Jeeps of Hazzard: A JK to Go Postal Over
Every project vehicle has its own set of challenges. For Hazzard Fab Worx in Spokane, Washington, its latest build presented a unique set of hurtles on an otherwise common build. While placing 1-ton axles and a long-travel suspension under a Jeep Wrangler JK is commonplace for the Hazzard crew, Jeff Bohrer’s 2008 Wrangler put everyone’s problem-solving skills to the test. Why? Well, this particular JK once served as a Postal carrier.
Its mail-delivery past translates to a steering wheel mounted on the right side of the vehicle. Sure, that may not seem like a big deal, but it’s something that the aftermarket doesn’t support very well. This meant the Hazzard team had to fabricate and get creative when installing big ticket items such as the Ultimate Dana 60 axle set and long-travel suspension.
We caught up with Hazzard Fab’s owner Luke Shuman in Moab, Utah, where we got the full rundown on the build. While the video above will offers an overview from the builder himself, we’re diving more into the details in the feature breakdown below.
Powering the JK is a fresh 3.8L V6 crate engine that was paired with a RIPP supercharger to help move the two-door along. Stainless steel headers along with a Mishimoto aluminum radiator were also added to the mix. Transmitting the power is the stock automatic transmission and NV241 transfer case.
Going with the Dana/Spicer Ultimate 60 front axle was a great way to add strength, but also created significant challenges since the axle was configured for a left-hand drive. One of the biggest issues was the track bar. Since it mounts at the axle on the passenger side, Hazzard Fab Worx had to create a custom bracket that would clear the massive 1-ton differential and allow the suspension to properly cycle.
While a PSC Motorsports hydraulic assist steering system makes pointing the 40-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers easy, getting the Synergy Manufacturing crossover draglink a place to land took a little work. To make everything come together, the Dana 60’s steering knuckle was machined to work with a custom high steer arm.
Out back, you’ll find a full-float Ultimate 60 fit with an Eaton ELocker and 5.38 gearset. Aside from strength, a major draw of the all-new Dana axle set was that they came with larger brakes. To get full potential out of the new brake set, a larger brake booster from a J8 was added on. Given the rear axle was pushed back four inches, a custom track bar and coil perches were fabricated.
Controlling the rear is a set of chromoly arms from Synergy Mfg. This high-clearance 4-link long arm works with a flexy 3-link front suspension. A bevy of custom and aftermarket skidplates keep the vitals protected, while Poison Spyder rocker guards keep obstacles at bay from the body.
Since highway driving was going to be just as much as part of the equation as the dirt, the suspension needed to be versatile. To accomplish this, progressive-rate coil springs were paired with King 2.5-inch bypass shocks at each corner. While the coils play an important role, the ability to adjust compression zones and fine-tune the rebound on the suspension is what allowed Hazzard to achieve such a dynamic on- and off-road suspension system.
Grip is king when it comes to wheeling, but equally important was a tire that could be massive and still have excellent street manners. Hazzard commonly opts for the Nitto Trail Grappler in the 40x13.50R17 as it has a proven track record off-road and retains all of the needed refinement you’d expect from a smooth-rolling mud-terrain radial. Ensuring they can get the most bite on the trail, without losing a bead are 17-inch Raceline Monster beadlocks.
Toting the fullsize spare is body-mounted carrier from Poison Spyder Customs. While the rear fenders are also from Poison Sypder, they were modified to accommodate the wheelbase stretch.
Aside from the obvious, the inside of the ex-postal Jeep remains similar to what you would find on a typically left-hand-drive model. While there are no power windows in this rig, there are some nice electronic upgrades. One of the more trail-worthy is the sPOD, which cleanly mounts the Jeeps locker and lighting controls above the rearview mirror.
To clean up the stock seats and add place for extra gear, TrekArmor seat covers were added. Providing occupant protection is a bolt-in cage from Rock Hard 4x4.
For a sound recovery tool, a Warn Zeon 10-s winch was secure up front to a Poison Spyder front bumper. Helping to light the way are headlights and an assortment of LEDs from Rigid Industries. While the modest lift help keeps the center-of-gravity low, Currie Antirock sway bars help with the stability of the rig in the dirt and on the tarmac.
Paying homage to its postal roots is a custom wrap. This is one JK that can live up to the postal creed with ease!
2008 Jeep Wrangler
|ENGINE||Ripp Supercharged 3.8L V6|
|FRONT AXLE||Ultimate Dana 60, Eaton ELocker, 5.38 gears|
|REAR AXLE||Ultimate Dana 60, Eaton ELocker, 5.38 gears|
|SUSPENSION||3-link front w/coils and King 2.5 bypass shocks/4-link w/track bar rear w/coils and King 2.5 bypass shocks, Currie Antirock sway bars|
|TIRES||40x13.50R17 Nitto Trail Grappler|
|WHEELS||17x9.5 Raceline Monster beadlock|
|MISC.||Rock Hard 4x4 ‘cage, Rigid LED lights, Warn Zeon 10-s winch, sPOD, Poison Spyder bumpers and rocker guards, PSC Motorsports hydraulic assist steering, Synergy Mfg steering links, AEV ProCal, Mishimoto radiator, custom vinyl wrap|