The 'garage' was actually the small section of dirt behind the cabin, and the 'workbench' was the tail end of Steve Shoop's vehicle trailer. A tarp under the vehicle kept the fluids from seeping into the ground (Slickrock may allow you to wrench at your site, but it will only stay that way if guests don't abuse the privilege). The only time I had to slow down was on Tuesday when the winds reached a whopping 85 mph (reported by the radio news). It knocked over a very large tree in the campground. No one was hurt but it did shake up a few folks. Quite a few people stopped by to see how I was doing and many of them lent a helping hand. Special thanks goes out to Jake Palmberg of Higher Heights Off Road and Lt. Jonathan Hall for standing in as human engine hoists. The zook engines aren't very heavy, but they can get kludgy when it comes time to bolt up the tranny and engine mounts without a hoist hooked up. Many of you should remember Jonathan from the Zook lists. He got the Army to give him some leave time just to come to the Zukfari from his duty station in Germany. His zook looked pretty good even after 3 years in mothballs. We pulled the head, intake and exhaust from the 1.3ltr block and then swapped the block for the 1.6ltr. The Trail Tough adapter kit itself was simple to install. It doesn't require any drilling for the adapter plate like the older kits. But we hit a glitch when we tried to remove the passenger side lower tranny stud. It didn't want to release from the tranny. Ten at night is not the time to get frustrated and wind up breaking something, so with lots of patience and a pair of vice grips Jonathan worked it free and saved the night. By the time I went to bed the engine was in and waiting for the 'bolt-ons' up front. I needed to drill a pulley to finish bolting everything up, so I had to find a drill. I took a trip out to the Spanish Trail Arena where most of the vendors and manufacturers had set up camp. Tom Woods had set up shop to take care of those folks that blew up their drive shafts out on the trails. He let me use his workbench and drill to make the v-pulley fit the application.
Friday afternoon we fired up the motor and all seemed well. It felt strong and the fact that it was running surprised many people. Later I found out the 1.3ltr head had suffered too much damage and caused it to overheat on the way to the Spanish Arena that night. Well, it was a valiant effort but I would still have to tow it home. I went back to Tom Woods to borrow the drill again to install a new tow bar. He pulled out the welder instead. There would be no doubt as to the strength of the mount. Thanks Tom.
Tom had his shop set up outside and didn't get a moments rest. I even got to show off the rear drive shaft Tom made for IZook to a few of his customers. Calmini had the IZook project Sidekick there to show off the build up so far. They also had a large spread for their Full Traction line of Jeep components. Petroworks showed off the 1.9ltr turbo diesel with Doug Kelsey of Keltek in attendance answering questions about the conversion. Keltek manufactures the conversion kit that Petroworks (among others) has available. The Spidertrax booth was impressive with Tom Kingstons military themed zook stretched out for extreme articulation. Their full floater rear axle and quarter elliptical suspension was definitely a hit. Co-Founder Eddie Casanueva also gave me a few hints on how to make the 1.3ltr starter work with the 1.6ltr block. We left on 'Big Saturday", and the streets were packed. These folks were lined up for the trails on just about every street off of the main drag. Although this happened every morning that week, it seemed a bit more crowded for the weekend. At night the streets were packed with folks cruising the boulevard and filling the sidewalks. Kind of like Fort Lauderdale without the beach. As I said, we towed the zook back to El Paso. Sean Farley, the driver of the Pathfinder that provided the horsepower to get me there and back, now has a new addition to his garage. After realizing how easy it was to tow a zook, and seeing all the buildup possibilities while staying at Zook Central, he decided to pick up one of his own! And as for mine, Here is a shot after I got it back on the road (or should that be off road?). Although I didn't get my zook out on any of the awesome trails in Moab, I did get to grab a seat with Fred Swanson from Canyon State Components on the Golden Spike Trail. Check out how we did.