Rob uses Currie 9-inchers front and rear with ARB Air Lockers and 4.56 gears. The rear is
Perhaps the most interesting feature is the front axle. Sunray Engineering modified a Ford
Bet you haven’t seen this yet: a Chevy Vortec 5700 V-8 in a Jeep. Rob used a Street &
Thank goodness for those Hanson Enterprises Jeep corners. Even with most of the weight of
Rob fitted a GM steering column to the YJ (but topped it with the Jeep steering wheel for
When you completely wear out a YJ that was nicknamed Spot because of a non-sublime camo paint job, there's only one thing to do--build another one that's even better.
Rob Harris of Nacogdoches, Texas, tries to tame some of the roughest trails in the country, so he needs a vehicle that's as hard-core as the trails he runs. He had learned plenty while building, 'wheeling, and rebuilding his last Wrangler, so he had a much better idea where to start when he built this '90 YJ. He threw away almost every stock component except for the frame and body and then went about outfitting the Jeep with some of the best parts money could buy.
Rob decided that some serious drivetrain improvements were in order. A Chevy Vortec 5700 engine, which puts out 255 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, was called to duty. Backing up the Vortec is a 4L60E four-speed automatic transmission. Power is sent to the axles through a Dana 300 transfer case equipped with a twin-stick shifter and modified for a vehicle speed sensor (necessary with the 4L60E tranny and Vortec engine). In the rear rests a Currie-built Ford 9-inch of the high-pinion variety outfitted with 4.56 gears, an ARB Air Locker, and disc brakes.
Perhaps the most interesting piece of the drivetrain is the front axle. Custom-built by Sunray Engineering, it's a blend of a 9-inch centersection and Dana 60 outer tubes, knuckles, and hubs. This eliminates the small steering U-joints, which constitute the weak link in most front axles. Everything is connected with custom driveshafts built by Tom Woods.
Making improvements in the suspension was next on the list for Rob. The stock springs were ditched in favor of ones from Currie that supplied 4 inches of lift. A 2-inch body lift was also determined to be needed to make room for the 35x12.50 Super Swamper SSRs on bead-locked Marsh Racing 15x9 steel wheels. Once the Wrangler was up and running around, it was time to outfit it with all the trail necessities. A Currie front and rear bumper, Hanson Enterprises rocker guards, and steel rear corners all help to protect the Jeep's vulnerable spots. A Ramsey Pro Plus 9000 winch juiced by a twin Optima battery system is used to extract the YJ from sticky situations. A Thomas Industries 2.2-cfm electric air compressor under the hood aids in inflating tires and keeping the Air Lockers locked. Tuffy Security Products boxes are everywhere to keep valuables out of someone else's hands. Finally, a Currie front steering box brace helps beef up the front.
As you can see from the photos, Rob definitely tests his rig to its maximum capabilities, and so far it has continued the Spot legacy.