Our newest Rugged Rigs inductee is Ed & Diane Balcer from DePere, WI and their 2013 Jeep Commando Green Wrangler JK. And what a beauty it has become.
When the Balcers first purchased the JK, it was with the intention for Diane to drive it to & from work. That plan was all but abandoned just a week or so later when the itch for upgrading the Jeep became impossible for Ed to ignore.
Ed didn’t stick his toes into the water to see how cold it was. No… he jumped right in to the Jeep mods pool with full abandon. He first added off-road XHD bumpers, front and rear, ACE rock sliders and bolted on a 10,000 lb. winch with synthetic line. Ed is quick to note that the winch is not a show piece either. It has pulled him from many a mudhole and has even fished out a full-size F250 diesel that had bitten off more than it could chew.
The JK was treated to a 2.5-inch Teraflex Lift with Rancho shocks on the corners making room for 37 x 13.5 x 17 Cooper STT Pro tires on black five spoke aluminum alloys. Ed also added a snorkel system complete with a prefilter for a little added insurance when the rockers get wet.
Ed chose a Gamechanger Dana 44 rear diff with stout 4.88 gears, ARB locker and TEN Factory Chromoly shafts while the JK Sports measly front Dana 30 was nixed for a vastly more robust ProRock 44 with ARB locker, RCV shafts and matching 4.88 gears to keep things kosher. It’s now that I’ll remind you that this Jeep JK is to get Diane to work…yeah. Where exactly does she work??
Ed doesn’t mind admitting that even though he’s thousands of dollars in to this build, he’s not done. Ed has spent the last 33 years as a real American hero, serving as a Fire Captain and Paramedic, and he hopes to be retiring soon. When he does, Ed & Diane have a acquired a GMC truck that can pull a trailer that can haul whatever the JK has evolved into at that point. They want to be able to travel the country seeing the sights and slaying the trails as they go. Now that sounds like a superior retirement plan to me!
It’s great to know that, just because the JK graduated from daily-driver duty, doesn’t mean that Diane doesn’t still have a bit of the Jeep bug herself. So this past winter, they located a pristine ’05 Wrangler TJ that looked factory fresh and had extremely low mileage. So now the massive JK has a little brother to look out for and Diane doesn’t have to walk to work any longer. We couldn’t be happier for her!
Hey…It’s about time to start some mods on that TJ, Ed? OlllllllO