I thought this was going to be affordable! "
One of the best new trends...
One of the best new trends is to keep the tires big and the ride height low. This requires body mods. One method is to cut your hood and use a set of high-cut fenders to match. Another way to go is to use Metalcloak’s “Overline” fenders which arch above the hood’s lower line and give you the clearance you’re after sans hood mods. Mark uses Bilstein’s monotube shocks on all four corners.
It’s readily available and easy to modify, and if you get the 4.0L inline-six, it has a great engine. Oh yeah, it’s inexpensive. It’s the YJ Wrangler, the Jeep that makes it “hip to be square.”
Lakeside, California’s Mark Saxton can tell you all about it. Mark picked up the ’94 YJ secondhand for $3,000. It was bone stock when purchased, giving Mark a clean canvas on which to craft his trail rig. The low purchase price left cash in his pocket to make some big-ticket upgrades, improving the YJ by addressing some factory-supplied weaknesses.
The windshield banner may say “Redneck Rollercoaster,” but you don’t have to be a redneck to enjoy a YJ. You just have to be smart enough to build one.
It’s Metalcloak all the way...
It’s Metalcloak all the way from stem to stern. With body protection like this readily available there’s no good reason to willfully destroy your sheet metal anymore.
Rock sliders keep the stock...
Rock sliders keep the stock rocker panels intact and add confidence on the trail. Warrior Products tube doors are fair- weather accessories that add exponential visibility.
Stock YJ springs are soft...
Stock YJ springs are soft and compliant, so Mark retained them and used a spring-over conversion to add the lift height he was after.
Allied Wheel’s steel Rock...
Allied Wheel’s steel Rock 8 wheels have factory-installed beadlocks. They easily clasp the 33x12.50R15 Pro Comp Mud Terrain tires. Superior axle shafts ensure breakage is no issue on the trail.
A Gen-Right front bumper and...
A Gen-Right front bumper and stinger lead the way. Note the low-key grille guard that permits airflow but keeps the radiator from getting stoned.
The stock YJ axles can be...
The stock YJ axles can be upgraded with better guts, but Mark decided it was a better choice to replace them with a pair of Currie Dana 44 housings. This is a perfect choice, leaving Mark with axle strength sufficient to go with bigger tires later on. Inside the Currie housings are 4.88 gears, ARB Air Lockers, and Superior axle shafts.
The stock YJ sport bar was...
The stock YJ sport bar was retained and added onto until it became a roll cage. Victor Doctor and his TIG machine get the credit.
Lakeside, California, is close...
Lakeside, California, is close to Baja and Baja-style racing. No surprise that the stock buckets have been replaced by PRP racing buckets and matching Diest harnesses.
Soft leaf springs are prone...
Soft leaf springs are prone to U-joint-shattering axle wrap. Mark had Bill at the Kearney Mesa Off-Road Warehouse location build an anti-wrap bar that allows articulation but controls axle wrap.
There’s just enough storage...
There’s just enough storage room for trail essentials. An onboard Viair system can power tools or inflate tires. A Lowrance GPS isn’t in this photo, but it’s also along for the ride.
Under the stock hood there’s...
Under the stock hood there’s an Optima battery, the requisite ARB air compressor to power the matching lockers, a K&N air intake, and Borla headers. Mark uses a bicycle-style hand throttle to add extra control in finesse-demanding situations.
The parting shot includes...
The parting shot includes an OR Fab tire carrier, a Hi-Lift jack, and Gen-Right LED taillights. Mark’s fire extinguisher is easy to reach when it’s needed. Carrying a trash bag on the spare tire makes it easy to pick up what careless trail users have left behind.
||1994 Jeep YJ Wrangler
||Mark Saxton/Lakeside, California
||4.0L I-6, K&N intake, Borla headers, performance chip
||NP231 with SYE
||spring-over with stock YJ springs, Bilstein shocks
||spring-over with stock YJ springs, Bilstein shocks, custom anti-wrap bar
||Currie Dana 44 housings, Superior axle shafts
|Ring and Pinion:
||ARB Air Lockers
||33x12.50R15 Pro Comp Mud Terrain
||15x8 Allied Wheel Rock 8 beadlocks
||“I thought this was going to be affordable!”