Travel & Flare: Keeping a Low COG With EVO JK FendersPosted in How To: Body Chassis on October 10, 2017
Proven formulas are just that—proven. When it comes to building a versatile four-wheel drive, maintaining a low center of gravity (COG) is critical for creating a safe and stable vehicle on- and off-road. With ten years of production under the belt of the ’07 to ’17 Jeep Wrangler JK, there’s been plenty of time to try hundreds, if not thousands of various build configurations. For our ’13 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, we wanted a Jeep that could stay practical for daily needs, but not have to watch from the sidelines on more challenging off-road adventures.
Fit with a modest 2.5-inch suspension system, we’ve been happy with the lift height, but were itching to get a little more clearance under our axles. To do so, we decided to move up to a 37-inch-tall Nitto Ridge Grappler. While moving from a 35- to 37-inch-tall tire may not seem like a major increase, it does require a few essential modifications. Beyond the need to change your differential gear ratio to adjust for the taller tires (a 5.13 ratio in our case), you’ll need to make room for the large tires to cycle.
To accomplish this on our JK, we decided to remove our Wrangler’s stock fender flares and replace them with a set from EVO Manufacturing. In addition to being completely bolt-on, the high-clearance EVO flares allow for us to fully cycle our 37x12.50R17 tires at our low lift height. Giving us a hand with the install were the EVO-certified installers at Low Range 4x4 in Wilmington, North Carolina. To find out more about our setup and the install, read on.
Getting on the trail is always the true test for any off-road upgrade. (Or at least a good excuse to go play in the dirt!) We’re extremely happy to report that our new flare set allows our tires to cycle freely and without rub. Bumpstops, along with wheel backspacing variances, can make a difference in whether your JK’s tires will still find interference. While we could have reused our stock front inner fender liners, we have a new set from EVO on the way that should be available by the time you read this.