TJ BRUTE Buildout

My original plan was to purchase the AEV Brute conversion "kit" from AEV. However I was to late as they had discontinued production, So after encouragement from my wife I started searching for a completed conversion. The challenge being it is believe that about 300 conversions might exist, AEV produced 147 and balance was in Kit form, no one knows for sure how many kits were completed as there is no registry. I seemed that the available Brute for sale were extensively built and thus priced accordingly. Also all of those units typically had the hemi V8 conversions as well. So after watching and inquiring I found two that would fit the initial budget and late last spring I purchased an AEV TJ brute, the conversion was completed by Cross Jeep in Louisville KY in 2015. The base jeep started as a 2005 Rubicon 6 spd manual. that had gone for a swim. The initial conversion also included rare leather Recarro AEV seats, Hutchinson wheels, RE super flex suspension 3.5" lift, Bilstein 5100 shocks, 4 wheel disc, currie steering, ARB twin air pump, nth tummy tuck skid plates.
I knew that both the suspension and engine were on the to be replaced list well at least that's what I thought
As a side note about this time the Cummins repower program was gaining momentum as well

My plan was to break this into build phases to take about 18 months as follows
Phase 1
Reupholster the seat bottoms as they had a wear hole in one bolster
Add front bumper
Add winches front and rear
Add decent driving lights
Add integrated switch panel
Install a real roll cage
Replace the 37" BFG MT's with a more suitable tire tread, maybe go back down to 35" tires

Phase 2
Upgrade to long arm suspension

Phase 3
Replace the 4.0 gas engine with a new R2.8 Cummins diesel

Phase 4
Outfit truck for endurance / expedition travel

Well Phase 1 took longer and cost were more then planned, I had the truck back on the road sept 1st
the old adage " nothing is as it appears" became apparent quickly, Also intended use was further defined as I will explain later
Since then my plan was thrown out as the engine conversion accelerated when I was able to pre purchase the engine from cummins before the release.
details and pictures to follow but here is what I started with:
Brute 75.jpg IMG_1257.jpg
A Brute on Rock Monsters, such a phenomenal look.
Look forward to seeing your progress!
Unfortunately I can't use them on the new axles I am building they will be 6 X 5.5 bolt pattern. these are 5 X 4.5, Hutchinson does not make the same style wheel in the new bolt pattern
I will probably go with Walker Evans Beadlocks
RTT, I have designed an elevated bed rack, it will sit about 16" above the frame rails. this way I can have more usable storage space under the rack.
the RTT i have in mind is the BunduFlip
Last edited:


Struck with Wanderlust
Good luck with the build! Can't wait to see the the results. I've always wanted to turn my TJ into a Brute, I always regret not buying a kit when I had the chance. Probably will go the custom route in the future, but more along the lines of a stretched LJ to retain passenger seating (as an option).
QvgzT+OORaOJqySElatoiQ.jpg GXHbbK2lS7qmxonMMNmWvA.jpg XIbKhuERR2ui+VtAa691nQ.jpg Update: I started some of the work last august, then drove if for a couple months while we accumulated parts, lots of parts!! I am working with AXIS Industries USA on the R2.8 engine & suspension changes. This may look like an extreme build but the truck is for expedition endurance travel in rough terrain and heavy duty. Attached are a couple pictures from December and early January.
High level Build info
R2.8 Cummins
New 6 spd macula box
Gen 24 gal fuel tank
Winches front and rear
Roll cage
Fab 9 differentials with 1 tone outers & full floating rear
3 link front, 4 link rear
Coil over suspension
Howe hydro assist steering
Dual battery system
Rear rack with extra storage
More stuff as usual
Should start ringing the truck out in late march
The truck is entered in the 10 day ROAM 2018 west canadian rockies, Couldn't find a codriver for the 2019 Baja 4000
Last edited:
This will be a great build. What kind of fuel economy can you expect with the Cummins after final build configuration? Did you consider portals?

A recent JK completed by AXIS Industries did a maiden 800 mile trip and got in the mid 20's with an automatic
Since I went with a true coilover suspension I didn't consider it, also portal cost would have increased the suspension cost about 50%

This will be a great build. What kind of fuel economy can you expect with the Cummins after final build configuration? Did you consider portals?

fullsizeoutput_1d6.jpeg fullsizeoutput_1da.jpeg Brute CAD models built by Axis Industries USA. One requirement I had was to minimize width and height they nailed it...axle width increased only about an 1 1/2' very tight packaging