We really like the two-door Jeep Wrangler JK. With its size and minimal entry points, it is as close as you can get to a brand-new, traditionally styled Jeep. The Wrangler Unlimited is no slouch, of course. It’s just too darn big sometimes to fit the notches and trails that our TJ liked so much—the same ones that our YJ liked before that and our CJ before that. The true JK, the two-door version, still fits in just like all of the models before it did. With so many four-door JKs on the trail, it’s often a rare sight to see a two-door. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to take a closer look at Mike Glaubach’s 2008 model.
Mike had a fair idea of what he wanted when he first purchased his 2008 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon two-door, but he wasn’t entirely aware of where it would lead. After ’wheeling his JK in its formidable stock form for a while, he came across Jason Bunch of Tri-County Gear in Pomona, California, and inquired about some upgrades. Jason and his Tri-County Gear crew have built countless 4x4s over the years for both trail and competition use. Jason even competed successfully for a number of years in his Rockstar YJ and Rockstar buggy during the rock-crawling heydays of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Though he hung up his rock racing suit, Jason is still committed to ’wheeling, tackling trails nearly every weekend to show customers how to operate newly installed parts or helping them develop better off-road driving skills.
After the first couple upgrades were applied, Mike was hooked and returned to Tri-County Gear to see what else could be done to make his JK even better. An entry-level lift system soon turned into a TeraFlex 4-inch system with upper and lower TeraFlex arms and Walker Evans adjustable reservoir shocks. A front bumper and winch soon spawned a rear bumper and tire carrier and a host of GenRight aluminum armor. The desire for a “little protection underneath” reared Asfir 4x4 aluminum skidplates that stretch from front to rear. The ’wheeling bug had bitten. Mike was hooked.
While still a work in progress—Mike indicated that an Atlas 4SP transfer case, MasterCraft seats and harnesses, and a rollcage are next on the list—this JK is ready for action and Mike isn’t afraid to find it. He takes to the trails as often as he can and never misses an opportunity to ’wheel with his pals at Tri-County Gear and glean more trail tips from Jason.
|Vehicle:||2008 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon|
|Owner/Hometown:||Mike Glaubach/Santa Monica, CA|
|Transfer case/low range ratio:||NVG241OR Rock-Trac/4:1|
|Ring and Pinion:||5.13|
|Front Differential:||Factory locker|
|Rear Differential:||Factory locker|
|Suspension:||4-inch TeraFlex short-arm system, Walker Evans adjustable reservoir shocks, TeraFlex SpeedBumps|
|Tires:||37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2|
|Wheels/Backspacing:||17x9.5 Raceline Monster bead lock/3.75 inches|