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Go4x4It! A RubiTrux Blog

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  • Jeep Wrangler JK - Aftermarket Hard Tops

    Are you considering aftermarket hard tops to replace your OEM hard top? Or do you simply want to upgrade your soft top for more warmth and better protection from the cold weather elements? From squared-off aftermarket hard tops to the fastback model, we only represent the best quality brands.

    For comparison, the hard top we show below is a standard OEM hard top. You can order it in a flat black, or color match it with the OEM paint code. 

    Aftermarket Hardtops

    Jeep Wrangler JK: Aftermarket Hard Tops

    Today, you have many aftermarket hard tops available for your Wrangler JK. We've all heard the frustrating stories of tops that leak and fit poorly. So it can be can be mind-boggling to choose the right aftermarket hard top. But, based on years of experience with every hard top on the market, we can make your decision easier. Here are two top brands we confidently recommend.

    DV8 Ranger and Ranger Fastback Hard Tops

    DV8 Ranger Offroad Fastback - 2dr - Standard

    The standard squared-off Ranger top shown above is currently the only 2-door Wrangler JK top DV8 offers The four-door Wrangler JKU version is shown below. Both models feature a removable Targa style front panel, and a carpeted interior with tinted windows.

    DV8 relies on high quality seals and fiberglass for a quiet, secure ride. This hard top closely resembles the OEM hard top. It's ideally suited for the owner looking to upgrade from a soft top to a high quality hard top, without the MOPAR price tag. All models feature an optional rear window wiper. The standard Ranger 2-door starts at $2,233.25. The 4-door model starts at $2,199.99. Click here for all the details.

    The DV8 Offroad Ranger Fastback top seen below gives you the popular slant-back or fastback design, with the high-quality craftsmanship from DV8 Offroad. This top also features a Targa style removable front panel and a carpeted interior with tinted windows. The 4-door Ranger Fastback starts at $2,649.99. Click here for full details.

    Aftermarket Hard Tops - DV8 Ranger Fastback

    American Fastbacks Hard Top

    Aftermarket Hard Tops American Fastbacks Freedom Top

    Shown above is The Freedom Fastback top from  American Fastbacks. It is currently the only JK/U top from this company, and we are highly impressed. This top comes in a textured black finish;or it can be painted to match your vehicle. You can choose to add one or two electric sunroofs.

    The Freedom hard top comes standard with an insulated interior, a rear window defroster, and a wiper. American Fastbacks offers a one-year manufacturer's warranty against defects, and they make all their products in America. The base price is $3,351.00. Click here for complete details and options.

    To upgrade your factory soft top, hard top, or to trick out your Jeep with the newest fastback look, you can't beat DV8 Offroad and American Fastbacks' aftermarket hard tops. If you're not sure which top to order, or you're just starting to plan your build, give us a call. We'll be glad to walk you through the ordering process and recommend the right top for you. 

  • Warn Zeon vs Warn VR

    See the comparison chart, HERE!

    Warn recently updated its winch VR Line to more resemble the Warn Zeon winch line. This update replaces the older VR series that was popular in the 1990s and 2000s. Now, the VR features an almost identical black housing to the Zeon. Available in the same weight ratings, you may wonder, why the premium price for the Zeon? Warn is a dependable brand. Both the Zeon and the VR are reliable winches. But with the premium price, you get a few extra bells and whistles. Scroll down for our assessment and recommendation. For a complete list of changes, see the comparison chart, HERE!

    custom-2015-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-rubicon-baja-yellow-HEMI-6-4--pass-three-quarter

    Warn Zeon vs Warn VR

    Both winches are very good options. Warn offers several different models, but for this article, we'll compare the Warn Zeon 10S with the VR10S. As you may already know, the "S" on the end stands for synthetic winch line, but rest assured if you're a fan of steel cable, it's offered as well. To start off, we've got a Warn Zeon 10S below. Both models have a black powder coat, but the top-of-the-line Zeon features satin black powdercoat, which gives the Zeon a more refined appearance. Furthermore, the Zeon will operate more quietly than the VR model, due to the planetary gear train and series-wound motor. These are just a few differences. Read on for a complete list.

    Warn Zeon Winch

    Baseline and Top-of-the-Line: 

    Below, we've got the new Warn VR10S. As you can see from these images, they look similar. But there are a few key differences.

    The Winch Drum: Zeon features a 3.15" diameter Zinc-Alloy drum, while the VR model only sports a 2.6" diameter, constructed of welded steel. The benefit of the larger drum and construction material is that the Zeon will dissipate heat faster, in addition to reducing the amount of wear-and-tear on your winch line.

    Motor and Gear Train Armor: The Zeon features motor and geartrain armor, protecting the winch from damage on the trail. The VR series does not.

    Warn Zeon Winch

    Control Pack Material: The control pack contains the electrical system for the winch, so it's very important that it remains protected. The VR series features a plastic cover, while the Zeon is again, full-metal.

    Waterproof Remote: The Zeon features a waterproof remote with a rocker switch instead of the traditional toggle switch remote of the VR.

    Line Speed: Zeon offers a 26% faster no-load line speed and more than twice the full-load line speed of the VR.

    Efficiency: The Zeon is more efficient in regards to energy draw than the VR, and rated twice as high on corrosion resistance tests.

    Weatherproof and Waterproof: The VR is dust and weather resistant with a waterproof electrical contactor; however, the entire Zeon winch is rated as IP68 waterproof for submersible operation. This means that you can safely operate the Zeon under water!

    Gears and Performance: The Zeon also features stronger gears and a high performance motor than the VR.

    custom-jeep-wrangler-red-wildboar-aggressive-hawkeye-grille-105514

    Final Choice: Zeon

    While the VR winch is still a good option, Zeon wins hands down. If you take your Jeep offroad, you need some top notch recovery gear, and the Zeon is just that. There's a reason that all of our RubiTrux shop builds feature the Warn Zeon Winch. If you choose Zeon, it'll outperform and outlast other winch options any day of the week. Unsure which model is right for you? Just give us a call and we'll help you pick the right Warn Zeon winch for your build. Learn about more Warn Protection and Recovery Gear. Call RubiTrux for all your recovery needs.

    Stay safe out there!

  • American Expedition Vehicles

    If you're looking to upgrade your Jeep Wrangler JK or JK Unlimited, check out American Expedition Vehicles products. AEV has been around since the 1990s. Some of the company's first projects included a Jeep Wrangler YJ stretch and a TJ stretch to CJ-8 length wheelbase. This directly inspired the Jeep Wrangler LJ for the final few years of the TJ production run. AEV began manufacturing certain conversion kits, like highlight fenders and the popular Brute kits soon after. For the Wrangler JK, AEV accessories range from tire carriers and bumpers to wheels and lift kits, and a few things in between.

    Modern American Expedition Vehicles 

    American Expedition Vehicles Front Bumper WinchWhile most of the old crowd remember Nth Degree suspension kits and the TJ Brute pickup, the new JK group is what we'll discuss here. For the most refined and up-to-date Jeep Wrangler, AEV geared it's products toward the higher-end Jeep crowd. We'll take a look at their premium front and rear bumpers, wheels, lift kits and more. But we'll start with a look at the popular AEV Brute Double Cab conversion in the photo above.

    The AEV Brute Double Cab conversions begin with a standard Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited and transform it into a crew-cab pickup. The OEM frame is cut in half and the cargo area is removed, along with the soft or hard top. The frame is lengthened, the cab area is closed off, and the Brute pickup bed is added. The crew cab gets a unique hard-top, but the front freedom panels are reused. All current JK Brute Double Cab conversions are done in-house by AEV in Michigan. The finished vehicles are then shipped back to RubiTrux for further modifications, or to the owner.

    Bumpers

    American Expedition Vehicles front bumperThe Brute Double Cab and the above Mojave Sand Jeep both feature the AEV Premium Front Bumper. This bumper is a durable, high quality upgrade to replace the flimsy plastic OEM unit. You can add a winch, external auxiliary lights, bumper mounted fogs, and a grille guard hoop. In the Brute image above, you can see a Warn winch housed inside the bumper. The version on the Mojave Sand Jeep features a winch delete plate. This plate is used if you don't have a winch, and gives the bumper a nice finished look. You can also get a matching AEV rear bumper and tire carrier like the one below. 

    American Expedition Vehicles JK Tire CarrierThe AEV Rear Bumper and Tire Carrier combo are a nice match for the front bumper. The AEV Rear Bumper is durable, and features space for a hitch and two auxiliary water tanks (look just under the license plate holder). The Tire Carrier fixes directly to the bumper and rear hatch of the Wrangler, and is great for those builds with large tires, such as this Wrangler JKU on 37's.

    Compare with other aftermarket bumpers here.

    Lift Kits

    American Expedition Vehicles Lift Kit JK

    AEV also manufactures high quality lift kits for the Wrangler JK. These lift kits range from budget-friendly setups, to complete kits in the 2-2.5" range, to full 4.5" kits. These kits are by far the best combination of ride quality and off-road ability on the market. Geometry brackets and Bilstein Shocks, along with the AEV variable rate springs keep suspension components aligned and the ride better than OEM! If you're looking for a top-of-the-line lift kit for your new Jeep, look no further. We build about 95% of our builds with AEV kits, and with good reason. Most customer's also prefer AEV on the Wrangler JK platform, unless you're looking to build a dedicated off-road vehicle, such as Project: VANDAL. Be sure to click through our build pictures to decide what size lift kit and tire would work best on your Jeep.

    Compare with other aftermarket lift kits here.

    Wheels

    American Expedition Vehicles JK WheelsIf you're looking for another piece of the puzzle in your Wrangler JK build, check out AEV wheels. Pictured here is a set of AEV Salta Wheels on our Rhino Wrangler JK build. AEV makes some high quality wheels for the Wrangler JK and Dodge Ram. Pictured below is a set of AEV Savegre Wheels on one of our Baja Yellow builds. No matter the style of your build, from spoke to bullet-hole wheels, AEV has a product for you!

    For more info on which wheels are right for your Jeep here, click here.

    American Expedition Vehicles JK Bumper

    American Expedition Vehicles For Dodge Ram

    You may have noticed we also build new Ram pickups. AEV produces lift kits and accessories for these trucks, too. So if you've got a Dodge Ram, or are interested in building one of these trucks for your very own, be sure to check out this post!

    American Expedition Vehicles Dodge Ram

    The Dodge Ram build featured here can fit 40" tires on just 3" of lift! Great bumper, fender, interior, navigation options and more, really set a RubiTrux Ram apart from the competition. If you're interested in purchasing this truck,  you can check out the listing HERE.

    If you're looking to build a Wrangler JK or a Dodge Ram, AEV has superior high quality parts that you can't afford to overlook. Don't waste your time and money on subpar products or low-dollar lift kits. Do it right the first time, with American Expedition Vehicles and RubiTrux.

    For more information and to see our complete listing of AEV Parts and Accessories, click HERE.

  • Custom 2017 RubiTrux Ram

    Here at Rubitrux, Jeeps are our bread 'n butter; but here's something new for you full-size 4x4 enthusiasts out there, a RubiTrux Ram! While a Wrangler JK is a great platform for an off road adventure or grocery run, some buyers just want something a little bigger. If the Brute conversion isn't your thing, our new Ram conversion may be just what you're looking for! A full-size Ram will net you more cargo space, more room, and more refinement than a JK. Looking for a tow 'rig for that rock crawler of yours? Look no further! A RubiTrux Ram features the best accessories you need for all of your off-road adventures!

    RubiTrux Ram: Every Detail

    While the current truck on our lot has already been outfitted to our specifications, don't hesitate to give us a call to order one just the way you want it! We'll build you a top quality Ram built with only the best from AEV (American Expedition Vehicles), JL Audio, Warn, and more! As you can see below, the thing that sets our Ram trucks apart from the rest is the unique attention to detail on the interior, and the 40" tires with only 3" of lift! Scroll down for more.

    This truck has it all, from the AEV Ram 3" Dualsport SC Suspension kit to the 40" Mickey Thompson tires! An AEV Premium Front Bumper protects the front of the truck, while also housing a Warn 16.5ti Winch, should recovery become an issue. The AEV bumper includes a protective hoop for the grille and winch, and features mounting points for D-Rings, should you ever need to be pulled out of a ditch, which is highly unlikely in this monster!

    The 40" Mickey Thompson tires are mounted to a set of Fuel Trophy 20x10 wheels. Furthermore, you've got the AEV Highmark Fender Flares, making it possible for the 40's to fit. Lighting is by Vison (Light Bars), and RIgid Industries (Rock Lights and Backup Lights). AMP Research side steps help with entry and exit from this beast, and tuck up nicely when not in use. On the interior, we have several products by JL Audio and Alea Leather.

    RubiTrux Ram: Interior

    There's just something about a full-sized truck. You just gotta have leather. The Alea leather in this truck is nothing but the top quality, and features our logo stitched into the headrests. We've also replaced the OEM navigation system with one from Alpine. A huge success on our Jeeps, Alpine features a restyle kit that transforms the look of your dash, giving you a large screen and buttons, perfect for those long road trips! For more information on the Dodge Ram product, click HERE.

    The truck bed is completely treated in Line-X, meaning that you can throw, haul, and carry just about anything without fear of messing up the finish! To keep cargo dry, a Retrax Roll Up Bed Cover was also installed. AMP Research Bed Steps help you gain access to the bed when loading or unloading. You can bet we've also got a backup camera back here too; you need all the help you can get with this truck at the local parking lot! The backup camera is run through the rear-view mirror. This keeps the camera screen on the same plain as the mirror, letting you keep track of both at once.

    If you're looking for something a bit bigger than a Jeep, with a bigger engine, higher load capacity, and the ability to fit 40's on 3" of lift, this truck conversion may be for you. Don't hesitate to give us a call if you want to spec one out. If you're interested, call Reggie Perry at 828-406-3031. Click here to view the entire vehicle listing. Priced at $82,995.00.

  • 2016 Review: 2016 Jeep JK-L

    This week for our 2016 In Review series, check out this Jeep JK-L! You heard us right, we took a 4-Door Wrangler Unlimited and turned it into a modern take on the LJ/CJ-8! If you're looking for a unique off-road vehicle, the JK-L conversion may be for you. The OEM Wrangler JKU, introduced in 2007, took a few strides away from the traditional Jeep platform. The first Wrangler to feature four doors, the Wrangler JKU opened the Jeep market to consumers who would have never thought of purchasing an older Wrangler or CJ. Families, soccer moms, and hardcore wheelers alike flocked to the JKU. As a result, any grocery store or mall parking lot is full of 'em. Want something that truly stands out? Read more below!

    Jeep JK-L vs. OEM JKU

    jeep-wrangler-jk-jkl-long-wheel-base-2-doorFor the Wrangler JK-L conversion, we started with a standard 2016 Jeep Wrangler JKU. While the rear seat could remain as is, this customer requested a cargo bed. So as we plated over the door openings, we also built a cargo bed where the rear seat used to be (shown below). The before and after pictures showcase just how much work went into this build. The finished bed received a complete Line-X protective coating. With the steel and Line-X'd bed, this JK-L is ready to go to work!

    13501553_894162844063806_3242849747289161892_n

    j8-bedlinerWe installed a few other add-ons, such as cargo bed lights and a set of front auxiliary lights. A mild suspension lift and some BFG Mud-Terrain tires round out the accessories. The new owner wanted a mostly OEM appearance, and we felt that the JK-L nailed it! Last we heard, the owner was in contact with a local canvas company for some custom soft top side windows. Stay tuned for more, and don't forget to let us know what you think, either here or over on our forum, Go4x4it!

    jeep-wrangler-jk-jkl-long-wheel-base-stretch

  • 2016 Review: Mojave Sand EXT

    JK-EXT Mojave Sand

    Earlier in 2016 we received a build request for a very unique Jeep. The Mojave Sand color had just come out, and a customer wanted an EXT conversion in this color. We sprang into action with a brand new 2016 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport. This Sport package, pictured below, was promptly disassembled upon arrival, taking it from the stock SUV look, to something more rugged and utilitarian. Furthermore, in addition to the conversion, the EXT was slated for 35" tires and a 2.5" AEV suspension system!

    2016-jeep-wrangler-mojave-sand-driver-side

    jeep-wrangler-unlimited-jk-mojave-sand-ext-conversion-stock-driver-angleTransition, from OEM to EXT

    As you can see, the conversion kit is quite involved. First of all, the hard top and everything after the rear seats was cut down or off and removed. As you can see, the bed extensions give the EXT more storage space over a stock JK-U. In addition, the new truck bed is evened out and reinforced with steel plates. This, coupled with the Line-X bed coating, lets the EXT haul cargo that would not fit or could damage the trunk in a standard JK. The vehicle was then sent off for body work and paint matching, resulting in the transformed vehicle below.

    2016-custom-jeep-wrangler-ext-conversion-mojave-sand-extAdd-ons and Accessories

    In addition to the conversion kit, you may notice several aftermarket accessories on this Mojave Sand EXT. The lift kit is an AEV 2.5" Dual Sport system. The front bumper is also AEV, but the rear bumper is a Rock Slide Engineering model, designed specifically for the extended truck bed. This RSE bumper also features a swing out tire carrier, perfect for carrying the oversized 35" spare. Alea Leather and an Alpine Restyle kit round out the interior upgrades.

    2016-custom-jeep-wrangler-ext-mojave-sand-body-armor-trail-doorsYou may also notice the half doors - the new owner specifically requested a set of Body Armor Trail doors, perfect for warm weather! For winter, the EXT does of course come with the hard top and full doors. Right before it left the shop, we had one last minute addition, a Gobi Roof Rack, shown below. This helps the EXT carry even more cargo! Rounding out the aftermarket upgrades is LED lighting from Recon, IPF and JW Speaker!

    Looking for an EXT?

    If you're looking for an EXT, give us a call! We've built quite a few at our shop and we do the conversion and upgrades in house! You can spec out your build with nothing but the best in aftermarket brands, such as AEV, Rock Slide Engineering, JW Speaker and more! Click here for the first part of the build phase on this EXT, and don't forget to give us a call if you'd like to build an EXT of your very own. At RubiTrux, you get the best in quality and craftsmanship when it comes to aftermarket Jeep Wrangler JK's.2016-custom-jeep-wrangler-ext-conversion-mojave-sand-aev-premium-front-bumper

     

  • Upgrade: Aftermarket Bumpers

    Aftermarket Bumpers vs. OEM Bumpers

    When upgrading your Jeep Wrangler JK or JK Unlimited for the trails, we recommend a good set of aftermarket bumpers. Unlike the CJ series or the heritage YJ/TJ models that came from the factory with metal bumpers, the Wrangler JK has rather large plastic units, made from the same material as the fenders. While this plastic is fine for minor bumps and scrapes, even a small fender bender can push the ends in. Hit the OEM bumper hard enough, and you could be looking at damage to your frame rails, or worse! This is why we recommend a sturdy aftermarket bumper. Shown below is the plastic OEM unit. Scroll down for just a peek at some of our selection!

    custom-jeep-wrangler-jk8-jw-speaker-j-series-headlights_1

    AEV - American Expedition Vehicles

    custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-jw-speaker-8700-j-headlightsOne of our favorite brands of aftermarket bumpers are AEV, or American Expedition Vehicles. With AEV, you get a solid front and rear bumper that will protect your Jeep around town or on the trail. The front bumper features two cutouts for fog lights, room for a winch, and tabs for auxiliary lights. Available with or without the tube grille guard.

    The AEV Rear Bumper, shown below, features a swing out tire carrier, perfect for those large aftermarket wheel and tire combinations that are popular with the Wrangler JK. Also features an internal reservoir for holding non-potable water or other liquid substances (look right under the license plate and you'll see the plastic cap for the storage tank). Can also be upgraded with an auxiliary fuel can, fitted to the spare tire mount (sold separately).

    custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-granite-aev-rear-bumper-tire-carrier_1

    Crawler Conceptz

    Crawler Conceptz is another popular brand, and provides a sturdy option for those looking to strengthen the armor on the Wrangler JK. Shown above in the stubby configuration, these bumpers are available with D-Ring tabs, hoops, and more! Shown below, the Crawler Concept rear bumpers feature a hitch and cutouts for backup LED lights. Also available with swing out tire carrier. An aluminum option keeps the bumpers light but doesn't sacrifice protection.

    Poison Spyder

    We've used Poison Spyder on several of our builds, and always with great success. People generally notice the LCOG fenders and rocksliders first, but Poison Spyder makes awesome bumpers too! Above, shown in the stubby configuration, these bumpers are some of the toughest on the market! Available with with D-Ring tabs, hoops, winch mounting options and more, Posion Spyder has some great options for your build.

    GenRight

    If you're looking for a bumper series that is available in steel or aluminum, check out GenRight! Adding accessories to your Jeep can get heavy, so save weight where it counts, without sacrificing protection. GenRight offers a series of bumpers, ranging from stubby to full-width, with stinger bars, hoops, and more! Made with a low-profile winch mount, these bumpers will help your radiator keep the engine cool, by keeping your winch from interrupting the air-flow. Ships raw steel or aluminum, and 100% Made in the USA! Check out a full selection of GenRight Bumpers HERE!

    Metalcloak

    Used on builds like PROJECT: VANDAL, Metalcloak is a great option for your build. Made from cold formed 10 gauge steel plate, and available in black textured powdercoating, these bumpers are built to last! Comes in 3 different bumper lengths (stubby, mid, and full). With 5 different grille protection options, from hoops to stingers, these bumpers can be more readily customized to your particular build style. Tired of your stubby bumper? Just bolt on the extensions and you've got a full width, no welding required! Don't leave the front of your Jeep or your expensive winch unprotected, make sure your bumper is up to the task, today! Click HERE for a full list of Metalcloak bumpers. Don't forget to watch the video showcasing the unique modular system!

    JCR Offroad

    Another one of our favorites, the JCR bumpers provide excellent protection for the front of your Jeep while looking good too! Available in many different configurations, from stubby to full width, JCR bumpers feature D-ring tabs, Hi-Lift Jack points, Recessed Winch Mounts, and more! Heavy-duty CNC cut 3/16-inch steel construction means that these bumpers will hold up to whatever you can throw at 'em, and then some. Full width models include mounting points for fog lights. Need a rear bumper and tire carrier? JCR makes these as well, with two different carrier options! Rear bumpers have mounting options for backup lights. Click HERE for our full listing of JCR Bumpers!

    If you want to learn more about some of these options, or you want to browse our entire selection, check out these links to our rear and front bumper pages. Our selection of aftermarket bumpers features only the best in quality and dependability. If you're looking for a steel bumper that will take more punishment than the OEM unit, you've come to the right place. Looking for improved approach angles, hoops and accessories? We've got that too! Undecided on what bumper is right for you, or which direction is right for your build? Give us a call, we're glad to help!

     

  • 2016 Review: Brute Double Cab

    2016 was a big year for us here at RubiTrux, so we're going to do a build recap! Stay tuned while we cover our biggest and baddest builds from 2016. There's been a bit of everything here this year, from a two door JK-Unlimited (Yes, we mean a two door Unlimited!) to a few custom Brute TJ's, and we'll get to 'em all! First up, this AEV Brute Double Cab.

    Brute-Double-Cab-Hemi

    AEV Brute Double Cab

    The Brute conversion on a JK Unlimited turns this SUV into a crew cab pickup truck. A popular conversion, this transformation only takes place on location with AEV in Michigan, and generally has a long turnaround time. This Jeep in particular began life as a 4-door JKUR with the 3.6L Pentastar. In addition to the frame stretch and pickup bed, this conversion also features an AEV Heat Reduction hood, and AEV front and rear premium bumpers! After AEV finished with the conversion, this Brute headed straight to our shop in Boone, North Carolina for some upgrades!

    Brute Double Cab

    Suspension

    We see it all the time; someone orders a double cab, and they put 35's or maybe 37's on it. This truck has 38's! 38x13.50x18 Toyo Open Country M/T's to be exact. Mounted to a set of Fuel D557 Anza Wheels, this wheel and tire combo give this truck a perfect, aggressive stance. In order to fit these large tires, an AEV 4.5" DualSport SC suspension kit was also added to the vehicle, giving this Brute some much needed ground clearance!

    Engine

    For this build, the OEM 3.6L just wouldn't cut it, so we yanked that and installed a custom 6.4L HEMI built by Arrington Performance! This motor makes 650hp and includes several upgrades, such as upgraded heads, cam, EPOC machined valves and custom tuning. While a 3.6L might make a Brute conversion feel a bit sluggish, this 6.4L HEMI provides the perfect amount of power and torque, especially with the 4.56 gears!

    Accessories

    As far as the other accessories go, the interior received a complete makeover with an  Alpine X009-WRA Restyle Headunit and a Custom Alea F-1 Leather InteriorAmp Research Power Steps help with entry and exit from the cab, and the aforementioned AEV Premium Bumpers house a Warn winch in the front, should recovery become an issue.

    Lighting

    The OEM lighting was replaced with Recon Smoked LED Taillights, turn signals, and fender lenses. JW Speaker Smoked LED Headlights and Fog Lamps replaced the stock units, while ARB Intensity Auxiliary Lights provide off-road lighting when needed most!

    We've got more build recaps from 2016 coming soon, so stay tuned!

  • Alpine Vendor Spotlight

    This week we're taking a look at Alpine, our number one choice for aftermarket headunits! When upgrading the sound system on a Jeep, many neglect one of the most important pieces, the headunit. The headunit can make or break the "high-end" feel of your vehicle. We use Alpine on all of our builds that are slated for a headunit upgrade, and for good reason. With Alpine, you get top notch quality and dependability coupled with the most advanced tech on the market for your Jeep. Furthermore, you'll gain access to a larger touch screen than OEM, along with nifty features like the ability to monitor engine codes, tire pressure, and more!

    custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-rhino-painted-interior-trim-alpine-restyle-x009-wra

    Alpine: History

    Alpine started out in the late 1970's. The company supplies specialized and high quality electronic systems for vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler JK. Apline is a leading manufacturer in multimedia systems and is well known for car headunits, security systems, speakers, and more. Bringing decades of experience to the table, you get nothing but the best with Alpine. With 2017 on the immediate horizon, we're seeing more advanced tech hit the market. Just five years ago, a headunit that interfaced with your smart phone didn't exist. Now, your phone can control auxiliary ports, such as lights, the radio, and more! If you're into the latest and greatest for your Jeep, a headunit upgrade is in your future. To compare the OEM screen to Alpine, scroll down!

     AEV Rear Navigation System

    Navigation

    While not every off-road trail is going to be on a map or GPS, you've gotta get to the trail head first! With a larger screen for navigation than OEM (shown above), the Apline unit (shown below) is great for navigating through city streets or small town America, and provides many features over the OEM model, such as a 9" Anti-Glare Touchscreen, Siri integration, monitoring vehicle codes, and more.

    As you can see from these images, the Restyle Kit completely replaces the OEM headunit. This not only gives you the capabilities of Alpine, but also gives the dashboard on your Jeep a unique, refined look as well. The silver plastic trim pieces can be removed and paint matched along with other interior bezels, so if you've already got a color-matched interior, don't worry.

    Alpine Restyle X109 Holiday Jeep Gift Ideas

    Two Choices for Your Jeep

    If you've got a Wrangler JK, there are two choices for Alpine headunits. You've got the X009 and X109. The main differences are compatibility features. While the X009 features Bluetooth and Sirius Radio, the X109 is also accessory compatible. This means that in addition to Bluetooth and Sirius Radio, the X109 can run accessories like auxiliary lights. Both options feature a 9" Anti-Glare Touch Screen, auxiliary input, connectivity for a rearview camera, and more. For a complete list of specs, click on X009 and X109 links above.

    Other 4x4's

    If you've got a Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, or another ride other than a Jeep, chances are Alpine has something for you. Check out our full selection of Alpine products HERE!

    For road trips or finding that perfect off-road adventure, Alpine lets you make the most out of your Jeep. With the ability to monitor vehicle codes, a larger screen for navigation, and smartphone connectivity (just to name a few features), you'll be ready for the adventure of a lifetime. This is why we upgrade to Alpine headunits in all our high-end rebuilds. If you'd like to order one for your ride, don't hesitate to give us a call!

  • Axles, Gears, and Lockers

    XJ_Gears_Axles_Lockers

    Gears

    When you add larger tires to your Jeep, it throws off the powerband, transmission shift points, and more. This also translates to lost off-road potential. In short, the Jeep won't pull itself through or over certain obstacles without the proper gearing. To counter this problem without a regear, many drivers usually apply more throttle or slipping of the clutch. This can cause damage on other components, such as premature clutch wear, snapping a driveshaft, axle shaft, etc. When you regear your Jeep, you reset the relationship between the powertrain and the wheels close to OEM spec. This means that the transmission will shift properly, the Jeep will "pull" in between gears as it should, and 4hi/low will work effectively on the trail.

    There are many charts and diagrams on what gears you should get for your Jeep. Regear factors range from engine and transmission type to tire size, and more. With the 2007-present Jeep Wrangler JK/Unlimited, you'll need a programmer for your new gear/tire setup. We recommend the AEV Procal. If you have an older TJ/YJ/CJ, you're good to go with the gears themselves! If you're unsure of what gears to choose for your application, don't hesitate to give us a call, we'll lay out your options and recommend a new gear ratio for you!

    Wrangler JK Gears

    Axles

    When tricking out your Jeep and venturing offroad, you should also look at your axles, and decide on an upgrade, or alternatively leaving them OEM. You may need to upgrade your axles if your tire size meets or exceeds 37" on all Jeep Wrangler JK/Unlimited models, excluding the Rubicon. On the Rubicon, the HD Dana-44 axles are fine for 37" tires, although we wouldn't recommend anything larger. If you're going larger than a 37, we recommend a set of '60 axles. MOPAR, Dynatrac, and TeraFlex come to mind if you're thinking of an axle swap. Shown below is a Jeep Wrangler TJ Brute Conversion with a set of aftermarket TeraFlex 60 axles.

    2006-jeep-wrangler-brute-tj-conversion-american-expedition-vehicles-front-grille-led-jw-speaker-headlights-37-bfgoodrich-all-terrain-tires-snorkel-poison-spyder-trail-cage

    On the Non-Rubicon JK models, we suggest an axle shaft upgrade or a truss/gusset set up on the OEM Dana-30. All Non-Rubicon 4WD Wrangler JK's come with a Dana-30 front end. This axle is great for the weekend trail 'rig running 35's, but throw on 37's and hit the rocks, and you could be in for trouble. It's better safe than sorry when it comes to your front end, so give us a call if you're looking at upgrading your Dana-30!

    Lockers

    The Rubicon Wrangler JK comes equipped with factory lockers. Most Non-Rubicon Jeeps will feature open differentials from the factory. The end result in an open differential 4WD system is more like 2WD off-road. If one of your front and one rear wheel is in the air (or in another, low traction substance, like mud), in an off-road scenario, power will go to those wheels. You'll sit there spinning tires and won't go anywhere.

    2008-Jeep-Commander-wheeling-in-the-mud

    Lockers, like the ones found on the Rubicon, fix this problem. With a locker, both axle shafts are locked together. This means that even with one wheel in the air, power will go to both sides, not just the one with the less resistance. The end result is that you'll have true 4x4, with all four wheels turning at once, as they should. And you'll be able to climb up, over, and through off-road obstacles more effectively!

    If you don't have lockers and would like to upgrade, there are many aftermarket types and brands, from ARB to OX, electric to air or cable actuated, and more! For most Jeep Wrangler JK owners, we recommend an air or electric actuated locker, such as ARB. ARB has a wide selection of air actuated lockers, which are powered by a small air compressor under the hood. With a flick of a switch, the compressor and lockers activate, giving you the extra capability to get off the beaten path! Turn the compressor and lockers off, and you've got open differentials again.

    Automatic or Lunchbox Lockers

    If you have a dedicated off-road 'rig or locking hubs, you may want to explore other options, such as automatic lockers, which are a cheaper, more basic locker - i.e., as long as power is sent to the axle, the locker is on. To note, this is not optimal in the rear axle, especially on a daily driver. However, an automatic locker may be an option for the front, depending on your build. Again, if you have locking hubs on the front end, or drive an older vehicle, this may be an option to consider. Give us a call if you're having trouble deciding which locker is right for you!

    custom-jeep-wrangler-rubicon-mojave-sand-aev-premium-front-bumper-outside-

    What You Get Off-Road

    The benefits of a Jeep with the proper gears, lockers and axles while off-road is miles beyond that of an OEM vehicle. With the right setup, your Jeep can take on the toughest trails around! While open differentials mean that you'll be backing up time and again to get momentum or find a new track, lockers and the proper gearing will allow you to approach these obstacles with confidence. Upgrading your axles lets you push your 'rig that extra bit, to get yourself or a friend out of trouble, without the fear of rendering your Jeep inoperable with a broken axle shaft or housing. From the mild to dedicated off-road 'rig, these upgrades will let you get the most out of your Jeep. 

    Got questions? Click on over to the Go4x4It! Forum and post them there to share and get advice from RubiTrux techs and other forum members. Or just give us a call.

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