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2000 Jeep Wrangler TJ - Superior Jeep

Trail Driving
James J. Weber | Writer
Posted July 1, 2001
Photographers: Team OFF-ROAD

Signed, Sealed, Delivered - It Could Be Yours!

Over the past few issues of OFF-ROAD, along with our sister publication 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility magazine, we have showcased and teased you a bit with various stages of development for our giveaway Superior TJ. Now, the time has come up with an overview of the completed TJ. It all started when we met with Superior Axles and came up with the theme for the project. The premise was to build an off-road vehicle that was incredibly trail-worthy.

Once we had taken delivery of our new TJ, Currie Enterprises' Rock Crawler kit was installed. By replacing the factory coils springs with new heavy-duty units, a whopping 4 inches of lift was achieved. Combined with the company's new Johnny Joint control arms and its Anti-Rock sway bar, which increases traction by distributing and balancing the weight to both front tires evenly, the words top-of-the-line Jeep soon came to our minds. New on the market, the Johnny Joint control arms have been designed to increase the performance, articulation, and flexibility of the stock suspension. To achieve an incredible 30 degrees of lateral axle articulation, custom-designed rod ends were installed, which are constructed with durable urethane-encased balls. One of the many benefits of the Johnny Joint system is that it prolongs the life span of the steering system. To add further clearance for the 35x12.50R15 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains mounted on 15x8 Mickey Thompson Classic 2 forged wheels, the crew at Drivetrain Direct added a mild 1-inch body lift. To smooth out the trails, Rancho Shocks mounted to a set of Currie upper shock mount relocators were the chosen factory replacements.

To further enhance the Jeep's on-trail capabilities, we proceeded to move onto the improvement of the drivetrain's components. As one of the criterion of this buildup, Superior Axles wanted to retain both factory axles yet strengthen them for off-road use. Inside the front Dana 30 axle, Drivetrain Direct assisted with the installation of an ARB air locker, which provides maximum front tire traction. The rear axle was upgraded with a Tractech Dana 35 Detroit SofLocker. The factory gearing was changed thanks to a set of Superior Axle's 4.88 gears. A Currie transfer case correction case was installed as well to help while out 'wheeling. Wanting to be assured that the Jeep's new owner could 'wheel almost anywhere, the front factory hubs were replaced with an upgraded set from Warn. To increase the stopping power of our TJ, Drivetrain Direct added an SS Brakes rear disc conversion kit along with larger front discs.

With the TJ beginning to take form as a viable go-anywhere 4x4, protecting the new components from stray rocks and other unforeseeable on or off the road was the task. Assigned with protecting the fuel tank, Tomken supplied us with a gas tank skidplate, while Con-Ferr differential covers would also be an essential part of our protection package. A Tera Belly-Up skidplate and steering box cover, along with a set of FourxDoctor differential guards, end up making this TJ impenetrable to almost anything in its path. Of course, the custom Hansen front bumper complete with a Ramsey 9,000-pound winch doesn't hurt either. The rear OEM bumper was replaced with a Currie unit, which has a custom-built tire carrier incorporated into it.

Following form with function, we proceeded to stop by Turbo City for a couple of underhood goodies, including a High-Flow Air Tube, an auxiliary battery mounting plate, a cooling kit, and a 4.0L Stage 3 Performance Kit. A must-have item for any serious adventurer, a Quick Air2 air compressor system complete with a Sun Performance air tank soon took refuge in the engine compartment. The Quick Air2 system allows for the TJ's tires to be inflated and aired down with the flip of a switch. For added benefits, an air tank provides the air needed to operate the air locker and a bevy of pneumatic tools. For easy access, the air connector for the tools was placed on the front bumper. While the TJ was at Sun Performance, it was treated to a host of other trail-necessary items. Bulletproof Sun Performance Rock Guards provide extreme protection for the rocker panels while adding that no-nonsense look to the Jeep. The Superior TJ was also graced with a billet tailgate stop, which allows the tailgate to remain open for safe and easy access.

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