Love `em or hate `em, you can’t deny that a Wrangler makes a fantastic base from which to build an off-road tourer.


To many off-roaders the Jeep brand remains a mystery. There seems to be a divide between those that love them and those that dislike them in equal measure. Whatever side of the fence you find yourself on, it has to be agreed that the popular US marque produces some very rugged and relatively unchanged designs, particularly in the Wrangler and Rubicon. It also cannot be denied that on the back of such a strong US following there is every piece of aftermarket kit imaginable in order to customise your Jeep to your specific needs. They’re essentially a blank canvas that you can build just about anything out of, from an all-round touring rig to a lifted and locked monster… or, as the owner of this particular Wrangler Rubicon has done, a little from column A, and a little from column B. Regardless of whether you love or loathe the ‘Jeep thing’, it’s hard to argue with the fact that this is one well set-up touring weapon. Let’s take a look at how it came together…

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Meet Mark Sorenson. He works in an abattoir and is one of the most passionate 4X4 tourers out there. He loves nothing more than to travel our most beautiful outback destinations, no matter how much blacktop he has to hit to get there, and has built up his Rubicon JK to suit his requirements and destinations just perfectly.

So, why Jeep and what mods has he carried out in order to travel solo with no limits?


Mark actually purchased the very first of the new generation 3.6L Pentastar powered Rubicons in Australia. In fact he had trouble registering it, as the VIN was not recognized on the Aussie system! Just as one may like Nissan, one may like Toyota and one may like Land Rover or any number of available well-built 4X4s Mark has a childhood passion for the old Jeep.


Knowing it was only to be the base of a reliable and capable build he soon embarked on a journey of strengthening and improving, not unlike what any other four-wheel driver would do.


THE 4×4

When it comes to Jeep Wranglers, the pick of the bunch is undoubtedly the Rubicon models. Named after the famous Rubicon Trail in the States, these things are one of the most capable out-of-the-box four-wheel drives on the planet – there’s a good reason they’re the most popular 4X4 in the land of fully automatic handguns and gallon milkshakes. Apart from the Rubicon stickers, they look identical to other Wranglers, but, as they say, the devil is in the details…or should that be differentials?


The Rubicons come from the factory with front and rear Dana 44 diffs, which are exponentially beefier than the usual units. They also feature electric lockers, and 4.1 gearing, making them just about perfect for off-road use straight out of the gates. The ‘Rubies’ also have much lower transfer case gearing, rock sliders, removable doors and 32in muddies, all from stock – they’re practically begging you to take them into the rough stuff.


But even with all this capability available with a turn of a key, it wasn’t enough for Mark. While the Jeep engineers had done an admirable job, things just weren’t up to his own standards, so he took matters into his own hands…




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