**Josh Patton’s original reason for getting a Jeep? He wanted something to compliment his outdoorsy lifestyle. Little did he know, after two builds with a long list of modifications he’d be such an active member of the Jeep community. We sit down with him today to learn how he got his start, as well as explore all the exciting mods he’s done to his current 2016 JKU that he took from stock to rock crawler. **
What got you into the off-road scene and jeeps?
I needed a new vehicle and I wanted something outdoorsy. I like to camp and be outdoors and the Wrangler fit the bill for me. I ended up with a 2 door, 2014 Wrangler JK and started modifying it as all Jeep people tend to do. But then I caught the bug: started with 33’s and small lift. That morphed into 35’s and a bigger lift and then 37’s, etc…
Then my wife and I had a baby and figured that the 2 door wasn’t going to work. So I sold the JK and got a bone stock 2016 JKU. I went bone stock on it because I knew I was going to do a full build on it and didn’t want to pay for Rubicon additions if I knew I was going to take them off at some point.
As I started to build it, my wife got me an onboard air compressor from Northridge 4×4 and they were doing their Willy Wonka Golden Ticket promotion for a trip to Moab with Northridge during Easter Jeep Safari.
I opened up the package on Christmas morning and as I’m explaining to my kids why there’s a chocolate bar in the package, I open it up and there is the Golden Ticket! It was pretty nuts.
After one week of wheeling Moab with the crew from Northridge 4×4 I was completely hooked. We stayed in touch over the next year and I went from 35’s and an open diff axel in the front to a full on Dynatrac axle swap and 37’s and much more. I’ve been invited back to stay with them every year and I consider them all friends!
I love the EJS experience. I know the trails are crowded, but I love the talking with people and meeting new people like you guys (Dan and Mike from REVKIT). That’s just what I love about Easter Jeep Week.
What was your most impactful mod?
This is a tough one, but switching to Rubicon transfer case really allowed me to start to actually “rock crawl” with both feet on the floor. Having the stock gearing, manual transmission and 37’s at the time, it was really wanting to stall on me.
Switching to the low, 4:88 from the stock gears in the Wrangler Sport was a game changer.
Before, I either had to give it a lot of gas to get over obstacles or it wanted to stall on me if I took my foot off the clutch. It wasn’t too bad with 35’s but as I got into bigger tires, it was noticeably worse. The 4:88 really put me on a level playing field with the guys with the automatics.
Why a manual transmission?
I’ve been a hardcore, manual transmission guy my whole life. I absolutely love it for day-to-day around town and on the trail.
I also refer to it as my “anti-theft device” because kids stealing cars these days probably haven’t had a lot of experience on a manual transmission! I never thought I’d say this but my next Jeep will be an automatic for crawling, though, that’s for sure! With the things I’m doing in my Jeep now and watching my buddies with automatics, I’m ready for the switch. Especially on relentless trails out here where you’re crawling all day, just obstacle after obstacle after obstacle..it’s just a lot of work!
WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT Build PLANS?
I definitely want to do some form of steering assist, wether it’s a PSC Big Bore or a full-on hydro assist. Airing down to single digit PSI on 38’s on a stock box is pretty brutal. I’m also contemplating revamping my suspension; doing a full on, custom, weld in tower for 2.5 coilovers and then doing a rear axle swap to a 60.
What have you been up to this summer?
The coolest thing I did was shoot a commercial for KC HiLites’ new slim light LED. I’ve been running a prototype for the entire summer and this shoot will be used to launch the product to the public. They used Ragnarok_JKU as face of the release and we shot it with a full fit crew over the course of 3 days in the Bear Valley, CA area.
Also did KC HiLites’ Summer Camp which dry run for all their ambassadors, partners and industry friends. Trying to help them figure out how to improve it, what worked and what didn’t and if they should do it again in Williams, AZ.
Just got back from running one of my favorite trails in Bear Valley, Slick Rock, with the Powertank crew. Lots of local runs in the Bear Valley area…I can’t even tell you how many trails I’ve run this summer, we’ve been wheeling like crazy!
Wow. We’re pretty blown away by the adventures Josh has had with his RAGNAROK JKU, including winning the Golden Ticket for an epic Moab Trip with Northridge 4×4. From the looks of it, it seems that his build, RAGNAROK JKU is just getting started and we’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on where he takes this thing next. Be sure to show some love to his build and this article if you’re into this beaut.