COULD THIS BE AUSTRALIA’S TOUGHEST JK WRANGLER?

Some initial planning brings with it a truckload of perks. Mike had the vision of his ultimate rig in his head before he even started modifying anything on his JK. With a clear idea of what he wanted, he spent a year and a half collecting parts from all sorts of different avenues both within Australia and internationally. He bought his 2011 Rubicon brand new and chose this particular rig because he liked the fact it came with a bunch of good gear right out of the box including front and rear diff locks and sway bar disconnects. Another bonus for Mike was that the Jeep also has a huge amount of aftermarket support in terms of accessories. Let’s delve a little deeper and see what it takes to a JK as tough as this one.

MIKE’S VISION

“I knew exactly what I wanted before I started the build,” says Mike. This was his first Jeep and being an avid adventurer and a big fan of the 4WD scene and events like King of the Hammers, he set out to turn the image he had in his head into a reality. Once he had collected all his parts, he smashed out the build with the help of his mate Jerry, who was a crucial part in making the vision a reality. “Without Jerry and his partner Ivet, this build would have never happened. So a massive thanks to them both for putting up with the long nights spent in the garage” says Mike.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”I knew exactly what I wanted before i started the build”[/blockquote]

UNDER THE BONNET
  • PSC power steering motor
  • 3.8L 6cyl petrol engine

Something different you will notice when looking under the bonnet is the PSC power steering motor with the remote reservoir which aids in turning those huge beadlocked 37s. The stock power plant doesn’t quite cut it for Mike at the moment, even with the gear ratios have been changed to suit the big tyres, he’s still chasing more go. He says that in the near future there will be the addition of some forced induction in the form of a Magnuson supercharger to give it the extra berries he wants, especially now that the Jeep weighs around 2.5t when fully loaded.

DRIVELINE

“The front axle has an inner sleeve welded in for extra strength as well as C-Gusset brackets welded on,” says Mike. This was done because the front is more susceptible to damage so it was worth taking the extra precaution early to save any headaches further down the track. The transfer case was also fitted with reduction gears and the tail shafts were upgraded to 1350 front and rear Tom Woods shafts. The diffs were also fitted with 5.13 gears to help get the big tyres turning. The underside of the Jeep has a skid plate and crossmember upgrade to keep the stray rocks away if they somehow manage to reach up past the 37s and lift and grab anything. A truss is also in store for the future to provide even more protection.

PLANNING THE BUILD

Fresh off the showroom floor, Mike drove the Rubicon for a year and a half before he added any aftermarket parts, but not because he didn’t have them. Mike sussed out every avenue to source gear and built up a collection of beaut parts before he installed anything on the JK. This was partly because he wanted to make sure the Jeep didn’t start life looking out of proportion with big flares and small tyres or a front bar and factory ride height. It was also partly due to the fact that a lot of the components just wouldn’t work unless they were paired with something else, as an example, the 37s weren’t going to squeeze on there without the 4in of lift that the Jeep now has.

SUSPENSION, WHEELS AND TYRES
  • Evo King coilovers
  • 4in lift
  • 37in BFG KM2 tyres
  • Beadlocked all round

The suspension on the JK got a complete overhaul going from factory to a 4in lifted setup using King coilover shocks with a 300/300lb weight in the rear and a 300/250lb in the front. Nearly all the suspension arms have been replaced with aftermarket options and we’ll let the pictures do the talking when it comes to flex because there’s definitely no shortage of it. This is what it looks like to drop a 37 inch tyre below the sills. Suspension modifications also provided the only two real hiccups during the build, the first being that the top of one of the front coilovers fouled on the Uneek dual battery tray so the tray was cut to allow the top of the coilover to sit where it needed.

The second hiccup was more of a process than a hiccup, to fit the long arms the chassis mounts needed to be cut and relocated to suit the length of the arms. Mike says it wasn’t a problem but did take a bit of fiddling to get it spot on. The new arms were measured up and the new mounting points were calculated from there, once that was double checked, it was time for the new mounts to be welded on. The wheels and tyres speak for themselves, a set of 17in Walker Evans beadlocks wrapped in 37in BFG KM2s provide plenty of footprint and the ability to drop pressure down to 5psi.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”Even with the 4in lift and 37s, it still handles better than new.”[/blockquote]

ON THE INSIDE

Because the JK is a do-it-all rig for Mike, the interior also needs to be a nice place to be. When you want to keep it comfortable, a few little things can go a long way. A few of the additions Mike has made are Trek Armour seat covers and an upgraded sound system consisting of a Pioneer double din dash unit, 6 speakers, dual 12in subwoofers and dual amps under the two front seats. Not only that but a hand held GME TX 6150 and Hema HN7 also take care of the navigation side of things. Last but definitely not least, a Waeco CFX 50 resides in the back of the Jeep to keep the beers cold.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Mike tells us that despite the huge list of modifications done to the JK including the massive amount of suspension work, the JK still handles great on the road. For a big rig with a 4in lift and a set of 37in tyres, this is not always the case, but a well put together suspension setup can work wonders for a vehicle’s handling and this Jeep proves just that. We reckon Mike has done a bloody good job getting 37in tyres to handle well enough to do the daily duties as well as tackle the tough stuff.

TECH SPECS

VEHICLE: 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
ENGINE: 3.8 6cyl
GEARBOX: 6 speed manual
SUSPENSION: Evo King Coilovers

 

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