Emmet Hiemstra of Truckee, California, built this ’98 XJ during his senior year of high school as a father-and-son project with his dad, Doug. They did all of the work themselves, while keeping to a strict budget. The two-door Cherokee was built to run difficult trails around Tahoe, while remaining drivable on 200-plus-mile highways trips. Its maiden voyage was over the Rubicon Trail alongside Doug in his ’06 TJ. The powertrain has a 4.0L engine with a Dynomax cat-back exhaust, an AW4 transmission, and an NP231 transfer case with a Rugged Ridge slip-yoke eliminator. The Jeep rides on a 4.5-inch lift thanks to Rough Country’s X-Flex short arms up front and Rough County full leaf packs in the rear. The front axle is a high-pinion Dana 30, and the rear is an 8.25 with an Aussie locker and 3.55 gears. The family project also has narrow off-road bumpers, a roof rack spare carrier, and trimmed fenders that make room for 33x12.50R15 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires on 15x8-inch ProComp Rock Crawler wheels.
Douglas Patrick of Bridgeport, Texas, says his ’49 Willys CJ-3A has provided counseling during and after his divorce. His “Beast on a Budget” build has a ’58 Hurricane F-134 engine, the original T-90 transmission, a Dana 18 transfer case, a Dana 25 front axle, and a Dana 44 rear axle. The previous owner cut a hole in the hood for a scoop that Douglas removed and replaced with a custom ram air/spare tire setup. Along with bodywork and a homemade camouflage paint job, Douglas says he’s “begged, borrowed, and traded beer” for parts and some repair work that he couldn’t do himself.
Jerry Wilcox of Victoria, Texas, built his ’01 XJ to be a good-looking daily driver that can still perform well on the trails, and it appears he’s accomplished both of his goals. The Cherokee rides on a Rubicon Express long-arm suspension lift with 5-inch coils with ACOS in front and Rubicon Express leaf springs with shackle extenders in the rear. The front axle is a Dana 44, and the rear is a shaved 9-inch with G2 axleshafts and 4.56 gears. Jerry has two sets of tires for his XJ, with 35x12.50R15 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/As for the street and 35x12.50R15 BFG Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires for the trails on ProComp 1079 aluminum wheels with simulated beadlocks. Other upgrades include custom bumpers with a front bull bar and a rear spare tire carrier, rock sliders, fender flares, spot lamps, smoked side lamps, and dark-tinted glass.
Honey, I Bought a Jeep
Edward Yasko of Fort Edward, New York, didn’t exactly consult his wife before he brought home his ’09 JK. Now that the cat is out of the bag, he’s building the Jeep into an “off-road machine” while using it as a daily driver during one of the snowiest winters on record in the northeast. So far, the Jeep has a 5-inch Skyjacker suspension lift which helps clear LT325/60R18 Nitto Terra Grappler tires on 18x9-inch Dick Cepek DC-2 aluminum wheels.
Jacob Rackley of Brightwood, Oregon, built his ’03 TJ to be as capable on rocks as possible without needing to be trailered to events. The Jeep is powered by a 4.0L engine with a K&N cold air intake, a Pacesetter header, a fuel-injection system, and a custom-dented oil pan. The drivetrain uses an NV3550 transmission with a Centerforce clutch, NV231 with TerraLow 4:1 conversion, a slip-yoke eliminator, and a modified XJ front driveshaft for the new rear ‘shaft. The rear axle is a Dana 44 with heavy-duty axletubes, a Lock-Right locker, and GM 1⁄2-ton brakes, and the front axle is a high-pinion Dana 44 with high-steer knuckles, Warn locking hubs, a spool, and 4.88 gears. The Jeep also has 35x12.50R15 BFGoodrich KM2 tires on 15x8-inch Pro Comp Series 97 wheels underneath a Rubicon Express 3.5-inch Extreme Duty long-arm suspension kit with 1-inch spring spacers up front.
His Own Words
James Dietzel of Imlay City, Michigan, has a lot to say about his mostly stock ’88 YJ and a colorful way of describing how he feels about his Jeep. He says his wife, Jennifer, is a very understanding woman—and we believe him. Here are his own words edited for space and sanity:
“Attached is my submission for the Jeep Shots section of Jp. I’m a huge fan of the magazine, and I hope I make the cut. I attached three images and hope the quality is high enough. The people I hang out with have trouble with any camera newer than a Polaroid instant. The 235/75R15 Yokohama Geolandar tires are wrapped around some of the finest (mostly straight) stock wheels you can find. The suspension is worn out and almost concave. It looks like at some point the shocks were swapped out for some “Econo-Master/May-Dampen” brand replacements, and it’s sitting lower than stock right now but not quite to mini-truck depth, yet. It has a remanufactured ’84 4.2L engine. I swapped in a Motorcraft 2100 carburetor and added a little bit of torque by painting it Ford Blue. It came with a broken head bolt, which I didn’t notice until three years later when it was too late to do anything about it, but as Meatloaf might sing, ‘13 out of 14 ain’t bad.’ The only currently reliable working gauge is a cheap-o coolant temperature one I have jammed into the radio opening. The AX-15 transmission grinds like two teenagers at a high school dance, so I make sure to shift slow and quadruple clutch. I shift so slow, Vin Diesel would mock me after a race. The NP231 transfer case has so much chain slap, it sounds like I am getting applause. The axles are the stock Dana 30 front and a Dana 35 rear with something crazy-like 3.07 gears. I pinned the CAD fork with a bolt using a trick I learned from Jp magazine a few years ago. I think it came from Pete. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I like to name drop. It has a sweet air freshener that looks like a sleeping frog. It doesn’t smell anymore, but it still swings like new. I plan to replace the exhaust that appears to be made from a swing set, some flex pipe, a Daihatsu Charade tailpipe, and a department store universal muffler. I punched a hole in the exhaust on a rock so it sounds more tractor like. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I try to look at the positive!”
Made for Each Other
Dan Laity of Elmore, Ohio, says his ’59 FC-150 is just like him: “big, fat, loud, slow, and ugly.” Those are his words, but we think his Forward Control is looking pretty good after a frame-off restoration that started with a cab swap from an FC 170. Dan says this will be the first and last Jeep he will restore because it involved “way too much honest work.” He says it couldn’t have been completed without the help of Jp articles, online Willys and FC forums, and personal assistance from his late friend Rick Meagly who loaned his “tools and brawn.” Dan says the restoration is mostly stock, with a few “modern” upgrades like an electric wiper conversion and a generator swapped out for a single-wire alternator. The FC has a four-cylinder F-head engine, a T-90 transmission, Dana 18 transfer case, spring-over conversion, wide-track axles with 5.38 gears, and 225/75R15 Kuhmo tires on 15-inch black steel wheels.
Want to get your Jeep in these pages? Just grab the tech form off jpmagazine.com, fill it out, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include a high resolution image (at least 1,600 by 1,200 pixels) with your submission. Or, snail mail it to:
Jp Magazine, Jeep Shots
831 S. Douglas St.
El Segundo, CA 90245