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Six new "Moparized" Jeeps were created for the 45th annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari, which attracts thousands of off-road enthusiasts each year.
Taking cues from the popular Jeep Scrambler CJ-8 from the 1980s, Mopar has designed a kit for do-it-yourselfers that converts a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited into a pickup truck. The bed length is 50 inches and the width between wheel wells is 44 inches. The team created body panels to cover the second-row entrance and removed all of the interior parts behind the front seats transforming the vehicle into a two-seater with just enough room for gear inside, and a pickup style bed to be used for outside cargo.
The JK-8 drivetrain is fitted with a Mopar/Dynatrac ProRock 44 front axle and stock Dana 44 rear axle, both spun with 4.88 gears. Linking the axles to the frame is a 4.5-inch long-arm suspension kit and 37-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain KM2 tires make the connection to the ground. A fresh coat of yellow paint and Mopar's off-road bumpers for the front and rear were utilized along with a new fuel door and slush mats.
The JK-8 kit includes bed floor, inner/outer body panels, half hard top (works with Freedom Top panels), and a new bulkhead.
“MarauderPilot” wrote: “Not 'Mopar turned this JKU into a truck', not 'Chrysler plans to offer a JKU-based truck in the future,' but they're saying they are releasing a kit to turn the JKU into a pickup. It looks like it uses the same cab closeout as the River Raider JKU pickup, but this is definitely a different vehicle; the closeout is similar but not the same; look at the fine details, the dimensions and molding. I see an AEV suspension and wheels — maybe a three-way venture between River Raider as designers, AEV as builders, since they have been working on JKU Brutes and truck designs, and Mopar as distributors?”
Bob Sheaves wrote: “If there is a real production truck, expect this to be the mule and prototype body (they call it a “show car” kit) with two changes — different quarter panels that do not require a filler panel for the rear doors. Otherwise, it appears to be production ready—same approach as the original CJ6/DJ6 and CJ8/Scrambler.”
The “Pork Chop” was created to increase Jeep Wrangler's off-road performance by slashing weight, dropping the doors, top, tailgate, bumpers, carpet and sway bars. The rear tailgate hinges and latches were created, and a custom surround used instead; the inner fender panels were reshaped, the taillamps moved closer together, and a custom roll cage was installed with a two inch lower windshield height. Hanson Bumpers added unique aluminum bumpers and QMC contributed a prototype aluminum/carbon fiber hood, held in place with Drake aluminum hood latches. Mopar added an aluminum cold-air intake kit, lightweight fender-flares, slush mats and mirror re-location brackets. A smaller evaporation canister for the emissions system was borrowed from a 2012 Fiat 500.
The interior gained lightweight Sparco reclining bucket seats; Gale Banks added long tube headers and dual exhausts with an integrated H-pipe. A Gen-Right-fabricated rear-mounted 20-gallon fuel tank and aluminum skid plate also cut weight.
The weight savings were enough to naturally lift the suspension, which was combined with a moderate Mopar lift to clear Mickey Thompson 35-inch Baja Claw radials mounted on lightweight 17x8 E-T Vintage V wheels. The suspension includes Bilstein 2-inch shocks with reservoirs and TeraFlex air bumps at all four corners. Dynatrac Axles designed lightweight ProRock 44 front and rear axles fitted with 4.88 gears, ARB air lockers and prototype aluminum differential covers. The axles are located with aluminum control arms from Full Traction.
The end result is a weight savings of more than 850 pounds.
Mopar Norm wrote: “If, as noted by some, this is a Mopar Performance vehicle and not a Jeep Underground project, then, at the official unveil, they will normally list the Mopar Parts numbers for the parts added or changed.”
For 2011, the team has built up its first Jeep Compass, a 2011 with Freedom Drive II. The Compass Canyon uses a 2-1/8-inch lift kit from Rocky Road Suspension, making room for Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ 225/75-R16 tires with 16-inch alloy wheels from a Jeep Liberty.
To increase wheel articulation, front and rear sway bars were removed. To protect the underbody, the team installed an extensive set of front and rear skid bars, sill guards and longitudinal skid plates. Items from the Mopar catalog include a cold-air induction kit, cat-back exhaust system, slush mats and a sport pedal trim kit.
MoparNorm wrote: “[Rocky Road is] known for their “puck” spacer “lift.” They did the same thing for the Liberty. The kits are crude, hard riding and, frankly, not very good, This is not a suspension lift, it is a spacer. The spacer forces the spring up and changes the factory spring rate and roll center, and it's pure hack and whack...”
The Jeep Cherokee Overland was created as a small, light adventure platform. It is based on an export-model Jeep Cherokee (Jeep Liberty in the U.S.) with a VM 2.8-liter turbo diesel engine and Selec-Trac II 4x4. Mopar provided skid plates, front and rear tow hooks, slush mats, cargo tray liner, sill guards and sport pedal kit.
An ARB 3-inch suspension lift and Old Man Emu shocks cleared the way for Mickey Thompson 265/75-R16 MTZ tires mounted on steel wheels; an ARB air locker in the rear differential and on-board air compressor were set up to add traction. ARB also added a steel roof rack, awning, compact refrigerator and prototype rock rails to set the Overland's mood.
An update of the classic zebra safari pattern paint scheme was added to the exterior.
The Jeep Wrangler Renegade uses the new 475 horsepower, 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 from the SRT team. Harkening back to the V8 1972 Jeep Renegade, Jeep and Mopar also installed a 6-speed manual transmission, Dynatrac-prepped ProRock 44 front axle and ProRock 60 rear axle, ARB air lockers, and 4.10 gears. An AEV/Nth Degree four-inch lift clears the 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claw radials mounted on AEV Pintler wheels.
Mopar added a heat dissipating hood, new winch-mount front bumper, fuel door, sill guards, bikini top, rock rails, slush mats, and half-door kit. Warn provided their all-new 9.5 CTi series winch and AEV finished off the Renegade with their rear bumper/spare tire carrier combo. Seats are Katzkin (from the Mopar catalog) and the exterior’s black and gold paint scheme recalls the early 1970s CJ5 Renegade model.
Inspired by the King of the Hammers race in the deserts of California, the Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush combines high-speed off-road racing and rock-crawling capability. At the core is a Mopar aluminum 426 cubic-inch HEMI with 540 horsepower, hooked up to a 545RFE performance transmission and a gear-drive transfer case.
Mopar added a high-speed, performance off-road suspension system with internal bypass shocks, front stabilizer bar and full hydro-steering. Gigantic 39-inch tires are turned with the help of custom driveshafts. The Wrangler Blue Crush also features a baja-style full cage, race seats, fuel cell and short aluminum bumpers.
The Mopar Ram Runner kit was inspired by high-speed desert off-road racing, which require large tires, more ground clearance, and a suspension capable of withstanding tremendous impact. Mopar put these together with the Hemi V8, cutting weight by replacing the steel front fenders and rear bed-sides with fiberglass layered in the Liquid Metal Mopar racing scheme. High-clearance wheel wells allow tremendous suspension articulation without tire-to-body interference.
Ram and Mopar will sponsor the 2011 TORC short-course off-road racing series and bring a significant on- and off-track presence to each round of the championship. Ram will become the official vehicle of TORC with the Mopar Ram Runner pacing all of the series' events.
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