Phil Howell, editor-in-chief over at 4Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine is nearing completion on one of his latest project rigs, an ’89 Jeep Wrangler YJ dubbed “Real Steel YJ”. Though no Jeep project is ever truly finished, the rig is prepped and Phil is ready to hit the trail. Roughly a year in the making, this YJ sports a healthy list of mods with a subtle exterior appearance. This resto-build began as a far cry from the original Jeep that rolled off the showroom floor with drivetrain missing, paint faded, rusty panels and a worn out interior. Today the rig sports a beefed up appearance and reliable drivetrain ready for trail use at a moments notice.

Under the hood a MoTech aluminum block Chevy 5.3-liter V8 offers up increased horsepower while weighing in similar to the original 4.2L Inline-6. The transmission was swapped for a 6L80 6-speed automatic, while an Atlas transfer case handles the extra power and crawling duties when this rig wheels Moab. For axles a pair of Currie 9” units were installed with 35” Goodyear MT/R Kevlars on 17” Raceline beadlocks. To clear room for the larger rubber, Phil sourced a BDS 3.5” leaf spring kit complete with drop pitman arm, bump stops, and Fox 2.0 shocks. Rock protection comes from Savvy Offroad with new bumpers and rock sliders and if this YJ finds its way into a tough spot a Warn Zeon 10-S winch for a quick recovery.

This project has been fun to watch come together over the past few issues of 4Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine. For more on the build check your back issues of the magazine or head online to http://www.fourwheeler.com/news/1308-real-steel-yj/  or read through the previous articles listed below.

Real Steel YJ Project Intro: http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/1211-4wd-gen-iv-yj-1989-jeep-yj-wrangler-project/

Suspension/Axles/Wheels/Tires: http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/1212-4wd-1989-jeep-yj-wrangler-project-gen-iv/

Engine/Trans/T-Case: http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/1301-4wd-1989-jeep-yl-wrangler-real-steel/

1989-Jeep-Wrangler-Real-Steel-YJ-front-suspension 1989-Jeep-Wrangler-Real-Steel-YJ-MoTec_5.3-liter-V8-engine


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