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  1. #1
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    2012 Jeep Wrangler JK-8 conversion

    I have a ton of pics on my camera, so I figured I would share them in case anyone ever wants to try.

    One of our local Jeep dealerships brought us a brand new Wrangler and this:



    The JK-8 conversion is a one way conversion that basically turns the Jeep into a pickup, kinda like the old Scrambler. It's not the most complicated project, but I would suggest having a good amount of experience in auto body if you want to take it on. Also, I would highly recommend using a resistance spot welder to do the job. There are quite a few panels that get replaced and mig welding would probably compromise the corrosion protection of the metal, especially on a new vehicle.

    Anyway, here is the Jeep with all of it's 7 miles (distance from dealership to my shop). I didn't get any pics of it completely assembled. My helper disassembled the interior, top, rear doors, rear gate and whatever else that needed to come out.










    And here is what the finished product is supposed to look like.............hopefully.


  2. #2
    RC Qualifier MooseSlash's Avatar
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    Nice! You're a wheeler, eh?
    And there he goes with the carbon...

  3. #3
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseSlash View Post
    Nice! You're a wheeler, eh?
    Not me. Well, I do have a 4wd Tacoma, but I keep it on the pavement for the most part. If I go in the dirt, it's usually on two wheels.



    Here's some more pics of the conversion from today. This job was taken on as a Saturday project, so it will probably be a few more weeks before it's done. I've got more than enough work to keep me busy Monday through Friday thanks to all the non-drivers out there.
















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    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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  5. #5
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    And piles of worthless new Jeep parts:









    There's just something about someone giving me a brand new vehicle to cut into pieces that makes me smile every time.

  6. #6
    RC Qualifier MooseSlash's Avatar
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    I do hope you know what you're doing!
    And there he goes with the carbon...

  7. #7
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseSlash View Post
    I do hope you know what you're doing!

    We'll see.

  8. #8
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    I like the look of those, but to convert a 4dr to that puts it out of reach of most people. IIRC the kit is like $6-8k on top of the price of the Jeep (plus labor to install). Maybe one day they will stop screwing around and just sell trucks straight off the line. Its not like they don't already make them for overseas military.

  9. #9
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think it was around $5k at cost. The general public would obviously be paying more than a dealer though. I was thinking the same thing about them not actually producing this vehicle. They make the Jeep and the conversion kit. Why not just build them at the assembly plant? Either way, it's some nice O.T. for me.

    I'm wondering what our cost is gonna be for the labor and also how much it's gonna sell for when completed. Apparently there's no set prices yet as this is the only one that I know of anywhere around here. Obviously, someone did one already judging by the pics in the instructions, but that might possibly be the only one out there at this point.

    Oh, that reminds me. We may be re-doing the instruction manual with our pics and procedure. The current manual is extremely vague on some parts, especially cutting the inner B pillar and rocker apart and removing the roll bar. Kinda an important and complex step IMO. The pics and description basically showed everything assembled and the next step everything was gone. I have all my pics along with all the pics on another camera at the shop and also my co-worker's pics. We should be able to have it simple enough for the average backyard mechanic to do.

  10. #10
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Another thing that was an unpleasant surprise was all the NVH foams all over this thing! Most of the panels could have been saved and re-sold if it wasn't for all the foam everywhere. I have an induction heater that may have helped, but the dealer isn't concerned about all the old parts and it wouldn't be cost-effective for me to sit there and try to un-stick all that stuff.

    Let's face it, the Wrangler is what it is. All the foam in the world isn't gonna make it drive like a Bentley. It's an offroad vehicle and road noises and vibrations shouldn't really be an issue with them.

  11. #11
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    holly chrysler, now thats a project. keep us updated. how bout small lift.

    im a jeep fan. got 2 myself.

  12. #12
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Made some more progress on the Jeep last Saturday and today! Last weekend we got the new inner "B" pillars and sport bar installed. Didn't look like a whole lot of progress for a Saturday morning, but it was a lot of test fit, install, un-install, weld, re-install, bolt together, un-bolt, weld.................................

















    The top braces were the only thing that gave me any issues so far. The holes didn't quite line-up to the new roll bar. Nothing you can really do except elongate the holes. The new sport bar bolts to the existing front roll bar and cross brace. It is what it is. Not the worst thing I've seen from a Mopar product. Actually, the pics in the instructions showed the holes elongated, so it's surely not an isolated incident.


  13. #13
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    And here's today's accomplishments:




















  14. #14
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    The passenger side is completely done and ready for paint. The driver's side is almost ready. Inner quarter is welded and rust-proofed and the outer quarter is fitted and ready to weld next weekend. After that, I'm down to the rear roll bar, rear floor pan, and the new top. Should be ready to paint in another Saturday or two. I must admit that the sheet metal went on much easier and better than I expected. I've put original replacement panels on plenty of Jeeps and they didn't fit as well as these conversion parts do. Jeeps definitely don't have the best reputation for fit and finish, but this kit fits surprisingly well.................. at least so far.

  15. #15
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    I can't even express how awesome this machine is!!!



    If I didn't have this thing, I probably wouldn't have done this job. No more mig welding and gluing panels! The resistance spot welder makes the finished product look like it just rolled off the assembly line. No more welding, grinding, wire brushing, seam sealing, etc. Just spot weld and etch prime for the most part. The unit itself is fairly heavy and clumsy at times, but I'll take it any day over a mig welder!

  16. #16
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    Man, the world can keep their paint brushes and musical instruments, this kind of stuff is real art. I can't wait to see the finished product. I love my Toyota's but me and the wife have been eyeballing one of those Unlimited's for a few months now that her cars paid off.
    P2de VXL - Summit

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    Looks fantastic so far, to bad they don't sell them like that straight from the factory for our market too. Wonder how a JK P/U will perform compaired to the 2dr and 4dr. Do you know what the difference in curb weight and GVWR is for this compared to the regular JK's?
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  18. #18
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. pavmentsurfer's Avatar
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    Man, beautiful work harry. What I'm wondering, and again, this is in no way a question of YOUR work or talent, but whats the point? This truck, when finished with all the extra parts and all your hours, will have cost way more than say, a Ford Ranger. And in the end, will be basically the same thing. A mini pickup truck. Is there something I'm missing? I think it would be awesome if Jeep actually built this truck as you have and sold it as a mini truck, but to buy a full on 4 door jeep then spend all the money required to buy the kit and have a pro like yourself install it right seems like a waste. But thats just me.

    Either way, the finished product will be sweet. What colour will it end up being? Will there be any other custom parts? Wheels, lift etc?

  19. #19
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Thanks fellas.

    Pave, I've been wondering the same thing. All I can think is that it's aimed towards the guy who has too much money and likes to stand out. Really the whole concept doesn't make much sense to me either. I'm just wondering if the fad is gonna take off. The dealership that brought us this Jeep is already talking about doing more of these conversions. It's gonna be interesting to see if there is actually a market for these things.

    Perhaps that's what Mopar is doing. Offering some conversions and see what happens before they put them into production? All I know is that I'm liking the extra cash every week.

  20. #20
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    Harry nice job, I laugh at this because I just stopped into the dealer to look at a four door on the lot just last week. So I pick up the book on the wrangler and in it was a picture of the finished product of what your building now. I never thought that it would of been this much of a over haul to do, I thought you could convert it back into a four door again if need be. I'm not much of a Chrysler guy but always wanted a jeep wrangler for sometime and then had children and then my dream slipped away..... Until the four door came out! Back in business now lol. but I could also not see spending the time and money for something like this as stated above as well IMO. But great job Harry I'm going to check back to see how this turns out and if your shelling out this much bough at least buy the seiara and maybe have you color match the wheel extensions.
    rusler vxl, rusler xl-5, jato 3.3, losi 5ive T

  21. #21
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Well, a bit of a time lapse, but the conversion is done and back on the dealer lot. I didn't have the camera with me too much lately, so here is the finished product:


















    When all was said and done, it was a fairly nice kit. All the sheet metal was great and went together just as well as an O.E.M. panels would. The fiberglass top, on the other hand, is garbage. I could pretty much tell as soon as I opened the box that it was a crude piece that looked like it was made in someone's back yard. Kinda like all those shady body kits that people try to instal on their Honda Civic. The fiberglass was rough and nowhere near ready for paint when we received it. Lots of imperfections and the seams appeared to have latex window caulk instead of automotive seam sealer. It took a bit of modding to make it sit correctly on the bed rails also. Definitely left a lot to be desired. There are also issues with the interior that were never addressed from the manufacturer. Such as: window switches on center instrument panel have 4 switches, now the truck only has two windows. The rear interior in un-finished, just bare fiberglass and sheet metal. The front seats don't allow access to the rear cabin area since the truck was originally 4-door, so the seats don't fold forward. There is no interior light nor rear speakers because they were all mounted in a pre-formed plastic box that no longer fits due to the new roll bar. The running boards now have a rear step that leads to nowhere. There are a few other minor issue, but all in all I would say it's kinda cool. Would I buy one? No way!. But to each their own, I guess.

    As I said in the beginning, the instructions are very vague and parts of them are truly idiotic. Next time I build one (probably next month) there are quite a few things that I will do differently now that I know. Not that there's anything mechanically wrong with this one, but there's definitely a better way.
    Last edited by harry697; 05-18-2012 at 08:38 PM.

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    Nice work. To bad they didn't have you upgrade it to an actual jeep while it was already torn apart.


    Upon further research Jeep actual made a proper version of the JK-8 conversion. Have a look.

    Last edited by ReaperGN; 05-18-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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    It looks good man, but I agree, I wouldn't really want one.
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    ...no thanks, not for me.



    but if you love it, thats all that matters. hope it puts a nice big smile on your face!!

  25. #25
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godspeed View Post
    ...no thanks, not for me.



    but if you love it, thats all that matters. hope it puts a nice big smile on your face!!

    It put a nice big smile on my face when it left my shop.

  26. #26
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReaperGN View Post
    Nice work. To bad they didn't have you upgrade it to an actual jeep while it was already torn apart.


    Upon further research Jeep actual made a proper version of the JK-8 conversion. Have a look.


    Doesn't work. Interested to see it though because I've seen several different versions of the conversion, but none done by the factory.

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    I see. IE just doesn't want to play nice. Hopefully this one works on IE.

    Last edited by ReaperGN; 05-18-2012 at 10:53 PM.
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  28. #28
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    So, is that thing supposed to be new or some sort of resto-mod? I see modern mirrors, door handles, doors, windshield and some other stuff. But I'm also seeing a whole bunch of old school Jeep in there too.
    Last edited by harry697; 05-19-2012 at 08:06 AM.

  29. #29
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    Looks good Harry, what do you figure your time is total in this conversion?
    rusler vxl, rusler xl-5, jato 3.3, losi 5ive T

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    Quote Originally Posted by harry697 View Post
    So, is that thing supposed to be new or some sort of resto-mod? I see modern mirrors, door handles, doors, windshield and some other stuff. But I'm also seeing a whole bunch of old school Jeep in there too.
    It does boggle the mind a bit but here is the story about the J-12.

    The Jeep J-12 concept is essentially an extended version of Mopar's recently introduced JK-8 pickup conversion kit for the Jeep Wrangler. With a new 2012 Wrangler nlimited as the starting point, the rear of the vehicle's frame is extended 18 inches, allowing the spare tire to be relocated under the bed floor and making the cargo box a full six feet in length. A custom hood and front fender set was created as a nod to aficionados of the beloved Jeep Gladiator series trucks.

    Off-road muscle has been improved wth the addition of the new Mopar three-inch suspension lift kit, as well as Teraflex sway bars controlling ARB air-locker equipped Dynatrac D-44 and D-60 axle assemblies. Traction is handled through classic 36-inch tires mounted on 16-inch steel wheels.

    The cabin of the J-12 concept has been 'dressed down' in support of a basic truck theme, wth the carpet being replaced by rugged truck bed liner, and the bucket seats re-crafted into a modern version of a bench seat, trimmed in white wth a whimsical plaid pattern. Further highlights include a Mopar fuel-filler door, Mopar slush mats, Tom Woods custom driveshafts and Katzkin seat trim.
    Oderint Dum Metuant

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReaperGN View Post
    I see. IE just doesn't want to play nice. Hopefully this one works on IE.

    would kill for that in black
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavmentsurfer View Post
    Man, beautiful work harry. What I'm wondering, and again, this is in no way a question of YOUR work or talent, but whats the point? This truck, when finished with all the extra parts and all your hours, will have cost way more than say, a Ford Ranger. And in the end, will be basically the same thing. A mini pickup truck. Is there something I'm missing? I think it would be awesome if Jeep actually built this truck as you have and sold it as a mini truck, but to buy a full on 4 door jeep then spend all the money required to buy bargain Jeep parts from jcwhitney and have a pro like yourself install it right seems like a waste. But thats just me.

    Either way, the finished product will be sweet. What colour will it end up being? Will there be any other custom parts? Wheels, lift etc?
    Agree with this.. i just hope Jeep would build something like this.. it would be a best seller for sure..

  33. #33
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    That jeep looks good before u converted it.
    I dream of big block power...

  34. #34
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisnhisrevo View Post
    That jeep looks good before u converted it.

    Considering there aren't any before pics, what are you trying to get at?

  35. #35
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    I'm sure u started with a stock 2012 jeep.. I want saying "stock" I think it looks better than what you did to it


    But here's a pic just in case you forgot what it looked like.
    I dream of big block power...

  36. #36
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Sorry, but I'm having a hard time understanding what you're typing. But, no, it didn't look like that to begin with. Not even close really. Regardless, I would never buy one. It looked pointless before the kit ever arrived and looked even more pointless when it was done.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisnhisrevo View Post
    I'm sure u started with a stock 2012 jeep.. I want saying "stock" I think it looks better than what you did to it


    But here's a pic just in case you forgot what it looked like.
    This does not look good to me. If anything it looks like a money pit that will need a ton of money thrown at it before it performs as advertised.

    The kit was a very good job that really shows the quality of work Harrys shop is capable of. But it would still need a ton of work done before it performs the way a jeep should. At least with the conversion it can be used to move a small couch or refrigerator. In stock form current wranglers are only good for sending you to the hospital with a head injury unless your only 5 foot tall.
    Oderint Dum Metuant

  38. #38
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    its a jeep thing, you wouldnt understand.
    I'm not krazy. My mother had me tested.

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    Oh. I understand. Don't get me wrong I'm sure sum people does like it. It looked like a challengeing project. but "IMO" I don't care for the way it looks. I like the way a jeep looks. Also I have a jeep.
    I dream of big block power...

  40. #40
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReaperGN View Post
    This does not look good to me. If anything it looks like a money pit that will need a ton of money thrown at it before it performs as advertised.

    The kit was a very good job that really shows the quality of work Harrys shop is capable of. But it would still need a ton of work done before it performs the way a jeep should. At least with the conversion it can be used to move a small couch or refrigerator. In stock form current wranglers are only good for sending you to the hospital with a head injury unless your only 5 foot tall.

    Thanks for the kind words. The conversion is definitely done right, but it just leaves a lot to be desired IMO. I believe I explained it somewhere in this thread a few months ago. All the sheet metal is just as good as an O.E.M. replacement (that's not necessarily a great fit simply because it's a Jeep. They've never been known for their fit and finish, but they're good at what they were designed for). The fiberglass top is a horrible piece and there's only so much that can be done with it. It reminds me of one of those $500 full body kits for a Honda Civic that was made in somebody's back yard. Combine that with all the accessories that either don't fit once the conversion is done (speaker box, interior light, satellite radio antenna,ect.) or the stuff like the four power window switches in the center console when there are now only two mobile windows and it just makes me think that Mopar should have spent a little more time in the R&D department before releasing the kit.

    However, it's definitely a Jeep thing and I'm one of those people who truly don't understand, but there are obviously plenty of people who do or the dealership wouldn't have had us do the conversion. I've seen quite a few of them around so there must be some kind of market for this truck. I think it would have been an easier sell if they started with a better-equipped model than the one they sent us.


    Oh and that Jeep pic posted above is far different from the one used for the conversion. The conversion is done on a 4-door, which means it's a different frame, wheel base, body, floors, and so-on. If the kit was installed on a 2-door Wrangler, the bed would probably be 1-2 feet long.

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