SANTANIMAL
Santanimal Monster Truck
THE "ECOLOGICALLY-MINDED" MONSTER TRUCK IS REALLY AN ARTIC EXPLORER IN DISGUISE!

At first glance Santanimal looks like just about every other exhibition monster truck on the circuit. It's big, it's loud, and it's brightly painted. But the 4WD 1985 Ford F-250, owned by Bob Thompson of Bellevue, WA is really quite different from other monster trucks.

It doesn't crush cars. In fact, it can't crush cars. However, it can do something no other monster truck can do. It is capable of making 360 -degree turns within its own wheelbase and doing 360-degree turns while doing wheelstands. Furthermore, this truck can stand in place on its hind wheels all day long -- even when the engine isn't running!

Amazing Wheelie Capabilities
This Buick Reatta isn't in any danger. Santanimal is not a car crusher. We raised the truck up on its hind wheels via the hydraulic drive system and then parked the Reatta underneath for this one-of-a-kind photo.

Before you say, "that's impossible," keep in mind that this truck was actually designed with a purpose in mind that would take it away from the adoring crowds. Bob wanted to build a vehicle that could be used up in the oil fields of Northern Alaska. Vehicles up there have to be able to operate under all kinds of conditions and they have to be capable of driving across the delicate tundra without harming it. What's this got to do with a wheel standing monster truck? Well it turns out that the hydraulic drive system that makes day long wheelstands possible is also perfect for use in the Arctic. This 8 1/2-foot tall monster depends upon hydraulic pumps and lines to do its tricks.

There is no transmission, driveshaft, U-joint, differential, suspension system, or rear axle behind the 460 Ford engine (bored out to 495 CID). There is also no front axle, driveshaft, transfer case, steering linkage, shocks, or springs. The "axles" you see in the pictures are actually aluminum tubes that house the hydraulic servos, pumps, and lines. The 500 hp Ford 460 engine is hooked directly to the main hydraulic pump. This pump has the same function as the transmission in a conventional truck -- it transfers power to the driven wheels.

Santinamal's Motor
The 460 CID Ford engine has been bored out to 495 CID and now pumps out
500 hp. Engine components include TRW pistons and Isky camshaft, Offenhauser manifolds, Moroso oil pan, Mallory ignition, Accel distributor,
and dual Predator carburetors.

Each wheel has its own hydraulic motor. Fluid in the main pump is distributed to the drive motors at each wheel. The truck moves forward or backwards by the driver increasing the pressure in the lines and controlling the direction in which the hydraulic fluid flows. To get the truck to turn in a circle, the driver simply stops one or more wheels from turning. A right turn, for example, requires that the right rear wheel stop and the right front wheel turns slowly while the two left turn at normal speed. Wheelies are a bit more complicated. As the truck moves forward, the main hydraulic pump moves a series of weights in the cargo box from behind the cab to over the rear wheels and 360-wheelstands require a combination of operations.

Like most monster trucks, Santanimal is big. It is 10 1/2 feet wide, 20 feet long, and a towering 15 feet tall when in the wheelstand position. Overall weight is about 12,000 lbs. and there is over 360 feet of hydraulic hose. Bob runs Goodyear 44x41x20 Super Terra tires with under 5 lobs of air pressure in them to carry all this weight. The result is a tire print that is gentler on the tundra than a human foot as the truck fairly floats over the surface.

So next time your out in the Artic and you hear a big-block roar, it may just be Santanimal making all the noise.... or maybe one of those "Big Footed" creatures!

Rear Shot
A unique, articulated chassis assures that Santanimal gets where its going with the least impact on the environment.

Santanimal Monster Truck
A specially-designed chassis is hidden by aluminum plate. Axles are really tubes that hide hydraulic pumps, servos, and lines.


Last update: March 21, 1998

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