A few months ago, Editor Phil Howell issued a call for 4WHEEL DRIVE MAGAZINE readers to submit their rigs. We were pleased to receive replies from all over the place. Better yet, it’s obvious that there’s some nice ’wheeling hardware on the trails. You guys and gals are building some great stuff! Instead of featuring one or two a month, we decided to showcase a bunch all at once. Response was great. In fact, we got more rigs than we have room for in a single story.
Got a rig you'd like to share with the world? Submit it! We'll be doing this again.
Owner: Alexandre Saey
Lives in: Quebec, Canada
Rig: 1977 Jeep CJ-7
Key parts: Fiberglass body, heavy-duty replacement frame, 4-inch suspension lift, 2-inch body lift, PSC steering box, 350 small-block Chevy V-8, two Detroit Lockers, ARB differential covers, Warn hubs, 35-inch tires.
'Wheeling spots: In addition to the trailside action shown here, Alexandre has crossed Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean not one, but four times.
Owner: Al Handy
Lives in: Blairstown, New Jersey
Rig: 2006 Jeep TJ Rubicon
Key parts: Rusty’s Off-Road long-arm upgrade kit, Currie upper front bushing kit, front OME 2.5-inch Jeep ZJ front coils on JKS ACOS spacers, stock JK rear springs perched on Nth Degree spring relocators, 35-inch BFG Mud-Terrain tires on black steel wheels, NVG 241 OR transfer case.
'Wheeling spots: Rausch Creek, PA, various Jeep Jamborees
Cool tidbit: Al installed 99 percent of the upgrade parts himself. Al’s canine Jeepin’ buddy, Mo, is always along for the ride.
Owners: Carl and Sandi Youngstrom
Live in: Hart, Michigan
Rig: 1988 Jeep YJ Wrangler
Key parts: 4.2 inline-six rebuilt by Carl, bored 0.020-over with Comp Cams 254 camshaft, Motorcraft 2150 carburetor, Pacesetter header, 4.10 Yukon gears, Lock-Rite front locker and Trac Lok limited-slip rear differential, Tom Wood’s drive shafts, Skyjacker 4-inch lift springs, Pro Comp 32-inch mud terrain tires on stock alloy wheels.
'Wheeling spots: Colorado and Utah, especially Moab. For their 25th wedding anniversary (congrats!), Carl and Sandi drove the YJ on a camping trip through their aforementioned favorite 'wheeling states.
Owner: Curt Wright
Lives in: Cadillac, Michigan
Rig: 2007 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
Key parts: Full-Traction six-inch long-arm suspension, Off-Road Evolution EVO Lever rear shock system, Mastercraft Baja RS seats, Sway-A-Way coilovers and hydraulic bumpstops, Pro Comp 17x9-inch wheels with OMF beadlocks, 40-inch Pro Comp Xterrain tires, AEV heat reduction hood, Warn 9.0 RC winch, Currie Anti-Rock rear sway bar, PSC steering, J.E. Reel drive shafts, Optima batteries.
'Wheeling spots: Silver Lake dunes in Michigan, and big-name rockcrawling trails everywhere else. Curt is a member of the Cadillac Jeepers, who put on the annual Blessing of the Jeeps.
Owner: David Kincaid
Lives in: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Rig: 2007 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
Key parts: Stock front and rear lockers, Warn 9,000-pound winch, 35-inch Dick Cepek Mud Country tires, Misch arm rests, ARB compressor, Currie front axle housing reinforcement kit, Magnaflow exhaust, Xenon fender flares, Cargo Master roof rack, Bilstein shocks, American Racing wheels, and finally David’s favorite feature, a homemade hot shower system using a heat exchanger and an RV pump.
'Wheeling spot: Whipsaw Trail in British Columbia
Zeitgeist: "The Jeep works well, although the engine is a pale imitation of the straight-six I had in my Cherokee. Any idea why we can’t have a small-displacment turbo diesel in this vehicle?"
Owner: Del Albright
Lives in: Mokelumne Hill, California
Rig: 1997 Jeep TJ Wrangler
Key parts: Rubicon Express long-arm suspension kit, Advance Adapters 5:1 Atlas transfer case, Poison Spyder Access Army Ricochet Rockers, Poison Spyder Crusher Flares, Metalcloak frame-built bumper, Currie Ford 9-inch rear axle, Currie Dana 44 front axle, West Coast Differentials 4.88 gears, Premier Power Welder underhood welder, CTM U-joints.
'Wheeling spots: Moab; Death Valley, California; Hump n’ Bump in Logandale, Nevada; Sweetwater Mountains near Bridgeport, California; Colorado trails run with the Mile Hi Jeep Club.
Land Access Hero: Del calls his Jeep “Seein’ Red” and uses it to help keep our collective trails open. Del started Friends of the Rubicon and the Access Army. He’s active in many other pro-access groups as well, including the BlueRibbon Coalition. “"Red' is a fully capable trail rig that allows me to ’wheel all over the country, on all types of trails, providing an example of responsible recreation to enthusiasts nationwide," Del writes. We appreciate his efforts.
Owner: Doug Farrar
Lives in: Chester, Virginia
Rig: 1990 Jeep XJ Cherokee
Key parts: Dynatrac Dana 44 front axle with ARB Air Locker and 4.10 gears, Dynatrac Dana 60 rear axle with ARB Air Locker and 4.10 gears, Atlas II transfer case with 4.3:1 low range ratio, NV 4500 five-speed transmission from JB Conversions, Tom Wood’s drive shafts, Rubicon Express 4.5-inch lift system, 33-inch Xterrain tires on 15x10 Pro Comp wheels.
'Wheeling spots: Rausch Creek, Pennsylvania; attended Camp Jeep several times; Moab; and Hatteras, North Carolina.
Impulse sale: Doug Farrar and Rose Marie Reese were ’wheeling at the Rausch Creek Off Road Park when Doug out-drove his front Dana 44. He broke a ball joint and a U-joint on the left side. Getting un-stuck and getting the wounded rig back to the trailer took several sets of hands and tools. Doug had had enough and announced that whoever wanted to could have the XJ and the trailer for $5,000. The hardcore ’wheeling was fun, but Doug and Rose enjoy the mellower side of the sport these days in a 2000 XJ that’s built more mildly.
Owner: Francisco Martinez
Lives in: Richmond, California
Rig: 1988 Chevy K5 Blazer
Key parts: De rigueur GM 1-ton axles, Dana 60 front, 14-bolt full-floater rear, both fitted with 4.56 gears. Rear axle features a homebrewed anti-wrap bar. Entire interior is sprayed with Line-X. Drivetrain is a TBI Chevy 350, TH700-R4 transmission, and an Atlas II transfer case. Six-inch Superlift leaf springs clear the way for the 35- to 37-inch tires Francisco likes to use.
'Wheeling spots: Rubicon trail, Hollister OHV area, Winter Fun Fest. Francisco is a member of the Diablo 4 Wheelers club.
All’s well that ends well: Francisco broke down on the Rubicon and had to use 2WD and a winch to make headway. The trip took a couple of days longer than he originally planned, so his wife sounded the alarm. CALSTAR Rescue helicopters found Francisco’s group safe and sound and about three hours away from cell phone service. Satellite phone next time?
Owner: James Drake
Lives in: Huntsville, Alabama
Rig: 2004 Nissan Xterra
Key parts: 3.3L supercharged V-6. Spencer Low Racing front upper control arms; Shrockworks skidplates for the front end, engine, and transmission; custom steering using Rockhumper Fabworx centerlink; Bandit 4x4 bushings; Total Chaos idler arm brace; AC heavy-duty tie-rod ends; Kennesaw Mountain Accessories winch bumper; and 33-inch Cooper STT tires on 15x8 Cragar steel wheels.
Active 'wheeler: James is a member of Rocket City Rock Crawlers, Nissan Offroad Association, United Four Wheel Drive Association, and BlueRibbon Coalition.
Owner: Jeff Intemann
Lives in: Vacaville, California
Rig: 1972 Air Force Jeep CJ-5
Key parts: Jeff’s '72 is indeed a CJ-5 and not an M38A1. It is stock, but has undergone a complete nut-and-bolt restoration. The process took two years, "with some long hours and a few busted knuckles."
'Wheeling spots: Jeff’s first drive in a Jeep was in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam in 1968. Ever since, he’s wanted to find and restore an Air Force Jeep just like the one he drove way back when. A nostalgia piece that’s fully functional, this Jeep gets driven in local parades and on burger runs.
Owner: John Bowers
Lives in: Phoenix, Arizona
Rig: 2008 Jeep JK Rubicon Unlimited
Key parts: TeraFlex 3-inch suspension system, Bilstein 5100 shocks, Currie sway bar links, Pro Comp wheels, BFG Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires, ARB diff covers, Hella lights, Banks intake, headers, and Monster exhaust, Airaid throttle body spacer, Hypertech tuner, TeraFlex front and rear bumpers, and Warn Powerplant.
'Wheeling spots: Arizona dirt
Owner: John King
Lives in: Santee, California
Rig: 1983 Toyota 4x4 pickup
Key parts: Custom cab ’cage, Mastercraft seats, Diest five-point harnesses, 5.29 gears, locked rear end, limited slip front end, Bilstein shocks at all four corners, 22R four-cylinder with a header, five-speed transmission, 32-inch BFG Mud-Terrain tires.
'Wheeling spots: Truckhaven Hills and Ocotillo Wells OHV area, California
Owner: Justin Harris
Lives in: Aurora, Colorado
Rig: 1996 Jeep ZJ Grand Cherokee
Key parts: Herculiner virtually everywhere, “open air” mod, 2-inch lift, 31-inch Bridgestone Duelers, Flowmaster mufflers, KC lights, K&N intake, JKS sway bar disconnects.
'Wheeling spots: Justin’s fortunate to live in Colorado with trails in virtually every direction
Owner: Ken Maxwell
Lives in: Evergreen, Colorado
Rig: 2006 Jeep XK Limited Commander
Key parts: Superlift 4-inch lift system, factory installed 5.7L Hemi, custom Deaver coil springs on Bilstein struts, Getlost 4x4 winch bumper and skidplate combo, Smittybilt XRC winch, JK Rubicon Moab 17-inch wheels, 285/70R17 BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 tires, Spidertrax wheel spacers, Rola roof rack.
'Wheeling spots: Moab is Ken’s favorite, but Colorado trails such as Red Cone, Radical Hill, Spring Creek, and Red Elephant Hill are also high on his list.
Owner: Lisa Riker
Lives in: Fontana, California
Rig: 2011 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
Key parts: TeraFlex 3-inch suspension lift, JKS ACOS spacers, Rancho 9000XL shocks, 35-inch BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 tires, Pro Comp 8179 wheels, Garvin Wilderness bumper, Hi-Lift jack, Hella lights, Delta windshield light brackets, Smittybilt rocker guards, Cobra CB, Optima yellow top battery, Banks intake. Rick and Paul at 4West 4 Wheel Drive in Colton, California, were the wrenches behind the build.
'Wheeling spots: Calico mountains, specifically Bismark Canyon.
It all started when: Lisa and her husband Mike attended off-road shows and were impressed by the parts available for and by the performance of Jeeps, so their Mercedes E350 was ditched in favor of the Wrangler. Good move!
Owner: Mark Schurkens
Lives in: Phoenix, Arizona
Rig: 2007 Jeep JK Wranger Rubicon two-door
Key parts: TeraFlex 3-inch lift system, TeraFlex drive shafts, 35-inch BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 tires on American Racing “Thug” wheels, Airaid intake, Hypertech performance chip, Edelbrock cat-back exhaust.
'Wheeling spots: Charouleau Gap near Tucson, Arizona as well as winter ’wheeling in the White Mountains.
Want Your Rig in 4WD?
Then you need to send us all of the following:
- A high-quality photo of your trail rig in a natural setting. Shooting it in the driveway won’t do justice to all the hard work that went into your trail rig. We prefer digital photos in jpeg format, sized about 1MB. Print photos are fine, too, but you’ll need to mail them in. Please understand we are unable to return any print photos submitted.
- Make, model, and year of your rig
- List your rig’s key components and modifications
- Your favorite part
- Your least favorite part
- Favorite trail(s) or off-road area(s)
- Rig owner’s name and hometown
- Contact information for vehicle owner: e-mail address and/or phone number
Please send digital submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mail hardcopies to:
4Wheel Drive Magazine
Attn: Kevin Blumer
1733 Alton Parkway, Suite 100
Irvine, CA, 92606