What's New and Trick in The Off-Road World
Every year we look forward to the Moab Easter Jeep Safari, and it’s not just because we have the opportunity to hit the dirt on some of the coolest and most scenic trails in the U.S. We also get a chance to eyeball what’s hot and up-and-coming in the aftermarket industry. The Old Spanish Trail Arena hosts one of the more innovative product showcases we see all year. It’s large enough that the industry big dogs show up, but it’s also small enough that many new start-up and pioneering companies can afford to be there. This year we saw a wide range of cool new products. Here’s what tickled our fancy.
Wrangler IFS Conversion?
Even the idea of it sounds like a turd in a punchbowl, but when you consider that the Trail Mods IFS conversion kit for the ’07-present Wrangler features long-travel, desert-race inspired, hand-built A-arms and spindles, it starts to make sense. If you want to go fast across rough terrain it would be hard to beat this IFS 4x4 conversion. The front axle is a Ford 9-inch that will feature RCV halfshafts and huge disc brakes from a GM 1-ton truck. Trail Mods is also offering a prerunner-inspired rear link suspension system.
Info: Trail Mods
Thread the Needle
Mac’s Custom Tie-Downs had just pulled these anodized billet winch cable ends and trailer hitch clevis mounts off the CNC machine. The new winch ends allow you to use a clevis instead of the factory hook for safer recovery. The winch ends are available in both aluminum and titanium while the clevis mount is aluminum.
Info: Mac’s Custom Tie-Downs
Jeep totally flaked when it came to lift kit consideration on the ’12 Wrangler. Once a 3-inch (or taller) lift kit is installed, only a minimal amount of droop causes the front driveshaft to make damaging contact with the exhaust crossover pipe. The big brains at BDS Suspension came up with a quick and simple solution, exhaust extensions. These CNC-machined DOM spacers feature a ball/taper seat connection for a leak-proof seal. They bolt in place at the exhaust collectors using the included hardware and common hand tools.
Info: BDS Suspension
With plenty of heavy-duty CV-style front axle applications under its belt, RCV set to work on making some bomb-proof rear axleshafts to match. The company now offers heavy-duty flanged rear axleshafts for the Jeep Wrangler JK with other applications to follow. RCV plans to offer extreme-heavy-duty 300M versions as well. The new rear ’shafts will be covered by the company’s “You break it, we replace it” limited lifetime warranty and as always they are made right here in the U.S.
Info: RCV Performance Products
Anvil Axle Components offers up a heavy-duty Spin Lock free-wheeling hub kit for the front of ’07-present Wranglers. The addition of manual locking hubs eliminates parasitic drag from the front axle and driveshaft to help improve fuel economy. The design allows the front wheel bearings to be serviced and repacked when needed. What’s new is the Anvil heavy-duty locking hub that features a ¼-turn dial with positive engagement. The kit features a 5-on-5.5 lug pattern that matches the company’s rear full-floater kit.
Info: Anvil Axle Components
No matter if you are looking to perform an original Cummins engine swap or simply replace an existing worn-out diesel engine, ACD Engines has what you’ll need. The company offers used engines, brand new complete Cummins 4BTAA engines, short- and long-block 5.9L engines and even a trick, ready-to-run, modern, and adaptable common-rail Cummins 3.3L among others. Info: ACD Engines, 801/506-0090, www.acdengines.com
Cable Sway Control
The factory ’07-present Jeep Wrangler Rubicon electronic disconnect sway bars aren’t notoriously problematic, but they have been known to die and the factory replacement isn’t cheap. JKS showed us a prototype cable conversion that is simple to install and lets you disconnect the sway bar whenever you want. The lever is located in the front fenderwell for easy access. It should be available by the time you read this.
Info: JKS Manufacturing
Off Road Only took advantage of the extra space in front of the Pentastar 3.6L V-6 in the ’12-up Jeep Wrangler and designed a system that puts the venerable York air compressor right at the front of the crank. The compressor pulley noses right into the 3.6L crank pulley and the compressor clutch works just like normal. Now you can have an unlimited air supply under the hood of your newer Jeep that has limited space for such niceties.
Info: Off Road Only