You may have read about our blue Brute conversion in an earlier post. Built from a pristine LJ, this vehicle features a V8 5.7 HEMI, and once it returns to our shop from paint will be getting a long arm kit and 37" tires. This Brute however, started life as a black 2005 Jeep Wrangler TJ Rubicon, and is currently under construction at our shop! While not featuring a HEMI swap like the blue LJ, this Jeep will be getting something arguably more awesome, especially among the more traditional Jeep crowd, a built up Inline-6! The 4.0L Inline-6 and 2.5L Inline-4 engines found in the Jeep TJ platform are AMC designs dating back to the days of the YJ and CJ, and are favored among certain owners over the newer V6 designs, for a variety of reasons. We'll discuss the Inline-6 below, both stock and modified specifications, but first, we'll examine the starter vehicle.This Jeep arrived as a mostly stock, low-mileage 2005 TJ Rubicon. The TJ features a shorter wheelbase than the LJ, and is in proportion with a YJ or CJ-7, rather than the CJ-8 Scrambler that the LJ descended from. The TJ Rubicon was produced from 2003-2006, and features certain equipment like factory air-lockers, front and rear Dana-44 axles and a 4:1 transfer case, among other accessories, that are not found with other trim packages, such as the Sport or SE. This Jeep already featured a couple aftermarket add-ons, such as a Warn winch, PIAA fog lights, and what appeared to be an early model Delta light bar. These were removed as the Jeep was stripped down for the Brute conversion.First up, the front fenders and hood are removed, followed by the bumper, winch, and fog lights. The interior is also stripped out, up to the factory dashboard. Once everything at the rear of the Jeep has been removed, the tub is cut back like the Hemi version in Part 1 of our Jeep LJ Brute build. The body is then lifted off of the frame, which is lengthened with the frame extensions provided by AEV. The Inline-6 is also pulled at this stage to make way for the new engine. The early steps of this build are nearly identical to our LJ Brute, except the frame extensions are not cut down; the SWB (short-wheelbase) TJ uses the full piece.
Chris Minnich is lead on this project, and is shown below tacking in some pieces for the Brute bed. Once the frame is extended it is given a fresh coat of paint, and the tub closeout and bed can be lined up. A few pictures down you can see some roll-cage additions that Chris built; the new owner requested these for safety, as he plans to use the Brute off-road.
Once everything is added to the frame and bolted down, the vehicle is rolled out of the garage bay, leaving room for the engine work. The new engine is uncrated and all of the bolt-on parts are transferred to the new block, below. The new 4.6L boosted Inline-6 will give plenty of power to the 37" tires; coupled with the ATS transmission and '60 axles, this Jeep will be practically grenade proof. To the left we have the new 4.6L, and on the right covered in plastic, the stripped down 4.0L.Below, the engine is mounted to the frame, along with the transmission, transfer case, axles and suspension. Now for the engine specs; stock Inline-6 engines in the Jeep Wrangler TJ platform usually produce somewhere around 190hp and 235ft/lbs of torque. While the Inline-6 is certainly enough for the smaller TJ platform, some builds, especially those with larger tires or Brute conversions, desire more power. Enter the 4.6L boosted long block from Golen High Performance Engines. This tricked out '6 will produce 350bhp at 5200rpm with 6psi of boost (you may notice the small Banks Sidewinder turbo below), and 360ft/lbs of torque! This beast of an engine takes the legendary capabilities of the AMC-designed Inline-6 to a whole new level, and with the 4.88 gears housed within the TeraFlex 60's, will turn the 37" tires without breaking a sweat!
To handle all of this power, a built ATX Diesel 42RLE Automatic Transmission (note the purple color) was added, and the stock Rubicon 4:1 transfer case was retained. The Teraflex '60 axles and 4.88 gears have already been mentioned, but housed within the axles is another cool piece of equipment - ARB air lockers. With this combination, there won't be any terrain this 4.6L Brute can't handle!As it currently sits in the garage, this Brute features the engine, transmission, transfer case, and axles on the lengthened frame. Above, the fuel and brake lines are being clipped into place, as well as the electrical hookups for the fuel pump, rear winch, and other items at the tail end of the vehicle. Below, the rear winch is a Warn M8000s, featuring synthetic line. The control box has been positioned so as to correctly fit under the Brute truck bed. The body panels should be bolted down at the end of the week, but for now, some customization has to be done to the Nth Degree suspension system to work with the Brute platform.
Above, the 4.5" long-arm kit features a bracket for the tri-link that attaches at the transfer case skid; however, for the Brute kit with the long wheelbase, Chris had to make some modifications. As you can see, the mount for the tri-link had to be moved back to accommodate the lengthened frame; a reinforced plate, attached at the original mounting point on the skid plate, now connects the two.
With the Banks sidewinder turbo, the OEM grille had to be modified as well. As you can see here, holes cut into the grille, complete with grommets, allow lines for the turbocharger heat exchange radiator to be run through the grille. On top of the first radiator, we have the factory condenser for the A/C unit, followed by the Griffin Aluminum radiator.
Next up, the cab is placed on the frame and lined up, soon to be followed by the truck bed, highline fenders and hood. In the image below, you can see the initial alignment of the cab, full-doors, and AEV top. Further down, you can see the new cab and the OEM TJ grille on the frame (equipped with 33" rollers), giving an idea of what the final product will look like. Check back next week for the specs and a few pictures before this 4.6L Brute leaves for paint!