A Salvaged TJ Unlimited Half-Top Built To Explore
Burnsville Off-Road is also Burnsville Auto Body. As such, the crew there comes across deals all the time, one of which was a red 2006 TJ Unlimited (LJ) with only 3,900 miles on it. It had extensive frame and body damage and a salvage title. Besides the body and frame, everything else on this loaded LJ was fine, so a new body and frame was procured from Jeep and the work began.
The plan was to build an LJ that would work on tough trails as well as explore the backcountry, sometimes on extended trips. Some backcountry explorers scoff at the idea that a vehicle should have an enhanced drivetrain and large tires. These explorers are usually left behind as obstacles are encountered that their vehicle can't overcome. This LJ wouldn't be one of these.
Burnsville had a 5.2L (318ci) Magnum V-8 and four-speed automatic transmission from a Dodge truck with only 900 miles on the clock. This installed nicely into the LJ, as did the 3.8:1 Atlas two-speed transfer case from Advance Adapters. Rock Jock 60 front and rear ends were built by Currie Enterprises and have 5.38 gears, a Detroit Locker up front, and an ARB Air Locker in the back. Currie's new tie rod and drag link along with a PSC ram-assist kit enhance steering.
The Teraflex Pro LCG long-arm suspension worked great on our LJ project, so we weren't surprised when Burnsville installed the Pro LCG on its Unlimited. As Xenon flat panel flares were planned, 4-inch OME coils were used to clear the 37x12.50R17 Goodyear MTR with Kevlar tires mounted on 17x8 Walker Evans Racing beadlock wheels. OME shocks handle the damping duties. Being based in Australia, where they know about long-range outback exploration, the OME coils and shocks work perfectly in this application.
We told you about the GR8TOPS TJ half-top on this LJ in the July 2010 issue. It fits and works very well. To ensure passenger safety, 4WD Hardware supplied an OR Fab sport cage for inside the cab. With the half-top on the Jeep, the bed allows extra gasoline and equipment to be carried for extended forays. With it off, the Jeep can still use the Mopar full soft top that Burnsville purchased from Mopar Parts.
The body armor includes a GenRight stubby front bumper and a rear tire carrier from Currie Enterprises. Currie's Tail Bonez wrap around the body in the rear to protect the quarter panels and original Currie Rocker Guards protect the rocker panels without protruding. Tera's Belly Up skidplate works with the Pro LCG system and protects the Atlas.
The Burnsville salvage TJ Unlimited is better than new and is a competent vehicle on the highway, off-road, and on extended backcountry exploring trips.