Outfitted: A Roundup of the Latest Automotive Accessories (Spring 2016)
LS engine conversions have become a new standard in the sport truck and off-road worlds, and for good reason. They’re dependable and highly adaptable in so many different applications. As far as Jeep conversions are concerned, the LS powerplant is soon becoming every more popular, and availability of aftermarket parts is also in the uptrend. The direct-fit aluminum radiator and electric fan from Flex-A-Lite is just one example. Made for ’87-’06 Jeep Wranglers (TJ and YJ), this combo will provide way better cooling power than OE parts thanks to the efficient 2-row radiator (the stock radiator only cools on 1 row). Now aside from the cooler running temps of the beefier radiator, the selling point of using an electric fan is the ability to ditch the belt-driven stock fan, which could possibly come into contact with the fan shroud while being jumbled during turbulent off-roading action.
Allowing an engine to breathe properly is one of the best things you can do to increase performance and power gains. And aside from introducing a better flowing exhaust system, the road to better breathing starts up at the front of the truck with a cold air intake. Now this is the portion the folks at Cold Air Inductions specialize in. Their intake systems have been designed based on real data from real driving conditions. Right off the bat, replacing the restrictive stock air box and paper filter with CAI’s setup will boost the horsepower count to 12rwhp and add 6-ft-lbs of torque, along with increasing fuel economy, improving throttle response and creating an aggressive, throatier sound. Some intake systems don’t utilize an air box in their design, but it is a crucial feature in CAI’s method. Both the air box and intake tube are constructed of aluminum and are insulated to funnel in cooler outside air through the heat generated inside of the engine bay. The plexi-glass window allows for quick at-a-glance inspection of the high-flow air filter element.
For any of you who plan on doing some heavy off-roading, you’re going to need to plan on beefing up certain things like axle shafts. Sure, the factory Jeep issued shafts are pretty tough, but can and will buckle under extreme pressure, and that’s the last thing you need happening when you’re miles deep into the wilderness. Dynatrac’s solution to the weak link is upgraded front and rear JK44 axle shaft kits. Designed for ‘07+ Jeep Wrangler (JK), these kits actually present a bank account-friendly alternative to a broken down nightmare that is a real possibility in muddy, rough conditions. Both kits feature heavy-duty 4340 chromoly axle shaft construction, and the 30-spline front shafts are accompanied by 1350 U-joints and are direct replacements, so there is no need to mess with the factory wheel hub. The rear kit increases the shaft diameter from 32 to 35-spline. Aside from being darn near bulletproof, both axle shaft kits require no modification to be correctly installed, and come with everything needed to ensure successful installation.
MSRP: $989 (front) / $759.99 (rear)
Ever thought of lifting your Jeep? Of course you have. But maybe the thought of cutting and drilling and welding may have steered you away from actually going through with it. Well, take a deep sigh of relief because there are 100% bolt-on suspension lift kits like this one here from Rough Country. This 2.5-inch kit relies on coil springs and shock relocation brackets to provide the suspension lift, which will ultimately result in increased ground clearance and the ability to run up to 33-inch tires. Now, if you’ve been enviously eyeballing other Wranglers on the road with an altered stance, you too can have it all. The included shock relocation brackets will let you save a few bucks as they are compatible with factory shocks, but you may want to take this opportunity to upgrade to Rough Country’s Performance 2.2 shocks that have been designed specifically for off-road conditions.
Not all shocks are made the same, so don’t believe what you hear. The Fox 2.0 Adventure Series Stabilizer IFP (Internal Floating Piston) body shocks offer superior ride dampening and control that will be noticed when on and off-road. What makes these pieces so superior? Well, for starters, the larger-than-average 5/8-inch alloy steel stock shaft has been overbuilt for a stiff and steady ride. The Internal Floating Piston adds increased performance as it acts as a barrier between the shock oil and nitrogen charged gas chamber, which in turn allows the shock to perform at its highest potential. The name of the shock says it all, so get ready to embark on new adventures and blaze a whole bunch of new trails.
Back in the day, billet horizontal bar grille inserts were all that were really available to customize your truck’s front end. Today, there are so many new styles including mesh designs and some that are just a little too over the top. T-Rex Grilles was at the center of the billet boom years ago, and though they’ve evolved with the times, they still offer that same classic, polished look that just can’t be beat. The grille center features a recess for emblem placement. Get that clean, classy look even though you’re probably already planning to get your truck covered in mud.
Being winch-ready while on the trail is all too important. Go Rhino’s BR5 front bumper replacement has long been a staple for Jeep, but now you can outfit your half-ton pickup with one, whether you’re driving an F-150, Tundra, Ram 1500 or GM 1500 model. The true beauty of this piece is that it can be customized to suit your needs. The mesh covers can be taken off to increase the airflow to the engine and winch of your choice (supports up to 12,500 lbs.), and can be done up with individual LED lights or light bars. Aside from its awesome functionality, the BR bumper has been built tough to withstand the elements with its black textured powdercoat finish.
MSRP: Starting at $875.60
Need a new winch? Don’t cheap out and get another bargain bin model, step up to one of the toughest, most technologically advanced winch on the market today. Let’s start with its 12,000-lb capacity, Spydura Pro synthetic rope, and an advanced wireless remote, which puts control in your hand from inside the cab, back, front and around the corner (ok, maybe not quite that far but you get the idea). This thing is as handy, as it is a slice of beefcake. Not only does the remote handle simple operation capabilities, it also allows for adding two accessory functions, and displays live readings of vehicle battery charge and winch motor vital signs. The tank-like aluminum construction is strengthened with the flat black powdercoated finish and stainless steel fasteners. This baby right here is money well spent.
Ever hear that annoying rattling noise that you just can track down when you’re out having some fun in your Jeep? Well, it’s possible that it’s coming from the most unlikely of places—the gas door. There’s only so much the factory can do when it comes to building things to exceed consumer specs, but when vehicles get introduced to harsher environments, aftermarket suppliers must step in to overbuild certain items to make the extreme fans truly satisfied. Take AMP Research’s new die-cast aluminum alloy fuel door cover. It features a cam-action hinge that guarantees no rattle noises when bounced around while off-roading. Available in black or brushed aluminum finishes, this fuel door feeds the need for silence but also looks right at home on your JK’s exterior.
MSRP: Starting at $129