Flexing For Fun With Low Range 4x4
Vehicle meet and greets are a staple in the automotive hobby. With monthly Cars and Coffee gatherings continuing to increase nationwide, there’s no doubt that scene is alive and well. Recently, our local off-road shop Low Range 4x4 (Wilmington, North Carolina) decided to have a unique evening event for the local ‘wheeling community. While the parking lot was packed with four-wheel drives of all types, the real attraction was the 30-degree RTI ramp. On this evening, no one was keeping score on how high you could go. Rather, it was simply open for any and all to test out their vehicles articulation range. This family friendly affair brought in some incredible 4x4s from around the region, all of which were more than willing to see how far they could push the limits of their rigs on the ramp. With food and beverages provided by Katy’s Bar & Grill, it was a great way to spend a warm summer evening with fellow 4x4 enthusiasts. Joe Maza made the drive all the way to Wilmington from Greeneville in his ’04 Jeep Wrangler TJ. The 102-inch wheelbase and 40-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers made a big impact on how far his Wrangler could go. Other mods to the TJ included a RockJock 60 front axle, Ford 9-inch rear, and a Dana 300 transfer case. Edgar Cisneros and his family had a rainy drive down from Jacksonville, NC, in their two-door Wrangler JK, but they were all smiles they showed up to the shop. Equipped with 37-inch Trail Grapplers, Smittybilt front fenders, a Poison Spyder front bumper, and few EVO MFG goodies, the short-arm Wrangler showcased an impressive amount of articulation. You don’t see too many Jeep Comanche’s on the road anymore. Spotting one as modified as Jeff Nelson’s is even rarer. Nelson’s long wheelbase helped tremendously with getting him up and keeping the wheels planted. Randy Crews piloted this low-lift Jeep Wrangler TJ. His Jeep is fit with a Rubicon Express long-arm suspension, Dana 44 axles, and a host of GenRight armor. The well-built rig had no trouble stuffing the 37x12.50R17 Nitto Mud Grapplers far into the wheelwells. One of the few fullsize 4x4s in attendance was Doug Kerr’s 1992 Chevy 1500. Long removed is the original independent front suspension, and in its place is a stout Dana 60 solid axle. Out back rest a 14-bolt axle. Both of 1-ton diffs are stuffed with 4.88 gears and Detroit Lockers. Low Range 4x4 owner Kelly Carter even got into the action with his heavily modified ’07 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. Gone are the original Dana 44 axles, and it their place sits a 1-ton axle set pulled from a late-model F-250. Suspension duties are handled by a EVO Manufacturing EVO-lever out back and Double-Thrown Down up front. Tire size and angle can play a big part in how far you make it up the ramp. Despite having a short-arm suspension, this cleanly built TJ demonstrated plenty of flex on the 30-degree ramp. Patrick Zatorski’s ’99 Jeep Wrangler TJ didn’t make it extremely high on the ramp, but he definitely gets the award for coolest tattoo of the night! We don’t get to see many rust-free CJs around the southeast. Rossie Manning’s CJ-7 is a great example of how to bring modern performance in a classic platform. James Mathis and his brother Corey are diehard S-10 and Jimmy fans. Both brothers have performed solid-axle conversions on their rides and use them regularly off-road. Older brother James used a high-pinion Dana 44 front axle and Ford 9-inch rear on his 1998 GMC Jimmy shown here. Low Range 4x4 shop manager Josh Whitcomb’s TJ is all business. Helping to increase the performance and stability of the Jeep is a high-pinion Dana 60 front axle and shaved 14-bolt rear. We handed off our keys to the shop owner to see just how well our ’07 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon would fare on the ramp. We knew our EVO MFG bolt-on coilover system gave us plenty of flex on the trail, and were pleased to see how well that translated to the ramp. And yes, we’re still able to somehow keep the stock fenders in place with 37-inch Trail Grapplers and the wide-offset Slab beadlocks. Justin Griggs hit the ramp in his heavily modified ’05 Wrangler Unlimited. The LJ is sporting a 106-inch wheelbase thanks to a suspension stretch kit from Rock Krawler Suspension. Replacing the stock axles is a high-pinion Dana 60 front and 14-bolt rear. For added trail protection, a bevy of Poison Spyder Customs armor was installed. Check out even more from the fun night in the gallery below!