Category Archives: Vehicles

Rubicon Rails

Stock Rubicon Rails

This is a temporary solution until I get a set of Shrockworks Rails for real protection. Got these cheap and put them on for the November trip to Sicily Island as an added measure of protection. Those who know me know I’m not at all a fan of rock rails that mount to the body structure, especially on JK models. However for how little I paid these will be better than nothing. I do live in Louisiana and wheel here, not on the Rubicon Trail. As an added bonus they cover that ugly pinch seam nicely. They do block a bit of my rock lights, but not enough to be a hassle.

Sorry about the picture. I need to take one with them on, just haven’t found the time. I didn’t hit them once at Sicily Island, but had I not installed them I probably would have had the misfortune of hitting that seam. Everyone knows how dirty Murphy and his damned laws are.

LED Rock Lights

Oznium SuperFlux 4-chip LED Rock Lights (4 per wheel)

LA4x4 announced the Easley night ride and that made me think. I knew there was something I forgot to do. ROCK LIGHTS!

After looking at quite a few options, including LED strip, halogen lights and LED motorcycle pods I chose the Ozinum SuperFlux 4-cip LEDs. These things are very bright, very small, inexpensive ($2.99 each), waterproof, easy to wire (built-in resistor) and draw next to nothing power-wise (80mA each). All 16 have a total draw of 2.8 amps.

One per fender location would have been fine, but I went with two just for better light dispersion. I still have 4 extras that I’ll use in some manner. Maybe for under-hood lights (Jeep, what were you thinking not putting in a light here???) or maybe one on each side in the middle of the vehicle and the other two under the bumper. Time will tell.

Winch Installed

Milemarker HI9000 hydraulic winch w/Viking Offroad 3/8″ x 100′ synthetic winchline & safety thimble

The hole in the bumper is finally filled! Managed to snag a really good deal on a MileMarker HI9000 hydraulic winch. Looked around for a while and even considered a few electric versions, but the simplicity, reliability, 100% duty-cycle and sheer strength of the hydraulic won out. Wasn’t too keen on the $1100 price tag, but I did manage to find a sweet deal.

Someone at Autozone must have went insane, as I purchased it from their website for $734 plus free shipping (these things weight like 150 pounds boxed). They had some gift-card deal happening and I would have also received a $108 gift card, but I wanted more back. So I purchased a snatch block and two packs of shrink tube to make the order just over $801. This extra stuff (which I needed anyway) bumped me to the $130 gift card. All I can say is Thank You Autozone!

The first thing I did was ditch the stock 100′ of 3/8″ steel cable. That stuff is nasty to deal with and a huge danger should it ever snap. In its place I installed 100′ of 3/8″ Viking Synthetic Winchline with a safety thimble on the end. I debated using a hawse style fairlead, but in the end I already had a perfectly good new roller unit that came with the winch. After a bit of research, I’m glad I did. The roller unit will be much gentler on the winchline. Friction should be mostly eliminated and the life of the line increased.

New Radio and CB

Single DIN Clarion NZ500 Head Unit (GPS/Nav, Bluetooth, HD Radio,etc.)
Single DIN Cobra 18 WX ST II CB and 3′ Firestick II Antenna

Clarion Head Unit with Cobra CB

Finally, I ditched the horrible stock radio and the difference is night and day. All the extra features aside, the quality of sound (much better highs and mids) plus the higher output is well worth it. Of course the iPod/iPhone direct connection, bluetooth capability, SatNav and ability to use Sirius and HD Radio will also be welcome. Even has iTunes tagging for songs I might want to buy.

Decided to mount a single-DIN unit instead of the double-DIN. This allowed me space to mount a single-DIN CB radio below the head unit for a clean and easy install. Definitely a good place for the CB.

Flat Flares

Bushwacker Flat Flares
Bushwacker Flat Flares

Now this is how a Jeep Wrangler is supposed to look. Large flat fenders and round headlights…there is nothing better! As an added bonus I now have more than enough room for the tires. No more minor rubs on the flares during hard compressions on-road. Even better, I should be able to fit 35s without a lift.

After seeing the room these free up, I’m thinking hard about some Q78-16 Interco Super Swamper TSL tires. They measure 35.5″ in diameter and keep the tall, skinny look I like (as well as the advantages on and off road of a skinny tire). Only ownside to them is they’re bias-ply instead of radials. I really wish BF Goodrich would make the KM2 in a 265/95-16, 255/100-16, 275/90-16 size or 35×10.5-16 size.

New Rims

16×8, 4in BS, ProComp 7069 aluminum rims, matte black powdercoat.
ProComp 7069 Rims

I’ve been wanting to get a set of Mickey Thompson Classic style rims for years, even with the old Blazer. When I bought the Jeep there was little to no question on what I’d be upgrading to. I almost went with a set of rims from a Grand Cherokee, but after looking at the costs I decided on buying new. I would have spent just as much on some used GC rims, then pay more for sandblasting and powdercoating. Mickey Thompson doesn’t offer the size I want in the Black Special Editions, so I looked elsewhere. The ProComps were the best looking alternative and are made very well. These things should be darn near impossible to damage and look great!

More Light Please

Hella 500s mounted
Hella 500 Driving Lights

One of the major issues Jeep Wranglers have is the extreme lack of output from the stock headlights. The factory fog lights in the original bumper were a welcomed addition. However the new bumper does not have a place for them. So I stopped by Autozone this afternoon and snagged a set of Hella 500 driving lights. No I just need to find the time to get them wired up. I think I’ll use a relay run off the stock fog lamp harness for safety and a clean install. That way they’ll activate just light the stock fog lamps did. No worries about running a switch inside either.

Winch Bumper Installed

Shrockworks Stubby Winch Bumper w/hoop
Shrockworks Winch Bumper

I managed to snag a really sweet deal on that Shrockworks Stubby Winch Bumper.  A member of the local 4wd club was trading in his Rubicon and didn’t want the dealer to screw him anymore than he already was.  $200 cash and my old stock bumper made it mine and I mounted it that evening after work.  Looks great and already has been tested a few times. Very sturdy, well made and best of all: “Made in the USA”.

Better Tunes

I finished installing the Boston Acoustic SL60 components I had lying around today.  I started yesterday but had to stop due to getting the tires mounted.  All I can say if these things were worth every penny.  I currently have them running off the stock radio and they sound really good (tons better than the stock components.)  Can’t wait to hear them on the GT-50 amp I have yet to install.  Probably going to bi-amp the SL60s (front channel to tweets, rear channel to mids) and run that G5 10″ sub off the 5th class D channel at 2 ohms.  Should sound amazing.

New Tires Installed

The stock Goodyear Wrangler ST tires are off and some BFG Mud Terrain KM2 tires are on.  The new size is 255/85-16 and measures out to about 4 inches larger than the stock ones.  Definitely makes a difference in the look and overall feel of the Jeep.  The ride is great for them being a mud tire.  Very little noise, even at 60mph with the top down.  I have them at 30psi and so far there isn’t a big difference is ride quality either.  You do feel a bit of rumble at slow speeds in parking lots, but that’s it.