1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ: Adventure Jeep

These people are the real Jeepin’ deal

Stuart A. BourdonPhotographer, Writer

We are interested in the building, engineering, modification, or restoration of Jeeps. Bolt-on or home-fab’d isn’t really the biggest issue, it’s all about doing the work (or as much of it as you possibly can) yourself. This not only creates pride in your creation, but also an understanding of how all the pieces and parts work together so you can diagnose and repair any problems that may occur on the trail.

At first glance, this built-to-the-hilt 1997 Jeep TJ may look like a bulletin board for some social media junkie. You know, the ones that post pictures all set up for adventure in places that look like they could be dirt turnouts along Highway 395. However, this custom Jeep, trailer, and the pair that drive it are the polar opposites of that. We’ve been on Baja treks with them. They competed in the 36 Hours of Uwharrie in 2017 (we photographed it in Uwharrie competition trim, including the canoe). That’s sort of like Camel Trophy, American-style. For those who don’t get that reference, it’s a 36-hour non-stop driving event in the Uwharrie National Forest of North Carolina that includes driving (or winching) through lots and lots of mud; it tests mechanical ability, navigation, outdoor skills, and the vehicle’s endurance, as well as that of its driver and co-driver. The list of off-road events they have participated in would fill pages. These people are the real deal.

Built by driver and co-driver, this Jeep and its matching trailer have been transformed into an adventure machine. Both are wrapped in a custom Brownell’s Desert Camo that was designed by the co-driver and installed by Blacart Creative Group. When not performing maintenance, repair, or road trip prep on current vehicles, or working on future projects (there is one soon to hit the road), the pair lives the freedom of a full-time life on the road. And by that we mean off-road. These two get their rig into places that are far off the beaten path and pavement. The Jeep and custom trailer are most often seen in the wild doing wild things. Which makes perfect sense, considering driver and co-driver go by Yeti and Yolo. We know their real names, but we’re sworn to secrecy. His Instagram handle is @thejeepcalledyeti and hers is @thewildyolo. Follow along as we give you an exclusive photographic and video tour of this custom-built adventure Jeep and trailer.

Why This Jeep?

We like real people and real Jeeps. They go together well. This 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ and its matching trailer were completed over a period of four years as the couple fine-tuned their long-term life on the road. Whether they’re on the trail or in the shop, this Jeep, its trailer, Yeti, and Yolo are all true adventurers.

Hard Facts

Vehicle: 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ
Engine: 2005 Chevy 5.3L V-8
Transmission: 4L60E
Transfer Case: NP231HD
Axles: G2 Core 44, 4.88s, Eaton ELocker (front); G2 Core 44, 4.88 gears, Eaton ELocker (rear)
Suspension: 6-inch suspension w/ Pro Comp front coils, Superlift rear coils, Rough Country RCX 2.2 shocks, TeraFlex links
Wheels: 17x10-inch Mickey Thompson Classic 3 Black
Tires: 35x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3
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