Having previously owned and built a '72 Chevy 4x4, Ron "Dawg" Barr of Logan, Utah, is no stranger to the 'wheeling world. But it wasn't until he and his wife, Jill, purchased their '91 Jeep Wrangler that he got a chance to run with the big dogs. After a few outings in the mildly built YJ, Jill suggested that they turn the Dawg loose to see what happened. After Ron came back to earth upon realizing how cool Jill really was, he set out to do just that.
Working primarily with the crew at Mount Logan Off-Road in Logan, Utah, Ron spent 20 months hanging around the shop, brainstorming building ideas and seeing them come to fruition. Starting from the ground up, Ron scrapped the stock axles and had Advanced 4WD in Salt Lake City build a full-floating rear Dana 60 stuffed with Moser heavy-duty 'shafts, 4.88 gears, and a Detroit Locker. A reverse Dana 44 with more of the same and an ARB Air Locker was built for up front. Four-wheel disc brakes were also added to the equation as Mount Logan moved in for the kill, attacking the suspension.
After extending the wheelbase to 98 inches, 4-inch Skyjacker Wrangler leaf springs were hung on Boomerang shackles that were mounted to M.O.R.E. reverse shackles. Four sets of shock hoops to house dual Rancho RS 9000s in each corner were fabbed by Mount Logan, and 36x14.50R15 Super Swamper Radials were mounted to American Racing wheels equipped with Champion bead locks. The setup proved to offer the best of all worlds; the Wrangler is capable of flexing through the worst of terrain, always to great results.
Having to turn tires as large as he opted for, Ron now needed appropriate horsepower to back them up. Without batting an eye, he tracked down a '91 Chevy TPI 350 V-8 and dropped it between the fenders himself. After installing a remote oil reservoir, an MSD Blaster coil, and an MSD 6A Off Road ignition, Ron bolted up a set of HPC Block Hugger headers and had Accurate Auto in Logan route the 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust. Ron topped off the engine compartment with dual Red Top Optimas, and maintains operating temperatures through the use of a Mepco four-core radiator.
With engine and axles on the ready, all that was needed were the remaining drivetrain components to channel that 350 TPI-power to the ground. Gordons Transmission in Logan had the answer and produced a stout 700-R4. He installed it along with a Corvette servo and an Art Carr Stage I shift-improvement kit and shifter. An Atlas II 4.3 transfer case from Advance Adapters distributes torque load to the front axle, and Tom Wood's CV-joint-equipped driveshafts complete the connection. Steering ability comes from AGR in the form of an AGR Super Box, a Super P power steering pump, and Rock Ram hydraulic steering, and is transferred from the tiller via a Borgeson steering shaft.
Having created one of the gnarliest Jeeps around, Ron wanted it to look and feel as aggressive as it performed. Custom rocker guards were built by Rock Slide Engineering in Logan, and the Rock Crawler Shorty front bumper, which houses a Ramsey winch, came from Mount Logan Off-Road. The bright-white paint was applied by ACR in Smithfield, Utah, and the purple flames and Bulldogs were added by Cam Miller at HS Customs in Logan. Interior enhancements include matching Beard seats in the front and rear with RCI belts, Tuffy storage boxes, and an array of Auto Meter gauges. Mike Mitchell Racing created the full rollcage using 2-inch D.O.M. tubing.
Since its completion, Ron and Jill have gone on to conquer local and national trails throughout the Southwest and have nabbed numerous First Place trophies and Best of Shows at many events. Though Ron says the Jeep will never really be done, since there's always room for improvement, we'd dare say that it has reached perfection. And without a doubt, it's more than capable of running with the big dogs.
|Owner/hometown:||Ron and Jill Barr/Logan, Utah|
|Make/model:||'91 Jeep Wrangler|
|Engine:||'91 Chevy TPI 350 V-8|
|Transfer case:||Atlas II 4.3|
|Frontend:||Reverse Dana 44, ARB Air Locker|
|Rearend:||Dana 60 full-floater, Detroit Locker|
|Suspension:||4-inch SkyjackerWrangler leaf springs, M.O.R.E. reverse shackle, Boomerang shackles|
|Tires/wheels:||36x14.50R15 TSL Super Swamper Radials/15x10 American Racing with Champion bead locks|