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3-Day JK For $3K

Posted in How To on May 1, 2012
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Last month we outlined a bunch of $3,000 buildups for ’97-’06 Wrangler TJs (3-Day TJ for $3K) and promised to follow up with similar treatments for JK and YJ Wranglers, XJ Cherokees, and maybe even CJs. We cover only bolt-on parts and modifications you could do yourself at home in three days or less. Well, we’re making good on our promise—although we kinda cheated a little here by using a ’07 Rubicon with factory 4.10 gears and lockers front and rear. We’ll include some other options for non-Rubicon owners just to keep things fair.

It’s so easy to put 35s on a JK Wrangler it’s stupid. On the two-door JK, 35s will let you hit most moderately hard trails in the country. The short-wheelbase lets you snake and glide over and through some surprisingly rough terrain. For the longer four-door Unlimited, the breakover angle even with 35s can still easily get you hung up so you’ll have to pick your lines a bit more carefully. However, 35s really fill up the wheelwells and look more proportional on the ’07-up Wrangler Unlimited.

As for our modifications, finding parts that offer great performance on a realistic budget is more difficult than you’d think. Every product we chose delivers on more than one level. The TeraFlex suspension is affordable, installed without major drama, incorporates features like coil retention and proper bumpstop spacing, and doesn’t alter the factory ride or handling. The company’s aluminum RockGuard Slider Steps provide enough strength and protection for any weekend warrior without paying a fuel or handling penalty the other five days of the week. The Smittybilt front bumper is inexpensive, frees up the approach angle to the front tires, and is strong enough to brush off repeated rock contact. The Spidertrax wheel spacers are durable, reliable, well-built, and affordable.

It’s not just a spacer lift. It’s actually a well-engineered suspension system that retains the factory springs and shocks. The TeraFlex 2.5-inch Performance Budget Boost includes front bumpstop and shock extensions and 2.5-inch coil spacers. For the rear, bumpstop spacers, a dropped track bar bracket, extended sway bar links, brake line drop brackets, shock extensions, 2-inch spacers, and hardware round it out.

The AEV ProCal Module makes it easy to center the steering wheel, correct the speedo for bigger tires or different gears, and allows turning off or on many factory diagnostic and special features. And finally, the Goodyear Duratrac tires are strong, light, and blur the lines between on-road AT civility and off-road MT performance. The result is a Wrangler that can tackle any moderately hard trail we want to throw it on, yet still has the manners to drive cross-country in comfort.

We shopped and found the best deal on mounting and balancing our new 315/70R17 Goodyear Duratracs from our local mega-chain warehouse store. After forking over the $10 per tire, we brought them home and torqued them to the Spidertrax wheel spacers at 95 lb-ft. It’s our experience the Duratracs work amazingly well in most scenarios thanks to their tight, highly-siped inner tread and chunky outer blocks.
PhotosView Slideshow
PhotosView Slideshow
3 Day Jk For 3k our Build List Photo 36999703
3 Day Jk For 3k non Rubicon Jeep Jk Build List Photo 35741090
3 Day Jk For 3k non Rubicon Four Door Jk Wrangler Build List Photo 35741093

Sources

4Wheel Parts erferer
Compton, CA 90220
877-474-4821
www.4wheelparts.com
Smittybilt
Compton, CA 90220
888-717-5797
www.smittybilt.com
American Expedition Vehicles
Wixom, MI 48393
248-926-0256
www.aev-conversions.com
Quadratec
West Chester, PA 19380
800-745-2348
www.quadratec.com
TeraFlex
Murray, UT 84107
801-288-2585
www.teraflex.biz
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co
Akron, OH 44316
330-796-2121
www.goodyeartires.com
Spidertrax Off-Road
Longmont, CO 80503
800-286-0898
www.spidertrax.com

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