Hemi-Pow­ered Jeep Pickup Build

Spin­nin’ 40s and look­ing great

Jp Magazine - - Ta­ble Of Con­tents - By Stu­art A. Bour­don jped­i­tor@jp­magazine.com Pho­tog­ra­phy: Stu­art A. Bour­don

Amid all the ex­cite­ment of a Jeep pickup truck com­ing back soon, we thought it would be

nice to ref lect upon what some have done to fill the gap dur­ing the “pickup void” in Jeep­dom. The JK8 con­ver­sion you see here be­longs to Richard Larsen, but not too long ago it was a stock 2008 Jeep Wran­gler JKU Sa­hara. Richard is one of those guys who hun­gered af­ter a Jeep pickup, got tired of wait­ing, and de­cided to cre­ate his own. We wheeled with Richard and some bud­dies for this photo shoot, and you can be as­sured that what was once a bone-stock JKU is now ca­pa­ble of keep­ing up with any­body.

Un­der the Sheet­metal

A Ter­aFlex long-arm kit and ORI

STX 14-inch struts help con­trol a Cur­rie Rock­Jock 60 up front and a Cur­rie

Rock­Jock High-Pin­ion 60 rear axle. Both 60s are loaded with 5.38 ARB Air Lock­ers and spun by JE Reel 1350 drive­shafts. A cus­tom PSC hy­draulic steer­ing sys­tem di­rects the mas­sive 40/13.50R17 Toyo Open Coun­try M/T tires on 17-inch (3.5-inch backspace) ATX Slab wheels. Rock Hard skid­plates stretch to pro­tect a gen­er­ous amount of the un­der­body. Cruis­ing range was in­creased through the in­stal­la­tion of a GenRight Crawler fuel tank.

Once the cus­tom frame and sus­pen­sion work was done, and the wheel­base stretched 10 inches, Richard be­gan look­ing for that V-8 he had al­ways dreamed about.

He found a donor 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 with a still-in­tact and run­ning 5.7L Hemi V-8 and 545RFE trans­mis­sion. The Jeep Speed Shop in Co­tati, Cal­i­for­nia, helped with the swap. That re­quired cus­tom mo­tor and trans mounts, and a lot of rewiring. An Atlas 2 trans­fer case was buck­led up to the five-speed au­to­matic.

Cre­ative Coach­work

The oth­er­wise nor­mal-look­ing JK in­te­rior has been spruced up with Twisted Stitch’s Vor­tex XL seats. The car­bon fiber and vinyl cus­tom race-style buck­ets are ul­tra sup­port­ive. A cus­tom rollcage of­fers perches for a CB and aux­il­iary switches above, and it is the hand­i­work of Dirty’s Garage in Hes­pe­ria, Cal­i­for­nia. Dirty’s also did the JK8 trans­for­ma­tion of the JKU us­ing a DV8 Ham­mer top and bed. The in­stal­la­tion work­man­ship is pro­fes­sional. The fin­ished body was sur­rounded by ar­mor, in­clud­ing a

Me­talCloak combo stinger front bumper, Rebel Off Road front cor­ners, and Poi­son Spy­der rear bumper, rear cor­ner guards, and fender flares.

When Richard Larsen first be­gan driv­ing his 2008 Jeep Wran­gler JKU Sa­hara, he was sat­is­fied with its per­for­mance, but yearned for more. He dreamed of what it would be like to have a V-8 in his Jeep. He had lis­tened well and learned that swap­ping a V-8 into a JK was not that sim­ple; it would re­quire many other changes to han­dle the larger size of the V-8 and its pow­er­train com­po­nents, as well as the ex­tra mea­sure of mus­cle the V-8 would bring. He waited un­til he was ready and had ev­ery­thing fig­ured out. Then, with help where needed from Dirty’s Garage and Jeep Speed Shop, the com­plete re­build of the ’08 JKU Sa­hara be­gan. Richard’s best ad­vice for any­one tack­ling a ma­jor project like this: “Plan, plan, plan, and then plan some more.”

Cus­tom art­work adorns the Rebel OffRoad front quar­ter ar­mor on both sides of Richard’s 2008 Jeep JKU/DV8 con­ver­sion.

It’s dirty, but that’s proof that the 5.7L V-8 Hemi trans­plant Richard sourced from a Dodge 1500 pickup is fre­quently get­ting used on the trail, now that it’s in this 2008 JKU/DV8.

A PSC hy­draulic steer­ing sys­tem helps di­rect the huge 40-inch Toyo Open Coun­try M/T tires on the ends of the Cur­rie Dana 60 front axle. As you can see, the Jeep’s nosehas its fair share of trail scars.

A cus­tom Dirty’s Garage rollcage spi­der webs the in­side of the cabin and of­fers a perch for com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment and aux­il­iary switches.

The bed of the JKU/DV8 con­ver­sion was shot with Line-X Plat­inum Black and topped with cus­tom side rails. Richard straps down the spare 40-inch tire in the bed, and he still has room for more cargo if needed.

A Me­talCloak Combo Full Stinger front bumper car­ries the 12,000-pound-ca­pac­ity Warn Pow­er­plant winch and pro­tects the Jeep’s nose.

The tail of Richard’s Jeep fea­tures Poi­son Spy­der cor­ner ar­mor and a trailer-wiring plug built into the lower driver-side cor­ner. And yes, those blue Ro­topaX are meant for kerosene, but he uses them for gaso­line, and the color fits into the ac­cent scheme of the Jeep.

The rear axle is a well-trussed Cur­rie Dana 60 with a 5.38 ARB Air Locker. The sus­pen­sion sys­tem’s two lower rear con­trol arms al­most per­fectly tri­an­gu­late at the top truss brace. The GenRight Crawler fuel tank and skid of­fer pro­tec­tion for a larger fuel sup­ply.

A Ter­aFlex forged dual-rate front sway bar sys­tem works in con­cert with 14-inch ORI STX struts and King bumps to al­low in­cred­i­ble ar­tic­u­la­tion and con­trol of the front axle.

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