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2014 Jeep JK Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

Posted in Features on July 16, 2016
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Right from the start, there were no plans to get radical with his ’14 Jeep JK Wrangler. Phil wasn’t going to hack the fenders, jam a radical lift underneath it, get crazy with the motor, or do anything wild that would make the Jeep look like anything but the “sleeper” he was looking to build.

The JK started life as a mild-mannered Billet Silver Wrangler Sport S. The 3.6L VVT V-6 was going to be left almost completely stock for reliability purposes. The same went for the WA580 five-speed automatic transmission, 241J transfer case, Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rearend. The idea was to keep this project simple, relatively inexpensive, and clean as a whistle.

Classy Chassis

The plans for the Silver Sleeper JK included a moderate lift but certainly a long-arm suspension, so a Teraflex LCG Elite 3-inch long-arm suspension system with Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks was chosen. The Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks are valved softly and work well with the Teraflex SpeedBumps to provide a better ride off-road, especially when driving at high speeds through the bumps. The rear Teraflex SpeedBumps were frenched into the frame. Teraflex JK coil springs offered the perfect spring rate for this JK Wranglers, and the sway bar was replaced with a Currie AntiRock setup to allow improved articulation in the rocks and control on the tarmac.

The Teraflex LCG Elite long control arms were bent for clearance and the provided bracketry ensured correct suspension geometry. Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts built the front 1350 CV driveshaft. While not usually needed with an aftermarket front driveshaft, Teraflex exhaust spacers were installed to keep the crossover pipe from being crushed by the driveshaft at full droop. On the two-door Wrangler, the long lower control arm bracketry affects ground clearance when breaking over obstacles.

Tom Wood’s staff also built the polished rear 1350 CV driveshaft. The vapor canister needed better protection than the thin stamped-steel OE canister skid, so a M.O.R.E. canister skidplate was installed. An Impulse Off-Road JK transfer case reinforcement plate was added to the back of the 241J transfer case. The transfer case housing can be susceptible to cracking so John Williams of Impulse Off-Road designed this plate to keep that from happening.

Axles and Rolling Stock

A Teraflex Tera44 front housing features Yukon 4.56 gears, the new Eaton four-pinion Dana 44 ELocker, Synergy Manufacturing ball joints, and a set of RCV CV axleshafts replace the stock pieces up front. A Synergy Manufacturing front track bar and sector shaft brace kit, and a Synergy Manufacturing adjustable front track bar (required to work with the brace kit) ensured Silver Sleeper would have no steering issues.

Quadratec Baja Xtreme wheels (17x9-inch, with a 4 3/4-inch backspace) have been beadlocked by OMF Performance, using its Rocklite rings and Rock Domes. Wrapped around the black wheels is a set of 37x12.50R17/D BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires. The tire/wheel package balanced well, with two taking only 2 1/2 ounces of weight, one taking 4 ounces, and the last taking only 6 ounces to balance. There was no radial or lateral run-out.

Body Works

The Expedition One Basic DX is a lightweight, basic front bumper for the JK Wrangler. The one Phil ordered for his sleeper came with optional foglight wings that are easily removed when hardcore wheeling is anticipated. OE headlights and foglights were replaced with Quadratec LED lights. The Warn M8000-S winch is one of Warn’s venerable workhorses updated with synthetic rope.

In back, the Expedition One Core Series rear bumper doesn’t look bulbous. This Wrangler Sport didn’t come with a tow package, so a Quadratec JK hitch and harness kit was installed in less than half an hour. The Teraflex tire carrier hinge reinforcement and tire carrier kit is easily capable of carrying up to a 37-inch spare, rattle-free.

John Williams, owner of Impulse Off-Road in Salt Lake City is a JK guru. Phil decided to ask for Williams’ help building his mild Wrangler into the Silver Sleeper. With the assistance of Impulse Off-Road, Phil now has a Jeep JK Wrangler that works well both on- and off-road. It turned quite a few heads in Moab this year, including a few friends who are retired Jeep engineers. While the beadlock wheels and long lower-control arms tell the average observer there might be more here than meets the eye, this wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing Wrangler not only chews up highway miles, but it’s also fleet-footed over the rocks.

Hard Facts
Vehicle: ’14 Jeep Wrangler Sport S
Engine: Jeep 3.6L V-6
Transmission: WA580/NAG1 five-speed automatic
Transfer Case: NVG 241J
Axles: Front, Teraflex Tera44, Yukon 4.56, Eaton ELocker; Rear, Jeep JK Wrangler Dana 44, Yukon 4.56, Eaton ELocker.
Suspension: Teraflex LCG Elite 3-inch long arm, Teraflex SpeedBumps, Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks
Wheels: 17x9-inch Quadratec Baja Xtreme with OMF beadlock rings
Tires: 37x12.50R17/D BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2

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