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September 2010 4xForum - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on September 1, 2010
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Send questions, comments, and suggestions to: 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility MAGAZINE, Attn: Christian Lee, 1733 Alton Parkway, Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92606, or

Convert to 4WD?
Q: In one issue you converted a 2WD Wrangler JK to a 4x4. Do you have a full parts list of what was used? I am looking to do the same conversion. Everyone else I have emailed has told me it cannot be done or is too difficult, but obviously you did it. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.
Via email

A: Matt, the 2WD to 4WD JK conversion is becoming more common as JK builders search for ways to cut costs during the build. For example, if you plan on ditching the stock axles and transfer case for aftermarket units anyway, why pay for the factory units that you'll just discard or have to sell afterward? As far as a "full" parts list with part numbers, I do not have that available. However, I can provide a basic list of the required components. The basic needed components for the conversion include: a complete front axle, a transfer case and shifter, a new tail shaft housing to adapt the 2WD auto transmission to the transfer case, and front and rear drive shafts. Note that the 2WD manual transmission cannot be easily adapted to a transfer case. However, Mopar offers a tail shaft housing for the auto transmission. There are, of course, various other parts that are required, as well. If your goal is to build an all-out custom JK on 40-inch-or-taller tires and Dana 60 axles then attempting a 2WD to 4WD conversion may prove to be cost effective. However, if you simply want to make your 2WD in to a 4WD Rubicon model JK with factory axles and transfer case and limited tire size, then I'd suggest selling your 2WD JK and buying a 4WD Rubicon model. You will save yourself a lot of headaches in the long term and end up with a 4x4 not plagued by the associated glitches common in custom builds. Good luck.

Cheap Winches on Stock Bumpers
Q: I own a 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ and I am in need of installing a winch for this vehicle. I drive off-road in Jeep Jamborees as well as in the sand dunes. I am looking for a winch that will be powerful enough but I am also looking to be as economical as can be. Also, can I use the factory bumper and purchase a mounting plate or would it be wiser to purchase and install an after-market bumper? Thanks for any help.
Larry Carr
Via email

A: Larry, when used with a winch mounting plate the stock TJ bumper can support a winch with no problem. Rough Country [(800) 220-6901,] offers a very reasonably-priced winch mounting plate designed to fit a variety of factory and aftermarket Jeep bumpers. This provides an easy method of mounting a recovery winch without the extra cost and weight of an aftermarket bumper. As for economical winches, there has been a great selection released in the last few years. One of the more economical units we've come across is the Black Mountain 8,000-pound winch from Collins Bros. Jeep [(800) 699-5337,]. We recently saw the Black Mountain unit advertised for under $330. Another to look at is the Smittybilt XRC 8 (under $300) and also the MileMarker PEC 8 (around $400). Any of these models (among others available) will do the job without breaking your bank. 'Wheel on.

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