Click for Coverage
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler
X

1990 Jeep YJ

Posted in Project Vehicles on August 1, 1999
Share this
Photographers: Cole Quinnell
p24557 small+1990 Jeep YJ+Rear Driver Side0
Rob uses Currie 9-inchers front and rear with ARB Air Lockers and 4.56 gears. The rear is a high-pinion unit, but a high-pinion unit in the front wouldn&#8217t have cleared the oil pan and exhaust. Rob added a 1-inch tie rod and drag link for strength and also installed an AGR power steering box and pump for improved steering. Rob uses Currie 9-inchers front and rear with ARB Air Lockers and 4.56 gears. The rear is a high-pinion unit, but a high-pinion unit in the front wouldn’t have cleared the oil pan and exhaust. Rob added a 1-inch tie rod and drag link for strength and also installed an AGR power steering box and pump for improved steering.
Perhaps the most interesting feature is the front axle. Sunray Engineering modified a Ford 9-inch to use Dana 60 outer tubes, knuckles, and hubs. This gives the Jeep better ground clearance than with a Dana 60. The much-stronger steering U-joints and axleshafts were custom-made to fit the ARB in the 9-inch centersection. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the front axle. Sunray Engineering modified a Ford 9-inch to use Dana 60 outer tubes, knuckles, and hubs. This gives the Jeep better ground clearance than with a Dana 60. The much-stronger steering U-joints and axleshafts were custom-made to fit the ARB in the 9-inch centersection.
Bet you haven&#8217t seen this yet: a Chevy Vortec 5700 V-8 in a Jeep. Rob used a Street & Performance wiring kit for the super-clean installation and included a 4L60E four-speed automatic to handle shifting duties. A Be Cool four-row aluminum radiator keeps the big engine cool in the small engine compartment. Bet you haven’t seen this yet: a Chevy Vortec 5700 V-8 in a Jeep. Rob used a Street & Performance wiring kit for the super-clean installation and included a 4L60E four-speed automatic to handle shifting duties. A Be Cool four-row aluminum radiator keeps the big engine cool in the small engine compartment.
Thank goodness for those Hanson Enterprises Jeep corners. Even with most of the weight of the vehicle on the passenger corner, there wasn&#8217t any damage. USA Auto in Rob&#8217s hometown keeps Spot in fresh multicolor by touching up the Martin Senour Paint a few times a year. Thank goodness for those Hanson Enterprises Jeep corners. Even with most of the weight of the vehicle on the passenger corner, there wasn’t any damage. USA Auto in Rob’s hometown keeps Spot in fresh multicolor by touching up the Martin Senour Paint a few times a year.
Rob fitted a GM steering column to the YJ (but topped it with the Jeep steering wheel for a sneaky look). He engages the lockers with industrial air valves (not electric switches) mounted just below the speedo. The seats and top are from Bestop. He also welded the stock clutch pedal to the brake pedal. He says he wants to make sure he can find the brake when he needs it. Rob fitted a GM steering column to the YJ (but topped it with the Jeep steering wheel for a sneaky look). He engages the lockers with industrial air valves (not electric switches) mounted just below the speedo. The seats and top are from Bestop. He also welded the stock clutch pedal to the brake pedal. He says he wants to make sure he can find the brake when he needs it.

When you completely wear out a YJ that was nicknamed Spot because of a non-sublime camo paint job, there's only one thing to do--build another one that's even better.

Rob Harris of Nacogdoches, Texas, tries to tame some of the roughest trails in the country, so he needs a vehicle that's as hard-core as the trails he runs. He had learned plenty while building, 'wheeling, and rebuilding his last Wrangler, so he had a much better idea where to start when he built this '90 YJ. He threw away almost every stock component except for the frame and body and then went about outfitting the Jeep with some of the best parts money could buy.

Rob decided that some serious drivetrain improvements were in order. A Chevy Vortec 5700 engine, which puts out 255 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, was called to duty. Backing up the Vortec is a 4L60E four-speed automatic transmission. Power is sent to the axles through a Dana 300 transfer case equipped with a twin-stick shifter and modified for a vehicle speed sensor (necessary with the 4L60E tranny and Vortec engine). In the rear rests a Currie-built Ford 9-inch of the high-pinion variety outfitted with 4.56 gears, an ARB Air Locker, and disc brakes.

Perhaps the most interesting piece of the drivetrain is the front axle. Custom-built by Sunray Engineering, it's a blend of a 9-inch centersection and Dana 60 outer tubes, knuckles, and hubs. This eliminates the small steering U-joints, which constitute the weak link in most front axles. Everything is connected with custom driveshafts built by Tom Woods.

Making improvements in the suspension was next on the list for Rob. The stock springs were ditched in favor of ones from Currie that supplied 4 inches of lift. A 2-inch body lift was also determined to be needed to make room for the 35x12.50 Super Swamper SSRs on bead-locked Marsh Racing 15x9 steel wheels. Once the Wrangler was up and running around, it was time to outfit it with all the trail necessities. A Currie front and rear bumper, Hanson Enterprises rocker guards, and steel rear corners all help to protect the Jeep's vulnerable spots. A Ramsey Pro Plus 9000 winch juiced by a twin Optima battery system is used to extract the YJ from sticky situations. A Thomas Industries 2.2-cfm electric air compressor under the hood aids in inflating tires and keeping the Air Lockers locked. Tuffy Security Products boxes are everywhere to keep valuables out of someone else's hands. Finally, a Currie front steering box brace helps beef up the front.

As you can see from the photos, Rob definitely tests his rig to its maximum capabilities, and so far it has continued the Spot legacy.

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results