Project Quicksand – The speed (quick) in which the new ARB Mojave (sand color) Jeep Wrangler JK was built. When we were contacted by JK Experience about being sponsor of the Nitto Tires JKX Alaska 2016, we jumped at the opportunity to be involved and showcase the capability of a kitted out ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited built completely with bolt on components. This would prove that you can build a capable vehicle that could conquer some very rugged terrain without fabrication or welding skills.
Traditionally JKX information is very limited and 2016 wasn’t any different. Leading up to the event we were given some basic information that would require some planning.
The first and most important is fuel. We were informed that we would be required to have at least a 300 mile fuel range during the trip. This would require the installation of an auxiliary fuel tank system or the ability to carry fuel via jerry cans. The second important piece of information was that we would need to be self sufficient and be able to pack food, clothing, tools and spare parts for 7 days worth of travel. In the past, participants of JKX would be required to camp several nights of the trip, but because of the uncertainty of Alaska weather and wildlife along with needing spare empty seats for media members, we would be spending every night in a hotel or “hotel like” facility.
We already had two JKs in the ARB fleet, a very capable 2010 2-door at our Seattle location and an overland themed Unlimited at our Florida location. Obviously the 2-door’s storage capacity would hinder the ability to carry all the required items of the trip as well as having an open seat for a media member. Our red overland themed 2014 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited would easily meet the cargo space requirements and with the already installed Rhino roof rack, securing fuel containers would be an easy task.
As mentioned above, information is very limited leading up to the event and pretty much a need-to-know basis. We would not know what kind of terrain we would be encountering until each day of travel. The day could be all paved roads, it could be all dirt roads or very technical off-roading. We wouldn’t not know until the drivers meeting the morning of travel. Because of this, we determined that our overland themed JK would not be aggressive enough for the Alaskan terrain.
So the decision was made to purchase and outfit a more aggressive but overland capable Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited for the trip. After scouring the classified ads for a clean, used Wrangler Unlimited it was determined that it was more cost effective to purchase a brand new vehicle.
After a week of deciding on a color and searching the local dealer listings, we found our Jeep, a basic, no power options 2016 Mojave Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport. And with that, project Quicksand was born. The Jeep was purchased on the late afternoon of Wednesday July 13th with the departure deadline of Monday July 18th to arrive in Anchorage by the event’s check-in date of Saturday July 23rd. In other words, this was going to be a very quick, but doable build.
First things first. Dana Spicer sponsored the build with front and rear Dana Ultimate 60s which we had already loaded up with a couple of ARB Air Lockers in preparation of being installed under our new Jeep. With these new axles, we would need to different length driveshafts that were sponsored by Tom Wood’s Driveshaft. To order the correct length, the suspension and Dana 60 axles would need to be installed to measure for the correct length.
The Jeep was purchased on the Wednesday night, this meant that the factory axles and suspension would need to be removed and the new Dana 60’s along with the Old Man Emu 4” suspension with the new BP-51 Internal Bypass shocks would need to be installed by the following morning (Thursday) to ensure that the driveshafts could be made and shipped overnight for the installation and differential gear break-in over the weekend.
The Jeep teardown started at 4:30PM, the suspension (springs, shocks, control arms) and axles were in and the Jeep was on the ground by 10PM that night ready for driveshaft measurements.
After several days of hard work, the Jeep was completed that Sunday morning and was out on the local roads adding a few miles to the new differential gears.
With the build complete and the differential oil changed, it was time to hit the road in our completely bolt-on ARB accessorized Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited for a 2200 mile journey from Seattle to Anchorage to the official Nitto Tires JKX Alaska 2016 checkin.
Special thanks to Mike at MCE Fenders for coming down to the shop on his day off to install the MCE Fenders and work on other parts of the Jeep.
Complete build included:
– ARB Front Stubby Bar
– ARB Intensity LED AR21 lights
– ARB Under Vehicle Protection
– ARB Rock Sliders
– Rear Bumper and Tire Carrier (modified for 8 lug wheels)
– OMEJK4BP51 4” suspension system with OME BP-51 Internal Bypass Shocks & ARB Control Arms
– Front and rear 35 spline ARB Air Lockers
– ARB Twin Compressor with Manifold
– ARB Inflation Kit
– Safari Snorkel
– ARB Breather Kit
– ARB 50QT Fridge Freezer with Loom
– ARB Recovery Kit: RK9, additional winch extension strap, ground anchor
– IPF H4 Headlamp Lenses and IPF H4 LED Bulbs
Non ARB Product:
– MCE Front and Rear Fenders
– Front and Rear Dana Spicer Ultimate Dana 60s (8-lug)
– Tom Wood’s front and rear drive shafts
– TR Beadlock wheels
– 37” Nitto Trail Grappler MT tires
– Rhino Rack Backbone roof rack
– Rotopax w/lockable mounts
– Maxtrax w/mount system
– Grab Bars
– Cobra CB C75 WX ST
– Teraflex under seat compressor bracket
– AEV Procal