Part 4: The Rubi Wagon Takes Shape
So where were we? In the last three issues of 4-Wheel & Off-Road we've been building up an '07 Jeep Wrangler JK for our annual Ultimate Adventure trip. U.A. is the week-long off-road trip we do every summer, and as usual we're building an over-the-top 4x4 to lead our group of 20 rigs. Now if you look elsewhere in this issue you'll see the completed Jeep running the trails in Texas, but due to the magic and mysteries of magazine edit, this is a behind-the-scenes of how we built the Jeep for the trip. To catch up any stragglers, we started with a two-wheel-drive, four-door Wrangler and took it to get a custom rollcage done at Twisted Customs, then we drove it to American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) where we began combining the channeled Jeep body with a shortened Dodge Mega Cab frame since our plan included a Cummins diesel engine to repower our Ultimate Jeep. It all sounds simple when written out like this, but in fact the crew at AEV spent more than 400 man hours cutting the Jeep body to fit over the frame and drivetrain, plus the engine was moved backward approximately 12 inches to fit under the hood better, not to mention all the messin' about with wiring, plumbing, and suspension to get it just right.
In addition to the Cummins engine, we installed an NV4500 five-speed manual transmission-because we feel Jeeps should have manual transmissions-and a two-speed Atlas Transfer case, both of which were supplied by Advance Adapters. Also this month we'll cover the installation of a set of AAM axles from the new Dodge Power Wagon. We chose these axles because they will bolt right into the Mega Cab suspension, plus they are fitted with selectable lockers front and rear and 4.56 gears which should work perfectly with our new 42-inch BFGoodrich tires. Yes, there are some new treads on the market and we happened to get our hands on the very first set of 42s from BFGoodrich. As you can see, this Jeep buildup is quickly getting out of hand and surpassing the basic build that most of you will ever attempt, but hey, you've got to admit it's pretty cool. Take your basic Jeep, add all the coolest parts Dodge and Jeep have to offer, and what do you get? A bit more than a Rubicon Wrangler and even a bit more than a Dodge Power Wagon, It's the UAJK, but we call it the Rubi Wagon.