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1988 Jeep Wrangler YJ - Mud Monsters Of Florida

Posted in Project Vehicles on April 1, 2002 Comment (0)
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Ernie Prevedel's YJ
Built To Handle Sand And Swamps
The first thing about Ernie "Big E" Prevedel's '88 Wrangler that catches your eye is the stunning Prowler Orange paint, but this YJ is much more than a good looking coat of paint. That's because Prevedel has incorporated a number of custom mods into his Jeep that result from his experience four-wheeling in and around Lady Lake, Florida.

Under the Jeep, Ernie installed a Dana 44 front axle pirated from an International Scout, while the rear axle is a beefy Dana 60. The front diff sports a Trac-Lok locker, while the rear contains a Detroit Locker. Disc brakes reside at both ends, and 4.56 gears offset the 35x12.50-15 Pro Comp Mud Terrain tires that are mounted on 15x10 Rock Crawler wheels.

Ernie designed his YJ's suspension to excel in the type of terrain he routinely explores (mud and sand), and the system contains a hodge-podge of components manufactured by a number of different companies. It includes Rubicon Express 4-inch-lift leaf springs, Skyjacker Nitro shock absorbers, pitman arm and steering stabilizer, TeraFlex Revolver shackles, an AGR steering box and pump, and a custom tie rod and drag link fabbed by Central Florida Race Cars Inc., Fruitland Park, Florida.

Under the hood is a heavily modified 400ci Chevy engine which generates an estimated 375 horsepower. It drives through a TH400 transmission and a Dana 300 transfer case.

The YJ is powered by a 375 horsepower, 400ci small-block Chevy V-8 that's been balanced, blueprinted, and stuffed with Keith Black pistons, a Competition Cams Xtreme camshaft, Melling oil pump, and Harland Sharp roller rockers. The engine is topped with a Weiand intake manifold, aluminum heads, a Mallory distributor, Mallory ProMaster coil, and Holley Pro-Jection. It spits exhaust through Dyno Max headers, a custom 2 1/4-inch dual exhaust, and Flowmaster mufflers. Engine power is routed through a Turbo 400 tranny modified with a B&M Torquemaster torque converter and shift kit. Keeping automatic transmissions cool in the Florida heat is very important, so Ernie added a Perma-Cool tranny cooler, complete with electric fan. The Jeep sports a Dana 300 transfer case, and this unit splits the power to custom driveshafts made by Jungle Industries in Leesburg, Florida.

After Johnny Bullion of Weirsdale, Florida sprayed on the eye-catching Prowler Orange paint, a number of functional items were bolted on, including custom bumpers, nerf bars, spare-tire carrier, and tow hooks (all designed and built by Ernie), four Hella off-road lights, and a Warn X8000i winch.

Finally, the interior of the Jeep was fitted with a pair of Bestop Super Seats, a Tuffy console, custom rollcage, an Alpine AM/FM radio, Cobra CB radio, Garmin GPS unit, and plenty of trail tools such as a Hi-Lift Jack, folding shovel, 3-drawer tool box, and much more.

Ernie and his wife Beth use the YJ to explore the vast four-wheeling areas around their home, as well as for exploring with the Ocala Jeep Club, of which they are members. Ernie says that numerous friends and club members helped make the YJ what it is today, including Lee Myers, Troy McCall, Joe Smith, Steve Felder, and Ray Woo.

Specifications

GENERAL
Owner Ernie Prevedel, Lady Lake, Florida
Vehicle model 1988 Jeep Wrangler
Estimated value n/a
ENGINE
Type Chevrolet OHV V-8
Displacement (ci) 400
Aspiration Holley Pro-Jection, Weiand intake manifold, Dyno Max headers, Flowmaster mufflers
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission TH400 with B&M torque converter and shift kit
Transfer case Dana 300
SUSPENSION
Front Rubicon Express 4-inch-lift leaf springs, Skyjacker shocks
Rear Rubicon Express 4-inch-lift leaf springs, Skyjacker shocks
AXLES/DIFFERENTIALS
Front Dana 44 with Trac-Lok
Rear Dana 60 with Detroit Locker
Ring-and-pinion 4.56:1
WHEELS/TIRES
Wheels (in.) 15x10 Rock Crawler
Tires Pro Comp Mud Terrain 35x12.50-15

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