Rare Egyptian Military Diesel Jeep T1

May. 14, 2012 By By the ORC Staff
Kevin Dill finagled one of the few military T1 Jeeps in the U.S. He calls it a Tactical Jeep, a play on its TJ foundation and military end-use.

U.S. regulations often keep "the good stuff" off the domestic market. Always looking out for our best interests apparently, the government creates an active gray market for Cuban cigars, certain pharmaceuticals (some of which are available over the counter in adjacent countries) -- and unique vehicles.

The Jeep T1 is an example. It's basically an extended-wheelbase TJ pickup powered by the VM 2.8L common-rail diesel (CRD). The vehicle was built in Toledo for foreign military use, primarily in Egypt. So, NHTSA standards such as airbags didn't apply. Also, the T1's CRD didn't have to pass U.S. emissions. Lack of an EGR makes it more powerful than the "cleaner" 120HP/240LB-FT version found in our domestic Liberty.

The project began with a body-off teardown. The 2.8L CRD and NV3550 remained.

While the tub was at the paint shop, Dill added a GenRight fuel tank and Atlas transfer case.

Internet research reveals only a handful of T1s in the U.S. Some have ties to Mopar Underground, the concept vehicle division at Chrysler. In fact, an offshoot of this group assembled a one-off T1 for Moab in 2008. They basically swapped the overseas-spec 2.8L CRD into a U.S.-spec LJ to see if a business case could be made for a Mopar diesel crate-engine program. (Bruiser Conversion took the idea to market, although with a four-cylinder Cummins 4BT diesel instead of the VM 2.8L.)

You Can't Have One
The T1 shown here is owned by Kevin Dill. He's not the average enthusiast. Dill is the Advance Adapters' engineer responsible for the Atlas transfer case. He subsequently worked as the lead engineer at Superlift Suspension and is currently a consulting engineer for Dynatrac.

Dill designed brackets for the Dynatrac axles in SolidWorks.

A Superlift 4-inch long-arm kit was modified for the 116-inch wheelbase. Front hoops were added for the Bilstein coilovers.

Dill became aware of the T1 while doing a Hemi swap in his LJ. He noticed that this military Jeep had the same wheelbase as the 4-door JK (the military version of which is called the J8 or Storm in the Middle East). Fresh off an engine swap in his Jeep, Dill liked the idea of a factory-installed diesel. He began researching the T1. After about a year-long quest, Dill got in touch with a friend of a friend of his dad's, who worked in Saudi Arabia for one of the U.S.-based petroleum companies and had business contacts with Middle Eastern importers. Money changed hands to someone affiliated with the company that ships these military Jeeps to the Middle East. This is supposedly the last T1 of a handful that didn't make it out of the country.

Sheetmetal trimming, an AEV Highline fender/hood kit and AEV flares allow 40x15.50-17 BFG KM2s on 17x9 Hutchinson beadlocks to fit with only four inches of lift.

The interior was gutted in order to add a few creature comforts.

Shortly after acquiring the T1, Dill disassembled it. His goal: customizing the vehicle to work well off-road and play up its military bloodlines. Dill's overall concept was the Tactical Jeep (prior to the vehicle-mounted .50-caliber fad).

An Edge EZ module helps the VM 2.8L CRD achieve its potential. The aluminum radiator shroud is custom.

Dill kept the OE 2.8L CRD and NV3550 five-speed. The rest of the drivetrain was upgraded with products Dill helped create: a 4.33:1 Atlas transfer case, a Dynatrac/Mopar-spec Dana 60 rearend, and a Dynatrac/Mopar J8 Dana 44 front end with a Mopar Big Brake kit and Superior shafts. Alloy USA 5.13 gears are in the diffs, as are a JK Rubicon electronic locker in the front and a Detroit Locker in the rear.

Being an engineer, Dill was able to adapt an Edge Attitude monitor to the T1's 24-volt electrical system.

ORO LiteDOT taillights give the military Jeep a high-tech touch.

Dill also used products he designed for the suspension. He modified a Superlift TJ Long-Arm 4-inch lift kit for the T1's 22-inch-longer wheelbase. He added the Black Diamond Rear Coil Correction kit, which relocates the top mount so that the spring sits vertically instead of canted. This makes the rate more consistent as the coils compress. It also helps control weight transfer, particularly during hillclimbs.

The Hanson bumper hosts a Ramsey Patriot 9500 winch. X-Line synthetic rope and aluminum fairlead complete the winch. Delta Tech HID headlights, driving lights and bumper lights put out huge candlepower.

Bilstein Rock Crawler coilovers control the front. Remote-reservoir Bilstein 7100s damp the rear. A GenRight front swaybar kit helps control on-road cornering. Dill also used a GenRight aluminum gas tank.

To fit 40s with only four inches of lift, Dill used the AEV Highline fenders and Heat-Reduction vented hood. An AEV Brute cab retains the T1 Jeep pickup look while providing weather protection. Dill trimmed and installed a Daystar 1-inch body lift kit to give a little extra tunnel and fender clearance.

The snorkel is part of the military T1 trim.

DuPont olive drab paint was shot by Jamie Morganthal at Jamie's Body Shop (Downsville, Louisiana). Stencils for the military-inspired graphics were designed and cut out by Jason Bradley in Superlift's marketing department.

Graphics reinforce that this is a TJ platform with diesel power.

Dill finished off the Jeep with accessories that keep the Jeep clean and somewhat militaristic while improving off-road capability. See the accompanying images for more details.

Dill made a custom bed mount for the spare. An Optima yellow-top batter was mounted on each side of the bed behind the cab.

The T1 didn't come with a radio. Dill kept it that way but added a few comfort and convenience items. A GenRight Sport Cage and Mastercraft Baja RS seats are the most obvious. The steering wheel is an OE Viper model minus airbag.

The Hood is an AEV steel unit with custom military-inspired graphics, which were painted on.

Because the T1's frame dimensions are comparable to a 4-door JK, Dill swapped in a Mopar JK Dana 60 rearend, built by Dynatrac. Shocks are remote-reservoir Bilsteins.

The front axle is also a Mopar JK unit manufactured by Dynatrac.

Guardsmen guarding a rare U.S. T1.

Off-Road.com Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!