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Monthly Archives: February 2016

  • Vehicle of the Week - 2012 LCOG Unlimited

    custom-jeep-wrangler-black-poison-spyder-stinger-214130This week, we're taking a look at a pre-owned Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited. This Jeep only has 42k miles on the clock and features many aftermarket upgrades, great for the owner looking to jump right in without the hassle of building up a stock Jeep. Built with nothing but the best in aftermarket accessories, this JK Unlimited is ready for the toughest trails around, while still providing a sturdy on-road platform with the LCOG setup and 37” tires.custom-jeep-wrangler-black-poison-spyder-body-armor-214130The suspension and tire setup on this Unlimited go hand-in-hand. While the traditional means to fit a 35-37” tire is a 4-6” lift, depending on what generation Wrangler you're looking at (A Jeep TJ will require more lift for a larger tire than a Wrangler JK, for example), this JKU couples a 2.5” lift and flat fenders to fit 37” tires, perfect for keeping the center of gravity low while on the trail or around town. The lift is an Icon Vehicle Dynamics 2.5” coilover kit coupled with Teraflex Long Arms, while the tires are 37x13.50x17 Toyo Open Country M/T's. A lower center of gravity means less body roll while going into corners on pavement; while offroad, the likelihood of a rollover is decreased as well.custom-jeep-wrangler-black-214130-hemi-badgeAs far as power goes, a 5.7L HEMI coupled with 4.88 gears turn the large 37” tires with ease, giving this 'rig plenty of horsepower and torque. The front OEM Dana-44 was retained for this build, but the rear axle was upgraded to a Dynatrac Prorock 60. These axles are also equipped with ARB Air Lockers, which are powered by an ARB Dual Air Compressor mounted behind the rear seat.custom-jeep-wrangler-black-214130-frontThe undercarriage of this Jeep JK Unlimited features a full T&T Customs skid plate package, while Poison Spyder Bumpers, Flares, and Body Armor protect the frame, fenders and body of the vehicle. If recovery becomes an issue, a Warn 9.5 cti-s Winch and custom-painted Hi-Lift Jack are ready to help, while Smittybilt D-rings provide a solid point at which to attach tow straps or a winch line to the bumper.custom-jeep-wrangler-black-rigid-industries-lights-front-214130Aside from the 5.7L V-8 HEMI, this Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited also features a Genesis Dual Battery Setup under the hood, perfect for all of the aftermarket LED lights, which we'll cover in a second, or for jump-starting the Jeep with the second battery should the first battery die, for example. There is also an sPod system, keeping the wiring for all of the LED light bars neat and organized, which is coupled to the 6-Rocker switch panel inside the cabin.custom-jeep-wrangler-black-poison-spyder-roll-cage-214130In regards to LED lighting, this Jeep has it all. With the dual battery under the hood and switch setup inside the cab, powering all of these accessories is a breeze! Lights include 8 Rigid Industries D2 Pods, 1 Rigid Industries 10” LED bar, one 20” Rigid LED bar, one 40” Rigid LED bar, and three 50” Rigid LED bars. Oracle LED side mirrors and Truck-lite LED headlights round out the aftermarket light package. All of these LED's will ensure that this Jeep JKU will have no trouble turning night into day, whether around town or on the trail!custom-jeep-wrangler-black-dynatrac-pro-rock-60-214130Inside the cabin, there are numerous upgrades that add to the comfort, safety, and function of this Jeep JK Unlimited. In regards to safety, a Poison Spyder trail cage removes the weak-point in the factory roll-bar system while also providing room in the center section to add more rocker switches in the form of a Daystar switch panel. The factory interior has been replaced with a full custom two-toned Katzkin leather set, while the red Bartact grab handles and custom pool-ball shifter provide a nice touch as well. The front seats are also equipped with Katzkin seat heaters, perfect for those cold winter mornings, while the sPod 6-Rocker Switch Panel remains within easy reach, above the rear-view mirror.custom-jeep-wrangler-black-katzkin-custom-leather-214130Stock JK Unlimited Rubicon accessories include the supplemental front seat-mounted side airbags, Bluetooth connectivity group, A/C, electronic sway-bar disconnects, the 4:1 Rock-Track Transfer Case, a 5-speed automatic transmission, remote start, and the power convenience group.custom-jeep-wrangler-black-atx-chamber-pro-wheels-214130This Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited has it all, and more. While the high number of LED light bars and the roof-rack may not appeal to some, with the large aftermarket Jeep following and used parts markets on places such as Craigslist and Ebay, the new owner could simplify the build rather easily, and put those funds to use for further modifications! Whatever your plans, come by and check out this Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited, V-8 HEMI and all, the next time you're in Boone. We're sure you won't be disappointed!

  • Product of the Week - Hothead Headliners

    Hot-head-liner-oak-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimitedThis week, we're taking a look at Hothead Headliners. If you have a Jeep Wrangler with a hard top, you may have looked into such products from MOPAR or other vendors. Hothead Headliners first appeared on the market in 2009. Sold by Mark Ambrose Enterprises, Inc., these headliners were constructed in Mark's upholstery shop. Mark's shop has since switched to products aimed specifically at the Jeep Wrangler, with other items like a soft-top headliner and floor-pan insulation becoming popular over recent years. However, the flagship product, the hard-top headliners, remain the most sought-after. The newest model headliner is constructed from a base of 1/8" water-proof automotive panel boards, plus 1/4" thick, high density, cross-linked polyethylene insulating foam. On top of this, 3/16" thick automotive headliner fabric, with foam backing, gives the color you see on the inside of your Jeep Wrangler, as seen below.Hot-head-liner-oak-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-rear-seatThe Hothead Healiners can be ordered in a variety of colors, some to match the OEM coloring of your seats or interior trim panels. The aformentioned foam-backed automotive headliner material can be colored in Black, Graphite, Medium Dark Grey, Ox Grey, or Medium Dark Oak. The Medium Dark Oak color matches the two-toned interior found on certain Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited models (above), such as the Rubicon and the Sahara, while the Graphite option matches some of the cloth seats found on lower model Jeep JK's (below).Hot-head-liner-graphite-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimitedGreat for both keeping your Jeep warm in the winter and cool in the summer, these headliners install in a snap, with study 3M VHB tape! This product provides an OEM look and feel, great for a new or used Jeep Wrangler JK. While it is not recommended to remove and replaced these panels often, due to the sturdy nature of the 3M tape, the Hothead Headliners can be removed if needed, keeping the individual mats intact. This is great if you either sell the hardtop and wish to keep the liners, or worst case, total your Jeep, and want to transfer the headliners to the new hardtop. Regardless, it's nice to have the option, which would certainly be welcome in either of the above scenarios. Here it is worth noting that some competitor's products are designed for a one time installation, and may tear or come apart upon removal, potentially costing you money in the long run.Hot-head-liner-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-white-hard-top-interiorNot only can this product be removed if needed, but these headliner panels also install without having to take the OEM hardtop off of the vehicle. Many similar products require the removal of the factory hardtop, but with the Hothead liners, installation is a snap, especially since you don't have to recruit a few friends to remove and reinstall the hardtop! To close, these panels provide not only insulation from the cold, they also reduce road and wind noise while improving the sound of your stereo. As far as sound deadening qualities, road/wind noise decreased by about 3 to 6 decibels. This is great for both music and having phone conversations while inside the vehicle, for example. So if you've entered the market looking for a great headliner to protect you from the heat and cold, dampen the noise in the interior of your Jeep, or just to give your factory hard top a more high-end feel, the Hothead Headliner is for you! Order today, from!Hot-head-liner-oak-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-white-hard-top-interior

  • 2006 HEMI Brute - Part 2

    2006-blue-lj-5-7-hemi-frontAt the conclusion of Part 1, we left the above HEMI LJ in two pieces on the garage floor. Now, with the tub lifted off the frame, we can begin installing the Brute kit itself. As noted before, this Jeep Wrangler LJ Rubicon was recently purchased by a customer. As the customer wanted a V8 Brute, the LJ seemed the logical choice, as it already featured a HEMI conversion. The LJ Rubicons were offered from 2004-2006 with certain offroad upgrades such as factory lockers, Dana-44 axles, and a Rock-Trac NV241 transfer case, among others. The V8 conversion on this Jeep is a 5.7L HEMI coupled to a 545RFE 4-speed automatic transmission sourced from a Dodge pickup.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-tiltAs previously mentioned, we decided to go ahead and remove the remainder of the tub from the frame after cutting the Jeep in half. This gives plenty of room to weld, as well as add in some frame reinforcement. As some of you may already know, many Brute vehicles are plagued by the “Brute bounce”; this is due to the nature of a pickup platform on a Jeep frame. Some Brutes have this issue more than others. To counter this, the frame was reinforced directly underneath the driver seat, with the reinforcing plate extending back towards the rear wheels. But first, let's get to the initial frame modifications. As this is an LJ, the AEV frame extensions were first cut down, and along with the frame sleeves, were then added to the frame. The AEV jigs were used to hold all of this in place while the welds were dropped in by Chris Minnich (below). On the right of the welded frame rail, you can see where the body mounts were initially removed; these will be added back in a later step.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-welding-22006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-complete-driver-side2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-rear-frame-extention-test-fit-1Above, the rear frame extension is test fitted; this is where the second winch will be housed in the dual-winch setup. Below, the tub is placed back onto the frame for fitment of the doors, top, cab closeout, and bed. After the tub is secured, the AEV cab closeout is added, clamped down, and the doors are test fitted before the closeout is welded in place. As you can see, the cab closeout completely wraps around the remnants of the OEM tub, both along the floor at the rear of the cab, and just behind what's left of the factory roll-bar.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-test-fit-12006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-test-fit-3

    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-tub-welding-2.jpg2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-door-tub-top-fitmentFitment of the top, doors, and tub is very important during this step. Below, the forward bed mount and rear frame extension are temporarily added via a few tack welds to check fitment of the bed. Once everything is in place and checked, the bed is removed. After the bed is taken back off of the Jeep, the forward bed mount is welded in; alignment of this piece is essential to the fit of the Brute bed.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-truck-bed-fitting2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-crossmember-body-mount-2If you look closely in the picture of the forward bed mount (above), you can spy a fishplate on the driver-side frame rail. These are frame reinforcements supplied by AEV, and are applied to the insides of the frame. The prior welds and any rough surfaces on the frame are ground down to ensure that these plates sit flush. After more measuring and double-checking, the rear frame extension is also welded into place, this time with a pair of outbound fishplates, shown below.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-frame-extention-welded-2Now that the cab closeout, frame extension and the bed supports are all in place, it's time for the frame reinforcements. The cab is lifted off of the frame a second time, to give Jesse Robertson more room to work with the frame reinforcement (below). These plates are welded to the frame directly under the front floorboards and leading back to the forward bed mount. This will help to counter the inherent problem of the “Brute bounce”. After both sides of the frame are reinforced, the entire assembly is painted before the tub and truck bed are bolted to the frame.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-frame-plate-passenger-side-not-welded




    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-frame-plates-painted-overviewOnce everything is back on the ground, a set of AEV highline fenders are added to complete the AEV Brute build. These highline fenders were removed from an '06 Brute that passed through the shop, as the buyer wanted standard fenders with extended flares on his build, and holding onto these proved a worthwhile investment. As many of you may know, AEV no longer produces the highline kit, and these fenders are getting hard to come by (below).2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-front-highline-fender-install2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-front-highline-fender-install-head-onAfter the highline fenders are added, the tailgate is bolted up to the bed and the Brute is pulled out of the garage bay. As we've yet to receive the proper rear driveshaft, we pulled the truck out in front-wheel drive to load it onto the trailer. Below, check out pictures of the Brute before it left for the body shop; it's certainly come a long way from the soft-top LJ that it once was! After the Brute returns we'll be taking a look at some of the future upgrades planned, such as a long-arm lift kit and 37” tires, so stay tuned and let us know what you think!2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-front-driver-side2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-front-grille-angle2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-front-passenger-angle2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-passenger-side2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-bed

  • Product of the Week - Sprintex Superchargers

    sprintex-supercharger-twin-screw-jeep-wrangler-tj-lj-4-0-inline-sixThis week, we're taking a look at a new line of Superchargers by Sprintex! Based out of Perth, Austrailia, Sprintex has been building superchargers for over 30 years, and entered the US market about two years ago. The Sprintex Supercharger uses a unique twin screw mechanism, resulting in a product that is more energy efficient and produces less heat and noise than other competitors. With the Sprintex superchargers, your stock Jeep engine will receive improved torque from idle and a solid increase in performance and power, something every Jeep owner can appreciate.sprintex-2-door-jk-at-rubitruxThe first step in most Jeep builds are a lift kit and larger tires; however, many owners fail to realize that a lifted Jeep will lose a significant amount of performance, especially off the line. The traditional approach to this problem is to regear the axles or drop in a larger engine (which usually involves some amount of drivetrain modification as well). But what happens when you're happy with the stock engine and drivetrain, or a regear doesn't cut it? Sprintex superchargers may be the solution for you! Offered for the 4.0L Inline-6, the 3.8L V6, and the 3.6L V6 Pentastar, a Sprintex supercharger will give your Jeep the extra power and torque you need! The twin screw setup mentioned before reduces stress on the engine through a lower discharge temperature and pressure across the RPM range, and features NO LAG! For automatic transmissions, PCM/TCM modification may be required, just be sure to list your engine/transmission combination when contacting us about a supercharger from Sprintex, and we'll take care of the rest!sprintex-supercharger-twin-screw-jeep-wrangler-jk-jku-pentastar-3-6Now for the specs. With the new Pentastar 3.6L (2012+ Jeep Wrangler, pictured above), the Sprintex supercharger results in 54% more horsepower and 28% more torque. The stock 195 WHP increases to 302 WHP, and the torque specs go from 239 ft/lb to 307 ft/lb! With the old 3.8L (pictured below) found on the 2007-2011 Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited, the horsepower is increased by 60%, from 171 WHP to 218 WHP, and the torque goes from 197 ft/lb to 253 ft/lb! The 3.8L also features dedicated tuning and complete support by Diablosport. These superchargers are fully bolt-on, and also increase the torque off idle and at lower RPM's as well! For the classic 4.0L Inline-6, gains are 42% more horsepower and 34% more torque over stock! The WHP goes from 152 to 216, and the torque specs go from 193 ft/lb to 259 ft/lb. Tuners are included for 2005-2006 models, and are supported by Diablo InTune i1000. Up the power on your TJ or LJ, and get the most out of your bulletproof 4.0L!sprintex-supercharger-twin-screw-jeep-wrangler-jk-jku-3-8-v6-2007-20111Along with all of these new products, we recently had the opportunity to test drive the 3.6L Sprintex Jeep Wrangler JK! Pictured at the top of this article, this 2-door features a stock suspension and tire combination with a 6-speed manual transmission, and performed right off idle, just as Sprintex claims. The extra boost of speed was great for climbing the hilly terrain in Boone, and would work well with larger tires and a lift kit. Overall, the kit provided a clean, OEM appearance in the engine bay of the Wrangler JK, and we can't wait to see this Jeep enter the next stage of it's build, which includes a lift kit, bumpers, and large tires!sprintex-supercharger-twin-screw-jeep-wrangler-tj-lj-4-0-inline-six-installedTo conclude, we were impressed with the Sprintex supercharger, and it would make a great addition to any Jeep build; we're excited to carry this line of Jeep products from Sprintex, and we hope you check them out if you're thinking of a supercharger for your Jeep Wrangler JK or 4.0L TJ/LJ Wrangler!

  • 2006 HEMI Brute - Part 1

    2006-blue-lj-5-7-hemi-frontYou may recognize this Jeep from an earlier blog post. This clean 2006 Jeep Wrangler LJ Rubicon features a 5.7L HEMI mated to a 545RFE 4-speed automatic transmission. This Jeep retains a mostly stock appearance with a 2.5" Old Man Emu lift kit, OEM Moab wheels, and LT285/75R16 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. We'd had this LJ around the shop for a couple months when a customer dropped by asking about a V8 Brute. This customer ended up purchasing the LJ and asking us to do the AEV Brute conversion in shop. Quite a few tears were shed when the first cuts were made, especially since this was such a pristine LJ, but the build has since come along nicely. This Brute is currently at paint, and we can't wait for it to get back in the shop for the long-arm kit and 37" tires, among other things! First off, the AEV Brute conversion itself.aev-hemi-bruteWhile well known for aftermarket products for the current-generation Jeep Wrangler JK, AEV traces it's roots back to the 1990s, with some of the first AEV conversions being stretched YJ's and TJ's. In the early 2000's, AEV produced the Brute kit, which converts a standard TJ or LJ into a pickup truck, complete with a removable hard-top and a steel bed with fold-down tailgate. The Brute is commonly seen coupled with AEV's highline fender kit, which matches the fender flares and body lines of the AEV truck bed with those on the front fenders.2005-custom-jeep-wrangler-aev-brute-black-yakima-roof-rack-front-passFirst, we started by removing the soft-top, and pulled the doomed LJ into one of our garage bays. Chris Minnich, the lead technician, is shown below removing the stock fenders and liners. Meanwhile Jesse Robertson, the Service Manager, strips out the roll bar padding, rear seat, and carpet. The AEV Kit was placed in the neighboring bay, and the parts were set out on the floor. These included the jigs and frame extentions for the LJ frame, the rear of the new tub/cab, the hard top itself, and the pickup bed. The OEM tailgate, spare tire mount, taillights, front seats, and license plate setup were also taken off.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-instructions2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-rear-driver-side-fender-removal2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-kit-22006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-kit-1Now we're entering into the realm of no return as the rearmost portion of the OEM roll-bars are cut and unbolted from the tub by Jesse. All electrical connections leading from the front of the Jeep to the rear (this model came equipped from the factory with a hard-top) are also disconnected and removed, as well as the rear bumper, fuel door and bezel for the gas tank filler/neck. The extra roll-bar padding is removed and then wrapped around the remaining roll-bar segment. Before modification of the tub begins, a cover is placed over the dashboard to help protect against the cutting and welding taking place during the next steps.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-roll-bar-removal-32006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-roll-bar-removed-finalAfter the J-rails are removed and the rear-most section of the tub is unbolted from the frame, the body is carefully marked before Jesse breaks out the sawzall. The spot welds and seam sealer in the bed of the LJ are drilled out and removed, respectively. During this step, it may be helpful to heat the sealer with a small torch before using a chisel to pry it away from the tub. Afterwards, the interior cuts are made by Chris with an air-powered reciprocating saw. Once all of the seam sealer has been removed and the spot welds across the bottom of the tub have been drilled out, this piece is ready for removal.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-cutting-tub-22006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-cutting-tub-inside-2The rear tub section is then picked up off of the frame and discarded. While converting a TJ will yield less of a rear tub section, an LJ tub provides the perfect dimensions for an off-road trailer. We're kicking around a few ideas involving some 35's and a spare axle we've got at the shop, so stay tuned! The next step in the Brute build involves trimming out the remaining sheet-metal in preparation for fitment of the AEV cab closeout. This closeout wraps around the remaining body of the Jeep, so careful cutting of the door sill and rearmost sheet-metal is required to ensure correct fitment of the AEV part. 2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-section-removed

    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-marking-tubIf you look closely in the above image, you can see the lip right behind the e-brake where the AEV cab closeout will meet the OEM sheet metal. Correct alignment of the closeout is essential in sealing the new truck cab with the doors and the AEV hard top. Below, Chris drills out the remaining spot welds and takes an air saw to the door sill while Jesse does the same for the passenger-side. After these pieces are removed and any remaining body sealer is chiseled away, the frame is one step closer to being cut in half.

    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-doorframe-cut2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-sheet-metal-trimming2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-second-cut-completeNext up, the gas tank and drive-shaft are removed and placed aside, while the brake, fuel, and lines for the lockers are either removed or pried from the frame and secured out of the way. Since the exhaust is extended as part of the conversion, we used this opportunity to cut off the pipes at the skid plate as well. The rearmost body mounts, located exactly where the frame was to be cut, are also removed by Chris, and the factory welds are ground down.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-removed-gas-tank-brake-lines-driveshaft

    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-cutting-body-mount2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-body-mount-grinding-22006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-body-mount-ground-downAt this point, the AEV jigs can be used to mark the frame; however, we went a different route with our measurements before breaking out the chainsaw. The frame is then marked, cut in half, and rolled back.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-chainsaw

    Just kidding, we didn't actually use the chainsaw, the cuts were made with an electric reciprocating saw, which made short work of the frame. Chris is shown below marking a guide line into the frame with a cut-off wheel, to follow a few seconds later with the saw perched atop the rear 33" tire.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-cutting-frame2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-cutThe initial plan was to leave the front section of the tub attached to the forward part of the frame during the conversion, but we elected to remove it after making these cuts, so as to have more room to work when welding the frame back together. It helps to have access to a lift for these conversions. After cutting, the frame was put on jack-stands, the lift-arms readjusted and placed under the tub, the steering shaft and electrical hookups were disconnected, and the tub was unbolted from the frame. The lift was then used to hoist the tub out of the way, for the framework to begin!2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-welding-cab-offThere you have it, a mint-condition LJ chopped up in pieces over the course of two afternoons; next up, the frame extensions are added, along with supports for the bed and more!


  • Vehicle of the Week - Jeep JKU Sport Firecracker Red

    custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-jw-speaker-6145-led-fog-lights-176939For the last update, you may have noticed our new Hydro Blue JKU Sport. We're excited to say that this vehicle sold in record time, and we're sure the owner will be nothing short of amazed with the build quality and capabilities of this Jeep. The second Jeep, briefly mentioned in last week's post, is a 2016 Firecracker Red Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport. We chose a different look for this build; while the Hydro Blue JKU features a standard AEV package, this Jeep was loaded down with a full Maximus-3 and Hard-Rock build package. The Hard-Rock is the highest trim option available on a Jeep Wrangler JK or JK Unlimited, even above that of the Rubicon. The Rubicon Hard-Rock features unique rock sliders, modular front and rear bumpers, and special wheels, among other accessories. While this certainly makes the Hard-Rock eye-catching, a standard Hard-Rock is about $5,000 higher than a standard Rubicon, making the price eye-catching as well.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-aev-dualsport-sc-3-5-inch-suspension-176939Fortunately, MOPAR offers the bumpers found on the Hard-Rock, and a company called Maximus-3 manufactures a full line of accessories, such as stinger hoops and tire carriers, for these factory bumper systems. Unlike older models, the current generation OEM Jeep bumpers have been unable to accept a winch without modification since the 2007 redesign. Maximus-3 and the Hard-Rock JK platform address these problems, providing winch-ready bumpers, as well as several winch-related products, such as fairleads, winch mounting plates, and winch-hook anchors.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-maximus-3-classic-hoop-176939The Hard-Rock bumpers and sliders are far superior to the OEM equipment found on the Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon packages, and are no doubt on many a new owner's mind when going Jeep shopping for the first time. However, the premium price associated with these accessories may cause many to discount ever owning such a Jeep. We decided to kit this JKU Sport out with some Maximus-3 upgrades, and since we've recently had some Hard-Rock JK's come through the shop for work, we had a set of these unique rock rails and wheels around the shop as well. As you can see, when coupled with an AEV lift kit and a set of 35" mud-tires, this build package transforms a JK Sport from a standard mall-crawler to an off-road machine.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-baja-designs-lighting-on-176939For starters, this Wrangler Sport is equipped with an AEV 3.5" DualSport SC Suspension and 35x12.50x17 BFG KM2 Mud-Terrain Tires on OEM Hard-Rock Wheels. We did use wheel spacers to offset the 35's, since the stock 17x9 Hard-Rock wheels lacked the offset to run this tire size without rubbing. The MOPAR Hard-Rock bumper and Maximus-3 setup allow this JKU Sport to accept a Warn Zeon 8s Synthetic Rope Winch. The Maximus-3 accessories featured on the front bumper include the winch-mount, black fairlead, red winch hook anchor, d-ring mounts, and fog light brackets, as well as a bumper hoop to protect the grille and winch from trail damage.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-recon-smoked-tail-lightst-176939The rear MOPAR hard-rock bumper was equipped with an AEV tire-carrier, to carry the larger 35" tires. The OEM tailgate will not support a tire larger than 33" for an extended period of time. Eventually, the tailgate latching mechanism and hinges will become damaged, as the excessive weight of the tire will pull the tailgate away from the body. Hence, the need for an aftermarket tire carrier. While there are many aftermarket tire carriers to choose from, the AEV option fits directly to the MOPAR hard-rock bumper, and along with the hard-rock rock rails, gives this Jeep JKU a nice OEM look, with a hint of ruggedness.

    custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-alea-bentley-leather-rubitrux-headrestcustom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-alea-bentley-leathercustom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-alea-bentley-leather-rear-passengerOn the interior, we've added the Alpine X009-Wra headunit, giving the driver a larger screen for GPS, radio, and entertainment options. A full set of red GraBars have also been added, to help with entering and exiting the vehicle, as this JKU is several inches taller than stock. Some owners forget that in addition to the lift kit, larger tires add to the height of the vehicle as well. For example, on this Sport you have 3.5" plus the increase from 32" to 35" tires, which comes out to about 5" in total. While this may not look like much on paper, hauling yourself up into a taller vehicle day after day can become tiring, so the GraBars are a welcome addition! Other interior upgrades include a full custom leather interior by Alea Leather, and a painted interior bezel/trim piece set in firecracker red, to match the OEM paint.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-painted-interior-trim-176939For lighting, this Jeep has a pair of Baja Designs XL Pro Auxiliary Lights, JW Speaker 8700 Evolution 2 LED headlights, Recon LED taillights, smoked turn signals, side markers, and JW Speaker 6145 J Series Fog Lights. A 50" LED light bar by Baja Designs is mounted to the top of the windshield by a pair of Rock Slide Engineering brackets, and an SPOD 6 Switch System controls all of the aftermarket lighting from an easy to reach position inside the cab.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-grabars-front-176939

    custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-grabars-rear-176939Other aftermarket accessories include a two-tone AEV Heat Reduction Hood, ensuring that the 3.6L has plenty of ventilation, especially for those days at the beach during the summertime heat! The two-tone Wildboar Aggressive Hawkeye Grille gives this Sport a unique and stylish appearance, and the two-tone paint-job goes well with the AEV hood. The lower half of the Hawkeye grille also blends in with the OEM fender flares and the dark colors of the bumper, fairlead, wheels and tires, providing a great transition among the colors on the front-end.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-jw-speaker-8700-evolution-2-led-headlights-176939If you like our new Sport builds, let us know! We've sold both the Hydro Blue and this Firecracker Red, and have a third one on the way! As mentioned before, the Sport lacks the popular factory upgrades found on our usual Rubicon builds, but if you're looking for a daily driver or a high-end Jeep that can still hit moderate trails, one of our Sport builds may be for you!

  • Vehicle of the Week - Jeep JKU Sport Hydro Blue

    custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-aev-dualsport-3-5-inch-176927-First of all, you may be wondering what a Sport is doing on our website, especially with our mainstay being the Rubicon trim package, and we wouldn't blame you! However, the fact of the matter is this, a Rubicon isn't for every buyer, and the standard equipment found on the Rubicon may not be used often or even needed by some. For instance, the 4:1 Rock-Track transfer case or the electronic sway bar disconnect system. If you aren't planning on low-speed crawling or disconnecting your sway bar on a regular basis, perhaps a Sport or Sahara package would better suit your needs. Also, the Rubicon Dana-44's are nice, but with a regular Dana-44 and Dana-30 standard in every non-Rubicon JK, a Sport or Sahara is great for running 35's. With this in mind, let's check out the first of our Sport line, a 2016 Hydro Blue Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport!custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-nfab-nerf-steps-176927-

    custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-rigid-d2-backup-lights-176927The first reason this build stands out is the color, Hyrdo Blue. While most of our builds are usually more subdued, we went with a two tone black/blue look with this Sport. No question about it, the color combination makes this JKU stand out from the crowd. The two tone Aggressive Hawkeye Grille by Wildboar and the MOPAR powerdome hood provide a solid transition from the OEM Hydro Blue color to the black colors in the bumpers, fenders, wheels and tires. If you look closely, you can spot one of the new Rigid Industries Midnight Edition 20" LED light bars, mounted to the AEV tubeless front bumper. JW Speaker 8700 Evolution 2 LED Headlights, JW Speaker 6145 J Series Fog LightsRecon Turn Signals and Side Markers round out the lighting on the front-end. The JW headlights and fogs go great with the blacked out look, further accenting the Hydro Blue exterior.custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-jw-speaker-8700-evolution-2-176927This JKU Sport is riding on an AEV 3.5" DualSport SC Suspension System with 35x12.50x18 Toyo Open Country M/T Tires and Fuel 18x9 Hostage Wheels. This combination provides the great ride quality of AEV with the benefits of an M/T tire, coupled with a little bit of street-style from the Fuel wheels. N-fab side steps and an AEV rear bumper and tire carrier combination round out the bumper and step package. The tire carrier also features a pair of Rigid Industries midnight Edition LED Pods, great for lighting up the night while backing out of a parking lot or driveway!custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-Rigid-Industries-midnight-176927custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-interior-accents-176927-Around town or on the highway, the Alpine X009-Wra Head Unit provides a larger screen for GPS and radio channel surfing, as well as giving the dash a more modern appearance. The interior trim accent set has been painted Hydro Blue, to match the exterior paint. This includes HVAC bezels, the trim pieces for the Alpine unit, door trim panels, and more! A full set of front and rear GraBars, also in Hydro Blue, were added to help with entering and exiting the Jeep. Also featured inside the Jeep are a full Alea Leather Interior with Hydro Blue stitching and front seat-heaters, as well as a Rugged Ridge A Pillar Switch Panel, to control the auxiliary lighting.custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-grabars-front-176927custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-alea-leather-rubitrux-headrest-176927-custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-alea-leather-eleganza-bentley-176927-As this is a Sport, the 4x4 system lacks the lockers found on the Rubicon, and does feature a 3.73 gear ratio. However, with the AEV lift kit, 35" M/T tires, and the legendary Command-Trac 4x4 system from Jeep, this Sport is still quite capable offroad. With that being said, if you're planning on running 37's and taking your Jeep further off the beaten path, the heavy-duty Dana-44s and factory lockers found on the Rubicon would be well worth the cost. However, if you aren't the hardcore offroad enthusiast, one of our Sport models is a great way to go, especially if you're leaning towards a daily-driver or commuter vehicle. You still get the RubiTrux touch without the high cost associated with a Rubicon, and with great accessories such as Alea Leather, the Alpine X009-Wra Headunit, and the AEV bumpers, this Sport is more than ready to hit the open road or the trails! Let us know what you think, and be sure to give us a call if one of our new Sport models is for you!custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-aev-tubeless-front-bumper-176927-

  • Product of the Week - Rigid Industries Midnight Edition LEDs

    midnight-edition-rigid-lights-for-blogThis week, we're taking a look at a new direction in LED lighting, the Midnight Edition LED's by Rigid Industries. These lights blend in perfectly to bumpers, dark grilles, windshields and more, through the innovative blacked-out design! In the past, LED light bars usually featured a black or colored frame with the center portion taking on a white or silver hue, due to the lens and construction of the light itself. This basically adds large silver and white strips to your bumper, windshield, and wherever else you add these lights. While LEDs certainly produce an awesome amount of light, and are far more efficient than older, conventional off-road lighting, such as the KC Daylighter, the look may not sit well with some owners. To some, especially those geared towards the "classic" 4x4 aftermarket accessories, or the owner who prefers a clean and uncluttered build, these huge strips still look out of place on a vehicle, even in 2016. Enter the Midnight Edition LED lights by Rigid Industries.Rigid-Industries-106212BLK-6-Inch-E-Series-Midnight-EditionThese LED lights use Rigid Industries' Hybrid Spot Optic with a transparent black enamel coating, black oxide hardware, and blacked out logos on the housing. These lights blend in perfectly with dark grilles, mesh grille inserts, bumpers, the windshield, tire carriers, and more! For example, the 50" bar blends in with the windshield, and the cube "dually" LED's match aftermarket bumpers that usually feature a matte black or powdercoated black finish, such as the ARB and AEV bumpers we use on our Jeep JK builds. The Midnight Edition lights are offered in D-Series (cubes), E-Series (LED bars), and if you have a pickup truck or SUV, you may want to check out the Midnight Edition RDS-Series (curved LED bars). These lights are perfect for any truck, Jeep, 4x4, or offroad build, and are great for the owner looking to build a blacked-out 'rig, or for giving your vehicle that sleek, uncluttered look.custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-aev-dualsport-3-5-inch-176927-The Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited pictured above is the first of our new Sport line, and features a few Midnight Edition lights along with an AEV build package. The LED's blend in great with the dual-tone Hawkeye Grille and the AEV tubeless front bumper. Coupled with JW Speaker headlights, fog-lights, and Recon smoked turn signals and side marker lights, the Rigid Industries E-Series 20" Midnight Edition light bar and the Midnight Edition LED Pods (mounted on the tire carrier), provide a sleek, stealthy look.custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-wild-boar-aggressive-hawkeye-grille-176927These LED lights are very efficient, with the cubes pulling 1.1 amps each, 15.8 Watts, and with a peak beam intensity of 51245 cd. A 50" E-Series pulls just under 20 amps, 275 Watts, with 23,000 raw lumens of power. These lights are very durable, are made from high-quality materials, covered under the Rigid Industries Limited Lifetime Warranty, and are made right here in the USA! Rest assured that these lights are a tough, reliable, and worthy upgrade for your 4x4 offroad vehicle or daily-driver.custom-jeep-wrangler-hydro-blue-Rigid-Industries-midnight-176927So if you'd like to simplify your build, go for that "blacked-out" look, or you just want your LEDs to blend into your vehicle, check out the Midnight Edition LEDs by Rigid Industries. If you're interested in our new Sport line that was mentioned above, stay tuned! We've recently completed this Hydro Blue JKU, as well as a Red Maximus-3/10A Sport build; our new Sport line features the RubiTrux touch without the Rubicon price-tag!

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