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Mopar Jeep Performance & JK Aftermarket Parts

Posted in Product Reviews on July 1, 2008
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As you may have guessed, the JK aftermarket is growing faster than the list of losers who have dated celebutards. But this year's Easter Jeep Safari vender showcase offered quite a bit more than an arrest and a bad case of VD. Lots of cool products for many different Jeep models surfaced, but some had to be searched out. Perhaps the biggest surprise at the Moab Easter Jeep Safari was the presence of Mopar Jeep Performance. The company pulled out all the stops and came to the uranium boomtown with way more than the useless chrome wingdings and phitzers from the past. Check it out!

If you own your own military outside of North America, you may want to consider transporting your army to the front lines with a fleet of J8 Jeeps. The J8 is a stripped, long-wheelbase JK that features a 2.8L VM Motori diesel engine, increased load-carrying capacity, and a Dana 60 rear axle. A base two-door J8 has an MSRP of $34,250 and the four-door version runs $35,620. When your soldiers aren't busy fighting the latest insurgent, they can fight over who gets to drive-or maybe do both at the same time. The Jeep Underground crew slapped this mostly stock J8 together and dubbed it Sarge. Don't expect to see the J8 available in North America any time soon, unless we're invaded by Egypt. But if that's the case, you'll have to dodge automatic weapons fire and resort to thievery to get one.

It's true: Mopar Jeep Performance has picked up the Rubicon Express JK long-arm kit and dubbed it their own with a few minor changes, namely in the rear track bar bracket and the shock valving. The changes to the Mopar Jeep kit are said to improve handling and work a little better with the Jeep's ESP system.

Information: Mopar Jeep Performance, your local Jeep Dealer,

For now it's only a concept, but the Mopar Jeep Performance crate diesel engine could be just the swap for those drooling to have a diesel engine under the hood. It may be offered as a kit, but the swap seems pretty simple since many of the parts used have been available on overseas Jeeps for years. The 2.8L CRD engine bolts up to the factory TJ/LJ NV3550 transmission in place of the 4.0L gas engine with only a simple plate adapter. If the idea is a go, the use of other transmissions will likely be possible.

Information: Mopar Jeep Performance, your local Jeep Dealer,

Rock Hard 4x4 Parts offered up its four skidplate kit to protect the underside of '07-and-newer two- and four-door JK Wranglers. The skids cover the gas tank, transfer case, engine oil pan, transmission, exhaust, and EVAP canister with 3/16-inch, laser-cut, CNC-bent, and jig-welded steel plate. Plus, all bolts at the frame crossover are replaced with tapered bolt-head protectors to allow rocks to easily slide across yet still enable you to get a socket on the bolt heads for removal.

Information: Rock Hard 4x4 Parts, 308/750-4690,

One of the coolest products we saw was the Advance Adapters Rubi-Crawler low range box for '03-and-up Wranglers with the 42RLE four-speed automatic. This box completely replaces the factory transmission tailhousing adapter with an NV241HD six-pinion planetary. It bolts on with no driveline or other modifications and the 2.72:1 and 1:1 gearing allows more low-range versatility for both Rubicon and non-Rubicon model Wranglers.

Information: Advance Adapters, 800/350-2223,

In the past, a one-off JK Hemi V-8 engine swap seemed a bit expensive. Today you can use a kit from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) along with a wrecking yard engine. Also, keep an eye out for some AEV redesigned '07-up Wrangler lift kits that are coming soon. They'll be paraded under the Nth Degree Mobility flag.

Information: American Expedition Vehicles, 406/251-2100,

Yep, Mopar Jeep Performance is dabbling in the axle market as well. The company is passing its buy-in-bulk savings on to you. Not only can you get factory front and rear JK Rubicon axles for cheap, you should soon be able to get the military J8 35-spline Dana 60 rear axle in several different configurations for TJs and JKs. We expect the same treatment for the Rubicon 44s, but wouldn't a bolt-in Mopar Jeep Dana 60 frontend be sweet? Call your dealer a bunch of times and ask for it and it just may happen.

Information: Mopar Jeep Performance, your local Jeep Dealer,

Does the 3.8L V-6 in your JK leave your yearning for more power? Perhaps 505 Performance can help you spark it up. The company is offering a completely sealed, bolt-on centrifugal supercharger kit that is said to whip out significantly more horsepower and torque than stock. And for you 4.0L inline-six fans, check out the company's 525hp 4.7L stroker turbo crate engine.

Information: 505 Performance,505/333-2600,

Rusty's has several different suspension end variations available for its lift kits. Now you can pick the ends that make the most sense for you and the terrain your Jeep sees. Dry and dusty? Maybe go for the rod ends. Wet and muddy? Maybe the greaseable ends are better for you. Rusty's also has a heavy-duty, 1/4-inch-thick steel JK track bar bracket that every lifted JK will likely need.

Information: Rusty's Off-Road Products, 256/442-0607,

OX is now building its selectable locker for the Ford 8.8 rearend. The company still offers lockers for Dana 30, 35, 44, 60, and AMC 20 applications. New electric and air-operated versions are also available.

Information: OX, 727/569-6000,

Alloy USA has you covered if you need more axleshaft strength for your JK. The company has front and rear shafts for JK Dana 30s and 44s. Out back both standard 30 and Rubicon 32-spline versions are available, as well as a 35-spline Mas-Grande conversion. All shafts come with a 10-year, no questions asked warranty.

Information: Alloy USA, 951/256-2206,

STaK has been busy whittling away at aluminum and steel to offer its Mini Monster Box. The Mini Box is about 10 percent smaller than the company's Monster Box, so it fits more Jeep applications. It's available in right- and left-drop versions, is simpler, and has fewer seal surfaces that could leak in the future. It's available in two- and three-speed units in a variety of ratios and can be adapted to many different transmissions.

Information: STaK 4x4, 915/584-2400,

We think Eaton finally has it right with the design of its Dana 30 and 35 ELocker. These two models feature a bombproof engaging ring instead of the old clunky pin design. But for other axle applications, word is an even newer and stronger ELocker design is well on the way. Keep an eye out for the new ELocker for the Ford 9-inch: it's coming soon.

Information: Eaton Corporation, 800/386-1911,

Adding hydraulic bumpstops and coil height adjusters to the front and rear of your '07-'08 Wrangler JK in one step is easy with the JKS Acos Pro. It doesn't get more versatile than this. The bumpstop height, compression rate, and lift height are all totally adjustable to allow you to fit bigger tires and get the handling you want. And it's completely bolt-on!

Information: JKS Manufacturing, 308/762-6949,

Poly Performance has its JK short-arm Synergy lift kits completed and available in three different stages. Attention-to-detail items such as heavy-duty replacement arms that allow easy pinion angle change and caster adjustment without removing the arms from the Jeep are the kind of features we like to see. All three stages are complete kits that will fit up to 35- or 37-inch tires on two- and four-door '07-'08 Wranglers.

Information: Poly Performance, 805/783-2060,

Premier Power Welder has a bolt-in welder for nearly any application including the '07-'08 Wrangler. Just add the company's alternator, weld box, and wiring harness, and you're ready to fix your buddies' broken rigs right there on the trail. Welding skills not included.

Information: Premier Power Welder, 970/963-4507,

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