Ten Ways To Trick Out Your Jeep Part 2
In last month's segment we detailed our goals to make a Jeep Wrangler JK more trail-capable without destroying its everyday drivability. We installed a Rancho three-inch lift kit, a Rancho oil pan skid plate, some cool Rancho differential covers, and a pair of totally-just-for-fun Rancho tube doors to get things started, but we knew that once we left the blacktop, changing conditions would require even more serious equipment.
The mostly plastic factory rear bumper was not something you could use as a jacking point. The spare tire mount on the rear door didn't welcome much bigger tires than stock. A Rancho rear bumper addressed these problems and added a mount for a Hi-Lift Jack equipped with a Rescue 42 Jack Mate.
Rancho Bumper & Hi-Lift Jack
Removing the OEM tire mount from the door and dropping the factory bumper was easy. After a test fitting of the Rancho cross member, several holes were marked and were drilled or enlarged. The installation instructions detailed where and what size. Crush sleeves added the integrity needed for the 100-pound tire weight rating. Bushings in the swing-out tire carrier were pressed in with a shop vice. A large keeper pin secures the tire rack in the closed position. We did need to enlarge the opening of the locking flange a little to make it easier to open and close.
The Rancho bumper is bolted directly to the frame using factory and Rancho bolts and should be strong enough to use a Hi-Lift on. A nice feature is the design that allows a Hi-Lift Jack to be securely mounted on the rear of the tire rack. We added a Jack Mate that greatly increases the many functions of this indispensable back road tool for lifting, winching, prying, clamping, and more.
The rear bumper is a great place to carry the spare tire and the Hi-Lift Jack, but what about the ice chests, sleeping bags, tent, firewood, and fishing gear? You have your own list. Clearly, if we were going to do any serious camping, (and "serious" means comfortable), we needed a rack. A rack for carrying some snowboards to the slopes doesn't need to be too strong, but if you load it up with a couple hundred pounds of gear and whip it back and forth on a few whoops, you might be camping on the side of the trail.
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