Fred Williams Swaps Third Member in Ultimate Summer Camp Jeep…and Builds a Bat Home
The first makes sense, and the second’s just plain batty.
What truck projects have you been working on at home? Since the MotorTrend headquarters has been closed down, like the many others who have been uninvited into the office Monday through Friday, we too have been working from home—on our computers and under our project rigs. Although we don't quite dig the arrangement long-term, the downtime has proved beneficial for progress on some project vehicles.
To keep tabs on what our favorite MotorTrend hosts have been up to during this time—and to make sure they're still working—the company has tasked them with the one-man-show of directing, filming, and hosting a new series called MotorTrend Working From Home. That's right—the show must go on, even during social distancing. The work-from-home mandate has gone on so long that the spontaneous videos have actually formed a series. Fred Williams, star of Dirt Every Day, just finished his third MotorTrend Working From Home episode—aptly titled "Fred Working From Home, Episode 7"—this time tackling a project on his Ultimate Summer Camp Jeep.
If Fred's Ultimate Summer Camp Jeep sounds familiar, that's because it is. Since this is a time when we could all use some comfort and good 'ol back-in-the-day nostalgia, you'll appreciate that Fred has returned to this supercharged LS hot rod of a rig, which was built in less than three months at Synergy Manufacturing in time for the 2015 Ultimate Adventure. This time, Fred works on the rear axle differential, swapping out the spooled third member for one with a selectable ARB Air Locker. The goal of the third member swap is to make the rig a little more street-friendly via the selectable open rear differential. He dives fully into the rationale behind changing the rear differential to make it steer better.
We won't rehash all the Ultimate Summer Camp Jeep details since you can already read all about its buildup for the 2015 Ultimate Adventure in part 1 (We're Building a Brand-New Old Flattie), part 2 (Power, Gearing and Droop), part 3 (Suspension, Protection, and Bodywork), part 4 (Pretty Paint and Powder), part 5 (Axles), and part 6 (Finished for Now). You can also check it out in episode 44 of Dirt Every Day.
Along the way, Fred drops some practical and awesome tech tips and tricks, including which parts to reuse and which not to, and how to clean an axle housing. How tight should you get those unit bearings? "If you're not making those noises, you're not getting the unit bearing tight enough." He also divulges one of the cheapest off-road upgrades.
What's going right, and what's going wrong on your project truck? Fred succeeds in not smashing any fingers or boogering too many threads, which is a definite bonus for any work-at-home project. Whereas all TV buildups always seem to find perfection without a glitch or mis-measurement anywhere during the build, Fred affirms what we all find to be the standard day spent in the garage: "Situation normal: Something's not right." Maybe we're horrible people, but somewhere deep down inside, we're glad we're not the only ones who encounter unforeseen problems while working on our custom rigs. We're all hopeful it'll go right, but the broken record replays the same song over and over: broken bolt, stripped bolt, stuck bolt, missing bolt, buried bolt, wrong bolt. This time, the once-perfect axle shafts are too long; The Air Locker had a spacer, so the axle shafts wouldn't go in far enough. He must cut the axle shafts before putting the rear axle back together.
What other home project are you working on? In the beginning of the episode, Fred promises he'd take us through another quick and dirty project once he was done with the Ultimate Summer Camp Jeep. And indeed he does. He builds a home for some critters in the shop. Bats. Yes, he fabricates a metal home for his resident bats. This exercise served a purpose beyond entertainment. Building stuff around the house that isn't life-dependent (like a rollcage) is a great way to hone your skills. The more practice you get fabricating and creating in general, the better you'll get at it. The more stuff you build, the more you'll learn. Enjoy the latest from Fred, and maybe even learn a thing or two from all the other awesome shows on the MotorTrend App.