A Well-Engineered YJ Right Before Rock And Roll Changed It
Long-time Jeep engineer Phil Toney's last assigned AMC company car was a then-new 1987 YJ Wrangler Laredo. When Chrysler purchased Jeep and wanted Phil's YJ back, he bought it and named it "Prodog." This began a decades-long quest to build a tough, comfortable Wrangler daily driver that also rocked in the rocks. That quest ran into an obstacle (literally) during our photo shoot when Phil and Prodog rolled on the Golden Spike Trail in Moab. Phil wrote, "My recent boo-boo in Moab will motivate me to replace the body and make other changes to enhance off-road performance." So, Prodog is headed into "winter project mode" this coming winter. Prodog influenced many in Jeep management over the years as they saw how well modifications worked. Check it out during its final moments in this trim.
The 4.7L (282 CID) inline six started as a 1978 VAM Concord block built in Mexico and used from 1972-1980. It has the 12 counterweight 258 crank that runs smoother, is easier on the main bearings and has more rotating inertia (important when crawling with a manual tranny) than the later 4 counterweight 258 crank. Phil welded up a 1991 4.0L head to fit the block. The late-model 2000-2006 TJ 4.0L MPI works great at any altitude or attitude. The cam is a Crane dual pattern RV grind. Injectors were upsized from #19 to #26 Dodge 360 V8 parts to accommodate the larger displacement and intake/exhaust improvements. The exhaust system includes Mopar Performance 6-2-1 headers and a Gibson stainless muffler. The motor mounts were raised 1 inch to afford more clearance and improve rear driveline angles. Phil reports the mill runs smoothly from below sea level to over 14,000 feet.