The TJ has been with us since 1997. In that time, this latest generation of the Wrangler has proven itself a worthy keeper of the Jeep flame. Certainly one of the most important changes made to the Wrangler during its YJ-to-TJ transmutation was the change from a leaf-sprung to a coil-sprung suspension.
This was a good move, one that offered Jeepers improved on-highway ride and greater four-wheeling capabilities. Early on, this posed a challenge for aftermarket suspension manufacturers accustomed to easy-to-play-with leaf springs. Now, with coils to cope with, brackets and mounts had to be fabbed and welded on. It didn't take them long to figure it all out, and a number of manufacturers offer bolt-on suspension kits.
Stylistically, TJ designers brought the Wrangler into the new millennium, in part by going retro. For one thing, the brand's iconic round headlights made their triumphant return to the vehicle's front grille, and the people said, "Amen!" Meanwhile, designers also reworked the YJ's dated dash with something immeasurably more appealing.
Today there's a TJ seemingly around every corner. Indeed, it's become the ultimate Jeep, perfect for the street and the trail. Here, then, are some of the ultimate parts for the ultimate Jeep. In an effort to offer as much information about these products as possible, we have included the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Please note that these prices probably are somewhat higher than real-world street pricing.
What: Deflect mud and debris, and look good while doing it, with Bushwacker's new line of drill-free, easy-to-install fender flares for the TJ. If you're running wide tires, these wide fenders will help to keep you street-legal. In addition, Bushwacker says these fender flares will add several inches of clearance to your TJ, in case you're running larger tires.
How much: $482
Where: Bushwacker, Dept. FW, 6710 N. Catlin Ave., Portland, OR 97203, 503/283-4335, www.bushwacker.com.
Air Up, Air Down
Who: Off Road Only
What: Available in 4- and 6-inch versions, AiRock suspensions are unique kits for TJs, offering users one-button "rock-left" or "rock-right," "pitch-up" or "pitch-down," manual up or down, manual rock function, and ride-height return settings. The system also features two user-defined ride heights. For this next-generation kit, Off Road Only added four corner-height sensors that mount between the frame and control arms to provide feedback to the AiROCK Control Unit, or ACU, which controls the suspension of the Jeep. ORO uses custom-designed Firestone industrial airsprings and custom-valved Bilstein shocks.
How much: $2,495
Where: Off Road Only, Dept. FW, 21056 Flag Trail, Prior Lake, MN 55372, 952/226-4317, www.offroadonly.com.
Air It Out
Who: Tyson Design Works
What: Here's a trick gadget for your TJ: a motorized, flip-up windshield, from Tyson Design Works. Using dual electric actuators, this kit includes the mounting system, windshield, wiring and in-dash activator. For a bit of a breeze, you can open the windshield just a touch, or on hotter days, you can completely flip up the windshield for maximum breeze exposure.
How much: $989
Where: Tyson Design Works, 2405 U 50 Rd., Cedaredge, CO 81413, 970/856-8736, www.tysondesignworks.com.
What: If you plan on doing any hard-core 'wheeling in your TJ, you'd better have a quality rollcage. These cages from M.O.R.E. are designed to be an easy bolt-in addition to your factory rollbar. Made from 131/44 x 0.120-inch-wall tubing, these cages will work with the factory hard or soft tops and the factory door surrounds.
How much: $330
Where: M.O.R.E., P.O. Box 843, Rifle, CO 81650, 970/625-0500, www.mountainoffroad.com.
Haul It High
Who: Warrior Products
What: If you need extra hauling space, why not try your TJ's roof? This 45x55-inch rooftop basket is a complete sportrack system with a 400-pound cargo capacity, or 150-pound capacity for trail running. The rack system has three parts that work to make it the ultimate in 'wheeling gear. The front lightbar, which has four light tabs, combined with the rear lightbar, with two light tabs, even gives you a versatile canoe/sailboard rack. The cargo rack's four snap-pin disconnects let you remove the top portion of the rack for folding down the soft-top, a nice touch.
How much: $619
Where: Warrior Products, 11100 S.W. Industrial Way, Tualatin, OR 97062, 888/220-6861, www.warriorproducts.com.
Raised by a Pair
Who: Rock Krawler Suspension
What: Here are a pair of 4-inch short-arm systems for TJs: a Flex System or a Severe-Duty System. Both offer excellent highway ride qualities and exceptional off-pavement ability. The Severe-Duty System features a rear three-link conversion on top of the standard Flex System components, which includes four coil springs, front adjustable antiroll-bar disconnects, rear extended antiroll-bar links, adjustable, high misalignment lower control arms and a solid front track bar. Both kits clear 33-inch tires and are complete bolt-on systems, according to Rock Krawler.
How much: Flex System, $999; Severe Duty System, $1,349.
Where: Rock Krawler, 518/270-9822, www.rockkrawler.com.
Two Stages of Lift
Who: Explorer Pro Comp
What: This 4-inch lift kit is available for '97-'02 TJs in two stages and can clear up to 33 x 12.50-inch tires. It features lower control arms with reverse hourglass urethane bushings, custom springs, extended antiroll-bar links, a rear traction-bar relocating bracket and shifter relocating hardware. The Stage II kit adds Explorer Pro Comp's front track-bar drop with crosslink frame supports and a drop pitman arm.
How much: Stage I, $1,200; Stage II, $1,546
Where: Explorer Pro Comp, 2360 Boswell Rd., Chula Vista, CA 91914, 800/776-0767, www.explorerprocomp.com.
What: This new 6-inch suspension system for '97-and-up Wranglers includes Rockrunner swiveling lower trailing links for the front and rear axles, bumpstop extensions, antiroll-bar extensions, new Superide front and rear coil springs, high-density rubber coil spacers, a dropped pitman arm and new Superide shock absorbers. The system also includes adjustable front and rear track bars to center the axles under the vehicle and to eliminate bumpsteer and wandering. Even better, the kit offers a unique option for folks running Superlift's 2- or 4-inch TJ lift systems: upgradeability. Both of those systems can easily be upgraded to the 6-inch lift. All together, the system provides enough room for most 35-inch tires on standard-offset rims.
How much: $1,905
Where: Superlift, 300 Huey Lenard Loop Rd., West Monroe, LA 71292, 800/551-4955, www.superlift.com.
What: The TeraFlex Three-Inch Suspension system for Wrangler TJs offers the ability to clear up to 33 x 12.50 meats. Each TJ Suspension system comes with TeraFlex's unique control arms, steering-box skidplate, quick antiroll-bar disconnects, springs, and all the necessary hardware. The included rubber bushings in the FlexArms damp road noise and vibration for a quality street ride. Shocks are sold separately.
How much: $1,247
Where: TeraFlex, 8385 S. Allen St., Unit 115, Sandy, UT 84070, 801/288-2585, www.teraflex.biz.
Raise that Spare
Who: Truck Master Design
What: Solve your spare-tire-carrier issues with Truck Master Design's new Rear Spare Tire Relocater Kit for the '97-'03 TJ. Made of 11/44-inch steel plate and E-coated for rust protection, the Relocater raises the spare tire so that oversized tires, like your brand-new 33-inchers, will clear the factory bumper. This kit comes with everything you need, including the Relocater, lug nuts, third-brakelight risers and rubber tailgate mount extenders, washers, bolts and extender tubes.
How much: $117
Where: Truck Master Design, 29189 CR 36, Wakarusa, IN 46573, 574/862-4831, www.truckmasterdesign.com.
What: Perfect for TJ owners with tons of stuff, the newly redesigned Single Compartment Overhead Console from Tuffy is manufactured from 16-gauge steel and has a lockable compartment for securely mounting a stereo, CB radio, speaker or other electronic equipment. The lockable compartment is secured by a double-bitted 10-tumbler lock with built-in weather seals. A bolt-in stereo mounting tray makes installing a DIN-mount stereo or CB a breeze. This expandable product features a protective durable powdercoat. Mounting hardware is provided.
How much: $221
Where: Tuffy Security Products, 25733 Rd. H, Cortez, CO 81321, 800/34-TUFFY, www.tuffyproducts.com.
Keeping the Angles Correct
Who: Full Traction
What: A new 6-inch long-arm lift system for Jeep TJs is a complete replacement suspension system that uses a four-link front-axle system, said to provide a true and correct caster curve throughout the entire range of wheel travel. Meanwhile, the rear axle uses a true long-arm three-link. Here, the upper triangulated bar pivots on a uni-ball joint, eliminating the need for a rear-axle track bar. Full Traction uses 2 x 11/44-inch-wall DOM tubing for its lower trailing arm assemblies, and 11/44-inch plate laser-crafted bracketry throughout. This is a fully bolt-on system. Shocks are sold separately.
How much: $2,796
Where: Full Traction, 6951 McDivitt Dr., Bakersfield, CA 93313, 800/255-6464, www.full-traction.com.
What: Hitting the trail? Then make sure you don't get hit by the trail. ARB takes numerous factors into consideration when manufacturing a bumper for the TJ, including vehicle design, airbag deployment, approach angles, accessory fitment, strength, weight and, of course, looks. This one serves as an integral crossmember. According to ARB, its mounting systems are designed to spread impact and winching loads over both chassis rails, bolstering the TJ's already tough front end.
How much: $870
Where: ARB, 20 S. Spokane Rd., Seattle, WA 98134, 206/264-1669, www.arbusa.com.
Who: Nth Mobility
What: Need to relocate your TJ's rear shocks? Lifted TJs could benefit from the Shock Shifter kit by Nth Degree Mobility. The kit solves the shock-mounting problems associated by a high-pinion rear axle, a common collateral effect of many lift kits. The manufacturer also claims that this relocation kit significantly improves ground clearance by moving the shock's mounting brackets closer to the wheel by approximately 5 inches.
How much: $90
Where: Nth Degree Mobility, 2190 Lockheed Way, No. 1, Carson City, NV 89706, 775/885-8454, www.nthdegreemobility.com.
Convert to Platinum
What: Available for '97-'03 TJs equipped with a stock Dana 30 or aftermarket Dana 44, 60 or Ford 9-inch front differentials, the Platinum Series Coil Over Conversion is a 10-inch lift. Designed specifically with rockcrawling in mind, this kit features a 9-inch coilover assembly, replacement polyurethane cab-mount bushings and a 1-inch body lift. The Platinum Series Coil Over Conversion does not include bracketry.
How much: $1,198
Where: Skyjacker Suspensions, P.O. Box 1678, West Monroe, LA 71294, 866/ROCK-READY, www.skyjacker.com.
Three into Two Won't Go
Who: Black Diamond
What: Sometimes after you install a 3-inch lift kit, it settles in and actually becomes a 2-inch lift. Black Diamond addresses that issue with its new 3-inch lift kit for TJs. According to Black Diamond, this system features coil springs that are preset during the manufacturing process to minimize settling and help maintain factory ride characteristics. Other components in the kit include front antiroll-bar quick-disconnects, longer rear antiroll-bar links, a rear track-bar extension bracket, longer polyurethane bumpstops and a transfer-case lowering kit. This system provides enough clearance for up to 33-inch tires.
How much: $465
Where: Black Diamond, 274 Huey Lenard Loop Rd., West Monroe, LA 71291, 866/680-6666, www.blackdiamondoffroad.com.
What: This 211/42-inch Basic Suspension system features an adjustable coil-spring seat that retains the stock front and rear coil springs or aftermarket springs. According to Fabtech, the heavy-duty steel billet coil adjusters do not change the ride quality and allow adjustment to the suspension ride height. The vehicle can be adjusted front to rear to compensate for heavy cargo or a winch or bumper. This kit includes extended-length bumpstops and a wrench to allow adjustment with the vehicle on the ground.
How much: $485
Where: Fabtech, 4331 Eucalyptus Ave., Chino, CA 91710, 909/597-7800, www.fabtechmotorsports.com.
Who: RJR Products
What: When you're in the mood to go topless, get your TJ a mesh Breezer Top, from RJR Products. A great addition to any outdoor-loving TJ, these tops are made from high-quality polypropylene, a tough stretchy fabric. According to the manufacturer, these tops will not balloon or flap in the wind, and installation takes just minutes.
How much: $60
Where: RJR Products, P.O. Box 1482, Colton, CA 92324, 800/632-9192, www.rjrproducts.com.
Who: Tuff Country
What: The 4-inch EZ-Flex system for '97-'01 Jeep TJs features unique threaded lower control arms that, according to the manufacturer, allow a greater range of movement, thus boosting your TJ's articulation. The kit's control arms feature polyurethane bushings and the track-bar relocating brackets are computer laser-cut and powdercoated. EZ-Ride coil springs offer quality ride characteristics and performance for standard and off-pavement conditions. This kit clears 33-inch shoes.
How much: $1,104
Where: Tuff Country, 4165 W. Nike Dr., Salt Lake City, UT 84088, 800/288-2190, www.tuffcountry.com.