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Old 04-03-2016, 10:26 PM   #1
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Jeepers... gotta love the Wrangler

A fellow forumite asked me about the mods we made to our Wrangler, so I thought I'd put them here.

This is the 4th Wrangler we've had, the third Unlimited. It's a 2016 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock edition. The color is "Tank" a special color for 2015. A few 2016s were painted Tank, as well. I guess Jeep had some left-over paint that they didn't use up on the 2015s.

The Hard Rock edition features steel bumpers (AEV design, I believe) which is winch ready, steel skid plates, heated leather seating, vented hood (I had to open the vents myself), gas filler cover, and some other odds and ends.

As we are avid off-roaders, but not hard-core off roaders, we made some mods to the Wrangler that would keep it nice on the pavement but make it extra capable off road.

Biggest difference in off-road performance will be gained from the tires.

Living in Arizona where there is a lot of rock, we went with the popular Nitto Trail Grapplers. These were designed to strike a balance between an All-Terrain tire and a true mud tire. A bit quieter than a mud tire, a bit noisier than a street tire. What I love about these tires is they are built TOUGH. 10-ply sidewalls go a long way to help prevent sidewall punctures when off-roading out in the boonies. And the tread on these grips off-road like nobody's business. They are 35x12.5x17 LT 'E' rated. They are light truck tires (made specifically for 1/2 ton American pickups) and thus are capable of handling significantly more weight than the Wrangler brings. As such, they are heavy tires. If you don't do much off-roading, these tires would be over kill for you. If you like a mix of street and off-roading and don't mind a little noise when going highway speeds, these are amazing tires.

Nitto Terra Grapplers would be another excellent choice, particularly for on-road use. The Trail Grapplers are a bit more heavy duty for off-road. Terra Grapplers, Trail Grapplers, sometimes easy to get them consufed.

The wheels are AEV Pintler in Argent color. I've just always loved the understated design and high quality of these wheels.

The lift is an AEV 2.5" Coil Lift kit.

Between the 35" tires and 2.5" lift kit, total height of the Jeep is 4" over stock Rubicon.

This is considered a moderate offloading set-up. Not extreme hard-core, but not milk-toast either. For our purposes, this is just the right amount of lift and tire, without going too far or introducing problems requiring even more modifications. 37" tires and a higher lift kit would be too far, in my view, for a daily driver Wrangler. This is the Goldilocks set-up, not too little, not too much.

Some pics:







And out behind our house


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Old 04-03-2016, 10:59 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info. Awesome looking Jeep. Just the "right" lift, tire, wheel size.

Here's our bone stock 2012, manual transmission, Rubincon Unlimited that we tow behind our 2015 Ventana.

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Old 04-03-2016, 11:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by newmarpusher View Post
Thanks for the info. Awesome looking Jeep. Just the "right" lift, tire, wheel size.

Here's our bone stock 2012, manual transmission, Rubincon Unlimited that we tow behind our 2015 Ventana.

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np... nice Jeep! Ripe for a sweet lift, wheels and tires. Makes a mind boggling difference in the look and a good bump in off-road capability.
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:04 PM   #4
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DHart,
Nice Jeep! We, like you, are avid off roaders. The Jeep you see below is number EIGHT for us. I've built all of them and, well, it's been a fun but, expensive road, to say the least. Long story short, we've conqured Moab (about 98% of trails there) Ouray - Silverton Colorado, and about 75% of the trails there. Anza Boreggo Desert, ALL OF THEM THERE, and a whole lot more in between.

I've set them up for light duty, medium and, fairly hard core. Our last one and, the present one was/is a TJ Rubicon. As you well know, the Rubicon is by far, the best starting point for fun and quality off roading anyone can get. Right out of the box, it's ready to hit the trails and do really well, depending on your idea of what's to be conquered or not.

Jeeps are easily setup for towing, both in the work that's needed for setups on tow bars, auxiliary brakes, wiring and more. Then, actually prepping them for towing, as in, getting ready for a days travel, it pretty much doesn't get much simpler.

Your Nitto Grapplers were the same tire I used on my last Rubi. I had the 35-12:50x15 ATs on it and, that Jeep went every where I pointed it. I've set all my Jeeps up with the Kilby "On board Air", engine driven air compressor too. Talk about some serious amount of air, right at engine idle, that's by far, the only way to go.

I'm presently using a Viair 400P and, yeah, it works but, is hideously slow. I can't believe folks use them for RV tires that hover around 100-105 psi. I'd be there for a week if I used mine for my tires. But, anyway, You did it right on setting yours up for "mild" off roading. And even mild can get more than most folks would comprehend.

A mild lift, a tad bit oversized tires, LOW TIRE PRESSURE, disconnected sway bar, and one can have a ball in exploration and quality fun off road. Again, nice job on setting your JK up.
Scott



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Old 04-04-2016, 08:41 PM   #5
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My Wrangler Unlimited is still sitting at the factory in Toledo. I have all the parts I want to add (Rock Hard bumper, winch, odds and ends), but no Jeep. It's making me antsy. Mine is in Mojave Sand and I can't wait. Should look like these:





The second is more accurate - I'm sticking with the all-terrain tires for now and those are the wheels is has. I like what you did with yours, but my wife is not yet agreeable because the Jeep is already pretty tall. I figure we'll use it for a while and see what our actual use case is. I do know that (because we live in the southwest) it'll basically be desert use.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:03 PM   #6
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Before the Wrangler, was/is the CJ, hope I'm not intruding in your thread, I have had the CJ since 1996, Its a 1982 bought it stock, and has evolved like RVs, which gives us something to spend our money on.

I flat tow it, but have to disconnect the rear driveshaft, the Dana 300 rear output shaft bearing does not get lubed if towing with the DS in place.

We have done a lot of trails across the country, now that I am retired from the Army, we have settled here in Southern NM, a few of us help out with the Chile Challenge, and if anyone is in the area (Las Cruces) that want to do a trail run I would be happy to lead them around, we have mild to wild here.


My Army buddy Duane and I started a group 10 yrs ago for 4x4 outings you watch a bunch a videos of the trails here www.olskool4x4.com
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeGee View Post
My Wrangler Unlimited is still sitting at the factory in Toledo. I have all the parts I want to add (Rock Hard bumper, winch, odds and ends), but no Jeep. It's making me antsy. Mine is in Mojave Sand and I can't wait. Should look like these:





The second is more accurate - I'm sticking with the all-terrain tires for now and those are the wheels is has. I like what you did with yours, but my wife is not yet agreeable because the Jeep is already pretty tall. I figure we'll use it for a while and see what our actual use case is. I do know that (because we live in the southwest) it'll basically be desert use.
Nice looking Jeep! And not a bad idea to use it as it is. If you find yourself going out regularly with other Jeepers (this is FUN!) you will soon learn what changes you will want to make.

As for Arizona desert... You do know that most of the trails Jeepers go on in Arizona are very mountainous and extremely rocky?

My previous Wrangler on the New River trail near my house.


Certainly there are desert areas that are rolling and sandy, but mountains and rock really dominant Arizona. And that's where the most beauty and most fun Jeeping are.

Folks who don't know Arizona may be quite surprised at how mountainous and rugged Arizona is... It ain't flat desert, that's for sure.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by CJ7365 View Post
Before the Wrangler, was/is the CJ, hope I'm not intruding in your thread, I have had the CJ since 1996, Its a 1982 bought it stock, and has evolved like RVs, which gives us something to spend our money on.

I flat tow it, but have to disconnect the rear driveshaft, the Dana 300 rear output shaft bearing does not get lubed if towing with the DS in place.

We have done a lot of trails across the country, now that I am retired from the Army, we have settled here in Southern NM, a few of us help out with the Chile Challenge, and if anyone is in the area (Las Cruces) that want to do a trail run I would be happy to lead them around, we have mild to wild here.


My Army buddy Duane and I started a group 10 yrs ago for 4x4 outings you watch a bunch a videos of the trails here www.olskool4x4.com
CJ... Great, man! You know well of the fun to be had trail running with fellow Jeepers.
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:12 PM   #9
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My 16 JKU RHR came in this past October, actually denting on a trip west for some jeep fun, haven't been off-road in a jeep for probably 35 years, back the my dad had a 1943 willy's

Been debating on what if anything to do to the thing. Debating on just doing a budget boost / leveling kit or if I should just do a 2-2.5in lift. Any suggestions or thoughts on the matter? I will not do anything to crazy off-road.... I will bring my mountain bike and I am debating on bringing my motorcross bike to ride at Moab and anywhere else I can....
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:44 PM   #10
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We really like our 2015 JKU, our 2nd Wrangler. First was a 1995 4 cyl 5 speed. DW hated it.

We bought it to flat tow and use for light off roading. So far been to Redington Pass AZ, Big Bend TX, Death Valley, Trona Pinnacles and many roads that we could have done in our Honda CRV, but would not have been near as much fun. DW says if we had not bought the Jeep before we started our trip we would have traded the Honda in Tucson.

After 2 flats in 3 weeks (rock in Death Valley, wire in Napa CA) I decided to upgrade to Rubicon wheels and BFG M&S tires. Put on a set of take offs with 2000 miles on them in Portland. Now to convince DW I need a lift.

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Old 04-05-2016, 12:20 AM   #11
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My 16 JKU RHR came in this past October, actually denting on a trip west for some jeep fun, haven't been off-road in a jeep for probably 35 years, back the my dad had a 1943 willy's

Been debating on what if anything to do to the thing. Debating on just doing a budget boost / leveling kit or if I should just do a 2-2.5in lift. Any suggestions or thoughts on the matter? I will not do anything to crazy off-road.... I will bring my mountain bike and I am debating on bringing my motorcross bike to ride at Moab and anywhere else I can....
NC25T.... You know what I'd do? Yeah, you do.

But then, I just think stock Jeeps look wrong. . Honestly, I'd go with the 2.5" AEV coil lift and 35's even if I rarely took it off-road because it just looks RIGHT. I did the same with my '13 Billet Silver:







But in reality, we DO love to go off on Jeep trails and a small lift like the 2.5" and a bump up to 35's feels just perfect for that, without running into all kinds of geometry issues and other expensive matters that come with the higher lifts and 37's or bigger.

Get out in that Jeep, join some other Jeepers, and you'll be able to decide on what you want to do.
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Old 04-05-2016, 12:36 AM   #12
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We really like our 2015 JKU, our 2nd Wrangler. First was a 1995 4 cyl 5 speed. DW hated it.

We bought it to flat tow and use for light off roading. So far been to Redington Pass AZ, Big Bend TX, Death Valley, Trona Pinnacles and many roads that we could have done in our Honda CRV, but would not have been near as much fun. DW says if we had not bought the Jeep before we started our trip we would have traded the Honda in Tucson.

After 2 flats in 3 weeks (rock in Death Valley, wire in Napa CA) I decided to upgrade to Rubicon wheels and BFG M&S tires. Put on a set of take offs with 2000 miles on them in Portland. Now to convince DW I need a lift.

Mount Ranier NP

SloLane... Wonderful! Yeah, once you taste the Wrangler, the CRV doesn't cut it. Let your wife know that with a modest 2.5" AEV lift, you are less likely to get stranded out in the middle of nowhere. . She'll likely come around pretty quickly.
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Old 04-05-2016, 12:46 AM   #13
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DHart,
Nice Jeep! We, like you, are avid off roaders. The Jeep you see below is number EIGHT for us. I've built all of them and, well, it's been a fun but, expensive road, to say the least. Long story short, we've conqured Moab (about 98% of trails there) Ouray - Silverton Colorado, and about 75% of the trails there. Anza Boreggo Desert, ALL OF THEM THERE, and a whole lot more in between.

I've set them up for light duty, medium and, fairly hard core. Our last one and, the present one was/is a TJ Rubicon. As you well know, the Rubicon is by far, the best starting point for fun and quality off roading anyone can get. Right out of the box, it's ready to hit the trails and do really well, depending on your idea of what's to be conquered or not.

Jeeps are easily setup for towing, both in the work that's needed for setups on tow bars, auxiliary brakes, wiring and more. Then, actually prepping them for towing, as in, getting ready for a days travel, it pretty much doesn't get much simpler.

Your Nitto Grapplers were the same tire I used on my last Rubi. I had the 35-12:50x15 ATs on it and, that Jeep went every where I pointed it. I've set all my Jeeps up with the Kilby "On board Air", engine driven air compressor too. Talk about some serious amount of air, right at engine idle, that's by far, the only way to go.

I'm presently using a Viair 400P and, yeah, it works but, is hideously slow. I can't believe folks use them for RV tires that hover around 100-105 psi. I'd be there for a week if I used mine for my tires. But, anyway, You did it right on setting yours up for "mild" off roading. And even mild can get more than most folks would comprehend.

A mild lift, a tad bit oversized tires, LOW TIRE PRESSURE, disconnected sway bar, and one can have a ball in exploration and quality fun off road. Again, nice job on setting your JK up.
Scott
Scott... Last spring, we decided to sell our Silver Jeep along with our 2011 HR Endeavor 44' DP and scale down to a truck and Airstream. We did that. Then in early fall, we went to Ouray/Telluride and met up with some friends. They drove us all around the Rockies in that area in their Rubicon and I immediately realized what a mistake I had made trading in the Jeep. As soon as we came down off the mountain I called the dealer to see if they still had our Jeep. They did! And we bought it back!!! Only to turnaround at Christmastime and trade it on the 2016 Tank Rubi HR. I think I will always want to have a Wrangler in the stable.

Your Kilby on-board compressor sounds great. Our friend we rode with in Colorado has a similar on-board compressor. Nice way to go.

As for the Nitto Trail Grapplers... Oh man, I LOVE these tires! I love them as much for the beefy sidewalls and sidewall lugs as for the chunky tread. They give a lot of confidence when you're out in the middle of nowhere. When All Terrains are getting their sidewalls popped by rocks, these Trail Grapplers are likely to carry on trouble free.
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Old 04-05-2016, 01:25 AM   #14
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Jeepers... gotta love the Wrangler

We love our Wrangler too!
It's a stock JK Sport model, but gets me to sights where the tourists can't go. Rock crawling is nifty, but we get into it well enough to know that it ain't the boulder or river you cross, it's the overlooks and critters that Disney only wishes to copy that make it so grand.
Don't you love the full dress Jeeps that will hardly see dust let alone some good mud! They will never know the honor and pride of a good Arizona pinstripe!
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