Prior to owning this Jeep, Erik Legge was a hardcore Dodge Ram dude. It wasn’t until a fateful click on YouTube that the image of a Jeep scampering up a rock inspired the truck enthusiast to consider a different sort of Mopar muscle. Two days later, a shiny new 2016 Jeep Wrangler was sitting in Erik’s drive, and one hell of a hardcore build was officially underway.
Sourced from a dealership in Maryland, the Jeep came off the lot with a BDS Suspension three-inch “Rock Monster” package and 35-inch tires. That said, Erik was impressed beyond words with how accommodating the Jeep community was right off the bat in regard to support, advice, knowledge, and service. In return, some of those same people from the early days of this build are now some of Erik’s best friends, which is precisely why stories such as these matter to us here at Power Automedia.
With the Wrangler officially in his possession, upgrades began to take place, starting with Eaton lockers in both front and rear axles. Erik claims that this decision was based purely upon the fact that Eaton’s renowned reliability, functionality, and overall quality have long been second to none, therefore becoming the only option for this FCA fanatic going forward.
Back on the ground in Maryland, a series of nasty snowstorms had caused Erik to notice a few things. First of all, even on Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ tires, wheel slip could sometimes be an issue, and require the Eaton E-Lockers to bolster grip. Erik says that after some serious wintry shenanigans, he is ready for anything summer throws at him and his Wrangler. “I have no fears or qualms about this year’s wheeling season with my Eaton lockers underneath of me,” Erik said. “Rausch Creek Off-Road Park is our closest and favorite spot, and the first event will be ‘Krawlin for C.O.P.S.’, a benefit for families of officers killed in the line of duty.”
A police officer himself, Erik also tells us that he recently took over auto parts supplier JM3 Overland, as he looks to instill some honesty and transparent pricing within the Jeep community. Naturally, Eaton remains at the top of the list for recommended beginner mods, followed by Mickey Thompson tires.
By this point, Mickey Thompson has been in the tire game for over half a century, and the Baja MTZ is tough to beat when it comes to striking a balance between tidy road manners and extreme wheeling prowess. On the highway, these tires produce what Erik calls a “perfect aggressive sound level,” all without being so overwhelming that his radio volume requires adjustment. Off-road, he notes that the thickness of the tire’s sidewall and the Baja MTZ’s unique tread pattern grips even the slipperiest of stones and shovels dirt faster than a groundhog on Adderall.
As for all of the Currie Enterprises components on this Jeep, Erik claims that when he hears this name, the first thing that comes to mind is strength. To date, he has yet to see a Currie axle break, giving reason for his use of the brand’s carbon line, which utilizes a Currie housing unit for shielding his woven axles. This upgrade provides Erik with additional peace of mind when wheeling, as unseen stones are a constant threat when in the wild.
Erik installed Currie RockJock adjustable control arms for added strength, and when paired with their Johnny Joint ends, they made lift headaches far less of an issue. This added adjustability allows Erik to jump from 3.5 to 5.5 inches of lift without issue, particularly when adjusting pinion angle and caster. Three years and one empty wallet later, Erik could not be happier with his Jeep Wrangler build, and he is proud to admit that it all began with a set of Eaton E-Lockers.