Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... MAJOR UPDATE

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:32 am

crypto wrote:Hey've I've got a question about the aftermarket bumper: Does it have an effect on the airbag sensors?

It seems to me that a non-compressing aftermarket bumper would really make the airbag sensors twitchy, because you'd basically adding 15mph of impact force to any detected impact.

Airbag on a Jeep?? What's that? HAHAHA I have never heard that issue before, but then again I don't play with the JKs (because real Jeeps have I6 engines and leaf springs..... :clap: ).

I am not sure where JK airbag stuff is, but I would only assume that an aftermarket bumper will actually numb any of those impacts as they are not designed to "crumple" like the factor bumpers that were designed to please the government for pedestrian crash standards. Most Jeeps that I offroad with have aftermarket bumpers (or lack of bumpers) and I have never seen an airbag deployed even when hitting rocks very hard. My brother crunched a rock in his XJ so violently that it popped multiple fuses in the engine bay, but no airbag. I don't know if that answered the question you were looking for...

To the OP, congrats on the Jeep, I am sure it is far more than stock at this point!!!
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... MAJOR UPDATE

Post by Glockgirl26 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:09 pm

I had the ARB winch bumper on my TJ...the airbags did deploy when I hit a truck which pulled out in front of me. It was a hard impact...destroyed the TJ and crumpled that bumper like a piece of paper.

Now I have a '13 Rubicon (the TJ was a Rubi too). No mods to the JK yet though.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... MAJOR UPDATE

Post by KGBrick » Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:36 pm

JeeperCreeper wrote:
crypto wrote:Hey've I've got a question about the aftermarket bumper: Does it have an effect on the airbag sensors?

It seems to me that a non-compressing aftermarket bumper would really make the airbag sensors twitchy, because you'd basically adding 15mph of impact force to any detected impact.

Airbag on a Jeep?? What's that? HAHAHA I have never heard that issue before, but then again I don't play with the JKs (because real Jeeps have I6 engines and leaf springs..... :clap: ).

I am not sure where JK airbag stuff is, but I would only assume that an aftermarket bumper will actually numb any of those impacts as they are not designed to "crumple" like the factor bumpers that were designed to please the government for pedestrian crash standards. Most Jeeps that I offroad with have aftermarket bumpers (or lack of bumpers) and I have never seen an airbag deployed even when hitting rocks very hard. My brother crunched a rock in his XJ so violently that it popped multiple fuses in the engine bay, but no airbag. I don't know if that answered the question you were looking for...
I think you're backwards there; without squishy bumpers you increase the g-forces applied to the accelerometer that determines when to fire your air bags. This should make them more likely to fire.

Without some real data I don't know how significant an effect this would be. Newer cars could complicate this, too, as the algorithms for when (and sometimes how) to deploy airbags are no longer simple.

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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:14 am

After months of research I finally decided on a lift. I went to the Harrisburg Sportman's Show and after seeing some of the Overland/Expedition-modded Wrangler JKs on display, I was inspired. :D

I went with AEVs 2.5" XT lift. As it sits right now, without aftermarket front bumper/winch/rear bumper, I added 3" all around. It should drop to the intended 2.5" as the aftermarket bumpers are added.

Actually rides decent on roads. (Not "better than stock", as some optimistically claim after installing a lift, but not bad.) I would describe it as a little firmer than the Old Man Emu lift on a previous JK, but not as firm as a Tereflex lift I had years ago. Its actually feels very similar to the stock Rubicon suspension in road manners. I didn't buy/install the optional geometry correction brackets. I may in the future, but it isn't a priority at this point.

285/75r16 Goodyear Duratracs with aluminum wheels have also been added.

Going to Rausch Creek in March to see how it performs on actual trails.

Next mod is a front bumper. Been using a Rugged Ridge XHD front bumper on my last 2 JKs. I want something different for this one. Not totally decided yet, but I'm digging Rampage's offerings. Maybe, if I can justify the cost, I'll go with an AEV bumper. Maybe, I'll go the lightweight route and just add a winchplate to the stock bumper. I have a Warn 9.5 winch ready to go.


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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Paladin1 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:38 am

Awesome rig build!

I am especially interested in how you like the Duratracs. Those are the ones I'm planning on going with for my Land Cruiser.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:50 am

Paladin1 wrote:Awesome rig build!

I am especially interested in how you like the Duratracs. Those are the ones I'm planning on going with for my Land Cruiser.
Absolutely Love the Duratracs. Been running Duratracs for several years now.

While I understand that an all terrain tire tire is a compromise, Im pretty confident that Duratracs are less of a compromise over all when compared to most all terrains. It performs pretty well in all environments - especially snow.

They wear really well with proper rotation. If I remember correctly, I had my first set for close to 30,000 miles and should have easily gotten another 20,000 or so miles had I not sold them.

Bottom line, all the positive reviews you read in magazines and online are no joke.

I'll also admit to liking that they do have an aggresive look. :lol:


Not sure what size you are planning to run, but most of the 16" tires are E-rated, so they will ride a little more firm than a C or D. That said, I've read that E-rated tires have thicker sidewalls and are less prone to trail damage. I can't say for sure whether this is true or not, but over the years, I haven't suffered major tire damage while offroad. So take that for what it is...
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Paladin1 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:54 pm

I'll be rolling the 295/65/18's with 2.5" OME lift and tubular UCA's.

When I got my Land Cruiser 100 series it had practically new Michelin's on it and I just could not justify junking tires that run $200 ea.

I've never wanted tires to wear out so fast before :lol: They'll be done this year, so I'm close!

I've also read about the thicker sidewalls on the DuraTracs.

I ran Dick Cepek FunCountry II on my Grand Cherokee and they did great in snow and reasonable mud. Weren't too loud on the street. Those were the first so called "hybrid" tires (half All-Terrain half Mud Terrain) I had run.

The DuraTracs wear a little better from what I hear, and they have the perfect size for my LC, so I thought I would give them a try since they are also considered a Hybrid. The key to me is the siping they have, typical mud terrains are just big tread blocks and suck on ice and heavy rain.

Does the Rubicon have the selectable lockers?
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:32 am

Paladin1 wrote:I'll be rolling the 295/65/18's with 2.5" OME lift and tubular UCA's.
...
Does the Rubicon have the selectable lockers?
Have you priced 18s yet? Ridiculously expensive. Years ago I had a Wrangler Sahara that came with factory 18s. It was cheaper to buy new tires AND 16" wheels (aluminum) than it was to replace just the 18" tires. Even dropping to 17" sees a considerable drop in price versus 18s. (Plus, a smaller wheel size's tires will air-down better offroad.) You might wanna price out this option, assuming you haven't already. It never hurts having a complete set of mounted tires/wheels sitting as a backup.

Regardless of what size you end up with, when you get them, you'll have to post up and let us know what you think of the Duratracs.

Its funny how you mention mud terrains sucking in ice and rain. :lol: This JK came with BFG KM2s from the factory and several people, when seeing the aggressive mud terrain pattern, commented on how good they must be in the snow. Truth is, compared to a good all terrain with siping (or a dedicated snow tire), mud terrains suck in the snow. (Unlesss its a deep, wet snow.)

Yep. Rubicons come with front and rear selectable lockers.
...and Dana 44 front/rear, electronic swar bar disconnects, 4:1 T-Case, 4.10s, factory sliders, etc...oh, and the Rubicon stickers. Can't forget the stickers. :lol:
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Paladin1 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:53 am

Everyone knows the stickers enhance the off road capability of a rig-

I have priced the 18's and am unfortunately well aware of the price. But I want to build up an off road trailer (I already have the base trailer) with matching rims and found a great deal on a set that I snapped up. So I'm sitting on 2 full sets of factory 18's which are really strong rims.

I was wondering how often you got into the lockers?

I've considered adding them to the LC, but not sure it is worth the 2K to do it. The LC has a very sophisticated permanent 4wd system. It has a 2speed transfer case, 2nd gear start, Traction Control that cuts power to any slipping wheels and sends it to whichever wheel(s) have the most traction, and a Skid control that apply s brakes/throttle to correct oversteer and understeer and electronic front and rear diffs that can go from full open to limited slip to full lock. As well as a selectable locking center diff.

Sorry for the commercial :lol:, but as you can see it is extremely capable stock, but I could see an extreme scenario where I would want to choose to lock/unlock the front and rear. The computer makes that decision thousands of times a minute based on demand.

But since I too am building an expedition style rig, not rock crawler, I wonder if it's just the gearhead in me that wants selectable lockers for the front/rear diffs. :roll:

I actually was torn between the LC and your Rubicon. But I landed on the the LC because of the size, I have a wife, 3 kids, and 134lb dog, I needed the room!

But every time I see I nice Rubicon, I drool a little.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:25 pm

Paladin1 wrote:Everyone knows the stickers enhance the off road capability of a rig-

I have priced the 18's and am unfortunately well aware of the price. But I want to build up an off road trailer (I already have the base trailer) with matching rims and found a great deal on a set that I snapped up. So I'm sitting on 2 full sets of factory 18's which are really strong rims.

I was wondering how often you got into the lockers?
Funny you ask that as I used both lockers yesterday. Seriously misjudged the depth of snow, started spinning, and I wasn't going anywhere. Engaged lockers and pulled right out.

Paladin1 wrote:I've considered adding them to the LC, but not sure it is worth the 2K to do it. The LC has a very sophisticated permanent 4wd system. It has a 2speed transfer case, 2nd gear start, Traction Control that cuts power to any slipping wheels and sends it to whichever wheel(s) have the most traction, and a Skid control that apply s brakes/throttle to correct oversteer and understeer and electronic front and rear diffs that can go from full open to limited slip to full lock. As well as a selectable locking center diff.

Sorry for the commercial :lol:, but as you can see it is extremely capable stock, but I could see an extreme scenario where I would want to choose to lock/unlock the front and rear. The computer makes that decision thousands of times a minute based on demand.


I wonder if that is similiar to the Brake Lock Differential that is coming standard on the JKs. Since you already have something other than open diffs, have you considered saving money and just adding a winch - assuming you haven't already.
Paladin1 wrote: But since I too am building an expedition style rig, not rock crawler, I wonder if it's just the gearhead in me that wants selectable lockers for the front/rear diffs. :roll:

I actually was torn between the LC and your Rubicon. But I landed on the the LC because of the size, I have a wife, 3 kids, and 134lb dog, I needed the room!

But every time I see I nice Rubicon, I drool a little.
I'm building in a similiar direction - expedition style. Rock crawling is fun with a dedicated rig, but my Jeep is also my daily driver. I can't afford the weekend trail damage that comes along with playing on the rocks.

It's funny you don't hear more about expedition/overland on this forum. It is essentially, bugging-out in a vehicle as recreation, and I'd think it would be embraced here.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Paladin1 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:40 pm

Your probably right, the money spent on selectable lockers would be better spent on winch, etc.

I've often compared an expedition build to a BOV. In my mind they are the same thing. Capable off road vehicle that can go across fields.shoulders/berms to avoid blocked roads. Useable on long stretches of highway. Hvy duty bumpers for pushing abandoned/wrecked cars out the way, winch for extraction, or moving heavy things in general. Xtra water/fuel carrying ability, roof top tents, tools, fridge/freezer for food (or beer :clap: ) Many expedition rigs have HAM/CB's for comms. I could go on but you get the idea.

I have gotten into many a "discussion" here when people talk about their Honda civic "BOV" :lol: The twisted rational they are using is since that's what they have, then that's what they will be using, so it's a BOV.

While I get what they are saying- a BOV by definition is a vehicle that is designed for Bugging out. If I take the LC to the local drag strip and run it down the track that doesn't make it a dragster.

I try to help with advice as I have done my share of off-roading and have taken cars apart and put them back together again. But sometimes ignorance is bliss.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:29 pm

Did some Wheelin' at Rausch Creek on Sunday.

For those who've never been to Rausch Creek Offroad Park, I HIGHLY recommend it. They have over 3000 acres of trails for all skills and vehicle build levels. They even offer introductory courses for those that have never offroaded before.

Our ride was a guided ride set up by a local Jeep dealership (Outten Motors) and a Jeep Club (Blue Mountain Jeep Alliance.) Pretty much all the trails on the guided ride were beginner (Green) level, though the mud made them a little more difficult. On several climbs, a spotter was necessary, though there were "drive arounds" for those who weren't comfortable attempting the climb.

Happy to report that the JKU had no issues. Didn't get stuck. Never even had to engage the lockers. It just crawled over everything. Honestly, while the ride was relaxing, I did find myself wishing it was a little more challenging. :) Next time, I'll take it on some of the Blue trails.

I know the pice aren't very exciting.

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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Beowolf » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:57 pm

Very nice, man. :D
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Paladin1 » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:32 am

Cool, looks like fun!
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:53 am

Coal-Cracker wrote:Did some Wheelin' at Rausch Creek on Sunday.

Love Rausch Creek!!! I only went once as a passenger as I don't have the cash to have a dedicated trail vehicle. there are some crazy machines there and the views are breathtaking, especially for PA.

Did you camp there or did you just do a day trip?
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by URBAN ASSAULT » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:35 am

Coal-Cracker wrote:
Paladin1 wrote:Awesome rig build!

I am especially interested in how you like the Duratracs. Those are the ones I'm planning on going with for my Land Cruiser.
Absolutely Love the Duratracs. Been running Duratracs for several years now.

While I understand that an all terrain tire tire is a compromise, Im pretty confident that Duratracs are less of a compromise over all when compared to most all terrains. It performs pretty well in all environments - especially snow.

They wear really well with proper rotation. If I remember correctly, I had my first set for close to 30,000 miles and should have easily gotten another 20,000 or so miles had I not sold them.

Bottom line, all the positive reviews you read in magazines and online are no joke.

I'll also admit to liking that they do have an aggresive look. :lol:


Not sure what size you are planning to run, but most of the 16" tires are E-rated, so they will ride a little more firm than a C or D. That said, I've read that E-rated tires have thicker sidewalls and are less prone to trail damage. I can't say for sure whether this is true or not, but over the years, I haven't suffered major tire damage while offroad. So take that for what it is...
I run Duratracs on my van, the DoomRunner. Haven't had a problem with them on any surface I've encountered yet. Looks great, performs great.

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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:34 am

JeeperCreeper wrote:

Love Rausch Creek!!! I only went once as a passenger as I don't have the cash to have a dedicated trail vehicle. there are some crazy machines there and the views are breathtaking, especially for PA.

Did you camp there or did you just do a day trip?
No need for a dedicated trail rig to wheel there. I saw several completely stock 4x4s. The trails are marked by difficulty, so the ride can be as difficult or easy as you want.

We only live 20-30 minutes from Rausch, so we didn't camp.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:11 pm

Added the latest mods yesterday: Focus was protecting the Jeep.

Sorry about the rainy pics.

Rampage Rear Recovery Bumper with Tire Carrier: This was a Craiglist find at a price I couldn't pass up. Needed lots of work, but I was looking for a project. Completely dissasembled, stripped, and refinished. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. After prep and priming, I finished the bumper with Duplicolor Truck Bed Coating. Time will tell as to the wear and protective properties of this finish. Either way, it is an inexpensive option worth trying. One of the things I really like about this bumper/tire carrier is that the swing out carrier is attached to the factory gate and open as one. I didn't hook up the fog/reverse/driving lights. That can be saved for another weekend. :P
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Ace Engineering Rock Sliders: I was looking for a slider that would allow a footstep for my wife and kids yet also retain the factory Rubicon sliders. Doubled up, I would assume they could handle considerable abuse before my pinch seam takes a hit. I highly recommend using an impact wrench to mount these. Made the job MUCH easier.
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All said, the sliders and bumper probably added about 200-220 lbs. My rear suspension dropped about .5"

Now, I need a front bumper to mount the winch that I have collecting dust in the basement.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by URBAN ASSAULT » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:23 pm

That rear bumper looks beefy as hell. Great job on the refurb too, makes it look new.

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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:59 pm

URBAN ASSAULT wrote:That rear bumper looks beefy as hell. Great job on the refurb too, makes it look new.

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Well, if weight is any indicator of strength, I'll have no issues. Because of the weight, I needed my wife and daughter to help secure the bumper in place while I bolted it down. It was a circus. :lol:

I'm really pleased with the Duplicolor finish. I planned initially to get it Line-X'd. I was quoted $550 locally, including bumper prep, which I felt was way too much
I initially tried Rustoleum's bedliner as it had a good reputation as an economical alternative to Line-X on the jeep/offroad forums. The paint spurted and the finish looked uneven. So I sanded it down, and almost as an impulse buy, bought Duplicolor's bedliner. Night and day difference. Really happy with the way it turned out.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Paladin1 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:56 am

Very nice!, the sliders are worth every pound they weigh in my experience.

FYI- I once did an entire full size Bronco (inside and out) with U-POL Raptor liner and was pretty happy with both the finish and durability.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Beowolf » Sun Jul 05, 2015 1:06 pm

Those sliders are on my list for my two door. They look like the perfect minimalist+functional solution.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Sun Jul 05, 2015 1:46 pm

Paladin1 wrote:Very nice!, the sliders are worth every pound they weigh in my experience.

FYI- I once did an entire full size Bronco (inside and out) with U-POL Raptor liner and was pretty happy with both the finish and durability.
I may have to check out the U-POL liner if the current finish doesn't hold up. Thanks for the heads-up. Do you have any pics of the Bronco?
Beowolf wrote:Those sliders are on my list for my two door. They look like the perfect minimalist+functional solution.
Besides the rocker protection from rocks, they also serve a secondary protective function: they act as a shield to prevent other drivers from "dinging" your jeep doors.
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Re: Finally replaced the Wrangler JK... UPDATE

Post by Coal-Cracker » Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:19 am

UPDATE:
Picked up some 35s, specifically Goodyear Duratracs in 315/70r17.
Went back and forth between Duratracs and the new BFG KO2S, which I have also read good things about. Went with the Duratracs (again), as for me, they are a proven tire.
New wheels to replace the previous 16s. Aluminum. Nothing fancy, but this time I made a point to find hubcentric wheels for peace of mind.

Got rid of the rear bumper/tire carrier I had put on this summer. Too heavy and noisy. Ordering a tailgate reinforcement kit so supporting a 35 on the factory carrier doesn't become an issue in the future.

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