08/20/13

Tuffy Security Glovebox Jeep TJ

tuffy-security-products-jeep-tj-gloveboxKeeping a secure Jeep Wrangler can be a chore during the summer, especially when you drop the top. If you’re like me and own an older Wrangler then it’s easy to question the durability of the internal OE locks after years of use. Personally, I more or less assume that my glove box and center console are not secure when topless. That’s why I removed my OE glovebox, and replaced it with a Tuffy Secuirty glovebox for the Jeep TJ.

Tuffy is known for manufacturing some of the best security products on the market, and their glovebox is no different with their patented Pry-Guard II locking system, and anti-twist push button lock system.

Perhaps the first step of securing any Jeep is not to leave valuables in the vehicle when you leave it unattended. But what about smaller items like your garage door opener and registration (which lists your home address)? Although seemingly inconsequential, these two items are more or less a map and key to your home, and are a very valid reason to secure your glovebox. The Tuffy glovebox is also great for those who have a concealed carry permit. As many CHL holders know, certain premises disallow concealed carry, which can be a predicament if you don’t have a secure place to stow your firearm. Thankfully the Tuffy glovebox can easily accommodate even the largest caliber handguns. Continue reading

04/25/13

Rancho RS9000XL Shocks Review

rancho-rs9000xl-shock-review-jeep-wrangler-tjThe RS9000XL’s are finally on the TJ build (the BRC-12), and I have to say that I never imagined my Jeep would ever ride so well. Simply put, Rancho Suspension’s RS9000XL shocks are amazing. So amazing in fact that I thought something was wrong with my Jeep once I started driving it. Aren’t Jeeps supposed to beat you up? Not only did the RS9000XL’s remedy the jarring sensation of cruising down the road, but they also eliminated nearly all the body creaks that developed over the years. Witchcraft, I know.

The first thing you’ll notice about these shocks is their robust construction. They come in a metallic finish, are 2.75″ in diameter, and feature a robust 18mm nitro carb rod. Rancho has a RS9000XL for most applications, make sure to check their website, gorancho.com.

Installation was a breeze as well, the only thing I would’ve done differently is reverse the rear shocks since the dial is left exposed. One slip on an obstacle and I can see those adjustments going bye-bye.

Continue reading

04/12/13

Rancho Suspension RS9000XL Shocks

rancho-rs9000xl-shocksIf you drive an older Jeep, then you’ll know how bumpy the ride can be. My 1999 Wrangler TJ has this uncanny ability to find every single nook, bump, and cranny on the road. Sometimes the drive feels like a never ending rumble strip inside of a coffee can (a bit harsh, but it gets old after awhile). Add the squeaks and creaks, and you’re on the fast track to losing your sanity.

Fortunately I was able to link up and ride Hell’s Revenge with Rancho Suspension during Easter Jeep Safari. It only took one passenger from Rancho to notice the harsh ride. They quickly pointed out that my current shocks were at the end of their lifespan, and it was time to upgrade. So we decided that we’d try some Rancho Suspension RS9000XL shocks on the TJ.

The RS9000XL shock is the latest from Rancho – it features nine settings that adjust the smoothness of the ride. According to Rancho, it provides up to a 400% change in control. From soft to firm, and everything in between. We’ll see if they can handle the coffee can TJ. Continue reading

03/13/13

Jeep Wrangler Truck-Lite LED 7″ Headlight Installation

Jeep-Wrangler-Truck-Lite-LED-Headlight-installationAdequate headlights are essential for a daily driving as well as an off-roading. Proper illumination reduces eye fatigue, increases safety, and makes that iconic Jeep grill pop just a little more.

For the last year i’ve used LED light bars for nighttime trail driving, but unfortunately these have a tendency to irritate the average driver on the road. The factory incandescent bulbs work, but that’s about it. Over the years their soft yellow glow has dimmed and dispersed, which doesn’t help much with visibility. So I made the move and replaced them with 7″ LED headlights from Truck-Lite.

Here are the main differences between incandescent, LED, and HID headlights:

Incandescent Headlight:
The original lightbulb design from the 19th century, incandescent technology is about as old as the discovery of electricity.  Today’s incandescent bulbs operate by filling a tungsten filament with inert gas. A coiled piece of tungsten alloy is energized and enclosed in a glass bulb housing, this is where the filament heats up enough to generate a glow.
HID Headlight:
High Intensity Discharge lights are another gas filled lighting system. Similarly to incandescents, HID’s use a xenon gas filled tube with two electrodes that create a lightning arc between two points. HID produce significantly more light than traditional gas filled bulbs, but can burn out quickly (3,000 hrs of operation) and are still inefficient when compared to LED technology.
LED Headlight:
Light Emitting Diodes is the latest in lighting technology. In a nutshell, they are small, efficient, and BRIGHT! LED’s are small crystals placed on semiconductor material, they generate light when met with an electrical current. No gas tubes or filaments needed. Not only are they smaller, but they last longer, require less power, and can change colors easily. 

Continue reading

01/9/13

Hanson Offroad Bumpers | Jeep Wrangler TJ

jeep-wrangler-tj-bumperA bumper’s primary role is to sustain an impact without damaging the vehicle. For some, the bumper is an afterthought, but for those who use and abuse their vehicle then a bumper can make or break a day. One must consider a variety of factors when choosing a bumper for their Jeep.

First, quality and strength is a must if you intend on off-roading. Second, is it functional for your needs? and third, does it look good? Sure, the last one may seem trivial, but design can affect radiator airflow and aerodynamics (which affects MPG).

We’ve used a variety of bumpers in the past, and they all have their pros/cons, but Hanson Offroad has consistently impressed us with their quality. This is why we used the Hanson Offroad Rubicon series 60″ front and rear bumper on the Bushwacker TJ.

Front Bumper

Hanson’s front bumper provides excellent protection all around. The angled design reinforces overall strength and opens up the approach angle. The winch bar is constructed with 1-3/4” x .120 wall tubing and is angled forward and welded for maximum protection. It also accommodates a Rigid Industries 10″ LED E-Series light bar perfectly. The width is a perfect size, it’s designed to protect the fenders from impact while providing excellent tire clearance. Each end is angled perfectly to fit the style lines of our Flat Style Fender Flares, which provides much better aerodynamics than flat box-like bumpers. Thankfully Hanson dropped the winch deck 2″ so the WARN 9.5cti-s sits happily without blocking airflow to the radiator. The clevis tabs are 1″ wide, and can be pulled from any angle without fear of breakage. Overall, the 60″ Rubicon series front bumper is an excellent choice for a TJ needing extra protection and functionality! Continue reading

10/25/12

Jeep Wrangler TJ Build | The BRC-12

The Bushwacker Jeep Wrangler TJ build, dubbed the BRC-12, has been an ongoing project since last year. The first stage of the build was to create a platform that was suitable for the daily driver, yet  able to handle the trail. Next year we’ll start the second phase which will focus on the aesthetics such as the paint job and interior.

You can read current reviews on the TJ’s preformance right here.

bushwacker-jeep_wrangler-tj-build

Here is the complete list of aftermarket parts used to build the BRC-12:

Bushwacker Jeep TJ Build:

Body:

Suspension:

10/1/12

Yukon Gear & Axle Zip Lockers | Air Locker Review

yukon-gear-zip-lockers-dana-30Lockers, whether they’re electronic or air operated are essential to negotiating difficult terrain. A quality locker system will take you further on the trail than an equally priced lift would. Although there are plenty of quality electronic lockers available it seems as if the consensus is to use air operation. This is probably because air lockers have been the standard for decades, but their caveat is that an air compressor is needed. Compressor’s are typically sold separately, and will raise the overall cost but are worth it if installed properly.

Some pro’s and con’s of the two systems are:

Air Lockers

Pros:

  • Rugged
  • Tried and true
  • Traction on demand
  • Air compressor is multi-purpose
  • Water resistant

Cons:

  • Overall cost is higher than others
  • Traction on demand
  • Air lines can snag or melt if not installed correctly
  • Locker will open if compression fails
E-Lockers

Pros:

  • Overall cost is typically cheaper than others
  • Electrical operation
  • Traction on demand
  • Less complicated setup
  • Certain E-lockers revert to a limited slip when open (potential con for some)
Cons:
  • Water will ruin operation if wiring is exposed
  • Electric motors can fail
  • Relatively new to the market Continue reading
09/13/12

On the Trail from Dusk to Dawn

rigid industries led lightbar reviewSometimes adventure  randomly calls from out of nowhere. These calls are hard to ignore, especially if your daily driver is offroad ready. I received one of these calls after a Bushwacker sales manager mentioned that he used to take a trail from Henry Hagg Lake to the Tillamook State Forest OHV area.

Hungry for stick time, this sounded like an opportunity to sniff out a defunct trail and unplug for the weekend. I felt comfortable with the challenge since I was familiar with the area, and knew the ride wouldn’t be extreme. The route seemed straightforward, so I figured that if I left after work that I could be in the OHV area (aka Browns Camp) by nightfall.

So on a Friday afternoon I decided to go for it. All I needed was supplies and a navigator. Fortunately I had a volunteer to go with me – so after work we loaded up a 72hr “go-bag”, firewood, food/water, stove, atlas, tent, and sleeping bags. Oh, and a Ruger just in case.  Continue reading

07/10/12

Jeep Wrangler TJ Dana 35 Axle Rebuild

Jeep-TJ-Wrangler-Front-and-Rear-Axle-RebuildGas mileage is an issue for Wrangler owners, especially those with modifications. In fact for every 100lbs you add to your vehicle, you’ll lose around 2% MPG (fueleconomy.gov). Throw on some bumpers, a tire carrier, winch and accessories, and your ride will be several hundred pounds heavier. Then factor in the additional drag caused by the lift, and don’t forget that your stock gears are struggling to turn all this over. Before you know it your Wrangler is averaging 11mpg. This is unacceptable, especially when it’s a daily driver.

The most practical modification to increase fuel efficiency on a build is to re-gear the axles. Granted every vehicle is different, but for our BRC-12 build re-gearing was the best solution. Ideally, your gears, transfer case, transmission, and engine should sing in harmony. Just because a four-cylinder engine is smaller than a six or eight-cylinder, doesn’t mean it’s more efficient – especially for Jeeps. That’s because a four-cylinder can overwork itself to compensate for the lack of power. This negates all benefits of fuel efficiency.

Now that we have proper power (in this case an I6 4.0L), we must find the weak links in the drivetrain. Fortunately the ’99 Wrangler comes standard with an AX15 Transmission and NVG231 transfercase, and both are quite capable. This leaves the factory 4.10 gears which can handle the 33″x12.50″ Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ‘s just fine, but aren’t necessarily the best to crawl with. Continue reading

07/3/12

Rigid Industries 50″ and 10″ E-Series LED Light Bar Review

No one wants to be left in the dark, it’s not fun. Anytime I think about night riding I think of getting stuck in my old ’96 Tahoe outside the 29 Palms lake bed. In my own defense, it was my spotters fault (always is, right?). Regardless, the sun was setting and the Tacoma that was with us couldn’t pull the Tahoe out. So in futility we decided that the spotter and I would stay with the Tahoe while our friends went for help. The night sprung on us as soon as they left, and we found ourselves sitting in the pitch black desert without any communications, water, or food (another lesson learned).

Although the night sky was clear and gorgeous, the pitch black left us blind beyond our hands. We waited in the dark for what seemed to be hours – sharing partially sober stories from as far back as we could remember.

Just then we heard the rumble of the calvary led by the only Jeep TJ in the group, which was outfitted with a WARN winch and enough halogen lights to fill a canyon. I was amazed at how well those lights lit the area. They made it safe to recover my Tahoe in a rather inhospitable environment. It was then I realized the importance of proper lighting, especially in night recovery situations. Continue reading