(Editors note: For those of you who missed last month's issue, our '97 project Jeep Teal-J is on its way to becoming an AEV Brute pickup. This story is the second part of the rebirth process. We're happy to say Teal-Brute is much, much better than before. First off, the new wheelbase is awesome. The increase in length contributes to a much nicer on-road feel. Little dips and imperfections commonly found on Southern California's maze of roadways almost vanish with the new wheelbase length of 117 inches. Furthermore, the newfound ability to actually haul large objects in the 6-foot bed is pretty cool. We've managed to fit more into the Brute pickup bed than we ever could have imagined. Truly a blessing for outings of all types, the Brute conversion is everything we hoped for.) Shown here on a new set of 37-inch uncut Krawlers mounted to 17-inch Centerline I.C.E. bead locked wheels, Teal Brute underwent a thorough evaluation on Broken Arrow trail in Sedona, Arizona.Shown here on a new set of 37-inch uncut Krawlers mounted to 17-inch Centerline I.C.E. bea Last month we revealed the disassembly process that took place at DC Customs of Ukiah, California, readying our beloved Teal-J for the frame-lengthening procedure. AEV's instructions recommended removing the body from the chassis entirely. We decided not to do this because, as far as we could see, the only negative result in leaving the body semi-attached to the frame would be a more difficult time welding the top of each frame section. We figured we saved 6 to 7 hours of extra work by simply working within the 6-inch gap between the tub and the frame once all the body bolts were removed. Cutting your TJ in half is a nerve-racking task. We made sure DC Customs owner, Dustin Chernoh, triple-checked his measurements before the Sawzall came out. Follow along as we highlight more of the Brute Pickup conversion process along with a few of the custom components that we just couldn't live without. 1. Prior to cutting the frame, Dustin Chernoh removed the rear body side using an air saw to cut along a factory inner body seam. Several spot welds also had to be drilled out to accomplish this task.1. Prior to cutting the frame, Dustin Chernoh removed the rear body side using an air saw 2. In this picture you can see what was left after Dustin removed all of the unneeded sheetmetal in the tub, from the middle of the doors back.2. In this picture you can see what was left after Dustin removed all of the unneeded shee 3. One of the many nice things about the AEV Brute conversion kit is that most of the kit comes pre-assembled by AEV prior to shipment. The rear cab closeout is one good example of this. We like this strategy because it ensures the body fitment is as close to perfect as possible, plus it cuts down the amount of work you have to actually do to install it.3. One of the many nice things about the AEV Brute conversion kit is that most of the kit 4. Here you can see the new cab closeout set in place prior to welding. Critical measurements were taken to make sure the rear of the body was square. One miscalculation here could result in both the doors and the hardtop not fitting properly.4. Here you can see the new cab closeout set in place prior to welding. Critical measureme 5. Sometimes you discover a part is no good only after it is removed from the vehicle. This was the case with Teal's OE windshield frame. We scored a new replacement windshield frame from Quadratec. Quadratec is a wonderful source for items like this. The company typically has what you need in stock and can get it out fast. It's also worth noting that Quadratec carries AEV Brute conversion kits as a whole or as individual builder components. This means that you can order each part of the conversion individually if you want to customize your TJ, or simply build up a Brute in phases. While Dustin welded up the new bodywork, one of his shop hands, Pablo Santiago, spent a couple of hours wet-sanding the new windshield frame in preparation for paint.5. Sometimes you discover a part is no good only after it is removed from the vehicle. Thi 6. In anticipation of building a totally custom interior rollcage from scratch, we sourced this sweet TJ cage tie-in kit from Mountain Off Road Enterprises (MORE). We always recommend mounting the rollcage directly to the frame if possible because it adds significantly to the structural integrity of the cage. This weld-in kit from MORE simplifies the task immensely. Complete with mounting hardware, this kit is a no brainier to install.6. In anticipation of building a totally custom interior rollcage from scratch, we sourced 7. MORE also hooked us up with a new 1-inch body lift for the conversion. Nothing was wrong with the old MORE 1-inch body lift already installed on Teal-J, but it only made sense to have brand-new parts on the underside of Teal-Brute, especially since a lot of curious people would be poking around under her to take a closer look.7. MORE also hooked us up with a new 1-inch body lift for the conversion. Nothing was wron 8. We took a trip to the local Ukiah Jeep dealership to purchase a bunch of miscellaneous parts we needed to complete the conversion. This became a sore subject with the Bossman back home as our expenses for the project started piling up fast. Here you can see the OE cabin vent typically found on the rear cargo door of newer TJs (in '97, TJs didn't come with one). To the left is a new plastic factory fuel-filler bezel (Teal's was cracked). Little items like this can break the budget on a project, especially when you're not considering them from the very start. Had we given ourselves more time on this project, we might have sourced these parts used from a local wrecking yard for a lot less money.8. We took a trip to the local Ukiah Jeep dealership to purchase a bunch of miscellaneous 9. These are factory hardtop latches we bought from the local Jeep dealership. They cost us nearly $100. We strongly recommend finding these elsewhere for much cheaper. AEV doesn't supply these with the Brute conversion because not everyone will need them. If your TJ already sports a factory hardtop, you already have what you need. We wished that we would have known this before we got rid of Teal's original factory hardtop.9. These are factory hardtop latches we bought from the local Jeep dealership. They cost u 1 | 2 | » | View Full Article Enjoyed this Post? 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