Story and Photos by Doug Podetz
This is what happens when a guy from Qualicum Beach, on Vancouver Island hooks up with a wheeling crowd.
Randy Jenkins had been a Jeep owner in the past and was looking for something a bit more capable than his old stock YJ. He figured on a set of 31’s and a pair of lockers so he set out looking for some parts and info from the local 4WD crowd. That would turn out to be a very rewarding but expensive decision, and this is the result of almost 30 months of parts collecting and hard work.
After finding a near mint YJ tub and frame as a place to start, the build was off and running. After finding a few more parts, Randy hooked up with a local wheeler to swap some stories and discus his build. Doug would turn out to be both good and evil according to Randy, and the next step was to scrap plan A and move on to plan B.... and “Fool Injected” was born.
The YJ platform was tossed in favor of a newer TJ project that had been abandoned by the last owner. The original plans for a 383 stroker were soon abandoned when an LS motor made its way into Randy’s hands and that’s where the build really took off. In Randy’s own words “I was like a drunk with a credit card in Vegas”.
Frame & driveline
Kyle and the crew from Northwest Fab in Parksville, B.C. got to work on building a custom frame to hold the LS6 motor that was warmed a bit with a COMP Cam, bigger throttle body and an Accusump for those off camber situations. The engine generates an estimated 450+ HP. Exhaust gasses flow thru a set of S&S headers and out a custom 2 into I side exit pipe, as space is non-existent in this build. The Monster 700R4 transmission is bolted between the LS and a Northwest Fab (NWF) BlackBox-i that is then bolted to the Stack 3 speed transfer case giving an ultra low crawl ratio of 220: 1. At 2200 rpm it takes a minute to go a 100 feet.
The power is sent to the Front Dana 60 using a 2 piece custom shaft built by High angle Driveline and was needed to clear the LS oil pan, which also needed to be modified slightly. The rear shaft goes to another Dana 60; this one got treated to Dana 70 outers and axles and is fitted with Wildwood Brakes. Both axles were narrowed and stuffed with ARB lockers, 4:88’s and 35 spline superior shafts. The front was also treated to solid knuckles and U-joints and a full PSC steering setup connected by NWF high
steer setup. All of these components are mounted to the frame using a modified Fabtech link kit that had to be modified to work with the LS motor and is now a 3 link up front with a custom panhard setup. As space was a huge concern putting this rig together every possible inch was utilized and the best way to handle the bumps was with a set of ORI struts, 14’s in the front and 16’s out back. ORI struts have internal bump stops, limit droop and do not require sway bars, perfect for this tight squeeze situation. The Jeep rolls on a set of 40”Kevlar MTR’s mounted to Walker Evans Baja Beadlocks.
Body and interior
The Jeep now moved to what would turn out to be its home for 2 years. To make him feel more like family we let Randy do some yard work and take out the trash - but he was given a key to the shop AND the beer fridge.
The body was treated to a full set of GenRight corners and Highline fenders that were modified and moved higher on the body and molded into the rear of the corners thanks to some help from Heath, another great friend and fabber. To keep the clean Highline look going, an AEV Highline hood was used. The fuel filler was moved to the back of the tub to clear the ORI’s and a custom door was cut in the rear of the inside of the body to access the GenRight EXT tanks fuel pump. As space is at a premium the Genright 1 3⁄4”full cage was modified to be used as a 4.5 gal air tank, and is filled by a 100% duty cycle Outback Air Compressor.
The interior was another story. As the saying goes, it was like trying to stuff 10 lbs of shit into a 5 lb bag, but it wasn’t shit, it was gold. Keeping with the clean look, the dash was removed and completely reworked and rewired to accommodate all of the switches, radios, shifters and gauges. A custom console was built to hold the Art Carr shifter - it also holds the cutting brakes and the inside winch controller from The 12 Volt Guy. Dual Optima Battery’s are also mounted behind the Corvette Z06 seats and Crow Industries 5 point belts.
Having a shop to use is great, and when the guy that owns it is also a paint and body guy, that’s even better. Doug applied the Jeep Liberty silver base to the body and the GM Dark Cherry red to the bumpers, boat side rockers, roll bar and stinger, and then the whole thing was treated to two clear coats. To finish it off a Warn Comp Crawler winch and some HID lighting and this Jeep is ready for almost anything.
That first phone call turned out to be the start of something big and it turned out great thanks to the help and hard work of a bunch of great people. Randy will be busy doing yard work and taking out the trash for quite some time.
Catch up with Randy and the boys at the Nanaimo Sidewinders 4x4 Club
For more info on the NWF parks check out www.northwestfab.com
For the full story and photos see Volume 14 Issue 5