Go 4x4 It

RubiTrux and High Country 4x4 Blog

  • 2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade 4x4

    This week at RubiTrux, we're going to start by showcasing one of our used vehicles, the 2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade 4x4. The previous owner traded this in on one of our builds, and had over 40k invested. The entire front end and suspension have been reworked, allowing the Liberty to fit 35" M/T tires. Total lift is about 5", with a Jeepin' by Al 2" K Member Cradle Drop, new front steel upper A Arms, and a Tri-Angulated 4 Link at the rear axle.To help turn the 35" Tires, the Liberty has been regeared to 4.88; the lift kit is also equipped with Bilstein 5100 shocks. To provide more traction offroad, ARB air lockers, front and rear, as well as an ARB Air Compressor, were added. Skid plates, bumpers, and rock rails  protect the underside of the Liberty, as seen below. custom-jeep-liberty-front-skid-plate-on-liftThe armor package includes a front steel brush guard skid plate, an engine guard skid plate, and an engine/transmission skid plate, by 4xGuard, as well as a Skid Row Fuel Tank Skid Plate, and steel differential covers, by ARB and Jeepin' by Al.The rear of the Liberty features a Rock Lizard Zombie Apocalypse Rear Bumper, and the Rock Lizard Gecko Sport Roof Rack is also visible. Rounding out the Rock Lizard accessories, the Monitor Front Bumper and Winch Plate, as well as the Rock Sliders, can be seen below. Also to note, there is a Line-X protective coating on the bumpers, sliders, armor, and the bottom of the running frame. The rear axle has been pushed back 2" for flex, and there is custom fabrication in the front wheel wells, allowing ample room for the 35s.custom-jeep-liberty-liftedThe liberty also features a towing package, JBA steel brake lines, front and rear, MOPAR KJ brakes, drums, and rotors, lighting by PIAA and Rigid Industries, and an Alpine sound system, as well as a Kenwood Bluetooth microphone and backup camera. The interior also has Wet Okole front seat covers, and Bandic Blu premium switches for all of the accessories, seen below.The above add-ons and more make this a truly unique vehicle. This Liberty has only 138k on the clock, and with over 40k invested, is a great deal for the next lucky owner at  $15,500.00. This 4x4 is certainly a head turner, and is in great condition. Come by and check it out today, only at RubiTrux!

  • 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport Line-X

    This custom Cherokee by Rubitrux is a personal vehicle here at the shop, and as such, was equipped to handle the winter elements found in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Boone, North Carolina, sits at 3,333 feet above sea level, which means that snow, ice, and inclement weather are commonplace during the colder months of the year. This also translates to more corrosion during the winter, as the local DOT will salt the main roads constantly. With a four-wheel drive vehicle like a Jeep, used year round for all weather transportation, rust prevention is a must. To address these issues, an almost rust-free, 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport was chosen as the base vehicle.custom-jeep-cherokee-rack-lightsThis XJ, while being mostly rust free, had a few areas of surface rust under the floor boards, but with less than 100k on the 4.0L Inline-6, it was a great starting platform for a Rubitrux build. The first order of business was to strip out the interior of the vehicle, followed by the removal of the grille, door handles, and other exterior parts that would interfere with the Line-X coating. Afterwards, the lift kit was installed, and the Jeep was sent to Line-X.cuatom-jeep-cherokee-inside-stripped

    cuatom-jeep-cherokee-line-x-bareAfter the Line-X job was completed, the Cherokee was brought back into the shop, and the few minor rust issues were taken care of. The interior was then given a full Second Skin sound deadening upgrade, including inside the doors, floor pans, rear hatch, and roof of the vehicle. The interior was reassembled, with an ACC Mass Backed Carpet Set being installed to further help with noise cancellation. The audio system was then upgraded before the seats and console were placed into the vehicle. The XJ received a full JL Audio sound system upgrade, complete with two Dayton Audio 15” Ultimax Sub-Woofers in a custom enclosure.cuatom-jeep-cherokee-line-x-arbAfter the sound system was upgraded, the seats and console were placed back into the vehicle, and a swing down Tview Video System was added for the back seat passengers. WeatherTech floor mats were also installed, to help keep out mud and slush that could be tracked into the vehicle, and all of the interior trim pieces were replaced. Once these upgrades were complete, the exterior work began, starting with a full protective coating of bedliner on the underside of the XJ to help prevent rust.custom-jeep-cherokee-grandfatherThe exterior upgrades installed on the Jeep Cherokee include the custom Rubicon Express 6.5” Long Arm and Rock Krawler Tri-Link with Bilstein 5100 Series Shocks, and Hutchinson Rock Monster Beadlock Wheels with 35” Toyo Open Country M/T tires. The gear ratio of the 8.25 and Dana 35 axles were also changed to 4.88, followed by Alloy USA Axle Shaft upgrades, Alloy USA SYE Kit, JA Reel Rear Driveshaft, and ARB Air Lockers, front and Rear. Of course, with lockers comes an ARB Air Compressor; the XJ also features the Teraflex Rear Disc Brake Upgrade, High Steer System, and Sway Bar Relocation Brackets. Hellwig Sway Bars and an ARB Differential Breather round out the off-road performance package.custom-jeep-cherokee-winter-tiresTo protect and recover the vehicle, should the need arise, the XJ was equipped with an ARB Front Bumper, Hanson Offroad Rocksliders, a Hanson Offroad Rear Bumper and Tire Carrier, and a Warn Zeon 8s Synthetic Winch. Bushwacker Fender Flares, also Line-X’d, were installed to prevent slush and mud off the 35” mud terrain tires from covering the sides of the vehicle. A Surco Roof Rack was installed, to help carry any extra equipment needed for the trail, and Truck Lite LED Headlights, LED Taillights, Turn Signals, and Side Markers were added, upgrading the old factory equipment to the modern age. Two 185 watt CREE 9” Lights were installed on the ARB Bumper, and four on the Surco Roof Rack, to aid in visibility during low-light conditions. To power all of the lights, sound system, winch, and accessories, a Powermax 250a Alternator was installed.XJ_TestThis Cherokee is equipped to handle all types of terrain and weather, as well as frequent off-road trips into the mountains and trails around Boone, NC. Future plans include a 4.6L Golen Stroker, among other upgrades; stay tuned for more!

  • Tank Jeep JK-8 Rubicon

    This week at Rubitrux, we’ve completed two 2015 JK-8 builds. The first, an Anvil JK-8 Rubicon, is currently at paint; now that the body work is done, the rear panels and top are matched to the factory color. The second JK-8, this one in Tank, is having the finishing touches added today! The 2015 Tank JK-8 was ordered by a gentleman in Oregon, who will be using it as a farm truck. As such, the JK-8 began life as a 4-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, with the 4:1 Rock-Track Transfer Case, Heavy Duty Dana 44 Axles with Electronic Lockers, front and rear, and an Electronic Disconnect Front Sway Bar.jeep-jk8-rubicon-farm-truck-tank-2015The 4-door JKU had the rear factory interior, roll bar, seats, and doors all stripped away, as seen below, and the JK-8 bed panels were installed over the remaining sheet metal at the rear of the Jeep.  The standard equipment for the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, mentioned above, will prove invaluable in the day-to-day tasks of a farm truck, such as maintaining property, hauling equipment or feed, and removing tree stumps, aided by the Warn Zeon 10 Platinum winch, for example.jeep-jk8-rubicon-farm-truck-tank-2015-grille-closeupThe 2015 JK-8 Rubicon, in addition to featuring the Warn winch, has also been equipped with a Warn Rock Crawler Front Bumper, complete with the Warn Grille Guard, as seen in the initial photo. This bumper combo protects the front of the JK-8 Rubicon from wayward brush, rocks, or other, more formidable obstacles that may be encountered offroad, or around the farm. The Warn bumper also features cutouts for the factory fog lights, removing the need to mount lighting on the exterior of the bumper, where it could be exposed to such aforementioned hazards as brush or rock formations.jeep-jk8-rubicon-farm-truck-tank-2015-custom-wheel-closeupThe stock BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A tires were retained, although the wheels have been changed to a 5x5.5 bolt pattern. The BFGoodrich M/T tires ensure that the JK-8 will have plenty of traction off-road, as well as in muddy or inclement weather commonly encountered in the Northwest. The wheels also feature a custom paintjob, requested by the customer. As seen at the front axle, the JK-8 Rubicon also features Warn Locking Hubs, allowing for savings in gas mileage, and slowing the wear and tear on the front differential during unlocked, on-road use. In addition to the Warn Locking Hubs in the front, the rear axle shafts have been upgraded to RCV Performance Ultimate Rear Axle shafts, increasing durability above and beyond the stock OEM equipment.jeep-jk8-rubicon-farm-truck-tank-2015-bed-in-progress


    jeep-jk8-rubicon-farm-truck-tank-2015-in-progress-bed-2The truck bed and cab floor of the JK-8 have also been given a full Line-X protective coating; this means that equipment, gravel, or feed can be carried safely in the bed, which can then be pressure-washed clean at the end of the day. As the purpose of this JK-8 is a working truck, the customer chose to keep the factory interior in place. However, as the cab floor has been coated in Line-X, the factory carpet has been totally removed. As such, slush or mud tracked in by the driver or passenger can be washed out; simply remove the drain plugs, and add water! The finished product, minus the paint matching, can be seen below. Note the new body panels and half cab top from the JK-8 kit.jeep-jk8-rubicon-farm-truck-tank-2015-body-work-doneThe suspension of the JK-8 has been kept factory original, and as the tires have remained the stock LT255/75R17 size, the stock rear bumper and tire carrier setup have been retained, although the carrier will need to be modified to accept the new 5x5.5 bolt pattern. This JK-8 truck is sure to prove an invaluable tool, whether on the farm, tackling a snow storm during the winter months in the Northwest, or even going up the road to pick up groceries, farm supplies, or tools. This JK-8 is equipped to conquer a variety of terrain and conditions, and will provide many years of service and utility in Oregon! For more JK-8 information, stay tuned for the Anvil JK-8 Rubicon update, coming soon!


  • Project: Vandal, Part 9 FINALE

    Project Vandal is finally wrapped up and heading off for an extensive off-roading trip in Colorado, Utah, and California! This was easily one of the biggest and baddest builds we have done to date. Stay tuned for our next project!IMG_0877 IMG_0880 IMG_0881 IMG_0882 IMG_0883 IMG_0902 IMG_0904 IMG_0931

  • Project: VANDAL, Part 8

    project-vandal-jeep-jk-rubicon-unlimited-darren-build-top-doors-on-front-passenger-viewAs hinted in the last update, Project: VANDAL is in the final stages. The hard top and doors have been installed, in addition to the tire carrier and rocker guards; currently, interior work around re-installing the dashboard and running the wiring for all of the lights and accessories is in progress. Rigid Industries LED lighting at the windshield, grille, bumpers, and Oracle LED equipped side mirrors, ensure that VANDAL will have no trouble at all during evening or nighttime operation, while the new GenRight tire carrier, below, will easily support the large 40" spare tire.

    project-vandal-jeep-jk-rubicon-unlimited-darren-build-top-doors-on-rear-tire-carrierNow that VANDAL is in the home stretch, add-ons and modifications will be adjusted, double checked, and final preparations will be made to get this rig on the street. Off-road performance will be tested, as per the customer's request, to ensure that VANDAL operates to specs without any issues; this will also allow time for any last modifications or adjustments needed before the customer gets the keys. Stay tuned for the next installment of Project: VANDAL, featuring both clear and amber Rigid Industries LED rock lights, a roof-rack for the factory hard-top, and more!


  • Project: VANDAL, Part 7

    close-up-dana-60-differential-cover-jeep-logo-project-vandalProject VANDAL is nearing completion, with rocker guards, skid plates, and a rear tire carrier being installed this week. For this update, a few of the smaller details of this build have been covered. Although HEMI engines and Dana-60 axles are eye-catching, the little details are important, and help to make Project: VANDAL just as much as the powertrain, because when you're on the trail, all the engine and axles in the world won't help if you run out of gas or have your differentials bashed in. Above, the Jeep differential cover on the Dana 60 axle provides heavy-duty protection for the 5.38 gears and lockers, while below, this GenRight skid plate protects the GenRight 20 gallon fuel cell at the rear of VANDAL.

    close-up-gen-right-crawler-logo-project-vandalBelow, the rear bumper, also manufactured by GenRight, protects the tail end of the Jeep from trail hazards or careless drivers on the road. In addition to featuring a hitch and D-ring mounts, the GenRight bumper also has two Rigid Industries backup lights, in the second image below, which were added to provide additional illumination at the rear of the vehicle in low light situations.close-up-of-gen-right-logo-on-rear-bumper-project-vandal

    close-up-rigid-industries-rear-bumper-mounted-lights-for-gen-right-bumper-project-vandalclose-up-warn-locking-hubs-project-vandalTowards the front of the vehicle, Warn premium locking hubs allow for savings in gas mileage, in addition to slowing wear and tear on the front differential during everyday operation, with the locking hubs disengaged. Below, the PSC hydro assist ram will help with turning the large 40" mud tires, whether on the road or the trail.
    close-up-psc-steering-hydro-assit-ram-project-vandalMeanwhile, the MetalCloak bumper protects the front of the JKU; in addition to housing the Warn winch, the stubby design of this bumper allows for an increased approach angle offroad, especially with the 40" Interco SS-M16 Mud Terrain Tires, shown in the images below.close-up-metal-cloak-front-bumper-m-logo-project-vandal



    close-up-interco-40-1450-tires-project-vandalThe Rock Krawler 5.5" Stage II Rock Runner long arm kit lets VANDAL fit the 40" tires with ease, while keeping the Jeep removed from rocks, stumps, or other obstructions on the trail. If VANDAL does come into contact with a foreign object, the MetalCloak fenders and rocker guards will protect the body from damage, in addition to acting as step bars and grab handles during cleaning, maintenance, or entering and exiting the vehicle, respectively.


    close-up-rock-side-rocker-armor-tube-fenderProject:VANDAL is fast becoming a formidable machine, equipped to tackle and succeed in a wide variety of conditions, both off road and on. Stay tuned for the next update, where we'll cover the new aluminum skid plates, hard top, full doors, roof rack, LED lighting, and more!








  • Project: VANDAL, Part 6

    darren-build-doorless-fenders-bumpers-windshield-on-front-passenger-angleFor this update, Project: VANDAL is entering into the final stages. The 40" Interco SS-M16 Tires have been added, along with the MetalCloak Tube Fenders, windshield glass (from the last update, where the windshield and lights were simply fitted into place), and the Rock Hard Ultimate Bolt-In Sport Cage. The Rock Krawler coilovers can be adjusted to allow for 3" higher ride height, and the MetalCloak Tube Fenders ensure that there is enough wheel-well to flex out the 40's. The tops of the tube fenders have been painted to match the body, while the undersides and tubing itself has been left black.

    darren-build-doorless-fenders-bumpers-windshield-on-front-driver-side-angleThe Rock Hard Ultimate Bolt-In Sport Cage (seen above, through the windshield, and below), provides protection for the driver and front seat passenger in the event of a rollover, eliminating the structural weak-point in the factory roll bar system at the windshield and spreader bars. The area where the spreader bars and windshield bolt together is an inherent weak-point, and is present on all Wrangler models; while an improvement over the old CJ system (which utilized no spreader bars), the factory system still leaves much to be desired; enter the Rock Hard Ultimate Bolt-In Sport Cage.


    Above, the heavy duty tubing and strong bolt-in design of the Rock Hard sport cage, featuring proprietary locking collars, allows the driver and occupants peace of mind when wheeling over even the toughest terrain! This sport cage, coupled with the MetalCloak fenders and body armor (painted to match), means that VANDAL will be more than adequately protected from rocks, trees, or other obstacles, while on the trail.darren-vandal-build-40s-fenders-windshield-in-place-rear-passenger-side-angleAbove, the Rugged Ridge half doors are a great option for both on and off-road use. While off-road, the factory full doors may obstruct the field of view from inside the vehicle, or become damaged on the trail, proving an expensive fix. With these half doors, visibility is greatly increased, and the classic design allows for the open air experience of the Wrangler while retaining the lower doors, protecting and keeping children, pets, or cargo inside the vehicle!darren-build-doorless-fenders-bumpers-windshield-on-front-passenger-angle-highStill to come, the top, doors, minor interior work, and more! As Project: VANDAL nears completion, keep an eye out on the blog for future updates!



  • Project: VANDAL, Part 5


    Significant progress has been made with Project: VANDAL over the past week; the wiring under the hood has been routed for all of the sPods, LED light bars, and accessories.  Also, the hood, grill, windshield frame, and lights have been fitted to the vehicle, providing a look at what is to come when VANDAL is complete.








    In addition to the front end, the tailgate has also been reassembled and installed back onto the Jeep, below. The MetalCloak body armor panels (note to the left and right of the tailgate, where holes have already been drilled) will be added once they have been painted to match. From there, the flat fenders, also MetalCloak, will be installed, and then interior work can begin. The top side of the flat fenders will be painted to match the body, while the tube/underside will be left black.  We're nearing the finish line with Project: VANDAL, stay tuned for the final few updates, coming soon!


  • Project: VANDAL, Part 4

    vandal-body-on-frameThis week, Project: VANDAL is starting to look like a Jeep again! The body has been lowered back onto the frame, the Rock Krawler heavy duty steering has been installed, and we now have a skid plate in place, to protect the vulnerable evap canister. VANDAL is also getting a PSC hydro assist ram for the front end; in the top picture, the line for this assembly is visible, just to the left of the front differential.

    vandal-front-suspension-front-side-angleAbove, Rock Krawler's new heavy duty tie rod and drag link have been installed; we've also replaced the stock drag link end at the steering box with a more beefy one from Moog, and added an adjustable track bar from Rock Krawler to further complement this setup. The heavy duty steering and hydro assist are a must-have, and will help to turn the 40" mud terrain tires on the trail.vandal-front-suspension-setup-rock-krawler-55

    Below, the Borla exhaust and QTP electric exhaust cutout are shown. The Borlad exhaust, as seen from the top down in the previous installment of this series, is a Dakota Customs exclusive that has been modified to fit around the Rock Krawler long arm suspension. The evap canister skid plate is shown to the left of the muffler. This skid plate is manufactured by Rugged Ridge, and is designed to protect the vulnerable evap canister. Located under the hood on older model Jeeps, the JK/U generation features an evap setup on the underside of the vehicle. This causes the canister to be placed within the reach of rocks or other obstructions on the trail, necessitating the skid plate to ensure the longevity of this piece of equipment, especially for an offroad vehicle.

    vandal-electric-exhaust-cutout-closeupvandal-borla-exhaust-cutout-skidplateCheck back soon for the next update on Project: VANDAL here at RubiTrux, featuring skid plates, the PSC hydro assist ram, and more!

  • Project: VANDAL, Part 3

    darren-build-hemi-transmission-suspension-axles-on-frame-closeupProject: VANDAL is coming along great here at the shop, with the HEMI motor now installed and bolted up to the transmission! The GenRight Fuel Cell had to be slightly modified to fit, as seen below, and the Borla exhaust had to be customized to fit around the control arms of the Rock Krawler long arm kit.

    darren-build-gen-right-tank-closeup darren-build-hemi-transmission-suspension-axles-on-frame

    The exhaust system for VANDAL is a custom Borla setup, including the headers, and features a Quick Time Performance (QTP) electric exhaust cutout. This exhaust cutout allows the driver to control the volume and power of the setup from inside the cab, at the flick of a switch! The entire exhaust system, including the QTP cutout, is stainless steel, and the cutout itself features a CNC machined valve body and a 12v motor, providing 1.5 lbs of torque to operate the QTP cutout.

    project-vandal-electric-exhaust-cutout project-vandal-exhaustThe rear bumper has been fitted while the body is still off of the frame, along with the above exhaust system, HEMI, and GenRight fuel cell. The rear bumper is also GenRight, and features backup lights, with additional Rigid Industries 2-bulb LED lights mounted to either side of the stock lights, as seen below. This will ensure adequate visibility at the rear of the vehicle, either on the trail, or backing out around town at night. Check back soon for further updates on Project: VANDAL!


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