Modified Jeep Rock Climbing - Silsbee Motor Company

Refurbishing a used vehicle can be a long process, but if done correctly and with a little patience, it can be a rewarding experience. This is true of converting a Jeep into a rock climber as well. The process is a bit different than your traditional fix-er-up job, so it’s not quite as easy to step right into, but with some guidance you can get to work building your own rock climber and begin enjoying the thrilling hobby of rock climbing.

What is a Rock Climber?

Sometimes called a rock crawler, a rock climber is a vehicle that’s been modified to perform in extreme off-road conditions. Rock climbers are designed to traverse large rock piles, boulders and rough mountain sides, often at odd or even difficult angles while driving very slowly and precisely.

What Kind of Vehicle Do I Need?

You don’t necessarily need a Jeep to make a rock climber, but experts agree Jeep Cherokees, Wranglers, Rubicons and other similar models fare well due to their basic design. Plus, many Jeeps are already made for off-roading and can be easily modified to better suit extremely rough terrain.

It’s important to remember your rock climber will be performing in high-risk terrain, so a few dings, scratches and even dents should be expected. Plus, the modifications necessary for a rock climber can make an everyday commute less comfortable. You may want to avoid using a vehicle you plan on driving on the road often or one you wish to keep in pristine condition.

Here’s What You’ll Need

Locking Differentials – In simple terms, locking differentials help keep all your wheels turning. When one wheel lifts off the ground, the locker sends power to your wheels on the ground so you can maintain traction and keep moving forward. You can use either an automatic or selectable locker.

Upgraded Suspension – Leaf springs, air bags and coil spring suspension systems all are common in the rock climbing world. In general, you’re looking to keep all your tires on the ground while maintaining a high clearance, so it’s recommended you have your suspension installed above your axle.

Roll Cage – The roll cage keeps you and your vehicle safe if you make a mistake while conquering a treacherous trail. Many Jeep models come standard with roll cages, but they’re often not as effective as custom roll cages built for off-roading. In general, the bigger the vehicle, the thicker and heavier you’ll want your roll cage.

Recovery Gear – Traversing uneven and exotic terrain can sometimes leave your rock climber stuck or inoperable. This is where recovery gear comes into play. In the rock climbing world, a winch on the front of the Jeep is common. You can opt for a steel winch or winch rope, which is lighter.

Skid Plates – Attaching skid plates to the bottom of your Jeep will protect your crucial drivetrain components from jagged rocks. Simple skid plates cover only what you need, whereas something more high-tech, such as Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, is lighter and covers the entire underside.

Off-Road Tires – You’ll probably want to upgrade your tires to something much larger. In general, the larger the tire and lift package, the more clearance you get. Just remember, larger tires may be more expensive due to poorer gas mileage and additional wear and tear, and may keep your Jeep from being suitable for everyday driving.

Things to Remember

There are a few other things you should keep in mind as you plan your rock climber conversion. For instance, torque is more impactful than engine power. Since you’ll be driving in lower gears, you may not need a V8 engine as much as you need a reliable engine with powerful torque, or acceleration.

Also, when it comes to the transmission, whether you prefer manual or automatic is up to you. Both work well, but some may prefer the control that a manual transmission provides while others choose automatic so they can concentrate on the road ahead.

Finally, as much as converting a Jeep to a rock climber is about adding things on, it can be just as much about removing things as well. Doors, stock bumpers and rear-quarter panels can all be removed to improve weight, visibility and minimize your chance of getting caught on something.

Rock Climbing - Silsbee Motor Company

Choosing the Right Jeep

If you’re looking to convert a Jeep into a rock climber, you likely have a long, but exciting journey ahead. You can begin your journey by finding a quality used Jeep or SUV for a good price. Silsbee Motor Company has a large selection of used four-wheel drive vehicles available now. Contact us for more information about your new rock climber by calling 409-385-0409 today!