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Jeep Wrangler - Pinching Pennies, Stretching Dollars

Posted in How To on March 1, 2009 Comment (0)
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Jeep Wrangler - Pinching Pennies, Stretching Dollars
Photographers: Courtesy Of The Mfg's.

As this is being written, the price of gasoline has tumbled and the Presidential election already sealed. We hope that the economy will continue to stabilize and especially hope that gasoline remains at or below its press-time price (about $2.35 per gallon). Even with a glimmer of brightness on the immediate horizon, it's obvious that the time is now to select products whose prices are easier on the wallet.

Some of the products listed were selected because they prevent possible damage down the line, and said damage would be a hard financial hit. Others were chosen because they're less costly, period. Still, others made the grade because they're long-lasting and should return many, many miles before needing replacement.

There's another way to save cash out on the trail: adapt your driving style. We don't mean abandoning tough trails in favor of smoothly graded dirt roads. We mean that if you can't make a certain line without parts breakage, try another line. We mean if you come across an unfamiliar water crossing you should be extra-smart about how deep you're willing to take your rig swimming before backing up and trying a different crossing. If you're a masher, try adding some finesse to your driving style. Your parts will last longer, and your wallet will retain some of its girth.

Buy smart, and drive smart. You'll get more dirt for less cash.

What it is:
Currie Enterprises Rock Jock Currectlync heavy duty steering system for Jeep TJ, TJ Unlimited/LJ, XJ, and MJ vehicles. The Currectlync features a 1 1/4-inch diameter forged alloy drag link, a 1 1/4-inch solid alloy steel tie rod and 7/8-inch threaded tie rod ends, and the Currie heavy duty steering stabilizer bracket. The Currectlync is a direct bolt-in replacement for the stock parts and is a whopping 200% percent stronger than stock.
Where to find it:
RockJock 4x4/Currie Enterprises
(714) 367-2685
www.rockjock4x4.com

What it is:
Viair's Extreme Onboard Air makes installing an onboard air system a simple process by including everything for an onboard air system in one box. Dual air compressors keep the tank full and up to pressure with rapid refill rates. The system flows well enough to not only inflate tires and power air lockers, it can also run air tools on the trail. This is a system that can save money by making on-trail repairs faster and easier, which translates into less down time and fewer hassles. Since the system is complete as delivered, the Viair Extreme Onboard Air saves installation time; there's no need to chase down parts to complete the installation. Viair Corp offers a full range of air system products for all your on-vehicle air needs.
Where to find it:
VIAIR Corp.
(949) 582-6868
www.viaircorp.com

What it is:
Rugged Ridge aluminum wheels feature a hub-centric design, making the wheels run vibration-free and providing the best fit possible over the hub, brake rotors, steering components, and suspension pieces. Rugged Ridge wheels meet or exceed SAE J2530 standards, and are available in satin black powdercoat, satin black powdercoated with a machined lip, and silver powdercoated finishes. These wheels are high-quality and long-lasting, which means they'll save money in the long run.
Where to find it:
Rugged Ridge is a division of Omix-Ada
(770) 614-6101
www.omix-ada.com

What it is:
Body Armor 4x4's cargo rack system consists of a base rack and a detachable cargo basket. This makes your Jeep more versatile by letting you carry more cargo without having to tow a trailer on the trail. The base rack is made using 2-inch diameter, 0.095-wall round tubing that's powder coated in a black textured finish. The front and rear cross bars on the base rack are designed to hold off-road lights; there are four light tabs on the front cross bar and two light tabs on the rear cross bar. The cargo basket attaches to the base rack using six sturdy "feet" which bolt to the base rack. The cargo basket is made from 0.120-wall 6063 aluminum for high strength and low weight. Body Armor racks are made for Jeep JK two-door and four-door models, and Jeep TJ and TJ Unlimited models.
Where to find it:
Body Armor 4x4
(951) 808-0750
www.bodyarmor4x4.com

What it is:
Off-Road Trail Tools Fold-Down Tray Table attaches to the tailgate of the Jeep Wrangler JK, TJ, TJ Unlimited, YJ, and Suzuki Samurai. On the trail, a flat, clean surface is often needed and hard to come by. This fold-down tray table instantly provides a surface when needed and folds up out of the way for easy storage. The 12x8-inch aluminum tray table is made using laser-cut plate that's dimple-died and TIG welded. It is available with-or-without a black powder coat finish.
Where to find it:
Off-Road Trail Tools
(520) 579-2079
www.offroadtrailtools.com

What it is:
Spidertrax Wheel Spacers allow you to add track width to your rear axle without needing to purchase a new axle or new wheels. Spacers are made from 6061-T6 aluminum that's blue anodized for great looks and corrosion resistance. Models are made specifically for Toyota, Suzuki, and Jeep applications. Jeep applications include spacers as well as adapters which change the wheel bolt pattern.
Where to find it:
Spidertrax Off-Road
(800) 286-0898
www.spidertrax.com

What it is:
Tire Rack's Granite Alloy GA8 wheels create contemporary, fresh styles that maintain a subtle sophistication, yet feature a deep lip to enhance the design. Available in a broad range of fitments for SUVs and light trucks, they are an exceptional value.
Where to find it:
Tire Rack
(800) 541-1777
www.tirerack.com

What it is:
Rough Country's new winch mounting system lets you mount a winch on your Jeep JK while retaining the stock bumper. Drilling is required for vehicles not equipped with factory tow hooks, but otherwise the Rough Country winch mount bolts into place. This mount is made from 1/4-inch thick steel for strength and unfailing performance.
Where to find it:
Rough Country Suspension Products
(800) 222-7023
www.roughcountry.com

What it is:
Full Circle Fabrication's tube doors are made for Jeep CJ and YJ, TJ, and JK Wrangler applications. The doors are American-made using 11/2-inch, 0.120 wall mild steel tubing, which is CNC bent and welded in a jig, resulting in a product that fits without a fuss. The latch plates are laser-cut from 3/16-inch plate and have slotted holes for easy adjustment. A lever on the latch lets the doors open easily. Full Circle's tube doors are available powdercoated in gloss black, flat black, metallic silver, or they can be purchased raw and uncoated for custom color matching. Tube doors increase the open-air feel of Jeeps, so they're great for warm weather, and they make it easy to see what's ahead on the trail.
Where to find it:
Full Circle Fabrication
(812) 632-0993
www.fullcirclefab.com

What it is:
Changing your motor oil is a miniscule expense compared to replacing a worn-out engine. The latest API specifications have reduced zinc-phosphorous levels in motor oil, leaving many engine enthusiasts concerned about wear protection. Valvoline's answer to their concerns is SynPower Full Synthetic motor oil; the only leading synthetic that's formulated with longer-lasting anti-wear chemistry. SynPower's chemistry retains zinc-phosphorous longer, which is critical to preventing wear on metal engine parts. Metal-to-metal contact is prevented, thus adding life to your engine.
Where to find it:
Your local auto parts store or check out www.valvoline.com/synpower for more info.

What it is:
Oasis Differential Cover's new Dana 44 cover is available with-or-without the Jeep logo built in. Thermal breakdown is the biggest enemy of oil. Once the oil heats up past a critical temperature, its ability to lubricate is reduced. Non-functional oil means roasted differential parts. O.D.C. differential covers are made from heat-dispersing A356 aircraft-grade aluminum and increase oil capacity beyond stock. Built-in fill and drain plugs mean oil changes are possible without removing the cover. Hassle-free O-ring seals replace traditional gaskets, and the O.D.C. covers include non-rusting stainless steel bolts.
Where to find it:
Oasis Differential Covers
(714) 533-3286

What it is:
One strategic underbelly rock hit, and you're looking at a long walk or a big, fat repair bill. Rokmen's Up-Armor package can prevent underbelly drive train damage before it happens. The Up-Armor package consists of an engine and transmission skid plate, a high-clearance belly pan, and a high-clearance gas tank skid plate. These Armor components not only add protection, they also increase ground clearance over the stock skid plates and belly pan. High-end construction is standard: high-grade, laser-cut steel is CNC formed and TIG welded. The Up-Armor package is available for Jeep TJ and TJ Unlimited models.
Where to find it:
Rokmen
(303) 907-6303
www.rokmen.com

What it is:
Daystar's Rope Rollers make any roller fairlead compatible with synthetic winch rope. Synthetic winch ropes are becoming nearly standard issue on the trail; they are lighter and safer than their woven steel counterparts. Converting to a synthetic winch rope typically involves purchasing a new fairlead on top of the rope purchase. Daystar's Rope Rollers replace the steel rollers of a roller fairlead. Installation is easy, and the rollers are less costly than purchasing an aluminum Hawse-style fairlead.
Where to find it:
Daystar Products
(800) 595-7659
www.daystarweb.com

What it is:
Steelcore security tiedowns let you lock up your racked goods while you cinch them into place. The straps are made with Steel Encase Webbing (SEW) material that is harder to cut than a security cable. Steelcore straps incorporate a locking buckle that's covered with neoprene to seal the elements out of the lock. Lock your stuff up today and you'll still have it tomorrow.
Where to find it:
Steelcore
(714) 879-7999
www.steelcore.com

What it is:
Durango 4x4's Grizzly stubby front bumper for the JK complements the body lines of the latest Wrangler. Made from 3/16-inch thick steel, this bumper integrates a mount that will accept most winches including the Warn Dual Force Power Plant. One-inch thick plate shackle mounts and laser-cut graphics are complemented by a semi-gloss black powder coat that exhibits both aesthetics and toughness.
Where to find it:
Durango 4x4
(888) 259-8676
www.durango4x4.com

What it is:
Power Tank tire inflators have been redesigned for 2009. The new inflators offer faster tire inflations due to higher flow rates. The new inflators have more accurate pressure readings, and feature a durable liquid-filled gauge. All of Power Tank's inflators are designed to take higher-than-normal inlet pressures, and feature a thumb trigger valve for ease of use. A brass side release button makes it easy to drop a pound of pressure or two. The clip-on gauge is quick and easy to use and is mounted to a 90-degree elbow for easy fitment amid bulky locking hubs and beadlock rings. The inflators are available with either a 60 or 160psi gauge.
Where to find it:
Power Tank
(209)334-0898
www.powertank.com

What it is:
Superlift's electronic geometry recalibration module for lifted Jeep Commanders and Grand Cherokees will get your Jeep Commander or Grand Cherokee's Electronic Stability Program (ESP) working like factory after installing a lift system and larger-than-stock wheels and tires. Larger wheels and tires, and non-stock axle ratios throw the ESP system off. The Superlift recalibration module was built with engineering assistance from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) and is designed to complement Superlift's four-inch WK/XK lift systems. The recalibration module allows end users to do the programming.
Where to find it:
Superlift
(888) 299-4692
www.superlift.com

What it is:
Pit Bull's Growler tires are made in sizes from 31 to 47 inches. The Growler is described as "not quite an all-terrain, but is more tame than our Maddog ...." This means the Growler is aggressive, yet gives a pleasant highway ride with a low noise level. Deep lugs, siping, and Fang sidewall protection give this tire the weaponry it needs in the dirt, and the bias ply construction makes it a value to buy.
Where to find it:
Pit Bull Tires
(800) 645-2006
www.pitbulltires.com

What it is:
Mickey Thompson's Baja ATZ radial tire is an all-around tire that's got enough grip for the weekend, yet yields a pleasant ride on the pavement during the week. The self-cleaning tread features Stone Kicker rock ejectors, and the siped lugs provide better traction on smooth surfaces and ice. The Baja ATZ is made in sizes from 32 to 40 inches. Mickey Thompson's Classic II wheel is a polished cast aluminum wheel with steel inserts in the lug seats. Its design is a simple, elegant one destined never to go out of style. We have used Mickey Thompson tires and wheels on several of our projects, and can count on good results time after time.
Where to find it:
Mickey Thompson Tires
(330) 928-9092
www.mickeythompsontires.com

What it is:
If a locking differential is beyond your budget then a spool from Just Differentials is the next best thing. You can typically purchase a spool for $100 to $200, but the price isn't the only advantage. In fact, many seasoned wheelers use spools in favor of higher-priced fulltime or selectable lockers simply because it's a surefire method of locking a diff. You don't have to question whether it's switched on or engaged because it's always on-there is no off button. Just Differentials offers spools for Ford, Chrysler, GM, Suzuki, Toyota, and Dana axle applications. In addition to spools, Just Differentials offers a wide variety of axle and differential components.
Where to find it:
Just Differentials
(866) 694-4190
www.justdifferentials.com

What it is:
Offroad Evolution C2 Evo axle gussets are designed to strengthen a typically weak area on Jeep Wrangler JKs. The inner Cs on JK front axles are prone to bending when subjected to heavy (and sometimes even minor) trail use. Offroad Evolution's C2 axle gussets are weld-on brackets that cup the top and bottom of the inner C to give it additional strength by bracing each side to the axle tube. The Evo axle gussets are constructed using 3/16-inch laser-cut steel plate and they are available for 2007-and-newer Jeep JK Wranglers.
Where to find it:
Offroad Evolution
(714) 870-5515
www.offroadevolution.com

What it is:
The Poly Performance Jeep JK Extended Rear Shock Mount Kit raises the rear lower shock mounts so they are less prone to trail abuse, and to gain much needed ground clearance at the rear axle. The shock mounts are adjustable to 0.28 inches, 1.09 inches, and 1.91 inches higher than stock to accommodate various suspension set ups. The mounts are manufactured from laser-cut, CNC-bent 3/16-inch steel and feature an abrasive-resistant powder coat finish for maximum durability and corrosion resistance. Poly Performance shock mount kits are sold in pairs and offer a bolt-on installation.
Where to find it:
Poly Performance
(805) 783-2060
www.polyperformance.com

What it is:
The Black Diamond Coil Correction Kit is designed to correct the forward leaning mounting position of the rear coil springs on Jeep Wrangler TJs. The forward leaning mounting position of the rear coils causes the coils to bow rearward once the Jeep is lifted, and also during suspension compression. This can result in lost ride height and also diminishes the spring rate, making it softer than intended. The Black Diamond Coil Correction Kit includes weld-on frame brackets and replacement upper coil seats, and it is designed to work with any lift height and any brand suspension. The coil correction kit can also accommodate wheelbase increases and is a great upgrade for the longer wheelbase TJ Unlimited Wrangler.
Where to find it:
Black Diamond/Superlift
(800) 551-4955
www.superlift.com

What it is:
The Diversion 165 AC/DC TIG Welder is designed specifically for first-time TIG welders that want to tackle such tasks as chassis fabrication, roll cage construction, and more. The Diversion unit features just two controls and comes bundled with a 68-page TIG Welding for Dummies book and DVD on how to set-up, operate and weld. The Diversion 165 can weld material as thin as 22 gauge and as thick as 3/16-inch in a single pass with its 10- to 165-amp output (150 amps at 20 percent duty cycle). It offers an amperage range of 10- to 165-amps (150 amps at 20 percent duty cycle). It is also infinitely adjustable throughout the entire range for both the AC and DC welding outputs. The Diversion 165 removes the complexity and high price that restricted many from learning the TIG welding process.
Where to find it:
Miller Electric Mfg. Co.
www.millerwelds.com

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