This week we're taking a look at another one of our builds, and while you may be used to seeing our traditional AEV build with either a 3.5" or 4.5" lift and 35's or 37's, we're taking this Jeep in a whole new direction! We wanted to try something fitting for this color, which you probably noticed right off the bat. Unlike the other new colors such as Rhino, Mojave Sand, and Sarge Green, introduced for the 2016 year model, Hypergreen is a bright attention-grabber. While dull colors like greens, black, or billet look great on Jeep Wranglers, sometimes you gotta go all the way with a unique color like Amp'd, Copperhead Pearl, or in this case, Hypergreen.While the Hypergreen color may look like a yellow highlighter on the official Jeep website, it's actually a shade darker in person, and goes great with black accents and the OEM interior. With such a unique color, we couldn't just keep the stock-ish look that many lifted Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited's retain. While the clean "cookie-cutter" build is certainly a popular choice with our customers, with a color like Hypergreen, the aftermarket accessories need to be just as attention grabbing and off the beaten path as the color itself!First up, the suspension. Not much has changed here from our traditional build as we retained the usual AEV suspension, but with good reason! AEV provides great performance both on and off-road, and while a long arm such as a RockKrawler would be great for the more hardcore off-roader, an AEV suspension provides the more balanced on and off-road package. While the wheels pictured here are the AEV Salta, we are changing these out for some MOPAR Beadlocks on the final build, so stay tuned!The tires we chose for this build differ from our standard JKU's in that we used Toyo Open Country R/T's instead of Toyo Open Country M/T's. Although we love the Toyo Open Country M/T, this hybrid M/T and A/T tire gives the perfect balance between on and off-road performance, and will go well with the MOPAR beadlocks.Although this build is still in progress, we've already mounted the front bumper. A Rock-Slide Engineering Stubby was chosen for improved approach angles. This bumper also protects the front of the JKU and the Warn winch mounted inside. In addition, there are two D-ring mounts if the new owner needs more recovery options! As of now, an RSE rear bumper and tire carrier are also slated for this vehicle as well.To go along with the stubby bumper, the OEM stock fenders will be replaced with Metalcloak Overland Fenders, similar to some of our Tank builds from last year (see below). This will give the Hypergreen JKU more room to run the 37" tires with the 3.5" AEV Lift Kit, making for a great LCOG (Low Center of Gravity) Jeep!Right now the interior remains stock, aside from the Alpine In-Dash Restyle system. This system will give the driver a large, 9" screen with which to use GPS and radio controls while on the road, and can also monitor vehicle functions and engine codes! The Jeep dashboard now sports a unique and high-end look with this kit, but still retains the general OEM feel, with the Alpine unit looking as if it could have been a MOPAR factory add-on itself!For now, check out our prior Overland and LCOG style Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited builds below, and stay tuned for the completed Hypergreen build, coming soon; it's sure to turn some heads - Don't forget to let us know what you think!
Go 4x4 It
RubiTrux and High Country 4x4 Blog
We've had the 4.6L Brute back from paint for about a week or so now, and have made headway with many of the aftermarket accessories, including the wheels and tires, winch, bumpers, etc. The rollcage is still at paint and the vehicle itself is getting ready to leave for Line-X soon, for the truck bed interior, but you can see from these images that this project is on the home stretch!The paint and body shop did an awesome job with this 4.6L Brute, and the black factory coded paint goes well with the aftermarket accessories, much of which are black as well. First up, we've got the 37" BFGoodrich All-Terrain Tires (above); while some offroad enthusiasts advocate a good mud terrain, this Brute's new home will be in the desert, and with an all-terrain winning over an M/T in the sand any day, the new KO2's were a no brainer. These 37" tires are mounted to a nice set of Raceline wheels, which go well with the blacked out look of this 'rig.A Safari snorkel ensures that the 4.6L gets plenty of fresh air; a must have in the desert. A Poison Spyder trail cage protects the occupants, and LED headlights and smoked turn signals give the Brute a sleek, modern look. As far as bumpers go, this Brute gets an ARB front bumper, which houses a Warn winch in case recovery becomes an issue. In the images below, you can also see the TeraFlex '60 axles, perfect for the 37" tires and 4.6L engine.As mentioned above the 4.6L Brute is about to leave for the Line-X bed treatment, so stay tuned for our next update where we'll install the final touches such as the interior, fender flares, tailgate, and bed 'cage, and don't forget to let us know what you think!
You may remember our Brute build that was sent to paint awhile back; well, it's returned after a long hiatus and we've begun work on the long arm kit! When complete, this Brute will be ready for the toughest trails around. First up lets check out the Nth Degree long arm suspension kit! The Nth Degree long-arm kit was chosen because it provides higher ground clearance than other long-arm kits on the market. This will ensure that the underside of the Brute doesn't get caught on any rocks or obstacles on the trail, especially with it's long wheelbase (LWB). The Brute as it returned from paint.After the new Brute is pulled into the garage, the Rubicon Dana-44 axles are removed from the vehicle. This will allow easy access to the control arms and underside of the Jeep for the Nth Degree long arm install. Below, a jack supports the weight of the transmission, as the transmission skid has been dropped as well.With the stock control arms and mounts removed from the vehicle, the new long arm mounts and arms are added. The rear axle housing is reinstalled, along with the new Bilstein shocks. The rear axle is then regeared to 4.88 and a shiny new American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) differential cover is added. The rear differential also gets a skid plate and third arm, shown below as well. As this kit was designed for the LJ, the crossmember connecting the third arm to the rear axle had to be modified; more on this later.Below we have the new transmission skid plate and mount. You may notice how high up this skid plate is in relation to the frame; other long arm kits feature a much lower skid compared to the Nth Degree kit. As ground clearance was something that couldn't be sacrificed on this build, especially with the length of the Brute, the Nth Degree skid design will certainly come in handy!The front axle is shown here - Chris Minnich elected to do the gear and truss install while the axle was out of the vehicle, as this allows easy access for welding the truss. The front axle will also get an identical AEV differential cover to the rear. In addition to the truss, regear and diff cover, the front axle shafts will be swapped out for some RCV shafts, to increase the durability over that of a conventional U-joint.After the front axle was regeared and the truss installed, the Jeep (now with the front long-arms in place) is lowered back onto the axle, and the axle is bolted up. The shocks, springs, sway bar links and track-bar are also attached at this point. Note the track bar bracket from the driver's side of the frame extending to the frame just in front of the passenger spring. This Nth degree bracket comes with the lift kit and allows the track-bar to retain the OEM geometry, resulting in an improved ride over that of an adjustable track-bar.Back to the rear axle; as mentioned the kit is designed for a Jeep LJ. While the Jeep LJ features a longer wheelbase than the Jeep TJ, it is still shorter than a Brute. On a stock LJ the third arm crossmember bolts up directly behind the transfercase/transmission skid plate. However, with the Brute frame extension this leaves the third arm short. Simply moving the crossmember towards the rear of the vehicle won't work, as it will hit the driveshaft. The solution is to build a custom bracket that both attaches to the transmission skid and driver's side frame rail, shown below.To build this custom bracket, the original cross-member is first cut down and test fit to the Brute. Next up, supports and a mount connecting the transmission skid plate are built to the crossmember. Once this design is roughed out and test fit, it is removed, plated over and painted. Below, you can see the third link angle and finished product.Next, the Brute is lowered and the steering setup and "rollers" are installed so it can be pulled out of the garage bay. Rollers are often worn out tires that are used simply for moving the vehicle from one side of the lot to another, or to pull the vehicle in or out of a garage bay. In this case, we reused the 33" BFGoodrich tires that were already on the vehicle during it's life as a HEMI powered LJ. Soon, this build will get a new set of shoes, but for now, these 33's will do.The HEMI Brute is then pulled out of the garage bay to make way for another build. We're currently waiting on a few last minute parts, so stay tuned for further updates! If you remember the other Brute build with the Inline-6, it's here as well, having also returned from paint. Both Brute 'rigs will be getting 37" tires in addition to the Nth Degree long arm kits and more. Let us know what you think, and if you're interested in a Brute of your own give us a call at 828-406-3031!
This week we're taking a look at one of our lot builds, this time in the Rhino color! Rhino is a new factory color for the 2016 model Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited, and if Mojave Sand is to be any indicator, Rhino may feature a limited run. We've heard that dealers have stopped taking orders for Mojave Sand, and we suspect that Rhino may be headed that way as well. The Rhino color is unique in that it appears to shift colors more than other factory Jeep finishes. Depending on the lighting, Rhino can appear to be nearly black, anvil, or a dark gray. In reality, Rhino is more of a blue-gray color, and goes very well with black accents and accessories, such as AEV bumpers, wheels, and the like.For this Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Rubicon, we chose the 4.5" AEV lift kit and 37x13.50x17 Toyo Open Country RT Tires. The 37's are mounted to 17" AEV Salta Wheels. This gives the Jeep JKU a nice stance and proportional tire size for the lift height. Along with the wheels, tires and lift kit, this Jeep also recieved lighting upgrades in the form of JW Speaker Evolution J Headlights, JW Speaker Fog Lights, Recon turn signals, and JW Speaker 279 J Series Tailights. A pair of ARB 21 Intensity LED lights are mounted to the AEV Premium front bumper. Housed within the bumper is a Warn 8s Synthetic Winch for recovery, if need be. An AFE Y-Pipe and Banks Ram-Air Intake System allow this Jeep to make the most of it's 3.6L engine, and the AEV Premium Rear bumper carries the 37" spare with ease.As this Rhino JKU is a Rubicon, it does feature the front and rear heavy-duty Dana-44 axles, 4:1 Rock Track transfer case, factory lockers, and electronic sway bar disconnects. The Rubicon entered production in 2003 for the Jeep Wrangler TJ, and is geared towards the off-road crowd. The Rubicon was the first true "turn-key" off-road vehicle offered from the factory, and continues to be offered through the Jeep JK platform today. The Rubicon is great for those looking for an off-road ready and trail capable Jeep straight from the factory, and with the AEV lift kit, 37's, Warn Winch and bumpers, is a formidable machine off road or about town.We didn't just upgrade the exterior however; with modern day Jeeps, especially the Jeep Wrangler JK, luxury seating and interior accents are becoming more popular. For this Jeep, we chose Alea Custom Platini Nappa Leather in a two tone black and dark red color. The HVAC bezels, door trim panels and navigation trim pieces were also color matched in the red. The navigation system is an Alpine Restyle Kit featuring a 9" anti-glare touch screen.Other features on this Jeep are a 5-speed automatic transmission, remote start, an engine block heater, heated front seats, the power convenience group, A/C with Automatic Temperature Control, and the Trailer Tow Group. Also included is the factory Bluetooth® package and supplemental front seat-mounted airbags.As you can see, the Rhino color changes quite a bit depending on the lighting, making this a truly unique color, especially for a lifted JKU. This Jeep is for sale for $69,995.00, but if you want to add a few more accessories, or even replace the stock V6 with a V8, we can do that too, just give us a call at 828-406-3031!
For the new Jeep owner or the car enthusiast who is just getting into the Jeep and 4x4 scene, there's a few important things to note. Stuff like the Jeep wave, how to tell certain Jeep models apart from one another, the pros and cons of each model, what Jeep you should buy, and more. With a Jeep, you've got a 4x4 convertible that's at home at the beach, around town or on the trail, and can be used as anything from a DD (Daily Driver) to a dedicated off-road 'rig. The CJ and Wrangler changed little over the years until the late 2000's, when the Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited were introduced. The first production Wrangler to feature four-doors, the JK market now expanded into the family-friendly segment, crossing into mini-van and SUV territory. As a result, the sales of this Wrangler hit a new high, making it the most popular Jeep model to date. From soccer moms to offroad enthusiasts, the JK has widened the Wrangler market further than it's predecessors, but in doing so has ditched what some see as the “classic” or “heritage” body styles of the CJ/YJ/TJ platform. What changed exactly, and how? Moreover, if you're out and about or on the trail, how do you tell the differences between these Jeep models? Scroll down for a brief overview of the Jeep, from the CJ-5 to the present day Wrangler!First thing's first, what kind of Jeep do you have, and what's this with the “Jeep Wave”? For this article, we'll cover the CJ-5 to the present day Wrangler, in chronological order. First, the Jeep Wave. The Jeep wave is a greeting that is exchanged between Jeeps while on the road or trail. While many Jeeps will wave to one another regardless of the year or model, this wave is more common among the CJ and Wrangler Jeeps than a Compass or Patriot. Technically the newer Jeep is supposed to initiate the wave, and if you really want to get involved there's a point system to account for mud, modifications, etc. We won't get into the numbers, but the hierarchy is as follows: Pre-CJ (Such as a Willys MB), Pre-AMC CJ, CJ's, the Jeep Commando, YJ, TJ, Cherokee, and All other Jeeps (JK, Liberty, Commander). However, the most important thing is - remember to wave!We'll start with the CJ-5/7/8 Jeeps. The CJ-5 began production in 1954, featuring the shortest wheelbase out of the CJ-5/7/8 models, and was influenced by the M38 and M38A1 Jeeps used by the US Military during the Korean War. The CJ-7 was a longer wheelbase (~10” longer) version of the CJ-5, shown above, first appearing in 1976. The '5 was produced until 1983, and the '7 until 1986, when it was replaced by the Jeep Wrangler YJ. The classic CJ featured leaf springs, a flat metal dash, and was about the size of the YJ and TJ that replaced it. The version you see here is a restored 1979 Jeep CJ-7, and features the early style full doors, hardtop, and factory tire carrier. The turn signals are mounted underneath the headlights, and the fenders and hood are rounded while the grille retains an upright position.The above Jeep is a CJ-8 Scrambler, factory original; this version has the longest wheelbase of the CJ series, and is considered by many to be an ancestor of the JK Unlimited. Here you'll see the later model doors with paddle handles as well as the Scrambler half-cab and cab-closeout, turning the CJ-8 into a Jeep pickup! The Scrambler was offered in the pickup configuration you see here, but could also be had with a full hardtop or traditional soft-top. This Scrambler has an Inline-6 and optional 3-speed automatic transmission (manual transmissions were first offered for the CJ-7 in the mid-1970s, but did not truly become widespread until the Jeep JK came out in 2007). The CJ-8 may be seen with or without the “Scrambler” decals, but the long wheelbase is a dead giveaway. The Scrambler was produced from 1981-1986. The CJ-5, CJ-7, and CJ-8 could be ordered with a variety of 4, 6, or 8 cylinder engines, depending on the year and trim package.In both the CJ-7 and CJ-8 that we see above, in addition to the early model YJ (shown directly above, more on the YJ below), the roll-bar is what's commonly known as the “sport bar” setup; the “family-bar” did not make an appearance until the early 1990's on the Wrangler YJ, when shoulder belts were added for the rear seat. This family-bar has continued in roughly the same shape and form through the late-model YJ, TJ, and two-door Jeep Wrangler JK, and is a tell for 1991 and older (sport bar), and 1992 and newer (family bar) Jeeps.The Jeep Wrangler YJ (above) replaced the classic CJ line for the 1987 model year and featured several changes, but kept the overall size and shape of the previous models. The Jeep Wrangler YJ was equipped with both the AMC 2.5L Inline-4 and Inline-6 engines (The 4.2L was replaced by the 4.0L in 1990, when the Jeep switched over to electronic fuel injection), and could be equipped with an optional automatic transmission. The 4-cylinder models did not receive an automatic option until 1994. AMC (American Motors Corporation) was bought out by Chrysler in 1987, right after the new Wrangler hit the dealer lots. However, it would be almost 20 years before a Chrysler engine or design influenced the Wrangler, possibly due to the large amount of AMC employees absorbed during the Chrysler buyout in the late 1980s.The Jeep Wrangler YJ seen here is a 1991 Renegade. The Renegade was a package offered from 1991 to 1994 and featured the large fiberglass fenders and bumpers seen above. Standard YJ's can be easily distinguished by the square headlights and turn signals on the front grille; it is the only Wrangler to feature square lights instead of the classic round headlights. The Jeep Wrangler YJ features a more refined dashboard than the CJ, along with wider leaf springs and things like track-bars and sway-bars to help with on-road handling, an answer to the bad press Jeep received during the 1980s in regards to vehicle rollovers.The YJ continued into 1995 and was replaced by the Jeep Wrangler TJ in 1997 (there are no 1996 model Jeep Wranglers). The TJ can be easily identified by the round headlights and fender mounted turn signals. The TJ is the only Wrangler to feature fender mounted turn signals. The fenders and hood return to the curvature resembling a CJ-7, as opposed to the squared off fenders and hood of the YJ, and the grille remains in an upright position. A big change for the TJ was the replacement of the leaf spring suspension by a modern coil spring setup, giving the TJ a better ride quality than previous open-top Jeeps. Designed during the early 1990s, the Jeep Wrangler TJ also retained the same basic shape and dimensions of the CJ-7 and YJ that came before, and most models until 2002 featured roughly the same drivetrain as the YJ, dating back as far as 1987 for the 4-cylinder and 1991 for the Inline-6!The Jeep Wrangler TJ pictured above is a 1999 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, which was top-of-the-line before the Rubicon appeared in 2003. There are several carryovers from the YJ and CJ, but a few new features on these Jeeps as well. For example, the windshield hinges are still exposed on the TJ, allowing easy access to drop the windshield, a novelty still popular today. Also, removing the doors is a snap, as Jeep had yet to offer factory power windows or power locks. In addition to the new suspension setup mentioned above, the TJ received a more refined interior, with an instrument cluster centered over the steering wheel and the HVAC controls/radio placed above the shifter. Also note the airbags in the steering wheel and above the glove compartment, a first for the Wrangler in 1997. The AMC door handles, both interior and exterior, were also retained from the CJ/YJ until 2006, when this model was discontinued (2004 model shown below). In the next image down, you can see the front clip changes from 1954-2006. In addition, all 1976 CJ-7 through 2006 TJ models shared roughly the same dimensions, which allow certain parts, like tops and doors, to be exchanged between Jeeps, albeit with some minor modifications. The vehicles picture below are a 1987-1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ (in 1991 Renegade trim package, left), a 1976-1986 Jeep CJ-7 (center), and a modified 1997-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ (right). During the final years of the TJ, both the LJ and Rubicon models made an appearance. The LJ Unlimited is a long wheelbase TJ (sometimes called the TJ-L) that resembles a CJ-8 Scrambler, and the Rubicon model (available in both TJ and LJ Jeeps), features certain goodies like Dana-44 axles, a low range 4:1 transfer case, and factory lockers.The Jeep Wrangler JK and four-door JK Unlimited (below) appeared in 2007, replacing the Jeep TJ and LJ Unlimited. 2007 was the first time four-doors were offered in an open-top Jeep, and also marked the first time the Wrangler platform was completely redesigned by Chrysler. Changes included a 3.8L V6 engine, replacing the classic 4.0L, and a complete redesign of the frame and body. The Jeep Wrangler TJ was the last American Motors influenced design, and the last Jeep to use AMC parts or feature the traditional tub-on-frame layout. You can tell a Jeep Wrangler JK apart from older model Wranglers in that they are larger, may have four doors (a dead giveaway with the Unlimited), and generally feature a sloped and more aerodynamic layout, especially at the windshield and grille. The fenders are large plastic units mounted high to either side of the body, and the grille is in a sloped back position, rather than completely upright. Turn signals have once again been placed beneath the headlights, and if in stock form, this Jeep will feature large plastic bumpers with (optional) fog lamps mounted inside the bumper, rather than on top. The version you see here is a brand new 2016 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport in the limited run Mojave Sand color.For the new model JK and JK Unlimited (2007-present), Chrysler designed a larger, more stable and family-friendly vehicle that handles better on-road, with a ride akin to that of a large SUV rather than a light-duty truck, while retaining the off-road abilities that make the Jeep a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts and gear heads alike. The JK marks the first time that power windows and locks have been offered on a Wrangler, and also marks the addition of an on-board computer system that handles most of the vehicle functions (transmission shift points, electronic stability control, etc). This Wrangler is larger and more civilized than it's predecessors, with such optional addons as side airbags and factory navigation, but still retains the fold-down windshield (windshield hinge plate removal required, the JK does not feature exposed hinges), and removable doors (wiring harnesses may need to be disconnected if the model features power windows or locks). Major changes for the JK during production include the replacement of the underpowered 3.8L with the much improved 3.6L V6 in 2012, and the interior redesign in 2011.The Jeep Wrangler JK also received a much more refined interior than the Jeeps that preceded it, resembling that of a top-of-the-line SUV, with such add-ons and options as leather accents, leather seats, factory navigation, premium sound systems, and the like. As you can see below, the doors, dashboard, and interior are much larger and roomier than on older Wranglers and the CJ-7 shown above.So where do we go from here? Spy photos of the next generation Wrangler have surfaced on the web (courtesy of AutoGuide and KGP Photography), and indicate some body and styling changes for the next generation, although this redesign may not be as drastic as the change from the TJ to the JK in 2007. Changes rumored for the new model, dubbed the JL, include a modular hard-top (replacing the traditional softop), retirement of the fold-down windshield, more rake placed on the grille and windshield (ie, both have a greater slope towards the rear of the vehicle), and other changes that make this Wrangler more aerodynamic than it's predecessors. Time will tell if the new Wrangler is to enjoy the same popularity as the older models, or if some potential buyers will turn a cold shoulder due to the removal of the popular soft-top option.So what's your favorite model, and why? Are you looking forward to the new JL and Jeep pickup, will you be scrambling to buy one of the last new JK or JK Unlimited models off the lot, or are you just looking for that classic Wrangler or CJ for the perfect restoration project? Leave a comment and let us know, and stay tuned for more, only at RubiTrux!
Some of you may remember the trail ride we held a couple weeks back; we had a great time exploring the Pisgah National Forest with our friends and family and hope to see everyone out again come Fall. However, if you weren't able to make it, here's a quick glimpse of this past weekend, and be sure to check out the video, HERE!We started by organizing everyone at the old Toytoa Dealership in Boone, right down the street from our shop. This location provided a large lot for the meetup, and with the dealership having moved to a different location last year, we had the entire lot to ourselves. As we set up the RubiTrux tent, people started pulling in. We actually had quite a few people show up, more than anticipated. Moreover, some Jeeps had shown up in Boone the night before, making the drive from out of state! We had a quick meet-and-greet at the old dealer lot before hitting the road, leaving town and heading for the Blue Ridge Parkway.Taking 321 out of Boone we had a line of about 65 Jeeps, plus two pickup trucks that tagged along, as we made our way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Everything from an early model CJ-5, YJ's, TJ's, and four-door JK-Unlimited's; stock Jeeps to rock crawling 'rigs, and even a YJ with a Chevy V-8 and 38's! About a quarter of these Jeeps had a CB radio, and spread throughout the convoy, these 'rigs helped keep everyone together through stop-sign and intersections.From 321 we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway, going south. From there it was a scenic ride down the Blue Ridge Parway with a quick stop at the Wilson Creek Valley Overlook – even parked two wide, we couldn't fit all of the Jeeps in the parking lot! Next up was the Viaduct. The scenery was perfect, with ample cloud cover and a light breeze. The convoy of Jeeps was so long that the tail vehicles caught sight of the lead vehicle exiting the Viaduct before they'd even hit the first bridge!From the Viaduct we continued down the Parkway until we hit Roseboro Rd., where we took a left. This road will take you through present-day Mortimer – if you'd like to explore a little you can find the ruins of the original town nearby, abandoned since the 1940s! We continued on Roseboro Rd until we hit Betsey's Ole Country Store, where we would take a right onto Brown Mountain Beach Rd; but first, we pulled in and took a quick break. The owners of the store kindly allowed us to park all over the area, including around the small pond and campground out back. Betsey's Ole Country Store has been around since the original town of Mortimer, dating back to the 1920s. The store remained in the same location even after the original town was abandoned due to flooding in the '40s. There's ample room for camping and even cabin rentals as well – all in all, a great family oriented spot for both pit stops or overnight stay!After our break we continued on Brown Mountain Beach Rd until taking a left on Adako Rd. This road took us to Murphy Place, where we took a sharp left. A left on Maple Grove Church Rd led us to the largest part of our ride, about 25-30 miles of scenic dirt roads, switchbacks and sharp curves, leading us past Maple Grove Baptist Church itself and onto HWY 90!From a right on 90 we took a left on Anthony Creek Rd, stopping at Globe Baptist Church for a quick picture before taking Globe Rd to Blowing Rock. We hope you've enjoyed these pictures as much as we enjoyed the trip; stay tuned for details on the upcoming ride this Fall!
If you enjoyed the last blog post, here's Part 2! This week, we're taking a look at a few more unique vehicles that stand apart from the usual rides you may see around town. As in the previous article, we'll be dividing these into classic (1999 and before) and modern (2000 and after). In order to qualify for this list, we're looking for unique or hard-to-find OEM trim packages, build styles that defy the common “cookie-cutter” approach, or something that takes the factory platform far beyond it's intended use.
Classic – 1966-71 Jeepster CommandoIf you tuned in for the last update, you may have read about the red Jeepster Commando truck. The Jeepster Commando was offered as a larger alternative to the CJ-5 before the CJ-7 and Scrambler were produced. Although the CJ-6 was offered during this time period, it was never very popular stateside. The last Jeepster we looked at was shown in the pickup configuration. This vehicle was also offered in a wagon (hard top), and soft top version as well. This one came through the shop awhile back, and rolled off the factory floor as the Jeepster Commando wagon. Beautifully restored, this Jeepster sports a metallic blue paintjob, white hardtop, Jeepster badging, classic BFGoodrich All Terrain tires, fog lights, Warn locking hubs, and a roofrack. Also note the Kaiser/Jeep badge on the grille.
Classic – 1977 Dodge D100 4x4 PickupIf you're into old iron, this '77 is for you. From the era long before LED lighting, too many computer controlled systems and 20” wheels, this classic 4x4 truck made our unique rides list the second it rolled onto the lot. Here for some minor service work a few weeks back, this truck is in excellent shape for it's age. Sporting the factory paintjob and stepside bed, this D100 is ready for a day of work or recreation. Aftermarket modifications include a 3-4” suspension lift, period correct aftermarket wheels and double roll-bar, and 35” BFGoodrich Mud Terrain Tires. The D100 was produced from 1972-1980 and was rebadged as the Dodge Ram in 1981.
Classic – 1978 Toyota Land CruiserThe Toyota Land Cruiser is a descendant of the U.S. Army Jeep of World War II; built by Toyota, the original FJ prototype was produced according to US military specs. Fast Forward from 1950 to 1960, and the FJ40 was born. More refined than the BJ and J20/30 that preceded it, the FJ40 still resembled the Jeep CJ of the time and was one of it's chief competitors stateside, along with the Ford Bronco and Chevy Blazer. The FJ40 continued production until 1984, and came with many different engine and transmission options, hard tops, soft tops, troop seats, and more! This version is a 1978 model, sporting a 4.2L Inline-6 mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. With a 4.10 gear ratio in the axles, the engine turns the OEM-sized tires with ease. For the 1978 model year, the FJ featured front disk breaks, but A/C and power steering did not come until the 1979 model year. This FJ was recently restored, and currently has a new Bestop bikini top (not pictured), also worth noting are the jump seats in the rear, as well as the Warn locking hubs. This vehicle is still up for sale at our shop, so if you're interested, give us a call!Modern – 2001 Jeep Cherokee XJ Line-XThe Jeep Cherokee XJ was offered first in the 1984 model year, and is considered by many to be the first true SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle). Featuring a unibody instead of the traditional body-on-frame construction with either two or four-door body styles, the XJ was offered with both the 2.5L and 4.0L AMC engines. The last model was produced in 2001, and features the most up-to-date OEM equipment, such as a distributor-less ignition system and redesigned intake manifolds, for example. This vehicle began life as a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport, with the 4.0L Inline-6 and 4-speed automatic transmission.For this build, the exterior was given a complete Line-X treatment, to give the body a bit more durability offroad. Lighting was upgraded to LED's, including Truck-Lite headlights and 185 watt CREE 9” lights (4 on the roof-rack, 2 on the ARB front bumper). A custom Rubicon Express/Rock Krawler 6.5” Long-Arm allows this Jeep to fit the 35” Toyo Open Country M/T's on 17” Hutchinson Rock Monster Beadlock Wheels. 4.88 gears help the 4.6L Golen Stroker turn the 35's, and ARB air lockers, front and rear, can get this XJ into and out of the woods with no trouble! A Warn Zeon 8s Synthetic Winch and a pair of D-rings aid in recovery, while an ARB front bumper and Hanson rear bumper/tire carrier and rock rails protect the front, rear and sides of the vehicle. A full JL Audio sound system, Tview Video System, and a pair of Dayton Audio 15” sub-woofers round out the entertainment package, while an ACC Mass Backed Carpet Set and Second Skin Sound Deadening kit keep road noise to a minimum. This is probably the most advanced Cherokee out there, and is certainly a one-of-a-kind head turner!
Modern - 2003 Jeep Wrangler TJ RubiTruxWe chose the modern section for this TJ because it's the first ever RubiTrux conversion! Using a 2003-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ Rubicon, we completed our first truck conversion years ago; this one is shown using the GR8TOPS half-cab, a 4-5” suspension lift, chrome bullet hole wheels, 35” BFGoodrich M/T tires, an ARB front bumper, and Bushwacker flares. As this is a TJ Rubicon, it features factory lockers inside the front and rear Dana-44 axles, along with the 4:1 transfer case and a few other accessories. The Rubicon coupled the already legendary capabilities of the Jeep CJ/YJ/TJ platform with further modifications straight from the factory, and the lockers and low range transfer case let this Jeep go further than ever before, right out of the box!
Modern – 2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade 4x4When most people think of the Jeep Liberty, soccer moms, young teenage drivers or a fuel efficient commuter car come to mind. With IFS (Independent Front Suspension) the Liberty is more difficult to add, and arguably not designed for, an aftermarket lift kit, especially when compared to the Wrangler. As such, a Liberty is rarely seen with tires larger than a 31” or 32”. Due to this, the Liberty is rarely seen on any moderate or hard trails. It takes a true fan to upgrade something like the Jeep Liberty and build it into anything resembling a half-decent trail 'rig. We had this Liberty Renegade come through the shop as a consignment vehicle last year, and for a change it was built for the trail!This Jeep has since sold, but the previous owner had about 40k invested. The entire front and rear suspension were reworked, allowing this KJ to fit 35” M/T tires! Total lift is about 5”, accomplished with a Jeepin' by Al K Member Cradle Drop, new front steel upper A Arms, and a Tri-Angulated 4 Link at the rear axle. The axles have been regeared to 4.88 and fitted with ARB air lockers. Skid plates, bumpers, and rock rails protect the Liberty from trail damage; built by 4xGuard (skid plates), Rock Lizard (rear bumper), and Monitor (front bumper), this Liberty is ready for anything!Aftermarket lighting by PIAA and Rigid Industries, along with MOPAR brake upgrades and towing package, JBA steel brake lines, and an Alpine sound system round out the accessories. This Liberty quickly went to a new home, and made our list of unique vehicles to come through the shop without a second thought!
Modern - 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ RubiTrux ConversionMost of our RubiTrux conversions have around a 32-33” tire, a minor suspension lift, and retain mostly a stock configuration with paint and drivetrain components. This RubiTrux however, takes the cake. This conversion not only features 35” tires and a matte black paint job, but also a Golen 4.6L Stroker! This Jeep came to us for a custom build, starting with a low-mileage 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ. This RubiTrux received a 4” suspension lift, 35” tires, Fuel wheels, an ARB front bumper, Warn winch, IPF fog lights, N-Fab side bar/steps, and Bushwacker fender flares. A matte black paintjob and the AEV half-cab top, plus our cab closeout, Line-X bed treatment, and a Poison Spyder fold down tailgate completed the 'trux build. The Golen 4.6L Stroker added the perfect amount of power for this 'rig, turning a stock LJ into a more than capable pickup truck, perfect for cruising around town, offroad, or doing chores on the farm!Classic – 2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ Golden Eagle EditionOk, so we're going to break a rule here and name this late-model TJ a classic. The Golden Eagle package became famous on the Jeep CJ line in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As such for the 2006 model only, the last year of the Jeep TJ and the AMC-era parts and design, the Wrangler sported the Golden Eagle trim package. The Golden Eagle package featured the 4.0L Inline-6, a special wheel and tire group (not shown on this model), a Dana-44 rear axle, and special hood, fenders, and spare tire decals, resembling those of the old CJ. This Jeep TJ Golden Eagle is a low-mileage, pristine example that, minus the different wheels and tire group, could have just rolled off the factory floor in 2006. As this trim package is getting harder and harder to come by, much like the Willys and Apex editions, we chose it for our list of unique vehicles!Modern – 2014 Jeep Wrangler JKU on 42's
Much like any four-door family sized SUV or minivan, the JKU is everywhere. Chances are if you see a current model Jeep Wrangler on the road, it'll have four doors, stock tires, and an automatic transmission. Hard tops have become an increasingly popular option with the current consumer market as well. As much as some traditionalists hate it, the JKU is selling like hotcakes, ensuring that the four-door Wrangler will remain in the Jeep lineup for years to come. This Jeep JKU by contrast, is about as far removed from stock as they come, and even features a manual transmission!This JKU features it all, from the unique Mango-Tango paintjob, fastback soft-top and TeraFlex High Pinion 60 Axles, it's ready to hit the toughest trails around. The lift kit is a BDS 6.5” long arm with a set of 1.5” spacers, making it just about the tallest Jeep JKU we've seen, outside of Moab or Jeep Beach! This suspension lift and the 5.13 gears housed inside the '60 axles give the 3.6L more than enough power to turn the huge 42x14.50x17 Goodyear Wrangler MTR Kevlar tires, especially with the factory 6-speed manual transmission! An ARB air compressor and air lockers help this beast navigate the tougher obstacles on the trail, while an AEV snorkel helps with any river crossings. A Rock Hard 4x4 cage helps protect the occupants, and PSC Hydro Steering, LED lighting, and a 10k winch round out most of the upgrades. To see a complete list, click here! This Jeep is still on consignment at our shop, so if you're interested in a Jeep JKU on 42's that was built right, give us a call!Modern - 2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Crew Cab
Much like the modern Jeep Wranglers, the majority of Toyota Tacoma pickups are used for more mainstream purposes than the old 1980s vehicles, and most are not equipped with bumpers, snorkles, or lift kits. However, a select few do stand out from the crowd, and this truck is one of 'em!This Tacoma features a small lift/leveling kit and some 32” tires on steel wheels, giving it a simple, old-school look. ARB bumpers, a custom bed-cage, and snorkel were also added to this truck, in addition to a Warn winch and a pair of driving lights. This unique Toyota is ready for work or play with these accessories, and certainly stands out from the typical pickup builds we see here in Boone!This concludes our Unique Rides post, but stay tuned 'cause we've got more content on the way! If you weren't able to attend our RubiTrux trail ride last week, check back in a few days; we'll summarize the route and post plenty of pictures!
As we're a division of High Country 4x4 we see all sorts of four-wheel drive vehicles, both modern and classic. Every once-in-awhile we'll see a unique build, rare vehicle, or classic car roll through, and sometimes, we manage to grab a few pictures! Here's a few of these unique vehicles from the RubiTrux archives, some of which were mentioned during previous blog posts, while others are making a first appearance below. You may be used to seeing our standard Jeep JK Unlimited builds and Brute Double Cabs, and while special and unique in their own right, these 4x4's are commonplace around the shop. For that reason, we're looking at other vehicles that either stray from the common build style, or are unique in stock forms, such as a classic car or special OEM trim package. For the purpose of these posts, we'll be dividing vehicles into two categories - “classic” which defines roughly anything designed or built up to and through 1999, and “modern”, which is anything designed or built after the year 2000.Classic – 1966-71 Jeepster Commando
First up, we've got a red 1966-1971 Jeepster Commando pickup truck. The Jeepster Commando was a larger alternative to the CJ-5 at the time, with the CJ-7 not yet in production (1976) and the Scrambler more than a decade away (1981). With a longer wheelbase, the Jeepster could haul more cargo and provide a more stable ride than the CJ-5. The Commando was offered in pickup, convertible (soft top similar to a CJ), and wagon (hard top) platforms. The C101 Commando (produced by Kaiser-Jeep) featured a front end resembling the CJ, and came with either an Inline-4 or V6 engine. With AMC's (American Motors Corporation) purchase of the Jeep line in 1970, the Jeepster Commando was partially redesigned as the Jeep Commando. The CJ-like grille was replaced with an updated front end, and this Jeep was produced through 1973. This early version is decently kept, considering the age of the vehicle and the local climate, and comes complete with the original red paint and badging.Classic – 1969 Dodge Charger DaytonaWe had this classic car stop by the shop awhile back, and grabbed a few quick pictures as this unique vehicle was only produced for the 1969 model year! The Dodge Charger Daytona featured a special aerodynamic nose cone and a rear mounted wing, to help stabilize the vehicle at high speeds. Designed as a high performance car, the Daytona rose to NASCAR fame in the late 1960's. However, NASCAR rules changed soon after the car's introduction, removing the Charger Daytona and other “aero-cars” from racing, and this collector's item was pushed into the history books. With a little over 500 made, the Dodge Charger Daytona cars are highly collectible, and this version is in excellent condition!Classic – 1979 Jeep CJ-7Along with the CJ-5, the Jeep CJ-7 is one of the most recognizable Jeep 4x4s to date; oftentimes, early model YJ and TJ Wranglers are mistaken for CJ's by the unknowing public, as they share roughly the same dimensions and wheelbase as the '7, and even some of the same parts and engines too! This beautifully restored 1979 CJ-7 was on consignment last Fall, and as we predicted, didn't last very long before a lucky buyer scooped it up! This CJ-7 was meticulously restored, complete with a factory red paintjob, classic 15” “wagon wheels”, 31” tires, and AMC/CJ-7 badges. The interior even features a rare factory Cobra 47XLR, which is an AM/FM and CB radio, all in one!This CJ-7 does have an aftermarket radio, complete with CD player, but this has been mounted carefully below the dash; the previous owner left the OEM dash unmolested (oftentimes, the dashboards on these old CJ's will be cut to make room for a larger, more modern headunit). This '7 features early-model doors without the AMC paddle handles found on late model CJ's, YJ's, and TJ Wranglers, a factory swing out tire carrier and fold-down tailgate (replaced with a swing out unit on the Wrangler starting in late 1986), and aftermarket roll-bar padding and front seats. This CJ is powered by a 4.2L Inline-6 with a Weber 2-Barrel carburetor and Motorcraft ignition system mated to a 3-speed manual transmission. Being a 1979 model, this CJ came with narrow-track axles, the Dana-30 (front), and AMC-20 (rear). For more pictures, check the above link to the blog post!Classic – 1991 Jeep Wrangler YJ RenegadeThe Jeep Wrangler YJ is often given a hard time because of the square headlights. It is the only Wrangler model to feature square headlights, as the CJ, TJ, and JK all have the “classic” round headlight configuration. The YJ was designed in the early 1980's by AMC as a replacement for the Jeep CJ. The YJ featured a wider stance and new suspension components such as trackbars and swaybars to make the vehicle more stable on-road than the CJ. The YJ was sold beginning in the 1987 model year, with the CJ being discontinued in 1986. With each passing year, these original Wranglers are getting harder and harder to come by. This is especially true with certain special editions, like this 1991 Jeep Wrangler YJ Renegade.The Renegade was a unique trim package available for the Jeep Wrangler YJ during the early 1990's, and featured large fiberglass fenders, a unique interior and a special decal kit, among other accessories. This version is a nicely kept red 1991 YJ Renegade, and is currently having the original paint job touched up; as this is in such nice condition, it is slated to be kept in our showroom alongside a pristine CJ-7, Scrambler, and an early model TJ Sahara, completing the transition of Jeep history to the current model, the JK/U. As you can see, this version features the unique color-matched fenders, bumpers and integrated steps, along with the special decal package and fender mounted fog lights, similar to where the TJ's turn signals would be mounted in the mid/late-1990s.Classic – 1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ SaharaThe Jeep Wrangler TJ was the last Jeep to be built using AMC parts or the AMC designed 2.5L Inline-4 and 4.0L Inline-6 engines, and they also share several other key similarities and a few differences with the CJ-7 and YJ. We chose to slot the TJ platform in the “classic” category as it's the last Jeep to be modeled after the CJ-7, despite such changes as the coil spring suspension. These models are so similar that the TJ can accept CJ and YJ doors, tops, and other parts with minor modifications; the 2007+ JK by comparison, is much larger and features a Chrysler powerplant, no AMC parts, and cannot interchange elements with the CJ/YJ/TJ. The TJ Sahara was the top-of-the-line model for the late 1990's and early 2000's (the Rubicon would not make an appearance until 2003, and the LJ would be introduced in 2004).Early TJ Saharas were offered in the green color above, or a dark red, black, or white color scheme, and came with color-matched fender flares, special green and tan seats with map pouches, and a two-toned black and tan dash. Sahara TJ's are usually seen with a hard top and full doors, although it isn't uncommon to see one that was ordered with half doors or a soft top from the factory. All Sahara TJ's featured the bulletproof Inline-6 and A/C as standard, and like most early TJ Wranglers, chances are you'll find one with the AX-15 manual transmission, although the automatic was a popular option as well. This TJ is unique in that it received a Rubicon Express Lift kit, Warn bumpers, and Mickey Thompson wheels, period correct for a 1999 model. What really makes this TJ unique however, are the 34x9.50 Super Swamper TSL tires. We rarely have a request for “pizza-cutters”, which are geared towards the serious off-road crowd. These tires do great in mud, or any surface where the tire needs to dig down to get traction for the vehicle. Interesting to note, the owner in question already had a CJ-5 with Super Swamper “skinnys”, and wanted the same thing for his TJ, making both 'rigs perfect in the mountainous backcountry that surrounds Boone.Modern – 6.1L AEV BruteThe AEV Brute gets slotted to the “modern” category as the conversion was designed in the early 2000's. The Brute kit turns a Jeep TJ or LJ Wrangler into a pickup truck by lengthening the frame, adding a separate bed with fold down tailgate, and cab closeout/hard top. This allows the Brute to carry much more cargo than a standard Wrangler, while still retaining the ability to remove the doors/top for the classic open-air feel of the Wrangler. This Brute is unique in that it has both a 6.1L HEMI and 40” tires! We have had many Brutes come through the shop over the years, and you may have read about two of our current Brute builds, but this truck takes the cake.We've seen Inline-6 Brutes, Rubicon Brutes, and even a 5.7L HEMI Brute, but the 6.1L was a first. Coupled with the HD44 and 60 Dynatrac axles, 40” tires, and 4.5” long arm suspension, this 'rig took the unique category without question. The GM Inferno Orange Paint Job and custom parts such as bumpers, rock sliders, and skid plates would win awards at any car show. With attention given to every minute detail, this Brute is one-of-a-kind; currently for sale on our lot for $75k, this truck is worth every penny!
Modern – 2005 Jeep Wrangler TJ LCOGWe chose the “modern” category for this Jeep because superchargers, Line-X'd exteriors, and LCOG (Low Center of Gravity) builds didn't rise in popularity on Jeep vehicles until the late 2000's and early 2010's. While there are some purists that still cringe at high clearance fenders, low or no suspension lift, and superchargers on an off-road vehicle, the LCOG build style has certainly gained a reputation as a more stable off-road platform, and superchargers are finding their way onto more and more current Jeep products. This TJ features a 2” suspension lift and Metalcloak fenders, allowing it to fit and flex out the 33x12.50r15lt Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ tires. The tires are mounted to a set of 15x10 Mickey Thompson Classic IIIs, and the exterior of the vehicle has been given a complete Line-X protective coating. As previously mentioned, the AMC designed 4.0L Inline-6 features a RIPP Supercharger.
Modern – 2006 RubiTrux ConversionThis RubiTrux is the most extreme conversion we've done to date. Our usual build involves a Jeep LJ with the OEM wheels/tires/suspension setup, plus the AEV top and our 'trux conversion. Sometimes you'll see 33's, maybe even a set of 35's on occasion. However, this build features 37's! In order to fit these tires, this RubiTrux has about 7” of lift, accomplished by a Rubicon Express 5.5” lift and a 1.25” body lift. Fuel Octane 20x12 wheels give this Jeep a bit of a street look, but the ARB bumpers and Warn Zeon 8s Winch ensure that it's more than equipped to go off the beaten path. The OEM lighting was also replaced with JW Speaker Headlights, Smoked Turn Signals, ARB Bumper Lights, and IPF 900 XS Driving Lights replacing the OEM fogs.To get into this tall 'rig a set of Rock Slide Engineering Power Side Steps were added, and to help control the large 37” tires, an OME (Old Man Emu) steering stabilizer and Currie Enterprise Heavy Duty Steering were installed as well. The 4.0L engine was upgraded with a Banks Cold Air Intake, a Superchips Trail Dash Programmer, and an AFE Throttle Body Spacer. To see the complete build sheet for this monster 'trux, check out the link above!
Modern – 2008 Jeep CommanderJeep ran the Commander for a few years in the late 2000's as sort of a replacement for the classic XJ (discontinued after the 2001 model year), so this vehicle gets a solid “modern” classification. You don't see many lifted Commanders, and this build we completed about two years back included Line-X'd bumpers to boot!The bumpers are from a company called Tactical Armor Group, and feature a winch mount, hoop, and fog light/LED cube cutouts (front), and a swing out tire carrier (rear). A Warn winch, D-rings, and Rigid LED lights are mounted to the front bumper, and a 3-4” lift lets this SUV fit some 33” Toyo Open Country M/T tires with room to spare. As we've kept in touch with the owner over the last couple years, he's told us of the regular excursions off-road with his built Commander, and as seen by the last image, this SUV is certainly being put through it's paces!If you enjoyed this post stay tuned for Part 2, where we once again take a look at some modern and classic 'rides at RubiTrux!
This week we're taking look at a unique Brute that we just picked up! While you may have read about our other Brute builds that are slated to be equipped with 37's, this Brute features a 6.1L HEMI, a custom paintjob, and 40's!
This one-of-a-kind Brute is up for sale on our site for $75,000. Check out the specs below, and you'll see that this truck is worth every penny! To start, the AEV (American Expedition Vehicles) Brute conversion takes a standard 1997-2006 Jeep TJ or LJ (2004-2006), and transforms it into a pickup truck, complete with cab closeout, bed and fold-down tailgate. Some Brute trucks will feature the AEV highline fenders and hood, to stuff larger tires under the new vehicle. However, these fenders are no longer produced, and some Brute trucks are now being equipped with stock fenders or aftermarket highline or flat fender kits instead.This 6.1L Brute features an entire AEV build package, including the non-production fenders mentioned above; custom bumpers round out the look and complement the bed and fenders by rising to meet the new body lines of the Brute kit. The front bumper houses both fog lights and a Warn 9.5TI winch with synthetic rope, while the rear bumper and frame section feature a Masterpull winch. Custom rock sliders and skid plates round out the armor upgrades. The frame has also been completely powdercoated after the Brute modifications.The lift kit is an Nth Degree 4.5" Long Arm suspension with 2" coil spring spacers and a 1" body lift. Coupled with the highline fenders, this allows plenty of room for the 40's. Speaking of the tires, these 40x13.50x17 Goodyear MTR Kevlar tires give the Dynatrac HD44 front and Prorock 60 rear plenty of ground clearance at the differential, while the 5.38 gear ratio and 6.1L HEMI provide more than enough power at the wheel for this Brute.Sway Loc front and rear sway bar systems, custom driveshafts, and an upgraded 45RFE transmission round out the "unseen" additions to this build. A paint-matched Rock Hard 4x4 bolt-in sport cage strengthens the cab, for the more adventurous at heart. The most visible change to this Jeep is the custom GM Inferno Orange color, which along with the 40" tires, will make this Brute 6.1L turn heads around town or on the trail!If you're interested in buying this one-of-a-kind American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) Brute conversion, give us a call at (828)406-3031. Scroll down and check out these additional images, and let us know what you think!
For this update, we'll take a look at the various add-ons and accessories that make up this Brute, as well as seeing the final steps to assembly before this vehicle is sent off to paint. Last we left it, the Brute had the tub and grille on the frame. Next we'll add the truck bed, fenders, Poison Spyder trail cage, custom bed cage, and more. They say a vehicle is greater than the sum of it's parts, and this Brute has more upgrades than the average pickup or Jeep build combined. Scroll down to see this beast come together; even the small 33" roller tires can't hide the off-road capabilities of this Brute. Below, check out some closeup shots before the body was bolted to the frame, and you'll see just a few of the goodies that will make the final product one mean machine!First up, we've got the M.O.R.E. motor mounts. Due to the age of the TJ platform, with the last models now reaching 10 years old, some owners are encountering problems with worn out stock bushings, usually on control arms or motor mounts. This is especially true when the vehicle has been offroad, as this type of activity puts heightened stress on these bushings. While our Rubicon TJ was mostly stock and had yet to see a real off-road trail, we decided to replace the OEM motor mounts with the M.O.R.E. version for obvious reasons; chief among them, the stock parts were over 10 years old. The M.O.R.E. motor mounts feature a rubber material that won't transmit vibrations like polyurethane, and are zinc-plated for extra protection!The PSC steering box replaced the stock unit for mostly the same reason as the aftermarket motor mounts. The OEM unit was over 10 years old, and with the build stepping up to 37" tire, the PSC steering box upgrade was the right choice, considering the amount of offroading this Brute will do. The steering box features a larger piston for more turning force, helpful in off-road scenarios, and stronger gears than the OEM box, leading to more longevity; an important factor to consider with the 37" tires.As the Brute has a longer wheelbase than the TJ platform, we chose the GenRight Crawler Skid Plate to protect the gas tank. The tank itself has also been upgraded to an aluminum GenRight 24.5 gallon tank. The skid plate will protect the tank during off-road excursions, and the high capacity (stock TJ gas tanks usually hold 19 gallons, although some early models were capped at 14 gallons) aluminum gas tank will both save weight, and ensure the 4.6L has plenty of gasoline to get this Brute off the beaten path and back again! The skid plate is made from heavy duty 3/16" steel plate and provides about 1" more ground clearance over the OEM skid.In addition to the custom 'cage work that reinforced the new cab closeout, seen above, we're also adding a Poison Spyder Trail Cage. Chris is shown below installing the HD spreader kit and welding in the trail cage itself. All Jeep CJ and Wrangler models come from the factory with an inherent weak point in the roll bar system, which, in the event of an extreme rollover, could cause the windshield to crumple inward. With CJ models there are no spreader bars connecting the windshield to the rollbar, and on the Wrangler, the spreader bars provide insufficient strength to prevent the windshield from folding inward. As a result, many dedicated off-road rigs or even "weekend-warrior" Jeeps will have some sort of 'cage upgrade installed. From designs that bolt to the outside of the dash, bolt or weld to the floor, or go straight through the OEM dash to the tub or frame, an upgraded rollcage is a worthwhile investment in a Jeep. The Poison Spyder Trail Cage is a weld-in kit that works with the stock spreader bars. However, we chose the heavy duty Poison Spyder spreader bar kit to give this 'cage some added strength, and replaced the flimsy OEM units right off the bat. The rest of the trail cage kit is then welded to these upgraded spreader bars. On the dashboard side, there are two plates that go from the dash, down the side of the door jam, and bolt to the floor. Tubing is then welded to these plates, connecting them to the HD spreader bars. In short, you get a cage that is both tied into the factory roll bar and tub of the vehicle. This, along with the custom cage work mentioned above, will provide solid protection in the event of a rollover.In addition to the tubing inside the cab, the Brute bed will also be getting a dual purpose 'cage and cargo rack. While the Brute bed will certainly allow you to haul more cargo than a standard TJ or LJ, it may not be large enough for some, especially for long camping trips or overland expeditions, for example. With this custom cage, cargo can be strapped above, underneath, or on the sides of the roll-bars, dramatically increasing the cargo this Brute can carry.We've already covered the boosted 4.6L stroker motor and ATS 42RLE transmission, so we'll move on to the other elements of this build. As far as the body and frame go, we're using the AEV Brute conversion to transform this 2005 TJ into a one-of-a-kind truck. Although not pictured yet, this Brute will be getting a set of 37" BFG A/T KO2 tires on 17" Monster Beadlock wheels. To fit these tires, an Nth Degree 4.5" Long Arm suspension, which you may have spotted in Part 1, was added. TeraFlex RD60 front and rear axles with ARB air lockers and 4.88 gears give the needed durability to run the 37's offroad. An ARB air compressor provides air to the lockers, and ARB differential breathers ensure that the differentials can vent as needed, especially over certain terrain, such as a river or stream crossing.In regards to crossing bodies of water, this Brute will also be equipped with an ARB Safari Snorkel and Pre-Filter. The 4.5" long arm and 37's will give the Brute plenty of height over a stock vehicle, and the snorkel and breathers will increase the fording capabilities as well, not to mention filtering out sand or dust in more arid environments. As far as additional accessories go, we'll be seeing an ARB front bumper/bullbar combo, dual winches for recovery, and some nice LED lights, but let's not jump the gun just yet - this truck still has to return from paint! Check out the final pictures below, let us know what you think, and stay tuned for the next update!