Mopar Debuts a Jeep Pickup Truck You Can Build Yourself

Mopar Debuts a Jeep Pickup Truck You Can Build Yourself
Photos by Jim McCraw for PickupTrucks.com

Can't wait to get your hands on a future factory-built Jeep pickup? Then Mopar has the truck for you: the Jeep Wrangler JK-8 Independence.

Chrysler's parts division is previewing the JK-8 at at the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Mopar's kit turns a current Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited into a rock crawler hauler.

The JK-8 is similar to the well-received Jeep J8 Sarge project truck and American Expedition Vehicles' Brute pickup conversion kit for the TJ Wrangler. Unlike the Brute, which has a separate box and cab, the JK-8's cargo box is integrated with the vehicle's greenhouse. The bed is 50 inches long with 44 inches wide between the wheel wells.

Mopar created body panel inserts that mask the Wrangler Unlimited's rear doors. All the interior parts behind the front seats have been removed to create a single cab with bonus space to securely store a small amount of gear. Of course, the short pickup box can also be used for outside cargo.

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The JK-8 drivetrain is fitted with a Mopar/Dynatrac ProRock 44 front axle and stock Dana 44 rear axle, both with 4.88 gears. Linking the axles to the frame is a 4.5-inch long-arm suspension kit. To maneuver off-road, the JK-8 uses 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2 tires.

The show truck sports a bright-yellow exterior with Mopar’s off-road bumpers for the front and rear, along with a new fuel door and slush mats. The JK-8 kit also includes bed floor, inner/outer body panels, half hard top (works with Freedom Top panels) and a new bulkhead, according to Mopar.

Mopar hasn't announced pricing for the Jeep JK-8 Independence conversion kit, but there will be two versions: a bolt-on kit can be installed without any welding in your driveway and a full kit that Mopar dealers will sell, like the JK-8 pictured.

Stay tuned. We'll be driving the Jeep JK-8 Independence at Easter Jeep Safari.

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Comments

This should be a popular modification.

A company back east, called A.E.V. (American Expedition Vehicles), has been doing these conversions/selling conversion kits for the past six years.

@Mike L- the AEV Brute is configured differently, in that it uses a seperate cab/bed.
@Buy American or say Bye to America!- AEV is headquartered in Montana. Hardly "back east". Since the JK has been around since '07, it would be neat to have been doing conversions on them for 6 years.

Actually AEV was originally from Missoula Montana and that is were they build the BRUTE's/J8's that you are referring too. There is a warehouse in Wixom, MI. I am willing to bet this J8 had a 5.7 or 6.4 Hemi in it?

Mrknowitall-

Sorry for the discrepancy. I live in California, so everything is east to me. I should have been more clear.

@Mrknowitall: I rewrote that section to make it clear. :-) Nice to see a Mopar conversion kit in addition to AEV's. Consumer choice = good!

By the way, here is a link to our AEV J8 test: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2009/05/road-test-review-aev-j8-milspec.html

The real question is why is so hard for Jeep to make a Wrangler pickup from the factory ? all it is a not punching out the rear door openings and making a closed cab whats so hard about that ?

This is awesome. Does anybody ever watch Extreme 4x4 on Spike TV? They show some good tips on how to convert your Jeep into a rock crawler.

Jeep's ROCK!

The Hammer-

I agree. I have owned three Jeeps (still own two); a 1993 Wrangler Base with the 4.0L High Output and 5-spd., a 1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited, and a 2003 Wrangler Rubicon 5-spd. My wife and I traded in the 1993 Wrangler for the 2003 Wrangler. True Jeeps have 4-wheel drive. True 4X4s have solid axles.

Jeep, stay true to your heritage. Do not screw up the future Wrangler; like you did with the Liberty, Grand Cherokee, and Commander, by making it an I.F.S. someday or even (oh god) four-wheel independent suspension.

those are General Grabbers not BFG's by the way... you can see the red lettering on the inside of the tire in one shot

Matt F-

Good eye and reading comprehension!

@Buy American or say Bye to America!

Hell yeah!

By definition it's a pickup but in reality, it's not.

Subaru Baja, Hummer H3 come to mind of wanna be pickups and now this...

"True 4X4s have solid axles."

Not anymore, just look at all the new military trucks that are independent suspended for speed, mobility and payload in the battlefield!

You can learn a lot from the military because they spend quite a bit of time off-road and they are choosing independent suspensions!

Heck they are spending billions replacing solid axles with independent ones on Cougar's so they are fit to handle the off-road terrain in Afghanistan! That pretty much sums it up on how useless solid axles are becoming to the U.S. military.

The U.S. Army is now joining the U.S. Marines (their fleet of MTVR's and LVSR's are all independent suspended for exreme off-road abilities) with their PLS-A1 going IFS on their 2 front axles and ofcourse the M-ATV fully independent as their main vehicle because HUMVEE's are death traps. Note those are also fully independent.

The U.S. military got rid of their solid axle Jeeps back in the early 80's with the Jeep that had independent suspended axles before the Hummer came along!

The U.S. military is moving on from solid axles, so should you!!!

So does the do-it yourself kit just come with bolt-in rear door "covers" or a whole new side body panel to "delete" the rear doors? Or is that the difference between the no-weld weekender kit and the dealer kit? Either way, a very cool package Jeep!

"Do not screw up the future Wrangler; like you did with the Liberty, Grand Cherokee, and Commander"

IMO the current GC is the best GC to date even with IFS and IRS. For what limited things that the GC can do from the factory any way the current one does it better than any of them!

"IMO the current GC is the best GC to date even with IFS and IRS. For what limited things that the GC can do from the factory any way the current one does it better than any of them!"

From a factory Jeep, off road capability, standpoint, after all Jeep stands for 4X4s, the 1999-2004 Grand Cherokee with the Quadradrive system (especially the 2002-2004 Overland with factory rock-rails) is by far the best set-up. This system uses gerotor-style front and rear lockers with solid axles.

From an enthusiasts standpoint this same range of Grand Cherokee has good aftermarket support (lifts, bumpers, & other accessories). Much better than you can find with the 2005-present Grand Cherokee. Jeep has turned the later Grand Cherokee into a Mall-Terrain vehicle versus the first two generations being All-Terrain vehicles.

I was suprised to see that this is last years model (2010) and not a current version 2011 with the redesigned dash and interior. I still love the idea of it!

The Scrambler lives!

well they finaly thought about somethign smart.. then said we will make a kit out of it. we have kits now its called a brute.. jsut make it nad sell it. they will come for it...
and put a d60 in the rear with leafs like the j8 sold over seas..
oh so I wounder who the person was that looked up the CJ8 and decided the could build one out of a unlimited? they must be smart..
oh wait maybe they are making them because someone is actualy hearing the crys from the public to build them...
Chry oh wow I wish they would sell jeep name to a real car builder so the name will live on as it should and not rust awy like all other dodge stuff....

It's pretty obvious that those tires aren't KM2s. Those are the new General Grabber MTs. I wonder how much this "conversion" would run? Hopefully under $3K, but probably more like $10K.

If I were to get a jeep it would be this. The tires they have on are what you should have off-road not those cheap BF-G ko poser tires that suck in the mud.

Yep, I have seen AEV's rides in and around Missoula quite often...I live about 45 miles south of Missoula.

I just bought a 2011 JK Unlimited couple of weeks ago, love it, love the new interior (2011+), love the simple, lethargic 3.8L motor, love the 19 mpg average/23 mpg highway (I opted for the 6-speed manual), love the risidual value it holds (unlike so many of the "cookie cutter" trucks and cars today), and most of all.......love the fact it is not a "cookie cutter" vehicle like the rest of the trucks and cars today, its not a SUV, Truck or a car, its a Jeep....classified as its own. As far as I can tell , it would be relatively simple to make a Jeep JK8 truck out of it, I can actually see the seams where they Jeep is put together whether the body was a 2/4 door configuration, simple, add in another piece. I wish Jeep would make a truck, it would be awesome and "Oxi" would have something to crow about then :)

(just kidding man)

On solid axles:

I got rid of a F150 supercrew with IFS 4x4 in the front, the solid axle in the jeep is SUPERIOR when it comes to articulation in offroading, but INFERIOR when it comes to riding like a cadillac (which seems to be most important these days to truck owners). This is the first solid axle 4x4 I have ever owned, and personally I see why all the rave about the solid axle now, my Jeep stayed well planted to the ground, all 4 wheels, no matter how steep the dunes where or which side I drove them. It is SUPERIOR to the F150 offroad, made that truck look like a poster child with the trucks bending and twisting over the smallest dunes.

In ride respect, give it to IFS,
in fast, high speed rough terrain, give it to the IFS.

But, articulation, rock climbing, brute stregnth, gotta give it to the solid axle. Simple, solid design used for a long time with great results.

BTW, my new Jeep rides just a hint better than my F150 did over bumps, guess it is heavy suspension or torsion bars on the F150....dunno.

Red_4x4-

Congratulations on your Jeep! I love my Jeeps! I would never give up my solid axles for an independent suspension. If I wanted a comfortable and smooth ride I would not be getting a 4X4. I want my truck/4X4, to ride like, and be durable like a truck.

Long live solid axles and trucks that ride like trucks!

Buy American: Thanks, and HELL YES! My old 92 F150 rides like poo poo, and the Jeep not much better :) I bet I won't be changing ball joints every 80-100K like on my F150 supercrew also, that really pissed me off. The 1992 F150's Twin I beam system has great ball joints @ higher mileage (125K) than the garbage ones that I changed on my F150 supercrew @ 110K.

Junk I tell ya! That kinda soured me on IFS systems, changing the ball joints was damn sure not an easy feat.

Buy American:

I took your advice, after driving a Nissan Titan, and an F150, I said hell no to either of them. F150 grill is hideous, and the Titan just did not fit as well as I thought, so I "Bought American" when I got my Jeep, built right from a factory in Toledo, Ohio (same place as our NA corporate headquarters for the plant I work at, go figure).

I love that little dude, it goes everywhere and is easy to park/drive and I don't feel like I am driving a school bus like my supercrew. Still getting used to the electronic throttle though and driving a manual, makes for a wierd experience....defintely something to get used to. My wife wants a new Charger or Challenger now, after she gets rid of her Sonata in a few years (I told her that was the condition, might as well wear the Sonata out since it is not worth much after 2 years). I said "hell yeah", I prefer the Charger though, but whatever she wants. Pentastar comes in both I believe.

@Taylor,

Actually Government regulations are very strict on new vehicles,safety ect...you can get away with doing a kit car but not a vehicle made on a production line for the mass population.

So,there is more than cutting offf the rear doors/adding a bed ect...Safety testing,crash tests ect.. that are up to government standards...Also,I bet they are offering this to test the waters,if it is extrememly popular,a Wrangler/Scrambler may be in the works..as it cost hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a new vehicle...

We just traded in my wifes 07 wrangler, thank god. Biggest piece of crap ever. It was an electrical nightmare, used a quart of oil every 600 miles, door and roof seals all leaked, and it was starting to rust. Also, I don't understand why jeep doesn't make the castor adjustable. Then you could adjust out some of the road wander and help with the return to center feel.

It was always broken. We would take it in for warrenty work, get it back and within a week something else would break. The most powerful wrangler ever they claim, but also the most bloated wrangler ever. A very peaky motor, no low end power.

This was my wifes third chrysler lemon. She has moved on finally.

Red_4x4-

I thank you...more importantly...the American economy thanks you, for circulating your dollars back into the American system! I love taking my Wrangler out on the trails. As a matter of fact, I am going out again this weekend to hit some trails with three other Wrangler Rubicon owners. My 2003 Rubicon, a 2006 Rubicon Unlimited, and a 2010 & 2011 Wrangler Rubicon Unlimiteds. Fun, fun, fun!

ZRPOO- Sorry you (your wife) had a bad experience with your Jeep. Not that it is acceptable but, sometimes that happens with first year new models. Heck, that is why one of our good friends here, Lou, chose to buy a 2010 F-150 instead of a 2011 F-150 (not really a new model). He was sceptical about the new motors.
I have had four Chrysler products in the last sixteen years. I still own three of them. Three Jeeps (1993 & 2003 Wranglers, a 1998 Grand Cherokee, and a 2005 Dodge Ram. I have logged, all four vehicles combined, 400,000 miles on these four Chrysler vehicles. The only major mechanical repairs, out of all of these vehicles, was a transmission and rear differential rebuild on my 1998 Grand Cherokee at 133,000 miles. Again, sorry about your experience. Since I like (see: love) Jeeps so much, It saddens me, truly, when someone has a bad Jeep experience. Good luck!

@ZRPOO- no argument about some of the quality problems on the JK, especially the 1st model year. I could swear that the caster was adjustable on an 07 that I put a lift on.
BTW the JK is assembled in about 2/3's the time it takes for the average car.

@Mrknowital-No caster adjustment on her 07. I do know most quality lift kits address this problem by making the replacement upper or lower links adjustable.

@ ZRPOO Caster is not adjustable from factory on that year but a cam adjustment kit is available from Mopar if an adjustment is needed. Sorry to hear about your bad experience with your Jeep.

This harkens back to the days of the old Jeep Pioneer pickup truck way back in the eighties. It's too bad they never caught on or sold in great numbers because they were hardy trucks. I still see several of them in use but I can't imagine where these owners would go to get replacement parts. It must be the same place where the owners of the seventies IHC pickup trucks go to get their parts, because there still are quite a few running around.

@ZRPOO,

Chrysler and Jeep have some quality reputation problems to overcome:

http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/1807/car-brands-with-the-worst-reputations-for-quality/

Toyota has a reputation problem of it's own, perceived or real, to overcome these days. Thanks to the types of drivers that own Toyotas...older and not very savvy when trying to differentiate the difference between an accelerator pedal and a brake pedal.

Toyota does not have a bad reputation, their respect in the industry is still a solid foundation!

Despite federal government assistance to GM and their efforts to degrade their reputation, Toyota still remains strong and despite the government media's slaming of Toyota and the fabrications, Toyota was still the #1 selling brand the world over!

You can say what you want about Toyota but more people still buy them around the world!

And what's their stock price at these days? Yeah, combine the big 3's and they still will not match.

Remember the DOT and NASA concluded nothing is wrong with Toyota's, so this whole charade was a charade of fabrications to help poor GM from their failures.

In fact a grand jury just threw out another case of a money hungry citizen claiming his Prius was defective and the jury ruled driver error!

Toyota cleared by U.S. jury in N.Y. unintended acceleration case

http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110401/RETAIL05/304019744/1147

More will be thrown out! Toyota has become stronger than ever, thanks GM for awakeing a sleeping giant!

Buy American - thanks.
I am skeptical about any new model.
I do not have any regrets with buying an new year end 2010 truck especially when I saved 12,000 off of MSRP.

@ZRPOO - It is very frustrating to get stuck with a lemon. I don't blame you for not trusting Chrysler/Jeep.
I do believe Chrysler will turn things around when it comes to quality and durability.

This kit seems like a waste of time and money too me. Reminds me of a Hummer SUT as far as truck practicality goes.

Red 4x4 has the right idea - Jeep for play and putting around and have an old (paid for) beast of burden lurking at the back of the driveway for the ocassional heavy lifting.

@ oxi - "thanks GM for awakeing a sleeping giant!"

Wasn't that a line in a Godzilla movie?

@ Jordan L - looks like "the hammer" has been usurped.

I should go with Lucifer's Hammer ?

I'm with oxy. I switched to foreign products in 2007 when we bought a KIA Sorento EX 4X4 for her, and a Honda Ridgeline for me, to replace her Taurus and my S-10. When a windstorm totaled her Sorento in 2009 we replaced it with a 2009 4Runner, thanks to GEICO. I sold the Ridgeline when my grandfather bought a 2009 F-350 Diesel for our business and to use as my daily driver. Since all that happened, the 4Runner has never had to go in for warranty service, the F-350 went in six times for a mulititude of ills. No joke! Given my personal experience with American cars and trucks, I won't buy them ever again. We plan to buy a Lexus LS460 in 2012 when my wife turns 55 and retires from Civil service but we're going to keep the 4Runner. It's that good of a vehicle.

Guys wonder why the "imports" sell so well.
I know a large number of people with stories like Ike G or ZRPOO.
The only free market way to get rid of the "imports" is for the USA companies to make a better product. Ford is the only one that has meet that challenge. GMC and Chrysler have a long way to go.

My wife's youngest brother is the sales manager at a dealership that used to be GM/Toyota up until 2008. When GM went belly up in 2008 and cut off their floorplan financing, the owners said sayonara to GM and went all Toyota, all Hyundai, and a couple of other foreign brands at nearby locations to the main store. The kicker here is that they are actually more profitable since the owners dumped GM in favor of the foreign brands. And that, my friends, is what makes or breaks the bottom line. Profitability. But it should also be said that Toyota has delayed indefinitely their orders for new cars and trucks to replace the ones sold, and that Hyundai continues to experience a critical nationwide shortage of Sonata and Elantra cars. So this is a knife that cuts both ways. You can't sell what you haven't got.

Nice vehicle.As I live in a country that has Right Hand Drive vehicles ,Do you think it would be easy to change over the steering from left to right.Has any one done this that you know of.
Thankyou
Adrian.T

needs a longer truck bed



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