Beefed-Up YJ Comes to Life Off-Road
YJ Jeep Is Proof That True Rock Climbers Are a Different Breed
The key to maintaining a reign at the top of the hill in the off-roading world has nothing to do with the look of your vehicle.
Nope, not one bit. Now, that’s not to say that a Jeep modified to tackle trails won’t turn heads on the street. In fact, there’s a strong chance it will, due to the special mods it takes to beef up a winning off-roader.
But unlike those custom, high-riding Jeeps you typically see in the city, the mods on a true off-roader aren’t strictly for show. And you can usually tell by the wear and tear the Jeep has endured on the trail. As the saying goes, no pain, no gain.
Just ask Sergio Martinez, owner of this trophy-winning YJ rock crawler, highlighted in a recent Four-Wheeler report. The Jeep YJ’s winning list of mods grew out of a desire to build something beefier, after it blew out a 9-inch rear-end for the third time.
One of the first moves included adding a 14-bolt rear axle from an ’85 Chevy G30 van and a Dana 60 out of ’97 F-350. Martinez also moved the axles to give the Jeep a 108-inch wheel base, in order to perform better on the trail.
The Jeep also features a custom 4-link front and rear suspension. It was built using aluminum links, 5⁄8-inch Heim joints with 3⁄4-inch shanks, and 35-inch limiting straps. On the front of the YJ, you’ll find 2.0 King 14-inch coilover shocks, and stock TJ front coils with universal coil buckets modified to fit the Jeep.
Martinez’s Jeep also underwent a serious engine and transmission upgrade, including pulling a 6.0-liter V-8 from an ’05 Chevy 2500. The Jeep also features a 10,000-pound capacity winch mounted on a steel front bumper, another one of a dozen hardcore mods made to the SUV.
Point being, a real rock crawler is defined by what a Jeep’s mods can do, not how they look.
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