Moses Ludel’s 4WD Mechanix Magazine – Hand-Built Midwest Rock Crawling Jeep

Ben Shelswell’s Midwest Jeep TJ Wrangler Rock Crawler!

Ben Shelswell's rock crawling Wrangler TJ! Photo courtesy of Ben Shelswell.

Avid ‘wheeler Ben Shelswell has a penchant for rock crawling. Ben’s radically built Jeep TJ recently plied the rocks (above)at “The Mounds”, Mount Morris, Michigan. Midwest based, Ben travels the challenging Kentucky, Indiana and Upper Peninsula four-wheel drive trails.

Hand-built by Ben, the Jeep underwent two full years of modification work and set-up. Powertrain features include a 5.3L G.M. V-8 truck engine with a cam, a G.M. truck automatic transmission and an Advance Adapters Atlas Transfer case.

For axle stamina, the front end is one-ton Ford, the rear a G.M. 14-bolt. Ben stretched the Jeep’s wheelbase, installing a long-arm, four link front and rear suspension system. He added full hydraulic steering to handle the oversized tires on bead-lock rims.

Clearly at home in the Midwest, this rock crawler would also work nicely at Moab, Utah, or along the Rubicon Trail. We’ll get Ben on a “W” compass orientation soon!