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Moab Mini Features Part 2

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

When we ran into Robert Girard we were struck by how a guy in a clean JK could take any line he wanted. Then we got to looking underneath his Jeep and noticed the hammered skidplates and hand-siped BFG MTs and we knew there was more here than a new JK owner. It turns out that Robert has been wheeling Jeeps since CJs were all the rage and is just loving the ability of his new Rubicon compared to all the other Jeeps he's owned.

Model: Wrangler Rubicon
Year: 2007
Owner: Robert Girard
Hometown: Commerce, Michigan
Estimated Value: A bazillion dollars
Build Time: 8 months (so far)
Years Wheeling Experience: 30
Favorite Wheeling Spot: Moab, Utah
Why Choose This Vehicle To Build: Love of off-roading
Favorite Terrain: Moab, Utah; Mounds off-road park, Michigan
Engine: 3.8L V-6
Aspiration: Stock EFI with Hesco Supercharger kit
Transmission: Stock automatic
Transfer Case: Stock NVG241OR
Front Axle/Differential: Dana 44
Rear Axle/Differential: Dana 44
Ring and Pinion Ratio: 4.88
Front Suspension: Rancho 4-inch standard lift with Bilstein shocks
Rear Suspension: Rancho 4-inch standard lift with Bilstein shocks
Wheels: 17x8 American Racing Mohave
Tires: 35x12.50R17 BFG Mud Terrain T/A KM
Other Cool Stuff: Skid Row transmission and transfer case skidplates, M.O.R.E. stubby front bumper, Mopar rear bumper with tire carrier, Banks headers and exhaust
Favorite Mod(s): Supercharger
Least Favorite Mod(s): Plug wires melted to headers
If I Had To Build It Again: Swap in a V-8

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Take a Cherokee, lift it 31/2 inches, install Truetrac limited slips front and rear, add some 33-inch tires and some rocker protection, and you've got a combination that can cover 85 percent of the trails in Moab. Add a 26-year-old first-time wheeler and even cynical magazine guys like us remember how much fun we had back when we started.

Model: Cherokee
Year: 1998
Owner: Kevin Girard
Hometown: South Lyon, Michigan
Estimated Value: Priceless!
Build Time: One weekend
Years Wheeling Experience: 0
Favorite Wheeling Spot: Drummond Island, Michigan
Why Choose This Vehicle To Build: It was there
Favorite Terrain: All of it
Engine: 4.0L
Aspiration: EFI
Transmission: AX-15 five-speed
Transfer Case: NP231 J
Front Axle/Differential: Dana 30
Rear Axle/Differential: Ford 8.8
Ring and Pinion Ratio: 4.10
Front Suspension: 31/2-inch Rubicon Express
Rear Suspension: 31/2-inch Rubicon Express
Wheels: 15x8 Unique
Tires: 33x12.50R15 BFG Mud Terrain T/A KM
Other Cool Stuff: JCR Rockrails, 40 series Flowmaster, K&N drop-in air filter
Favorite Mod(s): 8.8 Ford rearend and the rocker guards
Least Favorite Mod(s): The spare tire carrier
If I Had To Build It Again: Change nothing

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When we met Steve Bucaro, we didn't realize he had been injured in a motorcycle accident years ago and lost the use of his legs; he was just another guy in a Jeep. Then he showed us how he drives this manual transmission-equipped Jeep off-road and we were impressed by his driving skills and the modifications done to his Jeep that make him just another Jeep guy. To see a video of Steve operating the pedals and tearing it up in the Moab dunes, go to jpmagazine.com.

Model: Wrangler Unlimited
Year: 2007
Owner: Steve "Wheels" Bucaro
Hometown: Palmdale, California
Estimated Value: Who knows?
Build Time: 11/2 years
Years Wheeling Experience: 1
Favorite Wheeling Spots: Glamis, California; Moab, Utah
Why Choose This Vehicle To Build: Tired of building Dodge trucks and always wanted a Jeep
Favorite Terrain: Dunes
Engine: 3.8L V-6
Aspiration: EFI
Transmission: NSG370
Transfer Case: NVG241OR
Front Axle/Differential: Dana 44
Rear Axle/Differential: Dana 44
Ring and Pinion Ratio: 4.10
Front Suspension: Superlift 3-inch lift
Rear Suspension: Superlift 3-inch lift
Wheels: 17x9 KMC CORR bead lock
Tires: LT285/70R17 BFG Mud Terrain T/A KM
Other Cool Stuff: Kicker sound system, Redi Auto Sport hand controls, stock seats reupholstered in leather, House of Kolor Kopper paint with BFG tread pattern
Favorite Mod(s): The hand controls
Least Favorite Mod(s): NA
If I Had To Build It Again: More lift and bigger tires

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When an orange flatfender cruises by with a V-8 rumble coming out of the tailpipe, there is no way we'll sit idly by and not try to find out more about it. Once we caught up to Mike Forney and got a look at his Jeep, we had tons of questions. The combination of vintage parts and new parts is something that you only get by hanging onto your high school Jeep for almost 30 years.

Model: CJ-2A
Year: 1951
Owner: Mike Forney
Hometown: Ogden, Utah
Estimated Value: $10,000
Build Time: 28 years
Years Wheeling Experience: 28
Favorite Wheeling Spot: Moab, Utah
Why Choose This Vehicle To Build: It was my first Jeep
Favorite Terrain: Anything off-road
Engine: 350ci Chevy V-8
Aspiration: Edlebrock carburetor with spring-loaded off-road seats
Transmission: 1966 Ford Mustang top-loader
Transfer Case: Dana 20
Front Axle/Differential: Dana 30
Rear Axle/Differential: Dana 44
Ring and Pinion Ratio: 4.27
Front Suspension: 4-inch Rancho lift
Rear Suspension: 4-inch Rancho lift
Wheels: 15x8 American Eagle
Tires: 33x12.50R15 Super Swamper TSL
Other Cool Stuff: Vintage tires, vintage aftermarket fender flares for a flatfender Jeep, spare parts on board, rear seat functional, police spotlight, fully boxed frame, comfy Ford Probe bucket seats, orange enamel paint
Favorite Mod(s): The V-8 engine
Least Favorite Mod(s): The wiring
If I Had To Build It Again: Use a Painless Performance wiring harness from the beginning

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