Behold, the original Project Teal-J in all of its finished glory. It sported a Tera Flex s
Project Teal-J II, Intro
Project Teal-J II, Part 1
Project Teal-J II, Part 2
Project Teal-J II, Part 3
Project Teal-J II, Part 4
Project Teal-J II, Part 5
Project Teal-J II, Part 6
Project Teal-J II, Part 7
Project Teal-J II, Part 8
Project Teal-J II, Part 9
Project Teal-J II, Part 10
Project Teal-J II, Part 11
Project Teal-J II, Part 12
Project Teal-J II, Part 13
Project Teal-J II, Part 14
The world of four-wheel drives was turned upside down in 1996 when Jeep introduced the TJ as a '97 model. Gone was the leaf-sprung YJ, which was at best--in stock form--just marginally capable. It was replaced with a new Wrangler, dubbed the TJ, that came equipped with a flexy coil-spring suspension. Purists rejoiced, for the YJ's ugly square headlights were gone, replaced with round ones. Best of all, the TJ was very capable right out of the box.
The trouble is, none of us is ever satisfied with a stock vehicle, no matter how capable it is. Modifying vehicles to increase their capability is just something we do. All of us. So back in 1997, the staff of Four Wheeler got its collective hands on a brand-spankin'-new teal-blue TJ. It was named--what else?--Project Teal-J. The buildup began immediately, and the TJ was outfitted with plenty of stuff to improve upon its already excellent trail manners.
What amazes us, upon blowing the dust off our back-issue collection and browsing through the buildup--a well-known work avoidance technique that everyone here subscribes to--was how far the aftermarket has come. Back in 1997, the TJ was still very new and the staff had to deal with a scarcity of parts for the freshly redesigned Jeep. Now, however, there are plenty of cool, quality parts available for the TJ that can transform it into a hard-core trail runner with little fuss.
Teal-J rolled upon a set of 15x10 steelies from Stockton Wheel. They were outfitted with a
So while considering the abundance of parts now available, a thought popped into our fevered brains. What, we wondered, if we could locate the original Project Teal-J and rebuild it with the latest and greatest parts? We got lucky. The Teal-J was actually easy to find. It was sitting, forlorn and forgotten, at a former staffer's house. We acquired it. We blew the dust off of it, and we began Phase II of our Teal-J buildup process. We'll detail the steps of that process in the months to come. First, though, we thought it would be well to reintroduce you to what Project Teal-J was, and how we found it in its current state.
Up front, the original Teal-J featured a Lobo bumper from Con Ferr. For recovery purposes,
In the rear, another Con Ferr Lobo bumper was used to offer better bashability and increas
The first time around, we decided to retain the stock axles, as there just weren't too man
To make the Teal-J crawl along with ease, a 4:1 kit from Tera Mfg. was put into the NV231
Since the original Teal-J was used daily and saw a lot of road miles, we outfitted it with
Up front, a Lock-Right was thrown into the stock Dana 30 to provide some traction when thi