Greg Dame of Summerville, South Carolina, says he’s constantly amazed every time he drives his 2011 JK on- or off-road. The Black Ops-edition Jeep is protected by Skid Row engine and transmission skid plates, a Rusty’s Off-Road evaporator skid plate, and a Poison Spyder rear-differential cover. It rides over a Metal Cloak Game-Changer 3.5-inch suspension and 35x12.50R15 Goodyear MT/R Kevlar tires on 15x7-inch MB TKO wheels. The Jeep also has a Superchips TrailDash engine programmer, a Magnaflow exhaust, a Rugged Ridge snorkel, a front bumper with a stinger, and LED driving lamps.
Chris Prowant of Lanark, Illinois, sold a barely driven Mach 1 Mustang to purchase his 2007 JK that got the name “Langler” from his young son’s pronunciation of Wrangler. The Jeep provides lots of bonding time for father and son as they work on it in the garage and wheel it out on the trails. The JK sports a 2.5-inch AEV lift over 33x12.50R15 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar tires on 15-inch Black Rock steel wheels. The 3.8L engine has a Hypertech programmer and a custom exhaust system, and it sends power to Ten Factory chromoly axles and a Yukon Gear Grizzly locking differential in the rear. Protection comes from a Rock Hard Sport Cage, steel fenders, custom rock sliders, Warrior Products Steel taillights, Rock Hard skid plates, an OR-Fab rear bumper, and a custom built front bumper with a Superwinch Rock 98 winch
Steve Scott of Leesville, North Carolina, says his 1980 CJ-7 was frightening to drive when he bought it thanks to a crummy lift installed by the previous owner. After two years of work, including a fiberglass body swap, the Jeep has been built into a rig that drives nice and performs great off-road at places such as Uwharrie National Forrest and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The CJ-7 has a fuel-injected 258ci engine with an HEI ignition system, headers, a Magnaflow exhaust, and a T176 transmission. A rebuilt Dana 300 transfer case with a 4:1 low range sends power to a Dana 30 front axle with chromoly shafts and a Lock-Right and a Dana 44 rear axle with Dutchman alloy shafts, a Detroit Truetrac, and 4.56 gears. The Jeep rides on a 4-inch BDS lift with YJ springs, custom shackles, and BDS Nitro shocks, and it has Irok Super Swamper 37x14.00-15 tires on 15x12-inch black Cragar Soft 8 wheels. Other upgrades include Tatton driveshafts, a Skyjacker HD steering stabilizer, Rough Country quick-disconnect sway-bar links, a full rollcage, front and rear bumpers by Barnes Off-Road, a Ramsey winch, Warn rock sliders, a Bestop Supertop, and Turino Supersport racing seats with 4-way harnesses.
Greg and Angelina Didion of Sandusky, Ohio, have worked together to build up their 1997 TJ so it can “go anywhere.” It has a 4.0L engine with Pacesetter air intake, JBA headers, a Banks Monster cat-back exhaust, a B&M Ripper shifter, and a slip-yoke eliminator with a CV rear driveshaft. The drivetrain has been upgraded with a G2 Dana 60 rear axle with disc brakes, a Super 30 front axle with 30-spline shafts, 4.56 gears, and ARB Air Lockers in the front and rear. The TJ rides on a 6-inch Fabtech long-arm suspension over 35x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw tires on 15x8-inch American Racing Diamond Back aluminum wheels. There’s a Poison Spyder HD steering system and a RockLock front sway bar disconnect up front, and underneath there’s protection from Skid Row skid plates for the engine and transmission, Skyjacker high-clearance armor, and a ProComp steering skid plate. The TJ also has KC spot lights, a Hi-Lift jack on the hood, a Warn front bumper with a brush guard, a Warn 8000 winch, and a Warn rear bumper with a spare tire carrier.
Far Away CJs
Steven Smis lives in Belgium, but that didn’t keep him from going all the way to the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, this year. Back home in Europe, he has two 1981 CJ-7s and a ’03 WJ with a 2.7L Mercedes-Benz diesel for daily driving and towing. The green 1981 CJ-7 shown in the dirt is built for off-roading and has a 350ci V-8 Chevrolet crate engine, a TH400 transmission, and a Dana 300 transfer case. The rear axle is a custom Dana 60 with 35-spline shafts, 4.56 gears, disc brakes, and a Detroit Locker, and the front Dana 30 axle has a Detroit Truetrac, (but there is a Dana 44 and 36x12.50-15 Super Swamper TSL SX tires ready to be installed). The Jeep rides on a 4-inch lift with 35x12.50R15 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires, has a rollcage, and Warn bumpers. Steven says the blue 1981 CJ-7 was recently restored, but it’s still “too small” with its 21⁄2-inch lift and 33x12.50R15 Bridgestone Dueler Mud Terrain tires. That Jeep also has 3.73 gears, Moser one-piece axle shafts, and a Detroit Locker in the rear but is far from complete.
Jeff Kirkhope of Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, transformed his 2012 JK Unlimited from a daily driver into what he calls a “mud slingin’, dust-bustin’, rock-crawlin’, snow-chewin’ evening and weekend rig.” His Jeep has a 3.6L Pentastar engine, a Gibson twin exhaust, and an NSG370 six-speed manual transmission. The JK has a 3-inch front and 2-inch rear lift by ReadyLift over 315/75R16 Cooper Discoverer STT tires on 16x8-inch Pro Comp Series 98 flat black wheels. The Jeep also has a Smittybilt front bumper with an 8,000-pound CPE winch, Hella spot lamps, and “Hoonigan” hood decals.
Dave Beeman sent us pictures of his 2010 JK Rubicon posed on rocks in the foothills of the Sacramento Mountains in Otero County, New Mexico. The Jeep is mostly stock, except for a Recon winch and a narrow front bumper, but Dave says it’s already proven itself to be more capable off-road than his truck or his old Jeep. In fact, he says just the other day after an unsuccessful elk-hunting trip, he couldn’t resist hitting a mud puddle on the way home. It turned out to actually be a pit that was three car lengths long and 21⁄2 feet deep. He says without the electronic locking differentials and plenty of weight on the throttle pedal, he would have been “wet, muddy, cold, and winching.” Dave stayed “safe and dry,” so it was no surprise when he ended his letter by saying, “I love my Jeep!”
Eric Church of Elliot City, Maryland, snapped this photo in Rausch Creek, Pennsylvania, showing the multiple generations of Jeeps owned by him and his buddies. Eric’s Jeep is the 2009 JK in Surf Blue that has 33x12.50R15 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar tires on 15-inch Cragar Soft 8 wheels. Chris Kroh of Pasadena, Maryland, put together his green 1995 YJ with parts from Craigslist thanks to “peer pressure and boredom,” and so far he’s added suspension leaves, 2-inch lift shackles, an 8.8-inch rear axle from a Ford Explorer with a limited slip, and 33-inch Sport King tires. Tyler Storm of Pasadena, Maryland, worked hard and graduated early to build up his brown 1985 CJ-7 with a 5.5-inch BDS lift, Currie high-pinion 9-inch axles with chromoly shafts, Detroit Lockers, and 4.88 gears. It also has 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Krawler tires on Raceline Monster 17x10-inch wheels. Jake Kingston of Pasadena, Maryland, has the green 1995 YJ with a 5.5-inch BDS lift, a slip-yoke eliminator, Detroit Lockers, chromoly shafts, 4.56 gears, and 35x12.50R15 BFGoodrich KM2 tires on 15x10-inch Mickey Thompson wheels. Mike Mason of Woodbine, Maryland, has resisted the peer pressure so far and has put 80,000 miles on his all-original white 2004 Rubicon with Mopar Moab wheels.
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