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Beyond Rubicon: The Mopar "Trail Boss" Jeep Wrangler JK

Jeep Moss Mansion
Jim Brightly | Writer
Posted February 15, 2011

Jeep JK Building A La Carte Style using Off-the-Shelf Mopar Products

Don’t just throw money at your favorite mechanic and tell him to make it even better! Some very astute Mopar engineers who are also Jeep enthusiasts have already done that. After spending many hours on the trails and many days in front of their computers, these engineers have come up with some truly awesome new stuff for your Rubicon. Adding these factory-warranted parts to your JK Rubicon (new or used) will make it an even better, more trail-worthy Jeep.

While it may not be ready to compete in the King of the Hammers race, what street-wise Jeep is? When it’s done, the Trail Boss (a nickname given to this Moparized Jeep to make it easier to talk about) rolls out the dealer’s door ready to tackle any trail this writer has ever seen in nearly 50 years of ’wheeling. That’s almost half a century of exploring such places as the Everglades, Moab, the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, Lucerne Valley of Southern California, and the Sierra Nevada (Rubicon and Dusy Ershim).

We guess if we follow the reasoning behind naming the Rubicon (arguably up to now the best all-around Jeep to ever roll off an assembly line), we could have named it The Dusy, but that name was already taken by a famous car long before this vehicle came about.

Speaking of the Rubicon, it has to be the basis for the Trail Boss because of its heavier-duty driveline components. The lighter-weight axles and transfer case of the other JK models would not be able to accept the Trail Boss’s lower gears and taller tires and still be economically feasible warranty-wise.

Let’s just see what the Rubicon option group brings to the trailhead. As with all JK Wrangler models, it is powered by a 3.8L V-6 sequential multi-port injection engine, which has 202 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 237 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Power is supplied to the Dana 44 axles through either a six-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic tranny, which is bolted to the Rubicon’s Rock-Trac part-time 4WD transfer case with a 4:1 low range gear ratio. Electronic-locking front and rear differentials, a Rubicon exclusive, lock the left and right wheels together to maintain the forward momentum for the ultimate in Wrangler traction. The instrument panel-mounted rocker switch can lock the rear, the front, or both axles. Also exclusive on the Rubicon (and part of its performance suspension), you’ll find an electronic front sway bar disconnect. With the flip of a switch, the front sway bar is disengaged when driving less than 18 mph in four-wheel-drive low range. This allows the wheels to drop and compress up to an additional 20 percent for improved front wheel articulation.

We were going to mention the stock Rubicon 17-Inch aluminum wheels and BF Goodrich LT255/75R17 BSW off-road tires with matching spare, but the Trail Boss is equipped with larger tires and military-grade beadlock wheels so there’s really no reason to go into the Rubicon’s OEM tires and wheels. Suffice it to say that in our opinion, while the larger tires and stronger wheels add greatly to the overall traction and trail worthiness of the Trail Boss, Rubicon OEM wheels and tires are sufficient until the tires wear out.

We’ve listed the additional products that have been added to this Rubicon to make it the Trail Boss. Check out the photos and captions where we’ve explained each item more thoroughly for your consideration. One other thing we want to mention at this time; don’t think that you have to buy a new Rubicon in order to enjoy these improvements. If you already own a JK Rubicon (2007 to 2011) or are considering buying one, you can order these products at your local dealer and still enjoy the warranty that came with your Jeep. Plus, there is no Trail Boss accessory package, which means that you can order the products one item at a time (a la carte) or in selected groups.


Auburn Hills, MI 48321
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