Criss and Seth Bragg from Lost Creek, West Virginia, write that they love their Jeeps. The father and son team are currently both sporting Wranglers. The ’06 TJ pictured is the son’s first, and the ’10 Wrangler Unlimited on the right is the father’s fifth.
20 Year Planner
J. Stouth of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, purchased his ’73 CJ-5 in 1989. When he got the Jeep it was a little rusty. For years, it served as a great wheeler, one which he admittedly didn’t maintain very well. When his kids came along, he decided to store the CJ at his parent’s farm, where it ended up staying for 20 years. When opportunity finally presented itself, Stouth drug the Jeep home and tore it down to the frame. Using a mix of secondhand parts and various models and makes, he rebuilt everything from the ground up. The rig is now powered by a 3.0L turbodiesel engine that’s mated to a T-18 transmission and Dana 20 T-case. A Dana 30 with disc brakes resides up front, while a Dana 44 hangs out back. Other upgrades include a dash, wiring harness, and steering column from a ’77 CJ-5.
John Forsell of Casper, Wyoming, refers to his ’95 Wrangler YJ as Barbie. As Forsell tells it, the YJ received the name from his brother-in-law in response to the steady stream of accessories it was receiving. The Jeep has been in the Forsell family since it was new and is now John’s daily driver. Despite the Jeep’s age, it has a mere 70,000 miles on the odometer. Forsell states the rig recently won the stock class in a local off-road competition, named the Poison Spider Challenge hosted by the Back Country Crawlers. The Jeep’s currently configured with the 2.4L four-cylinder engine and TorqueFlite 999 automatic transmission. A 4-inch Trail Master Suspension clears 33x10.50 BFG KM2 mud-terrain tires. The swapped-in Ford 8.8 rear axle is gets power through a custom CV driveshaft and spins the 4.88 gearset. A Smittybilt rear bumper and tire carrier are set up out back, while a Barricade Trail Force front bumper sits up front along with a Warn winch. Future plans include a Dana 44 front axle, selectable lockers, and 35-inch-tall tires. A GM 3.8L supercharged engine from a front-wheel-drive sedan is also up for consideration since it shares the same bellhousing pattern and is lighter than a V-8.
David M. Ennis has quite the custom Jeep. The heavily modified body started off life as a ’46 Willys. It was stretched so that it could sit atop a frame from a ’74 Dodge W300 4x4. This gives the rig a 107-inch wheelbase. A 360ci V-8 is connected to a NP435 transmission. The heavy-duty manual sends marching orders to a Dana 300 transfer case that feeds a Dana 60 front and Dana 70 rear. A set of 4.88 gears make moving the 40-inch-tall tires easier, and a Detroit Locker out back aids in the traction department. Future mods include a custom canvas top, ARB Air Locker up front, and a matching trailer that will convert to a pop-up tent.
Joe Maza of Greeneville, North Carolina, has spent plenty of time modifying his ’04 Wrangler. The TJ sports a 102-inch wheelbase thanks to a Clayton Off-Road rear stretch, which balances well with the 40-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers. The stock transfer case has been replaced with a gear-driven Dana 300 and splits power to a Currie RockJock 60 front and Ford 9-inch rear. A slew of LED lights offer extra nighttime visibility, while a Smittybilt bumper and MetalCloak fenders protect the front end.
Viva Las XJ
Chase Kinney of Las Vegas, Nevada, has completed quite the impressive list of mods on his ’91 Jeep Cherokee XJ for a 19-year-old. Under the hood you’ll find a High Output 4.0L inline-six engine with a cold-air intake, ARP header, CRT performance ignition system, MagnaFlow exhaust, 703 injectors, and an intake manifold from a ’99 XJ. The AW4 transmission received a RADesigns rail shifter, while the NP231 was outfitted with a slip-yoke eliminator. The high-pinion Dana 30 front axle has been trussed and upgraded with a Riddler diff cover. Out back, a Ford 8.8 rear axle was swapped in and equipped with an Iron Rock truss, Blue Torch Fab diff cover, and an Aussie Locker. Both diffs were served with 4.56 gears, which make turning the 35-inch Goodyear MT/Rs much easier. The front suspension is a mix of parts. For control arms, Kinney used Rough Country long arms. Coils are 6 1/2-inch lift units from Iron Rock Off-Road, and shocks come from Rancho. In the rear is a custom leaf pack with relocated mounts and 16-inch-travel FOA remote-reservoir shocks.