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1998 Jeep Wrangler TJ Built From Scratch

Four Wheeler logoFour Wheeler 9/6/2018 John Cappa
005-1998-jeep-wrangler-tj-rockcrawler-green-ls-gm-v8-swap-front.jpg

Given our busy work schedules, kids’ activities, spousal duties, and other chores, most of us struggle to find time to change the oil in the family 4x4, much less build an entire 4x4 from scratch. But Medford, Oregon, resident Richard Yeamans is dedicated to his afterhours craft time. It just so happens that a 1998 Wrangler became the object of his late-night project obsession. While the rest of us were busy wasting a few hours every night watching TV or trolling the internet for the latest viral video from Kim Kardashian, Yeamans set to work on his Jeep, pecking away at it bit by bit until it became the capable trail rig you see here.

Research

Of course, Yeamans didn’t take the easy route and start with a running and driving Jeep, or even a rolling Jeep for that matter. His project began with the rescue of a 1998 TJ body tub that had been abandoned in a field. Once the body was brought home, Yeamans set to work on the body tub. It was stretched 8 inches, and the rear tub rails were raised 2 inches to allow for larger wheelwells. This was key in getting the low-slung center of gravity he wanted while maintaining enough room for larger tires and adequate suspension travel. The entire body was smoothed and hosed in 2010 Camaro synergy green by Erin Peters. From there, Yeamans busied himself with the DOM tubular chassis, custom link suspensions front and rear, and LS1 engine swap.

We were surprised and somewhat ashamed that we can’t compete with what Yeamans accomplished in a mere 350 hours of build time working alone. So the next time you find yourself wasting several hours a week behind an LED screen, maybe rethink how you could better spend your time to end up with a 4,250-pound off-road toy like this one.

001 1998 Jeep Wrangler Tj Rockcrawler Green Ls Gm V8 Swap Front Lead

001 1998 Jeep Wrangler Tj Rockcrawler Green Ls Gm V8 Swap Front Lead
© John Cappa

Tech Specs

1998 Jeep TJ Wrangler

>Drivetrain

Engine: Chevy 5.7L LS1 V-8 with Comp Cams Torquer V2 cam

Transmission: GM TH400 3-speed automatic with shift kit and 2,800-stall torque converter

Transfer Case: NV241C with 32-spline outputs and 1350 yokes

Front Axle: Ford 9-inch with 6.50 gears, Yukon 35-spline chromoly axleshafts, 35-spline Yukon Grizzly Locker, and Wilwood disc brakes

Rear Axle: Full-floating Ford 9-inch with 6.50 gears, 35-spline Dutchman axleshafts, 35-spline Yukon Grizzly Locker, and Wilwood disc brakes

>Suspension

Springs & Such: Triangulated 4-link front and rear, 2 1/2-inch-diameter, 14-inch-travel FOA coilover shocks and 2.0-inch-diameter FOA air bumps (front); 2 1/2-inch-diameter, 16-inch-travel FOA coilover shocks and 2.0-inch-diameter FOA air bumps (rear)

Tires & Wheels: 42x14.50-17 Maxxis Trepador Competition (sticky compound) on 17x8 TrailReady beadlock wheels

Steering: Full hydraulic with PSC pump and reservoir and 2 1/2x8-inch Surplus Center DA double rod steering ram

Lighting: LED headlights

Other Stuff: Corbeau suspension seats, AutoMeter Phantom gauges, Smittybilt 10,000-pound winch, Goat Built universal subframe, full tube chassis, extended body and wheelbase, 21-gallon RCI fuel cell

1998 Jeep Wrangler Tj Rockcrawler Green Ls Gm V8 Swap Front Lead© John Cappa 1998 Jeep Wrangler Tj Rockcrawler Green Ls Gm V8 Swap Front Lead
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