A few years back we overhauled a worn out, run of the mill, grocery getter of a ’05 Liberty CRD to take on the 4Wheel & Offroad Ultimate Adventure. The plan was simple, start with the most hated Jeep that we knew of at the time (to many the KJ that replaced the beloved XJ) and turn it into something cool, different, and most importantly capable offroad. Using a mix of off the shelf parts and some custom fabrication the BDS R&D build a low slung diesel rock crawler that is ready for Moab or a trip to the dunes. Check out our latest overview video on BDS’s Project KJ and to see more on hos this Jeep was transformed from stock to what it is today check out the blog thread complete with photos, videos and writeups at https://blog.bds-suspension.com/?cat=393&paged=6
The BDS Project KJ just got some new bling from our friends at Factor 55. We’ve been running their prolink winch thimble for years now without any failures. While its performed great and got us out our fair share of tight spots hooked up to our Warn 9.5xp winch, the fairlead opening was too small to allow the winch cable to be synched in fully leaving us to hook the prolink to one of the d-rings which block our Rigid LEDs up front.
The solution, one of Factor 55‘s short drum comp fairleads in gun metal gray along with the Flatlink E to match. Its a great looking combo, tough as nails, and extremely compact. We’re excited to hit the trails, who wants to go wheeling!?
BDS’s Carter and Dave are back with a final update on Project KJ, the company’s 2005 Jeep Liberty CRD getting prepped for the 2014 Ultimate Adventure (UA). With less than 2 days to go the BDS R&D crew has been busy working through the prep list. The new 40×13.50×17 Nitto Trail Grapplers were mounted up on a B.A.D. Eklipse 17 beadlocks, a spare tire carrier was fabbed up, master cutoff switch installed, Fox 2.0 hydraulic bumps installed, stiffer Pac Racing Springs installed on the tuned Fox 2.5 coilovers, redesigned motor mounts, the rock sliders finished being fabbed up, the front axle trussed, the interior reinstalled, and spare parts and tools were packed for the trip. Great job to the BDS R&D crew for their hard work in prepping the rig. Stay tuned as we hit the road Friday morning in route to this year’s UA and follow along as we post daily photos and video updates from the week. Tune in on BDS’s Facebook, Instagram,YouTube and Blog with #projectkj and #ua2014. 2014 Ultimate Adventure runs June 28 – July 5.
BDS’s Carter and Dave are back with an update on Project KJ, our 2005 Jeep Liberty CRD getting prepped for the 2014 Ultimate Adventure. This week we received JE Reel driveshafts, and ARB twin air compressor, 40×13.50×17 Nitto Trail Grapplers, installed the Ox diff cover, fresh graphics and started fabbing up a new set of rock sliders. Follow along with the UA prep and this year’s trip on BDS’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Blog. 2014 Ultimate Adventure runs June 28 – July 5.
To see the video of this KJ in action on last year’s Ultimate Adventure, head to UA2013 Video
BDS Suspension is the official suspension of the 2014 Ultimate Adventure (UA), a week long, 1000+ mile offroad trail ride/back road journey hosted by 4Wheel & Offroad Magazine each year. We’ve been lucky enough to sponsor the event over the years, wheeling all corners of this great country building the type of friendships one can only make after 7 days spent without showers out 4wheeling, camping, and wrenching together. With roughly 25 vehicles in attendance, one perk of sponsoring the trip is one of the coveted spots to bring a trail rig to drive. Attendees include the event sponsors, magazine reps, camera crew and a half dozen hand-picked magazine readers in everything from JKs to flattys, Scouts to Blazers, PowerWagons and Tacos. Representing BDS this year we’ll have Dave Devormer from our engineering department and myself, Carter Reed from the marketing department taking on the UA in a 2005 Jeep Liberty Diesel.
In the past we brought a budget built TJ to prove it could be done. With a BDS 6.5” Long Arm, stock Dana30/44 axles, 5.13 gears, lockers, 37” tires, body armor and a winch we completed not one, but two UA’s. Last year we made the decision to retire the old TJ and build something new. After mulling over a few concepts, the idea prevailed was to transform the most universally disliked Jeep 4×4 and turn it into something cool and capable. At the top of a short list we had the Liberty KJ, successor to the Cherokee XJ and perceived flop due to its IFS, goofy design and soccer mom appeal. For 2 years however (2005-2006), Jeep offered the KJ with a torquey 2.8L common rail diesel (CRD) putting out 160hp/295tq. We picked up one with around 200,000 miles on the odometer for $5000 and within a few weeks the BDS R&D team turned it into a low slung, caged, solid axle’d diesel crawler on 40s.
Project KJ, as it was dubbed, debuted at the 2013 Ultimate Adventure. At the time we had yet to work the bugs out or even complete a test drive longer than around our parking lot. Due to a few electrical gremlins, a few mechanical failures, and some plain old bad luck Project KJ was down and out for parts of the adventure. It received Mcgyver-style fixes to get us caught up with the rest of the group only to have another issue creep up farther down the road. As some have described it “the alternate adventure” was a long and painful trip and we had a blast regardless. Since the trip, the BDS R&D team has dug into the Liberty to work out the bugs and get it running at its best. Over the last year its been 4wheeled out in Utah at Easter Jeep, Michigan’s Rocks & Valleys and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes along with Pennsylvania’s Outback Adventure among others; all the while picking up battle scars to prove its not just a mall crawler.
With the 2014 Ultimate Adventure less than a month away, BDS has the KJ back in the shop as it prepares to redeem itself on this year’s trip (wherever that may be). There’s a fairly long list of updates to the rig, replacement parts, spare parts, adjustments and repairs. Stay tuned as we continue to prep Project KJ for the 2014 Ultimate Adventure and watch us on Facebook and Instagram June 27th-July 5th for daily updates from the trip. #UA2014 will keep you informed.
Many of you have followed along as Project KJ took shape over the last year. What started as a 2nd hand bone stock ’05 Jeep Liberty CRD was transformed last Spring into the unique low slung solid axled Liberty rolling 40s that you see today. We documented every step of the build with photos, videos, and weekly writeups as the BDS R&D team prepped it for a shakedown run on the 7-day, 1000+ mile offroad roadtrip known as Ultimate Adventure. Following that trip, bugs were worked out and its been out wheeling and promoting at shows around the country. During one weekend at nearby Rocks & Valleys Offroad Park in Harrison, MI we met up with John Herrick from Crawl Magazine who jumped at the chance to shoot the Liberty. Along the way John “crawled” behind the wheel (cheesy, I know) of the Liberty CRD for what ended up being the better half of an afternoon spent weaving through the trails and getting a feel for how a KJ on 40s handles. In John’s words “they almost had to pry me out of it. You certainly don’t think you’re in a first gen Liberty when running this rig. I exited with my man-card still in my wallet”.
Out on the newstands January-February 2014, Issue No.44 of Crawl Magazine has 8-pages of ink on Project KJ in an article titled “40s on a Mall Crawler: How a Jeep grew up”. That article has plenty of shots of the KJ in action and tells about John’s experience behind the wheel of the mighty little coal roller. Pick up your copy and read all about the KJ and other great stories, tech and features in the magazine.