The TJ has been with us since 1997. In that time, this latest generation of the Wrangler has proven itself a worthy keeper of the Jeep flame. Certainly one of the most important changes made to the Wrangler during its YJ-to-TJ transmutation was the change from a leaf-sprung to a coil-sprung suspension.
This was a good move, one that offered Jeepers improved on-highway ride and greater four-wheeling capabilities. Early on, this posed a challenge for aftermarket suspension manufacturers accustomed to easy-to-play-with leaf springs. Now, with coils to cope with, brackets and mounts had to be fabbed and welded on. It didn't take them long to figure it all out, and a number of manufacturers offer bolt-on suspension kits.
Stylistically, TJ designers brought the Wrangler into the new millennium, in part by going retro. For one thing, the brand's iconic round headlights made their triumphant return to the vehicle's front grille, and the people said, "Amen!" Meanwhile, designers also reworked the YJ's dated dash with something immeasurably more appealing.
Today there's a TJ seemingly around every corner. Indeed, it's become the ultimate Jeep, perfect for the street and the trail. Here, then, are some of the ultimate parts for the ultimate Jeep. In an effort to offer as much information about these products as possible, we have included the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Please note that these prices probably are somewhat higher than real-world street pricing.
What: Deflect mud and debris, and look good while doing it, with Bushwacker's new line of drill-free, easy-to-install fender flares for the TJ. If you're running wide tires, these wide fenders will help to keep you street-legal. In addition, Bushwacker says these fender flares will add several inches of clearance to your TJ, in case you're running larger tires.
How much: $482
Where: Bushwacker, Dept. FW, 6710 N. Catlin Ave., Portland, OR 97203, 503/283-4335, www.bushwacker.com.
Air Up, Air Down
Who: Off Road Only
What: Available in 4- and 6-inch versions, AiRock suspensions are unique kits for TJs, offering users one-button "rock-left" or "rock-right," "pitch-up" or "pitch-down," manual up or down, manual rock function, and ride-height return settings. The system also features two user-defined ride heights. For this next-generation kit, Off Road Only added four corner-height sensors that mount between the frame and control arms to provide feedback to the AiROCK Control Unit, or ACU, which controls the suspension of the Jeep. ORO uses custom-designed Firestone industrial airsprings and custom-valved Bilstein shocks.
How much: $2,495
Where: Off Road Only, Dept. FW, 21056 Flag Trail, Prior Lake, MN 55372, 952/226-4317, www.offroadonly.com.