Wes Feringa of Burnsville, Minnesota, built a clean 2003 TJ Wrangler Rubicon. It stayed clean - other than rock rash on control arms and skids - until he rolled it in Moab right before our photo shoot. As a tribute to his work, the TJ sustained some damage, mainly to the cowl, windshield frame, and a few other places, but he drove it the rest of the week with no issues.
We asked Wes why he chose this Jeep to build, and he answered, "It was green and had flames." That's as good a reason as any, we guess. He left the 4.0L six stock under the custom Burnsville Off-Road hood that had been painted to match the rest of the Jeep. The 42RLE automatic overdrive transmission was left stock, as was the NVG241OR Rock-Trac Rubicon transfer case. Wes used JK Rubicon 44s for his front and rear ends. He installed 5.38 gears and left the factory electric lockers in them.
The suspension uses Rubicon Express long radius arms all around. The wheelbase is stretched 3 inches in the back. Radflo coilovers up front work with RE coils and Radflo monotube shocks in back. They work when the tires are on the ground, that is. The 35x12.50R17LT Nitto Mud Grapplers are wrapped around OMF-beadlocked American Eagle aluminum alloy wheels.
GenRight front fenders, corner guards, and rear fenders fit perfectly and guard the Jeep, as do the BDS rocker guards. The armor was painted first then installed on the TJ. A Warn 8274 with Master-Pull Superline synthetic rope is mounted on a Warn front bumper. The Bulletproof rear bumper and tire carrier also carries gas cans (painted to match), a Hi-Lift jack, and a cooler. The GenRight gas tank was moved into the cab.
As Wes works at Burnsville Off-Road, we imagine the body damage wasn't there for long. His TJ serves him well as he travels the trails of Minnesota and Moab. The Jeep sits high and only sometimes, rolls. Hail High Roller.
Wes' answer to why he choose...
Wes' answer to why he choose this Jeep to build, "It was green and had flames."
The JK Rubicon Dana 44 front...
The JK Rubicon Dana 44 front end has been beefed up with Burnsville's axle beef kit with inner sleeves and gussets. It has 5.38 Sierra gears and the OE electronic locker. Wes hooks his winch line to the front diff guard so he can pull the axle up during steep climbs. The PSC ram-assist steering system makes steering the TJ easy, even on slickrock with the differentials locked.
Wes uses his Jeep, as you...
Wes uses his Jeep, as you can see. The Rubicon Express front radius arms have taken a real beating. The shackle was where Wes used to connect the winch cable, running it under the housing. He found that didn't work well because the line rubbed on the housing, which shortened the line's life.
Original equipment in the...
Original equipment in the JK Rubicon, the rear Dana 44 works fine in the TJ, too. The OE electronic locker was retained, but the gears were swapped for 5.38 Sierra gears. The bracketry you see is Rubicon Express' upper control arm triangulation kit. Rubicon Express coils and Radflo monotube shocks complete the rear suspension.
The OE TJ Rubicon Rock-Trac...
The OE TJ Rubicon Rock-Trac transfer case has a 4.0:1 low range. Tom Wood’s Custom Driveshafts built the front and rear CV driveshafts.
Perfectly dialed-in Radflo...
Perfectly dialed-in Radflo coilovers work great up front.
Wes fabricated the radiator...
Wes fabricated the radiator hoop and winch guard for his Warn front bumper. A trusty Warn 8274 with Master-Pull Superline handles winching duties.
Comfortable seating is a must...
Comfortable seating is a must for long days in the dirt. Wes did work on the OE sport cage to strengthen it. His work paid off, as no passengers have been injured in rollovers.
Nitto Mud Grapplers tires...
Nitto Mud Grapplers tires wrapped around OMF-beadlocked American Eagle aluminum alloy wheels.
The GenRight corners and fenders...
The GenRight corners and fenders took the full weight of the Jeep during the roll and held up well.
The GenRight gas tank was...
The GenRight gas tank was moved into the cab.
BDS rocker guards are clean...
BDS rocker guards are clean and strong.
Vehicle: 2003 Jeep Wrangler TJ Rubicon
Owner: Wes Feringa
Hometown: Burnsville, Minnesota
Engine: 4.0L inline-six
Induction: OE MPFI
Transmission: 42RLE overdrive automatic
Transfer Case/Low Range Ratio: NVG241OR Rock-Trac/4.0:1
Front End: JK Rubicon Dana 44
Rear End: JK Rubicon Dana 44
Ring and Pinion: 5.38 Sierra gears
Front Differential: OE electric locker
Rear Differential: OE electric locker
Suspension: Rubicon Express long radius arms with Radflo coilovers in front, triangulated four-link with RE coils and Radflo monotube shocks in the rear
Tires: 35x12.50R17LT Nitto Mud Grapplers
Wheels/Backspacing: 17x9 American Eagle alloy/4.5 inches