Since the TJ was introduced over 15 years ago a formula for success has developed for hardcore Wranglers. A V-8 swap, comp cut, full-width 1-ton axles, and coilovers are the basics. While this formula certainly works, it is not the only way to build a Jeep for the trail, as Andy Artemis’ ’98 TJ reveals.
While this looks like an LJ (or TJ Unlimted) it is in fact a stretched TJ. “My friend Dennis Hanson stretched it before I bought it,” says Andy. “The added wheelbase makes it track down the road better and helps keep it stable on steep climbs.”
Adding sheetmetal takes more work than just cutting out the fenders, but the finished product looks better and it keeps Andy from donating to the policemen’s ball when driving on the street.
Believe it or not, the stretch is not even the most unique aspect of the Jeep. Pop the hood and you are greeted by a 200hp turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder engine. Andy is an engineer who works with C&C Automotive Specialties in Reno, Nevada. They have a chassis dyno and tune exotic race cars, so boosting a four-cylinder wasn’t intimidating to Andy and his coworkers.
To contrast with the turbocharged engine, factory-appearing stretch, shaved Currie 9-inch rear axle, and 37-inch BFGoodrich tires on forged Mickey Thompson rims, the Jeep still uses the factory Dana 30 front axle and AX5 transmission. While these are not the most highly desirable parts, they haven’t given Andy a reason to change them yet. When and if they do, we are sure he will come up with innovative replacements. In the meantime he is out on the trail instead of writing checks.
1998 Jeep Wrangler TJ
Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L I-4
Transmission: AX5 5-speed manual
Transfer case: NP231 w/ TeraLow 4:1 gears
Front Axle: Dana 30 with ARB Air Locker and 4.56 gears
Rear Axle: Currie 9-inch with high-pinion 3rd member, ARB Air Locker, and 4.56 gears
Springs & Such: Custom long-arm front, midlength rear arms, Rubicon Express springs, RS9000 shocks
Tires & Wheels: 345/75R16 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2s on 16x8 Mickey Thompson Challenger rims
Steering: Durango steering box tapped for hydraulic assist, industrial steering arm, ported and shimmed factory steering pump, Currie CorrectLync
Other Stuff: Stretched wheelbase, Xenon fender flares, Superwinch S9000, Masterpull winch line, OR-Fab cage, Powertank, LED rock lights, Hella HID headlights