Mark Norvold converted his ’89 YJ with a CJ front clip using advice he found at Jp magazine. The alterations involved cutting the lower corners diagonally for clearance along with modifications to the grille/frame mount to adapt it to the YJ radiator, along with a hood, grille, and drop-down tailgate from a donor CJ. In addition to cosmetic changes, the Jeep has a 2½-inch Skyjacker suspension lift, a 1-inch Max-Bilt Max-Duty shackle lift, a Ford 8.8-inch rear axle with a TnT Customs welded truss, Yukon Gears mini-spool and 4.88 gears, and an open Dana 30 front axle with a TnT truss. The Jeep is motivated by the stock inline-six, five-speed manual transmission, and NP231 T-case that sends power to 35x12.50R15 Goodyear MTR Kevlar tires on 15x8-inch steel rims.
David and Dalton Brantley of Jasper, Arkansas, spent more than two years building up this ’67 M-715 that’s been known to crush an F-150 on occasion. The “five-quarter-ton” truck can be found roaming around the Buffalo River and the Ozark Mountains riding on 40x12.50-20 Michelin X tires on 20x10 Marsh Racing Wheels. A 6-inch suspension lift and a 1-inch body lift make room for the big tires. Under the custom hood with a scoop is a Chevy 350 V-8 running an Edelbrock 650 cfm carb and Hooker headers. The factory T-98a transmission and divorced NP200 T-case are plenty strong enough to handle the extra power. The factory Dana 60 front axle and a Dana 70 rear axle still sport the mil-spec 5.87 gears they left the Kaiser factory with. Some of the other upgrades include onboard air, a Warn winch, KC lights, a blacked-out grille, diamond-plate bumpers and fenders, tube steps, a full rollbar, and side exhaust outlets with heat shields.
Cheryl Hermsmeier of Winnemucca, Nevada, says, “off-road is where I belong,” but she still had to prove herself to the men in the local Jeep club. After a bunch of “Hmm, we’ll see how this goes”-type looks, Cheryl hit the dirt, rowed her own gears, and won them over. It’s no surprise they took her seriously, since her ’99 TJ is equipped with ARB Air Lockers front and rear with an onboard air compressor, 4.56 gears, a 4-inch Rough Country suspension, a slip-yoke eliminator, a big skidplate, and 15-inch alloy wheels with 33x12.5-inch Toyo MT tires. This photo was taken on the Bolivia Trail in Dixie Valley, Nevada, and Cheryl has her sights set on tackling the Rubicon Trail next year.
Home Front Jeep
Kenneth DeMille is a US Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Kenneth only gets to work on his ’97 TJ Sahara when he’s back home in North Carolina, but during these visits the Jeep has been upgraded with a 2-inch body lift, 2-inch coil spacers, and longer Skyjacker shocks. Everything rides on 33x12.50R15 General Grabber tires mounted on 15x8 XJ wheels with a flat black spray paint job. Kenneth has also made time to upgrade the engine and exhaust with a K&N intake, Edelbrock shorty headers, and custom mufflers.
Jim McClain lives in Norco, California, which means it was no small feat to build up his ’87 YJ with a 350ci V8 while keeping it smog-legal. The ’91 Chevy engine is backed by a TH700R4 automatic transmission that’s hooked to an NP231 transfer case. Power is sent to a Dana 30 front axle and a Dana 44 rear axle, which both have 4.88 gears and Eaton ELockers. The spring-over suspension is built for flexing on big rocks, (and the occasional forklift) and uses Pro Comp shocks along with a high steer kit and hydraulic steering by Redneck Ram. LED lamps are mounted on the roof and at the corners of the bumper that houses an XRC8 winch. A Poison Spyder trail rollcage and M40 doors protect the driver and passengers, and the Jeep rides on Aero beadlock wheels with 35x13.50R15 BFG Krawler T/A tires.
Alan Shields of Ohio County, Kentucky, says it’s getting harder to find legit places to wheel around the coal fields in the western side of the state, but he gets off the blacktop as often as possible. His favorite spots are the Wishbone Ranch near Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Interlake State Park in Indiana, and any other legal unpaved spots he can find. Alan’s ’97 Cherokee XJ has a 6½-inch lift that uses a mix of parts from Rough Country, Rusty’s Off Road, and Daystar. The rear axle is an 8.25-inch with an Aussie locker, the front axle is an open Dana 30, the heavy-duty bumper has lights and a Superwinch built-in, and everything rides on 15-inch wheels with 35x12.50R15 Maxis Bighorn tires.
Joe Johnson has his ’08 JK tricked out with what he likes to call “Poor Man’s Beadlocks,” which are 33x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ tires on 15x8 Pro Comp Rock Crawler wheels. He says he “can still hang with guys who have 35s and a 4-inch lift,” since he keeps a lot of rubber between his wheels and the rocks. Running 33s also cuts down on the chance of snapping his 27-spline Dana 30 axleshafts. Joe still runs the stock Sahara suspension, which leaves his skidplates “pretty banged up,” but he gets help from homemade sway bar disconnects. The front bumper has been cut down and the fog lights relocated, and Smittybilt flat fender flares were installed for tire clearance at full articulation. A Flowmaster exhaust system was installed to replace the stock muffler after it was smashed on a waterfall.
Justin Prather and his father have been performing a frame-off restoration on this ’78 CJ-7 since Justin was a freshman in high school, and it should be finished by the time he graduates at the end of this school year. The engine is an AMC 304ci V-8 that’s been bored 0.030-over and equipped with a camshaft upgrade, a Holley four-barrel carburetor, a ram-air system, headers, and dual Flowmaster mufflers. The Jeep sits on a 4-inch suspension lift over 35-inch Mastercraft Courser C/T tires. Up front there’s a 10,000-pound winch and KC spot lamps mounted on the chrome bumper. The Renegade also has a black and tan leather interior that replaced the original Levi’s upholstery, a 10-speaker stereo system, and red exterior lighting that makes it look pretty spooky at night.
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