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Off-Road Jeep Machines - Jp Nation

Posted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 2008 Comment (0)
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Contributors: Pete Trasborg

Have you ever been walking down a crowded sidewalk and bumped into a person who looks like a total freak show? Maybe they've got a Mohawk haircut with metal spikes stuck through their cheeks, or maybe they're just dressed completely in orange. Point is, you think to yourself, "What in the heck were they thinking when they woke up this morning?" Regardless of whether or not they fall into your category of moral or social values, you've still gotta share the air with them.

Sometimes it's a lot like that with the Jeep Shots submissions we get. We could tell you stories about some of the scary fabrication we've been witness to over the years, and some of the most gawd-awful, airbrushed paint jobs still give us nightmares. While we still can't bring ourselves to show you any of the latter, we are trying to open our minds to those who dare to be a little different. Hence the tiger-fur Jeep or the '80s acid flashback you'll spot in this story. And, of course, there will always be the tried-and-true vintage Jeeps, hard-core off-road machines, and dual-purpose weekend warriors and daily drivers that make you all warm and fuzzy.

Drew Burroughs first came to the pages of Jp by skying his silver '70 CJ for the Sept. '03 cover ("Coolest Jeep Ever"). Fast forward five years, and Drew is working at Poly Performance and skying the company's silver JK. Sure, he's in the industry now, but Drew is technically still a Jp reader, and this was one of the best action shots we had on hand to open this story up with.


Dave Gregg of Andrews, Texas, gave his '80 CJ-5 a full fur job in tiger-print fabric, including a tail. A 4-inch lift clears way for 33-inch Interco Trxsus STS tires on steel wheels. Dave didn't specify, but we're betting the dual exhaust signals the little CJ is running a V-8 to put some power down to the stock AMC 20 rear and Dana 30 front.



Even though Noah Bedell's YJ is only sporting a set of 30x9.50-15 Remington Mud Brutes under the stock suspension, there's just something about the way he's hitting the stream at full blast that makes for a killer photo. Maybe it's the six roof-mounted lights or the sheer violence of it all. We just know we like it.



OK, it's her dad's Jeep. Dennis Jansen is a member of the Eastern 4 Wheeler's Club and sent us a photo of his worked-over TJ taken at Paragon Park in Pennsylvania. While he didn't send any specs on the rig, the bead locks, Swamper tires, and other upgrades make it look like Dennis's daughter is going to learn to wheel in style.



From Trinity, North Carolina, Gary Roberts sent us these showoff shots of his mostly stock '47 CJ-2A. Still sporting the factory flathead, T-90, and Spicer 18 as well as Dana 25 front and Dana 41 rear, Gary lists the estimated value of his Willys as $1,500. Gary, the check is in the mail. The TSL Swampers are a skinny 28x8.50-15 size and fit with the stock suspension. We like the two-tone mud treatment, Gary. Don't wash it.

Before we even read Mike Carter's letter, we thought his '90 Cherokee looked a lot like an XJ version of the General Lee. Sure enough, Mike lists the paint as General Lee orange and purposefully lifted the turbine mags off an '86 Cherokee because of their similarity to the General's wheels. The little General sports a 6-inch lift and 33-inch Pro Comp Mud Terrains as well as a homebuilt winch bumper to house the 8,000-pound Ramsey. Mike hails from Spruce Grove in Alberta, Canada, so maybe he'll paint a maple leaf on the roof instead of a rebel flag.

Daniel Parsons of Ignacio, Colorado, sent us this photo to dispute the myth that the Rock Gods get angry. We agree, Daniel. We don't see any rocks in the photo. Daniel's '82 CJ-7 runs a built 400hp AMC 390 from an AMX and sports a Dynatrac Dana 60 rear and Dynatrac Dana 44 front with ARBs and 3.73s. The 37-inch Swamper SSRs are never going to wear out unless you keep the rubber side down, Daniel.

If you weren't alive in the '80s, feast your eyes on this time machine. Bill Berkebile spent the early '80s beating this '75 CJ-5 nearly to death in the mountains near Somerset, Pennsylvania, before turning it into this. The drivetrain is comprised of the original 304, T-15 tranny, Dana 20 T-case, and Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rear. The gearing has been changed to 5.38 to help turn the 44-inch Ground Hawgs, but we don't hold out hope the axleshafts or steering linkage will survive much more than a mole hill with that much weight to push around. Regardless, Bill is happy wowing crowds with the Jeep's exhaust flamethrowers, old-school graphics, and plethora of Daylighters.

If we were smart, we would've called the buildup of Jp's Project JR done when it resembled Graham Reese's '01 XJ. The 60th Anniversary Edition runs a 3-inch Rough Country lift to clear the 31-inch tires wrapped around the stock rims. A quartet of PIAA 510 series lights mount to the Daystar Four Real Steel front bumper and a Yakima roof rack holds extra gear.


There's just something about an intermediate '72-'75 CJ-5 that's inherently cool. Rick Standley of Yakima, Washington, must've thought so too because he nabbed one, then outfitted it with a 4-inch Skyjacker suspension, 11/42-inch Con-Ferr shackles, a CV rear driveshaft, and 33-inch BFG MT tires. The front bumper holds a Warn 8,000-pound winch, but otherwise, the AMC 304 V-8, three-speed tranny, Dana 20 T-case, and Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rear axles are factory issue.

Gary Edwards from Perth, Australia, just wanted to "send us a piccy" of his '76 CJ-7. He even wrote "g'day." And we thought that was just an act for Fosters commercials. Gary's CJ sports the factory drivetrain as well as a 4-inch spring lift and a 1.5-inch body lift to swing the 33-inch BFG MT tires on 15x8 American Racing rims. Most of Gary's wheeling consists of sand dunes and West Coast highways. Having experienced Australian corrugated roads firsthand, we'll stick with our rockcrawl trails. They're much easier on the vehicle.

Glenn Smith of Apopka, Florida, owns two similarly painted CJs. One is a '59 CJ-3B and the other is a '60 CJ-5. They both sport totally rebuilt F-head drivetrains and Lock-Rites front and rear as well as 211/42-inch spring lifts. The CJ-5 gets down with a Ramsey REP 8000 winch, 33x12.50-15 Mud King tires, and a factory hardtop on the original body. Glenn has owned it since 1980. The 3B runs 33x10.50-15 Swampers and was treated to a new replacement body because the original was shot when Glenn bought it in 2002.

Lloyd Adams of St. Joseph, Missouri, shared this photo of his collection of CJ-2A and CJ-3A Willys Jeeps. Aside from the slightly lifted '48 2A in the upper right, they all appear to be stock. We'll take a green one and a red one, please Lloyd. And throw in the big garage in the background while you're at it.



Oh man, would we ever love to have a restored GPW like Jim Diamond's '42. Split combat rims, a Browning .50-cal in the back, every pioneering tool known to World War II, and even a '44 BSA folding paratrooper bike in the bed. Jim actually managed to get five Flying Tigers of the American Volunteer Group who flew for the Chinese government under Claire Chennault to sign the hood. Way to keep history alive, Jim.

At least that's how Chris Orr opened his letter to us. Chris and his wife, Nora, hail from Cupertino, California, and are fairly proud of their '02 TJ Sport. Upgrades to the factory 4.0L automatic Jeep include a 4.5-inch Rubicon Super Flex suspension, front and rear ARBs with 4.10 gears, 33-inch BFG MTs, a Warn 9500 winch, and more bumper and armor parts than we can list. After all, we are morons.

This '94 YJ was built to "sit in the driveway and leak until I take it in the woods to punish it for sitting around during the week." Hey, we can't make this up. That's a direct quote from Christ Kurelja of Succasunna, New Jersey. With a 4-inch lift, skyjacker shocks, and 33x12.50-15 TrXus Mud Terrains, he's got a good start on tackling the soggy wheeling available in New Jersey. Add a 4.0L with a slew of upgrades, and you've got a good wheeling Jeep. We'd suggest a rear locker and a snorkel to keep that engine safe, but he chases quads around with no problems as it is.

From Jacksonville, Florida, Billy Powell sent us some pictures of his big '84 CJ-8. With front and rear Strong Axle high-pinion Dana 60s packing alloy shafts and 4.88 gears front and rear, you wouldn't think he'd have any problems in the axle department. Then you notice the set of 37x13.50R17 Toyo Open Country mud tires mounted on Centerline I.C.E. DOT-approved bead-lock rims and see all of that is motivated by an Edelbrock-injected, 383ci, Chevy V-8 pushing the power through a custom-built 700R4 automatic transmission with a 2,600-rpm stall converter and an Atlas II 3.8:1 transfer case, second thoughts arise.

No matter what you do, an '88 Wagoneer isn't going to be a sports car. Don't tell Larry Miller of Blissfield, Michigan, that, because stabbing an AMC 401 with Edelbrock aluminum heads, an Edelbrock cam, an Edelbrock intake, an Offroad Thunder 650 carburetor, Harlan Sharp Roller Rockers, and Thorley Headers into it sure is a step in that direction. The TF727 got a Trans-go shift kit, while the NP229 just screams uncle from all the abuse. Skyjacker 4-inch lift springs clear 325/60R15 BFG All-Terrains wrapped around 15x10 Turbines.

This '05 LJ in Rubicon Flavor sports a six-speed NVG246 tranny, a 6-inch Nth Degree lift, and Bilstein 5100 shocks to clear 315/75R16 Goodyear MT/Rs on the stock Rubicon rims. Don Nywening of Wind Gap, Pennsylvania, also mentions that he added a Warn 9.5ti winch, a Wilderness Expedition rack, a Tuffy Products rear security drawer, Source onboard air, a Hi-Lift Jack, and a Cobra CB. With all that weight, more power was needed, and it came in the form of a Jet Performance chip, an Airaid intake and throttle-body spacer, and a Banks Monster Exhaust. Protection comes in the form of a homebuilt steering-box skid, a Pro Comp front bumper, a Genuine Steel rear bumper, and a stainless steel front differential skid.

This '06 Rubicon Unlimited replaced Chef's '04 Wrangler X that he sank in a pond just before Christmas 2005. This Cincinnati resident tells us that after dunking the X, it smelled like dead frogs until he traded it in for this Unlimited. The Unlimited is enough to get there and get back. With a 2-inch BDS lift, stock air lockers front and rear, and stock Goodyear tires, there should be no problem in overdriving the drivetrain. Chef added a K&N intake to the engine and takes along a Tabor winch and Hi-Lift Jack wherever he goes.

Or at least that's what Terry Drury's wife thinks of his '67 Jeepster. In 14 months, it went from a rusted-out Jeep to this beauty you see here. A 4x5-foot piece of 18-gauge was used to make patch panels, while the hood was replaced with a fiberglass unit and the top was replaced with one from Bestop. The 225ci V-6 is still providing power to the stock axles, with a Detroit Truetrac added to the rear. Super Swamper 31x9.5R15 TrXus Radials wrap the American Racing rims, and a 2-inch lift for the rear fixed the dragging rearend look.

We think that Jacob Taden of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, must be a comedian. He tells us that he built this '88 MJ to be a good, reliable, off-road, trail Jeep. We've yet to see a good trail Jeep that was reliable, but with a Skyjacker 3-inch lift, Skyjacker front lower control arms, and Skyjacker Nitro 800 shocks controlling things, maybe Jacob has a chance. He also added JKS bar-pin eliminators, while the rear got a 3-inch add-a-leaf and Mickey Thompson Classic II rims were shod with TrXus Mud Terrains in a 31x10.50R15 size. The five-speed manual, inline-six, and NP231 were all left unmolested.

After only a billion hours and working through some snowstorms, Pam and Horace Sutton of Burlington, New Jersey, have done a nice frame-up restoration on their '83 CJ-8. The 258ci six-cylinder got a Weber carburetor and an HEI distributor while the transmission and transfer case were just rebuilt. The axles received 4.56 gears, lockers, one-piece axles (in the rear), and four-wheel disc brakes.

We just like the irony of using an '04 TJ Rubicon for something that has nothing to do with its namesake. Chris Miles of Ontario, Canada, sent us quite a few pictures of his stock Rubicon at the Sweet Peas Mud Bog. We have to say, it was dirty in all of the pictures, and we don't even know what its real color is. So here's a picture of a stock Rubicon swimming in the mud. And, presumably, having a grand old time doing it.

This '00 Wrangler belongs to Mike Mische of Long Beach, California, and from the looks of things, he knows how to have fun wheeling his Jeep. This picture was taken in Moab, Utah, as were all the others he sent in. All of them make us want to get out of the office. The 4-inch Rubicon Express short-arm lift provides clearance for the 33x12.50 Goodyear MTR tires wrapped around 15x8 Eagle Alloy rims. He stuffed ARBs in the front and swapped in rear Ford 8.8 axles, geared the Jeep to 4.56, and took it wheeling.

How do you get from a mundane grocery-getter to a flex monster? Start with a '97 Grand Cherokee, sell it to Chris Clayton of Morgan Hill, California, and let him loose. Chris left the stock 5.2L V-8 and automatic, but swapped in an NP231 for part-time action and longevity. He then added a 4-inch Rubicon Express lift with adjustable arms, a Trail Ready front bumper, front and rear TeraFlex spacers, a heavy-duty Rubicon Express track bar and track bar mount, a PSC steering box, and 32x11.50R15 Bridgestone Dueller AT and MT tires on 15x8 Rock Crawler rims.

We only wish that we'd get shots like this one from Scott Mason of Richmond, Virginia. However, most of our sunsets are seen from inside the office, not out on a trail with a '92 Cherokee sporting a 3-inch lift with Pro Comp shocks in the front and Dakota rear leaf springs with Napa Gold shocks out back. To make those scenic overlooks more attainable, Scott put an Aussie Locker in the front Dana 30 and stuffed 32x11.50R15 BFG Mud Terrains around some 15x8 Cragar Soft 8s.

This '88 Wagoneer comes to us from Richard Best of Four Oaks, North Carolina. Richard chose to leave well enough alone, and the Wag still sports the stock AMC 360, TF-727, and NP229. Power is then sent to the front and rear Dana 44s that are still held in place by the stock leaf springs, and it's spinning a set of 15x8 Cherokee rims wrapped in 29x10.50R15 tires. Richard took this Wagoneer on his honeymoon and lost the driveshaft. We can only imagine what his new bride thought about that fiasco.

This '06 Rubicon hails from an hour and a half north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Since Jake Stahlnecker is in the Navy, he's on a limited budget, and so far, the Jeep has only received a 2-inch budget boost, but that doesn't stop him from wheeling in Charlottesville, Virginia, every chance he gets.



John McConnel from South Toms River, New Jersey, sent us his '77 CJ-7, which he calls Triple 7. The stock engine was tossed in favor of a Ford 302 V-8, but the stock T150 three-speed transmission and Dana 20 transfer case stayed, as did the Dana 30 front axle and AMC 20 rear. Moser one-piece shafts were added to the rear along with an Aussie Locker, and a 2-inch Pro Comp spring lift coupled with a 1-inch custom body lift provide clearance for the 33x12.50R15 Courser Radials. A 4WD Hardware fiberglass tub replaced the stock rust bucket, and a Matkins Extreme Duty Frame was tapped in favor of the spindly stock fare.

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