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1986 Jeep CJ7 - The Doctor Is In

Posted in Features on December 1, 2003 Comment (0)
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A passion that was ignited at age 10 with a '53 Jeep M38A-1, which he built and wheeled for 11 years, led Mike Duncan to open his own shop, the FourXDoctor, in Burbank, California, in 1988. Since then, Mike has produced multiple custom vehicles, including a handful to call his own. Among the fleet was a '78 Dodge van he converted to 4WD and equipped with 35-inch tires, and an '81 Jeep Scrambler he still breaks out for Glamis and desert expeditions. His latest creation, however, was built with more than one purpose in mind. Mike's '86 FXD CJ-7 isn't just for fun; it's also his business card.

Mike began building his CJ-7 just as anyone else might; upgrading parts as they'd become deficient and addressing the vehicle's 'wheeling abilities through extensive trail testing. Putting personal and vehicle safety concerns foremost, Mike designed and constructed the six-point rollcage by extending the A-pillars as far rearward as possible. Both sturdy bumpers came next, custom-built by Mike, with the front housing a Warn 8,000-pound winch and the rear supporting a spare tire. Additional rock protection is provided by the FXD rocker guards and Warrior Products diamond-plate rear corners.

As Mike continued to hit the trails in his CJ-7, the stock drivetrain com-ponents were slowly but surely replaced with heavier-duty equipment. A '91 Corvette LT1 TPI 350 made its way under the hood, to which Mike added a custom five-core radiator, dual Optima batteries, a belt-driven air compressor, and an FXD hydro-boost braking system. Fuel is supplied via a custom FXD 24-gallon tank mounted in the stock rear location. An NV4500 five-speed transmission went in next and was mated to the Dana 300 transfer case outfit with a short shaft kit and a twin-stick shifter. Both tranny and T-case are supported by a custom FXD crossmember and skidplate. General Driveshaft in Monrovia, California, supplied front and rear driveshafts to channel power to the rear full-float Dana 60, built by Cone Industries in Templeton, California, and the front shaved, reverse-rotation Dynatrac Pro 60. Both assemblies feature chrome-moly axle tubes, 35-spline axleshafts, 4.56 gears, Detroit Lockers, Wilwood four-piston caliper disc brakes, and FXD differential guards. Using Dynatrac steering knuckles and arms, Mike completed the steering system with an FXD tie rod and drag link and a Lee steering box and hydraulic ram setup.

Through the years, Mike's CJ-7 has seen its share of suspension systems and tire diameters, with each transition ushering in increased articulation and taller, more aggressive rubber. The latest rendition combines coilover shocks, leaf springs, and a 1-inch body lift to clear 37-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers mounted to 17x8-inch Allied Monster bead-lock wheels. The 6-inch Alcan leaf packs hang on custom 9-inch shackles and secure to the axle using an FXD U-bolt flip kit. Rancho RS9000 shocks assist in dampening the rear, and a custom front antisway bar helps to control body roll. In installing the King 12-inch coilover remote reservoir shocks up front, Mike fabricated an engine cage to create more stable upper shock mounts and provide a mounting surface for the shock reservoirs. With the King shocks in place, Mike went about designing the link system, eventually using three links, with the side links attaching to the top of the axle and the center link attaching to the bottom center.

With the CJ-7 rolling and crawling strong, Mike set out to make the interior and exterior of the vehicle as eye-catching and functional as the rest of it. Half doors from a Jeep YJ were installed, as were stainless-steel door and hood hinges. The tub received multiple coats of Kawasaki Green, which is offset by the blue powdercoated rollcage, bumpers, and rocker guards. Lighting was addressed with the addition of 80W/100W Hella headlights, PIAA 40-watt spots, front and rear rock lights, and American Superlight LED tails. Moving to the interior, Mike installed a carpet kit from Auto Custom Carpet and Master Rack and FXD rear storage boxes. A Tuffy center console splits a set of Beard Super Seats featuring green piping to match the exterior. An array of Auto Meter and refurbished stock gauges fill the dash, and a LeCarra steering wheel serves as the tiller. Other functional additions include a Pioneer stereo system, a Cobra 40-channel CB, and an underhood-mounted Premier Power Welder.

Though he may prescribe motor oil rather than medicine and the only links he plays are in threes and fours involving coilovers rather than clubs, Mike Duncan is the FourXDoctor. His instruments are a bit heavier and no one hands them to him, but he's proven to be just as capable with a torch and wrench as a surgeon is with a scalpel. In building his CJ-7, Mike set out to create a business card that would never let him down. Lucky for him, he gained a 4x4 that wouldn't either.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown: Mike Duncan/
Burbank, California
Year/make/model: '86 FXD CJ-7
Engine: '91 LTI 350
Induction: TPI
Transmission: NV4500
Transfer case: Dana {{{300}}}
Frontend: Dynatrac Pro 60,
Detroit Locker
Rearend: Cone Ind. Dana 60,
Detroit Locker
Ring-and-pinion: 4.56
Suspension: 4XD/King coilover three-
link front, Alcan leaf
springs in rear
Wheels/tires: 37x12.50R17 BFG
Krawlers/17x8-inch
Allied Beadlocks

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