4Wheel Drive Hardware has been speaking Jeep for more than 30 years. From simple interior piece parts to full-blown axle assemblies, these guys know what you need and how to get it to you. As of this November, they'll have one more item of value to their already full roster-the 2007 Ultimate Adventure DVD. Yes, folks, our most recent journey has been captured in all its glory for you to enjoy from the safety of your favorite armchair or couch and is available exclusively from 4WD.
The Rubi Wagon wowed bystanders with its amazing capability and stunning good looks. However, while our Wrangler basked like a celebrity in the spotlight, two Jeep Commanders served brutal duty as support rigs before, during, and after the week-long trip. Both Commanders received suspension mods, tire changes, communication gear, and cargo racks. Except for a Warn winch and stylin' olive-drab paint job on Biggie, both Commanders were abusively overloaded with gear and then driven straight from California to Texas through the 120+ degree heat. Once there, Biggie followed along and put the Quadra Drive II system to the ultimate test. Loaded with 800 pounds of supplies, its prowess on trails was impressive to the fickle crowd of hard-core wheelers. Both Commanders will remain on staff for years of on- and off-road use.
The Texas terrain produced enough damage that cutting and welding at campsites and motel parking lots continued late into the nights. The welding was tackled by the Handler 187 and Handler 210 model welders, while cutting duties fell to Hobart's Airforce 250ci and Airforce 400 plasma cutters. However, the star of the trip was the portable "black box" welder. This soon-to-be-released battery-powered, self-contained little gem provides more than 3 feet of welding bead where you need it most. The crew was pensive about any further details since the product is not ready for release yet.
Once again the folks at BFGoodrich Tires rolled up their sleeves and brought their products and expertise out into the dirt, rocks, and mud. This year BFG introduced the much anticipated Mud-Terrain T/A KM2. The KM2s on the UAJK Rubi Wagon victoriously slugged it out with every obstacle that our Texas trip could offer. Their performance in the deep mud of Huntsville and the sharp granite of Katemcy was better than expected for a tire that also retained proper road manners. The KM2s on our Commander performed great in the dirt and rock of western Texas and are riding well 4,000 miles later.
Typically the reasons for running these hardy little boxes are sound, performance, and strength. The new Hushpower model provides performance and that great Flowmaster sound but with more slender dimensions. As a side benefit, the internal insulation provides dramatic heat reduction so that they can be mounted close to or near body panels and seating compartments. Also making an appearance was the new Super 44 Off-Road version, featuring diamond-plate external walls for even greater crush strength.
With Warn as the Official Winch, Warn rep Steve Schoenfelder frequently jumped to the task of pulling cable which allowed us continued enjoyment of the 100 percent humidity from the driver seat. As in prior years, Warn models ranged from classic to modern with the newest jewel being the Powerplant combination winch and air compressor.
Superlift products could be found on numerous rigs and ranged from simple accessories such as their patented eXtreme Ring differential protectors to their Superride Select remote-reservoir shocks. Most importantly, Superlift products replaced factory suspension pieces during the UAJK Rubi Wagon buildup which summarily received a beating in the off-road parks of Texas. They provided the complex but functional 4-inch lift used on our Jeep Commander No. 1.
The bumper found on the front of our monster Wrangler is nearly identical to one you can order from Fab Fours. It is one of the few bumpers, if not the only JK bumper, designed specifically for the Warn model 8274. The rear bumper and tire carrier is a production unit and is available now as well. Both units on the UAJK Rubi Wagon survived the week of wheeling with flair. Fab Fours also manufactures a variety of high-quality bumpers for Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Toyota, and Nissan trucks.
In most cases, the demands of a moderately sized winch exceed the output of even an upgraded alternator-easily draining standard battery resources and slowing winch performance. To further extol the virtues of deep-reserve batteries, Optima came on board as Official Battery for its first UA. With the frequency of rollovers and ever-present vibration, their heavy-duty construction and sealed cases were welcomed benefits.
The Ultimate Adventure JK Rubi Wagon would not be the killer rig it is today without the products from our other UA sponsors. Thanks go out to PSC Motorsports for power-steering components that survived a week of severe battering with nary a complaint. Poison Spyder Customs provided its bulletproof new Spyderlock wheels for many UA rigs but also played a crucial role in finishing our monster Jeep. Their gorgeous craftsmanship is present in all the Rubi Wagon's fenders. Slee Off Road whipped up a set of its high-quality custom storage containers which survived the week of abuse. Off Road Design did not supply the transfer-case combo for this year's rig, but they were valuable technical partners on the trip. Finally, a very special thanks to American Expedition Vehicles who mastered the overall construction of the first Cummins-powered JK in the world. It is not only impressive that AEV did so under pressing deadlines, but that the rig's mechanical performance was nearly flawless during its maiden voyage.