Some of the Best Jeeps Come From the South (Even Southern Utah)
Jeep never called the TJ Unlimited "LJ." The forum users named it that and the moniker stuck. This blue 2004 TJ Unlimited is called the "Dixie LJ" because Dixie 4 Wheel Drive of St. George, Utah, built it into a formidable trail machine.
Many think the LJ has the perfect wheelbase at 103.4 inches. It's stable on climbs, yet short enough to twist through tight trails. I think it's nifty, too, and went on a long search (detailed in my April 2012 4Word) to purchase one. Once in my garage, I went to work cleaning the Jeep, removing the heavy hardtop and installing a new Bestop NX LJ soft top, a Metal Cloak modular aluminum front bumper, and a Warn 9.5cti winch. The fender flares had seen better days, so a set of Bushwacker flat panel flares found their way on to the LJ.
Dixie 4 Wheel Drive is a southwestern Utah family affair, with Milt, Sharlett, Jeremy, and Bryce Thompson taking care of off-roaders-in-need no matter what the need is. Whether it's building a vehicle from the frame up, quick repairs to get a 4x4 back on the trail, or guiding people in the backcountry, Dixie 4 Wheel Drive is the one-stop shop to see in St. George. Once I had done my work to the LJ, it went to the crew at Dixie for the main build.
While everyone lent a hand on this project, Jeremy Thompson took the lead and was the real builder of the Dixie LJ. He first removed unneeded old parts like exhaust, front and rearends, suspension, T-case, crossmember, etc., then cut off the OE control arm frame mounts and rear upper coil perches.
Jeremy welded on the new Teraflex control arm brackets that are part of the Pro LCG long arm suspension. He then installed the SpeedBumps/upper coil seats. The Currie RockJock 60s were next. The RockJocks came with 5.13 Motive gears and an Eaton Detroit Locker up front and Eaton ELocker in the rear, ready to bolt into a stock TJ or LJ. As ours wasn't stock, Jeremy modified bracketry before installing the front and rearends.
Once the suspension and RockJocks were on the Jeep, the Atlas two-speed transfer case, Currie one-ton track bar, tie-rod, drag link, and shocks were installed. While waiting for Lee at Page Brake Warehouse and Driveshaft to build the front and rear CV driveshafts, the Poison Spyder RockBrawler rear bumper with tire carrier was bolted on, as were the Teraflex LJ aluminum rocker guards.
The 37x12.50R17LT Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ radials were mounted on 17x9.5 Raceline Monster Aluminum Beadlock wheels. The Raceline wheels have a deep enough step on both the wheel lip and the aluminum ring so tires with thick bead bundles can be safely mounted. They also have very nice steel thread inserts that have their shoulders on the backside of the cast lip for safety.
The Dixie LJ is one nice TJ Unlimited. Jeremy's work is flawless. There were no bugs at all. I can't remember when we had another project that didn't have something that had to be addressed after the fact. The LJ works fantastic on the trail and fairly well on the pavement, although on the tarmac, TJs and LJs can't compete with JKs.
The South (Southern Utah) rises again.