As you can tell by the picture, Bill and Holly Tucker of Monroe, Ohio, aren’t afraid to get their 2007 Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon Unlimited dirty. The drivetrain uses a 3.8L V-6 engine with a Volant cold-air intake, Superchips programming, and Magnaflow exhaust. A 4:1 T-case, JE Reel driveshafts, and Dana 44 axles with 5.13 gears and electric lockers in the front and rear wrap up the go-parts. The Jeep Wrangler JK rides on a 3 ½-inch Rough Country suspension. A pair of ¾-inch spacers up front got it level, and 5160 Bilstein remote-reservoir shocks make the ride cush. It all clears 37x12.50R17 Pitbull Rocker tires mounted on 17x8-inch Ion Alloy wheels. In case the JK gets stuck, there’s plenty of Smittybilt recovery equipment including a winch loaded with synthetic rope as well as a Smittybilt cage to protect the occupants. Bill and Holly are members of the CJKC, (Cincinnati JK Crew), a Jeep club that holds at least one or two rides every month.
When Matthew Beals was shopping for Rubicon Unlimited eight years ago, his then-12-year-old daughter saw this TJ and insisted, “This is it!” Now she’s in school at Syracuse University, and the Jeep has a lot more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. In fact, it wasn’t until it passed the century mark that Matthew started building “Jeep V.2” by installing upgrades like a TeraFlex 4-inch suspension with Rancho RS9000 shocks. Other improvements include a Warn PowerPlant winch tucked inside a Rugged Ridge XHD stubby bumper and an OR-Fab spare tire and jerrycan rack in the back. The TJ is used as a daily driver and has been all over Matthew’s home state of Arizona, as well as New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, California, and down into Mexico. He credits his father-in-law with starting a family-wide Jeep obsession with the ’60 CJ he bought brand-new and still drives to this day.
I’ll Trade Ya
Kacee Holmes of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, convinced his wife to give him this long-wheelbase ’06 LJ in exchange for buying her a new Grand Cherokee. Kacee says he’s not sure who got the better deal. Since the trade, the Jeep has been built for the nearby Uwharrie National Recreation Trails. Upgrades include a 4-inch lift with Currie springs, Bilstein 5100 shocks, Currie Antirock swaybars, Rokmen control arms, and a TnT Customs front stretch and steering kit. The front axle is a Dana 60 by ECGS and the rear is a Currie RockJock 60. Both have 35-spline shafts, ARBs, and 4.88s to spin the 39s.
His and Hers
Steve Collins and Fiona MacClure of Oakville (that’s up in Canada) are amassing a fleet of Jeeps, and they now have a ’95 YJ, ’00 TJ, and a ’02 TJ at their disposal. The Jeeps are mostly stock, but are more than capable of transporting Steve and Fiona to where they can explore abandoned homes and farms found far off the beaten path. That includes taking them through deep mud and over logs that get in the way of their adventures together. The purchase of the ’95 YJ Sahara is a testament to perseverance because Steve used to drive by it every day and finally decided to knock on the owner’s door to ask if he was interested in selling. It took about a year before he got the call, but he left his phone “still dangling by the cord” as he jumped into his Jeep to go over and buy the YJ before the previous owner could change his mind.
Jeep Free or Die
Jason and Heather Hanscom of New Hampshire share a love for Jeeps, so we’re not surprised to see this built-up ’88 YJ is part of their collection. The rig has a ’94 4.0L H.O. engine swap under the hood that’s hooked to an AX15 five-speed manual and an NP231 T-case. The rear axle is a Ford 8.8 with an Aussie Locker and disc brakes, and the front axle is a Dana 30 with chromoly axleshafts. The YJ rides on top of a 6½-inch suspension above Cragar Soft 8 black steel wheels with 35-inch Mickey Thompson MTZ tires. The Jeep also has Rough Country seats, and a Smittybilt 8,000-pound winch, and KC lights mounted on a narrow front bumper.
Wayne Williamson of Lowell, Indiana, and his family have nicknamed their 2011 Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon “The Beast.” The Mango Tango Orange Jeep is a daily driver that’s built to be more than capable on the trails since the family spends a lot of time off-roading. The JK Unlimited has a 4-inch Mopar suspension over black 17-inch Mickey Thompson Sidebiter wheels with 35x12.50R17 Nitto Mud Grapplers. Other upgrades include off-road bumpers, a Talon winch by Superwinch, Hella lights, flatfender flares, and lots of skidplates underneath for protection.
Josh Harget of Brownstown, Michigan, says his ’99 TJ has a lot of “add-ons,” and he’s not kidding. The Jeep was built for off-roading in places such as the Silver Lake Sand Dunes and is motivated by a 4.6L stroker and fitted with full custom exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers. It has a 5.5-inch BDS long-arm suspension with Fox shocks and wide 35x14.50-inch Nitto Mud Grappler tires. The stroker sends power to Dana 44 axles in the front and rear with 4.10 gears, Detroit Lockers, and 30-spline Alloy USA axleshafts. Stopping is courtesy of front and rear TeraFlex discs.
Steve Indzheyan of Burbank, California, is building his ’04 Willys Edition Wrangler to be a show truck that’s also fun to drive. The TJ is one of just 1,000 made during that model year, and he’s designing it to stand out from the rest of the pack. It has a Fabtech suspension lift front and rear over Interco Trxus MT tires on 16-inch ProComp black steel wheels. There are steel off-road bumpers with a winch in front and a full-size spare carrier in the rear. KC HiLites spot lamps are mounted for visibility, and cargo webbing adds to the military look while replacing the factory soft top. The factory diamond plate rocker guards were ditched in favor of Poison Spyder Ricochet Rockers sliders with running boards that further set this TJ apart from the other 999 Willys Editions built for 2004.
Michael Gindlesberger of Orlando, Florida, calls his 2007 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited a “Zombie Apocalypse Edition” Wrangler. As a life-long Jeep lover, Michael has built more than a dozen projects -- and he’s only 22 years old. His current project rides on a 4-inch Skyjacker suspension to clear 17-inch Pro Comp alloy wheels and 37-inch Pro Comp Xterrain tires. There are front and rear Dana 44 axles with 5.13 gears and to ward off zombies, there are LED light bars mounted on the hood and the roof. LED cubes on the front fenders and spots on the ARB bumper housing a Smittybilt XRC 8 winch round out the package. The snorkel helps keep gunk out of the engine while mudding and crawling to avoid the undead, and the slant-back soft top and Umbrella Corporation decals complete the post-apocalyptic zombie theme of this Jeep Wrangler JK.
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