Our first off road venture with a local club (New England Jeepz) was a great experience and opportunity to test the new rig. I think there may have been some minor hazing involved when the young bucks saw the old farts and the shiny new JK with stock tires. I’m happy to say we did pretty well keeping up (about half the club are beaters and buggies) and only had to self-recover a couple of times.
The first off road trip did however result in minor carnage. We bent the steering stabilizer so that steering became impossible. This prompted a minor field expedient repair to remove it so we could complete the trail ride. From reading the posts on the forum, I assume this is very common and almost considered a rite of passage with the JK.
We looked for a replacement steering stabilizer that was mounted higher to avoid a repeat of the damage and ended up with the Rough Country Dual Steering Stabilizer ordered from Truck Pro USA. It was affordable, a simple install, and is now tucked up out of the way.
For the mod listing on the JKOTM contest in Feb. 2012, this replacement part cost me votes and prompted some criticism.
Not sure why it is viewed negatively, but it sits higher than the OEM and has worked fine. We’ve had a wheel out of balance and the front end out of alignment at different times and felt it with no problem, the dual steering stabilizer didn’t mask it adversely … no regrets!
We decided on and ordered our exhaust: MBRP Off Road Stainless Cat Back Exhaust, Flow Master Hush Power Resonator, and RIPP SS Long Tube Headers w/ Cats.
We actually looked at a Rock Krawler demo rig with this set up and liked it alot. What we failed to take note of was that it was a JKU. For the two door it was a little crowded under there to fit in the resonator. Minor cutting and rewelding is all that was needed to fit properly.
The MBRP Off Road Exhaust relocates the exhaust and tucks it up above the frame rails. It also provides more clearance by using a smaller muffler that relocates in front of the rear axle.
It certainly doesn't sound like a V8 but it does have a little more growl and appeals to my inner redneck!
I wanted soft doors and TOGM wanted something more versatile. He showed me the Bestop Element doors with the enclosures.
I hated them online, hated them in the catalog, and hated them when the brown truck delivered them in person. TOGM agreed that they weren’t what we were looking for and promptly returned them. A set of Bestop 2 piece soft doors that I originally wanted were ordered. These are great and we leave them on year round even in Boston! I can take the tops off or the remove the whole doors by myself in about 30 seconds.
The wheels and tires were one of the more hotly debated topics so we stayed stock for awhile. I wanted 35” and old school steelie wagon wheels. TOGM wanted 37” and an alloy rim. After many weeks of research, looking for just the right combo for us we ended up with the very popular combo of 35x12.50R17/6 Wrangler MTR w / Kevlar and Pro Comp Flat Black Alloy Wheels. Looking at the requirements for min/max tire size on several local clubs and national four wheeling events helped me lobby for the 35”.
For my birthday, we signed up for a Jeep Jamboree 2 day ride in the Pine Barrens, NJ. The trails were very wet and sandy but we had a great time and met some very nice wheelers of varying experience levels. It was a well run event.
In the first picture we are sneaking a peek at another COD model lined up in a different group.
While we love the tube doors, they look a little naked with the full cargo netting on and we wanted net on the doors to match. Safari Straps did not have anything we could use on the Rugged Ridge doors so we designed our own (TOGM did the sketches and mock ups in pix below) and contacted Safari Straps for some custom work as a Proof of Concept deal. They were super nice, cooperative and easy to work with. We had to ship the tube doors to them to ensure the proper design and fit. They did a fantastic job!
I’m a very timid poster on the forum, have not contributed much more than pictures but I got up the nerve to enter the JK of the Month contest in February of 2012 and was very humbled and appreciative of the response. http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f96/b...ntest-1334887/
We had used the winch a few times on the trail and it worked perfectly. We used it at home to moose around one of TOGMs project trucks and when we were spooling in the cable it just stopped working.
We did all the requisite trouble shooting, called Warn for advanced troubleshooting, and they recommended it be sent in for repair. Hoak’s 4WD in Wrightsville, PA did the repair with a very fast turn around time. We still do not know what the root cause of the failure is but it came back fixed and we haven’t had a problem with it since.