When Tony West, eastern regional sales manager at Bushwacker, set out to build up his brand-new 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, a vehicle with unlimited potential, he chose an interesting array of products. Then he called us to see if we were interested in covering the build. When we heard what he had planned for his JK, we were very interested. Not only was he using some cool products, he was also planning to fit the rig with 35-inch tires without installing any sort of a suspension lift. We figured that experiment alone was worth the trip.
Another bonus was that the build would take place at Moab Offroad in Louisville, Kentucky (see sidebar). We've never had the opportunity to work with the team at Moab Offroad before, and that lured us in as well.
So what components did West install on his JK? Well, the list included a Warn Rock Crawler front bumper with winch mounting plate and Warn 9.5ti winch; Warn Rock Crawler rear bumper with tire carrier; JKS Quicker Disconnects sway bar disconnects; Bushwacker Flat Style fender flares; and Dick Cepek Mud Country tires with Torque wheels.
So how did the installs go? Did the 35s fit? Read on.
Everything installed as expected and there were no problems for the techs at Moab Offroad. The quality of the Warn bumpers was outstanding, and they look great in addition to being functional. We like the tapered ends that improve approach and departure angles, the welded eyelets for "D" shackles, and the powdercoated wrinkle finish. Both bumpers are CNC-formed and robotically welded from 3/16- and 1/4-inch steel. The optional winch plate mounts the Warn 9.5ti winch in such a manner that all controls are easy to access, and the drum is clearly visible-there's no mystery as to what's up with the cable.
We also like the sturdy optional rear tire carrier and the fact it gets the weight of the spare tire off the tailgate. The JKS Quicker Disconnects are made from beefy heavy-gauge steel, and they're robotically MIG-welded before being powdercoated. JKS says they offer up to a 30-percent increase in front wheel articulation. The Bushwacker Fender Flares are a neat setup, look great, and are incredibly sturdy. We dig that they offer 91/2 inches of tire coverage and they're made from Extreme Duraflex 2000 TPO material that bends instead of breaks and then returns to its original shape. We also like the fact that they'll never rust. Finally, the flat black Dick Cepek Torque wheels look handsome and the Dick Cepek Mud Country tires are a vast improvement over the stock tires, both in traction and ruggedness.
The stock tires on this JK were approximately 31 inches tall, so the rig gained about 2 inches of height from the tire diameter increase. With the addition of the front and rear Warn bumpers, with their tapered ends, the approach angle (measured tire-to-bumper) increased by an impressive 13 degrees (to 66 degrees) and the departure angle increased nicely by 10 degrees (to 47 degrees).