This Off-Road Rescue Wrangler Will Get You Home
Nitto's Mud Grappler tire has become popular with off-roaders because of its backcountry performance, quality, and beefy construction. When Nitto wanted a vehicle that would showcase its tire's qualities, the company turned to Currie Enterprises, famous for building top-quality 4x4's for extreme backcountry use. John Currie and company told Nitto they were ready to build a vehicle, but wanted to keep it to use at events around the country. Nitto agreed. The 4x4 would belong to Currie Enterprises, but would also appear at Nitto events throughout the year. The Curries and Nitto also agreed that this 4x4 needed to be more than a show queen. In other words, it had to really work in the backcountry. They decided the 4x4 would be called the Grappler, after Nitto's tires, and would be a rescue vehicle that could extricate others who had gotten in over their heads off-road.
An '04 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited was chosen to become the Grappler, as it would make a great base vehicle to build the new rescue 4x4. The Wrangler Unlimited has a 10-inch-longer wheelbase than the stock Wrangler, making it more stable at higher speeds and steeper angles. Because of the longer wheelbase and a bit more body behind the wheelwells, the Unlimited has more room inside to carry rescue equipment.
Upon delivery of its new Electric Lime Green Unlimited with the 4.0L EFI six- and four-speed over-drive automatic tranny, Currie Enterprises went to work converting the stock Jeep into a rescue Wrangler that would really work. An Advance Adapters Atlas 3.0:1 transfer case with 32-spline output shafts was installed for extra strength and the ability to use two-wheel-drive High and Low range, and front-wheel drive. A Currie bolt-in flat transfer case skidplate and crossmember were installed to protect both the Atlas and the transmission pan.
For the frontend, a polished-aluminum Currie Rock Jock high-pinion 60 with polished-aluminum cover was built using 5.38 gears; 35-spline ARB Air Locker; 35-spline inner axles and 30-spline 1-ton outer axles; 1480 U-joints; 356T6 polished-aluminum Rock Jock outer knuckles; Ford F-450 1-ton unit bearings redrilled to a 5 on 5-1/2 wheel bolt pattern; 12-1/2-inch Wilwood disc brakes with drilled, slotted, and vented rotors; and billet four-piston calipers. The rearend is also a polished-aluminum Rock Jock high-pinion 60 with polished aluminum cover; 5.38 gears; ARB Air Locker; 1350 yoke; 35-spline forged Currie axle shafts; 5 on 5-1/2 wheel bolt pattern; 12-1/2-inch Wilwood disc brakes with drilled, slotted rotors; billet four-piston calipers; and an internal drum-style parking brake. A pair of heavy-duty driveshafts from Powertrain Industries gets the power to the Rock Jocks.