Trick Stuff For Better 'Wheeling
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