Best Buys in Aftermarket Parts
Winch Best Buy: Warn VR Series
Price: $479.99 (retail, VR8000)
How can you go wrong with a genuine Warn winch for under $500? Don’t let the price point or the entry-level marketing materials fool you. The all-new WARN VR Series is the real deal. These are dependable Warn winches through-and-through and offer 8,000-, 10,000-, and 12,000-pound capacities. All of these units feature series-wound motors (4.6 hp in the VR8000 and VR9000, 5.0 hp in the VR12000) for plenty of power; brakes that hold the full-rated load for great control while winching; three-stage planetary geartrains for speed, durability, and reliability; corded remote controls; and 94 feet of durable wire rope. They offer the same quality that we expect of Warn products, and while some of the parts are sourced internationally, they are designed, engineered, tested, and assembled in the U.S. These winches are also backed by the Warn’s limited lifetime warranty, which should alleviate any of the concern about quality and price. This makes the Warn VR Series a best buy in our eyes.
Tire Best Buy: Falken WildPeak A/T
Price: $315.00 each (street price, 37x12.50R17)
New to the enthusiast off-road market, Falken has been making waves with its entry in the all-terrain category, the WildPeak A/T. The WildPeak A/T, with its triple-ply sidewall and heavy-duty construction, is overbuilt for durability in extreme terrain, but has the on-road manners of a street tire. We have had great experience with them on our project vehicles and can recommend them without hesitation for serious trail work. Falken has made a commitment to provide a line of quality products for wheeling enthusiasts and has also positioned this tire to be priced approximately 10 percent lower than the price point of a comparable competitor. We are now starting to see WildPeak A/Ts on the trail, so the word must be getting out that this is a premium tire at and affordable price. And now it is a Four Wheeler Best Buy.
Locker Best Buy: Eaton ELocker
Price: $754.99 (street price, Dana 44)
Eaton’s ELocker is a great solution to the traction needs of any 4x4. Designed for four-wheel drive systems, the ELocker can give you an open or locked differential at the touch of a button. When locked, the ELocker performs as a full locker, capturing 100 percent of the available torque and sending it equally to both ends of the axle. The ELocker is built with precision-forged gears that are designed to mesh perfectly, providing improved strength and durability over a standard-cut gear and is activated via a next-generation electromagnetic locking mechanism. Its ease of installation, reliability, and pushbutton activation make the ELocker a Four Wheeler Best Buy.
Light Best Buy: KC HiLiTES SlimLite
Price: $162.99 (street price)
KC’s line of 6-inch SlimLites are a popular mainstay of the aftermarket, mainly because of the made-in-the-U.S. quality, great price point, and long list of options. The SlimLite, which has a flat profile to fit where other lights won’t, can be ordered in 100-watt driving or fog patterns, as well as a 130-watt long range pattern. Two finishes, chrome and black, are offered, and each kit includes a pair of lights, two protective stone guards, and a pre-terminated relay wiring harness. Each light features optical quality glass lenses, halogen bulbs and precision polished reflectors for a super bright focused beam of light and the two-axis mounting system makes for easy and accurate aiming. All of this comes at a street price of under $170, which is a great deal and our Best Buy in lighting.
Shock Best Buy: Bilstein 5160
$199 each (retail)
It is hard to ignore a bolt-on, direct replacement reservoir shock that offers more wheel travel and a better ride than stock, but that is exactly what you get with the Bilstein 5160. Based on the popular non-reservoir monotube 5100, the 5160 adds a reservoir and increases shock stroke over stock. Adding the reservoir, with its floating dividing piston, greatly increases the shock oil capacity for greater heat dissipation and damping sensitivity. These shocks are specifically valved for the application intended and have fitments for many popular late-model stock or lifted Jeeps and light trucks. There is also a universal-fit 5165 Series to fit an endless number of possible applications. One of the greatest challenges when upgrading to a reservoir shock, is how to mount the reservoir. With the 5160, Bilstein has already figured it out for you and offers a mounting kit and instructions for each application. The 5160 is made in the U.S. and offers Bilstein’s Triple-C technology coating for superior corrosion resistance. At under $200 apiece, it is certainly one of the best buys out there.