1988 JEEP YJ WRANGLER BUILT BY FAMILY
A father/son project is the stuff of dreams. To be able to build something with your dad or your son (or daughter) just doesn’t get much better. Turning wrenches, installing an engine, doing bodywork, adding a lift kit and the like, are just a few things that can bring a relationship closer together. For Justin McDaris and his father Troy, one family member bought a Jeep, and then others jumped in on the act. Jeepin’ had become a family affair. “We kind of all built one so we could hang out together,” Justin said.
Justin and his dad started out with an ’88 YJ they picked up as a “roller.” A body and frame was about it. As Justin told us, “No engine, no interior, just axles underneath it to roll around on.” To many, that may sound like too much of a project, but for Justin, his dad, and his uncle, that was exactly what they wanted.
They wanted something they could build from the ground up, and the YJ Wrangler was the perfect starting point. The Jeep’s body was in good condition, which is why they chose it. “It was pretty straight and didn’t have any rust,” according to Justin. The fact that the body didn’t have any rust was the Jeep’s biggest draw. Between Justin, his dad, and uncle, they did it all. The trio started by cleaning up the body and applying primer during the build process. They didn’t want to scratch fresh paint, so they left the body in primer while building the Jeep
Heavy Duty Chassis
The Jeep’s new suspension was based on 1 1/4-ton axles from a Chevrolet military truck called a CUCV, which stands for Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle. The CUCV was basically a military-modified Chevy pickup used in non-combat situations. Eventually, the CUCVs were replaced with Humvees, but the axles were built to withstand a lot of punishment, which is why they were chosen for the project. Most CUCV axles had 4.56 gears, and the Detroit Locker rear diff remained in place.