The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon continues its winning ways. It’s still one of the best deals on the planet for those looking for a competent backcountry vehicle that needs very little to improve it. Dan McKeag of Dakota Customs in Rapid City, South Dakota, wanted to show that Dakota Customs is a one-stop shop for those wanting to purchase a Jeep through them, have it built from mild to wild, then have it shipped to their door, wherever that door is on the planet.
When the Billet Silver 2014 Unlimited Rubicon arrived, the crew at Dakota Customs immediately went to work naming the project “Dakota” and removing the frontend, rearend, and suspension. While the Jeep Rubicon needs very little to make it a good off-road vehicle, everyone knows it can be made even better with quality aftermarket parts.
Currie Enterprises has a new JK Wrangler RockJock 44 high pinion frontend that is strong, reliable, and gets the job done. Dakota’s new Currie RockJock 44 came with Reid Racing heavy-duty JK Rubicon 44 knuckles and a hub conversion kit using Warn premium locking hubs. Currie built the frontend with Yukon 4.56 gears and an Eaton Detroit Locker. The Currie Rock Jock 60 rearend was built using Yukon 4.56 gears and an Eaton ELocker.
Dakota Customs wanted a suspension system that was simple, yet worked well both on the pavement and off-road. Currie’s 4-inch short-arm JK suspension includes progressive-rate 4-inch coil springs and genuine Currie Johnny Joints. It utilizes factory frame brackets, so no cutting or welding is required. Fox Racing 2.0 reservoir JK shocks control damping at all four corners.
An Expedition One CORE Series front bumper is clean, simple, and definitely not bulbous, as many JK Wrangler bumpers are. It holds the Warn ZEON 10-s winch perfectly. The Expedition One RubiSkid integrates well with the CORE bumper and protects the SmartBar swaybar disconnect motor. In back, an aluminum Expedition One Trail Series bumper is strong, yet weighs only 32 pounds. The Teraflex spare tire carrier reinforces the factory hinges and will carry up to a 40-inch spare. The OE Rubicon rocker guards were retained.
The PSC extreme-duty cylinder assist kit allows easy steering of the 37x12.50R17LT Mickey Thompson Baja Radial ATZp3 tires mounted on 17x8 American Racing Outlaw II alloy wheels -- even on solid rock. JK Wranglers are so much heavier than earlier Jeeps a ram assist needs to be considered if you plan any difficult ’wheeling.
Dakota turned out to be a very capable 2014 Wrangler Unlimited. The parts work well together and the Jeep is a testament to Dakota Customs abilities and the quality parts they use for their builds. From the purchase of a new Jeep, to building that Jeep, to delivering the project vehicle anywhere on the planet, Dakota Customs can get the job done.
|Vehicle:||2014 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon|
|Owner/Hometown:||Dakota Customs/Rapid City, South Dakota|
|Engine:||Jeep 3.6L VVT V-6|
|Transmission:||W5A580 five-speed automatic|
|Transfer case/low range ratio:||NVG241OR Rock-Trac/4.0:1|
|Front end:||Currie Enterprises RockJock 44 High Pinion JK Rubicon with locking hubs|
|Rear end:||Currie Enterprises RockJock 60|
|Front Differential:||Eaton Detroit Locker|
|Rear Differential:||Eaton ELocker|
|Suspension:||Currie Enterprises 4-inch short arm with Fox Racing shocks|
|Tires:||37x12.50R15LT Mickey Thompson Baja Radial ATZp3|
|Wheels/Backspacing:||17x8 American Racing Outlaw II/4.5 inches|