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July 2010 4Word - Editorial

4word
Phil Howell | Writer
Posted April 12, 2010

Project Vehicles - Continued

Last month, I made it halfway through the good projects we've built that worked. I forgot to mention in the chronology my 1986 Toyota pickup project that had 33-inch BFG tires on the stock alloy wheels, 4.56 gears, and a Detroit Locker in the rear. All I did to fit the tires was install Bushwacker cut-out flares for clearance and used excellent Doetsch Tech shocks. This truck had a cab-high shell for exploring and worked well.

After the Two-Week Wonder YJ Wrangler we talked about last issue, there were a couple of other projects. Then came a 1995 YJ called "The Last YJ" project. It had a 4.0L six, AX15 five-speed manual, Superlift leaf springs, and Currie Ford 9-inch front and rear ends with Detroit Lockers and 4.56 gears. This Jeep was one of those projects where everything worked in a synergistic relationship - better than the sum of its parts.

The TJ was introduced in 1996 as a '97 model. A '97 was built that wasn't so great, then a 1998 TJ was built with Currie high-pinion 9-inch front and rear ends, Detroit Lockers and 4.88 gears, Currie coil springs and J-Arm control arms with just-invented Johnny Joints, and 36-inch Super Swamper tires on 15x10 alloy wheels with Champion beadlocks. This Jeep was another good one.

Next was a used 2004 TJ called "Flexible Flyer." This was built at Moab 4x4 Outpost, using their excellent long arm suspension, Currie hybrid high-pinion 9-inch front with F450 outers, and an aluminum Currie Rock Jock 60 rearend. Detroit Lockers and 4.88 gears were used front and rear. An Atlas transfer case was installed for flexible off-road and on-road options. This Jeep then went to Kevin Hawkins to be "Kevinized," and was a great Jeep.

A number of other projects came and went, none of them noteworthy. In 2006, the JK Wrangler was introduced and the time had come for a new 2007 JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon project. I put together a suspension using Daystar adjustable arms, but cut off the ends and used factory eyes with factory rubber bushings. Superlift 4-inch coils and adjustable track bars worked well with Walker Evans Racing adjustable shocks. A set of 5.13 gears were installed in the stock 44s (we didn't know the front end had a weak housing yet). Burnsville Off-Road installed a 6.1L Hemi V-8, performing its usual perfect engine swap. I ran 37-inch sticky Interco TrXus tires on OMF-beadlocked factory alloy wheels. This Jeep is in my very best projects folder.

One day, while driving by a local dealership, I saw a 2004 TJ Unlimited (LJ) sitting in the lot. I went in, looked it over, and offered $6,000 less than they were asking. After first saying no, they called me back and accepted my offer. This Jeep went to Mt. Logan Off-Road, where a Teraflex Pro LCG long arm suspension was connected to Currie iron Rock Jock 60s front and rear. The Rock Jocks came with an ARB Air Locker in back and Detroit Locker up front with 5.38 gears. A PSC ram-assist steering system made turning easy. A set of 37-inch ProComp Mud Terrain three-ply tires were mounted on 17x10 Allied/Raceline Monster beadlock wheels. Inside, Crutchfield supplied a killer entertainment system upgrade that sounded great and made trail days enjoyable. This TJ worked very well.

Project DualSport was a white '08 JK Rubicon with Poly Performance suspension, 5.38 gears in the OE Dana 44s, Hanson front and Expedition One rear bumpers, Kilby skidplates, and 37-inch Interco Irok tires on Walker Evans racing beadlock wheels. This Jeep worked so well I've just started another used two-door JK Rubicon project to perform a similar build using KORE and JKS suspension components.

I probably forgot a couple, but those are the good projects. Should we talk about those that didn't work, and why, next?

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