THE WHOLE NINE YARDS

  • Sprintex supercharged
  • Water to air intercooled
  • Twin locked Dana 60s

Jeeps are kind of like Lego of the 4WD world – whatever you can imagine, you can build. The beaut thing about owning a Jeep, other than finally getting to tell people you ‘bought a Jeep’ is that you’re able to build yourself anything from a tough daily driver, to a comp truck with little more than bolt-on mods. When you stop to consider the reality that a stock JK will put just about every other stock 4WD on the market to shame, you start realising just what fun these little jalopies can be once the modification bug bites.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”This is what you get when you don’t cut corners”[/blockquote]

For Luke Swenson, the 4WD bug crawled straight out of his beard and bit him square on the rear bar from a young age (yes, we’re assuming the beard’s been around a while). “Jeeping has been in my blood for my whole life,” says Luke. “As a kid I watched my dad race a wild CJ7 so the ‘Jeep thing’ kinda stuck.” Yeah Luke, looking at your JK we reckon it did too.

The 4WD you’re about to read about is a clear argument for what you get when you don’t cut corners during a build and have no hesitation spending the right money, on the right parts to do the job once and do it bloody well. Check this rig out, and we reckon you’ll soon be uttering those magic words – “I bought a Jeep!”

EXTERIOR
  • Rock Hard 4×4 steel bulbar made from ¼ in steel
  • Warn 9000lb winch
  • Mopar Rubicon extended steel rock sliders
  • Rock Hard 4×4 ¼ in steel rear bar holding spare tyre and 2 x 20L jerry cans
  • Rhino Rack fibreglass roof bars for light gear and fishing rods
  • Standard fuel tank and transfer case bash plates
  • TrailMod detachable fenders
  • Baja Design 10in LED bar and 50in Rigid Industries LED light bar on windscreen bracket
  • Crawler Conceptz, Ultimate Series aluminium front inner fenders

“I went with the Rock Hard barwork due to its overall strength and build quality,” explains Luke. “On the way into Birdsville I clocked a roo at 110km/h and the truck came out completely unscathed, bar needing a slight wheel alignment.” That’s no easy feat for any bulbar! “The rear bar is an excellent unit, I only wish that the rear swing away opened with the tailgate to make access and packing a little easier.” For carrying lighter gear, such as fishing rods, Luke’s installed a set of fibreglass Rhino roof racks, as they’re light and don’t put any stress on the roof.

ENGINE & DRIVELINE
  • Sprintrex supercharger with smaller pulley to increase boost from 6psi to 8psi
  • Water to air intercooler for increased cooling at slow speeds
  • AFE Rock Basher 2.5in cat back exhaust, with custom rotated mufflers for greater exhaust ground clearance
  • Front and rear ARB Airlockers
  • Tom Woods front and rear tailshafts to account for high pinion diffs and extended arms
  • Currie Dana 60 Rock Jock high pinion diffs w/4.56 ratio gears and chromoly axles

As with any major engine work, there were a few minor teething issues, but there was a surprisingly easy fix. “After the supercharger install, the engine light kept coming on, as soon as I switched spark plugs, the issue went away,” explains Luke. “I also had to upgrade the diffs. With all the extra power from the supercharger, and the terrain this JK sees, I kept breaking and bending axles and diff housings,” Luke says. “The Currie diff housings are one of the toughest, race-proven diffs you can get and they offer great clearance.” Luke reckons the ARB Air Lockers have back this up very well, however if he was doing it again he’d opt for an electronic locker to take the sometimes troublesome airlines out of the equation.

SUSPENSION, WHEELS & TYRES
  • American Expedition Vehicle 3in raised springs front and rear
  • King off-road racing 2.5 shocks with external reservoir and compression adjuster
  • King off-road 2.0 bump stops
  • Quick disconnect sway bars
  • Old Man Emu steering dampener
  • Synergy drag link
  • Currie heavy duty track bar
  • ATX beadlock rims – 17×9 -38 offset
  • Nitto Trailgrappler tyres – 35×12.5R17

“I forked out and went with the King shocks and I reckon it’s the best part I’ve ever put on the 4WD,” says Luke. Their ability to handle high-speed corrugations and absorb the harsh tracks and dunes of the outback were a real winner for me.” At the end of the day Luke has endeavoured to build an extreme tourer, so reaching to the highest shelf when it came to suspension setup was almost mandatory for a well-balanced machine.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”As soon as I switched spark plugs the issue went away”[/blockquote]

INTERIOR & 12V GEAR
  • Thumper aux battery box, with 75Ah in built battery and management system
  • Rock Hard 4×4 harness bar w/ 4pt Takata harness
  • GME TX3345 UHF
  • GME TX6150 handheld UHF
  • iPad Mini running HEMA Maps
  • GME MT410G personal locator beacon with GPS
  • Waeco CFX35 w/ remote temp gauge
  • Trade Tools, Tuff Box cargo cases

“There are always going to be space constraints when touring with a short wheelbase 4WD, but I reckon with the right planning and eye for packing it’s definitely achievable,” says Luke. “I’ve tackled some fairly big trips in the Jeep and I certainly don’t feel the need to upsize to anything else.”

RUNDOWN

VEHICLE: 2008 Jeep Wrangler JK
ENGINE: 3.8L EFI V6 w/ Sprintrex supercharger, 8psi boost
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
4WD ACTIVATION: Shift-on-the-fly with automatic hubs
SUSPENSION: 3in AEV springs and King 2.5 remote reservoir shocks
WHEELS AND TYRES: 17×9 ATX Slab beadlocks and 35×12.5R17 Nitto Trailgrapplers

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