Trevor Howard, of Yuma, Arizona, sent us these photos of his stepfather’s camera-friendly ’05 TJ Rubicon. The “flexy” Jeep has an impressive 14 inches of travel in the front and 13 inches in the rear using 2.5-inch Fox coilovers. The 40-inch Goodyear tires easily tuck up close to the body thanks to fender modifications in the front and rear. A PSC steering system is mounted up front, and both axles are Spidertrax 35-spline units with ARBs.
Ready and Waiting
Jon Heie of Sioux Center, Iowa, is nowhere near done with his ’94 XJ project. He has a garage that’s packed with parts just waiting to be added to his Jeep. For now, the build-up that started as a $1,500 stock Cherokee has a 4.5-inch Zone short-arm suspension lift, a rear Dana 35 axle with a TnT truss, lunchbox locker, 4.10 gears, and a high-pinion Dana 30 front axle with Iron Rock C Gusset Kit reinforcements. The Cragar Soft 8 steel wheels are fitted with 32x10.50-inch BFGoodrich MT KM2 tires. Some of the parts waiting in the garage for Jon are a Dana 44 front axle with an Aussie Locker, a 1-ton over-the-knuckle steering setup, a Ford 8.8-inch rear axle with a limited-slip differential and disc brakes from a ’99 Explorer, Unitbody stiffeners, and a custom three-link long-arm suspension.
Leaf Me Alone
David Estes says he can’t count how many times people have said, “You should do coilovers…” but he’s happy with the old-fashioned setup on his wild YJ. In fact, David says he enjoys the looks he gets from TJ and JK drivers with long-arm suspensions as he “crawls on by while out-flexing and lifting tires without getting too tippy.” A long list of modifications helps David put the modern Jeeps in their place. The upgrades include a 2-inch body lift, a 3-inch suspension lift using “bastard packs” with Wagoneer main leafs and Fox shocks. A Dana 30 front axle with an ARB, a Ford 8.8-inch rear with a Detroit Locker, 4.56 gears, an NP231 T-case with a TeraLow, and a Tranzilla AX15 transmission round out the drivetrain mods.
Mike Wallace of Jacksonville, Arkansas, treats his ’97 TJ like an athlete with specialized shoes for each sport. While on pavement the Jeep rides on 33x12.50-inch Pro Comp Extreme MT tires with 15-inch Eagle Star wheels, and off-road it gets to use 33x14.00-inch TSL Boggers on 15-inch Black Rock Lobo steel wheels. The TJ also has a 4-inch Pro Comp short-arm suspension, a slip-yoke eliminator for the transfer case, and a Pavement Ends Flip Top roof. Mike says his wish list for future upgrades would include 4.56 gears to replace the 3.08s, lockers, winch, “and the list goes on….”
Russ and Christy Witham of Baker City, Oregon, are the owners of this menacing ’67 Commando. The toothy trail rig can be found climbing trails in the Pacific Northwest, including places like Lookout Mountain near the Snake River, where this photo was taken. The Commando has a Buick 350ci V-8, a TH400 automatic transmission, a 4:1 Dana 300 transfer case, Dana 44 axles, 4.88 gears, ARB lockers, Redneck Ram power steering, fiberglass hood and fenders, and 35x12.50-inch tires.
U.S. Army SSG Brent Herzberger, stationed at Camp Revenna, Ohio, bought his first Jeep in 2004 after returning from Iraq, and he has been infecting friends with what he calls “Jeep Syndrome” ever since he sold that rig to a buddy. His current Jeep is a ’97 TJ, and he says it’s a work in progress and that he gets most of his upgrade ideas from right here in Jp. No wonder we like it so much. For now, the TJ has a 6-inch Rough Country lift with X-flex joints, an NP231 T-case with a double cardan driveshaft and slip-yoke-eliminator, a Super 35 kit in the Dana 35, 4.56 gears, front and rear Detroit Lockers, and 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ tires. Outside, Warn rock sliders protect the middle and Smittybilt bumpers, winch, and tube fenders take care of the rest.
Saved From the Crusher
This ’68 Kaiser M-715 was rescued from destruction when Matt Snyder of Rochester, New York, found it in a government surplus warehouse. Believe it or not, the big rig had just 7,000 original miles on the odometer and not a bit of rust. Matt upgraded the old points ignition to a Pertronix electronic ignition, but left everything else completely stock. It even has the original bias-ply tires from 1968 with U.S. military stamps on the sidewalls. Matt has put 3,000 miles on the truck since he bought it three years ago and says he even uses the Kaiser as a daily driver during the summers.
It’s not hard to tell that B.J. Naugle of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, likes XJs and MJs. He sent us this aerial photo of his fleet of Comanches and Cherokees and said that he’s “doing [his] best to keep the classics alive!” From left to right are his ’91 Cherokee Laredo, ’88 Comanche SporTruck, ’90 Comanche Eliminator, ’88 Comanche SporTruck, and ’96 Cherokee Country. All of the trucks have the 4.0L engine under the hood and run on 29- to 31-inch tires, and B.J. says each has a purpose-built suspension setup for “running downtown, showing off some history, or escaping from a falling society.” Sounds fun!
Chris Melton grew up in Liberty City, Indiana, as part of a family of Jeep fans. Now he lives in California and is taking his own children on adventures in the ’78 CJ-5 that his father left to him. The Jeep was originally a daily driver until an accident led to it being sold to a buddy. Luckily for Chris, that friend lost interest in the project, so the Jeep came back into the family fold, and Chris, his dad, and nephews put the CJ back together again. It’s still a work in progress, with a goal of being ready for the 2015 Tierra Del Sol Safari, but it already has a 304ci V-8, a three-speed automatic transmission, a fiberglass body, a 3-inch lift, and 33-inch tires. We’ll see you in Truckhaven Hills, Chris!
Crawling to 300K
Tom Craig of Warren, Michigan, already has 286,000 miles on the clock of his ’95 ZJ, but he says it “still wheels great!” He’d even like to slow things down by swapping out the current 3.73 gears for a set of 4.56s. Tom says he’d also wants to add a front locker some day, but for now, his Jeep is already well equipped with a Rubicon Express 4.5-inch short-arm suspension, JCR Off-Road 1-ton steering, JKS track bars, Cragar Soft 8 black steel wheels, a Detroit Locker in the rear differential, and Alloy USA 30-spline rear axleshafts. The rear bumper, tire carrier, rock sliders, and mount for the Smittybilt XRC 8,000-pound winch are all homemade.
Derek Blackwell of Bedford, Indiana, has a “problem” with his ’05 TJ that most guys wouldn’t mind. He says his fiancé is “just as obsessed with the Jeep as me, and he can’t ever sell it!” Faster than you can scream, “Marry that girl!”, Derek has already gone through his wedding-strained 2013 budget paying for a Dana 44 rear axle from a Rubicon and new 35x12.50R15 BFGoodrich MT KM2 tires. Derek has plenty of existing upgrades to last him until spring, when his next fiscal Jeep year begins. They include a 4-inch Rough Country suspension lift, a Poison Spyder Trail Stinger, an XRC8000 winch, rock sliders, Bushwacker flat fender flares, 15-inch Pro Comp black wheels, a cold-air intake, and a Superchips Flashpaq.
Whether Corey Osborne of Colorado is in Moab for the Easter Jeep Safari or Hump-N-Bump in Nevada, his Jeep is ready. The rock rig has a factory 4.0L under the hood, but that’s just about the only stock component. The ’02 TJ has been stretched to 101-inches, has a GenRight three-link front suspension with 14-inch King coilovers, and a four-link in the rear with 12-inch Kings. The front axle is a high-pinion Dana 44 from a ’78 Ford with a T&T Customs truss, Reid knuckles, and RCV shafts. The rear axle is a stock Dana 44 with Alloy USA shafts. The axles ride on Raceline beadlocks wearing 37-inch Nitto tires. Other upgrades include GenRight bumpers, a Warn M8000 with Spydura rope, a RockHard ’cage, MasterCraft seats, a Power Tank, and an Engel fridge.
Damian Smith of Chatsworth, California, is apparently not afraid of a challenge, and has built his ’10 Jeep KK, into a dual solid axle off-roader. He also had the guts to submit his truck to Jp, which has not historically been kind to the Liberty. Damian’s second generation Liberty project has a narrowed front Dana 44 axle from an F-150 that rides on 6-inch TJ coil springs with Rubicon control arms, and Bilstein 9100 bypass shocks, along with a JK steering box. The rear axle is a Chrysler 8.25-inch with 4.56 gears and an ARB Air Locker, and is supported by Clayton JK long-arms, 6-inch TJ coils, and Pro Comp shocks. The 15-inch American Racing D-hole wheels have 35-inch Pro Comp MT tires and Damian says his KK is used for both daily driving and rockcrawling.
Josh Griffin of Toledo, Ohio, calls his ’84 CJ-7 as a “good old-fashioned budget-built family wheeler.” All of the sheetmetal is original, both the front and rear bumpers are homemade, and the Ramsey 8,000-pound winch is from 1983. Leaf spring upgrades give 2.5 inches of lift and homemade shackles provide another inch of lift over 34-inch TSL Super Swamper bias-ply tires on classic CJ steel wheels. The Jeep is motivated by the original AMC 258ci engine with the T-176 four-speed transmission, Dana 300 T-case, Dana 30 front axle, and an AMC 20 rear axle with 2.72 gears.
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