1999 Johnson Valley WRCC

Izzat a STOCK Wrangler Kicking Butt at WRCC?!?!?!

Photo by Mike Pulskamp
The belly of the beast: no leaf springs here.
Mike Pulskamp

That's the question I heard repeated over and over by spectators watching from the sidelines. Is this a stock Wrangler YJ?

Well, no.

Photo by Mike Pulskamp
Respectable but rugged flex; no ramp-taming 'tricks' here.
Mike Pulskamp

A 1989 Jeep Wrangler served as the base for the Tri County 'Rock Star' YJ. The stock four-cylinder motor is the most stock piece remaining, but Tri County chose to build light and sturdy, instead of going banzai with one-ton axles all around. In the back, a Tri County Gear reverse-rotation Dana 44 contains a Detroit Locker and Warn Full-floating kit with drive flanges. Up front, Tri County built a reverse-rotation Dana 30 with a Detroit Locker, Warn High Strength Alloy axles, and a 5-on-5.5" Warn hub kit. At the end of these axles, brand new Goodyear MT/R 35x12.50 tires wrap Champion Bead-locked American Racing Wheels. Low end grunt torques out of the four-banger via a custom Standard Flywheel-made heavy-duty flywheel, then flows through an AX5 tranny (3.93:1 1st gear), Klune V Planetary Crawler (2.72:1), and Atlas (4.3:1) transfer case, delivering a 209.6:1 low-low crawl ratio through the 4.56 axle gears. TCG provided custom CV driveshafts front and rear for the Rock Star. A modified Warn XCL suspension controls the axles, and Tri County provides its own custom spring-over steering. L&G Enterprises slathered a blinding coat of yellow over the Rock Star.

Photo by Mike Pulskamp
This YJ was right in the thick of competition.
Mike Pulskamp

It may not be stock, but I'd wager that it was one of the smaller-built vehicles there. It was pretty cool watching a D30/D44-driven YJ on 35" tires place eight on each qualifying trail and fifth overall, well above some other rigs sporting 44" Swampers, full-width Dana 60 axles, and one-off custom suspensions. It may be small in comparison to some of the other rigs that were present, but it was clearly more effective than most.


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