Part 2: Frame Extensions, Body Modifications, And New Rear-Mounted Electric Winch
(Editors note: For those of you who missed last month's issue, our '97 project Jeep Teal-J is on its way to becoming an AEV Brute pickup. This story is the second part of the rebirth process. We're happy to say Teal-Brute is much, much better than before. First off, the new wheelbase is awesome. The increase in length contributes to a much nicer on-road feel. Little dips and imperfections commonly found on Southern California's maze of roadways almost vanish with the new wheelbase length of 117 inches. Furthermore, the newfound ability to actually haul large objects in the 6-foot bed is pretty cool. We've managed to fit more into the Brute pickup bed than we ever could have imagined. Truly a blessing for outings of all types, the Brute conversion is everything we hoped for.)
Last month we revealed the disassembly process that took place at DC Customs of Ukiah, California, readying our beloved Teal-J for the frame-lengthening procedure. AEV's instructions recommended removing the body from the chassis entirely. We decided not to do this because, as far as we could see, the only negative result in leaving the body semi-attached to the frame would be a more difficult time welding the top of each frame section. We figured we saved 6 to 7 hours of extra work by simply working within the 6-inch gap between the tub and the frame once all the body bolts were removed.
Cutting your TJ in half is a nerve-racking task. We made sure DC Customs owner, Dustin Chernoh, triple-checked his measurements before the Sawzall came out. Follow along as we highlight more of the Brute Pickup conversion process along with a few of the custom components that we just couldn't live without.