Backcountry 4x4 Project GRIZZLYCON Jeep JK Unlimited
Of all the vehicles I have tested over the years, including some high performance exotics, no vehicle has attracted as much attention or comments as our Backcountry 4x4 Project Jeep Unlimited JK Rubicon. It’s the Gecko paint. Most love it, some hate hate it but everyone notices it. One purpose of this project is to try new projects and look for the best combination of daily drive and 4 wheeler that can tackle any trail in our backyard, the San Bernardino National Forest and surrounding desert areas. We’re not too concerned about the extreme trails like the Hammers in Johnson Valley, but there are many challenging trails that we want to explore and the JK with 35" tires and a mild lift should get the job done. We still have to install a lift, but with the stock height, we have several mods and we have several 33" tires to test, starting with the Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ mud terrain tires on the stock Rubicon wheels. The Backcountry 4x4 Jeep was purchased from Loren Campbell at Redlands Jeep 4x4. The other modifications undertaken so far are covered in the photos and captions.
The Hanson Rocker Slides are easy to install, bullet proof and stylish.
Great Products!! We use the BOLT Spare Tire Lock and a 6’ cable lock on gear attached to the spare tire. Simply insert Jeep’s ignition key into the BOLT lock, turn it once and the lock mechanically learns the key code. BOLT Series of locks lets you set all your Jeep locks to work with your ignition key!
We are using the Hanson JK fullsize Fenderbar Front Bumper which accommodate the stock JK driving lights, a winch and shackles. The steering skid plate is also Hanson
We are using a 15 pound PowerTank system for airing up. This is the fastest way to air up that we have found and is very easy to use!
These billet door stops hold the JK front doors in an open position. Great if you are in parking lot or on a slope. From Armadillo Industries
Quadratec makes a great CB antenna mount for the spare tire carrier on a JK. (below) They also have a cool quick release mount for the Firestik Firefly CB antenna we are using for better range.
Also for extra storage, we installed the SmittyBilt G.E.A.R. Tailgate Cover. These storage bags use the GEAR attaching system, are portable.
A Hi-Lift Jack is mandatory for the JK. We are using the Xtreme version and carry the Off Road Kit, Jack Base and Wheel Mate, as well as the Handle-All Accessory bag. The jack mount is from Rugged Ridge. A Trasharoo is used for hauling trash or other bulky items. For extra storage of recovery and misc gear, we are using the BESTOP RoughRider Organizer. Lots of room, easy to install and convienient.
The Superwinch Talon 9.5 winch replaces the 9.5 EPi winch in the premium winch line. Having used the Epi 9.5 for several years in 100s of vehicle recoverys and classes, expectations were very high for the first test of the Talon. The EPi performed flawlessly in all conditions. Some pulls really tested the limits of the winch.
The sealed 5.2 and 6.0 HP motors deliver a quick but safe 62 FPM line speed at a low 75 amp draw. Heat sink-styled motor cap maintains low temperatures under the heaviest loads. The solenoid will keep out water, mud, snow, and dust and has a patented venting feature that allows the contacts to resist water and release contact damaging internal condensation. The VS4 Solenoid (Vented, Submersible, and Stabilized with Sealed Socket) is located inside a modern-styled rugged enclosure making this a truly sealed vehicle recovery winch assembly. All seals on the entire winch meet the IP67 standard, from the outermost end of the high performance motor and groundbreaking solenoid to the 2-stage planetary and 2-stage spur gearbox. The innovative "Dual-stop" 100% load holding brake design provides zero drag on cable in and is located inside the gearbox away from the drum to eliminate heat transfer to the synthetic rope. A special steel drum is constructed with high tensile strength material to resist the unique loading characteristic of the optional synthetic 3/8" x 80' rope rated at 17,600 lbs ensures a safe pull. There's an ergonomically shaped hand-held sealed remote with brilliant LED light for assisting in night-time winching.
Our first test of the Talon mounted on a Hanson JK fullsize Fenderbar Front Bumper was a simple, straight pull up a 35 degree slope in soft dirt. We estimated the maximum load at about 5000 pounds, well under the capacity of the winch . The pull was easy for the Talon, as we expected. The remote was easy to use and the gear in the winching accessory kit includes gloves, a tree saver, two haeavy duty shackles, a snatch block (20,000 lb) and gloves in a nylon bag.. We also used the line damper. First impression is that the Talon will outperform the EPi. We will undertake more strenuous testing over the next few months. Watch the video of the test at www. backcountry4x4.com or scan the QR Code below. For more on the Talon go to:
www.superwinch.com/ Don Alexander
Backcountry 4x4 Project GRIZZLYCON Jeep JK Unlimited VIDEOS