Go 4x4 It

RubiTrux and High Country 4x4 Blog

  • RubiTrux Scenic Ride, Spring 2016

    rubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-parking-church-after-group-picture-black-n-whiteSome 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!rubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-lot-lineuprubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-parking-meet-and-great-dealershiprubitrux-parkway-ride-lot-group-meet-n-greet-tire-stackWe 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.rubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-built-tjrubitrux-parkway-ride-line-of-jeeps-vandal-tj-jkTaking 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.rubitrux-parkway-ride-overlook-parking-blue-ridgerubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-wilson-creek-overlook-blue-ridge-parkwayFrom 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!rubitrux-parkway-ride-viaduct-jeep-line-introrubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-wrangler-group-drone-overhead-1rubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-viaduct-introFrom 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!rubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-parking-country-storerubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-parking-country-store-fieldAfter 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!rubitrux-parkway-ride-pisgah-forest-vandalrubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-trail-bike-crossing-tj-jkrubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-pisgah-national-forest-tj-jk-offroadrubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-pisgah-forest-black-n-whiteFrom 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!rubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-parking-church-after-group-picture-rearrubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-overhead-shot-church-endrubitrux-parkway-ride-jeep-group-end-meeting-church-overhead-drone-shot

  • Unique Rides, Part 2

    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 Commando1966-71-jeepster-commando-wagon-blue-white-restoredIf 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 Pickup1977-dodge-d100-stepside-mud-tiresIf 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.

    1977-dodge-d100-pickup-stepside-mud-tires-tailgate1977-dodge-d100-pickup-stepside-mud-tiresClassic – 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser1978-toyota-land-cruiser-front-passenger-side-angleThe 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!1978-toyota-land-cruiser-dashboard1978-toyota-land-cruiser-rear-view-bench-troop-seat-fold-upModern – 2001 Jeep Cherokee XJ Line-X2001-custom-jeep-cherokee-xj-rack-lights-line-x-35sThe 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.2001-custom-jeep-cherokee-xj-rack-lights-offroad-richland-ncFor 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.custom-jeep-cherokee-grandfather - Copy 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 RubiTrux2003-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rubitrux-conversionWe 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 4x42005-custom-jeep-liberty-renegade-lifted-front-passWhen 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!2005-custom-jeep-liberty-renegade-lifted-rear-passThis 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!custom-jeep-liberty-lifted-front-head-onAftermarket 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 Conversion2005-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-conversion-35sMost 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!2005-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-conversion-35s-side-viewClassic – 2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ Golden Eagle Edition2006-jeep-tj-golden-eagleOk, 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!2006-jeep-tj-golden-eagle-side-rear-quarter-viewModern – 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!2014-custom-jeep-wrangler-mango-tango-smittybilt-stinger-273029This 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!2014-custom-jeep-wrangler-mango-tango-42-inch-tall-tires-42s-273029Modern - 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!2014-toyota-tacoma-lifted-steelies-rack-bumpers-4x4This 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!2014-toyota-tacoma-lifted-steelies-rack-bumpers-4x4-new-rear-bumperThis 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!

  • Unique Rides, Part 1

    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 2000.1966-71-jeepster-commando-pickup-sc1-hood-badgeClassic – 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.1966-71-jeepster-commando-pickup-SC1-redClassic – 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona1969-dodge-charger-daytona-front-driver-angleWe 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!1969-dodge-charger-daytona-rear-passenger-angleClassic – 1979 Jeep CJ-71979-cj7-inline-6-amc-three-quarterAlong 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!1979-cj7-inline-6-amc-driver-viewThis 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!1979-cj7-inline-6-amc-side-interiorClassic – 1991 Jeep Wrangler YJ Renegade1991-jeep-wrangler-yj-renegade-front-grille-redThe 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.1991-jeep-wrangler-yj-renegade-passenger-door-redThe 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.1991-jeep-wrangler-yj-renegade-rearClassic – 1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sahara1998-jeep-wrangler-tj-green-sahara-tsl-super-swamperThe 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).1998-jeep-wrangler-tj-green-sahara-tsl-super-swamper-frontEarly 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.1998-jeep-wrangler-tj-green-sahara-tsl-super-swamper-tireModern – 6.1L AEV Brute2004-custom-jeep-wrangler-tj-brute-orange-rock-hard-4x4-bolt-in-cageThe 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.2004-custom-jeep-wrangler-tj-brute-orange-aev-hi-line-fendersWe'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 LCOG2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-poison-spyder-LCOG-build-2We 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.2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-poison-spyder-LCOG-build

    Modern – 2006 RubiTrux Conversion2006-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-rubicon-rubitrux-conversion-tonka-head-onThis 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.2006-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-rubicon-rubitrux-conversion-tonkaTo 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 Commander2008-red-jeep-commander-left-front-angle-09-25-14Jeep 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!2008-red-jeep-commander-passenger-side-angle-09-25-142008-red-jeep-commander-rear-flat-09-25-14The 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!2008-Jeep-Commander-wheeling-in-the-mudIf you enjoyed this post stay tuned for Part 2, where we once again take a look at some modern and classic 'rides at RubiTrux!

  • Vehicle of the Week - Brute 6.1L

    custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-orange-rock-hard-4x4-bolt-in-cageThis 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!

    custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-orange-nth-degree-suspension-40sThis 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.custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-orange-6-1-liter-hemi-conversionThis 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.custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-dynatrac-prorock-60-rearThe 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.custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-40-13--50-17-wrangler-mtr-kevlarSway 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!custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-orange-rock-hard-4x4-sport-cageIf 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!custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-orange-sway-loc-sway-bar custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-orange-drop-down-tail-gate custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-orange-custom-rock-sliders custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-orange-custom-rear-bumper-and-winch custom-jeep-wrangler--tj-brute-orange-aev-hi-line-fenders

  • 4.6L Brute - Part 2

    2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-front-passenger-sideFor 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!jeep-wrangler-brute-black-tj-conversion-tub-on-frame-door-down-garageFirst 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!black-jeep-tj-brute-more-motor-mounts-closeupThe 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.black-jeep-tj-brute-psc-closeupblack-jeep-tj-brute-psc-closeup-underAs 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.black-jeep-tj-brute-teraflex-axle-rear-gas-tank-skid-closeup2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-tub-roll-bar-cage-welded-in-rear-cab-closeoutIn 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. jeep-wrangler-tj-brute-golon-conversion-poison-spyder-trail-cage-install-stock-spreader-bars-removedjeep-wrangler-tj-brute-golon-conversion-poison-spyder-trail-cage-install-spreader-bar-upgradejeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-poison-spyder-trail-cage-install-welding-in-progressThe 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.jeep-wrangler-tj-brute-golon-conversion-black-bed-primer-garage-bay-cage-stage-1-anglejeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-golon-truck-bed-cage-bar-tack-weldjeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-golon-truck-bed-cage-bar-3jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-golon-truck-bed-cage-bar-weldIn 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.jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-poison-spyder-cage-plus-custom-workWe'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.black-jeep-tj-brute-teraflex-rear-axleIn 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!jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-grille-fender-install-highline-kitjeep-wrangler-tj-golon-brute-conversion-fender-install-highline







  • Product of the Week - Poison Spyder Trail-Cage

    jeep-cj-renegade-jeep-beach-2015This week we're taking a look at trail-cage options for the Jeep Wrangler, namely the Poison Spyder Trail Cage and Heavy Duty Spreader Bars. First off, let's discuss why you would want a trail cage in your Jeep. Originally, the Jeep CJ did not feature an OEM roll-bar, although it was a popular option at the time. Roughly a few years before the CJ-7 entered production in 1976, the classic “sport” style roll-bar, as we know it today, became mandatory. Every Jeep now had an installed roll-bar from the factory, a big step up in safety measures for the time. However, the CJ still lacked any sort of support for the windshield, which could not support the weight of the vehicle, and would often crumple inwards in the event of a frontal rollover. In the early 1980s, the Jeep CJ was switched from a narrow to wide track axle, to increase stability, another safety measure. (CJ-5 Renegade pictured above, CJ-8 Scrambler below).

    jeep-cj-8-scrambler-jeep-beach-20151991-jeep-wrangler-yj-renegade-front-grille-redFor the 1987 model year, the Jeep Wrangler YJ made it's debut (YJ Renegade shown above). The YJ featured wider axles than the CJ, as well as a lower stance. Track bars, sway bars, and wider leaf springs helped make this Jeep more stable and less prone to a rollover. For the 1987 model and up, the Wrangler featured new “spreader” bars that connected the roll-bar to the windshield, another safety feature. However, the spreader bars were still not up to the task of supporting the windshield in a rollover scenario. In 1992, the classic “sport” style roll-bar was replaced with the “family” style roll-bar, seen on late model YJ's, TJ's, and the JK Wrangler. This new design gave the rear passengers added protection in an accident and provided shoulder mount points for standard seatbelts, rather than the lap belts that had been used in previous models. When the TJ hit the dealerships in late 1996 (2006 model pictured below), the roll-bar was given a slightly updated design, but the spreader bars remained mostly unchanged.2006-blue-jeep-wrangler-tj-half-doors-frameless-topIn 2007, the new and totally redesigned Jeep Wrangler JK became larger and wider than it's predecessors, and included certain features like electronic stability control. While more traditionalist owners may bemoan the abundance of electronics in the JK platform, the computer does assist with making this Wrangler a more stable and secure ride. However, the OEM roll-bar “system” still has that same weak point in between the factory bar and the windshield seen in the CJ and classic Wrangler models above. The usual approach to eliminating this is to install what is commonly known as a “trail-cage”. A trail-cage is different than a complete aftermarket 'cage in that it makes use of the factory roll bar, and simply reinforces or replaces the stock spreader bars. A trail-cage is great for the owner looking to beef up the safety of their Jeep Wrangler without breaking the bank.2016-jeep-wrangler-mojave-sand-front-passenger-cornerWe've seen many trail cages come through the shop over the years, and while there are several to choose from, we usually sell and equip customer builds with the Poison Spyder version. While we will go over this product in detail, be sure to check out the Rock Hard 4x4 version as well. We've installed quite a few trail-cages at our shop, and our techs will be happy to assist you in picking out a 'cage upgrade or trail-cage to suit your build, today!custom-jeep-wrangler-mango-tango-273029-interiorFirst up, the Rock Hard 4x4 Bolt-In Ultimate Sport Cage (above). While some may be skeptical of a bolt-in over a weld-in cage, we can assure you the Rock Hard bolt-in 'cage is tough as nails! We've installed a few here at the shop, and the 1/2” thick proprietary locking collars and grade 8 hardware ensure that the 1 3/4” .120 wall steel tubing is securely fastened together. The center section that connects the windshield bar to the OEM soundbar features a 14 ga. steel plate, so you can mount a CB radio, switches, or other accessories in your cab. If you're planning on installing the Rock Hard cage yourself, there is no welding required, so the average DIY'er can do it in his/her own driveway! The front A-Pillar section features grab bars, to help with entering and exiting the vehicle, and comes pre-welded to a plate that extends down the side of the OEM dash and bolts to the floor of the Jeep (plate may vary depending on model). This supports the windshield, and prevents it from folding backwards into the passenger compartment in the event of a rollover. The TJ/LJ version is pictured below.custom-jeep-wrangler-lj-white-rock-hard-4x4-bolt-in-roll-cageNow to the Poison Spyder trail-cage, which features a similar mounting structure to the Rock Hard 4x4 'cage at the OEM dash. The Poison Spyder JK and TJ trail-cages differ here in that the JK version is bolt on, while the TJ trail-cage requires welding. The weld-in Poison Spyder product can make use of the stock spreader bars on TJ/LJ Wranglers, but Poison Spyder also offers a heavy duty spreader bar kit to reinforce this area, as seen in our 4.6L Brute Conversion, below. This trail-cage upgrade is definitely a worthwhile investment, but does require more time and effort for the fitment and welding portion of the project. (Standard PS Trail-Cage kit seen on RubiTrux conversion, second picture down).jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-poison-spyder-trail-cage-install-tack-weld-in-place2005-jeep-unlimited-rubitrux-rollbar-cageFor the Jeep JK and JK Unlimited, the Poison Spyder trail cage is a unique bolt-together design, and completely replaces the stock spreader bars with DOM tubing. Instead of tube clamps, Poison Spyder features an interlocking tube coupler design, to add durability to the cage. The couplers come notched and welded at the junctions to ensure proper fit. The 3/16” thick dash plates also come without a 90 degree bend at the top and instead extend straight to the floor, removing additional bends or seams that may pose a potential weak spot. A dash crosstube connects both dash plates, while an overhead crossbar connects the center spreader bars to the OEM sound bar. As also seen on the Rock Hard product, this center section is great for mounting a CB Radio or other offroad accessories! Poison Spyder also offers optional entry handles, constructed from 1.25” DOM tubing, and the couplers can either be MIG or TIG welded, depending on preference.2015-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-willys-wheeler-jk-jku-poison-spyder-sport-cageMost trail-cage products that you'll find, including the ones listed above, ship bare steel; this is usually because powdercoating can get damaged during transit or because there is welding involved in the assembly process. Our recommendation for the above products, if not being assembled and installed in your vehicle at our shop, would be to find a local business that offers powdercoating. If you're in a pinch, there's always the tried-and-true method of rattlecan primer and paint - just remember that the key to any rattlecan job is in the prep-work!

    poison-spyder-jeep-jku-trail-cage-install-front-topEdit-poison-spyder-jeep-jk-trail-cage-2The assembly process at our shop consists of fitting and fully installing the trail-cage into the Jeep, then removing the pieces and sending them to powdercoat. This ensures a proper fit for all of the pieces and results in a clean install, with a finish that goes great with the factory interior. Some owners opt to have the tail-cage paint-matched to the OEM color of the Jeep, but black is a popular choice as well – it's up to you! Remember, with RubiTrux, possibilities are unlimited, so give us a call and add a trail-cage to your Jeep, today!


  • Product of the Week - AEV ProCal

    custom-jeep-wrangler-billet-ext-conversion-lights-onThis week we're taking a look at the AEV ProCal Module for the 2007-2016 Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited. If you're into modifying your Jeep, the ProCal is an invaluable tool. This easy-to-use device by AEV (American Expedition Vehicles) lets you recalibrate several settings on your Jeep, especially after a lift kit and larger-than-stock tires are installed. In the age where electronics are taking over more and more vehicle functions, taking something beyond original OEM specs can and will throw the computer off track, especially with transmission shift points and electronic stability control (ESP). In the old days or not-so-distant past, computers were either totally absent, or simply ran the engine through EFI (electronic fuel injection). However, during recent years, on-board computer systems do more and more. For example, most modern vehicles do not have a physical accelerator cable connecting the gas pedal to the throttle body; instead, the pedal sends an electronic signal to the computer, such as the case with the JK platform.resized-aev-procal-blog-post-3-on-white-backgroundAs you can imagine, this makes the electronics and computer systems in these newer vehicles instrumental in most functions while on-road, not just in providing fuel to the engine. The Jeep Wrangler JK is the first Wrangler to have most systems routed through one of these on-board computers. This includes such things as stability control, transmission shift points, headlights and more. Throwing large tires and a lift kit into the mix would, needless to say, throw a wrench into this system. Enter the AEV ProCal! The ProCal can interface with the JK computer to achieve a variety of functions, and works with all JK generation Wranglers, including the 2016 models.2016-jeep-wrangler-mojave-sand-front-passenger-cornerUsually, one of the first things that a new Jeep owner will do is add a lift kit and large off-road tires. With older Jeeps, depending on how much the tire size increased, either a regear or new speedometer gear would be required to improve automatic transmission shifting or set the speedometer, respectively. While the speedometer gear was phased out with the JK (again, replaced with electronics), a regear is still necessary for larger tires. While this will restore power, it will sometimes mess with the computer, causing the vehicle to go into "limp" mode. The AEV ProCal can both calibrate the computer for the new and updated axle ratio, and update the speedometer for the larger tires.aev-pro-cal-jeep-wrangler-jk-30406007AGMost modern vehicles now feature a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) that tells the driver if a certain tire is low, usually with a light or other notification on the dash. The Jeep JK is no exception, and some owners find that larger-than-stock tires will indefinitely illuminate the warning lamp on the dash. Not to worry, the ProCal addresses this as well! More functions include daytime running lamps, and an increased engine idle program for winching scenarios (for the increased engine idle, the ProCal will need to remain plugged in; for most other functions, it is removed once the program has run it's course).custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-jw-speaker-6145-j-series-fog-lightsThe ProCal works through a system of easy-to-use DIP switches on the back, simply follow the instructions in the quick book guide for the switch pattern, turn your key into the “run” position, and plug in the ProCal! The Jeep horn will sound, and the key can be turned to the “off” position and the ProCal unplugged. So what are you waiting for? Don't settle for substandard shift points, haywire stability control, or other electronic gremlins due to your hardware modifications, modify your software with the AEV ProCal today, at RubiTrux.com!

  • 4.6L Brute - Part 1

    2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-front-passenger-sideYou 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 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 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.2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-rear-passenger-sideThis 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. 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.2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-fender-removalFirst 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.2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-interior-stripped-out


    2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-tub-removed-on-lift-front-angle2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-tub-grille-removedChris 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.2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-frame-install-painted-passenger-side


    2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-tub-roll-bar-cage-welded-in-rear-cab-closeoutOnce 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.jeep-wrangler-tj-brute-black-conversion-golon-stroker-engine-buildupBelow, 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!black-brute-jeep-tj-conversion-turbo-closeup-front

    black-jeep-tj-brute-frame-engine-transmission-transfer-case-axles-suspension-addedblack-brute-jeep-tj-conversion-turbo-trans-linesTo 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!black-jeep-tj-brute-frame-engine-transmission-transfer-case-axles-suspension-added-driver-sideAs 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.black-brute-jeep-tj-conversion-rear-8000-warn-s-winch


    jeep-tj-brute-conversion-black-tri-link-setupAbove, 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.jeep-wrangler-brute-black-tj-conversion-grille-modification-cut

    jeep-wrangler-brute-black-tj-conversion-cut-hole-for-coolant-lines-with-grommetWith 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.jeep-wrangler-brute-black-tj-conversion-grille-in-progress-intercooler-coolant-lines-grommet-offroad


    jeep-wrangler-brute-black-tj-conversion-grille-in-progress-intercooler-coolant-lines-grommet-offroad-air-conditioning-radiatorNext 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 (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!jeep-brute-black-tj-conversion-cab-doors-bed-lined-upjeep-wrangler-brute-black-tj-conversion-tub-over-frame-build-lift


  • Product of the Week - Katzkin Leather

    katzkin-custom-jeep-wrangler-leather-seats-red-blackIf you keep up with any of our builds, you're bound to notice the high-end leather interiors. Last update we covered Alea Leather, but for those wanting another approach, we also carry Katzkin Leather. Katzkin has been around for over 30 years and produces high-quality aftermarket leather interiors for a variety of popular vehicles, from the Chevrolet Silverado to the Honda Accord! Katzkin is an official supplier of leather to the Ford motor company, and also exclusively supplies leather to Shelby American, Inc., of performance car fame.katzkin-custom-jeep-wrangler-leather-seats-texasWhile for some, a Jeep Wrangler should be a bare bones, true-to-original utilitarian 4x4, others desire a more luxurious approach. Although some of the higher-end trim models, like the Sahara and Rubicon, can now be ordered with leather seats, factory leather leaves much to be desired. Enter Katzkin leather, featuring a variety of patterns, custom stitching, embroidered logos and more! Here at RubiTrux, we pride ourselves in using only the best in aftermarket add-ons and accessories, and Katzkin is no exception. Each leather set is a completely new, top quality leather upholstery set for your seats. This product does not replace the factory seats, and these are not seat covers, so your factory upholstery will need to be removed for the install.katzkin-custom-jeep-wrangler-leather-seats-black-rubiconAvailable in a variety of color schemes, stitching and logos, these seats can match any build style and go well with the OEM colors. Front seat heaters are an optional upgrade on our builds, and you can have them in your Jeep too! Just be sure to let us know, and the heaters can be installed at the same time as your new Katzkin leather! The leather is also available in an Ostrich Skin (Aussie) pattern, shown below, for those that want an extra touch of unique on their Jeep JK or JK Unlimited build.katzkin-custom-jeep-wrangler-leather-seats-black-aussie-detail-logoSo if you're looking to upgrade the interior of your Jeep Wrangler JK or JK Unlimited, Katzkin leather is for you! With other upgrades such as HotHead Headliners, and color matched interior trim pieces, we can trick out the interior on your Jeep JK to fit any build style; as our slogan states, there are "Unlimited Possibilities!". Give us a call, today!

  • Vehicle of the Week - Mojave Sand JK-EXT

    2016-jeep-wrangler-mojave-sand-front-driver-cornerIf you tuned in last week for the Mojave Sand JK Unlimited, you may have briefly read about our newest JK-EXT conversion, also in Mojave Sand! Mojave Sand is one of our favorite colors for the Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited, and we're excited to say that we're producing the first ever EXT in Mojave Sand at our shop, right now! The vehicle arrived as a completely stock 2016 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport, and has been in the garage for the past week. Currently, we're preparing to send this JK-EXT out to the body shop – here's what we've got so far!2016-jeep-wrangler-mojave-sand-driver-sidePictured above is the stock JK Sport, with non-matched hard-top, fender flares, and the OEM wheel and tire package. The hard top, rear seat, carpet, seatbelts, and everything rearward of the driver's seat was removed on Monday morning and placed aside, with work beginning around lunch that same day. As you can see below, the rollbar and J-rails (where the soft-top clips in) were also cut out and removed. There are quite a few spot welds that need to be drilled out during this step, most notably where the rollbar and J-rails are attached to the body. You can also see the contrast between the OD Green primer and Mojave Sand on the removed portion of the rollbar. Since the JK entered production, Jeep stopped painting the entire rollbar, leaving the innermost portion, usually covered with padding, with the green color you see here.jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-sport-mojave-sand-ext-conversion-prep-parts-rollbar

    jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-sport-mojave-sand-ext-conversion-prep-partsRick Robey, lead on this EXT project, is shown below removing the factory rear corners. All areas where the frame and OEM body panels meet the EXT kit are also prepped, to ensure a clean and proper surface for welding. This prep work includes hammering certain areas of the sheetmetal flat, as well as sanding down the OEM Mojave Sand paint, to facilitate the welding process. It is very important during this step to remove the factory insulation, because it is flammable; welding around this area for the kit install is close enough to cause a fire. Said fire would be very hard to put out, as once the panels are in place, the flames would be inside the body! The frame extension is then welded to the OEM frame, with inner plates like the ones seen in our Brute conversion to strengthen the connection. jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-sport-mojave-sand-ext-conversion-sheet-metal-removal-air-saw



    jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-mojave-sand-ext-frame-extensionOnce the frame is extended (above), the bed kit can be placed on the new rear crossmember and fit around the original body panels. The lower support on the new body extension fits inside the OEM quarter panel. Once everything is in place and lined up, the kit is welded to the body. Rick is shown below dropping in some welds; once these are in place, seam sealer is used to completely cover the area to protect against corrosion, as per OEM standards. Also don't forget to remove the adhesive square from the bed of the JKU, to allow installation of the floor pan!jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-mojave-sand-ext-body-extention-prep-for-weld


    jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-ext-mojave-sand-rear-body-corner-extension-frame-seam-sealer-roll-bar-plateNext, the outbound body panels are temporarily fitted and aligned. Once everything is lined up, Rick is shown here making adjustments to the fuel door cutout, OEM sheetmetal, and the EXT body panels themselves. While the foam in the rear quarter panels has been removed, there is still quite a substantial amount housed in the body cavity by the rear doors. We removed the rubber plug next to the door latch, and throughout the welding process, sprayed water into this area (hence the spray bottle on the frame) to prevent a potential fire. Once the entire area is prepped, the welding can begin.jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-ext-mojave-sand-rear-body-corner-fitment


    jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-ext-mojave-sand-gas-door-cutout-modificationSeam sealer is applied to the OE quarter panels to guard against rust, and to help hold the JK-EXT panels in place. Once the body panels are clamped into place and everything is double checked, Rick is shown below making the final welds for the new outer quarter panels. Once the welding is completed, the welds and any rough areas are ground smooth in preparation for the trip to the body shop. Once the bed sides are completed, the OEM subwoofer cavity is plated over before the sub-floor is fitted to the new truck bed.jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-ext-mojave-sand-rear-passenger-body-panel-welding


    jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-ext-mojave-sand-rear-passenger-body-panel-welding-2Both surfaces are cleaned and the new sub-floor is added over the OEM subwoofer enclosure. This will become the base for the truck bed, so strength and corrosion protection is a must. Seam sealer is placed on the prepped areas and both areas are pressed and welded together. Once the sub-floor is in place, the main floor can be added on top of this (this piece features ridges, like the ones found on pickup trucks, while the sub-floor is smooth sheetmetal). Below, Rick welds these pieces into place; you may notice that we set a tire and a few brake rotors on the bed during this process. This is to ensure that all pieces set and dry correctly. Once the welds on the bed are done, the cab closeout, roll-bar, and hard-top can be fitted!jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-ext-conversion-mojave-sand-bed-plate

    jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-ext-conversion-mojave-sand-bed-cover-plate-weldingThe JK-EXT roll-bar is set in place and test fitted to what remains of the OEM roll-bar. The edges of the aftermarket roll-bar extension may need the primer/e-coating removed to fit inside the OEM roll-bar. This will be a tight fit. Once the roll-bar is in place, the holes for the mounting plate are marked and drilled out. The completed roll-bar will bolt through the floor to a plate on the underside of the Jeep. The hard-top is then placed on the EXT and bolted down; with this in place, the cab closeout can be lined up. Afterwards, the cab closeout is bolted to the body and seam sealer is used to close any gaps.jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-ext-conversion-mojave-sand-roll-bar-bolted-in-lined-up


    jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-ext-conversion-mojave-sand-hard-top-in-placeOnce everything is bolted down, the rear doors, door latches and tailgate are all put back on the JK-EXT, and the vehicle is pulled outside the garage, now ready for the paint and body shop. Stay tuned for more, we're planning a 3.5” AEV lift kit, 35” tires, and more!jeep-wrangler-unlimited-jk-mojave-sand-ext-conversion-stock

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