IT takes something unique to make someone switch off-road brands, but that’s what happened to Stuart Gruchy, the owner of this sweet Hydro Blue JKU Rubicon.
You see, Stuart was formerly a Nissan Patrol man, but when it came time to trade-in his Patrol, he decided to switch and take on the task of modifying one of the world’s most iconic 4x4s.
Stuart has spent wisely and progressively over a couple of years, tweaking things along the way; he originally had 33-inch rubber fitted, before moving through 35s to the monstrous 37s (37x12.5-inch Pro Comp Xtreme All Terrains, to be exact) you see wrapped around the 17x8.5-inch alloys.
Far bigger rubber than he thought he wanted. “I didn’t originally want 37s,” he said. “But after speaking to Henry at JeepKonnection and finding out their GVM upgrade package allowed for 37s, I thought why not.” The JeepKonnection upgrade lifts GVM from 2500kg to 3250kg.
It comprises tweaked heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles, with a nice short 4.56 diff ratio for the bigger rolling stock, combined with ARB Air Lockers front and rear.
The American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) 3.5-inch suspension lift is made up of heavy-duty springs, bump-stop spacers, an AEV high-steer kit and ARB’s adjustable external reservoir BP-51 shocks.
Larger tyres add a challenge for gearing and powertrains, but Stuart sorted that with Bluey’s Automotive fitting a Sprintex Supercharger kit to the Rubicon’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6. Power at the wheels went up from a stock 116kW to 190kW.
’Nuff said... Other goodies include an ARB bar with Warn CTI-S winch up front, along with three Lightforce LED 215 lights. An AEV snorkel takes care of deep breathing, and Uneek 4x4 fit rock sliders, A-pillar light mounts, bonnet-light and roof-light mounts (with Rigid Industries LED light bars).
A Rhino-Rack Backbone system (with Foxwing awning) carries gear up top, while the rear features a Kaymar twin swing-away wheel carrier and an Affordable 4x4 Drawers cargo drawer setup that includes an Outback Solutions cargo barrier, fridge slide, pull-out table, drop-down table, stove and sink, with all food and drinks kept cool by an Ironman 4x4 fridge/freezer, powered by a Genesis dual-battery system.
A Long Ranger Automotive 60-litre aux fuel tank takes care of the boosted donk’s increased thirst, while navigation is sorted via a Hema HN7, comms is a Uniden UHF radio, and an ARB compressor ensures tyre pressure changes are a doddle.
Yep, it’s a well-sorted Wrangler that is capable of tackling pretty much anything off-road, while still being a decent on-road tourer, and we reckon it is money – and time – very well spent.