Some great photos were found on Facebook so we contacted Edgar Herrera, owner of a Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited.
What was the idea behind this build?
Edgar: My goal for my 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is to build a comfortable, reliable and lightweight Jeep capable of extended off road excursions for four people.
Every modification I’ve done has been for that goal and nothing has been done solely for aesthetic reasons. My family and I enjoy exploring and camping throughout the American southwest and the Jeep has been a great vehicle for that.
The stock Jeep JK is not the most comfortable vehicle on the market, especially if you are in the back seat. My two kids never really complained about it, but the bench’s very upright back prevented them from sleeping on long road trips.
The front seats were acceptable but nothing great. I installed Mastercraft Baja XD seats with lumbar support in the front and then I replaced the stock bench seat with the stock front seats.
The Mastercraft seats are a huge improvement and the kids love the ability to recline their individual seat and take a nap.
While talking about comfort I will also mention the Rancho adjustable shocks and the H4 headlight conversion. Being able to adjust each individual shock to meet the needs of the road, trail or Jeep load is a huge comfort factor on a long trip.
What about the lights? You have a unique theory about it.
Edgar: Anyone who has driven a Jeep JK Wrangler at night knows how terrible those stock headlights are!
So, I upgraded the wiring, installed Cibie headlight housings and Narva 100/55W bulbs. This combination should have come on the Jeep from the factory.
Some have asked me why I didn’t go with LED headlights. The reason is that LED’s have a color temperature that is too cool, which studies have shown increases eye fatigue.
We’ll talk about aftermarket parts later.
But reliability is definately important , especially when traveling a lot.
Edgar: Reliability goes without saying. When I’m out in the middle of nowhere with my wife and kids, the last thing I want on my mind is if my Jeep is going to get us home. Things do occasionally happen and that’s when a good tool kit is essential.
Lightweight I think partially goes with reliability. The heavier a vehicle is, the more stress and wear and tear occur on the engine and drivetrain. Not to mention performance and fuel economy is increased the lighter a vehicle is.
Some may worry about the strength of aluminum compared to steel, but I think if you wheel smart you will be fine. I don’t pretend I’m racing in the King of Hammers!
Talking about KOH, where do you usually drive?
Edgar: We do a lot of rock crawling and camping in New Mexico. I know Moab gets all the glory, but if you are ever in the area, New Mexico has some world class rock crawling.
My Jeep has taken us through most of the old Chili Challenge trails and countless backcountry roads around Lincoln National Forest, Gila National Forest, and Coronado National Forest.
Now that we have our new Turtleback Trailer we can stay out for longer than ever. With over 40 gallons of water onboard our only limiting factor is the amount of food we carry and time I can be away from work (we homeschool the kids so they can study anywhere we go.)
Any plans for the future?
Edgar: Exploring Big Bend is the first one. Then a trip to the Overland Expo south of Flagstaff, taking the long scenic route with as much of it on dirt.
Long term travel plans, more like my retirement travel plan is the great 3-5 year trip from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina exploring the land and the culture along the way!
Thanks Edgar, it was nice talking to you!
Here’s a list of parts built into this cool vehicle.
Get ready, the list is long, but it could provide you with some good ideas.
Wheel, Suspension & Drivetrain
• 315-75-16 Goodyear Duratrac tires
• 16” Level 8 ZX wheels
• Rock Krawler 2.5” Max Travel Mid-arm suspension lift
• Poison Spyder Bombshell differential covers
• Yukon 4.56 gears
• Rear ARB air locker
• Front and rear Artec axle truss
• Evo inner c gussets and lower control arm skids
• Rancho RS9000XL adjustable shocks
• H4 headlight conversion
• K&N intake filter
• Amsoil 100% synthetic oil
• Chopped stock front bumper
• Rubicon rock rails
• Genright aluminum tire carrier (still sitting in my garage)
• Jeepswag Hi-Lift mount
• 5lbs Halatron fire extinguisher
• Front Mastercraft Baja XD seats
• Removed the rear bench seat and installed the front stock seats
• ARB twin air compressor mounted under front passenger seat
• Uniden Bearcat 880 CB radio
• Locked Pelican Case with tools and recovery gear
• ARB 50qt fridge/freezer
Future planned modifications
• Saavy Offroad LHT aluminum front and rear bumpers
• 10,000lbs winch
• Rear Mastercraft Baja XD seats to match the front
• Roll cage
• Hard top
Expo trailer is from Turtleback Trailers out of Phoenix, Arizona.
• Wheels and tires matched to the Jeep
• Powder coated to match the Jeep
• CVT Mt. McKinley roof top tent with annex
• Rhino-Rack Foxwing awning
• 4 gallon Rotopax
TEXT: Emilio Mocibob, Edgar Herrera
PHOTO: Edgar Herrera