Jp Magazine - - Front Page - Syn­ergy’s JKC-1 JK Jeepster Com­mando By Traci Clark jped­i­tor@jp­ Pho­tog­ra­phy: Traci Clark

JKC-1 is not just an­other pretty face roped off on the show­room floor with “Do not

Touch” signs pro­tect­ing it. Dave Schloss­berg of Syn­ergy Man­u­fac­tur­ing wanted some­thing that would catch the eye of every Jeep en­thu­si­ast to show­case some of the parts his com­pany makes. Six months and 2,000-plus work hours later, he had an award-win­ning rolling dis­play that turns heads both on and off the trail.

Our first in­tro­duc­tion to the JKC-1 was dur­ing the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Ve­gas. It was ob­vi­ously mak­ing quite a state­ment, as we had to walk through a crowd gath­ered around it to get a close look. The sexy vin­tage body paired with mod­ern JK Wran­gler driv­e­train, a beefed-up V-8, and the sub­tle ad­di­tion of up­graded bumpers front and rear make this Jeep truly pleas­ing to the eye. You can see that it was a la­bor of love for co-builders Dustin Boy­ack and Kevin Burk; their at­ten­tion to de­tail was ev­i­dent in every com­po­nent of JKC-1. How­ever, we wanted to see it in ac­tion.

We met up with Dave and the crew from Syn­ergy Man­u­fac­tur­ing on the Ru­bi­con Trail to see how the JKC-1 per­formed off-road. The Jeepster dom­i­nated the trail with ease and grace. By trim­ming 15 inches off the donor frame, the new 101-inch wheel­base al­lowed for ma­neu­ver­abil­ity in tight places and of­fered just enough length for com­fort­able passage on steep trail as­cents and de­scents. The mod­i­fied Syn­ergy Stage 3 lift kit offers

12 to 15 inches of wheel travel, so flex­ing through the rocky ter­rain is a breeze.

Syn­ergy—the in­ter­ac­tion or co­op­er­a­tion of two or more en­ti­ties to pro­duce a com­bined ef­fect greater than the sum of their sep­a­rate ef­fects. That’s what hap­pened when Dave Schloss­berg’s team com­bined a 1971 Jeepster Com­mando and a 2017 Jeep Wran­gler JKU. The mod­i­fied Syn­ergy Stage 3 lift kit with 2-inch coil springs in the front and 1-inch springs in the rear al­lows 12 to 15 inches of wheel travel, so cruis­ing through the rocks is easy. A cus­tom stubby front bumper houses the Warn Zeon 8-S winch and ex­tra light­ing by Baja De­signs. Re­flec­tions show that life truly is bet­ter off-road.

A 2002 GMC De­nali do­nated the 6.0L LQ4 V-8, a Too­ley Rac­ing cam was in­stalled, and heads from Texas Speed and Per­for­mance and an HP tuner were added. A beefy 377 horse­power was mea­sured on the dyno. The pow­er­plant is backed by a 4L80-E four-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion built by Gearstar and an At­las II trans­fer case with a 3.8:1 low-range ra­tio. A Be Cool ra­di­a­tor and the cus­tom-made cold-air in­take sys­tem fin­ish off the sleek de­sign of the en­gine com­part­ment.

The team had to do some se­ri­ous sheet­metal work to the floor­pan and fire­wall to shoe­horn the 6.0L into the en­gine com­part­ment. Mod­i­fi­ca­tions were also done to the rear wheel­wells; these were sec­tioned up and out to clear the 35s. Cus­tom ex­haust out­lets were placed on both rocker pan­els just in front of the rear wheel­wells. Pay­ing homage to its mod­ern-day donor JK, Dave chose to dress the JKC-1 in FCA Fire­cracker Red with a basic black graph­ics pack­age. Keep­ing with that retro vibe the guys chose 17x8 Wheel Vin­tiques Smoothie wheels. Wrapped around these are a set of 35x12.50/17 Nitto Ridge Grap­pler tires.

Beefed up with RCV ’shafts, the Jeep Ru­bi­con Dana 44 rear axle re­tains the fac­tory e-locker and 4.10 gears. The Syn­ergy track bar/ track bar mounts and axle truss kit have been added, and there are Fox 2.5-inch in­ter­nal by­pass shocks and Pow­er­stop brakes on all four wheels.

The fac­tory Jeep Ru­bi­con Dana 44 front axle with 4.10 gears and fac­tory e-locker has been re­in­forced with RCV axle­shafts and the Syn­ergy axle truss kit. Syn­ergy high steer drag link and tie rod, Fox steer­ing sta­bi­lizer, and a power steer­ing cooler and pump from PSC Mo­tor­sports tie in to the stock Jeep JK steer­ing box.

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