Jeep Wrangler TJ Build is Far Beyond ‘Trail-rated’

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Powered by a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta 1.9-liter turbodiesel, this 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ may be the most aluminum-ridden off-roader in existence.

Ever wanted to take your Jeep Wrangler toward the hardest, rockiest, most challenging trails, but wondered what it would take to get there? This YouTuber’s ride could give you a few ideas.

BleepinJeep host Nate shows us his 2002 Wrangler TJ, which he says he bought when he was 20 back in 2006, and “had it wheelin’ the first weekend” he owned it in the mountains of his Washington state home, paper license plate and all. Since then, he’s invested a lot of time and money on transforming the Wrangler into the ultimate rock crawler.

2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ Build

For starters, he custom-built a number of pieces, such as the front hoop/stinger/bumper combo upon which his Superwinch sits, and the rear spare tire mount. The Jeep itself sits on thick Pro Comp Xtreme MT2 tires mounted on cheap steelies over front Ford F-150 disc and rear stock drum brakes. A Dana 44 with coil shocks and chromoly shafts up front and a custom rear axle inspired by the Ford 9-inch rear with custom 35-spline shafts and coil springs in back complete the package.

The body has lost a lot of weight through extensive use of aluminum pieces, from the rear and side doors, to the fenders and front fender liners, and he’s not done riding the aluminum wave yet; his original goal was to drop 600 to 800 pounds from the body.

2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ Build

Powering this beast is a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta 1.9-liter turbodiesel with “the biggest injectors” he could find, a turbo he says could be bigger, and a hot chip tune. Inside, the radio has been replaced with switches for current and future functions. A virtual gauge set-up from Edge helps Nate keep an eye on things while a modified roll cage protects his head.

2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ Build

Future plans for this insane Wrangler include a 100-inch wheelbase, a new four-speed transfer case, a Dana 60 hi-pinion front axle, all to better tackle Moab and King of the Hammers.

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Since launching her professional writing career nearly a decade ago as a fashion blogger, Cameron Aubernon has written for a handful of online and print publications on a wide variety of subjects, including expat issues, fashion, music, and, of course, the automotive industry. The automotive expert was even the editor-in-chief of a popular online lifestyle publication, where she reviewed luxury cars and interviewed fellow automotive enthusiasts.

A graduate of The Evergreen State College Class of 2005 with a bachelor's in liberal arts, Aubernon took a left turn from fashion writing into the automotive realm when she asked a fellow writer via Facebook if she could write for their site. Following an internship, stints with a couple of hyper-local online publications, and a move to Seattle, she made her then-biggest impact with The Truth About Cars, writing full-time for the publication from 2013 to 2015.

Currently, the highly-regarded automotive journalist is a frequent contributor to the high-traffic Internet Brands Auto Group websites Rennlist, Club Lexus, LS1Tech and Mustang Forums, among others.

Aubernon’s expert knowledge of all things Ford trucks has also made her a mainstay as one of the most prolific writers on Ford Truck Enthusiasts and F-150 Online.

Aubernon can be contacted via email at [email protected].

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