Jeep people are constantly checking out each other’s rigs, when we’re driving through town, at the grocery store, and especially when we’re out on the trail. Any time we happen to be at an event like Easter Jeep Safari or Jeep Beach, we’re surrounded by hundreds of them. It’s hard not to start dissecting the different builds while also having the opportunity to see what’s new, what’s old, and what’s working in different wheeling environments. For most of us, the Jeep that we happen to be driving at the time isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, and having these opportunities to see other builds gives us the ideas and concepts for our current or upcoming projects.
This year during EJS we had the opportunity to get out and run Metal Masher with Steve Rostad and his impressive 2008 JK. There are several things that immediately jumped out, grabbed our attention, and pulled us into the rest of this build—making it unique, to say the least. As we watched how well it performed when stacked up against a few of the climbs and other obstacles on the trail, we found a growing appreciation for this two-door Wrangler as well as the choices made in design and the overall build.
The frame had to be slightly modified in order to move the front track bar mount forward two inches before the new axles and Metal Cloak 3.5-inch 6Pak Edition suspension kit were installed. The new system from Metal Cloak included the 6Pak Long Travel shocks, Dual Rate Coils with Duroflex Control Arms, as well as front and rear chromoly track bars. Steve says the 6Pak shocks are one of the components he gets asked about most often since the design and look are different from common coil-over and other shock designs most people are used to seeing.
Skid plates from TNT Customs were installed below the engine and transfer case while a set of rock sliders help provide extra protection for the rockers. The OEM steering box was left in place and a high output pump and reservoir were swapped out, a Redneck Ram hydro assist from West Texas Off-Road was also installed and plumbed in. The hydro assist was installed to help turn the 39.5x13.5 Interco IROK’s that are rolling on the 17x9.5-inch beadlock rims from Spyderlock. With low pressure and big tires, Steve wanted to make sure he could maneuver the tires when they get wedged into big rocks and on climbs.
A 20-gallon Crawler fuel tank from GenRight was stuffed between the rails. It was mounted toward the rear of the Jeep since the rear axle was making contact with the factory fuel tank. Steve (like most of us) will continue to make modifications, and he was already talking about stretching and four-linking the rear as we were doing our photo shoot.
An Eaton M90 supercharger from Boosted Technologies was added to the 3.8L V-6 and helped to gain a moderate amount of boost and power. The factory exhaust was swapped out for a 2.5-inch Dynomax Evolution Competition exhaust system that utilizes Dynomax’s Ultra Flo stainless steel muffler and 2.5-inch stainless steel tubing. The exhaust is cut to exit before the rear axle so the axle has room to articulate on the trail. The factory NSG370, Jeep’s first six-speed overdrive transmission, was left in place and is backed by an Atlas four-speed transfer case with a 4.3 low-range.
The high pinion Dana 60 up front was sourced from a 2003 Ford, and Artec Industries brackets were added as well as a Spartan locker. In the rear, a 10.5 Sterling axle was sourced from the same Ford, and Artec brackets were added in addition to the Detroit locker. Both axles run 5.38 gears. Front and rear drivelines were built by High Angle Driveline, and the front utilizes 1350 U-joints, the rear uses a 1350 and 1410.
Power Stop calipers were installed on both front and rear axles, drilled and slotted rotors also from Power Stop were added for extra stopping power and to complete the braking system. A handy addition that makes a huge difference when loading and unloading the Jeep when it’s trailered to and from trail events are some clevis mounting brackets. They were welded onto the axle housings, and a quick and easy spot to throw a couple of clevises on to strap the Jeep down.
Corbeau Baja Suspension seats with five-point harnesses were installed to help keep the passengers secure while running trails. A GenRight fully welded rollcage not only provides the necessary rollover protection, it also aids in additional places to mount switches, the CB radio, and a few other gadgets that every good trail rig needs at some point. A Tuffy security console keeps things safe when the Jeep is left unattended, and a Pioneer stereo keeps the tunes playing day or night.
One of the first things that caught our eye right away was the Heat Reduction Hood from TOTL Industries. It adds a bit of attitude to the Jeep while being functional and serving a necessary purpose. Up front sits a VKS Fab pre-runner bumper holding a Warn Zeon 10s winch, and on the rear you can find a JCR Mauler stubby bumper.
Why This Jeep
To me this was one of those Jeeps that just stood out, grabbed our attention, and made us want to know more about it. It has a low-slung cocky stance that keeps the center of gravity low and gives it a stylish look at the same time. It performed exceptionally well when put up against substantial obstacles, and the more we checked it out, the more we felt it was worth sharing with our readers.
Vehicle: 2008 Jeep JK Wrangler
Engine: 3.8L V-6
Transmission: NSG 370 6-Speed Manual
Transfer Case: Atlas four-speed 4.3 low range with 11.7 reduction
Suspension: 3.5-inch Metal Cloak 6PAK Edition
Axles: Front: 2003 Ford Dana HP 60, 5.38 gears, Spartan Locker with Artec Industries brackets; Rear: 2003 Ford Sterling 10, 5.38 gears, Detroit Locker with Artec Industries brackets
Wheels: 17x 9.5-inch Spyderlock beadlocks
Tires: 39.5x13.5 Interco IROK’s
Steering: OEM with PSC H.O. pump and Redneck Ram hydro assist from West Texas Off-Road