Chevrolet Overkill
By Megatron, 09/26/2013
  • Color Blue for now
  • Price 0.00
  • Year 1995
  • Odometer --
  • Odometer Unit Miles
  • Description My current build truck. All tube chassis with an S-10 exo body lol. Rockwell 2.5 ton axles with 4 wheel hydraulic steering. I have decided to call it project "Overkill" lol. Since it was my first tube build I may have gotten a little carried away with everything being bigger and heaver than really needed. O well, at least it wont break lol


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Well this is my life long crawler project lol. Fiends and family doubt I will ever get it finished, but if you have ever built something like this then you understand why it takes a while.

The days of crawling with my 95 Wrangler lead me to wanting the next evolutionary step of vehicle. An all out dedicated trail rig. Tube chassis with indestructible parts. Well at the time there was only a few people selling chassis like Poison Spyder and they were a little out of budget, ok a lot out of budget lol. Since it was going to be my first build I felt more comfortable using a body as my guide to shape and sheet metal. I didn't have the vision or confidence at the time to go all tube and at that time there was no one really doing it anyways.

I decided on the 90's era S-10 due to its over availability of parts and panels. A quick search on Craigslist lead me to a salvage title truck with front end damage. 750$ later, after talking them down from 1000$, and it was on my trailer. Well the project got off to a good start when I removed the damaged front end parts and started up the truck. it ran and drove with the old V6 Vortec engine. So I pulled the combo of engine and transmission out and relisted them on Craigslist. 750$ later that stuff was gone. New body cost.. 0$ lol

At the time the poor mans choice of axle was the Military Rockwell 2.5 Ton top loaders from the fabled Deuce and half. My time in the Army made me aware of their strength and over abundance. So that was my choice. An internet search lead me to a company called USA 6x6 among a few others. USA 6x6 seem to have the right stuff with the right prices. This lead me to lesson #1. Research, research, and research your vendors. Since this company no longer exist I will not bash them here. Lets just say I paid for my education and got a diploma for it. In the end I got a set of axles and double bead lock wheels.. Condition and time frame would lead me to spending a lot more money to get them to what I thought I was buying to begin with.. On to another topic..

Now I built this truck in the same fashion I write my stories. Not in order and generally no idea of the end result till I get there lol (lesson # 4 I think, its coming). I knew I wanted a beast that could survive places like Moab and places like our local rock parks. I don't like fixing parts on the trail and I like showing off cool parts for the truck. I'm not afraid to spend the money on good stuff, but I'm also the first person to do it myself to save 5$.

With the idea of all out trailer queen I settled on 46" tires. Ok I must tell the truth, I found a set of Mickey Thompson Baja Claws at the salvage yard for 500$, all 4 of them with 90% tread.. So since I'm budget minded when I can, I bought them and built the truck around them lol. That purchase lead me to lesson #2. Saving a dollar here will almost always cost you 2 dollars over there lol. The problem with these tires would not raise its head until long in the build. Teaser (Rockwell brakes).

Another fact about me is I love technology and the latest and greatest stuff coming down the pipe. The off road scene has exploded over the past 10 years with so many cool and new things, plus quadrupling the amount of vendors offering products. Case in point would be my choice to run Air shocks. Now for a budget minded person they offer a very good selling point. They are cheap lol, compared to their coil over step brothers that is.

Now my choice to run Swayaway Air shocks is not the issue nor was the quality and performance of their product. The problem, as usual, was me. Not totally understanding the physics of a suspension I was still under the impression that the bigger the air shock the more wheel travel I got.. Well that's not totally wrong, but its not necessarily true. There is so many dynamics involved in a suspension system that it can be mind boggling. Short version, I have learned, through design and research, that you can achieve some serious wheel travel with smaller sized components. However I wouldn't learn this until after I ordered the longest ones they offered... O well lesson learned, put my shock diploma with the others.

Another purchase I made for this project was the Atlas 4SP transfer case. Yes it is spendy, but I see why. I ordered the 10:1 low range version with parking brake mount and disk on the output shaft. This thing is a work of art. I haven't used it yet so I cant so much else other than it seems quality and then some. Now I know you can assemble some pretty neat transfer case combinations from the salvage yard these days, but at the time it wasn't the in thing. That and some things I feel are better new and redesigned.

Brakes or should I say lack there of.. Sometimes, if you have never done something, there is no real way to envision everything your going to come up against. That's the case with Rockwell brakes. Well since my truck is 4 wheel hydraulic steering we had to use a front axle in the rear. If you know the Rockwell at all you also know the front of these trucks didn't have brakes therefore no provisions. Ok no problem that's what is neat about the aftermarket world.. Lesson #3. Yes someone may make it but that doesn't mean its cheap.. Yikes. The norm for Rockwell's are pinion brakes.. Well I like to stop when I hit the brakes so I sought out to find 4 corner brakes. Now I know pinion brakes will stop a truck but how good? Others will say yes but I wanted something safer. My family is in the truck so my rules. Also if you don't have lockers its possible that the truck can diff out with just pinion brakes. Seen it happen and learned a lesson on someone else's dime lol. (Had that guy give me a copy of his pinion brake diploma lol)

This leads me back to my unforeseen problems that tie my tires to my brakes. Here goes. Ok there are a few companies that make 4 corner brake set ups that use F-550 ford components, well these pieces require at least a 20" rim. Well the tires I found and bought were 16's and so were the rims... Uurrhhgg. So much for saving a couple bucks. Now after some more research I found a company that could get them under a 16" wheel but of course they weren't cheap. With no choice left I bought them. Problem solved... not so fast. Turns out not all wheels are created the same. Turns out with my Double Beadlock wheels from USA 6x6, they are based off of a 15" rim barrel and step up at the ends not in the middle of the rim like every other wheel in America. There design was to allow room in the rim for the double beadlock components. Well luckily the people who sold me the brakes were kind enough to modify my rims to accept their brakes.. for a price. In the end every penny I saved from getting cheaper tires and budget wheels was spent anyway in the pursuit of a quality brake system.

The brakes them selves are awesome and overkill. I have Willwood vented rotors with custom mounting hats. I also run (2) 4 piston calipers per wheel.. Yaaa stopping power. I am very happy with the set up, but I would never go this route again. This leads me to another lesson, #4 I think now lol. Build your vehicle on paper first, As much as you possible can think. Try to see what parts will effect other parts. I never thought the wrong tire diameter would triple the price of some brakes but it did.. However if you do go down the wrong path sometimes you just have to see things through to the end no matter the cost. I had to much invested to bail out. Education isn't cheap and my Rockwell Brake diploma was no exception.

I have many more stories and examples to share on this build and I will do so from time to time. I by no means claim to be a fabricator, chassis designer, engine builder, brake expert or any expert for that fact. I'm just the average guy building stuff in my 2 car garage. I like to share my faults as much as my accomplishments. I'm always open to suggestions and ideas on my builds. Let my mistakes be your free lessons. I will keep this thing updated and see to it some of you get a good laugh, but no tears. There is no crying in off-roading..

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I know your brakes are already done, but, why didnt you go with a setup that puts the brakes on the driveshafts, instead of at the wheels. I dont know much about that set up, and it may not have been doable for your build, but, i have seen a lot of off road, mud, tractor pull, and rock crawlers that have it set up where the rotors are attached at the front of the pumpkin on the front and rear axle, and when you step on the brakes, it actually stops the truck by stopping the axle.

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Good question. One main reason is about the locker itself and the differential. If you use a spool you would be fine with a pinion brake. A spool locks both shafts together so a pinion brake would stop both wheels. Now with a selectable locker like ARB or even a more conventional locker like Detroit, you can have situation where the pinion is stopped but the free movement of the locker can allow each axle shaft to rotate in opposite directions.

Imagine jacking up the rear of your truck so both wheels are off the ground. Now leave the transmission in park (automatic for this example). Now without a locker you can still grab the drivers wheel and spin it forward while the passenger wheel will spin backwards. I call it diffing out (not sure if that's the scientific term but it fits lol) So by only having a pinion break you can only stop the pinion and no guarantee you will stop a wheel. Without a spool or selectable locker you may not stop at all.

I came to the understanding one day watching a local guy on a hill climb. Half way up he aborted his run and tried to stop. The vehicle stopped, but as the weight shifted backwards his rear end diffed out and it spun his truck 180 degrees on the hill and had him pointing down with a vary scared look on his face ha-ha. Luckily it didn't roll or anything. At that point it made sense of what happened and I saw the inherent dangers of just a pinion brake.

The 2.5 Rockwell never came with brakes on the front axle (steering) in any military application (not to my knowledge) they only had air brakes on the rear non-steer axles. This is fine for that purpose, but modified for off road not so much. Everyone ditches the 200# air brake setup for something else when using a solid non steer rear. I have full steer.

My plan has always been to run ARB's so I knew I would have the situation loaming in the dark. So I reached out to the guys at and they made me a custom 4 corner set up. Like the rest of the truck its overkill but I only plan on building one so I'm trying to get it all right on the first shot.

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