February 2010 What's New - Off-Road Expo EditionPosted in Product Reviews on February 1, 2010
Tradition with a Twist
The guys at MetalCloak introduced the new Overline flat tube fender for the Jeep TJ, LJ, and YJ at Off-Road Expo, held last October in Pomona, California. Just like their arched tube fenders, which we have run on our Project Teal Brute for years now, the new Overline fenders achieve "hi-line clearance" without modification to the hood or body. Additionally, each comes complete with replacement aluminum inner fenderwells and, in the case of TJ and LJs, new battery trays. Precision manufactured from 0.120-inch-wall DOM tubing and a combination of 11-gauge hot-rolled steel and aluminum, the easy-to-install Overline fender system strikes a near-perfect balance of weight, strength, and rugged good looks. Options include removable 4- or 6-inch flares and MetalCloak's signature black textured semi-gloss powdercoat.
Info: MetalCloak, 916/631-8071, www.metalcloak.com
Check out these new bolt-on lightbars for popular pickups and SUVs. Designed to integrate seamlessly with your late-model 4x4, these bars feature mounting tabs for up to four auxiliary lights, while maintaining the functionality of factory tow points. The bars are made from a stick of 11/2-inch rolled radius tubing that is powdercoated with a durable black wrinkle finish, and then capped at each end with an aluminum slug that is engraved with the Light Force kangaroo logo. Shown is the unit for the 2007-'09 Dodge Ram 2500; many other applications exist.
Info: Light Force, 888/643-6723, www.lightforce.us
Mac's Custom Tie Downs proved that even an award-winning design can be improved. Enter the Trail D-Vise, a portable bench vise that mounts to your receiver hitch. Now in its second revision, this handy product is better than ever. Improvements include an integrated adjustment wrench, a bottle opener, a pipe jaw, and a no-slip upper jaw that features rock-crusher-grade steel. Additionally, the new version can even be orientated 90 degrees for instances where space is limited. The Trail D-Vise is perfect for trail repairs such as changing axle or driveshaft U-joints, welding broken steering linkages, or any other repair that requires a sturdy vise.
Info: Mac's Custom Tie Downs, 866/371-5175, www.macscustomtiedowns.com
Chevy HD Lift Options
If you are in the market for a suspension system for a '01-'09 Chevy 2500HD, check this out. Zone Offroad engineers a complete 6-inch lift system that won't break the bank. A one-piece main crossmember works in combination with a pair of CNC-machined ductile steering knuckles to raise the front of the vehicle while maintaining factory steering and suspension geometry for excellent ride and handling. The differential skidplate and the compression struts offer added protection for trail work. Complete with torsion bar brackets, differential drop brackets, CV spacers, sway bar links, rear blocks, U-bolts, and a set of twin-tube shocks, this kit has everything you need to clear 35-inch tall tires on your Chevy HD.
Info: Zone Offroad, www.zoneoffroad.com
Fabricated Ford 9-Inch Housing
60Nine Axle Company just released its new fabricated 9-inch axle housing that features a round profile for maximum ground clearance and the ability to take a custom 10-inch racing gearset. Constructed of mild steel (chrome-moly is optional), these housings are built to handle serious abuse. The third-member mounting flange, or "face," is made from 3/8-inch-thick material. The CNC-formed housing is constructed from 1/4-inch-thick plate. Protruding from each side of the beautifully fabricated center section are 3.5 -inch axle tubes that are available with either 1/4-, 3/8-, or 1/2-inch wall thicknesses. A billet fill plug comes standard, and each housing is built to order-custom lengths are welcome. 60Nine axles are available as bare housings for the do-it-yourselfer, or fully built hub-to-hub, and ready to bolt right into front or rear applications. 60Nine also offers hubs that are CNC-machined from 6061 or 7075 aluminum; drive plates; spindles and nuts machined from 4340 steel; and spindle lock rings made from 308 stainless steel. Each 60Nine hub assembly utilizes genuine 2.5 inch Timken bearings and is available with your choice of bolt pattern: 6-on-5.5, six-on-6.5., or five-on 5.5 Other options include 35-, 40- and 46-spline drive plates. All 60Nine lug studs are 190,000 psi 5/8-inch ARP NASCAR-grade units. Brake rotors ranging from 12 to 14 inches are available in mild steel or stainless steel with optional scalloped, crossdrilled, or vented configurations.
Info: 60Nine Axle Company, 913/208-5992, www.60nineaxle.com
More JK Storage Solutions
If you enjoy driving your Wrangler JK with the front portion of the hardtop removed, you probably dislike the fact that Jeep failed to include a suitable storage method inside the vehicle. The Freedom Top Rack, developed by Mountain Off-Road Enterprises, is an easy-to-use storage solution designed to protect the hardtop pieces while in transit. The system has two positions: vertical or horizontal. Each configuration allows users ample space for additional cargo while ensuring that the hardtop is well protected while stowed.
Info: Mountain Off-Road Enterprises, 877/533-7229, www.mountainoffroad.com
New from Icon Vehicle Dynamics, Omega Modular Bypass shocks set new standards in package size, configuration, and adjustability. Conventional bypass shocks come with bypass tubes welded directly to the shock body in fixed locations. This configuration requires suspension fabricators to work around tubes as well as allowing space for adjustability with Allen and open-end wrenches-a time-consuming procedure, to say the least. Icon's new Omega series changes all that, thanks to a modular design that lets end users customize tube location to suit personal preferences and/or packaging restrictions. What's more, the Omega-series shocks feature a dynamic heat transfer system that circulates shock fluid through a one-way circuit in the remote reservoir, rather than back and forth through the same channel-a clear advantage when it comes to heat dissipation. Omega shocks are available in 2.5-inch diameters and come in a range from 9- to 18-inch lengths. Each is available with 2-, 3-, and 4-tube layouts with infinite clockability.
Info: Icon Vehicle Dynamics, 951/272-4266, www.iconvehicledynamics.com
Ram 1/2-Ton Lift Options
BDS brought out a new suspension system for the '02-'05 1/2-ton Dodge pickup. The system requires no torsion bar drop and includes a high-clearance crossmember arrangement for improved performance in the dirt. The two main high clearance crossmembers are locked together with a substantial differential skidplate and a passenger side support creating a subframe built for abuse. Also featured in this kit are CNC-machined steering knuckles, a bumpstop relocation system, full rear leaf pack options, and gas-charged shock options.
Info: BDS Suspension, 517/279-2135, www.bds-suspension.com
Smart Fuel Tank Protection for Jeep TJs
Savvy Offroad has released a new '97-'06 TJ/LJ 6061 T6 aluminum gas tank skidplate that weighs a mere 32 pounds-only four pounds more than the stock unit. This means you pay less for shipping, and you definitely won't need an extra hand when fitting it to the underside of your Jeep. While the benefits of lightweight aluminum versus steel are easy to see, the other benefits of this product are most evident on the trail. Thanks to rolled radius corners, this skid is significantly stronger and less likely to hang up on rocks than other aftermarket skidplates. Plus, thanks to a clever adjustable design, this skid can be used with or without a body lift. You can expect up to 1.75 inches of additional ground clearance when used in conjunction with a 1-inch body lift. Additionally, this skid will never rust, so you can always count on it looking good despite scratches and scrapes.
Info: Savvy Offroad, 949/795-0909, www.savvyoffroad.com