Modified 2004 Cadillac Escalade Equipped with Axle Conversion for Off-Roading Enthusiasts

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By Car Brand Experts

Renowned for its luxurious appeal, the Cadillac Escalade has always been a symbol of affluence. However, not everyone is concerned with societal perceptions. Some enthusiasts seek the thrill of witnessing lifted trail vehicles equipped with solid axles.

Embracing this sentiment, Matt Oden embarked on a journey to transform his Escalade into the ultimate off-road machine.

“Growing up on a ranch, I had a penchant for lifted squarebody Chevys,” reminisced Oden. “The sight of the new body style Escalade at a dealership during my high school days sparked the idea of installing a solid axle and elevating it.”

Fifteen years later, Oden found himself in need of a family vehicle. He stumbled upon a pristine 2004 Escalade equipped with a 6.0-liter V8 engine, completely stock and meeting his requirements. Initially intended for weekend cruises with his companions, Oden’s perspective shifted after a casual trail excursion revealed the inadequacy of the factory all-wheel-drive system, sparking the commencement of the modification process.

Subsequently, Oden opted for a crew-cab pickup for regular commuting, dedicating his efforts to transforming the Escalade. He procured a Dana 50 front axle from a Ford Excursion, paired with rear springs sourced from a 1985 Chevy Suburban. Additionally, a 14-bolt rear-end from a Hummer H2 was integrated, featuring 4.10 gears, an electronic locker, and an NP241C transfer case.

This meticulous conversion also features 7-inch Skyjacker lift springs and Bilstein shocks. Oden selected 35- by 12.5-inch BF Goodrich tires paired with 17-inch Hummer H2 wheels to achieve the desired stance. Notably, the vehicle retains its original body integrity and paint finish, meeting California’s stringent SMOG standards.

Opting for an overland build over an extreme crawler setup, Oden emphasized the importance of highway compatibility and safety for family excursions, particularly in snowy terrains or camping expeditions.

Sharing his favorite off-road destinations, Oden expressed his enjoyment of exploring Mammoth Lakes in Mono County and Fordyce Lake in Tahoe National Forest. His plans include a future trip to Rubicon later this year to further test the capabilities of his revamped ride.

However, there’s a possibility of the vehicle being put up for sale, listed at $15,000 on Facebook Marketplace with approximately 185,000 miles on the odometer. While the allure of flying from Missouri to California for the purchase is strong, personal commitments may take precedence. Nevertheless, the meticulously enhanced Escalade stands out as a testament to Oden’s dedication.

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