Some of us are just born to 'wheel. Somewhere along our genealogical evolution, a little iron, oil, rubber, and steel have worked their way into our genetic makeup. We live our lives roaming the world in search of adventure in custom-built vehicles and pushing the limits of traditional automotive engineering. Where might you find one of us? Well, we spotted Trevor McPherson cruising down Main St. in Moab, Utah, heading to some of his favorite trails to break in his newly finished custom CJ-5.
If you take a good look at Trevor's CJ-5 and career, you can see his life revolves around Jeeps and four-wheeling. His dedication to the sport runs deep, so if you don't find him in his shop building Jeeps and creating four-wheel-drive components, you'll find him out on the trail testing his latest vehicle. Trevor owns McPherson Off Road in Montrose, Colorado, a shop dedicated to the buildup of four-wheel-drive machines and custom-vehicle fabrication. Montrose also happens to be one of U.S.A.'s premier four-wheeling locales. What better place is there for a guy such as Trevor to call home and perfect his trade? We followed Trevor to Hell's Revenge, where he gave his Jeep the once-over before entering the trail on Dump Bump. Trevor's first attempt at the obstacle looked as if he had just driven over a parking block at the local supermarket; his rig pulled itself up and over this famously difficult Bump without hesitation, whereas most vehicles don't make it.
When Trevor purchased this almost bone-stock CJ-5, he immediately went to work. Starting with the frame, he removed the OE spring hangers, fabricated coil spring perches for the rear suspension, designed and installed hoop mounts for coilover dampers up front, and welded on mounting brackets for the control arm. A reworked Dana 60 axle was placed in the front, and a Tera 60 axle from TeraFlex was installed in the rear; both were fit with 35-spline high-strength axles. The front and rear differentials were geared to 5:13, Detroit lockers were installed for traction, and the axles were fit with disc brakes for dependable stopping power. Mating the axles to the vehicle is a custom front and rear four-link system that was designed by RockworXtreme in Montrose. The custom control arms and their mounting points were strategically placed to control axle wrap and enhance traction. All the suspension components were powdercoated before final assembly. Bilstein 9100-series coilovers were bolted in up front. The trick coil spring conversion in the rear uses Skyjacker 4-inch lift TJ springs and four 7100-series Bilstein dampers.
Powering the Jeep is a '94 350ci Chevy crate engine. The motor came complete with GM throttle-body injection. The TBI system dependably delivers fuel to the powerplant and is the ideal setup for power and 'wheeling at extreme angles. Transferring the power to the ground is a GM TH350 transmission rebuilt by AATCO Transmissions of Montrose. A Dana 300 transfer case complete with Advanced Adapters high-strength output shaft kit was used, and custom driveshafts from Arizona Drivelines of Phoenix complete the driveline.
The Jeep sports some very creative custom work, such as the tube front fenders from RockworX. Trevor fabricated the rollcage and front hoop bumper, which was built to accommodate the Warn M12000 winch. The rig was then shot with a single-stage Viper Yellow paint. The tub of the Jeep was Rhino-lined, then fit with Steel Horse Superseats and RCI harnesses.
There is one thing that Trevor has learned from building this fully custom CJ-5: He needs to keep building more Jeeps. While watching Trevor 'wheel his rig around Moab, we realized this guy has Jeep parts running through his veins.
Owner/hometown: Trevor McPherson/ Montrose, Colorado
Year/make/model: '77 Jeep CJ-5
Engine: 350ci Chevy
Induction: GM TBI/Edelbrock Performer intake
Transmission: Chevy TH350
Transfer case: Dana 300
Frontend: Dana 60
Rearend: Tera 60
Ring-and-pinion: 5:13 with Detroit Lockers
Suspension: Custom coilovers front; coil springs rear
Wheels/tires: 36-bolt MRT steel wheels/ 15/34.5-15LT TSL Super Swampers