A Smurfy Blue '93 YJ
At first glance it may seem like someone dropped a blue paint bomb on Larry McRae's '93 YJ. Look again, and yup - someone did drop a paint bomb on it. While some paint their rigs because they are tired of the old paint or just looking for something a bit different, Larry's YJ got a new coat out of necessity after his Jeep rolled backward down a nice hill. A few nights of work and a few beers later, it had a new tub and a shiny new paint job, and it was back on its wheels (dirty side down).
Chassis And Drivetrain
Under the hood of Larry McRae's big blue beast is the factory 4.0L motor. Albeit heavy, it's a good all-around motor. The engine compartment is dressed up with the usual goodies. An aftermarket K&N intake lets the motor breathe, and the Mike Leach TJ performance header provides a bit more go juice. The TJ header routes the exhaust in front of the oil pan like the '02-current TJ does. The factory air conditioner was converted into an onboard air system to inflate tires and run air tools. An Optima RedTop battery makes sure the Jeep starts, and those foil burritos on top of the motor make sure Larry doesn't get hungry.
Behind the 4.0L is the factory AX-15 five-speed transmission. While Larry used to be a manual guy, he says that after driv-ing a lazy-guy automatic in competition, he will drop an auto in his Jeep when the AX-15 dies. He also plans to swap in an all-aluminum LS-1 V-8 in the near future.
Connected to his JE Reel 1350 driveshafts is an Atlas II 4.3:1 transfer case. The case runs 32-spline front and rear output shafts, so Larry always gets where he wants to go - just not in a hurry. The body above the Atlas was cut out so the transfer case could be pushed up flat with the framerails. A flat 11/44-inch-thick aluminum skidplate protects the underside, and a thin piece of stainless steel covers the aluminum to make the skidplate a bit more slippery and durable.
On the other side of the driveshafts sits a pair of Rock Jock aluminum high-pinion 60s with chromoly tubes. The shock and spring perches are all TIG-welded on to make these beauties a work of art. The front axle runs the Ford-style ball joint outers with aluminum Currie knuckles. Turning the front tires are Superior 4340 chromoly axleshafts held together by CTM U-joints. Both ends feature 5.13 gears and Detroit Lockers; Wilwood disc brakes work to stop the Jeep. The front axle is completed with a Howe Performance hydraulic ram-assist kit, which includes a new pump, reservoir, box, ram, and hydraulic lines. The tie rod and ram are mounted on Currie high-steer arms above and behind the axle, out of the way of trail obstacles.
The front suspension consists of a spring-over lift using a combination of Rancho '74-and-up Jeep Wagoneer (PN RS44044) and Superlift springs. The Ranchos were used for the offset center pin and the Superlifts for ride height and flex. The front suspension also features 14-inch Bilstein 7100 reservoir shocks mounted on custom shock hoops. The rear suspension consists of Alcan Toyota Land Cruiser springs with an offset center pin for added wheelbase. The front leaf-spring hangers are recessed into the frame so they are less likely to get caught up on the rocks. A pair of Bilstein 5100 shocks and Trail Sport traction bars complete the rear suspension.
Body And Interior
Back in 2004 a paint bomb went off inside Larry's Jeep. When the overspray cloud settled, there stood a very blue Jeep. Other than the blue paint, the interior sports Bestop TrailMax seats, a custom (roll-tested) DOM rollcage, and a Campbell 22-gallon aluminum fuel cell that fits behind the rear seat. An All Pro rear bumper and a Trail Sport front bumper are fitted at either end, and a Warn HS9500i winch is perfect for saving Larry's butt.