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2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon - Viking's Son

Posted in Features on November 28, 2006
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Jon Jonsson's '03 Wrangler Rubicon rides on 37-inch BFG Krawlers mounted to 17x9 Walker Evans beadlock wheels. The necessary suspension lift is created by an Nth Degree Mobility 6-inch long-arm system.

Jon Jonsson is the kind of guy you want to go wheeling with. His '03 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is ready for just about any terrain it runs across. In the unlikely event that the Rubicon loses steam conquering an obstacle, however, the rig is also prepared for difficult extractions, with front- and rear-mounted Warn winches with 100 feet of synthetic winch line apiece. The dual winches come in handy for other vehicles on the trail as well, and Jon isn't shy about helping out a fellow wheeler get back on track.

Hailing from Ferndale, Washington, Jon is the owner of Viking Offroad and, both of which are purveyors of Jon's signature synthetic Viking Trail Line and Viking Fire Line. This makes his Rubicon a useful business card, in addition to being a fun and capable trail runner. Since the '03 Rubicon was rightly equipped from the factory in the first place, Jon was a step ahead of the game, but the relentless call to more extreme trails finally got the best of him and he eventually caved in and launched into making it even more capable.

The Dana 44s were already stuffed with the factory air-actuated lockers, but Jon opted for an ARB Air Locker in the rear for further traction assurance. Both 44s were equipped with Warn 30-spline axle kits with the front receiving a hub conversion and Warn premium hubs, and the rear getting a full-floater setup with drive flanges. The use of the Warn axle kits also converted the wheel bolt circle to a 5-on-5-1/2 bolt pattern.

A TrailReady rear bumper uses a custom swing-away tire rack to support the 37-inch spare. The rear-mounted Warn M8000 winch is equipped with 100 feet of 5/16-inch Viking Trail Line from Off Road Only Light Pod taillights were used to replace the stock rear lamps.

Continuing the buildup, suspension was also addressed. Jon elected to install a 6-inch, long-arm GyroJoint system from Nth Degree Mobility. The kit incorporates a number of features to closely mimic the factory ride and handling characteristics and works exceptionally well on the trail. The system also uses an Nth Degree Tummy Tucker skidplate for maximum ground clearance and the company's Slider axle and driveshaft skidplate that extends upward to protect the yoke and driveshaft U-joints. Steering issues were remedied through the use of a Currie Enterprises Currectlync steering system, and vehicle handling was further controlled by the addition of a Currie AntiRock sway bar assembly and a set of Walker Evans shocks. Once the Nth Degree system was in place, Jon mounted up a set of 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Krawler T/AKX tires wrapped around 17x9 Walker Evans beadlock wheels.

To top off the buildup of his Rubicon, Jon applied a variety of styles of body protection. TrailReady bumpers were bolted onto the front and rear of the vehicle, and Poison Spyder tube fenders and rocker guards were also installed. A fuel tank skidplate from Kilby Enterprises was utilized, and a custom spare-tire carrier was constructed to fit atop the TrailReady rear bumper.

There's nothing better than being ready for trail mishaps, and Jon and his Rubicon are certainly ready for just about anything. With a flexy suspension, ample drivetrain strength, and plenty of body protection and extraction equipment, Jon's TJ is worthy of upholding the Rubicon name.

Year/Make/Model: 03 {{{Jeep Wrangler}}}
Owner/Hometown: Jon Jonsson/Ferndale, WA
Engine: 4.0L I-6
Induction: MPI
Transmission: NV3550
Transfer Case: NVG241OR Rock-Trac
Front Axle: Dana 44, factory
air-actuated locker
Rear Axle: Dana 44, ARB
Ring-and-pinion: 4.56
Suspension: Nth Degree 6-inch
long-arm system,
Walker Evans shocks
Tires/Wheels: 37x12.50R17 BFG
Krawler T/AKX/17x9
Walker Evans beadlocks
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PhotosView Slideshow

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