Old Jeeps never die—they just learn new tricks. We have all seen beat up old Willys’ rise up from the grave, and in the case of the comparatively much younger Jeep YJ owned by Stacy Franklin of Orangevale, California, her ’95 Wrangler is now living its second life. It wasn’t a complete pile when she found it for sale back in 2010, but if it had sat uncared for much longer it may have gone the way of the Dodo. Fortunately, it found a good home with Stacy, and with the help of her boyfriend Dave Matthews, and a buddy of theirs, Trent Hershey, “Trixsee” has learned some new tricks.
Power ComboThe current 4.0L inline-six cylinder engine was donated from a 2004 TJ that somehow ended up in much worse shape than Stacy’s ’95. The 242ci I-6 was in good shape, but got a rebuild anyway. It ran like new when they were done going through it, but the inline six remained almost completely stock. The AX-15 5-speed that came along with the 2004 engine was in great condition so all that was needed was to add a long-throw shift lever with a T-bar style grip on it. The T-case however was another case—no pun intended. Stacy wanted much better gearing possibilities, so an Advance Adapters Atlas 5.0 (5:1 low ratio) was planted on the tail end of the AX-15. ADCO custom driveshafts carry the power down to the axles.
Undergarment GameBelow her frame, the YJ sports a pair of heavy-duty axles. A 3/4-ton Dana 44 filled with a 4.56 ARB air locker and running Yukon axleshafts with CTM Racing axle U-joints sits up front. Out back, she features a Dana 60 with another 4.56 ARB air locker and Superior axleshafts. The Dana 60 rearend has a custom traction bar to help control spring wrap, a custom track bar to keep it lined up properly, a spring-over conversion using Rubicon Express leaf packs, and uses Rancho 5000 shocks for damping purposes. A custom three-link front suspension system with a track bar was also designed and built by Trent and is sprung with 16-inch King coilovers. The frame-mounted steering box was braced with a rod that ties into the opposing frame rail, and a custom pitman arm helps guide the 17x9-inch, 4 1/2-inch backspaced, 8-lug Walker Evans beadlocks surrounded by 39.5-inch Super Swamper IROK rubber.
Carved BodyThe Wrangler’s sheetmetal has been curvaceously carved in order to make her a more rock-ready rig. The front fenders have been cut down, and the front and rear flares removed. Up front, a custom tube creation runs from the Rock Hard 4x4 bumper all the way back to the Rock Hard 4x4 sliders, and protects the what’s left of the front fenders from rocks and trees that might get in here way. The YJ’s tail is protected by a set of custom diamond-plate steel corner guards and a Rock Hard 4x4 rear bumper.
A Trent Hershey designed and fabricated rollcage serves to envelop and protect passengers and provides a cargo area up top. The stock YJ rear seat is still there, but for those lucky people up front, Corbeau buckets with four-point harnesses are offered.
Good, Bad, and What It’s For“Trixsee” isn’t flashy, but it’s not overbuilt and didn’t cost an arm and leg to create. While mostly stock, the 4.0L gets the job done every time. This ’95 TJ is tough, has more than enough flex to easily navigate the boulders, and is set up to wheel and camp.
Why I Wrote This FeatureJeeping is about people as much as it is about Jeeps. Stacy’s first rig, and the one she drove for years before it got creamed when a giant boulder fell off a cliff and landed on it (we've seen the pictures), was an ’88 YJ. Now she and her ’95 YJ “Trixsee” are again regulars on the Jeepers and Jeep Jamboree Rubicon runs (some years Stacy is also part of the volunteer staff providing event participants with meals), and together they have mastered Moab, Fordyce, and Hollister.
Hard FactsVehicle: ’95 Jeep YJ Wrangler
Engine: 4.0L I-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Transfer Case: Atlas 5.0
Suspension: Custom 3-link, 14-inch King coilovers (front); Rubicon Express spring-over conversion, Rancho RS5000 shocks (rear)
Axles: Dana 44, 4.56 ARB air locker, Yukon ’shafts, CTM U-joints (front); Dana 60, 4.56 ARB air locker, Superior ’shafts (rear)
Wheels: 17-inch Walker Evans beadlocks
Tires: 39.5-inch Super Swamper IROK