1992 Jeep YJ Wrangler - Starting Young - Video Jeep Chick MeganPosted in Project Vehicles on October 20, 2006
Megan Schilling is probably a name that rings bells with a lot of readers. She might be better known as "Video Jeep Chick Megan." We've had videos of her driving her '92 Wrangler on www.jpmagazine.com for a while.
Well, we finally caught up with her in Moab, followed her through Upper Helldorado, and were able to get the low down on her white YJ.
Megan and her dad, Marco, built it initially over a period of two months with Megan being the brawn and Marco being the brains behind it. He just liked the challenge of getting it all to work well together, and Megan just liked getting to build the Jeep and wheel it as often as possible. Like any Jeep, it's never done, but it went from street stock to respectable wheeling rig in those two months.
Hard FactsVehicle:'92 Jeep Wrangler SEEngine:4.0L inline-sixTransmission:AX-15Transfer Case:NP231Suspension:4-inch Black Diamond Coil Conversion (XCL)Axles:Dana 30 with Warn hub conversion, Warn alloy shafts, Lock-Right, and 4.10 gears (front); Dana 35 with Warn full-floating conversion, Warn hubs, OX Locker, and 4.10 gears (rear)Wheels:15x8 Mickey Thompson Classic LockTires:35x13.50R15 BFG Krawler T/ABuilt For:Rockcrawling and around-town cruisingEstimated Cost:$21,500 (to date)
Chassis and DrivelineRather than go the normal route of huge engine, huge transmission, and gigundo axles, this Jeep still sports all the major stock components. Each and every one of them has been upgraded as needed while leaving the stuff that didn't blow up alone. It made for some rough teething, but now Megan has a Jeep that can take her anywhere she wants to go.
The stock 4.0L inline-six got no internal modifications but inhales through a Rock-It intake and exhales through a custom-built 2 1/2 -inch exhaust with high-flow cat and muffler. From there, power goes into an unmolested AX-15 transmission.
After that, things get a little involved. The NP231 is still there, but it has a Tera-Low 4.0:1 kit with two-wheel drive low option in it. Then an SYE kit was bolted to the back, and the yokes were converted to U-bolt style, throwing the straps in the trash.
Power then goes to the front Dana 30, but it is no regular Dana 30. This one has a Warn front hub conversion with the 5-on-5 1/2-inch bolt pattern, Warn chromoly axleshafts, and 297x U-joints. Traction comes from the Lock-Right and 4.10 gears. Stopping comes from some custom-machined 1 1/8-inch thick CJ rotors and the stock YJ calipers.
Out back, bucking the trend of bigger is better, the Dana 35 remains. It is fully trussed and has a Warn full-floating conversion with chromoly shafts. Traction out back comes from an OX Locker and another set of 4.10 gears. A pair of unmolested stock CJ front rotors and Cadillac El Dorado calipers bring the whoa out back.
The suspension is another out-of-the-ordinary component, which sets this Jeep apart. This YJ has the 4-inch Black Diamond XCL coil conversion setup on it with Fox Shocks front and rear. As you might imagine, cutting all the stock suspension off and putting on all new coils and control arms is no small task. However, this was still done by Megan and Marco at home, with the help of their friend, Ryan Root.
Body and InteriorWarn Rock Sliders provide protection for the rocker panels, while a custom Marco-built rear bumper and tire carrier combo combines with Warrior Products rear corner protectors to keep the back of the Jeep in one piece on departures. Up front, the stock bumper is home to Hella HID driving lights and a Warn XD 9000i winch.
Under the hood resides a VIAIR 400P onboard air system, while underneath, the Black Diamond belly skidplate is covered with a large piece of HHMW (High Molecular Weight Plastic, basically cutting-board material) that helps sliding over obstacles. Under the Jeep, in various locations, are tractor utility lights, which function as rock lights.
The fender flares were borrowed from a TJ, and the body was trimmed to accept them. Also, the main portion of the rollcage was borrowed from a TJ for its family-style protection with an OR-Fab sport bar welded in for the front-seat occupants.
The stock YJ seats are long gone in favor of MasterCraft Rubicon front and rear seats. Also making things easier on Megan is an LCD screen that is fed from a video camera on the passenger side so she can see where that tire is going to go without needing to get out or use a spotter.
As is fitting a Jeep Chick still in high school, the Sony head unit feeds power to the speakers, while a 500-watt amplifier kicks up the volume on the subwoofer.
Tire and WheelsAgain bucking what is normal, Megan's Jeep has a set of non-bead locked Mickey Thompson Classic Lock wheels in an 8-inch width. There aren't any bead locks on it because some say they aren't street legal and, besides, "I've got a spare." All this Jeep really sees is rockcrawling - and lots of it - with the occasional street mile thrown in. Wrapped around those rims is a new-to-Megan set of 35x13.50R15 BFG Krawler T/As.
Good, Bad, & What's it forThere are so many little modifications made to this Jeep along the way, all without throwing anything out that didn't need to be.
This Jeep is built to wheel, and wheel it does. Megan is out in it every week or every other week playing around with it. And since it sees so much use, as things break, things get replaced, so it's a constantly evolving process.
When we saw the Dana 35 rear with the Dana 30 front on 35s and found out we were doing one of the toughest trails in Moab, we didn't think we'd make it out in a day. But with the team of Megan driving and Marco spotting, we cruised through it without any problems. We can't say the axle choices don't work, but they do make us cringe waiting for explosive carnage.
What we thinkWe like YJs and think more people should be building them and driving them. As proved here, the fuel-injected engine and manual transmission combination are great together. We also really like that a teenage Jeep Chick has no problems doing the hardest trails out there and making guys in tube buggies with front and rear Dana 60s look stupid. All with a YJ with "only" 4-inches of lift and the stock axles under it. Just seeing the faces of hard-core guys when Megan gets this Jeep through obstacles it "shouldn't be able to" or "can't" make is all the proof we need. This is an awesome Jeep.