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2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - Project DualSport Part III

Posted in How To on November 1, 2008
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Photographers: Kevin Blumer

As we told you in Part II, our Project DualSport JK has morphed into a four-door Unlimited because we needed better access to the back seat to get to cameras and other equipment. The upgrades to this vehicle continue. This month Mount Logan Off-Road installed Currie RockJock III front and rearends and PSC hydraulic ram-assist steering. The Poly Performance Stage 3 JK suspension was retained, although we installed poly's 4.5-inch Unlimited coil springs to handle the extra weight of the four-door.

We picked up our new four-door Sahara Unlimited at Davis Chrysler Jeep Dodge in North Logan, Utah. Here Charlie Davis brings our brand-new, clean Jeep from the detail shop. It will never be this clean again.

We originally had plans to run 40-inch tires on this project, but after running 37s for our initial trip off-road, we've decided to stay with that diameter tire for now. The 37s work very well on- and off-road, which is what we were building Project DualSport to do. We have another JK project in the works that will be running 40s that you'll be reading about soon.

Peruse the photos and see what we and Mount Logan have done to make our JK a very nice Jeep.

The Currie RockJock III high-pinion frontend assembly we used for our Jeep JK includes the complete housing with the nodular iron housing center, AR400 heat-treated bottom skidplate, 3-inch steel tubes, 1-ton inner knuckles, heavy 5/16-inch steel cover, yoke, all heavy-duty reproduction Jeep JK suspension brackets, Currie forged alloy 35-spline inner and outer axleshafts, Spicer 1480 U-joints, and 1-ton outer knuckles with Currie upper steering arms and ball joints installed. Currie exclusive 1-ton unit bearings with 5-on-5-1/2 wheel-bolt pattern and JK tone rings were installed to allow for ABS and ESP retention, 13-inch vented rotors (1 inch bigger than stock), caliper brackets that retain the stock JK front calipers, and Warn premium manual locking hubs. Sierra 5.38 Dana 60 reverse-cut gears from West Coast Differentials and a Detroit Locker went in the front. Currie's heavy-duty forged alloy tie rod with tie-rod ends clears the big housing and is very strong.

The RockJock III 60 bolted right in like it was designed for the JK. (It was.) Here you can see how Mount Logan fabricated the hydraulic ram mount on the thick Currie cover and the tie rod. You can also see the U-bolt clamps that hold the power-steering-cooler mount and the power-steering-vent filter we installed to catch fluid drips. The cap has a pinhole in the end. You can't see the very nice PSC steering gearbox that replaced the failure-prone factory part. We should have painted our Currie Antirock sway bar, as it's already starting to rust. The Poly Performance track bar and drag link are adjustable while on the vehicle and are very strong.

Poly Performance 4.5-inch coil springs afford a very controlled and comfortable ride both on- and off-road. Poly Performance's Stage 3 Synergy Suspension System includes bumpstop extensions along with everything else needed for a successful installation. While we used Poly Performance monotube shocks on the two-door DualSport (they worked very well), we opted for the adjustability of Walker Evans Racing 2.0 adjustable reservoir shocks for the Unlimited.

The Currie RockJock III high-pinion JK rearend assembly includes the complete housing with 65-45-12 ductile iron housing center; AR400 heat-treated bottom skidplate allowing the axle to slide over rocks easily; 3-inch DOM steel tubes; Currie aluminum diff cover; yoke; and custom housing ends that accept Set 80 axle bearings (over 50 percent greater capacity than stock) and allow for all factory disc-brake hardware, ABS, and ESP sensors to bolt back on. All-new heavy-duty reproduction Jeep JK suspension brackets are mounted and feature adjustable control-arm mounting holes, adjustable track-bar mounting holes, and adjustable shock mounting holes. Also included are the Currie performance forged alloy 35-spline axleshafts that are dual-drilled with the stock JK 5-on-5 wheel-bolt pattern, as well as the 5-on-5-1/2 wheel-bolt pattern we used. Axles feature wheel studs, ABS tone rings, and axle bearings pressed on, as well as the bearing retainer plates. Sierra reverse-cut Dana 60 5.38 gears were installed. An ARB Air Locker is going to be installed, but we hadn't received it in time to get it into this installment (Editor's Note: We just received the ARB as this is being written and will be installing it right away.) Our JK's stock rotors, calipers, and caliper-mounting brackets transferred over. A Kilby muffler skid protects the large OE muffler and looks cool too. The Poly Performance track bar is adjustable like all other Poly components. Walker Evans Racing 2.0 reservoir 14-step adjustable shocks keep the rear under control.

That gold anodized plate is part of the Kilby vapor canister relocator kit. It gets the big canister up out of harm's way. Very strong front and rear driveshafts from J.E. Reel feature 1350 U-joints and CV joints and spin smoothly. We've since trimmed a bit off the lower-control-arm mount for more clearance. The Poly Performance 4.5-inch coil springs allow the JK to sit perfectly without the righthand sag that many exhibit.

PhotosView Slideshow

A ShrockWorks stubby front bumper holds a Warn PowerPlant Dual Force HP winch with integral air compressor down low and out of the way. The ShrockWorks bumper is strong yet lightweight and doesn't have the swollen look many other JK bumper designs have. The bumper comes with a bolt-on air dam, but we left it off because we didn't need it and like the look of the bumper as you see it here. Small foglights from Mopar come with a harness that plugs into the stock JK harness and allows the lights to work with the factory switch.

The Hanson rear bumper has the best departure angle of any JK bumper we've seen yet and is great-looking too. We fabricated a spare carrier that holds the 35-inch spare and a third brake light, but it probably isn't the best idea after all. If we catch the tire on an obstacle or when climbing a steep ridge, the tire might destroy the tailgate. We're looking at doing a swing-away option on the Hanson bumper. We'll show you when we figure it out.

PhotosView Slideshow
PhotosView Slideshow


Currie Enterprises
Corona, CA 92880
Poly Performance
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Walker Evans Racing
Riverside, CA 92516
Murray, UT 84107
4 Wheel Drive Hardware
wef, AK
West Coast Differentials
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
JB Conversions
Sulphur, LA 70664
Expedition One
Ogden, UT 84401
Kilby Enterprises
Burbank, CA 91504
Mount Logan Off-Road
North Logan, UT 94341
Houston, TX 77066
Explorer Pro Comp
Cool Tech
Newhall, CA
Eaton/Detroit Locker
J.E. Reel Drive Line Specialists
ARB 4x4 Accessories
Pro Competition Tire & Wheel
Hanson Offroad

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