Rausch Creek Off-Road Park is one of ExtremeTerrain video host, Ryan Huck’s, favorite places to be, and his heavily modified 1998 Jeep TJ is one of his favorite vehicles to be there with. There’s also a new vehicle that was brought along to play, a stock Jeep JL.
Ryan’s TJ has been with him through the last 16-years, since he started driving, and has tried on three different iterations of lift kits. In its current form, it has Dana 35, Dana 30 chromoly driveshafts, a Detroit Truetrac differential upfront, and ARB Air Locker in the back. Rock Krawler control arms and JKS track bars take duty at the suspension, and pretty much everything from the bottom of the tub down has been replaced, frame included. It’s not flashy, or over-the-top, but this TJ has a lot of utility.
While his TJ is a great little Jeep, the real point of Ryan’s adventures on the day of filming was to find out more about his new 2018 2.0-liter, two-door JL. It’s bone stock (for now), and he wants to test it a little before that changes. Ryan does point out that this isn’t a showdown since the older Jeep is a purpose-built off-roader, but that doesn’t mean that JL isn’t capable itself.
Starting off on just an easy ride up and down a very basic unpaved road, the older Jeep could handle the uneven nature of the road with more ease, thanks to bigger tires and a more absorbent suspension. However, the new Jeep wasn’t too bad, especially considering it’s on a very narrow stock tire – it also picks up some points for having more creature comforts.
Advancing on, the trails with rocks and wash outs challenge the JL a little, and the TJ shows off. A little bit of lift and a set of proper tires will go a long way with the 2018 variant – the lack of which eventually led to the vehicle getting stuck, but it did make it a lot further than expected.
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