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The Pioneering Spirit: Exploring Africa in a Cummins-Powered Jeep JK


It’s one thing to have a built JK. It’s another to have a Cummins 4BT swapped, diesel-powered JK. And it’s an entirely different thing to have a 4BT-swapped JK then ship it to Africa to explore the continent for years. That’s exactly what Jen and Jared from the blog, The Pioneering Spirit, are doing and their adventure has literally just started.

The duo left their home in Oregon in December, and shipped their WARN 9.5xp-s equipped JK, affectionately known as Snort, all the way to Africa. While Jen and Jared have already arrived, the Jeep is still on the water at of right now. But once it arrives, which will be soon, they’ll start their trek around the vast continent, starting with South Africa. So what inspires such a life-changing trip?

“We decided to break out of ‘normal’ life and see the world before we were too old,” said Jared. “I always tell people we are doing this trip while we are still young enough to dig ourselves out of the mud. We happened to be at a point in our lives where we were looking for a change of venue, and this trip is a good transitional event for us.”


Needless to say, when you’re embarking on a vehicle-based overland journey this long, the build becomes very important.

“Everything we did was to enhance its reliability and durability,” says Jared. “Some parts were definitely overbuilt since parts and mechanical support will be nonexistent [in some areas].”

Dana 60 Axles

For example, Snort rides on super-stout Dana 60 axles front and rear. Since there isn’t much (any?) Dana support in Africa, they figured rather than risk breaking a Dana 44, they’d go to 60s front and rear. Plus, due to the full-float construction, the D60 is arguably easier to service. And yes, they run WARN Premium Hubs up front.

Cummins 4bt

The Cummins 4BT was installed by Bruiser Conversions in Florida. The mill features a moderate power boost and now makes 150 hp and 400 ft/lbs of torque. That power is put to the ground via an NV4500 transmission and the D60 axles are equipped with 4.88 gears and Eaton E-Lockers. Snort also has the Rubicon’s 4:1 transfer case. The JK rides on 17-inch Hutchison Rock Monster Wheels wrapped in 35×12.50×17 BFGoodrich KO2 tires. The lift is from MetalCloak.

The Pioneering Spirit's JK

Other preparation included adding a Rock Hard roll cage, AEV Snorkel kit, ARB twin air compressor, GenRight 20 gallon dual gas tank, a Gobi roof rack, JW Speaker lighting, and a host of extra gauges. They have a build page with all of Snort’s modifications, too.

Jen and Jared of the Pioneering SpiritDespite an extensive build, the duo notes the planning and preparation isn’t as expensive as they’d imagined. Careful budgeting and research was done, and they determined they could travel internationally for between $60 and $100 a day. While this means camping and cooking their own meals most of the time, it also includes the occasional hotel stay and meals out. They have also budgeted for some fun stuff on their trip including trips to some of the continent’s world-renowned national parks, a flight over the Okavango Delta, and a trek to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda.

You can follow Jen and Jared’s journey through Africa in their Jeep via their websiteFacebook page and Instagram feed. We wish them luck in their travels!


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