CUS­TOM TRAIL TJ PICKUP

Don’t Wait For The Wran­gler Pick-Up

4WDrive - - Contents -

When the op­por­tu­nity of a $600 Jeep TJ pre­sented it­self, a rudi­men­tary sketch plus a few crazy ideas sud­denly be­came a gi­ant pro­ject. I be­came the proud new owner. I’m an avid moun­tain biker who of­ten takes off on multi-day back­coun­try ad­ven­tures but I needed a way of get­ting fur­ther into the un­known to take my ad­ven­ture seek­ing to the next level.

A small Jeep was ideal for get­ting into some of the truly re­mote spots, but I lacked a good way to mount and pro­tect bikes and dirty gear. From these needs, the pickup con­ver­sion idea was con­ceived and the Get­away Jeep Pro­ject was born.

Over the next two years, I would end up strip­ping two bud­get TJ’s down to bare frames and slowly build them back up into one solid ad­ven­ture seek­ing ve­hi­cle. Many of the usual sus­pects were added along the way, in­clud­ing mild sus­pen­sion, body, and mo­tor mount lifts, a slip yoke elim­i­na­tor and tummy tuck, 35” rub­ber and a cus­tom uphol­stered set of bucket seats.

What makes this build in­ter­est­ing though is the body­work. A sec­ond set of cab cor­ners were grafted onto the Jeep along with a cus­tom built tail­gate to close off the now short­ened cab. Us­ing fac­tory cor­ners in the new cab wall al­lowed me to mod­ify a fac­tory soft top by es­sen­tially re­mov­ing the mid­dle and sewing the front

and back halves to­gether. This left the truck with a 35” long bed - good enough to haul a week or two of back­pack­ing gear, but not long enough to haul the friend’s couch no mat­ter how much they begged.

Over the fac­tory wheel wells, small tool­boxes were built (al­though they weren’t ready in time for these photos) which hold the ba­sic re­pair and re­cov­ery equipment, but more im­por­tantly pro­vide a base for the bi­cy­cle racks. Putting the bikes there, how­ever, meant that the fac­tory roll bar sup­ports needed to be re­moved. To com­pen­sate for that loss of pro­tec­tion, a TMR Cus­toms trail cage was added in front of the main roll bar.

Fi­nally, the fac­tory fend­ers and flares were re­moved and re­placed with fully round truck fend­ers in a nod back to early Kaiser’s. This elim­i­nated the usual TJ fender rot is­sues, gave lots of tire clear­ance, and be­ing made en­tirely of plas­tic, they bounce off trees with­out any dam­age.

The Get­away Jeep is still a work in progress, but in time I hope to take it out on an epic Cana­dian road trip touch­ing all the coasts and tak­ing on re­mote stretches of road like the Trans Labrador and Inu­vikTuk­toy­ak­tuk High­ways as well the op­tion to take a hard left at any point, to in­ves­ti­gate all the in­ter­est­ing trails or paths along the way. Learn more about the build by vis­it­ing pedachenko.com/jeep-pro­ject.

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