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1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ Buildup - TJ Transformed

Posted in How To on December 1, 2009
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Photographers: Lexi Drew

Since the all-new Jeep Wrangler JK was introduced as a 2007 model, more and more Jeep Wrangler TJs have come up for sale in most areas of the USA. These Jeeps are great, easy-to-moderate trail runners in stock form and can be easily built using bolt-on parts to conquer more extreme trails. After a short search through the local classifieds, a 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ was discovered for a very acceptable price.

Truly transformed, this 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ is now well-equipped for trail use. Along with Skyjacker's Rock Ready I bent-arm long-arm system, the rig is outfitted with body armor from M.O.R.E., 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2 tires, and Skyjacker's RockLock sway bar.

Sticking to a plan of using bolt-on parts for this particular build, we came across Skyjacker's new Rock Ready I bent-arm long-arm suspension system. As noted, the system uses arched (bent) control arms to help increase ground clearance and approach angle. The kit uses Skyjacker's NG (Next Generation) rod ends, which feature an internally rebuildable design and new pivot plus inserts for maximum articulation. The arms themselves are manufactured from DOM tube and are 80-percent longer than the stock arms and much stronger. The Rock Ready I kit includes all of the necessary parts for a clean installation. Parts include the 1/4-inch-wall bent long arms with rod ends, front and rear adjustable track bars, an integrated two-piece sub frame assembly, relocated control arm mounts, new coil springs, and longer brake lines. The Rock ready kit was also further complimented with use of Skyjacker's RockLock sway bar system.

To continue the bolt-on nature of the build we contacted M.O.R.E. for a set of its front and rear body armor fenders with flat fender flares. The fenders look great with the lift in place and help open up the fenders a bit for the 35-inch BFG KM2 tires. M.O.R.E. also supplied one if its RockProof front bumpers.

With so many bolt-on parts available it's easy to see that creating a well-equipped Wrangler TJ is not at all a difficult proposition. Manufacturers' such as Skyjacker, M.O.R.E., and Mastercraft have accounted for the fact that some vehicle owners may desire tackling their own installations and have built such possibility in to the components they manufacture. Special tools or skills aren't necessarily required to achieve the desired results, provided you have some experience using hand tools and can follow well-written directions.

Check out the following photos and captions to explore the finer points of the installations, and to get a better idea of how you can better equip your own 4x4 using easy-to-install, off-the-shelf components.

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Mountain Off-Road Enterprises
Delta, CO 81416
Skyjacker Suspensions
West Monroe, LA 71294
MasterCraft Seats
Santee, CA 92071
Off-Road Innovations
West Monroe, LA 71291

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