ONE SERIOUSLY WILD FOUR-DOOR WRANGLER

When the term ‘tough tourer’ comes into mind, most of us dream of a big diesel wagon loaded up and heading into the sunset for that trip of a lifetime. But for Vic based bank Relationship Manager Eric, that dream wasn’t enough. Eric has loved Jeeps ever since day dot and always wanted a built up one of his own. “I have always wanted to own a Jeep since being a young bloke. I wanted to build up a truck that was tough, agile and capable on the weekend tracks, but could take on the bigger trucks on the longer trips – and to me that truck stood out as a Jeep.” Knowing that the Jeep needed to be setup properly to do what he wanted, Eric wasted no time getting onto Bill Barbas over at Double Black Offroad about setting up his truck. Yet again Bill has worked his magic, and this short wheelbase JK is now a force to be reckoned with.

SUSPENSION, WHEELS & TYRES
  • DBOR 3in Lift
  • Fox remote reservoir shocks
  • 305/70/R17 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws
  • Walker Evans 17in beadlock rims
  • Synergy coils

The suspension in Eric’s Jeep was a critical component in the build. As the truck needed to be versatile, the suspension had to be able to handle long stretches of outback road corrugations, as well as providing good articulation and travel on the tough weekend tracks. To that end, Bill set Eric up with the ‘DBOR Touring Plus Kit’. “This kit gives Eric’s truck a comfortable three inches of lift”, writes Bill. “The advantages of that are it is a very dual purpose size.” As well as this, Bill has fitted a set of Fox remote reservoir shocks to the Jeep.

“The remote reservoir shocks are absolutely unreal”, adds Eric. “When I took the Jeep across the Simmo, she was able to float over the corrugations like they weren’t even there. Other trucks in the convoy had to stop to let their shocks cool down, but I could keep going. If I had to pick my favourite mod on the truck, it would be suspension by a country mile.”

INTERIOR
  • Rear mounted ARB air compressor
  • Engel Legacy edition fridge
  • Dash mounted iPad

Jeeps are renowned for a simple yet functional interior. The modular design for most of the components means that you can remove items to make it as basic or as technical as you want. This design appealed to Eric as he wanted a simple and versatile setup from his 4WD. Apart from a few switches, a rear mounted ARB compressor, a dash mounted tablet and the Engel in the back, Eric has left a lot of the interior alone. “I wanted it to be versatile so that I could save weight if needed, comments Eric. “On the recent Simmo trip, I was able to remove components that just weighed the truck down, which ultimately saved on fuel and wear on components. Two factors that can make or break your outback trip.

EXTERIOR
  • Smittybilt Atlas front bullbar
  • Smittybilt Atlas rear tyre carrier
  • Rigid industries LED lights
  • Smittybilt 10,000lb LBS winch

With the exterior of the Jeep, Eric and Bill had a vision for a tough, yet capable 4WD. With that in mind, the barwork on the truck had to protect the truck from animal strikes, which are a reality when outback touring. But it had to also not affect approach and departure angles. “We added Smittybilt Atlas barwork front and rear to the Jeep, as it is strong, yet compact”, comments Bill. “The rear swing away also holds two 20L jerries for the longer trips, while the front is running a Smittybilt winch and a set of Rigid industries D2 lights. The roof of the truck is also running a 50in Rigid Industries lightbar.” Being a petrol, water isn’t the Jeep’s best mate, so the boys added an AEV snorkel. The end result is a truck that is compact, agile and tough that can go anywhere Eric wants to point it.

ENGINE & DRIVELINE
  • AEV Snorkel
  • Air Raid Cold Air intake
  • ARB bashplate
  • Electronic swaybar disconnects

Eric’s Jeep is testament to the fact that you don’t need a big diesel 4WD to go and see Australia. In fact, the odds for a petrol Wrangler were in Eric’s favour. “When it came time to buy the Jeep, the options for an engine were either a 2.8L four cylinder common-rail diesel, or a 3.6L V6 petrol, writes Eric. “I was looking at the top spec model, the Rubicon, which only comes in the petrol variant. As well as this, at the end of the day the petrol Wrangler only uses around three litres more per hundred than the diesel, so to me it was a no-brainer.”

After Eric had sorted out that a petty was the way to go, next on the list was modifying the engine and driveline. In addition to the snorkel, Eric and Bill have added a cold air intake to help the V6 breathe. Teraflex Diff covers up the front and back protect the factory locked Dana 44s, and an ARB bash guard helps with protecting the engine and transmission. A fuel efficient petrol with plenty of power. What more could you want?

RUNDOWN

VEHICLE: 2014 Jeep JK Wrangler 10th Anniversary Rubicon
ENGINE: 3.6L Pentastar V6 Petrol
GEARBOX: 6-speed manual
4WD ACTIVATION: Rock-Trac MP241 Full time 4WD
SUSPENSION: Live axle 5-link front and rear, 3in lifted Synergy coil springs with Fox remote reservoir shocks and Teraflex steering dampener
WHEELS AND TYRES: 305/70/R17 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws on Walker Evans beadlocks

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