ORX 4×4 Feature: Chuck and Heather Lenhart’s Custom 2014 Jeep JKU

While there’s plenty of awesome performance vehicles out there, there’s nothing quite like a brand new off-road toy. Performance enthusiasts Chuck and Heather Lenhart, from Stilwell, Kansas, understand this well, as they recently took on a brand new off-road project of their own–modifying a 2014 Jeep Wrangler JKU.

Primed for Performance

Being true automotive performance fans, the Lenharts have spent their time driving some very cool vehicles, now primarily a Shelby GT500 Mustang and a modern Ford Ecoboost F-150 FX4. But according to them, it’s their latest acquisition that truly puts the fun in their days off.

“We like to drive cool vehicles and we think this Jeep JKU really fits our style,” Heather Lenhart told us. “We still enjoy taking our Shelby GT500 out on the weekends and the Ecoboost F-150 FX4 handles a lot of the family work load, but the Jeep is the source of big smiles around here.”

With the kids old enough to be self sufficient, a booming Jeep culture in their area, and having owned trucks before (lifted and lowered) the Lenharts decided it was time to get back on the trail. Now they are looking forward to some real off-road exploration in the near future!

Enthusiasm for performance vehicles runs deep for both Heather and Chuck, with Chuck once working for the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and being a co-owner of a performance shop, Turbo RX Performance Parts.

Heather, too, was involved with both the Bondurant school, excelling in the many driving courses she took there, and the performance shop. Because of this, she is used to being behind the wheel of some pretty stellar vehicles, including the couple’s new Jeep now.

Starting Point

Although the Jeep is brand-spanking-new, the Lenharts wanted to make it their own by immediately modifying it to their liking. So they started ordering parts almost the very day they brought it home, and installed them as they came in.

First, the Jeep’s 3.6L V6 engine was modified with an Airaid intake system, an Airaid EconoAid throttle spacer and a Fitch Fuel Catalyst. An SCT X4 programmer added simple tuning power to the Lenharts’ Jeep.

The Jeep’s engine is backed by a factory automatic transmission; it throws power to the pavement (or dirt) via limited-slip differentials and 3.73 gears.

Once the engine was modified, additions to the Jeep’s exterior included ARB Deluxe front and rear bumpers with Warn D rings, taillight covers, a stubby antenna, Powersteps from AMP Research, and a Rugged Ridge fuel door.

The Lenharts then added Lazer Star 2×2-inch spotlights to their Jeep’s front bumper and a 52-inch Lazer Star combo beam light setup to the roof. This lighting setup is powered by a sPOD fuse panel and controlled with a six-switch panel.

Instead of a full-size spare and rear tire carrier, the Lenharts opted to equip their Jeep with an adapter plate, relocated high-mount brake light and RotopaX four-gallon fuel jug in its place. This modification helps with weight reduction, better fuel mileage and better handling in addition to being functional.

A Warn Zeon 10,000-pound winch was installed in the ARB front bumper to assist with any extrication duties the Jeep may be involved in, and a Factor 55 shackle mount neatly tied off the winch’s cable end. 

Undercarriage Modifications

Next on the list of modifications were the wheels, which the Lenharts chose to upgrade to 20×10-inch deep-lip Fuel Off-Road Maverick hoops. These are wrapped in nitrogen-filled 35/12.5/20 Toyo Open Country AT II Extreme tires.

Helping this wheel and tire combination work perfectly on the Lenharts’ Jeep is the 4-inch JK lift kit with suspension components from ProLift. Adjustable ball joints were added to the setup, all installed by Chux Trux of Independence, Missouri.

The last performance modification the Lenharts did was install a new Baer brake system, complete with cross-drilled and slotted rotors matched with 6S calipers in the front, and cross-drilled and slotted rotors with 4T calipers in the rear.

To make the interior fitting of the Jeep’s performance edge, the Lenharts ordered black MasterCraft Safety Baja RS seats for the front and matching seat covers for the rear of their off-road machine. These match the stock black trim, roll cage, steering wheel and instruments.

The rear seats have been equipped with a spacer kit, which inclines them for a more comfortable riding position. Also installed in the interior are Rugged Ridge floor mats and a rear tray mat and organizer.

Giving the Jeep a unique finish are ProLift graphics on the hood, which were designed by R&R Marketing and made by Bike Graphix. These are laid over the Jeep’s factory Anvil color, that the Lenharts are keeping spick-and-span with the Slick Products array of cleaning products.

Just The Right Style

“Everything works well as a package and gives us the look we wanted, and the performance is great,” Heather told us. “It’s hard not to get a smile on your face when you spark up the Lazer Star 52-inch light bar and shift it into four-wheel-drive!”

“Thanks to the staff at Chux Trux for helping us with the heavy lifting. They have a staff of professionals that are second to none,” said Heather. “And to R&R Marketing Consultants, Inc. for help selecting accessories that work great together and are just right for our Jeep.”

We couldn’t agree more, it’s a sharp looking rig that fits in perfectly with the regional style the Lenharts were searching for. For more photos of this great looking Jeep, be sure to check out the Off Road Xtreme Gallery below >>>

About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
Read My Articles

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