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, Build Updates: Project Redneck

For build updates, newest to oldest, scroll down.

Project Redneck is our 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ. It came to us needing some upgrades to make it trail-worthy and live up to the Jeep legacy. The Jeep had seen its fair share of dirt on the trails, but needed to get some more love in the areas it was lacking.

It was bought by one of our resident shop techs, Dean, in 2012. It came with a four-inch coil lift on the stock arms. It was very clean, and had no evidence of hard off-road use. Shortly after the Jeep was purchased, the connecting rod decided it did not want to stay in the motor and punched its way right through the side of the block. With the engine down, it was time to put in a freshly rebuilt 2.5-liter I4, which has about 15,000 miles on it now.

The idea for the project is to build a spunky and indestructible rock crawler, while still maintaining it as a daily driver. This will be the kind of trail rig that you never want to put on its lid, but know that if you did, you could always roll it back over and count on it to get you home. A street-legal King of the Hammers (KOH) competitor is the easiest way to explain the route we want to take.

Project Redneck came to us on small 31-inch tires. Offering negligible ground clearance out on the trail. The Jeep has a hard time going over rocks and objects with the belly pan hanging down. With this in mind, we knew exactly what we wanted to do to make this Jeep a contender out on the trail.

Off-roading is a hobby that gives owners options to either buy bolt-on parts, or fabricate their own. The latter is the route we will be going. We will be fabricating front and rear tube fenders, roll cage, and chassis cage. Why buy a part when we can make it ourselves and craft it to our liking?

We wish it was possible to make everything, but some items will have to be bought. Once the Jeep gets larger wheels and tires, as well as the added weight of the cage, we will need to upgrade the axles to allow them to handle everything we are throwing at them. Comfort may not be the top priority on the trail, but in our case, a coilover conversion will allow for better articulation and improve ride quality.

When off-roading, we need to be prepared for anything. The addition of a winch and other accessories will allow us to know that when the tires hit the dirt, it will be able to get off the trail or help another vehicle get unstuck. We want to make sure the Jeep is equipped with what it needs to allow the owner countless hours of fun.

Keep checking back with Off Road Xtreme as we tinker on Project Redneck and work towards creating a street-legal KOH competitor.

8/6/2016 – Off Road Nights – Temecula, CA

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

We recently headed out to the Temecula Promenade Mall for Off Road Nights 2016. The show featured everything off-road in the ultimate dirt lifestyle event. The show gave us a great spot to show off our project vehicles and all the hard work we have put into them.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Project Redneck headed to the show dawning a completed new green custom roll cage and custom fabricated front bumper and Mean Mother winch. The Jeep drew a lot of attention due to the bright colors, but also because all the custom work that was done.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Redneck’s owner, Dean Jigamian, was on hand to answer the questions of everyone who came to check the vehicle out. Up on the mini-RTI ramp, Redneck was able to show just how much articulation it had to conquer any rock on the trail.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

A view that you do not get to see too often, and one you do not want to see if you are on the trail. Even with the show going on we were able to do a quick inspection on the ramp to make sure everything cleared. This was a great show for people to see all the custom, one-off fabrication the owner has done to the vehicle.

6/18/2016 – New Front Windshield

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Cracks are never a good thing, especially in the windshield. The one on Project Redneck had seen better days. We replaced it with the help of Optic Armor.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

The replacement windshield fit just like a factory replacement. No special tools or mounting was needed to get the new glass in the Jeep. The window dropped in with some new window seal.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

We did not realize how bad the old window was until we got behind the wheel and looked out of our new glass. The crack was something we had become accustomed to, but everything looked clearer now. The clarity was as if a muddy pond had suddenly turned crystal blue — it was that much of an improvement.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

It was somewhat odd for us to treat a new product, especially a windshield, the way we did, but it was designed to handle this type of abuse. Driving next to trees trying to hit the branches was unusual, but we had to see what the window could do. To our amazement, there were no scratches to be found.

2/3/2016 – Cage And Aluminum Work

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Out at a local 4WD meet, Project Redneck showed off the beginning stages of the transformation. The Jeep caught peoples attention with its unique style.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

The interior cage structure is completed and gives the aluminum something to hold on to. The cage mirrors the body of the Jeep, while still giving that extra safety assurance on the trail.

 

  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck
  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck

The rear hatch is being converted into a pickup style bed. It will have side storage compartments with one larger main hatch. The interior structure still needs to be completed by the hinges are all in place.


, Build Updates: Project Redneck

The rear part of the Jeep is now all inclosed and covered with aluminum that will be covered in a durable truck bed material. Some side panels around the doors still need to be fabricated, but it will be a very unique custom addition to the build.

12/23/2015 – Metal Work

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Every off-road build gets to the point were you just do not want to use any more bolt-on parts. That time has come for Project Redneck, as we get ready to play with some metal and make some great additions to the truck. The majority of this tube will be going into a roll cage.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

In addition to the roll cage we will be adding rolled tube fenders. These fenders will allow for more wheel clearance as well as adding strength.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

The fenders are starting to take shape and over the next couple weeks will be completed and installed onto the Jeep. Hand fabricating the fenders allows us to make sure we have the exact fit we want.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

And that is how you fit 80 feet of tubing in a Jeep. We have a lot of fun work ahead of us. Stay tuned for more updates on the build.

9/3/2015 – The Pursuit of More Traction, Redneck Gets Some New Shoes

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Fuel Boosted OMF beadlock conversion wheels, wrapped in Dick Cepek Extreme Country tires look to add the traction needed for the trail.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

The wide outer voids allow for more traction in the mud, while the inner voids are tighter for traction on smoother surfaces.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck
  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck

Each bolt had anti-seize applied before it was installed.


, Build Updates: Project Redneck

The sections of terrain we were going through consisted of hard packed dirt, loose gravel, sand, and smaller rocks. The Jeep rolled over everything with ease. Once done playing around on the flat land, we headed to the hills to see how they did on an incline.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

6/25/2015 – Our Red TJ Gets Help From The Aftermarket

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

TNT Custom’s Rock-Tek High Clearance Long Arm Upgrade kit, complete with steel belly pan, coil mounts, and more.

  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck
  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck

The rear axle truss (left) was one more great part to have in the whole kit (right)


Top left: the rear control arms are measured for proper fitment. Top right: some extra effort was needed to get the control arms into place. Bottom left: axle up, control arms in. Bottom right: ready to rock!


, Build Updates: Project Redneck

J.E. Reel’s front driveshaft hooks up to the front differential.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

5/15/2015 – New Bumpers, Soft Top And Lights Begin The Rebuild

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Clockwise from top left: the Barricade front bumper; one of the Raxiom lights; and the Barricade rear bumper with tire carrier.


, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Dean maneuvers the new bumper into place before reattaching all the nuts and bolts.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Next stop: soft top removal and installation.

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

A soft top that will stand up to the sun and tree branches, bumpers that offer excellent entry and departure angles as well as support lights and accessories such as a winch, a tire carrier that can put up with abuse and stay still, and a duo of lights to stave off the night; Project Redneck is definitely prepped for adventure now.

5/1/2015 – Introducing Project Redneck

, Build Updates: Project Redneck

Project Redneck is our 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ. It came to us needing some upgrades to make it trail-worthy and live up to the Jeep legacy. The Jeep had seen its fair share of dirt on the trails, but needed to get some more love in the areas it was lacking.

  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck
  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck
  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck
  • , Build Updates: Project Redneck

Project Redneck just begging to get out, and have more fun.


, Build Updates: Project Redneck

When off-roading, we need to be prepared for anything. The addition of a winch and other accessories will allow us to know that when the tires hit the dirt, it will be able to get off the trail or help another vehicle get unstuck. We want to make sure the Jeep is equipped with what it needs to allow the owner countless hours of fun.

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