The Jeep

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2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

Jeep Wrangler Build for Two Years Around Africa

The build of my Jeep is extensive, with each modification carefully thought out and planned. The build focused around primary goals, I will lay out the rationale and decisions for each.
Weight was a primary consideration for each modification, as was limited interior space.

Goal 1: Strong 4×4, big enough to sleep in, fit inside a 20 foot container.

  • 2011 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.
  • 3.8l V6 Gasoline engine, 6 speed manual transmission.
  • Locking front and rear differentials, electronic sway bar disconnect.
  • 4.10 axle ratios.
  • 4:1 transfer case ratio.
africa jk side zoom dan 720x480

The Stock JK Wrangler soon after I bought it used

Goal 2: Extremely capable off-road

Two years around Africa, especially West Africa, requires a very strong 4×4 vehicle. I chose the Rubicon for the factory diff locks, stronger D44 front axle, and low range transfer case. In addition to that, I have added:

  • Suspension: Stronger and improved handling with mild lift
  • Bumpers: Radiator protection, stronger
    • AEV Front with Skid Plate, AEV Rear, Tire carrier and High Lift Mount.
africa jk with bfg ko2 720x480

Africa bound JK with AEV 2.5 inch lift, Mopar Winter Steel Wheels and BFGoodrich KO2 All-Terrain Tires in 34×10.5r17

Goal 3: Interior living space

A two year expedition is not a vacation, this is my life. Given that I’m building my Jeep into a house on wheels, I want interior living space – to be able to escape the bugs, the rain, or even just escape the world for an evening will help keep me sane enough to continue.

The build and design is centered around a Pop up roof and interior cabinets I designed and built.

The roof is lighter and more aerodynamic than a roof rack + Roof Top Tent combination.

africa jk wrangler ursa minor j30 720x480

The Jeep with popup J30 camper

africa jk interior cabinets 720x480

Cabinets going in

Goal 4: Improved Sleeping, Cooking, Eating

Two years from Alaska to Argentina on my previous expedition taught me a lot.  I love camping, though after two years I was done with Ramen noodles and tinned soup. I want to eat vegetables, cheese and meat. I want to sleep up off the ground out of the mud. With that in mind, the following modifications where made:

africa jk arb awning rear open 720x480

ARB Awning open over my kitchen

Goal 5: Ability to be self-contained for weeks at a time

My aim to to get far off the beaten path, so I need to be able to support myself. With that in mind, I added:

diy 4x4 water tank pump filter plubming wiring 720x480

Completed plubming and wiring inside behind drivers seat. Pump, ball valves, wiring and filter and UV treatment on right

africa jk titan gas tank 720x480

Titan Tank 13 gallon gas tank

Goal 6: Secure Storage for all my stuff

The stock Jeep glovebox and console are just plastic, and the hood does not lock. I improved that with the following:

africa jk tuffy center console 720x480

Tuffy Security Center Console

Miscellaneous Other Modifications and gear

With that, my house on wheels is complete.

africa jk colorado 720x480

Tiny House. Massive Yard

-Dan

123 Responses

  1. Durwin says:

    Hi,
    Another question.
    Does the Mopar Winter Wheel mount flush, directly up against the AEV fuel caddy? Can you take a picture of the area where the center wheel hub opening is against the caddy? I have the same setup. Thanks, Durwin

  2. Mike McKay says:

    Can you post pictures of sleeping inside on the platform? I’d like to have an inside sleeping option for my JK but from what I can read in forums, it’s 55″ from the back of the front seats to the inside of the tailgate, and I can’t fathom how to sleep comfortably in that space. I’m 5’10”, and I believe you said in a YouTube video that you are 6’2″, so I can’t imagine how it can be comfortable. Thanks Dan!

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi Mike,
      You mean downstairs, not up in my popup roof?
      I show that configuration in this video. There are also little flaps on the cabinets near the two front seats that makes the sleeping platform a little longer. With the two seats all the way forward, I get just over 6 feet.. so if I sleep diagonally it works well enough (but not nearly as good as upstairs)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V07rtzoXt_8
      -Dan

  3. Durwin says:

    Did you have any issues using the Mopar tire pressure sensors with the Mopar Winter wheels?
    Thanks for answering my previous questions.
    Durwin

  1. October 15, 2016
  2. December 7, 2016

    […] outfitting the Jeep, Dan wrote a number of do-it-yourself guides on topics such as water filtration and outfitting Jeeps for long camping trips, sharing what he […]

  3. February 15, 2017

    […] on wheels are constricted for space, but not as much as this one. Dan Grec is the man behind this Jeep conversion that lets him travel across Africa without any discomfort, […]

  4. March 22, 2017
  5. July 8, 2019

    […] his Jeep he would like to be up off of the ground to sleep. As a result, he built an amazing 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (JKU) into the ultimate Jeep Overlanding […]

  6. December 2, 2019

    […] and be in use full time. It’d be impossible to list his mods here, but he has a rundown on his site. Dan has already done almost two years and 40,000 miles through South America, plus roughly 54,000 […]

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All my gear is stored inside durable Pelican Cases. From $94.95 on Amazon
I run a K and N Air Filter so I can wash it out and re-use it again and again. From $55.99 on Amazon