Go 4x4 It

RubiTrux and High Country 4x4 Blog

  • Vehicle of the Week - Scout II

    1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badge-international-front-driver-quarterAlthough Jeeps are our mainstay, we occasionally see a classic 4x4 without the seven slot grille, and if you’ve been reading our blog, you may have come across the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 or seen pictures of other “old-iron” 4x4s. This week we’ve got something special: an International Harvester Scout II from 1976!1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badge-internationalThe 1970s was a great decade for classic cars; while the 1980’s saw many of the rounded body lines changed for squared off panels and headlights (the Jeep Wrangler YJ comes to mind), vehicles from the 1970s still largely retained some design influence from the 1960s, with rounded and curved body lines, round headlights, and rounded off fender-wells. The Scout II is no exception, and while boxy like the Jeep CJ models of the time, does have rounded corners and classic styling present, similar to the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco. The “squared off” 1980’s never influenced the Scout production run, as it was discontinued for the 1980 model year. There was a Scout III concept that made a debut in 1979, and it did feature more 1980’s-esq design influences, but International Harvester dropped the Scout before the III could reach production.1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badgeWhat we have here in a 1976 International Harvester Scout II, complete with hard doors and roll up glass windows, and a new soft top by SoftTopper! This Scout features a 3-speed automatic transmission coupled to a 345 CID V8. Originally from Arizona, this Scout is on consignment here at the shop, and is listed for $10,500.00. As this is a 40-year old vehicle, there is a small amount of rust on the rocker panels, common to these 4x4s, but the vehicle itself is in overall good condition, and would make a great driver or weekend toy for the Scout enthusiast!1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badge-internationa-interior-camo-seatslThe interior has been reworked and includes custom camouflage seat upholstery and door panels. The dash is in good condition and the floor-pans are solid. The wheels have plenty of tread and the paint job is nearly immaculate, besides the aforementioned rust spot on the rocker panel. Custom bumper and brush guard included. The 31x10.50r15lts are in great shape and mounted to a set of 15” Cragar D-window wheels. Of course this truck is 4x4, and being a 1970s model, does feature Warn front locking hubs, saving on gas mileage and wear-and-tear for the front end!1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badge-international-rearIf you’re into Scouts and want one for your very own, or are looking for a great condition vehicle with which to start your build, let us know! We haven’t had this truck on the lot very long, and we don’t think it’ll last much longer; for the full ad, click here! With the Scout joining the club of early-Bronco’s and Blazers, which are fast becoming popular restoration projects (as everyone and their cousin has a CJ), someone is bound to scoop up this ride soon. Don’t miss out, give us a call today at (828) 266-9773!

  • Vehicle of the Week - 6.4L JKU

    custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hemi-black-aev-3-5-and-35sThis week we’re taking a look at this pre-owned 2016 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Rubicon HEMI. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those of you looking to buy a HEMI equipped Jeep Wrangler JKU, but may be on a slight budget. This Jeep was recently converted right here at our shop in Boone, North Carolina, so you know everything from the mechanical work to the small details are done right! The prior owner had us build the Jeep to spec, complete with the 6.4L HEMI, Alpine dashboard restyle kit, and Alea F-1 leather interior, but then decided he wanted a sports car, just a few weeks into owning this beautiful Jeep! So now this 6.4L JKU is back on our lot waiting for the next owner!custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hemi-black-aev-premium-front-bumper_1The price reflects the pre-owned status of the vehicle, but with less than 1,000 miles, this Jeep hasn’t even been broken in yet. This 6.4L JKU is ready for your choice of wheels, tires, bumpers, or lighting upgrades; or if you’re into the current all-in-one package, buy it the way it sits! This Jeep is certainly a head turner, and with the 6.4L HEMI, is a beast off-road or around town. The 6.4L HEMI puts out about 470-500 horsepower and up to 500 lb/ft torque!custom-jeep-wrangler-6-4-liter-hemi-conversionAs you can see, this 6.4L JKU Jeep comes already equipped, as it was built to spec for the previous owner. Current equipment for the exterior includes both front and rear AEV premium bumpers and the AEV tire carrier, along with a set of N-Fab Nerf Steps. Housed inside the front bumper is a Warn Zeon 8s Synthetic Rope Winch, if recovery ever becomes an issue. Lighting is provided by ARB Intensity lights (front bumper auxiliaries), JW Speaker Smoked LED Headlights and Fog Lamps, Rigid Industries 4 bulb rear mounted flood lamps, and Recon Smoked LED Taillights, turn signals, and fender lenses.custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hemi-black-arb-intensity-led_1The suspension on this Jeep is an AEV 3.5” DualSport SC Suspension, providing this Jeep with a great balance between on-road handling and off-road ability. Wheels are Fuel Hostage 18x9 wrapped in 35x12.50x18 Toyo Open Country M/T Tires, giving this 6.4L JKU a touch of street style with off-road capability. Moving to the interior, we not only notice the Alea Leather F-1 upgrade, but also the Alpine Restyle Kit, giving the interior a more refined and comfortable feel. Ride in comfort with the Alea leather, and use the larger touch screen of the Alpine unit for navigation, music, monitoring vehicles codes, tire pressure, and more!custom-jeep-wrangler-alea-leather-headrestAs this is the Rubicon model, this Jeep also comes with the Heavy Duty Dana-44 axles, the 4.10 gear ratio, electronic lockers, electronic disconnect front sway bar, and the 4:1 Rock-Track Transfer Case. Also included are the body colored fender flares, A/C, an engine block heater, 5-speed automatic transmission, and more! To see the full vehicle page, click here; more pictures are coming soon. This vehicle is currently for sale at $89,999.00; call Reggie Perry direct if you’re interested in buying this HEMI JKU, today at (828)406-3031!custom-jeep-wrangler-alea-leather-f-1-gray-black

  • 4.6L Brute - Part 4

    The 4.6L Brute is back in the garage bay and we’ve made some progress towards the final product, with additions such as a toolbox and the bed ‘cage! This Brute is getting ready to leave the shop soon, and it’s sure to be a beast! With the Turbocharged 4.0L Inline-6 pushing around 400 horsepower, this Brute is going to be ripping up the desert sand, especially with the 37’s and 4.88 gears! First up, the bed:jeep-wrangler-brute-4.7-build-turbo-37-bed-cage-custom-off-roadAs you know, the American Expedition Vehicles Brute kit takes a standard 1997-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ or LJ and converts it into a unique Jeep pickup truck! Anyone familiar with the 1976-2006 small body Jeep CJ/Wrangler platform knows how scarce interior space is. The Brute kit removes the back seat and provides a roomy cargo bed perfect for tents, bicycles, sleeping bags and more! Similar to the Utes found in Australia, the Brute merges the capabilities of two vehicles into one, for the best of both worlds! The Brute takes the 4x4 capabilities of the Jeep Wrangler and pairs it with the load carrying capacity of the pickup truck; the result, a stout off-road vehicle that’ll haul your camping gear and more for the perfect overland expedition!jeep-wrangler-brute-4.7-build-turbo-37-bed-cage-custom-off-road-air-toolboxAs you may be out for days at a time, a vehicle of this nature has to have a few recovery or repair systems (above). The locking UWS toolbox is perfect for storing your tools, while the PowerTank 10lbs air tank is great for airing up tires or using air tools in a pinch! If you need more air, there’s always the ARB Air Compressor that activates the lockers! Get stuck? While not likely in this ‘rig, there’s a Warn winch in both the front and rear of the Jeep, perfect for pulling another off-road vehicle to safety. The recently finished bed ‘cage tops off the Brute cargo bed, providing a nice place to strap cargo or place a rooftop tent!jeep-wrangler-brute-stroker-turbo-build-closeup.jpgjeep-wrangler-brute-4.7-build-turbo-inline-6-amc-strokerUnder the hood, we’ve got a built 4.6L Stroker with the Banks turbo kit, shown in the above images. The Banks kit improves low and mid-range torque, great for off-road use and even everyday driving! Around 60 hp and 80 lb-ft pounds of torque are added to the stock I-6 configuration, and about 3 seconds are shaved off the 0-60 MPH acceleration times, according to Banks. We hope to have this Jeep Dyno’d, so stay tuned for the numbers! With the built 4.6L and Turbo kit, there’s quite a few of us at the shop who think the AMC Inline-6 Brute will give the blue MOPAR V-8 Brute a run for its money!jeep-wrangler-brute-4.7-build-turbo-inline-6-amc-stroker-front-grille-arb-bullbarTaking a look at the front, we see the Warn winch, ARB intensity lights, the ARB front bumper, and tinted turn signal lenses, giving this Brute both functionality and a modern touch of style. The ARB bumper will protect the winch, grille and engine/turbo cooling systems from harm on the trail, while also providing a few additional recovery points in the form of two D-ring mounts.2005-jeep-wrangler-tj-black-inline-6-brute-conversion-front-passenger-sideThis Brute has come a long way from the mostly stock TJ that we had a few months ago; stay tuned for the finishing touches of this build. We’re looking forward to seeing this build side-by-side with our Blue V-8 HEMI Brute conversion! Let us know what you think, how you would build yours, and which one is your favorite!

  • 2016 Hypergreen JKUR - Part 2

    custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-metalcloak-overland-fender-flaresThis week we’re taking a look at Part 2 of our Hypergreen build! You may have seen this JKU if you’ve been by the shop or visited our website over the past several weeks; with this unique color, it’s hard to miss! First up, the suspension. As mentioned before, we kept the usual AEV suspension for this build, but for good reason! AEV provides great performance both on and off-road, and for most of our customers, the balanced on and off-road package is great for weekends on the trail or a daily driver around town.custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-rigid-industries-midnight-edition-led-lightsFor lighting we chose a 50" Rigid Industries Midnight Edition LED light bar, coupled with a pair of Rigid Midnight Dually Pods. These blacked out LED lights go well with all of the dark colors on this build, such as the wheels, tires and bumpers, and accent the Hypergreen very well! For headlights, we chose JW Speaker Evolution 2 Series LED Headlights and paired them up with a complete set of Recon Smoked LED Taillights and Turn Signals.custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-rockslide-engineering-stubby-front-bumperAs far as offroad armor goes, a Rock-Slide Engineering Stubby front bumper was chosen for improved approach angles. This bumper protects the front of the JKU and the Warn Zeon 8s winch mounted inside. In addition, there are two D-ring mounts if the new owner needs more recovery options, directly on the front of the bumper! There is also an RSE rear bumper and tire carrier, perfect for guarding the rear of the Jeep and toting around the large 37” spare!custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-rockslide-engineering-rear-bumper-tire-carrierTo go along with the stubby bumper, we chose to outfit this Jeep with Metalcloak Overland Fenders. This will give the Hypergreen JKU more room to run the 37" tires with the 3.5" AEV Lift Kit, making for a great LCOG (Low Center of Gravity) Jeep! This makes the Jeep not only more stable off-road, but also on-road as well, while sacrificing little in the way of ground clearance. Although this JKU features a LCOG build package, it is still significantly higher off the ground than a stock ‘rig. To help with entering and exiting the Jeep, and to protect the body, we chose the RSE Rock Step Sliders, which go well with the RSE bumpers and tire carrier. These sliders are handy in that a step folds out when the door opens, and tucks back inside the rock slider when the door closes, perfect for kids or owners more used to a low car or CUV than a Jeep.custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-recon-smoked-led-tail-lightscustom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-rock-slide-engineering-power-stepsA lifted Jeep wouldn’t be complete without a nice set of wheels and tires, and on this build, we didn’t want to slap on just any standard or popular wheel that you’d see in a mall parking lot or off-road meet. The wheels and tires we chose for this build differ from most of our standard JKU's in that we used BFGoodrich KM2’s and MOPAR Beadlocks. Although we love the Toyo Open Country M/T, the BFGoodrich tires that are featured on this build go well with the off-road look, and will certainly add to the offroad prowess of this LCOG Jeep. In addition, these rugged tires go great with the paint-matched MOPAR beadlocks. These wheels are getting hard to come by, and with the OEM paint color, really make this ‘rig stand out from the crowd!custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-mopar-beadlock-wheels-color-matchcustom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-alpine-x009-wra-restyle-headunitcustom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-alea-factory-style-leather-interiorThe OEM dash, door panels and accents remain mostly the same, but if you’d like, we could accent this in Hypergreen too! We did however add an Alea Factory Style Leather upgrade for the seats, and an Alpine X009-WRA Restyle Headunit, which not only gives this Jeep a larger touch-screen for navigation, but also can show useful things like tire pressure and engine codes! This Jeep is up on our site for $72,500.00, to see the full listing, click here!custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-hypergreen-aev-3-5-inch-dualpsport-sc-suspensionHow well do you like this Hypergreen JKUR, and would you do anything different if it was yours? Let us know, and don't forget to check back next week for further updates of what we've got going on around the shop!


  • 2016 Jeep Wrangler JKL

    jeep-wrangler-jk-jkl-long-wheel-base-stretchIf you’ve been keeping an eye out over on Wranglerforum, we’ve been posting a few updates about our custom 2-door JK conversion, dubbed the “JKL”. This Jeep was a special request by one of our customers and is built entirely to his specifications. As anyone remotely involved in the Jeep world knows, when the Jeep Wrangler was completely redesigned for 2007, the newer large-body JK’s featured a four door model in place of the older Scrambler or Unlimited LJ models. This was the first time four doors were offered on the Jeep Wrangler, and while the two door model is still produced alongside the four door, there is no long-wheelbase (LWB) version of the two door, such as seen during the TJ/LJ production run.jeep-cj-8-scrambler-jeep-beach-20152006-blue-lj-5-7-hemi-sideWhile the four door version sells like hotcakes, and FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) is certainly raking in the profits due to the huge popularity of the four door JK Unlimited, some buyers are still interested in the classic two door configuration; for some 4x4ers out there, four doors just don’t belong on a Jeep. So what do you get when someone prefers the two door model, but needs extra cargo space? Our Wrangler JKL conversion, of course! Back in the mid-2000’s, if you wanted a Wrangler, but found the TJ too short, it was simple; just go to the dealership and order a TJ-L (more widely known as the LJ). You got the same vehicle, but with more leg room and cargo space! That all changed however, in 2007. The Wrangler Unlimited now had four doors, and arguably looked a bit odd with the top and doors off, especially to those used to seeing a CJ-8 or LJ. The new back seat also created a bit of a problem when folded down or removed; more complex than the simple metal cargo bed and rear bench seats of the TJ/LJ, the rear floor of the JKU was uneven due to the large recess for the folding seats. Even with the seats folded down, which afforded a relatively even cargo surface, heavy or rough cargo could damage the rear upholstery or headrests. So how do you take the most civilized Wrangler to date and uncivilized it? Just give us a call!soft-top-jk8This build started with a simple request. The new owner wanted a two door Jeep, but with more cargo room and a longer wheelbase. He also wanted a simple and durable cargo bed with the ability to carry a variety of loads. This Jeep was destined to be a beach ‘rig, and as such, the owner also wanted a durable and waterproof floor, something that wouldn’t rust or mildew. As this is 2016 and there is no brand new LWB 2-door Wrangler, we chose a JK Unlimited and started stripping parts from there!jk8-door-panel13501553_894162844063806_3242849747289161892_n13445288_894162840730473_5257601138185560222_nAs you can see with this Wrangler JKL, the back seat and all carpet was removed from the Jeep. The rear doors were also removed and the body was plated over, followed by a custom cargo bed. The cargo bed features drain holes so that water does not collect at the corners. This gives the Jeep a large, even deck for storage, much better and more durable than the factory sheetmetal. LED Lights by Rigid Industries were also added to the rollbar and directly under the J-rails, great for lighting up the new cargo bed with the top on or during low light conditions.13516293_894162847397139_8049129946472433026_nj8-bedlinerrigid-industries-jk-cargo-lightSpeaking of the top; the OEM soft top is shown on the finished build below. As this Jeep is bound for the beach, the owner will have a custom soft-top made at one of the many boating/canvas suppliers in his area, and we’re looking forward to seeing the finished product! For now, the OEM top keeps the water off the dash, radio and instrument cluster. Now onto the completed build. As you can see, along with the Wrangler JKL conversion, we also installed a lift kit, tires, and more, to make this beach cruiser offroad ready!jeep-wrangler-jk-jkl-long-wheel-basejeep-wrangler-jk-mopar-beadlock-wheelsFor this build, the owner chose an AEV 3.5” lift kit and 35” BFGoodrich KM2 M/T tires mounted on MOPAR beadlocks, giving this JKL a truly unique look. With the lift kit, tires, and Line-X’d interior, this Jeep is ready to cruise the beach or take on some tough trails! Did we also mention it’s a 6-speed stick-shift? With many Jeep Wrangler JK’s featuring an automatic transmission, a stick shift is a sight for sore eyes, and gives this Jeep Wrangler JKL an additional touch of ruggedness that many modern vehicles lack.  Once the custom soft top is completed, this JKL is sure to get second and third looks and plenty of attention around town or on the trail, as it’s one unique ride! Like this build, or have any ideas on how to build your own Jeep Wrangler JKL? Be sure to let us know!jeep-wrangler-jk-jkl-long-wheel-base-2-door

  • HyperGreen JKU - Part 1

    2016-hypergreen-hyper-green-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-rubicon-stockThis week we're taking a look at another one of our builds, and while you may be used to seeing our traditional AEV build with either a 3.5" or 4.5" lift and 35's or 37's, we're taking this Jeep in a whole new direction! We wanted to try something fitting for this color, which you probably noticed right off the bat. Unlike the other new colors such as Rhino, Mojave Sand, and Sarge Green, introduced for the 2016 year model, Hypergreen is a bright attention-grabber. While dull colors like greens, black, or billet look great on Jeep Wranglers, sometimes you gotta go all the way with a unique color like Amp'd, Copperhead Pearl, or in this case, Hypergreen.2016-hypergreen-hyper-green-jeep-wrangler-exterior-rse-rock-slide-engineering-front-bumper-toyo-all-terrain-salta-wheel-passenger-side-front-angleWhile the Hypergreen color may look like a yellow highlighter on the official Jeep website, it's actually a shade darker in person, and goes great with black accents and the OEM interior. With such a unique color, we couldn't just keep the stock-ish look that many lifted Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited's retain. While the clean "cookie-cutter" build is certainly a popular choice with our customers, with a color like Hypergreen, the aftermarket accessories need to be just as attention grabbing and off the beaten path as the color itself!2016-hypergreen-hyper-green-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-rubicon-exterior-front-passenger-sideFirst up, the suspension. Not much has changed here from our traditional build as we retained the usual AEV suspension, but with good reason! AEV provides great performance both on and off-road, and while a long arm such as a RockKrawler would be great for the more hardcore off-roader, an AEV suspension provides the more balanced on and off-road package. While the wheels pictured here are the AEV Salta, we are changing these out for some MOPAR Beadlocks on the final build, so stay tuned!2016-hypergreen-hyper-green-jeep-wrangler-exterior-rse-rock-slide-engineering-front-bumper-grille-shotThe tires we chose for this build differ from our standard JKU's in that we used Toyo Open Country R/T's instead of Toyo Open Country M/T's. Although we love the Toyo Open Country M/T, this hybrid M/T and A/T tire gives the perfect balance between on and off-road performance, and will go well with the MOPAR beadlocks.2016-hypergreen-hyper-green-jeep-wrangler-rse-rock-slide-engineering-front-bumper-stubby-warn-winchAlthough this build is still in progress, we've already mounted the front bumper. A Rock-Slide Engineering Stubby was chosen for improved approach angles. This bumper also protects the front of the JKU and the Warn winch mounted inside. In addition, there are two D-ring mounts if the new owner needs more recovery options! As of now, an RSE rear bumper and tire carrier are also slated for this vehicle as well.2016-hypergreen-hyper-green-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-rubicon-interior-driver-seatTo go along with the stubby bumper, the OEM stock fenders will be replaced with Metalcloak Overland Fenders, similar to some of our Tank builds from last year (see below). This will give the Hypergreen JKU more room to run the 37" tires with the 3.5" AEV Lift Kit, making for a great LCOG (Low Center of Gravity) Jeep!2016-hypergreen-hyper-green-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-rubicon-interiorRight now the interior remains stock, aside from the Alpine In-Dash Restyle system. This system will give the driver a large, 9" screen with which to use GPS and radio controls while on the road, and can also monitor vehicle functions and engine codes! The Jeep dashboard now sports a unique and high-end look with this kit, but still retains the general OEM feel, with the Alpine unit looking as if it could have been a MOPAR factory add-on itself!2016-hypergreen-hyper-green-jeep-wrangler-interior-alpine-restyle-kit-dashFor now, check out our prior Overland and LCOG style Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited builds below, and stay tuned for the completed Hypergreen build, coming soon; it's sure to turn some heads - Don't forget to let us know what you think!2015-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-rubicon-aev-poison-spyder-roof-rack-driver-three-quarter2015-canyon-brown-pearl-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-pass-three-quartercustom-2015-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-unilimited-tank-poison-spyder-rigid-lightscustom-jeep-wrangler-red-105514-dramatic-high

  • 4.6L Brute - Part 3

    pair-of-brute-jeep-conversion-black-blue-hemi-inline-6-build-in-progressWe've had the 4.6L Brute back from paint for about a week or so now, and have made headway with many of the aftermarket accessories, including the wheels and tires, winch, bumpers, etc. The rollcage is still at paint and the vehicle itself is getting ready to leave for Line-X soon, for the truck bed interior, but you can see from these images that this project is on the home stretch!2006-jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-front-grille-led-jw-speaker-headlights-37-bfgoodrich-all-terrain-tires-snorkel-poison-spyder-trail-cage2006-jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-lift-and-tires-snorkel2006-jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-bfgoodrich-tires-37-raceline-wheels-bajaThe paint and body shop did an awesome job with this 4.6L Brute, and the black factory coded paint goes well with the aftermarket accessories, much of which are black as well. First up, we've got the 37" BFGoodrich All-Terrain Tires (above); while some offroad enthusiasts advocate a good mud terrain, this Brute's new home will be in the desert, and with an all-terrain winning over an M/T in the sand any day, the new KO2's were a no brainer. These 37" tires are mounted to a nice set of Raceline wheels, which go well with the blacked out look of this 'rig.2006-jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-snorkel-wheelwell-bfgoodrich-all-terrain-tires2006-jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-interior-poison-spyder-trail-cage-snorkelA Safari snorkel ensures that the 4.6L gets plenty of fresh air; a must have in the desert. A Poison Spyder trail cage protects the occupants, and LED headlights and smoked turn signals give the Brute a sleek, modern look. As far as bumpers go, this Brute gets an ARB front bumper, which houses a Warn winch in case recovery becomes an issue. In the images below, you can also see the TeraFlex '60 axles, perfect for the 37" tires and 4.6L engine.2006-jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-rear-bed-view-raceline-wheels-bfgoodrich-tires-37-nth-long-arm2006-inline-6-jeep-wrangler-tj-brute-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-arb-bumper-snorkel-teraflex-axles-front-passenger-side-angleAs mentioned above the 4.6L Brute is about to leave for the Line-X bed treatment, so stay tuned for our next update where we'll install the final touches such as the interior, fender flares, tailgate, and bed 'cage, and don't forget to let us know what you think!2006-inline-6-jeep-wrangler-tj-brute-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-arb-bumper-snorkel-teraflex-axles

  • 2006 HEMI Brute - Part 4

    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-passenger-sideYou may remember our Brute build that was sent to paint awhile back; well, it's returned after a long hiatus and we've begun work on the long arm kit! When complete, this Brute will be ready for the toughest trails around. First up lets check out the Nth Degree long arm suspension kit! The Nth Degree long-arm kit was chosen because it provides higher ground clearance than other long-arm kits on the market. This will ensure that the underside of the Brute doesn't get caught on any rocks or obstacles on the trail, especially with it's long wheelbase (LWB). The Brute as it returned from paint.2006-jeep-brute-pickup-trailer-blue-shopAfter the new Brute is pulled into the garage, the Rubicon Dana-44 axles are removed from the vehicle. This will allow easy access to the control arms and underside of the Jeep for the Nth Degree long arm install. Below, a jack supports the weight of the transmission, as the transmission skid has been dropped as well.2006-jeep-wrangler-brute-conversion-hemi-long-arm-upgrade-lift-shop2006-jeep-wrangler-brute-conversion-hemi-long-arm-upgrade-lift-shop-linkage-adjustment-transmission-motor-skid-removedWith the stock control arms and mounts removed from the vehicle, the new long arm mounts and arms are added. The rear axle housing is reinstalled, along with the new Bilstein shocks. The rear axle is then regeared to 4.88 and a shiny new American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) differential cover is added. The rear differential also gets a skid plate and third arm, shown below as well. As this kit was designed for the LJ, the crossmember connecting the third arm to the rear axle had to be modified; more on this later.jeep-wrangler-hemi-v8-brute-conversion-488-gear-install-rear-suspension-long-armjeep-wrangler-lj-hemi-v8-brute-conversion-rear-axle-american-expedition-vehicles-diff-cover-painted-shocks-n-springs-bilsteinsjeep-wrangler-lj-hemi-v8-brute-conversion-rear-suspension-diff-guard-skid-tri-linkBelow we have the new transmission skid plate and mount. You may notice how high up this skid plate is in relation to the frame; other long arm kits feature a much lower skid compared to the Nth Degree kit. As ground clearance was something that couldn't be sacrificed on this build, especially with the length of the Brute, the Nth Degree skid design will certainly come in handy!jeep-wrangler-hemi-v8-brute-conversion-aev-american-expedition-vehicles-transmission-skid-mountThe front axle is shown here - Chris Minnich elected to do the gear and truss install while the axle was out of the vehicle, as this allows easy access for welding the truss. The front axle will also get an identical AEV differential cover to the rear. In addition to the truss, regear and diff cover, the front axle shafts will be swapped out for some RCV shafts, to increase the durability over that of a conventional U-joint.jeep-wrangler-lj-hemi-v8-brute-conversion-front-axle-gear-installAfter the front axle was regeared and the truss installed, the Jeep (now with the front long-arms in place) is lowered back onto the axle, and the axle is bolted up. The shocks, springs, sway bar links and track-bar are also attached at this point. Note the track bar bracket from the driver's side of the frame extending to the frame just in front of the passenger spring. This Nth degree bracket comes with the lift kit and allows the track-bar to retain the OEM geometry, resulting in an improved ride over that of an adjustable track-bar.jeep-wrangler-lj-v8-hemi-brute-unlimited-conversion-long-arm-kitjeep-wrangler-lj-v8-hemi-brute-unlimited-front-axle-install-driver-sidejeep-wrangler-lj-rubicon-brute-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-front-axle-suspension-in-place-liftBack to the rear axle; as mentioned the kit is designed for a Jeep LJ. While the Jeep LJ features a longer wheelbase than the Jeep TJ, it is still shorter than a Brute. On a stock LJ the third arm crossmember bolts up directly behind the transfercase/transmission skid plate. However, with the Brute frame extension this leaves the third arm short. Simply moving the crossmember towards the rear of the vehicle won't work, as it will hit the driveshaft. The solution is to build a custom bracket that both attaches to the transmission skid and driver's side frame rail, shown below.jeep-wrangler-lj-rubicon-brute-conversion-tri-link-customTo build this custom bracket, the original cross-member is first cut down and test fit to the Brute. Next up, supports and a mount connecting the transmission skid plate are built to the crossmember. Once this design is roughed out and test fit, it is removed, plated over and painted. Below, you can see the third link angle and finished product.2006-jeep-hemi-brute-new-custom-crossmember-tri-linkNext, the Brute is lowered and the steering setup and "rollers" are installed so it can be pulled out of the garage bay. Rollers are often worn out tires that are used simply for moving the vehicle from one side of the lot to another, or to pull the vehicle in or out of a garage bay. In this case, we reused the 33" BFGoodrich tires that were already on the vehicle during it's life as a HEMI powered LJ. Soon, this build will get a new set of shoes, but for now, these 33's will do.2006-hemi-brute-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-in-progressThe HEMI Brute is then pulled out of the garage bay to make way for another build. We're currently waiting on a few last minute parts, so stay tuned for further updates! If you remember the other Brute build with the Inline-6, it's here as well, having also returned from paint. Both Brute 'rigs will be getting 37" tires in addition to the Nth Degree long arm kits and more. Let us know what you think, and if you're interested in a Brute of your own give us a call at 828-406-3031!pair-of-brute-jeep-conversion-black-blue-hemi-inline-6-build-in-progress


  • Vehicle of the Week - 2016 Rhino JKU

    custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-jw-speaker-8700-j-headlightsThis week we're taking a look at one of our lot builds, this time in the Rhino color! Rhino is a new factory color for the 2016 model Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited, and if Mojave Sand is to be any indicator, Rhino may feature a limited run. We've heard that dealers have stopped taking orders for Mojave Sand, and we suspect that Rhino may be headed that way as well. The Rhino color is unique in that it appears to shift colors more than other factory Jeep finishes. Depending on the lighting, Rhino can appear to be nearly black, anvil, or a dark gray. In reality, Rhino is more of a blue-gray color, and goes very well with black accents and accessories, such as AEV bumpers, wheels, and the like.custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-aev-premium-front-bumpercustom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-amp-research-power-stepsFor this Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Rubicon, we chose the 4.5" AEV lift kit and 37x13.50x17 Toyo Open Country RT Tires. The 37's are mounted to 17" AEV Salta Wheels. This gives the Jeep JKU a nice stance and proportional tire size for the lift height. Along with the wheels, tires and lift kit, this Jeep also recieved lighting upgrades in the form of JW Speaker Evolution J Headlights, JW Speaker Fog Lights, Recon turn signals, and JW Speaker 279 J Series Tailights. A pair of ARB 21 Intensity LED lights are mounted to the AEV Premium front bumper. Housed within the bumper is a Warn 8s Synthetic Winch for recovery, if need be. An AFE Y-Pipe and Banks Ram-Air Intake System allow this Jeep to make the most of it's 3.6L engine, and the AEV Premium Rear bumper carries the 37" spare with ease.custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-aev-rear-tire-carrierAs this Rhino JKU is a Rubicon, it does feature the front and rear heavy-duty Dana-44 axles, 4:1 Rock Track transfer case, factory lockers, and electronic sway bar disconnects. The Rubicon entered production in 2003 for the Jeep Wrangler TJ, and is geared towards the off-road crowd. The Rubicon was the first true "turn-key" off-road vehicle offered from the factory, and continues to be offered through the Jeep JK platform today. The Rubicon is great for those looking for an off-road ready and trail capable Jeep straight from the factory, and with the AEV lift kit, 37's, Warn Winch and bumpers, is a formidable machine off road or about town.custom-jeep-wrangler-jk-rubicon-rhino-alea-platini-nappa-leathercustom-jeep-wrangler-jk-rubicon-rhino-alea-leather-headrest-nappaWe didn't just upgrade the exterior however; with modern day Jeeps, especially the Jeep Wrangler JK, luxury seating and interior accents are becoming more popular. For this Jeep, we chose Alea Custom Platini Nappa Leather in a two tone black and dark red color. The HVAC bezels, door trim panels and navigation trim pieces were also color matched in the red. The navigation system is an Alpine Restyle Kit featuring a 9" anti-glare touch screen.custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-painted-interior-trim-alpine-restyle-x009-wracustom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-painted-interior-trim-ventcustom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-painted-interior-door-trimOther features on this Jeep are a 5-speed automatic transmission, remote start, an engine block heater, heated front seats, the power convenience group, A/C with Automatic Temperature Control, and the Trailer Tow Group. Also included is the factory Bluetooth® package and supplemental front seat-mounted airbags.custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-4-5-inch-aev-and-37sAs you can see, the Rhino color changes quite a bit depending on the lighting, making this a truly unique color, especially for a lifted JKU. This Jeep is for sale for $69,995.00, but if you want to add a few more accessories, or even replace the stock V6 with a V8, we can do that too, just give us a call at 828-406-3031!

  • Jeep CJ/Wrangler Differences Over Time

    For the new Jeep owner or the car enthusiast who is just getting into the Jeep and 4x4 scene, there's a few important things to note. Stuff like the Jeep wave, how to tell certain Jeep models apart from one another, the pros and cons of each model, what Jeep you should buy, and more. With a Jeep, you've got a 4x4 convertible that's at home at the beach, around town or on the trail, and can be used as anything from a DD (Daily Driver) to a dedicated off-road 'rig. The CJ and Wrangler changed little over the years until the late 2000's, when the Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited were introduced. The first production Wrangler to feature four-doors, the JK market now expanded into the family-friendly segment, crossing into mini-van and SUV territory. As a result, the sales of this Wrangler hit a new high, making it the most popular Jeep model to date. From soccer moms to offroad enthusiasts, the JK has widened the Wrangler market further than it's predecessors, but in doing so has ditched what some see as the “classic” or “heritage” body styles of the CJ/YJ/TJ platform. What changed exactly, and how? Moreover, if you're out and about or on the trail, how do you tell the differences between these Jeep models? Scroll down for a brief overview of the Jeep, from the CJ-5 to the present day Wrangler!jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-lineupFirst thing's first, what kind of Jeep do you have, and what's this with the “Jeep Wave”? For this article, we'll cover the CJ-5 to the present day Wrangler, in chronological order. First, the Jeep Wave. The Jeep wave is a greeting that is exchanged between Jeeps while on the road or trail. While many Jeeps will wave to one another regardless of the year or model, this wave is more common among the CJ and Wrangler Jeeps than a Compass or Patriot. Technically the newer Jeep is supposed to initiate the wave, and if you really want to get involved there's a point system to account for mud, modifications, etc. We won't get into the numbers, but the hierarchy is as follows: Pre-CJ (Such as a Willys MB), Pre-AMC CJ, CJ's, the Jeep Commando, YJ, TJ, Cherokee, and All other Jeeps (JK, Liberty, Commander). However, the most important thing is - remember to wave!1979-cj7-inline-6-amc-front1979-cj7-inline-6-amc-side-interiorWe'll start with the CJ-5/7/8 Jeeps. The CJ-5 began production in 1954, featuring the shortest wheelbase out of the CJ-5/7/8 models, and was influenced by the M38 and M38A1 Jeeps used by the US Military during the Korean War. The CJ-7 was a longer wheelbase (~10” longer) version of the CJ-5, shown above, first appearing in 1976. The '5 was produced until 1983, and the '7 until 1986, when it was replaced by the Jeep Wrangler YJ. The classic CJ featured leaf springs, a flat metal dash, and was about the size of the YJ and TJ that replaced it. The version you see here is a restored 1979 Jeep CJ-7, and features the early style full doors, hardtop, and factory tire carrier. The turn signals are mounted underneath the headlights, and the fenders and hood are rounded while the grille retains an upright position.1979-cj7-inline-6-amc-three-quarterjeep-scrambler-front-driver-quarter-shotscrambler-half-cab-configuationjeep-scrambler-interior-cj-8-automatic-half-cabThe above Jeep is a CJ-8 Scrambler, factory original; this version has the longest wheelbase of the CJ series, and is considered by many to be an ancestor of the JK Unlimited. Here you'll see the later model doors with paddle handles as well as the Scrambler half-cab and cab-closeout, turning the CJ-8 into a Jeep pickup! The Scrambler was offered in the pickup configuration you see here, but could also be had with a full hardtop or traditional soft-top. This Scrambler has an Inline-6 and optional 3-speed automatic transmission (manual transmissions were first offered for the CJ-7 in the mid-1970s, but did not truly become widespread until the Jeep JK came out in 2007). The CJ-8 may be seen with or without the “Scrambler” decals, but the long wheelbase is a dead giveaway. The Scrambler was produced from 1981-1986. The CJ-5, CJ-7, and CJ-8 could be ordered with a variety of 4, 6, or 8 cylinder engines, depending on the year and trim package.cj-7-jeep-sport-bar-bikini-topcj-7-and-yj-wrangler-side-by-sideIn both the CJ-7 and CJ-8 that we see above, in addition to the early model YJ (shown directly above, more on the YJ below), the roll-bar is what's commonly known as the “sport bar” setup; the “family-bar” did not make an appearance until the early 1990's on the Wrangler YJ, when shoulder belts were added for the rear seat. This family-bar has continued in roughly the same shape and form through the late-model YJ, TJ, and two-door Jeep Wrangler JK, and is a tell for 1991 and older (sport bar), and 1992 and newer (family bar) Jeeps.1991-jeep-wrangler-yj-renegade-front1991-jeep-wrangler-yj-renegade-driver-side-angleThe Jeep Wrangler YJ (above) replaced the classic CJ line for the 1987 model year and featured several changes, but kept the overall size and shape of the previous models. The Jeep Wrangler YJ was equipped with both the AMC 2.5L Inline-4 and Inline-6 engines (The 4.2L was replaced by the 4.0L in 1990, when the Jeep switched over to electronic fuel injection), and could be equipped with an optional automatic transmission. The 4-cylinder models did not receive an automatic option until 1994. AMC (American Motors Corporation) was bought out by Chrysler in 1987, right after the new Wrangler hit the dealer lots. However, it would be almost 20 years before a Chrysler engine or design influenced the Wrangler, possibly due to the large amount of AMC employees absorbed during the Chrysler buyout in the late 1980s.1991-jeep-wrangler-yj-renegade-rearThe Jeep Wrangler YJ seen here is a 1991 Renegade. The Renegade was a package offered from 1991 to 1994 and featured the large fiberglass fenders and bumpers seen above. Standard YJ's can be easily distinguished by the square headlights and turn signals on the front grille; it is the only Wrangler to feature square lights instead of the classic round headlights. The Jeep Wrangler YJ features a more refined dashboard than the CJ, along with wider leaf springs and things like track-bars and sway-bars to help with on-road handling, an answer to the bad press Jeep received during the 1980s in regards to vehicle rollovers.1991-jeep-wrangler-yj-renegade-interiorThe YJ continued into 1995 and was replaced by the Jeep Wrangler TJ in 1997 (there are no 1996 model Jeep Wranglers). The TJ can be easily identified by the round headlights and fender mounted turn signals. The TJ is the only Wrangler to feature fender mounted turn signals. The fenders and hood return to the curvature resembling a CJ-7, as opposed to the squared off fenders and hood of the YJ, and the grille remains in an upright position. A big change for the TJ was the replacement of the leaf spring suspension by a modern coil spring setup, giving the TJ a better ride quality than previous open-top Jeeps. Designed during the early 1990s, the Jeep Wrangler TJ also retained the same basic shape and dimensions of the CJ-7 and YJ that came before, and most models until 2002 featured roughly the same drivetrain as the YJ, dating back as far as 1987 for the 4-cylinder and 1991 for the Inline-6!1998-jeep-wrangler-tj-green-sahara-tsl-super-swamper-front1998-jeep-wrangler-tj-green-sahara-tsl-super-swamperThe Jeep Wrangler TJ pictured above is a 1999 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, which was top-of-the-line before the Rubicon appeared in 2003. There are several carryovers from the YJ and CJ, but a few new features on these Jeeps as well. For example, the windshield hinges are still exposed on the TJ, allowing easy access to drop the windshield, a novelty still popular today. Also, removing the doors is a snap, as Jeep had yet to offer factory power windows or power locks. In addition to the new suspension setup mentioned above, the TJ received a more refined interior, with an instrument cluster centered over the steering wheel and the HVAC controls/radio placed above the shifter. Also note the airbags in the steering wheel and above the glove compartment, a first for the Wrangler in 1997. The AMC door handles, both interior and exterior, were also retained from the CJ/YJ until 2006, when this model was discontinued (2004 model shown below).2002-jeep-wrangler-blue-red-tow-hooks-full-doors-dash In the next image down, you can see the front clip changes from 1954-2006. In addition, all 1976 CJ-7 through 2006 TJ models shared roughly the same dimensions, which allow certain parts, like tops and doors, to be exchanged between Jeeps, albeit with some minor modifications. The vehicles picture below are a 1987-1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ (in 1991 Renegade trim package, left), a 1976-1986 Jeep CJ-7 (center), and a modified 1997-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ (right). During the final years of the TJ, both the LJ and Rubicon models made an appearance. The LJ Unlimited is a long wheelbase TJ (sometimes called the TJ-L) that resembles a CJ-8 Scrambler, and the Rubicon model (available in both TJ and LJ Jeeps), features certain goodies like Dana-44 axles, a low range 4:1 transfer case, and factory lockers.jeep-yj-cj-tj-1-resize-for-webThe Jeep Wrangler JK and four-door JK Unlimited (below) appeared in 2007, replacing the Jeep TJ and LJ Unlimited. 2007 was the first time four-doors were offered in an open-top Jeep, and also marked the first time the Wrangler platform was completely redesigned by Chrysler. Changes included a 3.8L V6 engine, replacing the classic 4.0L, and a complete redesign of the frame and body. The Jeep Wrangler TJ was the last American Motors influenced design, and the last Jeep to use AMC parts or feature the traditional tub-on-frame layout. You can tell a Jeep Wrangler JK apart from older model Wranglers in that they are larger, may have four doors (a dead giveaway with the Unlimited), and generally feature a sloped and more aerodynamic layout, especially at the windshield and grille. The fenders are large plastic units mounted high to either side of the body, and the grille is in a sloped back position, rather than completely upright. Turn signals have once again been placed beneath the headlights, and if in stock form, this Jeep will feature large plastic bumpers with (optional) fog lamps mounted inside the bumper, rather than on top. The version you see here is a brand new 2016 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport in the limited run Mojave Sand color.2016-jeep-wrangler-mojave-sand-frontFor the new model JK and JK Unlimited (2007-present), Chrysler designed a larger, more stable and family-friendly vehicle that handles better on-road, with a ride akin to that of a large SUV rather than a light-duty truck, while retaining the off-road abilities that make the Jeep a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts and gear heads alike. The JK marks the first time that power windows and locks have been offered on a Wrangler, and also marks the addition of an on-board computer system that handles most of the vehicle functions (transmission shift points, electronic stability control, etc). This Wrangler is larger and more civilized than it's predecessors, with such optional addons as side airbags and factory navigation, but still retains the fold-down windshield (windshield hinge plate removal required, the JK does not feature exposed hinges), and removable doors (wiring harnesses may need to be disconnected if the model features power windows or locks). Major changes for the JK during production include the replacement of the underpowered 3.8L with the much improved 3.6L V6 in 2012, and the interior redesign in 2011.2016-jeep-wrangler-mojave-sand-front-driver-corner2016-jeep-wrangler-mojave-sand-rear-cornerThe Jeep Wrangler JK also received a much more refined interior than the Jeeps that preceded it, resembling that of a top-of-the-line SUV, with such add-ons and options as leather accents, leather seats, factory navigation, premium sound systems, and the like. As you can see below, the doors, dashboard, and interior are much larger and roomier than on older Wranglers and the CJ-7 shown above.Jeep-wrangler-rubicon-unlimited-anvil-for-sale-interior-frontseatsSo where do we go from here? Spy photos of the next generation Wrangler have surfaced on the web (courtesy of AutoGuide and KGP Photography), and indicate some body and styling changes for the next generation, although this redesign may not be as drastic as the change from the TJ to the JK in 2007. Changes rumored for the new model, dubbed the JL, include a modular hard-top (replacing the traditional softop), retirement of the fold-down windshield, more rake placed on the grille and windshield (ie, both have a greater slope towards the rear of the vehicle), and other changes that make this Wrangler more aerodynamic than it's predecessors. Time will tell if the new Wrangler is to enjoy the same popularity as the older models, or if some potential buyers will turn a cold shoulder due to the removal of the popular soft-top option.2018-jeep-wrangler-jl-spy-shot-passenger-side2018-jeep-wrangler-jl-spy-shot-quarter-rearSo what's your favorite model, and why? Are you looking forward to the new JL and Jeep pickup, will you be scrambling to buy one of the last new JK or JK Unlimited models off the lot, or are you just looking for that classic Wrangler or CJ for the perfect restoration project? Leave a comment and let us know, and stay tuned for more, only at RubiTrux!

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