5 Hot New Jeep Products: 2016 Off-Road Expo

    Check out the Jp staff’s favorite new Jeep products found at the 2016 Off-Road Expo

    Stuart A. BourdonPhotographer, Writer

    Off-Road Expo, held every year at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, is southern California’s mega-hot off-road show during which hundreds of manufacturers, suppliers, and services supporting the off-road industry display their wares. Just as big an attraction is the hundreds of custom off-road vehicles parked on the grounds and inside the Expo Halls. To see all the vehicles at the 2016 Off-Road Expo, held October 1-2, check out fourwheeler.com.

    However, hot 4x4s are not the only thing you or we are interested in. Everyone is always looking for new parts and accessories that can make their Jeep perform and look better. And while many of the displaying manufacturers are holding their newest goodies for international attention at the SEMA Show that comes a month after the Off-Road Expo, we were still able to dig up a handful of nuggets of off-road gold for you to check out.

    Switch Envy

    sPod has been producing a very nice switching and power distribution system for the electronic accessories we all love to have on our Jeeps such as lockers, lights, air compressors, and much more for years now. The company offers six- and eight-switch digital, fully programmable circuit control systems that are rated at 30 amps/12.5 VDC per circuit. So what’s new? Well, sPod now offers a new interface for the eight-circuit system that features eight buttons on a marine-grade waterproof control pad that allows for better tactile control (especially with gloves on) than its touch-screen control pad. It’s perfect for the Jeeper that’s using the sPod system while on the fly off-road. The new control pad can be set up and controlled through a smart phone app, and it can be added to an already existing sPod system in your Jeep. For all the details, check out sPod, 661/775-7799, 4x4s-pod.com.

    Mushy No More

    If you’re looking to tighten up the suspension system and chassis on your Jeep JK Wrangler to make it more responsive on- and off-road, then you might want to check out the complete polyurethane bushing kit from Energy Suspension. The Hyper-Flex System Master Set for 2007 to 2016 JK Wranglers includes body mounts and hardware, (or a 1-inch lift body mount kit with hardware), control arm bushings, sway bar bushings, track bar bushings, and bump stops. The company also dropped in our laps its new JK 1.75-inch suspension lift kit that includes front and rear coil spring spacers, and extended bump stops. Energy Suspension also now offers polyurethane Tailgate Tire Bumpers that hold your tailgate tire carrier/spare tire tightly against the Jeep’s tailgate, and can be trimmed to accommodate any size spare tire. Check it all out at Energy Suspension, 888/292-1250, energysuspension.com

    Carries Big Rubber

    For most Jeep JK Wrangler owners, a suspension lift and larger tires are the first upgrade to be done. However, larger tires on the axles also mean a larger spare, which can overwhelm the factory tailgate-mounted tire carrier. It can’t handle the weight of heavier wheel and tire combinations. The new EVO Manufacturing JK Pro Series Hinged Gate Carrier mounts in the factory hinge locations with larger and more heavy-duty brackets and hardware, is made from powdercoated 3/16-inch aluminum, and allows you to carry up to a 37-inch tire and keep the functionality of the one-handed tailgate for easy access to the cargo area. EVO also showed off its new Chromoly Plate Sport Cage for the Jeep JK Wrangler, too. For more info, check out Off Road Evolution, 714/870-5515, offroadevolution.com.

    Got It Right

    Another company making good stuff for Jeeps and hauling out new products to the Off-Road Expo this year was GenRight Off Road. Our two favorites from its treasure trove of new goodies for Jeeps were the aluminum stubby-style front bumper with a steel winch plate (right where you actually need the steel), and an aluminum (3-16-inch plate) roof that fully spans front to rear and fits the company’s existing cages for JK and TJ Wranglers. The new JK front bumper is super lightweight yet sturdy, and features a steel winch plate insert and aluminum bull bar. The new GenRight aluminum roof bolts right to the top of the cage and offers increased protection to front and rear passengers. For details, go to GenRight Off Road, 805/584-8635, genright.com.

    Sport Cage Plus

    Among the dozens of Jeep parts and accessories we saw in the Rock Hard 4x4 booth, we were especially interested in the new sport cage upgrades it was showing off. The company already offers a number of sport cage upgrades and padding kits for the JK Wrangler, but its newest bits and pieces are the 3RD Row 4DR Bar and the C-Pillar Brace Kit 4DR. The 3rd row cage offers a triangulated-mounted bar that runs level with the top of the factory sport cage, at the rear of the cargo area above the tailgate. The c-pillar brace runs from the inner fenderwell to the underside of the factory sport cage at the point where the cage begins to arch down and rearward. Both are said to aid in occupant protection during a back-flip. To see more, check out Rock Hard 4x4, 844/762-5427, rockhard4x4.com.