The 5 inches of stretch to the wheelbase really helps the TJ's stability when climbing the steep stuff. The only modification to the body involved trimming away some outer sheetmetal to define the shape of the new wheelwell. The installed Corner Guards act as a template for this trimming. Note the optional 3/16-inch steel Rub Rails over the wheelwells, which stiffen the body tub further and protect it during those gnarly notch sessions. The corner guards include a built-in relocated fuel filler hole which utilizes the stock filler assembly.
The front axle is a Dana 44 high-pinion unit. This is a factory XJ axle from Venezuela, so it's a bolt-in to the TJ. The end yokes have been gusseted and the shock mounts have been moved to the lower control-arm bolts. Gearing is 5.13:1 and the diff is a Detroit Electrac with a prototype internal actuator. Axles are Superior chromoly units with Spicer 760x U-joints. The front brakes are currently stock TJ, but a Dodge 1/2-ton kit is in the works that will utilize Dodge front hub bearings as well. Looking at the midsection of this fruit, you see a modified flat Nth Tummy Tucker that extends forward to cover the tranny and bellhousing. A 1/4-inch "cutting board" plastic sheet covers the entire Tummy Tucker for gliding over those sharp rocks. Hidden by the front diff's Nth Diff Cover Guard is an Nth Oil Pan Skid which protects the 4.5L stroker's pan. Note how the Nth Degree long-arm kit completely tucks the lower control arms up inside the framerails with nothing hanging down to snag on anything.
Fuel is pumped through the relocated stock filler into this replacement 1/8-inch-thick aluminum gas tank which features the stock 19-gallon capacity and still allows enough room for the stretched wheelbase. The stock TJ pump, sending unit, and vent connections are retained. Protection for this new tank is provided by Nth's 3/16-inch steel skidplate, which mounts to existing holes. The rear Dana 44 is protected with an Nth diff cover. The Papaya runs a D44 axle in keeping with Frens' use-as-many-Jeep-parts-as-possible theme. It should be noted, though, that this replacement gas tank and skid will also clear a Dana 60 with the stretch kit.
The underhood modifications go far beyond the color-matched valve cover. The Jeep Six is stroked to a 4.5L using a 4.2 YJ crank and rods. All other internals are stock for reliability, but a custom MAP adjuster compensates for the displacement and compression ratio change. The engine is held in place via stock motor mounts with JKS spacers. Behind this torquey mill is an AW-4 four-speed automatic taken from a Cherokee. The tranny's brain is wired for full manual control. It will start and/or stay in any gear, and the driver can lock up the converter at will. Finishing off the running gear is an NV241J Rock-Trac transfer case from a Rubicon. Tom Wood's supplied the 'shafts that take the grunt to the axles. The front 'shaft is a two-piece unit to clear the huge skidplate. Its use is possible due to the high-pinion front axle. Other cool goodies include an AEM Brute Force air intake and filter, two Optima red-top batteries and a 152-amp alternator lifted from a ZJ 5.9L. Fitting of an electric cooling fan and shroud from an '03 TJ four-cylinder, wired for full driver control for water crossings, is made possible by utilizing a low-profile XJ water pump. The Papaya sports air conditioning for visiting the relatives on tropical vacations, but a second Sanden A/C compressor has also been installed and is utilized for onboard air. It is mounted to the lower left side of the engine. A Kilby On-Board Air System works with this compressor to fill a 4.5-gallon rectangular storage tank mounted to the left of the rear driveshaft in space provided by the stretched wheelbase. Future plans call for a Premier Power Welder to be installed.