I have always been a truck guy. My last vehicle, a ’04 Toyota Tacoma, was a great vehicle that took me most places I wanted to go. As I started ranging out further though, it left me wanting more. Jump ahead a couple of years and my little commuter pickup was falling apart, dying a slow death—It was time for a new vehicle. I had a good idea of what I was looking for regarding features, comfort, capability, and reliability. A Jeep Wrangler just seemed to fit the bill. Cue the purchase of an ’11 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
I had known Editor Trasborg for a while, as we had a few mutual friends. When I got my Rubicon, I had questions about it. I had taken it out a few times so I knew what I liked about it, as well as what I felt could use some improvement. As my experience with my Rubicon grew, so did the questions, like what aftermarket parts to buy and not to buy. So who better to talk to then our very own Editor Trasborg? The rock gods must have smiled on me because while I was in need of bumpers and suspension, he was in need of a vehicle for the next installment of Jp’s 3Day, 3K series. That’s a win-win situation if ever there was one.
Leap forward a few more months. Trasborg and I are sitting around enjoying an adult beverage, shooting the proverbial breeze about my dead rear locker, when Trasborg mentioned that he was looking for more freelance writers. Cool, I thought; could be fun. My stock rear locker solenoid had given up the ghost so we talked about my writing up the solenoid replacement story. As my Jeep and I joined the Jp family, Trasborg’s friend, Kayla, decided that my Jeep needed a name. Jp already had a ’01 Jeep Wrangler (Red) and a ’07 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (Red Junior). Unimaginative yes, but luckily it was Kayla’s idea to name my ’11 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon—you guessed it—Red the Third.
I need my Jeep to be a bit of a Swiss army knife, so there are some compromises that need to be made. No giant lifts. I need something that is comfortable, capable, and stable—basically nothing too extreme. Rock Krawler Suspension’s 11⁄2-inch Max Travel with RRD reservoir shocks looked perfect. The components are high quality and offer a great ride. The kit improves the off-road ability, and the low center-of-gravity keeps the vehicle stable on-road. I got a similar feeling from GenRight Off Road’s products. The company’s aluminum bumpers keep the weight down, while its high quality products ensure I don’t have to worry about the parts falling apart. The problem here is that the better my Jeep gets, the more I want to do with it. The more I want do with it, the more ideas Trasborg comes up with, and that can be a bit, um, shall we say, dangerous. Savvy’s aluminum half doors, Rugged Ridge’s new hood and grille—all came up while hanging out with our dear editor.
I’m also a fan of overkill. While I don’t necessarily run the hardest trails or take the most extreme lines, breakage happens. Overkill certainly doesn’t hurt things. What to do next? Axles, gears, or yet-to-be-replaced lockers? Do I go full-blown rockcrawler or keep it as a tame daily driver? Do I try and find a happy medium of both? At this point, only time will tell. It’s definitely looking to be an interesting ride, whichever way we go.
Good, Bad, and What It’s For
My Jeep really is a multi-purpose machine. I use it for hunting, fishing, exploring, and commuting. So far I’ve been happy with my choices. Third rides and handles great, takes me everywhere I want it to, and most importantly, gets me back again. From here on, the trick is going to be riding that fine line between capable rockcrawler and comfortable daily driver.