Jeep never called the TJ Unlimited "LJ." The forum users named it that and the moniker stuck. This blue 2004 TJ Unlimited is called the "Dixie LJ" because Dixie 4 Wheel Drive of St. George, Utah, built it into a formidable trail machine.
Many think the LJ has the perfect wheelbase at 103.4 inches. It's stable on climbs, yet short enough to twist through tight trails. I think it's nifty, too, and went on a long search (detailed in my April 2012 4Word) to purchase one. Once in my garage, I went to work cleaning the Jeep, removing the heavy hardtop and installing a new Bestop NX LJ soft top, a Metal Cloak modular aluminum front bumper, and a Warn 9.5cti winch. The fender flares had seen better days, so a set of Bushwacker flat panel flares found their way on to the LJ.
Dixie 4 Wheel Drive is a southwestern Utah family affair, with Milt, Sharlett, Jeremy, and Bryce Thompson taking care of off-roaders-in-need no matter what the need is. Whether it's building a vehicle from the frame up, quick repairs to get a 4x4 back on the trail, or guiding people in the backcountry, Dixie 4 Wheel Drive is the one-stop shop to see in St. George. Once I had done my work to the LJ, it went to the crew at Dixie for the main build.
While everyone lent a hand on this project, Jeremy Thompson took the lead and was the real builder of the Dixie LJ. He first removed unneeded old parts like exhaust, front and rearends, suspension, T-case, crossmember, etc., then cut off the OE control arm frame mounts and rear upper coil perches.
Jeremy welded on the new Teraflex control arm brackets that are part of the Pro LCG long arm suspension. He then installed the SpeedBumps/upper coil seats. The Currie RockJock 60s were next. The RockJocks came with 5.13 Motive gears and an Eaton Detroit Locker up front and Eaton ELocker in the rear, ready to bolt into a stock TJ or LJ. As ours wasn't stock, Jeremy modified bracketry before installing the front and rearends.
Once the suspension and RockJocks were on the Jeep, the Atlas two-speed transfer case, Currie one-ton track bar, tie-rod, drag link, and shocks were installed. While waiting for Lee at Page Brake Warehouse and Driveshaft to build the front and rear CV driveshafts, the Poison Spyder RockBrawler rear bumper with tire carrier was bolted on, as were the Teraflex LJ aluminum rocker guards.
The 37x12.50R17LT Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ radials were mounted on 17x9.5 Raceline Monster Aluminum Beadlock wheels. The Raceline wheels have a deep enough step on both the wheel lip and the aluminum ring so tires with thick bead bundles can be safely mounted. They also have very nice steel thread inserts that have their shoulders on the backside of the cast lip for safety.
The Dixie LJ is one nice TJ Unlimited. Jeremy's work is flawless. There were no bugs at all. I can't remember when we had another project that didn't have something that had to be addressed after the fact. The LJ works fantastic on the trail and fairly well on the pavement, although on the tarmac, TJs and LJs can't compete with JKs.
The South (Southern Utah) rises again.
Here’s the Dixie LJ when it...
Here’s the Dixie LJ when it was only a 2004 TJ Unlimited. It looked nice from 10 feet away, but up close, you could see the Patriot Blue paint was chipped in places. I didn’t care, as there was no rust anywhere.
The Metal Cloak modular bumper...
The Metal Cloak modular bumper has a number of options available to tailor it to your needs. When I ordered the bumper, I thought the 52-inch High Crawler End Caps would work. When installed, they were larger than I thought. I called Metal Cloak and traded them for the 43-inch Crawler Caps you see throughout the rest of the photos. The modular design of the Metal Cloak bumper system makes that easy. Metal Cloak’s frame-built bumper base is lightweight, strong aluminum, or steel, if you must have it. The Warn 9.5cti winch is the latest from Warn with integrated contactor control box.
Viking Offroad synthetic winch...
Viking Offroad synthetic winch line and extension rope are strong and lightweight. The winchline extension has soft eyes, allowing it to be easily stowed until needed. Viking Offroad invented the Safety Thimble. The Van Beest Green Pin shackles are forged in Holland from high tensile steel. Every Green Pin shackle meets strict standards, unlike cheap imitations from Asia.
I easily mounted the 37-inch...
I easily mounted the 37-inch Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ tires on the 17x9.5 Raceline Monster Beadlocks with aluminum rings. Tip: Always mount your own beadlock wheels. The steps in both the wheel and the aluminum ring are deep enough to safely mount tires with even the thickest bead bundles. Note the manly blanket I used. The wheels/tires were expertly balanced by Direct Tire and Wheel in St. George, Utah.
Dixie 4 Wheel Drive has been...
Dixie 4 Wheel Drive has been building and repairing 4x4s in St. George for years.
Dixie is a full-service shop,...
Dixie is a full-service shop, with machine shop and powder coating facilities. Here, Milt Thompson sets up a part in the lathe. Milt builds the parts for old 4x4s that can no longer be found at the parts store.
Dixie LJ’s OE parts were quickly...
Dixie LJ’s OE parts were quickly removed.
Opening the shipping containers...
Opening the shipping containers from Currie Enterprises revealed our two RockJock 60s. It’s almost better than Christmas!
The OE frame brackets were...
The OE frame brackets were carefully removed to prep for the Teraflex Pro LCG brackets.
Jeremy Thompson preps the...
Jeremy Thompson preps the Teraflex bracketry for welding.
Voila! Check out Jeremy’s...
Voila! Check out Jeremy’s welds.
Jeremy fabricated the rear...
Jeremy fabricated the rear upper control arm bracketry.
A Currie 1-inch body lift...
A Currie 1-inch body lift was installed, so the 4.0L I-6 needed to be raised an inch, also. I chose M.O.R.E. Bombproof motor mounts that not only raises the mill the required inch, they isolate vibration as well as the wimpy OE motor mounts did.
The rear Eaton ELocker switch...
The rear Eaton ELocker switch was expertly installed in the LJ’s dash by Jeremy.
The crew at St. George Muffler...
The crew at St. George Muffler surveys what they have to do to snake the custom exhaust through the triangulated control arms. They figured it out and built a quiet exhaust system.
The SpeedoHealer from Blue...
The SpeedoHealer from Blue Monkey Motorsports is plug-and-play, installs easily, and allows the TJ speedometer and odometer to be exactly dialed in, no matter what the gearing or tire size is. There’s no more need for plastic speedo drive gears.
On Dixie LJ's shakedown cruise, it rescued Milt who had been testing a YJ.
||2004 Jeep TJ Unlimited
||Jeep 4.0L I-6
||42RLE four-sped overdrive automatic
|Transfer case/low range ratio:
||Advance Adapters Atlas two-speed/3.8:1
||Currie RockJock 60
||Currie RockJock 60
|Ring and Pinion:
||Motive Gear 5.13:1
||Eaton Detroit Locker
||4-inch Teraflex Pro LCG with Fox Performance Series remote reservoir shocks
||37x12.50R17LT Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Radial
||17x9.5 Raceline Monster Beadlocks with aluminum rings/4 inches
The Currie RockJock 60 frontend...
The Currie RockJock 60 frontend has 5.13 Motive gears and an Eaton Detroit Locker. Currie’s track bar and track bar brace, tie-rod, and drag link are one-ton strong. A Metal Cloak steering box skid protects the steering box and Fox’s new steering stabilizer keeps shimmies away.
Teraflex 4-inch TJ coils and...
Teraflex 4-inch TJ coils and SpeedBumps, Fox Performance Series aluminum remote reservoir shocks, and a Currie AntiRock swaybar control the front of the Dixie LJ.
Teraflex’s Belly Up skid plate/crossmember...
Teraflex’s Belly Up skid plate/crossmember affords much more clearance than stock. It’s included as part of the complete LCG Pro suspension system. We like quiet performance exhaust. The St. George Muffler muffler sounds great (quiet), yet doesn’t muzzle performance. If only more companies would build quiet performance mufflers.
Lee at Fleet Pride built the...
Lee at Fleet Pride built the front and rear 1310 CV driveshafts. An interesting factoid: Lee has been a friend of Tom Wood for years. The driveshafts don’t vibrate at any speed. Advance Adapters’ Atlas two-speed transfer case has a 3.8:1 low range.
The Teraflex Pro LCG triangulated...
The Teraflex Pro LCG triangulated rear upper control arms delete the rear track bar. Currie RockJocks are a reverse cut, high-pinion design. The beefy 65-45-12 ductile iron housing center with AR400 heat-treated bottom skid plate is very strong and fends off harm. The housing incorporates set 80 axle bearings (over 50-percent greater capacity than stock).
The 4-inch Teraflex TJ rear...
The 4-inch Teraflex TJ rear coils, SpeedBumps, Fox Performance Series aluminum remote reservoir shocks, and a Currie AntiRock swaybar control the rear of the LJ. Currie’s disc brake kit has a drum E-brake that works well. After removing the OE upper coil mounts, Jeremy mounted the SpeedBump/coil mounts directly above the axle where they should be, so coils don’t tweak when cycling.
Savvy Off Road builds beautiful...
Savvy Off Road builds beautiful aluminum parts. The Savvy aluminum gas tank skid is much stronger, yet weighs only four pounds more than the wimpy stock skid does. Dixie powder coated the aluminum satin black. The RockJock rearend has 5.13 Motive gears and an Eaton ELocker.
Teraflex aluminum LJ rocker...
Teraflex aluminum LJ rocker guards are extremely lightweight and strong.
Poison Spyder Customs’ new...
Poison Spyder Customs’ new RockBrawler rear bumper with tire carrier is beefy and doesn’t rattle. Because of the latch design, the license plate is relocated to the center of the spare. To keep things legal, we also installed a Poison Spyder LED license plate and third brake light.
The RockBrawler tire carrier...
The RockBrawler tire carrier is adjustable for spare height and locks open. Quality is evident everywhere you look.
Bestop’s new NX line of soft...
Bestop’s new NX line of soft tops feature OE-design frames and quality fabric. The Bestop NX LJ top on the Dixie LJ is quieter than the old leaky hardtop was. Bushwacker flat panel flares are easy to install, don’t sag, and look great.
The 37x12.50R17LT Mickey Thompson...
The 37x12.50R17LT Mickey Thompson Baja MTZs look good on the 17x9.5 Raceline Monster Beadlocks with aluminum rings.