2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon Unlimited - The Perfect FitPosted in Features on January 1, 2012
Dreams are great unless they radically clash with reality. You can dream of owning the ultimate rock buggy or King of the Hammers rig, but unless your reality includes a tow rig, a trailer, and storage space, owning that dream trail rig would quickly become a nightmare.
We've said it before, but it bears repeating: your trail rig needs to fit your life.
When he first saw the Jeep Unlimited JK in late ’06, Steve vonSeggern knew there was a way to make his dream JK meld smoothly with his reality. Steve is a trail enthusiast. He’s also busy with his career as publisher of Source Interlink Media’s Truck Group, and busy raising a family. Upon seeing the four-door JK, Steve envisioned a rig that could haul his family down the trail, as well as hauling them through the trails and obstacles of everyday life.
Steve admired the JK from a distance for a few years before purchasing one of his own in 2010. If there’s an advantage to delaying a purchase, it’s that you have plenty of time to plan the build and hypothetically select the parts. Once Steve had the keys to his Jeep, he already had a solid plan in place.
As mentioned, Steve’s a busy guy, so massive down time couldn’t be part of his JK build. As such, finding bolt-on parts with top-notch function was a key priority. With the JK Unlimited’s 117-inch wheelbase in mind, he decided that running 37-inch tires was the way to go, both aesthetically and functionally.
Mixing 37s with a top-notch suspension that offers low down time sounds like a tall order, but that’s exactly what Steve came up with when he turned to American Expedition Vehicles (AEV). AEV’s “Dual Sport” suspension is designed to be easy to install, but the true value is in the way the vehicle handles after the parts are in place. The “Dual Sport” moniker comes from the way the AEV-equipped JK is competent on both street and dirt.
AEV’s Dual Sport suspension kits are offered at 3.5- and 4.5-inch lift heights; the 3.5-inch lift height is designed for 35s and the 4.5-incher is for 37s. VonSeggern found that with some well-executed body trimming, he was able to seamlessly meld the 3.5-inch kit with his chosen 37s. Thanks to AEV’s painstaking testing and engineering, the kit bolted on smoothly and has proven to work flawlessly as advertised—street or dirt.
"On the trail, the suspension has all of the flex I could ask for and is just as comfortable rockcrawling as it is going 70 mph down a two-track," Steve comments. "This Jeep is actually very fun to drive fast on twisty mountain roads, which is something you could never say about any TJ." Strong words? Perhaps, but they’re coming from someone who’s driven both vehicles and can tell the difference.
Of course, there’s more to a trail-worthy Jeep than a suspension kit and a tire/wheel combo. Stouter-than-stock front and rear bumpers are practically mandatory, as they offer superior vehicle protection as well as provide a home for a full-size spare, off-road lights, and a winch. Again AEV products got the nod.
AEV’s bumpers are made by stamping, a process that’s more accurate and less labor intensive than welding separate parts together. Why doesn’t everyone produce stamped bumpers? It’s because the stamping machinery and tooling is extremely expensive. You’ve got to be confident in your products as well as potential sales volume to justify the initial investment. As with the suspension, the bumpers fit flawlessly and perform just as well. The spare tire carrier swings open in sync with the tailgate and does not rattle at all when closed.
Overall, Steve’s JK has a stealthy look that belies the performance parts affixed to it. In fact, he’s been asked by the unaware if it’s been modified at all. With minimal down time during the build, parts that fit flawlessly, and the ability to run trails or family errands with the flick of a turn signal, this is a JK that fits Steve to a tee.
|Vehicle:||2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon Unlimited|
|Owner/Hometown:||Steve vonSeggern/Laguna Niguel, California|
|Engine:||Stock 3.8L V-6|
|Transfer case/low range ratio:||NVG241OR/4:1|
|Front suspension:||AEV 3.5-inch Dual Sport suspension, Bilstein 5100 shocks|
|Rear suspension:||AEV 3.5-inch Dual Sport suspension, Bilstein 5100 shocks|
|Ring and Pinion:||5.38 Superior gears|
|Differentials:||Factory Rubicon e-lockers|
|Tires:||37x12.50R17 Goodyear MT/R with Kevlar|
|Wheels/Backspacing:||17x8.5 AEV Savegre/ +10mm offset|