The Black JKU Build has been a long time in the making with countless hours spent researching and designing new products to make one of the baddest one ton Jeep JK builds on the planet. This build started out with the customer bringing in a CJ7 to build. The customer explained in detail what they wanted the build to be in the end. Long story short the customer sold the CJ& and purchased a standard shift 2wd Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited. Yes, you read that correctly a 2 wheel drive. We recommended the customer purchase the 2wd to save money on the initial vehicle purchase. No sense in buying a 4wd when all of the stock parts were going to be removed.
This build left no bolt unturned. The Jeep was completely stripped down to the bare frame. Literally we stripped all of the factory brackets off of the stock frame only leaving the body mounts. The frame was then cut in half about two thirds of the way back and the Motobilt crew designed a back half frame kit. We opted to back half the frame to make plenty of room for the coil over shocks and bypass shocks. We wanted to have room to allow the axle to articulate with the 41" Super Swamper Irok Tires. The front of the frame was also cut down for the Motobilt Front Frame Chop Bumper.
I am sure you have plenty of questions about the build. I think it might be easiest to move to suspension now since we were discussing the JKU frame modifications we made. The rear suspension is a double triangulated 4 link. The Motobilt team designed a rear cross member that goes between the frame rails and up and over the rear driveshaft. This cross member provides bracing for the rear 4 link suspension mounts. The rear link mounts may be a little overkill for the average trail rig. We built them with racing in mind. I am sure someone will end up installing this kit to race at the King of the Hammers. The rear suspension as mentioned features 16" travel FOX coil over shocks and triple bypass shocks. We designed the fabricated rear shock towers to work with the JK/JKU Back Half Frame Kit. The rear suspension also received a Currie Anti-Rock Sway bar. Their JK rear sway bar worked by bolting in and we did have to make some minor adjustments to the sway bar arms for clearance. The rear axle truss is the Motobilt 14 Bolt Axle Race Truss with pinion guard.
The front suspension started out with us designing a Super Duty Dana 60 front conversion truss for the JK/JKU. The Motobilt SD60 Conversion truss features mounts in the stock locations so it can be bolted into a JK. The frame side of the suspension is a new Motobilt product we designed. It works with the heavy duty Motobilt JK cross member. The upper and lower link mounts are boxed in for ultimate strength. The weld to the frame rail and bolt to the Motobilt HD Cross Member. The front received a custom track bar and bracket we fabricated here at Motobilt. The received 14" travel FOX coilover shocks and triple bypass shocks. On the front we designed a custom tubular shock tower and engine cage.
The steering is something we had to address. We designed and fabricated the new Motobilt Super Duty 60 High Steer Arms. The arms weld to the Super Duty steering knuckles as well as bolting. The steering drag link and tie rod were fabricated using Motobilt DIY fabrication parts found here on the website. The steering also received a full PSC Motorsports big bore hydraulic assist steering kit. The PSC kit steers the Jeep with ease.
At the rear of the Jeep we designed another new product. The fuel cell and skid plate were designed to work in conjunction with our back half frame kit. The stock location for the gas tank would not work with the extensive suspension modifications we made to the Jeep JK. The Motobilt fuel cell uses the factory Jeep JK fuel pump. We offer the clamping ring separate from the fuel cell for those wanting to make their own tank. You can read in detail about the fuel cell by visiting that page here on the website. We also made a rear access hatch that goes in the rear floor board of the Jeep JK. It allows you to remove the fuel pump without dropping the fuel cell out of the Jeep.
The rear sheet metal on the Jeep needed a lot of work to clear the tires and the huge
shocks. We designed another new product found here on the Motobilt website. The rear high clearance inner fender set was made to cover the new shock towers that were moved in on the back half half frame kit. This will keep the inside of the Jeep sealed from the elements. The rear corner armor was made to cover where we cut out the rear wheel opening to clear the 41" Iroks. We moved the rear axle back a couple inches to clear on the front side better and cut out the rear. The new corner armor will be offered in a many different versions including with weld on fender flares like seen on this build.
The interior received a prototype roll cage. We would like to offer this cage as a fully welded kit for you all at some point. We just do not have enough man power at the shop to do so currently. We will more than likely be adding all of the roll cage mounts to the website very soon for the DIY builders out there. The cage is all 1.75" OD x .120" wall DOM tubing cut on our Tube Dragon. The interior also got new PRP Seats front and rear. The floor of the Jeep was Line-X sprayed. The stock center console was modified to fit a Winters Shifter and Atlas Twin Cable Shifters. We laser cut trim pieces to finish off the console and to hold three additional gauges.
Speaking of gauges all of the factory gauges were removed and replaced with aftermarket. We opted for a speedometer that operates with GPS. Now this is were some of you may be wondering about the engine swap and the wiring done to make all of this work. After discussion with the customer we made a pretty dramatic move. We gutted all of the factory wiring from the Jeep. We completely rewired ever circuit in the Jeep. We used a universal harness to start out with. The engine harness was provided from Turn Key Engine Supply and we connected it to the new wiring harness we made for the Jeep JKU. The Motobilt crew spent time making all of the power windows and ac operate with the new harness. No more CANBUS System. When looking at the Jeep you may notice the steering column has been changed. Due to going with a much easier to work on wiring system we changed the steering column out for a Jeep YJ tilt steering colmn. This made wiring the ignition and turn signals a easier. We did have to shorten the column and built a custom mount for it.
To Be Continued...