but was scared I was gonna be in over my head with these IBP Fox's. So I swallowed my pride and called a professional. Through a mutual friend I found Hutchins Race Prep. Tyler was local, knowledgeable, and just a cool dude.

I squeezed Lafawnduh into the garage and pulled the shocks off
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When I pulled the rears I could fully compress the shock and it would stay compressed, no rebound at all lol. I guess it was time for a rebuild.
Tyler said there was almost no fluid in the fronts either.

Night and day difference once I had shocks that actually worked. But honestly, I was still a little disappointed in the performance and am searching for better options.

Option A: Geiser spring on the stock shock, cheapest option but I think I will still want more.

Option B: Stock Length 3.0 Coilover

Option C: Camburg Coilover Bucket that relocates the top mounting point and would allow me to run longer Gen 2 coilovers. But unsure if it's worth the headache of cutting the whole bucket out. (And no welder at this time so would have to pay for the fab work)

Option D: 3.0 Coilover, lower control arm with bypass mounts, and a 2.5 or 3.0 bypass (would also require fab work for the upper bypass mount)

Option X (cover Lafawnduh's ears): Sell the Waptuh and get a TTB Ranger (every time I see a video of Wally's turtle truck I get butterflies)

Trying to stay relatively budget friendly as fully building a Waptuh takes a lot of dough and I think there are better and cheaper trucks to build into full on desert machines. Mike's sleeper Tacoma is a big inspiration as Lafawnduh has to be a swiss army knife truck at this point in my life. I'm still renting and trying to pinch pennies until I can get a house with a garage and 220v power for a welder. So at the moment Lafawnduh pulls desert duty, camping duty, dirt bike and jetski hauling duty, as well as occasional commute to work duty.

Any insights on my existential crisis would be greatly appreciated from the wealth of knowledge here on BLGT. Thanks!

Here's a cool pic to break up all the lame writing
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Not many people can say they have a Raptor that they actually offroad and aren't afraid to get into sticky situations! Upgrade your shocks, get em tuned for your driving to make it comfortable, and enjoy it
 
KOH 2023 was my first KOH and it was blast. Nothing can prepare you for the sensory overload of Chocolate Thunder at night lol. Will definitely be going back next year.

Tow Pig mode:
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(also the only pic I took all weekend lol, was just too busy having fun)

Towed this camper out to Lucerne on Friday afternoon. Not 30 minutes after reaching the campsite and dropping the camper, the bed was unloaded and the tires were aired down and @troysladeck was taking me on my first rip in Lucerne Valley lol.
Tried to follow his XJ while doing some crawling things and things quickly got real. After smashing front bumper, mid frame and rear bumper on the first obstacle my girlfriend looked at me and said "We still need to get home on Sunday" I agreed and dialed it back a few notches.

But overall the Waptuh did great. Spent all day Saturday running around Lucerne and Johnson Valley, even tried to catch some air in the dunes but the stock leafs just would not let me get enough traction or forward momentum to do anything cool. Then aired the tires up and hooked up to the camper and headed home on Sunday. Definitely want to spend a few more days out there next year.
 
The only real damage from KOH was a torn passenger CV Boot. So I hopped on Autozone and ordered a new one...
It came a few days later and I got to pulling out the old one.

That isn't gonna work...
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Turns out even when specifically listed that it will fit a Waptuh, it won't. Got on the Waptuh Facebook group and sure enough, everyone has had this issue with CVs. The only replacements that fit are OE Ford or Yukon. Yukon was out of stock at the time, so I had to bite the bullet and order an OE axle from the local dealership.
 
Ever since I got Lafawnduh, I knew I wanted an RTT. So when I saw CVT was having a big sale on some tents they were discontinuing I jumped on it. I got the small Mt Washington. I wasn't particularly sold on any bed rack though. Most were way too overlandish and expensive. So I got a cheap one off Amazon that would work short term until I figured out what I really wanted.

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First camping trip with the RTT:
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First camping trip with my BLGT sticker:
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The bed rack works fine during on road usage. But it is not cut out for off roading. So I am planning on building my own, with much inspiration taken from Wally's bed rack on his Ranger. He uses his truck and it looks like his GFC hasn't fallen off yet so I'm sold.
 
keep eyes on the spot where your tent mounts to the rack.
Idk if that CVT is the same as smittybilt, looks pretty much the same, but the measly little M6s will tear through the bottom of the tent. I ended up drilling a bunch more & adding fender washers and got it to stay put like that eventually.

I actually built a bed rack for my raptor & still have it since i sold the truck. you can have it - pickup in san diego
 
keep eyes on the spot where your tent mounts to the rack.
Idk if that CVT is the same as smittybilt, looks pretty much the same, but the measly little M6s will tear through the bottom of the tent. I ended up drilling a bunch more & adding fender washers and got it to stay put like that eventually.

I actually built a bed rack for my raptor & still have it since i sold the truck. you can have it - pickup in san diego
You got any pictures of your bed rack?
 
I built it to work with my Bakflip revolver tonneau cover. there are 4 base pedestals that clamp to the bed rail & the rack itself bolts to the pedestals.
 

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Couldn't re-boot it? Anytime I have an OE CV boot wear out I will just get an OE boot and re-boot it. 99.9% of the parts store cheapo half shafts are garbage...even if they fit.
 
I built it to work with my Bakflip revolver tonneau cover. there are 4 base pedestals that clamp to the bed rail & the rack itself bolts to the pedestals.
Definitely interested, just need to figure out if I can make it out to SD anytime soon.
 
Couldn't re-boot it? Anytime I have an OE CV boot wear out I will just get an OE boot and re-boot it. 99.9% of the parts store cheapo half shafts are garbage...even if they fit.
Due to the mileage on the truck I figured it was time for a new one. But I did keep the old half shaft and am planning on rebooting it and keeping it as a backup
 
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YES! Another Gen juan. Cool build so far. I need that rear bumper lol. You decide on the BMS tie rods yet?
Thanks!
SVC is having a Labor Day Sale right now so I was thinking of getting their tie rods. Or I might cheap out and just get stock replacements :ROFLMAO:
 
Have you considered buying a couple steering rack clevis’s, some rod ends, and threaded tube then just building some?
 
Have you considered buying a couple steering rack clevis’s, some rod ends, and threaded tube then just building some?
Not much of a fabricator, and when it comes to the steering of my truck I would rather trust professionals who have put in the R&D and developed a good product, rather than my own hack skills :ROFLMAO:
 
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