Introducing: DAA's LJ Rubicon. We've all seen the amazing trip reports by DAA and his friends in the reports forum here on RME and we've all wished we were out there with him on those adventures. So what's the story behind DAA's rig? Let's find out...
- stock 4.0, CAI with air box inside cowl, Edge throttle body and module, Magnaflow muffler.
- stock NSG370 six speed manual
- stock NP 241OR 4:1
- stock TJ Rubicon D44’s front and rear w/factory lockers. 4.88 gears. Alloy USA chromo shafts in rear, Alloy USA chromo inner shafts and 30 spline outers, Spicer 760’s in front.
- Currie short arms with Johnny Joints on all ends, including front upper axle ends. AEV 3” progressive rate springs. Bilstein 5100 shocks. ORO Swayloc dual rate front swaybar. BDS adjustable front track bar. JKS adjustable rear track bar.
- BFG KM2 35x12.50x17’s on AEV Pintler wheels.
- Currie Currectlync factory style tie rod and drag link.
- Hanson front bumper. Jeeperman rear bumper. Jeeperman frame mount rocker sliders. Jeep Medic oil pan/tranny skid, Jeep Medic tummy tuck transfer case skid. Rockcrusher diff covers. Skid row front LCA mount skids. Genright gas tank skid.
- AEV Highline kit (hood, front fenders, flares), allows easy fitment of 35’s with plenty of uptravel on small lift with low CoG.
- Genright Safari welded aluminum gas tank. Genright lists this as a 31 gallon tank, but mine actually holds 32.5 gallons. Has 3/16” steel skid.
- JKS 1.25” body lift and 1” motor mount lift to allow install of tummy tuck and ease drive shaft angles.
- Locker mod – allows engaging factory lockers anytime.
- Onboard air consisting of 12 volt ARB twin compressor unit hard mounted under hood in stock air box location. With dash mounted switch and pressure guage, tank mounted under tub and quick disconnect air chucks located inside both doors, rear bumper and under hood.
- Filtered cabin air via scoop mounted on cowl with factory paper air filter.
- Mastercraft Baja RS seats. Home made leather padded arm rest on console. Misch arm rests on doors.
- Home made bike shifter thumb throttle on shifter.
- In dash flip screen DVD player/ XM radio, amplifier and Infinity Kappa speakers.
- Cobra 75 CB w/external speaker mounted above rear view mirror.
- Headlamps are 55/100W H4 Narva bulbs in Cibie E-code reflectors, with Painless relay harness.
- Factory fogs upgraded to 100W H3 bulbs with home made relay harness. Fog relay modded to allow fogs and hi-beams at the same time.
- Long range KC 6” Slimlites with HID conversion on front bumper.
- KC rectangular backup lights with 100W H3 bulbs on rear bumper wired to come on in reverse as well as a separate switch to use for area lighting.
- Backup camera.
- LED lighting in rear cargo area. 12V power ports in rear cargo area.
- Full recovery gear, including Warn XD 9000i, Hi Lift, Shovel hard mounted under hood, axe hard mounted inside tail gate, Pull Pal with various mounting options, full host of straps, tools, spares etc.
RME - What is the story behind your rig?
DAA - Before getting this Jeep, I went about ten years with only ¾ ton diesel pickup trucks for my back country transportation. I had a few instances of getting them stuck and having to take on varying degrees of adventure getting myself and the trucks back home. After one particular multi-day unexpected absence from home, and the ensuing adventure/multi agency search and rescue effort etc., my Wife had had enough of worrying about me. Selling her on the idea that a new Jeep wouldn’t get hopelessly stuck so often like my full size pickups did was pretty easy.
RME - Why did you choose this particular model as a base for building your rig?
DAA - I had been eyeballing a Jeep Rubicon pretty hard since they had come out. Solid front axle, factory lockers front and rear, D44’s, decent tires, disc brakes etc. The Rubi’s were looking pretty good to me right from the start. The regular TJ was just a little too short on cargo space for my purposes though. But the Unlimited, had just enough room, so when the Rubi LJ came out in ’05, I got even more interested. By the time I bought my LJ in early ’06, I knew that the JK’s were coming. For me and my purposes, again the two door just wasn’t going to be quite enough room, but the four door just didn’t do it for me. Again, the LJ seemed “just right”. So, a Rubi LJ really was an easy choice – it suited my needs almost perfectly and there really wasn’t, still isn’t for that matter, anything else on the market with the mix of small size, wheelbase, space, features and capability that the LJ offers. I should mention though, my second choice was a Tacoma and if I didn’t already have a full size pickup, it might have been a much harder decision.
RME - What is/was the goal behind building your rig, and have you met the goal?
DAA - The first goal, was to transport me, sometimes a passenger and all of our “stuff” safely and reliably to some of the most remote, difficult places to get to by vehicle in the Western U.S., in sometimes challenging conditions, and back again. Secondly, I wanted a rig easily capable of taking the family on moderately difficult Moab style trail rides. Both goals have absolutely been met.
RME - If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different?
DAA - Yes. I’d strive to keep the overall weight of the Jeep lower. Now, there are choices for aluminum, where there was only steel being offered when I was putting it together just a few years ago. I would definitely take advantage of newer, lighter materials and designs anywhere I could without compromising reliability or function.
And of course, I don’t think it will ever actually be finished. Future plans include a fridge slider, built in pressurized water tank, LED area lighting, air bumps and “someday” an engine swap to get more power.
RME - What is your favorite feature of your rig?
DAA - Wow, that’s a tough one! My favorite mods would include the Highline kit (low CoG), dual rate Swayloc and the big Genright Safari tank (no discos or jerry cans to mess with!). But favorite feature? I think I’ll go with the removable top and doors. It’s kind of what makes a Jeep a Jeep and for plain old trail riding nothing beats the open air experience.
RME - What is your favorite trail?
DAA - Oh man… I don’t have just one favorite. Mind you, most of what I do, is travelling, not really trail riding. I like HITR for the combination of obstacles, remoteness, scenery etc. Elephant Hill is great for just pure scenic value. Golden Spike has a lot of obstacles on it are “just right” for the level of build I have so it’s a lot of fun. A lot of the places I’m thinking of right now though, don’t even have names, or any particular obstacles or difficulty, other than the distances from pavement to get to them. I can name a few places, like the Robbers Roost country, or the Jarbidge area, or the Owyhee desert in winter. But for each of them, I’m thinking of two others that have no recognizable names. Places with no obvious attractions for visitors, empty places, places it takes a real commitment to get to and where you can literally drive around exploring for days without seeing another person – those are really my favorites. Pick a random white area on the map – that’s my favorite .
RME - What kind of influence has this vehicle had on your lifestyle?
DAA - My initial thought is that my lifestyle has had far more influence on the vehicle than vice versa. I would say the biggest effect it has had on my lifestyle is my participation in group runs and meeting many great people and making new friends that would not have happened without the Jeep. That’s something I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated.
Thank you DAA for sharing your vehicle information and story with all of us... and thank you for the great trip reports!