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  • Wrangler Off-Road Driving Tips

    So you just bought a Wrangler JK. What's the first thing that comes to mind? Taking it off-road, of course! However, there's a few things you should know before starting out on your next adventure. Here are a few basic off-road driving tips.

    Off-road driving tips

    Never Go Off-Road Alone!

    When venturing off the beaten path, always take a friend! The more the merrier. When using and modifying your vehicle for off-road excursions, breaking down or getting stuck can and does happen. But if you follow these off-road driving tips, you can turn aggravation into fun.

    Having a friend (or a few) with tow straps, a winch, or even some shovels, can make the difference between driving out or walking home. There are several ways your vehicle can become immobilized. From puncturing a tire, improperly or hastily installed aftermarket parts (that bolt you forgot to torque down), or the classic, getting stuck in a deep mud pit, off-road problems can ruin your day of fun. But don't let this discourage you. Changing a tire or winching out is much easier with friends, and you'll have a cool story to boot. It's much more enjoyable than having to walk out to call help or a tow truck. We guarantee it!

    Off-Road Driving Tips

    Go Prepared!

    You can ride with a whole convoy of Jeeps, from the oldest CJ to the newest Wrangler JK with electronic lockers, but it'll all be moot if no one has a tow strap! Go prepared with things like tow straps, snatch-blocks, shovels, and extra D-rings. You may want to consider something like this ARB Essentials Recovery Kit, or the Warn Medium Duty Epic Recovery Kit. Both companies also offer Heavy Duty Recovery Kits.


    A winch can be your best friend here, too. With your winch, you should carry a good set of gloves, an extra tree/tow strap, and extra batteries for your controller (if applicable). A high-lift jack and equipment to change your tire is invaluable if you pop a bead or tear a sidewall. It's always a good idea to carry extra water and a good first aid kit too. 

    Shop Warn Winches!

    Off-Road Driving Tips

    Off-Road Driving Tips For 4x4 Wheelin'

    Most Jeep Wrangler vehicles come factory equipped with 4x--and lockers if you've got a Rubicon. Unless you're planning a big swap, you're out of luck with the few older 2-wheel drive Wrangler JK's, so double check for 4x4 before you buy a used Jeep. With open differentials, 4-Hi is fine for dirt trails or light mud, but get into a deep bog or rocks, and you may want to use 4-low. Remember to engage the 4x4 before you actually need it. You may need to move your vehicle forward a bit before 4x4 engages. Needless to say, this does you no good if you're already stuck and can't get the 4x4 to engage.

    Driving Techniques for Off-Road 4x4

    If mud is your thing, keep up your momentum. If you bog down and start spinning tires, back up and try again or pick a different route. For rocks, engage those lockers and go slow. Speed translates to breakage and dented sheet metal, especially around those big boulders at the local off-road park. Follow this off-road driving tip for a smoother off-roading experience.

    Off-Road Driving Tips for Tire Pressure

    Also, don't forget to air down your tires. Ratings vary by tire and wheel size. but an aired down tire will have a larger footprint than one with street psi. This translates to a larger gripping surface for your vehicle, and it'll usually help you climb up, over, or out of even the toughest obstacles. Beadlocks, seen below, will let you air down your tire even further, for the greatest amount of traction. A simple tire inflator with gauge makes it easy to deflate and inflate your tires. Watch this expert video for more information on tire pressure ratings for off-road driving conditions. 

    Basic Off-Road Driving Tips

    Follow Leave No Trace Principals!

    Take a trash bag. On your way out, be sure to pick up your trash. If you see any debris left behind by others, lend a hand and help keep our trails clean for the next group. Off-road trips with a properly equipped Jeep can be an unforgettable adventure for Jeep friends and family!

    Be a good steward. Visit for more Leave No Trace principals.

  • Basic Spotting Rules for the Trail

    It's important you know basic spotting rules before you go off-road with friends. Imagine yourself out having a great time off-road when your buddy gets his Jeep into a jam. He's stuck at an odd angle and he's having a hard time seeing the trail. There's a large rock that's just off to the side and out of his view. You know he's in a predicament, but you're not sure how to help. 

    The Spotter's Role

    Your friend needs a spotter. Spotting for someone involves getting to a vantage point and helping them through an obstacle or hard-to-see portion of the trail. The spotter gives the driver basic directions through loud voice commands or hand signals. The driver must trust the spotter, especially if the going gets tough. Trail damage to body panels or drivetrain equipment is costly, and can ruin even the most perfect day, so it's imperative you know the basic rules of spotting and take it seriously.

    Basic Spotting Rules 

    Off-Road ObstaclesSpotting is one of the fundamentals of any off-road trip. When off-road, there can be hazards and obstacles all around you. They can be to the sides, front, or rear of your vehicle--and yes, beneath or above you as well. The driver must be constantly scanning the environment, not only for the best path (or "line"), but also for the potential hazards. As you can see from the picture below, full doors and interior add-ons such as a roll-cage can clutter or obscure your view from the driver's seat. In this case, Jeeping with a spotter you can trust is crucial.

    Obstacles Obstruct View From Inside The Vehicle - Basic Spotting Rules

    How To Use Words And Gestures

    First and foremost, use basic words or gestures. Complex sentences can confuse the situation. Couple words and gestures together for the best results. Simple words as "STOP" (palm out) and "GO" (a beckoning or thumbs up gesture) work better than "hold up" and "come on", for example. But you may not be able to yell over the sound of a straight piped V-8 engine. Discuss this beforehand and figure out what works best for both the spotter and driver. While the spotter remotely guides the 4x4 through a hazardous obstacle, the driver and spotter must be on the same page.

    Use terms such as "driver" and "passenger" for sides of the vehicle. This removes the directional "right" and "left", which can be confusing, especially if the driver and spotter are facing one another. Doing so reduces the opportunity for situations that can cause bodily injury and vehicle damage, such as a typical rollover, seen below.

    Rubicon Rollover

    Keep It Simple!

    Alway designate a spotter and one assistant spotter per obstacle, especially if they're familiar with the trail. It doesn't help to have everybody along for the ride pile out and start shouting directions. Just remember the golden rule. Keep It Simple! Simple always works best, especially when you've got a large expensive vehicle feet or inches away from trees or boulders.

    Generally the more experienced "off-roaders" on the trip will volunteer to spot. Experienced spotters can predict how the vehicle will behave. Variables like rain, mud, tire type, center of gravity, and more, all come into play here. "When in doubt, throttle out" sometimes works. But there will be just as many times where "slow and steady" wins the race, especially on the rocks.

    Jeeps Off-Road Obstacles

    How To Be An Effective Spotter

    Spotting is just as important while off-road as having the appropriate recovery equipment. Don't forget to learn the ins and outs of your vehicle, as well as others you Jeep with. Knowing how a given vehicle will or may behave on the trail is the first step in becoming an effective spotter. If you have an experienced spotter in the group, watch how they guide a 4x4 through the trail. Always remember, keep it simple, be safe, and have fun out there. Follow the basic spotting rules. 

  • 22 Jeep Accessory Gifts For Dad

    There are no better Father's Day gifts for a Jeep Dad than Jeep accessories. That's why we put together this guide to 22 Jeep Accessory Gifts For Dad. You'll find Jeep accessories from top brands, including AEV, Teraflex, Bartact, Grabar, Rugged Ridge, and more.

    If you don't have a clue what Dad needs or wants, you can always give him a RubiTrux Gift Card. Look for Code JWDAD and FREE SHIPPING offers below. Let's go shopping!

    Jeep Accessory Gifts For Dad Happy Father's Day To All Jeep Dads!

    Jeep Accessory Gifts For Dad - Under $200

    1. Bartact Paracord Grab Handles. Sold in pairs. Seven-strand Nylon 550 LB Paracord provides sturdy and easy Jeep entry assistance. Priced at $25.99Shop Now!

    Bartact Grab Handles Gift Idea Jeepers

    2. Maximus-3 Maglite Mount and clips. Attaches to front seat to keep Dad's flashlight easily accessible. Maglite not included. FREE SHIPPING. $29.99Shop Now! 

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    3. Rugged Ridge Hitch Kit. One-piece construction for extra strength and a perfect fit. $78.99-103.99. Shop Now!

    Rugged Ridge Standard Budget Conscious

    4. SpiderWebShade. One-piece TrailMesh sun shade. Blocks up to 90% UV rays. Available for 2-door, 4-door and sides. Starting at $89.99. Shop Now!

    Jeep Accessory Gifts

    5. Grabar Steel Grab Handle Set. Offered in multiple grip colors. FREE SHIPPING. $102.00. Shop Now! 

    6. Recon LED Fender Markers & Turns. Smoked or clear. FREE SHIPPING. $119.00. Shop Now!       

    Jeep Accessory Gifts

    7. Dirty Dog Cargo Netting. Keeps cargo safe when the top is off. Available in many color options. FREE SHIPPING. $124.85. Shop Now!

    Dirty Dog Netting Gift Ideas Jeepers

    8. Factor 55 ProLink screw pin winch shackle mount that's five times stronger than winch hooks. Available in 5 colors. FREE SHIPPING. $142.45. Shop Now! 

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    9. AEV ProCal Programmer. Calibrate speedometer, adjust transmission shift point, clear engine codes, and more. FREE SHIPPING. $170.00. Shop Now!   

    Jeep Accessory Gifts

    10. Weather Tech Floor Liner Combo. The most advanced floor carpet protection on the market. Available in 3 colors. FREE SHIPPING. $197.90. Shop Now!  

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    11. Bestop Seat Covers. Two layers of water repellent protection. Fade resistant. Available in 3 colors. FREE SHIPPING. $199.00Shop Now! 

    Jeep Accessory Gifts

    Jeep Accessory Gifts For Dad - Under $500

    12. Morimoto LED Fog Light Kit. Bright, quality fog lights for the HardRock/10A/X Rubicons. Powered by three Philips Luxeon-T 5000K LEDs. FREE SHIPPING. $209.99. Shop Now!

    Jeep Accessory Gifts

    13. BrandMotion Backup Camera. High-mounted camera system for Wrangler. Fully adjustable camera bracket and spare tire hub mounting bracket. Starting at $249.99. Shop Now!   

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    14. Bartact Wrangler JK Seat Covers. Available for models 2007-2017. Waterproof polyester with 3-year minimum fade guarantee. FREE SHIPPING. Starting at $309.99. Shop Now!

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    15. N-Fab Nerf Steps. Solid one-piece construction bolts on. Provides wheel to wheel coverage for protection against road debris. Easy step design. $366.99. Shop Now! 

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    16. Generation 3 Body Armor TrailDoors. Adjustable pins ensure an exact fit for Wrangler JK. Heavy-duty nylon panels provide comfort and functionality. FREE SHIPPING. $385.99/pair. Shop Now! 

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    17. Teraflex Leveling Kit. Spacer leveling kit provides 2-inch front lift and     1-inch rear lift. Levels and slightly lifts for better highway and off-road handling. FREE SHIPPING. $398.99. Shop Now! 

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    18. JW Speaker LED Fog Light Kit. For Hard Rock/10A/X Model Rubicons. Most advanced LED direct replacement light on the market for true high performance. $399.99. Shop Now! 

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    19. S-Pod Wiring Solution. Panel includes six pre-wired switches. Low voltage cutoff to idle electronics. Bluetooth and Smartphone control available. FREE SHIPPING. Starting at $435.00. Shop Now!

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    20. New Model 8700 Evolution J LED Headlamps. True high performance LED headlight is a direct replacement for Jeep JK Headlights. Superior visibility, safety and durability. The most advanced LED Jeep-specific headlight. FREE SHIPPING. Normally $639.00. Now $470.00 with code "JWDAD." Shop Now! 

    Read the article: JW Speaker Shines In Aftermarket Lighting

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    Premium Jeep Accessory Gifts For Dad

    21. BrandMotion 360-Vision System. Full surround cameras for 360-degree view on and off-road. Includes dash-mounted control pad. Watch the demonstration video. FREE SHIPPING. $899.95. Shop Now! 

    Jeep Accessory Gift

    22. Bestop NX Glide Soft Top. Easy Slide-In/Out Operation, Sunrider panel stores back like a convertible top. Windows slide out. FREE SHIPPING. $1399.99. Shop now!

    Jeep Accessory Gifts


    Jeep Gift

    If you didn't find what you're looking for here, purchase a RubiTrux Gift Card for your Jeep Dad. Minimum amount $50. Purchase Now! 

    Shop! And call us at 828-675-8789 if you need assistance.




  • Wrangler JK Hoist A Top

    Most Wrangler JK's come from the factory with a hard top. Consumerism demands production of a more refined vehicle, so that's what Chrysler/Fiat offers in a hard top. But Lange Originals Hoist A Top offers us outdoorsy, adventurous Jeepers refinement in a different way. We don't always choose to have the hard top on. When the summer months roll around, we like to feel the wind in our hair and the warmth of the sun on our shoulders. 

    OEM and aftermarket hardtops are bulky to handle, difficult to store, and yes, costly. If we leave the hard top lying on the ground or in the garage, it's bound to get damaged or even destroyed. That's why Lange Originals brought us Hoist A Top in three models that make it easy to remove and store our hard top securely out of the way. What better place than the ceiling?

    Which Hoist A Top Is Right For You?

    Hoist A Top Manual by Lange Originals

    All three Hoist A Top products essentially do the same thing. The difference is found in the mechanism. In the bottom left of each image, you can see the mechanism. The Manual Lange ($199.00) shown above simply requires a hearty pull to lift the hardtop up and out of the way.

    The Power Lange ($419.99) shown below, requires just a push of a button, to hoist the hardtop up and away. 

    Hoist A Top Power by Lange Originals

    The Crank Lange ($319.99) shown below is the perfect balance between the two products above. You simply turn a crank. The crank is a bit easier to manage than the Manual Lange, but doesn't carry the price tag of the Power Lange.

    Hoist A Top Crank by Lange Originals

    All three models feature a steel powder-coated frame that you can attach to your hardtop without any drilling. And you can remove your hardtop using the Hoist A Top without having to open your rear window. Because it mounts to the ceiling, the system stows out of the way, with or without the hard top in tow. Each Hoist A Top model comes with instructions for an easy install. 

    You don't have to call a whole crew of friends over, or throw your back out to remove and store your hardtop. You can do it all by yourself with ease. It's perfect for the warm summer days ahead when the impulse strikes you to go topless, or when you want to change out to a soft top. So what are you waiting for? Shop now for your Hoist A Top at

  • Vehicle of the Week - Scout II

    1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badge-international-front-driver-quarterAlthough Jeeps are our mainstay, we occasionally see a classic 4x4 without the seven slot grille, and if you’ve been reading our blog, you may have come across the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 or seen pictures of other “old-iron” 4x4s. This week we’ve got something special: an International Harvester Scout II from 1976!1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badge-internationalThe 1970s was a great decade for classic cars; while the 1980’s saw many of the rounded body lines changed for squared off panels and headlights (the Jeep Wrangler YJ comes to mind), vehicles from the 1970s still largely retained some design influence from the 1960s, with rounded and curved body lines, round headlights, and rounded off fender-wells. The Scout II is no exception, and while boxy like the Jeep CJ models of the time, does have rounded corners and classic styling present, similar to the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco. The “squared off” 1980’s never influenced the Scout production run, as it was discontinued for the 1980 model year. There was a Scout III concept that made a debut in 1979, and it did feature more 1980’s-esq design influences, but International Harvester dropped the Scout before the III could reach production.1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badgeWhat we have here in a 1976 International Harvester Scout II, complete with hard doors and roll up glass windows, and a new soft top by SoftTopper! This Scout features a 3-speed automatic transmission coupled to a 345 CID V8. Originally from Arizona, this Scout is on consignment here at the shop, and is listed for $10,500.00. As this is a 40-year old vehicle, there is a small amount of rust on the rocker panels, common to these 4x4s, but the vehicle itself is in overall good condition, and would make a great driver or weekend toy for the Scout enthusiast!1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badge-internationa-interior-camo-seatslThe interior has been reworked and includes custom camouflage seat upholstery and door panels. The dash is in good condition and the floor-pans are solid. The wheels have plenty of tread and the paint job is nearly immaculate, besides the aforementioned rust spot on the rocker panel. Custom bumper and brush guard included. The 31x10.50r15lts are in great shape and mounted to a set of 15” Cragar D-window wheels. Of course this truck is 4x4, and being a 1970s model, does feature Warn front locking hubs, saving on gas mileage and wear-and-tear for the front end!1972-scout-II-4x4-off-road-sand-green-badge-international-rearIf you’re into Scouts and want one for your very own, or are looking for a great condition vehicle with which to start your build, let us know! We haven’t had this truck on the lot very long, and we don’t think it’ll last much longer; for the full ad, click here! With the Scout joining the club of early-Bronco’s and Blazers, which are fast becoming popular restoration projects (as everyone and their cousin has a CJ), someone is bound to scoop up this ride soon. Don’t miss out, give us a call today at (828) 266-9773!

  • Product of the Week - Hothead Headliners

    Hot-head-liner-oak-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimitedThis week, we're taking a look at Hothead Headliners. If you have a Jeep Wrangler with a hard top, you may have looked into such products from MOPAR or other vendors. Hothead Headliners first appeared on the market in 2009. Sold by Mark Ambrose Enterprises, Inc., these headliners were constructed in Mark's upholstery shop. Mark's shop has since switched to products aimed specifically at the Jeep Wrangler, with other items like a soft-top headliner and floor-pan insulation becoming popular over recent years. However, the flagship product, the hard-top headliners, remain the most sought-after. The newest model headliner is constructed from a base of 1/8" water-proof automotive panel boards, plus 1/4" thick, high density, cross-linked polyethylene insulating foam. On top of this, 3/16" thick automotive headliner fabric, with foam backing, gives the color you see on the inside of your Jeep Wrangler, as seen below.Hot-head-liner-oak-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-rear-seatThe Hothead Healiners can be ordered in a variety of colors, some to match the OEM coloring of your seats or interior trim panels. The aformentioned foam-backed automotive headliner material can be colored in Black, Graphite, Medium Dark Grey, Ox Grey, or Medium Dark Oak. The Medium Dark Oak color matches the two-toned interior found on certain Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited models (above), such as the Rubicon and the Sahara, while the Graphite option matches some of the cloth seats found on lower model Jeep JK's (below).Hot-head-liner-graphite-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimitedGreat for both keeping your Jeep warm in the winter and cool in the summer, these headliners install in a snap, with study 3M VHB tape! This product provides an OEM look and feel, great for a new or used Jeep Wrangler JK. While it is not recommended to remove and replaced these panels often, due to the sturdy nature of the 3M tape, the Hothead Headliners can be removed if needed, keeping the individual mats intact. This is great if you either sell the hardtop and wish to keep the liners, or worst case, total your Jeep, and want to transfer the headliners to the new hardtop. Regardless, it's nice to have the option, which would certainly be welcome in either of the above scenarios. Here it is worth noting that some competitor's products are designed for a one time installation, and may tear or come apart upon removal, potentially costing you money in the long run.Hot-head-liner-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-white-hard-top-interiorNot only can this product be removed if needed, but these headliner panels also install without having to take the OEM hardtop off of the vehicle. Many similar products require the removal of the factory hardtop, but with the Hothead liners, installation is a snap, especially since you don't have to recruit a few friends to remove and reinstall the hardtop! To close, these panels provide not only insulation from the cold, they also reduce road and wind noise while improving the sound of your stereo. As far as sound deadening qualities, road/wind noise decreased by about 3 to 6 decibels. This is great for both music and having phone conversations while inside the vehicle, for example. So if you've entered the market looking for a great headliner to protect you from the heat and cold, dampen the noise in the interior of your Jeep, or just to give your factory hard top a more high-end feel, the Hothead Headliner is for you! Order today, from!Hot-head-liner-oak-black-large-jeep-wrangler-jk-unlimited-white-hard-top-interior

  • 2006 HEMI Brute - Part 2

    2006-blue-lj-5-7-hemi-frontAt the conclusion of Part 1, we left the above HEMI LJ in two pieces on the garage floor. Now, with the tub lifted off the frame, we can begin installing the Brute kit itself. As noted before, this Jeep Wrangler LJ Rubicon was recently purchased by a customer. As the customer wanted a V8 Brute, the LJ seemed the logical choice, as it already featured a HEMI conversion. The LJ Rubicons were offered from 2004-2006 with certain offroad upgrades such as factory lockers, Dana-44 axles, and a Rock-Trac NV241 transfer case, among others. The V8 conversion on this Jeep is a 5.7L HEMI coupled to a 545RFE 4-speed automatic transmission sourced from a Dodge pickup.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-tiltAs previously mentioned, we decided to go ahead and remove the remainder of the tub from the frame after cutting the Jeep in half. This gives plenty of room to weld, as well as add in some frame reinforcement. As some of you may already know, many Brute vehicles are plagued by the “Brute bounce”; this is due to the nature of a pickup platform on a Jeep frame. Some Brutes have this issue more than others. To counter this, the frame was reinforced directly underneath the driver seat, with the reinforcing plate extending back towards the rear wheels. But first, let's get to the initial frame modifications. As this is an LJ, the AEV frame extensions were first cut down, and along with the frame sleeves, were then added to the frame. The AEV jigs were used to hold all of this in place while the welds were dropped in by Chris Minnich (below). On the right of the welded frame rail, you can see where the body mounts were initially removed; these will be added back in a later step.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-welding-22006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-complete-driver-side2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-rear-frame-extention-test-fit-1Above, the rear frame extension is test fitted; this is where the second winch will be housed in the dual-winch setup. Below, the tub is placed back onto the frame for fitment of the doors, top, cab closeout, and bed. After the tub is secured, the AEV cab closeout is added, clamped down, and the doors are test fitted before the closeout is welded in place. As you can see, the cab closeout completely wraps around the remnants of the OEM tub, both along the floor at the rear of the cab, and just behind what's left of the factory roll-bar.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-test-fit-12006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-test-fit-3

    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-tub-welding-2.jpg2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-door-tub-top-fitmentFitment of the top, doors, and tub is very important during this step. Below, the forward bed mount and rear frame extension are temporarily added via a few tack welds to check fitment of the bed. Once everything is in place and checked, the bed is removed. After the bed is taken back off of the Jeep, the forward bed mount is welded in; alignment of this piece is essential to the fit of the Brute bed.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-truck-bed-fitting2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-crossmember-body-mount-2If you look closely in the picture of the forward bed mount (above), you can spy a fishplate on the driver-side frame rail. These are frame reinforcements supplied by AEV, and are applied to the insides of the frame. The prior welds and any rough surfaces on the frame are ground down to ensure that these plates sit flush. After more measuring and double-checking, the rear frame extension is also welded into place, this time with a pair of outbound fishplates, shown below.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-frame-extention-welded-2Now that the cab closeout, frame extension and the bed supports are all in place, it's time for the frame reinforcements. The cab is lifted off of the frame a second time, to give Jesse Robertson more room to work with the frame reinforcement (below). These plates are welded to the frame directly under the front floorboards and leading back to the forward bed mount. This will help to counter the inherent problem of the “Brute bounce”. After both sides of the frame are reinforced, the entire assembly is painted before the tub and truck bed are bolted to the frame.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-frame-plate-passenger-side-not-welded




    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-frame-plates-painted-overviewOnce everything is back on the ground, a set of AEV highline fenders are added to complete the AEV Brute build. These highline fenders were removed from an '06 Brute that passed through the shop, as the buyer wanted standard fenders with extended flares on his build, and holding onto these proved a worthwhile investment. As many of you may know, AEV no longer produces the highline kit, and these fenders are getting hard to come by (below).2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-front-highline-fender-install2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-front-highline-fender-install-head-onAfter the highline fenders are added, the tailgate is bolted up to the bed and the Brute is pulled out of the garage bay. As we've yet to receive the proper rear driveshaft, we pulled the truck out in front-wheel drive to load it onto the trailer. Below, check out pictures of the Brute before it left for the body shop; it's certainly come a long way from the soft-top LJ that it once was! After the Brute returns we'll be taking a look at some of the future upgrades planned, such as a long-arm lift kit and 37” tires, so stay tuned and let us know what you think!2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-front-driver-side2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-front-grille-angle2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-front-passenger-angle2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-passenger-side2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-ready-to-paint-bed

  • Product of the Week - Sprintex Superchargers

    sprintex-supercharger-twin-screw-jeep-wrangler-tj-lj-4-0-inline-sixThis week, we're taking a look at a new line of Superchargers by Sprintex! Based out of Perth, Austrailia, Sprintex has been building superchargers for over 30 years, and entered the US market about two years ago. The Sprintex Supercharger uses a unique twin screw mechanism, resulting in a product that is more energy efficient and produces less heat and noise than other competitors. With the Sprintex superchargers, your stock Jeep engine will receive improved torque from idle and a solid increase in performance and power, something every Jeep owner can appreciate.sprintex-2-door-jk-at-rubitruxThe first step in most Jeep builds are a lift kit and larger tires; however, many owners fail to realize that a lifted Jeep will lose a significant amount of performance, especially off the line. The traditional approach to this problem is to regear the axles or drop in a larger engine (which usually involves some amount of drivetrain modification as well). But what happens when you're happy with the stock engine and drivetrain, or a regear doesn't cut it? Sprintex superchargers may be the solution for you! Offered for the 4.0L Inline-6, the 3.8L V6, and the 3.6L V6 Pentastar, a Sprintex supercharger will give your Jeep the extra power and torque you need! The twin screw setup mentioned before reduces stress on the engine through a lower discharge temperature and pressure across the RPM range, and features NO LAG! For automatic transmissions, PCM/TCM modification may be required, just be sure to list your engine/transmission combination when contacting us about a supercharger from Sprintex, and we'll take care of the rest!sprintex-supercharger-twin-screw-jeep-wrangler-jk-jku-pentastar-3-6Now for the specs. With the new Pentastar 3.6L (2012+ Jeep Wrangler, pictured above), the Sprintex supercharger results in 54% more horsepower and 28% more torque. The stock 195 WHP increases to 302 WHP, and the torque specs go from 239 ft/lb to 307 ft/lb! With the old 3.8L (pictured below) found on the 2007-2011 Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited, the horsepower is increased by 60%, from 171 WHP to 218 WHP, and the torque goes from 197 ft/lb to 253 ft/lb! The 3.8L also features dedicated tuning and complete support by Diablosport. These superchargers are fully bolt-on, and also increase the torque off idle and at lower RPM's as well! For the classic 4.0L Inline-6, gains are 42% more horsepower and 34% more torque over stock! The WHP goes from 152 to 216, and the torque specs go from 193 ft/lb to 259 ft/lb. Tuners are included for 2005-2006 models, and are supported by Diablo InTune i1000. Up the power on your TJ or LJ, and get the most out of your bulletproof 4.0L!sprintex-supercharger-twin-screw-jeep-wrangler-jk-jku-3-8-v6-2007-20111Along with all of these new products, we recently had the opportunity to test drive the 3.6L Sprintex Jeep Wrangler JK! Pictured at the top of this article, this 2-door features a stock suspension and tire combination with a 6-speed manual transmission, and performed right off idle, just as Sprintex claims. The extra boost of speed was great for climbing the hilly terrain in Boone, and would work well with larger tires and a lift kit. Overall, the kit provided a clean, OEM appearance in the engine bay of the Wrangler JK, and we can't wait to see this Jeep enter the next stage of it's build, which includes a lift kit, bumpers, and large tires!sprintex-supercharger-twin-screw-jeep-wrangler-tj-lj-4-0-inline-six-installedTo conclude, we were impressed with the Sprintex supercharger, and it would make a great addition to any Jeep build; we're excited to carry this line of Jeep products from Sprintex, and we hope you check them out if you're thinking of a supercharger for your Jeep Wrangler JK or 4.0L TJ/LJ Wrangler!

  • 2006 HEMI Brute - Part 1

    2006-blue-lj-5-7-hemi-frontYou may recognize this Jeep from an earlier blog post. This clean 2006 Jeep Wrangler LJ Rubicon features a 5.7L HEMI mated to a 545RFE 4-speed automatic transmission. This Jeep retains a mostly stock appearance with a 2.5" Old Man Emu lift kit, OEM Moab wheels, and LT285/75R16 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. We'd had this LJ around the shop for a couple months when a customer dropped by asking about a V8 Brute. This customer ended up purchasing the LJ and asking us to do the AEV Brute conversion in shop. Quite a few tears were shed when the first cuts were made, especially since this was such a pristine LJ, but the build has since come along nicely. This Brute is currently at paint, and we can't wait for it to get back in the shop for the long-arm kit and 37" tires, among other things! First off, the AEV Brute conversion itself.aev-hemi-bruteWhile well known for aftermarket products for the current-generation Jeep Wrangler JK, AEV traces it's roots back to the 1990s, with some of the first AEV conversions being stretched YJ's and TJ's. In the early 2000's, AEV produced the Brute kit, which converts a standard TJ or LJ into a pickup truck, complete with a removable hard-top and a steel bed with fold-down tailgate. The Brute is commonly seen coupled with AEV's highline fender kit, which matches the fender flares and body lines of the AEV truck bed with those on the front fenders.2005-custom-jeep-wrangler-aev-brute-black-yakima-roof-rack-front-passFirst, we started by removing the soft-top, and pulled the doomed LJ into one of our garage bays. Chris Minnich, the lead technician, is shown below removing the stock fenders and liners. Meanwhile Jesse Robertson, the Service Manager, strips out the roll bar padding, rear seat, and carpet. The AEV Kit was placed in the neighboring bay, and the parts were set out on the floor. These included the jigs and frame extentions for the LJ frame, the rear of the new tub/cab, the hard top itself, and the pickup bed. The OEM tailgate, spare tire mount, taillights, front seats, and license plate setup were also taken off.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-instructions2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-rear-driver-side-fender-removal2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-kit-22006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-kit-1Now we're entering into the realm of no return as the rearmost portion of the OEM roll-bars are cut and unbolted from the tub by Jesse. All electrical connections leading from the front of the Jeep to the rear (this model came equipped from the factory with a hard-top) are also disconnected and removed, as well as the rear bumper, fuel door and bezel for the gas tank filler/neck. The extra roll-bar padding is removed and then wrapped around the remaining roll-bar segment. Before modification of the tub begins, a cover is placed over the dashboard to help protect against the cutting and welding taking place during the next steps.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-roll-bar-removal-32006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-roll-bar-removed-finalAfter the J-rails are removed and the rear-most section of the tub is unbolted from the frame, the body is carefully marked before Jesse breaks out the sawzall. The spot welds and seam sealer in the bed of the LJ are drilled out and removed, respectively. During this step, it may be helpful to heat the sealer with a small torch before using a chisel to pry it away from the tub. Afterwards, the interior cuts are made by Chris with an air-powered reciprocating saw. Once all of the seam sealer has been removed and the spot welds across the bottom of the tub have been drilled out, this piece is ready for removal.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-cutting-tub-22006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-cutting-tub-inside-2The rear tub section is then picked up off of the frame and discarded. While converting a TJ will yield less of a rear tub section, an LJ tub provides the perfect dimensions for an off-road trailer. We're kicking around a few ideas involving some 35's and a spare axle we've got at the shop, so stay tuned! The next step in the Brute build involves trimming out the remaining sheet-metal in preparation for fitment of the AEV cab closeout. This closeout wraps around the remaining body of the Jeep, so careful cutting of the door sill and rearmost sheet-metal is required to ensure correct fitment of the AEV part. 2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-section-removed

    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-marking-tubIf you look closely in the above image, you can see the lip right behind the e-brake where the AEV cab closeout will meet the OEM sheet metal. Correct alignment of the closeout is essential in sealing the new truck cab with the doors and the AEV hard top. Below, Chris drills out the remaining spot welds and takes an air saw to the door sill while Jesse does the same for the passenger-side. After these pieces are removed and any remaining body sealer is chiseled away, the frame is one step closer to being cut in half.

    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-doorframe-cut2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-sheet-metal-trimming2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-tub-second-cut-completeNext up, the gas tank and drive-shaft are removed and placed aside, while the brake, fuel, and lines for the lockers are either removed or pried from the frame and secured out of the way. Since the exhaust is extended as part of the conversion, we used this opportunity to cut off the pipes at the skid plate as well. The rearmost body mounts, located exactly where the frame was to be cut, are also removed by Chris, and the factory welds are ground down.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-removed-gas-tank-brake-lines-driveshaft

    2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-cutting-body-mount2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-body-mount-grinding-22006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-body-mount-ground-downAt this point, the AEV jigs can be used to mark the frame; however, we went a different route with our measurements before breaking out the chainsaw. The frame is then marked, cut in half, and rolled back.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-chainsaw

    Just kidding, we didn't actually use the chainsaw, the cuts were made with an electric reciprocating saw, which made short work of the frame. Chris is shown below marking a guide line into the frame with a cut-off wheel, to follow a few seconds later with the saw perched atop the rear 33" tire.2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-cutting-frame2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-cutThe initial plan was to leave the front section of the tub attached to the forward part of the frame during the conversion, but we elected to remove it after making these cuts, so as to have more room to work when welding the frame back together. It helps to have access to a lift for these conversions. After cutting, the frame was put on jack-stands, the lift-arms readjusted and placed under the tub, the steering shaft and electrical hookups were disconnected, and the tub was unbolted from the frame. The lift was then used to hoist the tub out of the way, for the framework to begin!2006-jeep-wrangler-lj-rubitrux-hemi-brute-conversion-in-progress-frame-welding-cab-offThere you have it, a mint-condition LJ chopped up in pieces over the course of two afternoons; next up, the frame extensions are added, along with supports for the bed and more!


  • Vehicle of the Week - Jeep JKU Sport Firecracker Red

    custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-jw-speaker-6145-led-fog-lights-176939For the last update, you may have noticed our new Hydro Blue JKU Sport. We're excited to say that this vehicle sold in record time, and we're sure the owner will be nothing short of amazed with the build quality and capabilities of this Jeep. The second Jeep, briefly mentioned in last week's post, is a 2016 Firecracker Red Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport. We chose a different look for this build; while the Hydro Blue JKU features a standard AEV package, this Jeep was loaded down with a full Maximus-3 and Hard-Rock build package. The Hard-Rock is the highest trim option available on a Jeep Wrangler JK or JK Unlimited, even above that of the Rubicon. The Rubicon Hard-Rock features unique rock sliders, modular front and rear bumpers, and special wheels, among other accessories. While this certainly makes the Hard-Rock eye-catching, a standard Hard-Rock is about $5,000 higher than a standard Rubicon, making the price eye-catching as well.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-aev-dualsport-sc-3-5-inch-suspension-176939Fortunately, MOPAR offers the bumpers found on the Hard-Rock, and a company called Maximus-3 manufactures a full line of accessories, such as stinger hoops and tire carriers, for these factory bumper systems. Unlike older models, the current generation OEM Jeep bumpers have been unable to accept a winch without modification since the 2007 redesign. Maximus-3 and the Hard-Rock JK platform address these problems, providing winch-ready bumpers, as well as several winch-related products, such as fairleads, winch mounting plates, and winch-hook anchors.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-maximus-3-classic-hoop-176939The Hard-Rock bumpers and sliders are far superior to the OEM equipment found on the Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon packages, and are no doubt on many a new owner's mind when going Jeep shopping for the first time. However, the premium price associated with these accessories may cause many to discount ever owning such a Jeep. We decided to kit this JKU Sport out with some Maximus-3 upgrades, and since we've recently had some Hard-Rock JK's come through the shop for work, we had a set of these unique rock rails and wheels around the shop as well. As you can see, when coupled with an AEV lift kit and a set of 35" mud-tires, this build package transforms a JK Sport from a standard mall-crawler to an off-road machine.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-baja-designs-lighting-on-176939For starters, this Wrangler Sport is equipped with an AEV 3.5" DualSport SC Suspension and 35x12.50x17 BFG KM2 Mud-Terrain Tires on OEM Hard-Rock Wheels. We did use wheel spacers to offset the 35's, since the stock 17x9 Hard-Rock wheels lacked the offset to run this tire size without rubbing. The MOPAR Hard-Rock bumper and Maximus-3 setup allow this JKU Sport to accept a Warn Zeon 8s Synthetic Rope Winch. The Maximus-3 accessories featured on the front bumper include the winch-mount, black fairlead, red winch hook anchor, d-ring mounts, and fog light brackets, as well as a bumper hoop to protect the grille and winch from trail damage.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-recon-smoked-tail-lightst-176939The rear MOPAR hard-rock bumper was equipped with an AEV tire-carrier, to carry the larger 35" tires. The OEM tailgate will not support a tire larger than 33" for an extended period of time. Eventually, the tailgate latching mechanism and hinges will become damaged, as the excessive weight of the tire will pull the tailgate away from the body. Hence, the need for an aftermarket tire carrier. While there are many aftermarket tire carriers to choose from, the AEV option fits directly to the MOPAR hard-rock bumper, and along with the hard-rock rock rails, gives this Jeep JKU a nice OEM look, with a hint of ruggedness.

    custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-alea-bentley-leather-rubitrux-headrestcustom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-alea-bentley-leathercustom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-alea-bentley-leather-rear-passengerOn the interior, we've added the Alpine X009-Wra headunit, giving the driver a larger screen for GPS, radio, and entertainment options. A full set of red GraBars have also been added, to help with entering and exiting the vehicle, as this JKU is several inches taller than stock. Some owners forget that in addition to the lift kit, larger tires add to the height of the vehicle as well. For example, on this Sport you have 3.5" plus the increase from 32" to 35" tires, which comes out to about 5" in total. While this may not look like much on paper, hauling yourself up into a taller vehicle day after day can become tiring, so the GraBars are a welcome addition! Other interior upgrades include a full custom leather interior by Alea Leather, and a painted interior bezel/trim piece set in firecracker red, to match the OEM paint.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-painted-interior-trim-176939For lighting, this Jeep has a pair of Baja Designs XL Pro Auxiliary Lights, JW Speaker 8700 Evolution 2 LED headlights, Recon LED taillights, smoked turn signals, side markers, and JW Speaker 6145 J Series Fog Lights. A 50" LED light bar by Baja Designs is mounted to the top of the windshield by a pair of Rock Slide Engineering brackets, and an SPOD 6 Switch System controls all of the aftermarket lighting from an easy to reach position inside the cab.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-grabars-front-176939

    custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-grabars-rear-176939Other aftermarket accessories include a two-tone AEV Heat Reduction Hood, ensuring that the 3.6L has plenty of ventilation, especially for those days at the beach during the summertime heat! The two-tone Wildboar Aggressive Hawkeye Grille gives this Sport a unique and stylish appearance, and the two-tone paint-job goes well with the AEV hood. The lower half of the Hawkeye grille also blends in with the OEM fender flares and the dark colors of the bumper, fairlead, wheels and tires, providing a great transition among the colors on the front-end.custom-jeep-wrangler-firecracker-red-jw-speaker-8700-evolution-2-led-headlights-176939If you like our new Sport builds, let us know! We've sold both the Hydro Blue and this Firecracker Red, and have a third one on the way! As mentioned before, the Sport lacks the popular factory upgrades found on our usual Rubicon builds, but if you're looking for a daily driver or a high-end Jeep that can still hit moderate trails, one of our Sport builds may be for you!

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