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Written by Kristie Bertucci | Photos: Brian Edstrom

Trail Reaper - 2014 Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon

Doetsch Off-Road is one of the country’s most reputable Jeep builders, having customized them since 2001. With his motto “Saving Moms From Minivans,” owner Dave Doetsch and his crew always go all out with every single one of their Jeep projects. “That motto is meant to imply that rather than a family going out and purchasing a boring minivan, they can instead build a highly capable Jeep Wrangler that can take them to the mall on weekdays and the mountains on weekends,” Doetsch explains. “We build custom Jeeps based on any budget.”

Their builds are no stranger to our magazine’s pages and they always bring out new rides for the various shows, with Trail Reaper one of their main Jeep builds for the 2014 SEMA Show. “We name all of our builds in order to give them a personality, and this particular build invokes a persona to get out on the trail and absolutely tear it up,” he says. “It was designed and intended to be the best mix of show and go.”

A top-of-the-line Rubicon was chosen as the base for the build as it included heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles, as well as electronic locking differentials. On top of that, they added a TeraFlex long-arm suspension system and a slew of other quality parts in order to show that a Jeep can still look “pretty while being functional.” And to add a bit more excitement for this particular project, Doetsch Off-Road created a national online contest that allowed the public to vote on nearly every aftermarket product used on the Jeep. A special website was created and featured three choices for each major component, including tires, wheels, bumpers, interior and even the overall theme (rock crawler, street Jeep or trail Jeep).

“The contest was called ‘Run My Build’ and had a goal to debut the finished Jeep at the 2014 SEMA Show in the Rhino Linings booth. In the end, there were more than 70,000 votes and the end result features all the products with the most votes.”

Since the contest dictated how the Jeep was going to turn out, the shop’s crew never knew what was going to be the most popular product or what they would be installing next. “The design was constantly changing and it kept us on our toes the entire time.”

Some of the products with the most votes included Bushwacker Flat Style fenders flares, Rockford Fosgate audio components; Rigid Industries lighting; Rugged Ridge exterior and interior accessories; and TeraFlex suspension, tire carrier and front and rear HD differential covers. A year later, Doetsch is still getting requests to replicate the Jeep by their customers.

And because Doetsch Jeeps are anything but just for show, all of the builds from the shop goes through real-world testing in the Arizona desert. “With a landscape made up of rocks, cacti, river crossings and miles of dirt, we have the best proving grounds for ensuring our Jeeps, including Trail Reaper, will live up to expectations.”

Currently, Trail Reaper is on tour and being featured at major shows and off-road events throughout the West Coast. Doetsch mentions that he was able to use new products that hadn’t been released to the public, which is what gave the Trail Reaper a (then) edge over the competition of other Jeep builds. But in the end, Doetsch aims to create custom Jeeps that will fit everyone’s budget, dialing the personalized build up or down so that the customer is happy with their finished product (which aligns with their pockets).

GEAR: 2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon “Trail Reaper”

  • TeraFlex 6" LCG long arm suspension system, HD differential covers front and rear
  • Doetsch Tech brushed aluminum 2.0 Monotube shocks with remote reservoirs
  • Factor 55 winch line loaded ProLink and Hawse fairleads
  • PowerTank 10lb. on-board CO2 air system
Wheels & Tires
  • 20x12 TIS 535 wheels in satin black
  • 40x14.50R20LT Interco SS-M16 tires
  • Active Grafix Trail Reaper Woodlands-Style Camouflage half wrap with custom hood decal
  • Bushwacker Flat Style Fender Flares
  • Crap Industries Stonehenge Series rock rails
  • GearShade custom mesh bikini top painted with camouflage and Rhino Linings logo
  • JCR Offroad front winch bumper and rear bumper
  • Rhino Linings custom spray-in bedliner
  • Rugged Ridge mesh grill insert, hood lift kit, cowl hood scoop, hood catches, half front and rear doors, hitch, cowl armor, upper front and rear soft door, performance vented hood
  • TeraFlex 7'' Round LED Headlamp, Complex Reflector Optics Design
  • Warn ZEON 10-S Winch with Synthetic line
  • Grizzly Coolers custom 40-quart Grizzler cooler
  • Katzkin custom two-tone leather interior
  • Rugged Ridge floor mats
  • sPOD 6 Switch System with double LED light Contura rocker switches & Source System
  • Surprise Straps complete 6-Piece custom paracord grab handle set
Underhood Accessories
  • Drake Off-Road door and tailgate handle inserts, billet aluminum locking fuel cap, billet aluminum pedal pad covers, E-brake handle cover, billet 4WD knob Shifter plate, pistol grip shift handle, power steering cap, brake master cylinder cap, radiator cap cover, coolant reservoir cap, twist on oil cap, and oil dipstick cover
  • Rigid Industries 50” light bar, D2 Hyperspot rear bumper lights, 50” JK windshield mounting brackets, 50” E2-Series LED light bar, Q-Series Q2 Hyperspot lower windshield A-pillar, E2-Series 20” Driving/Hyperspot combo LED light bar
  • Adams Driveshafts custom JK front and rear 1350 driveshafts
  • Airaid cold air dam intake with Synthamax filter
  • Gibson exhaust
  • Rugged Ridge exhaust spacer kit
  • Alloy USA front and rear gear set Dana 44 JK
  • Bully Dog GT Tuner and desert camo armor
  • Clarion 2-DIN DVD Multimedia station with built-in navigation and 6.2” touch panel control
  • iDatalink Maestro ADS-MRR factory integration adapter and interface harness
  • Metra antenna to radio adapter cable, 18” antenna extension cable and dash kit
  • Rockford Fosgate 300W BRT mono amp for 8” sub, 300W BRT full-range 4-Channel amp, 8” PUnch P1 4-Ohm SVC sub, M2 Wakeboard 8” tower speaker and 6.5" 2-Way Euro Fit Compatible System Internal Xover
  • Scosche 6.5” Jeep speaker adapter

Doetsch Off-Road -

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