We think it’s fair to say that there is no greater aftermarket support for any model or vehicle like there is for the Jeep Wrangler. When Jeep rolled this new platform off its assembly line and into the public’s hands, it not only hit a homerun, it brought something into the marketplace that almost every Jeep enthusiast could love. The aftermarket industry had a heyday with this new model, and ever since, new products continue showing up in our favorite parts catalogs.
The four-door JK Wrangler Unlimited quickly became a winning option for fans of the Jeep brand that desired a Jeep but were unable to justify it due to the size of their family or their cargo carrying needs. For close to a decade we have seen Jeep owners new and old move toward the JK for many reasons. Some purchase them for the new technology and comfort while others buy them for the design and aftermarket support, allowing them to create just about anything they want in order to personalize it to their tastes and needs.
We all love a well-built Jeep from any period that can perform on the trail. We are huge fans of full-on trail rigs made for nothing but wheeling. However, we also like a subtle package that attracts attention from all automotive enthusiasts (even those who may have no interest in wheeling) who appreciate a properly customized rig of any kind.
The 3.6L V-6 Pentastar engine under the hood of this Anvil JK powers it for a wide variety of adventures, and a Superchips FlasPaq adjusted the shift patterns of the transmission to keep gear changes within the engine’s power band. The Flashpaq also helped to calibrate and correct the speedometer after the Yukon 4:88 gears were installed to keep the 37-inch Goodyear MTR’s rolling easily. The owner’s future plans are to either swap in a 6.4L HEMI conversion or plant a RIPP supercharger system on the Pentastar. For now, this Jeep scoots down the highway and maintains cruising speeds with no trouble at all.
A TeraFlex 4-inch lift kit with FlexArms was installed, and an additional 1 1/2 inches of height was gained up front by utilizing a TeraFlex leveling kit to take the rake out. This also helped give a little extra room for the 37-inch tires to move upward when wheeling over the rocks. To be sure there was room for that movement, the front control arms were adjusted forward to add close to an inch to the wheelbase. A Tera44 front axlehousing from TeraFlex was incorporated into the project to eliminate the weak link of the factory housing, and the stock axleshafts were replaced with the much stronger RCV ’shafts. To improve the on- and off-road ride even further, Fox reservoir shocks were installed all the way around in combination with TeraFlex SpeedBump bumpstop kits front and rear.
Up front is an Epic Bumper from TeraFlex, and to help in sticky situations, there is a Superwinch Talon 9.5 tucked inside the bumper. Bringing up the rear is a TeraFlex Outback Bumper. Front and rear bumpers color-matched to flow with the Anvil paint job on the JK. OR-Fab rock sliders protect the integrity of the rocker panels while providing a step to get in and out of the Jeep. The path is lit at night by a pair of Truck-Lite LED units up front and Anzo USA LED taillights on the rear. To support the weight of the 37-inch spare tire and rim combo, a color-matched HD hinged aluminum carrier, also from TeraFlex, was chosen for the task.
What It’s For
This build had a couple of goals. It was intended to be a comfortable and reliable daily driver but also built to be able to get out and tackle the trails. With several other trail-specific Jeep vehicles at home to choose from, Erin wanted this build to be one that could be used as a daily driver or driven straight to the trailhead of Hell’s Revenge, Poison Spider, or many of the other challenging trails around the country.
Why I Wrote This Feature
It seems that on any given day you can head to your local grocery store, nearest trail, or any off-road event and chances are pretty good you will find more Jeep JKs than any other Jeep model. Although definitions vary on what is and what isn’t a well-built JK, I like to see something that is somewhat unique and well rounded, while at the same time being somewhat true to form. When I see a rig that, at first glance, may look like it is just lifted with wheels and tires but then begins to crawl around and I see that it is built with quality parts and is fully capable of taking on the hardest of trails, that stands out as a build worthy of appreciating on or off the trail.
Vehicle: ’14 Jeep JKU Wrangler
Engine: 3.6L V-6 Pentastar
Transmission: W5A580 5-speed automatic
Transfer Case: NV2410R Rock-Trac 4.0:1
Suspension: Teraflex 4-in FlexArm kit, with a 1 1/2-in leveling kit up front to allow more travel room for the 37-inch tires.
Axles: Factory Dana 44, 4.88 Tru-Lock (front); TeraFlex Tera44, RCV axleshafts. 4:88 Tru-Lok (rear)
Wheels: 17x9 Raceline Monster beadlocks
Tires: 37-inch Goodyear MTR’s
Built For: Daily driving, as well as the occasional weekend of wheeling