You can tell a lot about your magazines by what kind of events they look forward to. Some magazines look forward to the SEMA show in Las Vegas for all the trick new products, gee-gaws, chrome, and half-naked women. Now don’t get us wrong—we like chrome half-naked women as much as the next bunch of mouth-breathers, but we also like to do it in the dirt. So, our most anticipated show of the year is the Red Rock 4-Wheelers Easter Jeep Safari (EJS) in Moab, Utah. It is a weeklong wheeling-fest capped off by a vendor show where companies that really get it show up and bring new products for us to drool over. The SEMA show might attract more attendees, and many companies bring their best new stuff out for that show, but every once in a while we go to EJS and find a bunch of cool new products making their debut in the dirt.
We walk the show every year with the goal of putting together a story like this, but it is only every few years where there are enough genuinely new, unique, and cool things for us to write about. So, without further ado, here are our 10 favorite new products from Easter Jeep Safari.
Whether from rust, abuse, or a combination of the two, when the factory fenders just aren’t cutting it anymore, there are a lot of replacement options. But if you don’t like tube and don’t want plastic, the options are quickly and greatly reduced. We found this fender hiding in the M.O.R.E. booth on a YJ, and it is also available for TJs. It is made from 1⁄8-thick steel that is precision cut, formed, and welded to make a slick-looking flat fender. The fenders also include a composite inner fender and the turn signal/side marker light can be relocated to the inner fender for legality while keeping the clean look. The fenders ship bare so that you can paint it to match your Jeep.
Information: Mountain Off Road Enterprises
Hemi conversions in JKs are fairly commonplace today, but if you have a TJ and want a smog-legal repower, the only option has been GM-power. Well, Screamin Lizard Customs has worked out all the bugs to swap a Hemi into your ’97-’06 TJ or LJ. Not only has Screamin Lizard worked out all the brackets, but they’ve worked out all the electronic bugs too. So, if your chosen engine originally had MDS (Multiple Displacement System (cylinder-deactivation)) or VVT (Variable Valve Timing), both systems can be made to work just like they did in the donor vehicle for better mileage and power.
Information: Screamin Lizard Customs
Tub Rub Proof
If you wheel your Jeep hard and you’ve gotten into the cowl, you know that damage isn’t easy to fix. It can also impact items inside on the other side of the tub, depending on how hard you whack it. This new Guardian side protection from T&T Customs protects the entire side of the Jeep from the fender flare to the front door opening with precision CNC-cut 3⁄16-inch-thick 5052 aluminum. The aluminum is thick enough to take a beating and being aluminum light enough to not adversely affect your center of gravity. The panels are attached with 5⁄16-inch-diameter stainless steel button-head bolts and are available in textured black powdercoat or bare aluminum.
Information: T&T Customs
The OX Locker is a bulletproof chunk of steel that comes with a stout differential cover and is just a tank of a locker. Many detractors of the OX Locker cite trouble with the fact that it is cable-actuated. We know that the cable can be difficult to get adjusted correctly and can take time to get fully dialed in, but there are simply people out there who don’t have the time or patience to get it done. With those people in mind, we spied this air-actuated OX locker. It was run off this tiny air tank throughout the show with who knows how many people locking and unlocking the display but we are sure you could run it off your existing on board air system too.
Information: OX Off Road Products
We saw this neat trailer at the show, and while it looks too big to drag behind a Jeep in its fully deployed state, when it packs down it is small and light enough to follow most 4x4s. The trailer features full cooking facilities, including an on-board water supply, riding on a U.S.-built chassis. The suspension consists of control arms and Firestone Ride-Tire airbags and (as-shown) sits on 235/75R16 tires. But by putting more air in the bags, larger tires can be fitted. After taking literally a minute to set it up, you’ll find a full queen-sized bed inside and enough room to actually have some floor space, too. Both interior and exterior lighting are LED-based and run off of two dry-cell batteries in the nose of the trailer.
Information: Adrenalin Campers
We aren’t big fans of buying a $40,000 Jeep and then hacking it up. We also think that you just don’t need a long-arm kit on a JK unless you are going to a tall lift. There are a lot of good lift kits out there that use factory-length arms, but this bolt-on coilover kit from Evo Manufacturing might be our new favorite. The kit can be purchased whole or in parts as money allows and because it is a true bolt-on, you can always go back to stock with no problems. The heart of the kit is a new King shock that features 12 inches of travel in the shortest body ever. The shock was designed exclusively for Evo makes a 2-inch lift height possible. That is the shortest lift height for any coilover kit on the market. That means with just 2-inches of lift, you can have a full 12 inches of shock travel which translates into almost 4 feet of travel out at the wheel all while being very stable and controlled on- and off-road.
Information: Evo Manufacturing
If you have a manual-transmission Jeep and that growth hormone isn’t resulting in that third leg as promised, the Grip-N-Go from Off Road Only might be a better solution. The shift knob fits most manual transmission vehicles and has an integrated throttle lever which not only results in a clean look, but leaves your other two feet to control the brake and clutch. It features a unique multi-step lever staging that results in very fine control for the first 20 percent of the lever’s movement with the remainder of the travel spooling up to quickly build engine RPM. That makes it good for both rockcrawling and mud running. As of press time, the kit does not yet work with fly-by-wire systems, but ORO is said to be working on that option as well.
Information: Off Road Only
Currie Enterprises likes the dirt as much as we do, and they showed up at EJS with a bevy of new products including a Rock Jock Dana 70, a beefy skidplate for a low-pinion Ford 9-inch, and this thick, cast differential cover for Dana 60s and 70s. The cover features a high fill plug for high-angle and Rock Jock differentials. It ships with stainless steel Allen head bolts that recess into the face of the cover so that you will be able to get the cover regardless of how much you’ve scraped it over those rocks. As of press time, color options were still being decided but the company showed both a black and a red cover and we can say that by the heft of it, this thing is going to take some abuse.
Information: Currie Enterprises
If you aren’t from the Southwest you’ve probably spent at least a little bit of time laughing at tube fenders offered without an inner fender. The fact is that for most of the country, an inner fender is needed to keep mud out of vital engine components. GenRight Off Road has heard the call of the non-desert people. These bolt-together aluminum inner fenders work with GenRight’s TJ and YJ high and standard clearance fenders with CJ units being developed. The inner fenders are 1⁄8-inch-thick and 1⁄4-20 stainless steel hardware is included. The inner fenders ship without holes or cutouts for factory or aftermarket accessories so that you are free to locate your particular array of stuff where it works for you.
Information: GenRight Off Road
We all agree that hooks on a strap are a bad idea, so why is it that we all run hooks on winches and normally don’t think twice about it? And if you did think twice about it, you upgraded to a locking or latching hook, which offers more security from inadvertently coming loose—but is still a hook. Factor 55 showed up in Moab with one of those “Why didn’t we think of that?” products. The Pro Link replaces your hook with an aluminum and titanium shackle mount that accepts the shackles you likely already have on your Jeep. When stowed, the Pro Link rests cleanly against your fairlead (hawse or roller) on an integral rubber guard. It will attach to your winch cable with no cutting needed. Simply remove your old hook, place your thimble in it, and slide the double-shear pin home. It works with up to 3⁄8-inch-diameter cable and is available in a dazzling array of colors.
Information: Factor 55