My Jeep TJK

Simple is so much better

Or so says the under-funded Jeeper like myself. We’ve all been there, when you can’t afford to do what you’d really like with your rig, so rationalizing that “simple is better” seems like a good option.

I’m in the same situation with my 2016 Rubicon Hard Rock Jeep Wrangler JK. Now you’re thinking, “You bought the most expensive JK you can buy. If you can afford that Jeep, you can afford some parts.” Well, here’s the thing—I spent everything on the Jeep.

My JK is my daily driver, and coming from a 4-cylinder TJ, I wanted something a little more forgiving to drive on a daily basis. The only issue with my purchase was my love for a clean TJ/LJ. In my humble opinion, they’re the perfect Jeep as they combine enough classic stylistic features all while introducing an updated look.

Every once in a while, I’ll stumble upon a build and do a double take to determine if I’m looking at a TJ or a JK. Jeep enthusiasts like myself can spot a CJ/TJ/JK/JL from a mile away, but I wanted is to make it a little more challenging for my rig.

This leads me to my first project and with it a unique mission: to make my 2016 Jeep look as close to a TJ as possible.

The first thing on the list for my newly dubbed “TJK” was half doors. A classic set of paint-matched half doors has always been a favorite of mine and something I never had with my previous Jeep. I found a Mopar half door kit for sale a mere 45 minutes away that a private seller was getting rid of. It was a sign. I picked the halfs up for what I thought was a deal and never turned back. Mopar wasn’t my first choice as other steel doors looked more TJ-like, but l couldn’t let the deal pass me by.

Next came the essentials of recovery. When I first started wheeling the TJK without a winch, I found myself weary to attempt obstacles I’d normally be unfazed by. This had to change, so a winch and strong bumper were a must.

The most recent modification was ditching the bulky JK fenders, and I knew exactly what to replace them with. TJs have such a simple fender and they look great. I wanted something similar, so I went with MCE’s narrow fenders. I didn’t want anything metal since I’ll be stuffing some big rubber under the TJK one day and have witnessed solid fenders take a toll on a JK body in the past.

My only regret to date is not buying half doors sooner.

On a fall trip to the mountains of Tennessee, I could’ve really used them. I left my top and doors behind, and of course, it unexpectedly poured for almost the whole ride.

A hard pill for Jeepers alike to swallow is the “done” pill. We seem to take being done with a build very harshly and often just move on to the next thing shortly after completion.

My only solution for this issue is to take builds slow and enjoy the excitement of each and every nut and bolt turned. The slow journey in the garage and on the road are sure to be plenty exciting for me as my TJK comes to life.