How To Build Up Your Jeep
May 31, 2006
It usually doesn’t take the new owner long after getting their first Jeep to start thinking about making modifications. Owning a Jeep and self-modifying it seem to go hand in hand like owning a hot tub and soaking. You see other jeeps tooling down the road and they look so much more,..…well, Jeep-like. You know the look “Rough and ready to rock on!” A lot of first time owners may wonder, “What do I need to do to get that look?” Well you can give your vehicle that look with 4 modifications.
First, tires and wheels are a good place to start. Those stock tires are pretty wimpy looking and spicing up the tires and wheels goes a long way to making your Jeep take on a new appearance. You’ll want to consider if you’ll be installing a lift and how much of one before you jump on the tires. The bigger the lift the larger the tires you’ll be able to run. Tires and wheels might be a simple way to change the look of your rig, but they won’t be an inexpensive way to go. They can be downright costly! You’ll need to consider your Jeep use before investing. Is it a daily driver, purely an offroad vehicle, or a mix of the two? You’ll also want to consider how your Jeep is powered and geared. A number of folks place way too much rubber under their rig and then wonder why it doesn’t respond or have any pick-up! Hello, you just added a few hundred pounds of rubber; do you think that it will have an effect? If you go with large tires, you might need to upgrade your gears. There is a cause and effect at work here. How your Jeep is powered and how you use it should ultimately determine what wheel and tire package you select. Consult with your local offroad performance shop if you’re not sure or you need help. They should be able to steer you in the right direction.
Second, those stock bumpers really do need to go. Not only are they unimpressive, they simply will not stand up to an offroad beating! There are a ton of options out there from tube units to the rock crawler bombproof heavy-gauge block units. The finishes are wide and varied as well; stainless steel, black powder coated, titanium finish (the latest craze), etc. Bumpers seem to be made by everyone these days from small shops making custom units to major manufacturers like Warn, Warrior and ARB producing lines of them. So you have a ton of options! For me I’d stick with a well-known company that offers a warranty on its products. You know their bumpers have been tested, passed DOT regulations, and the company stands behind them for defects. You won’t get any of that from a local shop, and even if you do, who knows how long they’ll be around to support it? Warrior makes a good basic steel bumper along with tube units. Warn makes a nice Rock Crawler Bumper with an optional grille guard. And ARB makes a tube bumper they call a Bull Bar. All three companies are recognized for well-made products and they all have a very good reputation. I don’t think you can go wrong with one of their bumpers.
Third, lift that Jeep. Raising your Jeep gives it a better, hardier profile. It really makes a difference. You can lift it with a simple lift system like coil spacers or lift shackles. Or you can go with a body lift or, even bigger and better, a suspension lift. There are tons of options from style, manufacturer, and price to select from. So, do your research and be thorough before making a final decision.
Fourth, you’ve lifted your Jeep and have bigger tires, now it’ll look a whole lot better with bigger fender flares. The higher vehicle and larger tires scream for wider and more pronounced fender flares! The most popular these days seem to be the Bushwacker 6 inch extended fender flares. Their flares are made of a tough Dura-Flex material so they take a beating and are easy to maintain. They bolt on using existing factory drilled holes and come in a black matte finish that is easy to custom paint. Bushwacker backs them up with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Xenon and Bestop also make very good extended fender flares for your Jeep. Whichever flare you choose, your Jeep will look better with the extended type, and they’ll offer better protection against the flying debris from those larger tires.
With these four upgrades your Jeep will take on that rugged rock ready look. Don’t hesitate to contact a local performance offroad shop or a couple of them to ask questions and get input. The people at these shops are heavily involved in the sport of wheeling and they can offer some valuable insight into your options.
In his spare time, Al likes to learn more about one of the true American Automotive Legends, The Jeep. When he is working, Al is a marketing manager for one of the leading on-line retailers of Jeep aftermarket accessories and parts, Xtreme Terrain Concepts. Their web site address is http://www.xtremeterrain.com
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|