Trying to collect 25 neat things for better 'wheeling is a real battle: There are a lot more goodies being made than we can possibly include. But rest assured, because we've sifted and sorted the parts and pieces to give you a sampling of cool stuff that might be applicable to you and your ride. While not everyone can use all of the products shown here, we've included items ranging from tools to tents, with tires and transfer-case gears thrown in for good measure. So check out these primo parts. Maybe the missing link (or linkage) you've been looking for is just a phone call away.
If you've ever tried to route a steering shaft around motor mounts and exhaust systems, you'll really appreciate this double U-joint from Flaming River. The billet joints are CNC-machined from high-alloy-grade, stress-relieved steel and are nickel plated for corrosion resistance. With a torque rating in excess of 650 lb-ft, the sealed needle bearings are 10 times stronger than the regular cross-and-block style and have an operating angle up to 60 degrees. The new double U-joint is available for all popular spline applications as well as with smooth bore or DD. Information: Flaming River Ind., Dept. 4WOR, 17851 Englewood Dr., Cleveland, OH 44130, 216/826-4488.
Keeping valuable equipment safe and secure in a Jeep has always been a problem, especially in the rear. Tuffy Products has come up with an answer in the form of an oversized, steel security lockbox that secures the entire rear cargo bed of Jeep CJs, YJs, and TJs. The 16-gauge-steel box is powdercoated and bolts in with Grade 8 bolts (without drilling in most cases). Two cylindrical locks set in 3/16-inch steel keep items safe. The top lid is gas-shock-equipped for easy lifting, while the tailgate lid conveniently folds out of the way. Information: Tuffy Security Products, Dept. 4WOR, 12540 W. Cedar Dr., Lakewood, CO 80228, 303/988-8833.
Here's an answer to spring-over conversions that need steering modifications. Mounting the tie rod assembly above the springs used to require custom machining or finding some very rare knuckles for proper fit and steering geometry. Tri-County Gear now offers conversion knuckles for the popular Dana axles with standard-size open knuckles to eliminate the previous hassles. These replacement knuckles are modified to accept special upper steering arms without welding, cutting, or grinding. Specifically designed for '72-'86 Jeep CJs, these knuckles will also work on other Dana axle applications with minor modifications. Information: Tri-County Gear, Dept. 4WOR, 1143 W. Second St., Pomona, CA 91766, 909/623-3373.
Keeping rocks away from your body used to mean placing clearance-limiting nerf bars or boring steel plate on the side of your truck. Featuring formed 3/16-inch plate with a rounded corner, this newly designed heavy-duty rocker protection from Sun Performance is made specifically for Jeeps and combines the best features of nerfs and plates without any of the drawbacks. All necessary hardware is included to bolt the rockers underneath and to the side of the body tub. The black powdercoated rockers are available for all CJ-7s and the TJ Wrangler. Information: Sun Performance, Dept. 4WOR, 17 Musick, Irvine, CA 92618, 714/588-8567, e-mail email@example.com.
One of many new offerings from Olympic 4x4 Products is this handy Victory Rack, which provides for convenient storage and transport of an ax and a shovel. The rack is designed to be bolted or welded in any location and features an easy-to-use locking device. Simply depress and slide the latch and the tools can be easily removed. Other racks can handle a sledgehammer and a maddox, or a shovel, an ax, and a maddox. An optional bracket allows mounting to a rollbar, and all of the racks come in a choice of Rubicon black, red, or, our favorite, olive drab. Information: Olympic 4x4 Products, Dept. 4WOR, 2645 S. Yates Ave., City of Commerce, CA 90040, 213/726-6988.
Trying to rewire any vehicle without a new harness is a pain, and some of the aftermarket universal-style harnesses don't help much. Now Painless Wiring has introduced a complete kit with underhood, underdash, and rear body harnesses and OE-style bulkhead connectors and fuse blocks. Blade-style fuses, horn relays, and flashers are already installed, with all connectors machine-crimped onto 600-volt, color-coded wire. Although most wires are terminated at both ends, some engine-specific ones aren't, which allows easy engine swaps with dissimilar products. Information: Painless Wiring, Dept. 4WOR, 9505 Santa Paula, Ft. Worth, TX 76116, 817/244-6898, Web site www.painlesswiring.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The final answer to Jeep CJ hub breakage is found in the new Warn front hub conversion kit. Stock hubs have bolts holding the drive flange of the locking hub to the vehicle hub, which often loosen and break. Warn's solution is an all-new vehicle hub with an internal, spline-drive locking hub for maximum strength and sealing, similar to the hubs found on fullsize trucks. The hubs come complete with new spindle nuts and washers for positive retention. These new hubs fit almost any Jeep with disc or drum brakes. Information: Warn Ind., Dept. 4WOR, 12900 SE Capps Rd., Clackamas, OR 97015, 503/722-3019.
After you've blown apart your Toyota rear axle for the second time, think about upgrading to Turbo Direct's Project 875 rearend. This bulletproof replacement axle assembly comes ready to install, with your choice of gears and lockers and a new housing. You simply add your axleshafts, backing plates, and brakes, and bolt this baby in. All the brackets, spring perches, and fittings are in the proper places, so the swap is indeed simple. Turbo Direct uses the venerable 8 3/4-inch Chrysler third members for the Project 875, the type found in a '70 'Cuda with casting number 742. These units can handle all the horsepower and torque you can dish out. Information: Turbo Direct, Dept. 4WOR, P.O. Box 1727, Gig Harbor, WA 98335, 206/842-6183.
The new Sway Bar Disconnect from Warrior Products features snapper clips on both the top and bottom of the end link so the whole bar can be removed. Unlike other designs, this feature eliminates the need to tie up the loose end, which often hits suspension components when it's disconnected. While designed for the Jeep CJ, YJ, and TJ market, these new 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-inch disconnects can be fitted to many other vehicles. Information: Warrior Products Inc., Dept. 4WOR, 17325 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Milwaukie, OR 97267, 503/653-6861, e-mail email@example.com.
Calmini has come up with yet another innovative product for Suzuki Samurai owners. Its new Anti-Bump Steer System not only removes all bumpsteer, but it also gives the ability to adjust steering ratio and leverage using the stock pitman arm. And it works great with the company's new power steering kit. The system comes complete with new relay rods, a vertical idler arm assembly and bracket, and a center tie rod assembly with ends. It bolts on with no drilling or welding. And for you CJ owners, Calmini is working on a new steering kit that should be available by the end of the year. Information: Calmini Mfg., Dept. 4WOR, 6600-B McDivitt Dr., Bakersfield, CA 93313, 805/398-9500, Web site www.calmini.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electra Glide in Red
As owners of '87-and-newer IFS Chevy and GMC 4x4s know, the front axle doesn't always engage due to the thermal coupler. Rancho's new SureShift eliminates shifter lag by replacing the old shifter with a new electromechanical unit that quickly and positively engages the axle. Even with the vehicle turned off, the unit stays engaged, and, unlike the OE unit, it isn't affected by cold weather. Information: Rancho Suspension, 888/GO-RANCHO, Web site www.gorancho.com.
Not a helicopter-but just as high tech-these new long-link radius arms from James Duff fit Bronco IIs and Rangers for the ultimate in suspension. These arms improve suspension geometry and offer increased articulation and bushing life. The drop brackets are adjustable for proper caster adjustment and work with lifts up to 4 inches. Zinc-plated hardware complements the blue bushings and blue powdercoated arms and brackets. Information: James Duff Ent., Dept. 4WOR, 261340 Hwy. 101, Sequim, WA 98382, 360/683-2160.
Super-tough polyurethane motor mounts for the AMC Jeep 304, 360, and 401 eight-cylinder engines have finally arrived from Daystar. Polyurethane is rarely used in motor or transmission mounts because it is difficult to bond to metal. But with special interlocking devices built into the mount, a truly superior product can be produced. Daystar also offers a Jeep six-cylinder mount as well as popular transmission mounts for Jeeps and other vehicles. Information: Daystar Products, Dept. 4WOR, 841 S. 71st Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85043, 800/595-7659.
Not A Ratchet
Ever hear of a flat ratchet wrench with no moving parts? Well, the guys at Craftsman have outdone themselves this time by creating a unique new tool that looks like a combination wrench with a regular box on one end and a weirdly deformed open hook on the other. Called the Quick Wrench, this slick open-ended tool maintains constant contact with the fastener when turning in either direction, but ratchets backward to grip again when needed. The wrench is longer for added leverage and, as with all Sears tools, is guaranteed for life. See your local Sears store for information or call 800/377-7414, Web site www.sears.com/craftsman.
Tires rubbing on Ford radius arms is a thing of the past thanks to Tuff Country's new contoured and extended radius arms. These 15-inch-longer arms incorporate a unigue rear mounting design that uses greaseable polyurethane pins and eyelets to increase articulation and suspension travel. The new drop brackets are formed from 1/4-inch material and feature adjustable caster bolts for a full 4.5 degrees of adjustment. Information: Tuff Country, Dept. 4WOR, 4165 W. Nike Dr., Salt Lake City, UT 84088, 801/280-2777.
For those extended 'wheeling trips, Back Country Trailers now offers a Base Camp Tent option that attaches to its standard Trailer Tent. The 7x15-foot Base Camp tent sits on the ground and provides lots of additional room for extra gear, pets, or kids, while the main trailer tent becomes a master bedroom. Made of the same high-quality rip-stop nylon as the Tent Trailer, the new living area will be a welcome addition as you haul more stuff to the outback. Information: Back Country USA, Dept. 4WOR, 2331-D2 E. Ave. S, Palmdale, CA 93550, 805/273-9155.
In the world of rockcrawlin' there is no substitute for lower gearing. For Toyota pickups, Advance Adapters has developed a set of drop-in replacement gears that feature a 4:1 reduction as an alternative to the stock 2.28:1 ratio. This affords Toyota owners a 76 percent lower reduction ratio for better crawling. The American-made gears are slightly larger in diameter than stock gears and are produced from a special gear alloy material. No modifications are needed to the case, shifters, or driveline, and the gears install in about two hours. Information: Advanced Adapters, Dept. 4WOR, 335 Santa Bella, Paso Robles CA 93446, 805/238-7000, Web site www.advanceadapters.com, e-mail email@example.com.
Spring into spring with Eaton Spring, which offers a full line of coil and leaf springs, axle pads, U-bolts, bushings, and many other parts. Eaton Spring also offers a computer disk containing the specs and spring rates for each of its 17,000 original blueprints, with applications for most domestic cars and trucks. Eaton has been making springs since 1937 and is licensed by GM and Ford to produce factory replacements for OE parts. Eaton also produces custom springs, which are crafted from American-made SAE 5160 alloy steel. Information: Eaton Spring, Dept. 4WOR, 1555 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216, 313/963-3839, Web site www.eatonsprings.com.
For '93-'97 Ford F-350 fans who need better handling and steering control, Off Road Unlimited offers its Shackle Reversal Kit. On these trucks, the stock A shackles will sway from side to side as the vehicle is steered, a problem that is compounded by adding big tires. Using this kit to swap the shackle to the rear of the leaf spring achieves much better handling, due to the trailing effect of the springs. As a bonus, the kit raises the front about 2 1/2 inches, equaling the height of the rear. With the exception of minor welding for the track bar bracket, the kit bolts on, but longer shocks will have to be used. Information: Off Road Unlimited, Dept. 4WOR, 40 E. Palm Ave., Burbank, CA 91502, 818/563-1208, Web site www.offroadunlimited.com.
Carb Bracket Cures
Swapping on a four-barrel carb is fairly easy, until you try to hook up the throttle and kickdown cables. As engine swap artists know, the cable lengths and brackets don't always match up. But now Russell Performance offers a bracket that does it all. The anodized aluminum bracket bolts onto one carb stud and adjusts where the cable snaps in. The kickdown bracket is available in two styles for different types of cables, and is adjustable as well. The new bracket even has provisions to attach the throttle return spring at the bottom. Information: Russell Performance Products, Dept. 4WOR, 2645 Gundry Ave., Signal Hill, CA 90806.
The awesome-looking Michelin XCL, used by militaries around the world, is now offered in two different sizes by Safari Gard. The 7.50-16 is 31.5 inches tall, while the massive 9.00-16 stands a full 36.4 inches tall and is 8.9 inches wide. The eight-ply radial tire is made in Italy and is DOT-approved for North American use. Safari Gard specializes in hard-core accessories for Land Rovers and carries special rims to mount these tires to the British rigs. Information: Safari Gard, Dept. 4WOR, 41095 Fig St., Murrieta, CA 92562, 909/698-6114, Web site www.safarigard.com.
Now that the Jeep TJ is sweeping the nation, Skyjacker has come out with a 4-inch lift suspension kit that increases the coiler's suspension travel and articulation, while improving the ride to boot. The kit includes coils for the front and rear (rear coils are different for the hard and soft top applications due to weight difference). The extended front and rear lower links are greaseable and feature poly bushings. Front poly bumpstops and rear spacers are also included. But wait-there's more! Extended rear sway bar links complement the double quick-disconnect front links, and a track bar bracket, a transfer case lowering kit, and Softride shocks round out the package. Information: Skyjacker, Dept. 4WOR, P.O. Box 1678, West Monroe, LA 71294, 318/388-0816.
Voltage spikes from jump starting your buddy's 4x4 could fry the computer, ABS, air bags, or fuel-injection system, resulting in more than a dead battery. Matson's AntiZap booster cables protect both vehicles during a jump start, so with more and more 'wheelers having onboard electronics, this item is a must-have. AntiZap cables are available in 00-, 0-, and 2-gauge fine-strand copper wire for maximum flexibility. The insulation is chemical, acid, and fuel resistant. Information: Matson USA, Dept. 4WOR, 40 W. Howard, Ste. 402, Pontiac, MI 48342, 248/332-4900.
Cam And Git It
It may look like a regular bumpstick, but this one is designed for 4x4 and SUV drivers, not the racers we'd all like to be. Comp Cams' new Xtreme 4x4 camshaft is designed to increase horsepower and usable torque in the ranges these vehicles are normally used in. Accelerated valve timing and increased area under the curve, coupled with decreased overlap, help boost torque while maintaining excellent vacuum for power brakes and other accessories. Information: Competition Cams, Dept. 4WOR, 3406 Democrat Rd., Memphis, TN 38118, 901/795-2400, Web site www.compcams.com.
Hauling everything but the kitchen sink is difficult with an early Bronco or Jeep CJ, unless you're running the Trail Mate Bumper System from Cross Enterprises. This modular system starts off with a sturdy bumper machined to fit the frame horns. The tire rack then mounts onto the bumper and pivots out of the way on sealed bearings. Adding the sturdy 22x50x4-inch Outback Rack to the bumper completes a well-designed package that can haul most of your junk. Options include receiver hitches, light tabs, and, of course, powdercoating. Information: Cross Enterprises, Dept. 4WOR, 3833 Old Conejo Rd., Newbury Park, CA 91320, 805/499-8169.