Mopar Builds Jeep JK-8 Independence Package at Easter Jeep Safari

Apr. 21, 2011 By Josh Burns
A toolbox, JK-8 Kit and a JK Wrangler was the starting point for this Mopar build.

The Wrangler JK-8 Independence Kit has only been released in the public eye for a few days, and already it’s created quite a buzz. Jeep and Mopar (and even the Dodge Ram team) send marketing and engineer employees to Easter Jeep Safari every year specifically to interact with fans and get feedback on the product. So with that said, Mopar certainly has caught wind of the buzz in recent years about a truck-style Jeep.

So the Mopar engineering team went out and built a kit allowing Wrangler owners the ability to modify their four-door JK into a truck. With its recent introduction at EJS this year, many are just curious about the kit, and Mopar put together an event where its engineer team actually installed the kit in about an hour today.

The Mopar team worked to remove the backseats on the four-door JK.

The JK-8 Independence Kit, which will be available on July 4th to coincide with Independence Day, does not yet have a price, though the Mopar team is well aware of what options exist for such a vehicle and assure us it will be affordable. It also clarified that there will be two kits available – a bolt-on version like the one engineers installed today in Moab, and a more intricate weld-on kit that would be installed by a shop or a more experienced welder.

“There’s a myth of a misconception about working on the sheet-metal side of these Jeeps,” said P.T. Muldoon, Senior Manager of Product Development Engineering for Mopar. “What we really wanted to come out here and show was the ease with which somebody could install this kit if they really wanted to do it themselves. The fact that it doesn’t tear up the structure of their existing JK and everything that they like about their JK will still be there just in a different form if they want a pickup truck.”

Next, the roll cage was removed. Although the installed took only about an hour, Mopar did explain that they did some prep work ahead of time to speed up the install.

The two different kits will cater to owners of different skill sets. Each kit will come without paint as well, so owners can have the paint done after the kit is installed.

“We did realize the fact that some consumers are going to want to do this themselves, and so you can bolt that version together and you don’t have to be terribly talented in terms of welding, especially welding on sheet metal. The other version, which is the yellow one we brought out and showed to the press all week, was welded and it was done in a body shop setting. We think that there’s going to be dealers that are going to embrace this and will want to put them out on their lots and possibly even small specialty shops that want to take this and show what they can do.”

Although everyone is curious about pricing, Mopar does not have it set just yet. But Muldoon did assure us that the goal of the kit it to be at a price point that is not excessive.

The kit uses the door mount bolts for both convenience and strength.

“We understand what else has been out in the marketplace, and our goal is to make this reasonably priced for the consumer.”

Check out the photo breakdown of the install of the JK-8 Independence Kit. Keep in mind this is an overview of the install, but it provides a basic breakdown of how the kit is installed on a four-door JK.

The truck bed was then installed and bolted into place.

The bulkhead to separate the bed from the cab was then installed.

After the bed rails and the inner side panels were installed, the exterior side panels were then bolted into place.

The hard top was bolted into place along with top panels to enclose the new cabin on the JK-8 Independence Kit.

With the hard top and top panels installed, the JK-8 Independence conversion is now complete.

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