Every now and then, you come across something special. We recently discovered Jordan Davis' garage-built Jeep TJ. This trail rig is super clean and built to wheel. It quickly became interesting when we learned that nearly the entire vehicle is covered in STEEL-IT. After talking to Jordan, there is much more to the story and the more we hear about how this build came together, the more incredible it becomes.
STEEL-IT is excited to feature this impressive Jeep TJ and share the current results of a highly labor-intensive fun project that spiraled into something magnificent. Along the way, Jordan learned the fundamentals of building a capable crawler while teaching himself how to weld, fabricate, and craft something from nothing.
Check out the RECOIL_TJ, see the vehicle spec sheet build list, and hear how Jordan brought this thing into existence.
10 QUESTIONS FOR JORDAN ABOUT THE RECOIL TJ
STEEL-IT: What is the story behind the name Recoil?
RECOIL: Back in 2017, right after I got the Jeep, I took it straight to the first off-road event I could, Jeeptoberfest in Ocala, Florida. It was my first real-time wheeling the TJ. After having wheeled nothing but a JKU, it was drastically different. I had a worn-out 6" lift and it rode terrible, so while on some of the trails at the event, my brother and I were both laughing at how bad the ride was, how you felt every bump, and what I needed to do to fix it. One of us mentioned how it was similar to guns and what we felt was similar to a recoil while shooting. I liked how recoil sounded as a Jeep name and since I'd never seen another Jeep with the name, it stuck.
STEEL-IT: What was your inspiration?
RECOIL: I've been motivated to build this Jeep differently. I've always liked having something unique and different than most and Jeep's are no different. Everyone was wheeling JKUs 4 years ago. I sold mine, saved money in the payments and put it back into this TJ that is paid off. I've pulled many different ideas from so many builds and picked things I like the best to build towards what I had pictured in my mind. STEEL-IT was one of those unique features. I Raptor lined the Jeep a few months after I got it and it was very similar to the gray STEEL-IT, so when I discovered STEEL-IT, I was hooked on the color, finish, and all the other perks that it had. I started with axles and just piece by piece started spraying and before long just decided to do something I've never seen, a Jeep with a two-toned STEEL-IT paint job. I've pulled little details from so many Jeep's and other 4x4s and been able to build my fabrication skill set by teaching myself how to recreate that detail and work it into my build.
STEEL-IT: What was your favorite part of the build?
RECOIL: I've had a lot of favorites. Having bought and sold parts to find what works best, I've found that the dashboard and console have my #1 spot. Considering that I'm so new to metalwork and fabrication, the fact that I could make that in the garage still blows my mind. I love how it came out and is 99% of what I wanted it to be (It doesn't have a/c yet). The close second has to be my wheel/tire setup.
STEEL-IT: What is the most significant advantage of using STEEL-IT on a project like this?
RECOIL: So the fact that STEEL-IT has such a nice finish and can be touched up as easily as it can. Being in the spray cans is enormous since I plan on off-roading the Jeep and using it for what I built it for. Above that, I've found the most significant advantage for me has been that you can weld straight through it. I've worked along slowly, so when you buy one part and can paint it, prevent it from rusting, and properly protect it and weld the next bracket on when you get it without ruining the paint is just amazing! I've also redone so many things, so not having to strip off the paint before welding again is excellent.
STEEL-IT: Besides the Jeep, do you use STEEL-IT for anything else?
RECOIL: I haven't worked on any other projects but the Jeep, so I haven't had the opportunity. But, I have plans to build some bumpers and steps for my F250 and plan on using black STEEL-IT on those.
STEEL-IT: How many times did you complete something and go back and do it over to make a change?
RECOIL: Oh man, I've lost count! I started this build to do a JK to TJ axle swap and it has snowballed out of control! I've learned a lot of things the hard way and it has taught me a ton! It turns out I've put brackets on the axle three times! Let's see, three different fuel cells, two different custom dashboards, two complete sets of exterior armor and the list goes on. The big positive in this is that I have learned what works and what doesn't and the reasoning behind it, so when I build something else, I'll be that much more knowledgeable and can turn out something quicker with better results.
STEEL-IT: How long have you had the vehicle? Since you started building till now, what is your estimated man-hours poured into this project?
RECOIL: So I bought this TJ in October of 2017 and for the first year, I did a bunch of minor modifications and a lot of bolt-on parts. Once I decided that I wanted bigger tires to fill out the 5.5" lift and high-line fenders I had at the time, I started putting in some serious hours. My build started in January 2019 after I purchased the axles and since then, I've spent more time in the garage than anywhere else and I love it! I'm a full-time firefighter here in Florida, so with the 24 hours on, 48 hours off schedule, I'm lucky to have the amount of free time that I do. Most of the time, my 48 hours off between shifts, I'm out in the garage. I even spent a month or two in Alabama at my Aunts trailer/fabrication shop working on the Jeep and learning from their experience. I couldn't even begin to count up the hours day and night that I've invested. Not only in building the Jeep but also in teaching myself to weld and fabricate. I had zero fabrication knowledge before starting this Jeep. When the welder I had hired to do my axles bailed as I was pulling apart the Jeep, I was forced to learn it on my own. A lot of time was spent searching the forums, looking over other people's builds, and asking a TON of questions. Probably safe to say that my life has been consumed with the off-road industry.
STEEL-IT: You hauled this thing across the country to Moab. Were you more nervous on the trip out or wheeling it around when you got there?
RECOIL: Sure. After getting the Jeep finished enough to start wheeling it, Florida doesn't have much to offer. I did several local events with mostly man-made obstacles and underestimated how capable a machine I had built. The Jeep was point and shoot. Anything I tried, it was just easy. I knew I wanted to travel with the Jeep but had no actual plans. The first week in March, I made the very last-minute decision to try and make it to Easter Jeep Safari to put the Jeep to the test. I contacted the guys from Rockstar Garage and I got an invitation to wheel with them for the week. I started the crunch to prepare for the trip and made it my business to make sure I was ready. I was very nervous the first day in Moab, but we started the week with a more scenic trail (Top of the World), so it was a good break for me mentally and gave me a good feel for how different West Coast wheeling is. Every day we hit more and more challenging trails, but I was lucky enough to have a great group to ride with and had Nic Ashby as a spotter, which made things easier. I ended up doing Pritchett Canyon on my last day in Moab and felt very confident after seven days of wheeling and learning my "new" rig. Today I'm still blown away that the Jeep I started toying with in the garage three years ago made it to Moab. I completed seven different trails with hardly any difficulties, no damage, and only one minor repair.
STEEL-IT: It is so clean right now, but we know these projects never end. What is the next modification or upgrade?
RECOIL: Yea, Jeep's are NEVER finished. Luckily STEEL-IT makes it easy to touch up any trail damage and cleans up well, so it can stay relatively clean. I've got a few fabrication projects on my list, as well as some parts I'd like to get. I plan to experiment with aluminum a little more and make a cover for the rear of the tub with some unique features that I'm pretty excited about. I also plan on upgrading my ball joints to a ball joint delete kit by American Iron Off-Road since the 40s will probably wear on those the most.
VEHICLE SPEC SHEET BUILD LIST
- AW4 automatic transmission
- NP231 with Teraflex extreme short SYE
- JK Rubicon Dana 44 Front, Turned inner Cs, 1/4” internal and external sleeves, Artec truss and brackets, 30 spline OX air locker run on C02, 30 spline RCV axles, Alloy ball joints.
- JK Rubicon Dana 44 Rear, rock krawler truss, OX 35 spline air locker run on C02, Ten factory 35 axles.
- Adams Driveshaft Front Extreme Duty Solid 1310 CV Driveshaft
- Adams Driveshaft Rear Extreme Duty Solid 1310 CV Driveshaft
- Dodge Ram 2500 master cylinder
- Factory JKU pads,calipers, and rotors.
- Teraflex TJ 26in Rear Brake Line Kit
WHEELS & TIRES
- 17x9 Battleborn Bootlegger beadlocks
- 40x13.5x17 Mickey Thompson Baja Boss MTs
- FOX 2.0 16” front coilovers. Eibach coils
- FOX 2.0 Remote Reservoir Coilover Shock
- Rock Jock rear universal Anti-rock kit.
- Rock Krawler 3/4 link long arm kit with 5” front and rear stretch
- Max-Bilt Trailtail Led Taillights
- Rough Country 10” slim front and rear light bars.
- Xprite LED side mirrors
- Custom stubby front bumper built off of the frame
- Relocated steering box and winch between front frame rails
- Motobilt High Line Front 4in Fender Flares - Pair
- Custom front inner fenders
- Poison Spyder Hood Louver Black
- Windshield Guards For The Jeep TJ/LJ
- Motobilt Aluminum Body Tub Armor
- Motobilt Full Length Rocker Guards W/ Step - Bare Steel
- Motobilt Factory Cut Corner Guards, Bare Steel - Pair
- Motobilt Frame Back Half Kit - Bare Steel
- HighRock 4x4 Element Doors, matte finis
- Poison Spyder Trail Cage Roll Kit Bare Steel
- Poison Spyder Diy Trailgate
- Motobilt JL spare tire delete and tag bount
- Custom steel dash (final rebuilt to be done)
- Custom center console with Swag ammo can and mount
- Mob Armor iPad enclosure
- NRG steering hub and quick release steering wheel
- PRP Seats Daily Driver High Back Seat Black
- PRP 4 Point Harness
- Fusion marine head unit
- Intellitronix universal digital gauge cluster
- Glowshift gauges
- OTRATTW The Switch Guys V-series rocker switches
- Bed Tread front floor liners
- Winters Sidewinder shifter
- JB Customs transfer case shifter
- Custom Shift Handle
- Custom 20 Gallon aluminum fuel cell with Motobilt fuel ring
- Custom rear tub cut and raised for tire clearance
- Custom tailgate storage box
- Custom Tool Kit with fabricated enclosure built-in
- Rear mount 4500 winch below tub between frame rails
Stay tuned to STEEL-IT social channels for more exciting content. As things slowly conform back to normal, look for STEEL-IT at local events and trade shows. While you are here request a free 4.5 ounce sample can of STEEL-IT's innovative "anti-rust Stainless Steel In A Can®," available in original Steel Gray or Black Polyurethane Aerosol.