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Monthly Archives: May 2016

  • 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" 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 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 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'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 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!

  • 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, 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


    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

    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


    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


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