Part II: Project Jeeponomics
Jeep|o|nom|ics (jep-o-näm'iks) the act of spending a good portion of one's capital on aftermarket products, and/or modifications for one's Jeep, thereby enhancing both the Jeep's job performance and the economic health of companies offering the products and/or modifications in question. Also accounts for the acronym j.e.e.p. Just Empty Every Pocket.
Stim|u-lus Pack-age (stim'yoo-ls pak'ij) a gathering of quality products and/or modifications together for the purpose of stimulating the performance of the vehicle in question. A by-product of this packaging is stimulation of the bottom line of the companies offering involved products. It is hoped that no pork is installed during this packaging.
Back in the September 2009 issue of 4 WHEEL DRIVE & SPORT UTILITY MAGAZINE, we introduced Project Jeeponomics, a bright yellow 2007 Jeep Wrangler JK two-door. In that article, the installation and performance of an American Expedition Vehicle's (AEV) 3.5-inch suspension, coupled with 35-inch Interco M16 tires and AEV beadlock wheels were discussed. These modifications turned the Jeep into a more capable 'wheeler due to better ground clearance(s) and formidable tires. With these new abilities it quickly became apparent that its bright yellow body was in dire need of some armor to protect it from the new elements it was now capable of visiting. Heck, I even bashed in the dreadful front "rubber baby buggy bumper" setting up approach angle photos for that suspension article!
Besides its bumpers, the Jeep's most vulnerable areas were its rocker panels and rear corner panels. Along with adding armor to these areas, I wanted to open up the wheel wells to give the JK a lighter, airier look and get away from the multi-piece, massive O.E. fender flares that I knew, sooner or later, would get mangled by an errant rock or tree limb.
All of these bodily areas of concern are well covered by the aftermarket, with lots of different designs to choose from. In many cases it's a matter of personal preference as to what you want your JK to look like. In this article we'll look at the parts I chose, and point out a few reasons why, besides aesthetics, I feel they are a good choice for a JK owner who plans to use his Jeep hard.