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Thread: We Drive the Mopar Jeep JK-8 Pickup Truck

  1. #1
    Senior Member SavageSun4x4's Avatar
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    Default We Drive the Mopar Jeep JK-8 Pickup Truck

    Independence Day: We Drive the Mopar Jeep JK-8 Pickup Truck

    Posted by Mike Levine | April 19, 2011

    By Mark Williams for PickupTrucks.com
    You’ve seen and read about the JK-8 Independence project truck and its conversion kit Jeep recently unveiled as part of a coordinated herd of secret build projects being brought to the 2011 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, but we wanted a closer look. Chrysler’s Mopar parts and accessories division has made big promises about turning a four-door Wrangler Unlimited into a pickup truck, so we jumped at the chance to get up close and personal with the vehicle.
    To review, the kit will consist of 18 parts that include a short 50-inchbed floor, half a hardtop, a lower bulkhead, inner and outer rear body panels, several brackets and two bedrail extensions. As you might expect, a host of body, rollbar and floor modifications are also necessary, not to mention some serious welding if you want the looks of the JK-8. The kit will be available from Mopar by July 4; pricing will not be announced until right before it goes on sale.

    The JK-8 Independence has somewhat awkward proportions. Its regular cab looks too fat, and the bed looks too small for the wheelbase. This particular specialty vehicle sports a 4.5-inch lift and 35-inch-tall tires. The regular cab configuration offers a small amount of storage room behind the seats and does allow for some seat travel for long-legged drivers. There are no changes to the Unlimited’s swing-out rear door (now a door gate) so this pickup would have to skip tailgate party duty.
    The Independence also seems a little odd in that Jeep is inviting those interested in this kind of model to load the vehicle like a pickup, but it makes no accommodations for improving the payload capacity of the vehicle beyond the stock Unlimited.

    To date, Mopar has no plans to offer a heavier or progressive rear coil spring or some stronger bump stops (maybe overload springs?) to help improve the rather meek SUV-like payload capacity. For reference, a fully clothed stock Wrangler Unlimited can weigh around 4,100 pounds with a maximum gross vehicle weight rating around 5,400 pounds. In the most optimistic scenario, the rear coils should be able to handle a little more than 1,000 pounds of payload without trouble. Of course, if you make too many modifications, install a few parts and leave your luggage in the passenger seat, you could cut that number in half.
    As you might expect, from behind the wheel, there isn’t much difference between this and a standard Unlimited in drive feel or responsiveness. Our JK-8 Independence had a manual transmission and the 3.8-liter V-6, rated at 202 horsepower and 237 pounds-feet of torque — certainly not a monster, but adequate for a smaller vehicle like this, especially one that’s likely to be doing some rock crawling in low-range four-wheel drive.

    We’d expect the Mopar package to make the rear section feel a bit lighter on a stock vehicle, possibly creating a stiffer, jumpier feel to the back end when on rougher roads. As it was, with the heavier wheels and tires on this special project vehicle, and a huge piece of General Grabber and steel wheel hanging off the back end of the Jeep, it was impossible to determine any lightness or imbalance in the chassis. Additionally, this vehicle had a stronger front Dana 44 axle and a set of burly front and rear Mopar JK (this particular Wrangler model designation) HD bumpers.
    For our tastes, the wheelbase needs to be longer to give the bed more length, and something needs to be done about the meager payload capacities, even if this kit is just an appearance package. With that said, if this is going to be the placeholder for a couple of years for the coming Jeep pickup truck, with Mopar getting all the glory for offering a unique body package, we think we can live with that … for a couple of years.

    As previously mentioned, pricing won’t be out for a while, but we’d guess it will be below AEV’s Brute pickup truck conversion kit. On the plus side, Jeep already has all the stamping paid for because it has an export-only military model, called the J8, that uses the same side and floor body panels.
    One interesting note: Jeep had a huge display right in the middle of town at the Easter Jeep Safari, where it built an entire shop that put together a bolt-on version of one of these JK-8s in front of a large audience in about two hours. We’re guessing it might take us a little longer.


    http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/04...kup-truck.html
    Don

    '15 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock...OLD SCHOOL 6 Spd Manual Trans
    17 Oaks Ranch Companies LLC

    www.savagesun4x4.com

  2. #2
    Junior Member Karvin's Avatar
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    I am actually relieved that this is just a kit to modify a JK. I was under the impression that this was to be the Jeep "pick-up" that was to be released for the 2012 model season... instead of a Jeep truck based on the M715. Of course it might just be a huge misunderstanding and we will never see a "Nu-Kaiser" put into production. However in my opinion it would sell like crack to Jeep enthusiasts.
    2002 TJ Wrangler Apex Edition 4.7 liter short arm stroker

    Missing my 1968 M715 and my 1977 Cherokee. I hope all the people that rip off good people rot in hell.

  3. #3
    Senior Member SavageSun4x4's Avatar
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    6a00d83451b3c669e201538df9951e970b-800wi.jpg

    This was the last pic in the article and I guess I did not capture it so here it is...
    Don

    '15 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock...OLD SCHOOL 6 Spd Manual Trans
    17 Oaks Ranch Companies LLC

    www.savagesun4x4.com

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    Junior Member FIREJK07's Avatar
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    Not bad if i didnt use my back seats so much id have to think about it.
    LEIGH
    07 JK UNLIMITED
    RICHMOND VA



    If you can see the big picture your not concentrating on your front sight post

  5. #5
    Junior Member kt2007's Avatar
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    I would drive the $h!t out this thing!!!!!!!!
    .,=====o00o ______________
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    Senior Member jackhammer's Avatar
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    Exo cage it putting tire pre runner style in board of bed with huge tool box and beat it silly. But thats not my wallet talking. Hope to build second yj for the price of kit. Lol

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    Member michdave's Avatar
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    Personally I like being able to keep stuff under the top if need be, but it is a cool option.

    I'm curious about roll protection though. It looks like the factory supports are removed (b-pillar).
    2008 JK Unlimited~ 4" Teraflex lift, 35" BFG KM2's, Dynatrac ProRock 44 e-locked, 5.13's, JKS QD's, JKS F&R Trackbars, MM 9500 winch, Rockhard 4x4 Full Skid System, AEV snorkel, SS brakelines,...and it goes on, and on, and on,..

  8. #8
    Senior Member SavageSun4x4's Avatar
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    I suspect these things will initially sell like snow cones in the desert. This will be the 'gotta have it' crowd after that who knows.

    AEV worked a deal with Chrysler to bring in the real J8. I decided I wanted one and went to a authorized J8 dealer to work a deal. So here is what I found out. They needed 30 bonafide orders to import the J8. It came into the US in components and had to be assembled, then shipped to you and you installed the driveline. OK, I will do that. How much? I NEVER got an exact $ figure, but it was estimated at $50k after you got the engine installed. OK I will do that, where do I sign and when do I get it? Wellll we don't have 30 orders yet. OK, how long have you been looking for orders. No exact answer but at least a year and at that time they only had IIRC 17 orders. Its now 2 years later and to the best of my knowledge they do not have 30 orders yet. I think its been mostly abandoned, but I still check the J8 site and told them when you get close say within 6 mo of putting in the order add me to the pile...

    I think this the answer to the real J8 IMO
    Don

    '15 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock...OLD SCHOOL 6 Spd Manual Trans
    17 Oaks Ranch Companies LLC

    www.savagesun4x4.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member SavageSun4x4's Avatar
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    I just checked for any updates or status I see nothing, add to that the issues in Egypt and I just think it back burner.

    I don't place any blame on AEV or anyone for that matter, great idea and maybe it has become a bridge too far. Why Chrysler just does not build it and sell who knows the real answer, but the Rube Goldberg of getting them from Egypt, in pieces, building them by AEV in Detroit, shipping sans driveline is a complex process. Add in having to have orders for 30 (?). Then I read where the price is now $150k but that was coming out of some Jeep guy so ????

    Its my guess that lots of guys like myself who was even willing to wait up to a year, just needed something firm that I ended up going in another direction. I am still in fray, but am in a wait and see...
    Don

    '15 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock...OLD SCHOOL 6 Spd Manual Trans
    17 Oaks Ranch Companies LLC

    www.savagesun4x4.com

  10. #10
    Wheelin requires wrenchin Doppler's Avatar
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    I think jeep needs to fire all of their design engineers and start over. Seems like the current office all hold bachelor degrees in interior designing and minored in mechanical engineering. This kit says it all... fluff instead of function!

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