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2004 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited TJ - Form, Function, And Power

Posted in Features on July 1, 2005 Comment (0)
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2004 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited TJ - Form, Function, And Power
Photographers: Christian Lee

Some of us just have to build and recreate everything we touch to make it better, stronger, and faster. Mike Guth is no exception to the rule. Since graduating from college he has built everything from nuclear submarines to houses and airplanes to luxury motor coaches. What was the obvious choice for his next build? A Jeep Unlimited, of course.

The Tear Down
Just as if this Jeep were an old rusty relic, Mike completely disassembled the vehicle and stripped it down to the frame. The factory shock mounts were removed from the frame and a Poly Performance TJ Coilover Kit was installed to accommodate front and rear coilovers. The aft rear crossmember was replaced with 2-inch chrome-moly tubing, and a custom aluminum 20-gallon fuel tank was strategically placed between the framerails to allow a greater departure angle. A custom chrome-moly skidplate also protects the fuel tank. The end result of the framework was a new 105.3-inch wheelbase, an approach angle of 80 degrees, and a departure angle of 65 degrees.

Suspension Design
The new suspension sitting below the front end of the Unlimited is a three-link system, with 14-inch Sway-A-Way Racerunner coilovers and a Currie Anti-rock antisway bar. The rear suspension is comprised of a four-link setup, 12-inch Sway-A-Way coilovers, and an Anti-Rock antisway bar. The 14-inch coilovers allow 9 inches of droop, and the 12-inchers allow 7 inches. A PCS steering system was installed for control. The complete system gave the Unlimited a ride height of 5 inches above factory and was designed to allow a lower center of gravity to and enable fine tuning.

Power & Torque
Great care was taken when choosing and installing the engine. A person really can't go wrong when they finally decide to drop a Mopar Hemi engine in the rig. Workmanship and attention to detail is top-notch on this conversion. Mike surgically installed the 5.7L with precision. The powerplant cranks out a whopping 330 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. Cooling the beast is a Griffin aluminum radiator and a SPAL electric fan. Coupled to the engine are a five-speed automatic transmission and a 3.8:1 Atlas II transfer case. Custom Tom Wood's driveshafts were fabricated to transfer the power and torque to the axles and wheels.

Axle Science
Currie Rock Jock Dana 60 axles were placed front and rear, and each was fit with 4.88 ring-and-pinions, 35-spline 4340 axleshafts, a Detroit Locker (rear axle), an ARB Air Locker (front), CTM U-joints, and Warn Premium hubs (up front). A Vanco Hydra Boost braking system was added to help stopping. The Unlimited rolls on 37x12.5R17 BFG Krawlers and 15x10-inch Walker Evans bead-lock wheels. Mike has an additional set of 37-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires mounted on chrome wheels for highway travel.

Cab Space
For safety and protection, the interior of Mike's Unlimited is fit with a custom 2x0.120-inch chrome-moly rollcage. For communication and entertainment on long hauls and trail runs, the Jeep has the latest electronics and communication devices. Leather seats were installed for comfort.

Builder's Dream
While this Jeep may appear as clean as any four-wheel-drive vehicle can come, we refuse to feature trailer queens. Mike assures us that this rig was built to trail hard and get put away wet.

SPECIFICATIONS
Year/make/model: '04 Jeep Unlimited
Owner/hometown: Michael Guth/ Las Vegas
Engine: 5.7L Hemi V-8
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Transfer case: Atlas II
Frontend: Currie Rock Jock Dana 60,
ARB Locker, 35-spline
4340 axleshafts
Rearend: Currie Rock Jock Dana 60,
Detroit locker, 35-spline
4340 axleshafts
Ring-and-pinion: 4.88
Suspension: Poly Performance Coilover
  Kit, Sway-A-Way coliover
  shocks, custom-linked
  suspension
Tires/wheels: 37x12.5R17 BFGoodrich
  Krawlers/15x10-inch
  Walker Evans bead-
  lock wheels

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