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15 Off-Road Parts You Gotta Have

Posted in Product Reviews on September 25, 2015
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Photographers: ManufacturersLevi Jansma

This year, TEN's Four Wheeler Network endeavored to hit you with an online Moab media blitz, providing daily live coverage video, photos, and story updates of what was happening during Easter Jeep Safari in Moab. Organizing the manpower for something like this isn't easy (or inexpensive), so to get enough boots and tires on the ground, we opened the door to some sponsorship. But we didn't invite just anybody with deep pockets aboard.

Lots of companies make parts for off-road vehicles. Why? Because 4x4s are a hot market and there's money to be made. Some look at what's trending and barf out parts from a chintzy manufacturing plant, sell it through an e-commerce site, and rake in the profits while ignoring the customer service line ringing off the hook. On the other hand, there are companies making parts for off-road vehicles because it's their passion. They're wheelers and enthusiasts first, and the company is a byproduct of their love of off-roading and the outdoors. Those are the types of organizations who you'll find displaying their wares at the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, and we're proud to say they are the companies that helped make our 2015 Four Wheeler Network Moab Experience happen. Check out some of the cool stuff they offer and be sure to hit their websites to see what else these companies make for your vehicle.


Dynatrac

Dynatrac is continually pushing the envelope not only in terms of product innovation, but in product quality. Two of the company's newest products that clearly demonstrate both these commitments to excellence are its beefy 1550 LT aluminum wheel ends that will be an option on ProRock XD60 axles with 1550-series axleshaft U-joints. The military-grade aluminum knuckles and wheel ends will cut almost 70 pounds of unsprung weight compared with a standard Dana 60 wheel end. Also, the company's ProGrip brake upgrade for '07-'15 Wranglers is a super-cool design that retains the factory JK calipers so there's no need to crack into your brake system with complicated bleeding procedures. The ProGrip utilizes larger-diameter rotors (13 1/2-inch front, 14 1/4-inch rear), new brackets to mount the factory calipers to the larger rotors, and a proprietary brake pad compound to increase braking performance 30 percent without the spongy brake pedal associated with many other aftermarket JK brake upgrade systems. INFO: Dynatrac, 714/421-4314, dynatrac.com.

ARB

Whether it's nearly indestructible Fridge Freezers or top-quality rooftop tent systems or high-zoot Old Man Emu suspension systems, to Air Lockers and compressors, ARB goes the extra mile during research and development at its Melbourne, Australia, world headquarters that you can be sure the part you buy is worth every penny. We've always been pleased with our ARB purchases, but lately we've been eyeballing the company's slick new line of Bull Bar bumpers, including many applications for fullsize American pickups and SUVs and (of course) the JK Wrangler Rock Bar bumper, shown. Laser-cut steel, powdercoated finish designed to resist salt spray and corrosion, and an integrated winch mount that fits most standard Warn winch designs make this one killer choice for front-end protection no matter what you're driving. INFO: ARB, 425/264 1391, arbusa.com.

Bestop

Who doesn't like sun in your face? It's no secret that Bestop has been the supplier of factory Jeep Wrangler soft tops since before most people reading this were out of diapers. So, no matter what type or condition your top is in when you bought your Jeep new or used, you can have a factory-quality Sunrider soft top that easily flips open for fresh air and sunshine by pulling a couple levers. Like the fresh air but not the sunshine so much? Go with Bestop's Sun Bikini that attaches without the need for a windshield channel. The Sun Bikini is offered for the JK in two lengths: Targa to cover just the front passengers or Safari to cover the rear seat passengers. INFO: Bestop, 800/845-3567, bestop.com.

Baja Designs

The Baja Design XL and XL R Sport lights are compact enough to fit virtually any application, feature powerful and durable LEDs that pound out the lumens while using only a fraction of the wattage of incandescent, and can be had in a variety of beam patterns to cover any need. Our favorite is the Driving/Combo that features a wide (44-degree) and spot (6-degree) pattern in one housing. The result is a hug blast of light that illuminates for any driving or trail condition. INFO: Baja Designs, 760/560-BAJA (2252), bajadesigns.com.

C&R Performance

C&R is all about performance, from parts for NASCAR transmissions to super high-zoot surge tanks, check valves, and high-quality fittings. But what the company is really known for is bombproof, crazy-quality aluminum radiators in just about any shape or size. If you've got a cooling issue, C&R can solve it. And the prices aren't bad either. INFO: C&R Performance, 317/293-4100, crracing.com.

EVO Manufacturing

If there's any company that puts its products to the test it's EVO Manufacturing. Just check a quick Google search of "EVO1 Jeep," owner Mel Wade's well-used and abused JK Wrangler Unlimited, as proof. Wade has hammered (pun intended) EVO 1 on hardcore trails (literally) coast-to-coast, as well as raced it in the King of the Hammers series. The best part is the vehicle is built with parts you can buy straight from EVO Manufacturing and install on your JK. It's one of the few "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" examples that's still relevant in any motorsports circuit. INFO: EVO Manufacturing, 714/879-8913, evomfg.com.

Fabtech Motorsports

If you've been out from under a desert rock anytime during the past 20 years, then the name Fabtech should ring bell. The company has had its development team hard at work with a new line of fullsize pickup suspensions for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge vehicles, but the exciting news is the company's new Dirt Logic 4.0 adjustable coilover shocks. The Dirt Logic 4.0 is available with a piggyback reservoir, remote-reservoir, or no reservoir and features things like a 4-inch OD body, huge 3 5/8-inch piston, and 1 1/4-inch chromed piston shafts. INFO: Fabtech Motorsports, 877/432-2832, fabtechmotorsports.com.

Quadratec

Wait, isn't Quadratec just a killer catalog offering any part you need to build a Jeep from scratch…and then again into a trail monster? Yes, but the company also has its own proprietary line of Jeep components like its new Maximum Duty suspension systems for TJ and JK Wranglers. Shown is the 3 1/2-inch coil spring system for JK that includes everything you need to fit 35s under your factory flares or 37s with aftermarket flares. INFO: Quadratec, 800/745-6037, quadratec.com.

Magnuson

Engine swaps open a whole can of worms ranging from cooling to fitment to suspension issues. If more power is all you're after, Magnuson makes supercharger systems that can add up to 100 hp and 70 lb-ft to your JK Wrangler's 3.6L V-6. That's a ton of power for under $6,000 and well less than what a turnkey engine swap will run you from a drop-off-and-drive-away shop. Or, if you already have a V-8 in your pickup, how about 416 hp and 444 lb-ft from your Chevy Silverado's 5.3L or an extra 120 hp and 120 lb-ft from your Ram's 5.7L Hemi? Yeah, that's what we thought. INFO: Magnuson Superchargers, 805/642-8833, magnacharger.com.

JK Experience, 2015

Mel Wade has a habit of going where the action is. From our sister magazine, 4-Wheel & Off-Road's Ultimate Adventure to Jp magazine's buildup of the RESQ1 field recovery vehicle to racing in the KOH series to his own weekend adventures, he likes to be where the off-road action is. The fact that EVO1 is usually nearly on its side, balancing on one tire and about to leap up a rock ledge like a predatory cat (to us at least) makes this image of the time he bumped into our Four Wheeler of the Year competition and rescued our Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk seem all the funnier. With his love of wheeling, it's little wonder why he started his own JK Experience series in which he leads a group of JK Wranglers on an Ultimate Adventure-style trip through various parts of the country, hitting hardcore trails and exploring the American countryside. Check out the JKX website for more info and see if you've got what it takes to participate. INFO: JK Experience, jk-experience.com.

sPOD

Who doesn't like electrical add-ons? Nobody! But who likes to wire individual relays, plumb wiring through firewalls and under dashboards, and find room for a bunch of rocker switches? Nobody! That's why we absolutely love the sPOD. And now that the company has unveiled its exciting new touch-screen Bluetooth-controlled unit things are gonna get even more exciting. The new touch-screen unit goes with a mosfet Source box under the hood that allows up to eight switchable items to be installed instead of the old unit's six. Keep your eyes peeled for more on this cool new product soon in Four Wheeler. INFO: sPOD, 661/755-8139, 4x4s-pod.com.

Truck-Lite

Not everybody wants a huge rack of lightbars hanging off the front of their 4x4s. For those wishing for a simple, yet major, 7-inch round headlight upgrade that can turn night into day, Truck-Lite offers its LED direct replacement headlight. Well, we say direct replacement, but sometimes you'll need to install a piggyback. However, if you can change a regular headlight in your vehicle, you can install Truck-Lite's LED drop-in replacement beams. INFO: Truck-Lite, 800/562-5012, truck-lite.com.

Skyjacker

Fancy-schmancy lifts may come and go, but when it comes to a good ol' product that works, give us Skyjacker leaf-spring suspension any ol' day of the week. Yes, the company makes trick suspension systems for modern multi-link vehicles, and they're all nicely designed and full of quality components, but if you're looking for a good old-fashioned lift for your leaf-sprung pickup, SUV, or Jeep, it's hard to beat Skyjacker's Soft Ride spring packs. They come supple right off the shelf and keep their lift without sagging, bending, or breaking. INFO: Skyjacker, 318/388-0816, skyjacker.com.

Rigid Industries LED Lighting

They draw comparably little power when you stack them up against old-school incandescent lights, but LEDs can throw some serious candlepower out into the scary darkness. Rigid Industries has led the way with a constantly evolving lineup of LED lightbars. From curved units that match the contour of modern windshields to direct-fit cube units that replace the factory fascia-mounted fog lamps, the choices sometimes seem endless. And no matter what you're into, you just can't go wrong with a good, solid pair of Rigid's SR-50 combo that mingles 50 spot- and flood-beam LEDs inside a 54-inch-wide rugged aluminum housing. INFO: Rigid Industries LED Lighting, 855/760-5337, rigidindustries.com.

Metalcloak

MetalCloak's Overland Elite Series Suspension System uses the company's True Dualrate coils to provide 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 inches of lift, while ensuring a great ride on- and off- road whether you're running the kids to school or loaded down for an extended overland camping trip. Adjustable front and rear bumpstops allow fine tuning, while adjustable high-clearance solid chromoly front and rear track bars bring durability and peace of mind. The Control Arm Relocation Drop Bracket Kit reuses the factory control arms and corrects the front axle caster, and extended braided stainless steel brake lines, brake extension brackets, and all hardware needed for installation come with the system. INFO: MetalCloak, 916/631-8071, metalcloak.com.

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