Some road trips go smoother than others, this wasn’t one of them. Last month while on our way out to Moab for Easter Jeep Safari we ran into some problems. We get the occasional road construction or blown trailer tire that keeps a trip from staying on schedule, but this trip was different, much worse, and in the end couldn’t have worked out better with the help of a handful of awesome companies. We hit the road to drive the 24-hours from Michigan to Utah in the Zone RAM 2500 towing our 24ft trailer with Project MJ and show displays loaded up. In convoy with us was sister companies BDS Suspension and JKS Manufacturing who were heading out to Moab as well. 8 hours into the trip after a stop for lunch in Des Moines, IA the 68RFE transmission on our 2010 RAM 2500 diesel gave up the ghost while taking off at a stoplight uphill. JKS stepped in for the initial roadside recovery as JKS Pete pulled the RAM (and trailer) up the hill out into a parking lot with his supercharged 2Dr JK. Without a spare tow rig available the we were dead in the water until the truck could be repaired. In trying make the best of the situation the running joke was that we blew a tranny, that joke never gets old. BDS Suspension made a call back to their shop back in Michigan and had one of their spare tow rigs, a 2013 RAM 3500 with 8” of lift and 40s fueled up and on short notice BDS rep Ryan drove 8 hours through the night to bring it to us so we could continue on westward. While all this was going on Cooper from Offroad Power Products got on the phone searching for tranny to swap in. Answering that call was Ryan from ATS Diesel who just so happened to have a spare, fully built 68RFE on the shelf in Denver along with the CoPilot. ATS arranged the install with nearby Omaha-based Husker Diesel and got the parts shipped out. Jess at Husker moved his schedule around to accomodate the broke down RAM that was delivered via flatbed wrecker for the transmission transplant. The crew at Husker took great care of the truck, keeping us updated with the progress and getting the electronics dialed in while we spent the week hitting the trails in Project MJ and our BDS loaner Project Slate. By the end of EJS after we had out fill of red rock trails and 0% humidity we hit the road back to Michigan with a stop in Omaha to pick up our rebuilt RAM. Since upgrading to the bulletproof ATS 68RFE transmission and CoPilot we’ve had a chance to rack up a few hundred miles on it, some towing, some not and we can say its driving better than ever. The shifts are smooth and takes our abuse in stride as we put this workhorse back into operation.
We wanted to take the time to thank all the companies that stepping in during our time of need. It’s companies like these willing to go above and beyond to help each other out that make us proud to be a part of this industry. Thank you