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Jeep Liberty KJ - Mean Green

Posted in Features on November 1, 2007 Comment (0)
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Take a close look at Seth Green's Jeep Liberty and you'll quickly realize that there is nothing average about it. By now, many of you have probably seen Seth's rig on the cover of 4 WHEEL DRIVE & SPORT UTILITY's Oct. '07 issue traversing a log bridge during a recent trip through the forests outside Seattle, Washington. After spending a day on the trail with him and learning what it took to complete this project, we felt it was best to share his journey with our readers.

All J Products in Big Bear, California, was first featured in the Jan. '06 issue of 4WD&SU. We covered the company's custom-created Frankenlift Jeep Liberty suspension kit that has become a popular choice among KJ owners. From reading this article and seeing the capabilities of such a basic kit on the trail, Seth knew that All J would be a great choice for his completely rebuilt KJ project. He wanted to create a vehicle that would not only turn heads at automotive shows like SEMA but also hang with the best on the trails.

In order to get going on this project, All J Products had to remove the entire suspension and steering system from the Jeep because of the amount of fabrication that would be required to accommodate a straight-axle suspension swap and coilovers. With the entire suspension and steering gone, the base of the new suspension would be Nth Degree Mobility's 6-inch GyroJoint and long-arm suspension kit. Before the kit was installed, however, the entire unibody was reinforced with 3/8-inch-thick steel plate stitch-welded to the frame to support the new suspension and bellypan. All J took on the task of custom-fabricating mounts to make the suspension work, considering the kit is produced to work specifically on TJ-model Jeeps. The old front IFS suspension has now been transformed into a three-link setup running 10-inch Bilstein coilovers. Currie Antirock sway bars were added in the front to keep the suspension in line. Currie also supplied its HD TJ steering kit which consists of a 1-1/4-inch-diameter forged-alloy drag link, and a 1-1/4-inch solid-alloy tie-rod bar that is bored and threaded on the ends. Because Seth's new suspension consists of TJ geometry, the new steering kit went on very smoothly.

The stock rear suspension was also completely removed and replaced with the rear portion of the Nth Degree kit, which included its Stinger and Slider rear suspension components along with OME rear 80-series coils and Bilstein 5150 6-inch TJ shocks. The total lift height reached 8 inches, which proved to be enough for Seth to safely tuck Pro Comp 305/65R17 Xterrain tires on Pro Comp 17x8 wheels under his rig. In order to get the proper spacing, Spidertrax 1.25-inch spacers were added to each wheel. New suspension on all four corners meant new brakes as well. Up front, Vanco dual-piston disc brakes were chosen accompanied by Jeepin' by Al stainless steel braided brake lines. In the rear, a set of Tera Jeep TJ rear disc brakes was installed running matching brake lines.

The new front axle is an HP Dana 30 from an '89 Jeep XJ filled with 4.56 gears, Yukon axleshafts, and an ARB Air Locker. For the rear, a strong Dana 44 axle was pulled from an '06 Jeep TJ and stuffed with gears and a locker to match the front setup. J.E. Reel Drive Line Specialists of Pomona, California, was called upon to create a driveshaft to accommodate the new height of the Liberty.

When it came time to add protection accessories, working for ARB made a couple of Seth's choices very easy. Up front is ARB's Deluxe Bull Bar KJ front bumper that was painted to match the rest of the vehicle by Big Bear Auto. Seth went a little farther with his Mean Green machine by adding green synthetic winch line to his Warn winch. All J Products also installed its Boulder Bar rocker guards to keep the KJ's side panels rock-free. Protecting the gas tank is a super-stout Kilby Enterprises gas-tank skidplate. The spare tire hangs on a Rock Lizard Komodo Dragon rear tire carrier, and up top is the ARB Simpson II rooftop tent mounted to custom-made All J flat brackets.

If you still think this Jeep Liberty isn't capable of taking on the same trails as your TJ, maybe you need to take a ride with Seth. We spent a full day with him on the trail, and let us tell you, his Jeep wasn't the one holding up the party. The KJ has been turned into a completely new monster on the trail and still retains a smooth ride on the highway. Be on the lookout for this KJ on trails in the Northwest and Southwest states as well as at your local off-road exposition.

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