When you work for a company that manufactures products as inconspicuous as suspension components, what kind of vehicle do you build to attract the public’s attention? That was the question Bill Rau, suspension division manager for ipd Co. Inc. was left to ponder.
The project vehicle had to be exciting, yet functional. And it had to drive the message home that ipd products were available for more than motorhomes; components to transform the handling characteristics of trucks and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) were offered as well.
To that end, Rau selected a 2500 series 2002 GMC Yukon 4WD and set about improving its performance, functionality and overall appearance. He started by adding a 1.25-inch-diameter ipd rear sway bar, complemented by Bilstein shock absorbers on all four corners. Rau says the products were chosen to improve the vehicle’s ride and handling solo, and make lane changes or evasive maneuvers more stable when towing. Wheels were updated to 18-inch polished-aluminum Weld Monsoon wheels, wrapped in P265/60R18 Toyo radial tires.
ipd’s Project Yukon was paired with Northwood Manufacturing’s 22-H Arctic Fox travel trailer. This RV manufacturer’s mission statement is “to provide ‘no-nonsense construction’ in a unit built strong enough to withstand off-road use without neglecting the comforts of home.” In other words, a travel trailer well-suited to a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle like ipd’s Yukon.
Arctic Fox trailers are built on a structural steel chassis, and most models utilize 2×3-inch wood floor framing for additional strength. Since Northwood expects Arctic Fox owners to take their units into the boonies in all kinds of weather, fiberglass batt insulation is liberally stuffed in the walls, floor and ceiling to keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer. Additional features make this trailer tailored for off-road use.
After spending some time with the ipd Yukon, we’d have to say that Rau’s effort to build a good-looking, functional tow rig is an unqualified success. It rides and handles better than stock, and never ceases to draw admiring looks wherever it goes. The Arctic Fox trailer, meanwhile, is a perfect complement to the Yukon. Rugged and well-equipped, yet relatively lightweight, it would be a good choice for the family that enjoys camping in out-of-the-way places.
For more about Project Yukon and the Arctic Fox travel trailer, pick up the June issue of Trailer Life on the newsstand. Then subscribe to Trailer Life – so you can stay informed on the latest tow vehicles, tests and previews, RV equipment and tech info.
ipd Co. Inc., (800) 444-6486; www.ipd usa.com
Northwood Manufacturing Inc. (Nash, Arctic Fox travel trailers and fifth-wheels), (541) 962-6274; www.nashtraveltrailers.com.