How Monster Jam Works


Monster Jam Trucks
Megalodon is among Monster Truck Jam's most labor-intensive truck designs. Feld Entertainment

Fans of Monster Truck Jam might know trucks based on their designs and personalities, but there's a lot more to these 12,000-pound (5,443 kilogram) behemoths. Take a look at these specs and facts:

Trucks

  • Megalodon, Grave Digger and Maximum Destruction are among the most labor-intensive truck designs
  • It takes 60-man hours to build a Grave Digger, which can be destroyed in a few minutes
  • Most trucks have vinyl designs, but Grave Digger trucks are hand-painted
  • Monster Mutt trucks have movable tongues that are controlled by a windshield wiper relay
  • Trucks hit the ground with force of 240,000 pounds (108,862 kilograms)
  • Smaller tires are used during transport so the trucks can fit in tractor trailers
  • It costs about $250,000 to build a truck from the ground up
  • During World Finals, eight damaged truck bodies were repaired overnight from the first day to the second

Engines

  • The supercharged engines run on methanol and are rated for 1500 horsepower
  • Some trucks' engines are currently fuel-injected, and all might be in the future
  • Most trucks have rear-mounted engines, which allows them to fly through the air better

Tires

  • Tires are 66 inches (1.6 meters) tall and 43 inches (1 meter) wide and were designed by BTK in India specifically for Monster Jam
  • Tires cost $2,500 apiece and last anywhere from one event to 10 years [sources: Dalsing, Meents, Easterly, Dahl].

For all the money, labor and trivia surrounding a Monster Jam truck, the inside is relatively simple. Most trucks require the drivers to climb under the body panels and up the frame to access the cockpits. It's a tight fit, so the steering wheel has a quick release feature to give the drivers a little more room [source: Dalsing].

The seats are center-mounted in the cockpits, custom fitted for each driver, and use five-point racing harnesses to keep the drivers firmly in place during stunts and crashes. From the seats, drivers can see the track looking straight ahead or down at the ground (the bottom of the cockpit is open but fitted with plexiglass for protection). The trucks' gas and brake pedals are normal, if a little oversized. The gearshifts for the two-speed automatic transmissions are floor mounted and hard to see, so drivers need to learn to shift by feel.

The instrument panels include oil pressure, temperature and voltage gauges, and power and fuel kill switches. Track safety personnel also can kill the power and fuel remotely. Three fire extinguishers are onboard each truck, one in the cab and two aimed at the engine, which can be activated by switch. And finally, trucks can be steered from the front and the back to enable different stunts.

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