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2004 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - Red Hot LJ

2004 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 1
Phil Howell | Writer
Posted August 19, 2013

Bryce's TJ Unlimited Goes Everywhere—Easily

Bryce Thompson has four-wheeling in his blood. His parents own Dixie 4 Wheel Drive in St. George, Utah, and Bryce is Dixie's sales and marketing specialist. This translates to Bryce “needing” to go into the backcountry almost daily (and, nightly) to show off Dixie's wares. He may have the perfect job.

Bryce's vehicle of choice is a 2004 Jeep TJ Wrangler Unlimited, popularly called an LJ. The LJ came from the factory with the reliable 4.0L inline-six, 42RLE four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, and air conditioning. By the time Bryce got his hands on it, it was well broken in, but not modified. He immediately went to work and continues to improve the LJ. For instance, the Dana 30 frontend you see here has been replaced with a JK Rubicon 44. As for the “red” in Red Hot, Milt, Jeremy, and Bryce got together after hours at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive and painted the Jeep themselves.

Everything Bryce has done to his LJ has made it better. He dominates the Sand Mountain OHV Area and the trails there. Wherever he points the Wrangler, it goes. People with much more money in their vehicles shake their heads when Bryce is able to easily do things they can't. Part of this is Bryce's driving, but much can be attributed to his Jeep. It's a red hot LJ. Check out the photos for details.

Vehicle: 2004 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Owner/Hometown: Bryce Thompson/St. George, Utah
Engine: Jeep 4.0L inline-six
Induction: MPFI
Transmission: 42RLE four-speed automatic overdrive
Transfer case/low-range ratio: NP231 with Tera-Flex 2-Lo kit and SYE/2.72:1
Frontend: Dana 30
Rearend: Dana 44
Ring and Pinion: Yukon 5.13:1
Front Differential: Open
Rear Differential: Detroit Locker
Suspension: TeraFlex Pro LCG, Tera SpeedBumps, Fox shock absorbers
Tires: LT37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2
Wheels/Backspacing: JK Rubicon/4.6-inch with Spidertrax spacers

Step By Step

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  • Aluminum tube fenders are from GenRight.

  • Bryce powdercoated OE JK Rubicon wheels and mounted LT37X12.50R17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires on them. Spidertrax wheel spacers are reliable and get the wheel/tire combo spaced where they need to be.

  • Aluminum tube fenders are from GenRight.

  • Departure is no problem with this carrier.

  • GenRight rocker guards protect the LJ’s flanks.

  • The swing-down spare carrier from GenRight attaches to the frame and to the reinforced GenRight corners.

  • Savvy’s aluminum front bumper is good looking, lightweight, and strong. The Savvy hoop is a great place to mount the Rigid LED lights.

  • Bryce mounted the rear shock reservoirs to the top of the frame.

  • A Warn M6000 short drum winch is lightweight but strong enough to extricate those who call on the Red Hot LJ to help them get out of a bind.

  • Bryce had to turn the oval muffler to vertical to clear the long control arms. TeraFlex SpeedBumps help soften high-speed impacts.

  • The JK Rubicon rearend has an Eaton Detroit Locker, Yukon 5.13 gears, and a TeraFlex cover. A TeraFlex gas tank skid protects the gas tank.

  • TeraFlex’s slip-yoke eliminator and 2-Lo kit improve the NP231 transfer case.

  • Bryce built his own custom long control arms that have stood up to unbelievable abuse.

  • TeraFlex coil springs and SpeedBumps, and Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks work in perfect harmony.

  • This Dana 30 has now been replaced with a beefed-up JK Rubicon 44 modified to accept an ARB Air Locker, with RCV axleshafts and Yukon 5.13 gears. Even with this 30, the Red Hot LJ was able to perform amazing feats.