The Jeep Wrangler JK has been called the most capable Jeep ever built. While some would argue that point (flattie fans especially), it’s undisputable that regarding pure off-road talent, the Jeep JK has always been an amazing performer right out of the box. In stock form, it can out-wheel just about anything made.
Craig Paton was fully aware of this reputation when he acquired his 2014 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Rubicon. However potent the Jeep was when he first began wheelin’ it, Craig knew that with just a handful of modifications he could have a lot more fun. The JKU wheelbase was already on- and off-road friendly; however, to help increase its functionality on short- and long-distance off-road adventures, the decision to stretch it two inches more using a TeraFlex 4-inch long-arm suspension kit and make a home for King coilovers at all four corners with an EVO Manufacturing coilover mount kit was a no-brainer.
The drivetrain was upgraded with a pair of Dana Ultimate 60 axles stuffed with 5.38 Eaton ELockers and a set of Adams Driveshaft custom 1350 driveshafts. Synergy Manufacturing track bars, drag link, tie rod, and sector shaft brace were used in the build, and a Fox steering stabilizer helps to control the 40x1.50-17 Maxxis Creepy Crawlers on 17x9 Hutchinson beadlocks.
Other than getting a Banks Ram-Air cold-air intake system, the powertrain has remained stock (so far). However, the engine compartment has been filled up with a Premier Power Welder setup, sPOD auxiliary switch/relay system, and an Optima Yellow Top battery.
Craig didn’t forget about the interior and exterior of the Jeep Wrangler JK. A Poison Spyder cage and Synergy Manufacturing Baja Basket were added for safety and extra cargo inside, and an Alpine X109-WRA sound system helps keep long road trips lively. Poison Spyder bumpers front and rear, as well as Poison Spyder rockers and fenders, provide function (the front holds a Warn Zeon 10-S winch and the rear swings a spare tire carrier) and protection. For some additional exterior cargo handling capability, Craig installed a Garvin roof rack.
In just the first few years Craig and his wife, Cheryl, had their 2014 Jeep Wrangler JKU Rubicon they not only joined us on the 2017 Jp Dirt ’N Drive presented by Jeep, but also went to Moab for the annual Easter Jeep Safari and tackled many of the classic California Sierra Nevada trails such as Dusy/Ershim, Fordyce, and Rubicon. We could see how much fun the Patons were having by the smiles on their faces, and we hope to see them again on the trail somewhere soon.
Vehicle: 2014 Jeep Wrangler JKU Rubicon
Engine: 3.6L V-6
Transmission: MSG-370 6-speed manual transmission
Transfer Case: NV-241J
Suspension: TeraFlex long-arm 4-inch lift suspension system, EVO coilover kit, King coilover shocks
Axles: Dana Ultimate 60s with 5.38 Eaton ELockers
Wheels: 17x9 Hutchinson beadlock wheels
Tires: 40x13.50-17 Maxxis Creepy Crawler tires