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PROJECT YJ K

Chris is back at it again, building another cool Jeep. The latest CODE 4x4 project started out as a 1993 YJ Wrangler. The only things that remain mostly stock are the frame, body, and wheels -- but even those parts have plenty of mods. Check it out.

BLT4ROC customized rock crawl Jeep built by CODE 4x4.
Project YJ K in Moab, fully purpose build and customized Jeep.

The stock 2.5L 4-cylinder was ditched by the previous owner and a 5.7 TBI Chevy V-8 (350) and a 700R4 had been installed when Chris bought it. Since then here is a partial list of what had been done at the CODE 4x4 world headquarters.

Engine: The 350 has been relocated as far up and back as possible using M.O.R.E. brand BombProof motor mounts. It is stock for now but plans for a 6.0L (LQ4) are in its future. Block hugger headers let the exhaust gases escape and a custom single exhaust system is quieted by a Flowmaster Hushpower muffler.

Transmission: remains stock but is cooled by a stacked-fin style oil cooler and shifted with a Art Carr gate shifter.

Transfer Case: STAK 4x4 supplied a 3-speed unit with 4.29:1, 2.44:1, and 1:1 ratios. It is clocked totally flat and is above the frame by over an inch. It is protected by a 1/4" thick aluminum skid plate, that also covers the transmission pan. A rear output shaft disc brake is to be installed soon.
1310 series CV joints transfer power to both axles.

Drive Shafts: As with every project CODE 4x4 produces, Tom Wood @ Custom Drive Shafts in Ogden Utah provides the finest shafts available.

Rear Axle: Obtained from Mopar, as a crate axle, Chris took advantage of the short time they offered JK Rubicon axle assemblies, brand new from the dealer for a really cheap price. It is 100% stock for now and holding up very well. The stock JK bracketry on the tubes has been removed and all custom stuff welded on for the custom suspension system.

Front Axle: Also obtained from Mopar as a brand new JK Rubicon unit, the high pinion Dana 44 has been beefed by installing tubes inside the stock housing and knuckle gussets from Poly Performance. All new bracketry has been built and welded in place by the craftsman at CODE. The stock 4.10 gears are retained for now, but 4.88's are in the future. Chris has some Dyna-Trac ball joints and RCV axles shafts ready to install, but the stock stuff is holding up for now.

Tires/wheels: Chris has always been a fan of stock wheels (OEM) but custom painted to set them apart from the crowd. So, stock JK Rubicon aluminum, 17" x 7.5" are powdercoated silver-vein and black. For rock crawling, tires of choice are BF Goodrich "KX" Krawlers, 37x12.50R-17. For desert running and everyday driving, his choice is General Grabber Red letter units,
35x12.50R-17, also on JK Rubicon aluminum wheels, painted red and black. SpiderTrax wheel spacers are used on both axles to widen the stance.

Fully custom JK Jeep, tires and wheels.
OEM wheels are custom painted.

Suspension: Leaf springs were ditched in favor of "round springs". The rear uses TJ 2" lift Old Man Emu brand coils, and shocks are Fox racing units, attached to the frame with custom hoops. The links are custom built long arm units utilizing a combo of Rubicon Express flex joints, Heim joints and stock rubber bushings. The upper arms are triangulated and attach to the frame with GenRight brackets which allow the rear axle to be pushed back five inches. Custom bump stops, limit straps and a Currie Anti-Rock off road sway bar finish off the 12" of travel.

Up front Chris choose to use Fox 14" coil-over units attached to the frame with a custom cage that braces over the engine and locates the radiator cage hoop as well. The control arms are Poly Performance JK lowers, and custom uppers. The track bar, and all steering linkage is also custom built with
1.5" (.250 wall), DOM tubing, 3/4" Heim's and all bolts are in double-shear. Zero bump steer was obtained with an exactly parallel and same length, drag link and track bar. Limit straps keep the axle from over extending on the frequent flights and a set of Stinger bump stops by Daystar are about to be installed. A Currie anti-rock off road sway bar control the body roll.

Fully custom JK Jeep.
Front suspension rises from 14" Fox coil-overs. The beefed high pinion Dana 44 rolls BF Goodrich 37s.

Steering: PSC provided the H.D. gear box with ram assist, hi-volume "P" pump, remote reservoir and a stacked-fin oil cooler keep it working well.

Cooling: The Ron Davis racing radiator provides the V8 plenty of cooling with a double pass, 28" wide unit with two Spal electric fans. The Jeep never gets over 195F even at full throttle in the deep sand washes where it is so fun to play desert racer. However, to fit the monster radiator in the YJ engine compartment, Chris "had" to ditch the stock rectangular headlights and go with some very slim (round) Hella 500 lights. Radiator is protected with a tube mount that also holds the coolers, headlights and other doodads.

Fully custom JK Jeep radiator.
Ron Davis racing water circulator, double pass with two Spal 'lectric fans.

Body: To keep the CG as low as possible, GenRight high clearance front fenders, rear quarter panels and flares, and rocker protectors were installed, to clear the 37's with minimum lift. However, with any project, modifications were needed to obtain the finished product desired. Up front, custom inner fenders were hand built in house, and the rear flares were "tweaked" to give it more of a JK look, by bending the trailing edge to more vertical. Plus, Chris did not want the "comp-cut" look, and wanted to keep the flares totally on the rear corners. The grille was gutted of all of its inside metal and is a shell only. Yep, it's a YJ grille but the stock headlight and turn signal openings were filled in and "round" holes cut back in, thanks to the fine skills of Bruce and Dustin Cochran at Can-Do custom paint and fabrication.

Fully custom JK Jeep, headlights and grill.
YJ grille, but the stock headlight and turn signal openings were filled and "round" holes cut back in.

 

JK grill mods.
Before.

Hood is also a work of art. It was cut off 4" for the high fenders, and reinforcement ribs were TIG welded on by friend Billy Emmons.

Again, Bruce and Dustin at Can-Do applied their skills by cutting a steel, LT-1 style cowl-induction scoop out of a Chevy truck hood and grafting it into the stock YJ steel hood. The underside was cut and modified to clear the radiator hoop at CODE.

Interior: To clear the STAK T-case, a Texas sized hole was cut in the floor pan. Good friend and fabricator Alex Crawford used his skills and sheet metal brake to build a new floor board. A Rock Hard brand bolt in cage was chosen to show customers what they offer. The RaceTrim seats are held in by a custom tube platform, and bolted to the cage and, the 3" harnesses also clip in to the mount. The stock YJ half doors have been hollowed-out and custom pockets welded inside and trimmed with trick aluminum panels by Can-Do Fab. A removable steering wheel on the stock Jeep tilt column is in place. Gauges are stock for now, but next winter's project is a custom dash with AutoMeter gauges.

Texas sized floor hole was taken care of by expert sheet metal work.

Paint: Some of the old time desert racers will recognize the scheme Chris stole from the class 8 Chevy truck that Dave Westhem drove in the 1980's and
90's. Can-Do paint and Fab once again applied the multi-colors with great talent.

 

Paint iterates a 1980s Class 8 Chevy driven by Dave Westhem.

There is so many other details that it would take pages to list it all out, so get by CODE 4x4 to check it out in person. Or, you can buy it from Chris so he can start the next CODE 4x4 project.



Yukon Gear & Axle