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Jeep Wrangler TJ - The Tale Of Two Jeeps

Winch
Harry Wagner | Writer
Posted May 1, 2009

What $120,000 Of Jeep Looks Like

Ali and Frazier. The Hatfields and the McCoys. Cats and dogs. Rivalries have existed since the dawn of time. Jeeping is no different. Although the first "official" rockcrawling competition was only 10 years ago, four-wheelers have been contending for bragging rights for generations. Such is the case with Will Retzer and Jeff Brasher, two neighbors from Reno, Nevada. When Brasher moved to Reno from Salt Lake City five years ago, he was without an off-road vehicle, despite having owned nearly a dozen Jeeps previously. Retzer had a '98 Jeep TJ at the time that was mildly built to explore the numerous trails in northern Nevada.

Brasher soon felt the pangs of Jeep envy, and before long he had acquired a '97 TJ and outfitted it with a long arm lift, lockers, and body armor. Not to be outdone, Retzer purchased a new Rubicon Unlimited. In an effort to up the ante and justify an Unlimited of his own, Brasher stated, "I have three young sons and it was pretty cramped on overnight runs." At least that is how he tried to justify his need for an Unlimited to his wife. Before long Brasher sold the TJ and had an LJ of his own parked in front of his house. Being as his new Jeep was not a Rubicon model and lacked the lockers and 4:1 transfer case of his neighbor, Brasher went back home to Salt Lake City to have TeraFlex remedy the factory deficiencies. The red Jeep shown here returned to Reno with a host of modifications, including a TeraFlex LCG suspension, lower gears, lockers, and a 4:1 transfer case.

The tables had now turned, and Retzer was the one with a severe case of Jeep jealousy. At this point the gloves came off, and Retzer purchased a built Hemi-powered Unlimited that had served as a previous show vehicle for Teraflex. In addition to the Hemi motor, the white LJ is equipped with a five speed automatic, a Teraflex 6-inch LCG lift, a Tera 50R front axle and a Tera CRD60R rear axle. Both axles run 4.56 gears, 35-spline 'shafts, and Tera selectable T-Lockers. Thirty-seven-inch Goodyear MT/Rs mounted on American Racing Mojave rims keep the Unlimited above the rocks. A host of armor from Durango 4x4, Kilby Enterprises, Tera, and Samco Fabrication protect the vitals.

In response to Retzer's new Jeep, Brasher returned to Salt Lake City once again to add Tera CRD60Rs front and rear to his Unlimited. Like Retzer, Brasher runs 63-inch wide axles with 35-spline 'shafts, but his diffs use 5.13 gears with an ARB Air Locker in front and a Detroit Locker in the rear. The axles are capped by 37-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers wrapped around TrailReady beadlocks. A Warn rear bumper, Ramsey winch, and Poison Spyder cage are some of the other features that set Brasher's Jeep apart from his neighbor's.

As it stands now the vehicles are very comparable, which makes for plenty of fun competing on the trail. Retzer has the definite horsepower advantage, but Brasher's Jeep is geared lower with the 4:1 transfer case. So what is next for the two neighbors? JKs? Tube buggies? Divorce? Only time will tell....

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