BDS Suspension is the official suspension of the 2014 Ultimate Adventure (UA), a week long, 1000+ mile offroad trail ride/back road journey hosted by 4Wheel & Offroad Magazine each year. We’ve been lucky enough to sponsor the event over the years, wheeling all corners of this great country building the type of friendships one can only make after 7 days spent without showers out 4wheeling, camping, and wrenching together. With roughly 25 vehicles in attendance, one perk of sponsoring the trip is one of the coveted spots to bring a trail rig to drive. Attendees include the event sponsors, magazine reps, camera crew and a half dozen hand-picked magazine readers in everything from JKs to flattys, Scouts to Blazers, PowerWagons and Tacos. Representing BDS this year we’ll have Dave Devormer from our engineering department and myself, Carter Reed from the marketing department taking on the UA in a 2005 Jeep Liberty Diesel.
In the past we brought a budget built TJ to prove it could be done. With a BDS 6.5” Long Arm, stock Dana30/44 axles, 5.13 gears, lockers, 37” tires, body armor and a winch we completed not one, but two UA’s. Last year we made the decision to retire the old TJ and build something new. After mulling over a few concepts, the idea prevailed was to transform the most universally disliked Jeep 4×4 and turn it into something cool and capable. At the top of a short list we had the Liberty KJ, successor to the Cherokee XJ and perceived flop due to its IFS, goofy design and soccer mom appeal. For 2 years however (2005-2006), Jeep offered the KJ with a torquey 2.8L common rail diesel (CRD) putting out 160hp/295tq. We picked up one with around 200,000 miles on the odometer for $5000 and within a few weeks the BDS R&D team turned it into a low slung, caged, solid axle’d diesel crawler on 40s.
Project KJ, as it was dubbed, debuted at the 2013 Ultimate Adventure. At the time we had yet to work the bugs out or even complete a test drive longer than around our parking lot. Due to a few electrical gremlins, a few mechanical failures, and some plain old bad luck Project KJ was down and out for parts of the adventure. It received Mcgyver-style fixes to get us caught up with the rest of the group only to have another issue creep up farther down the road. As some have described it “the alternate adventure” was a long and painful trip and we had a blast regardless. Since the trip, the BDS R&D team has dug into the Liberty to work out the bugs and get it running at its best. Over the last year its been 4wheeled out in Utah at Easter Jeep, Michigan’s Rocks & Valleys and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes along with Pennsylvania’s Outback Adventure among others; all the while picking up battle scars to prove its not just a mall crawler.
With the 2014 Ultimate Adventure less than a month away, BDS has the KJ back in the shop as it prepares to redeem itself on this year’s trip (wherever that may be). There’s a fairly long list of updates to the rig, replacement parts, spare parts, adjustments and repairs. Stay tuned as we continue to prep Project KJ for the 2014 Ultimate Adventure and watch us on Facebook and Instagram June 27th-July 5th for daily updates from the trip. #UA2014 will keep you informed.