Jeep Wrangler JK hood flutter0
If you own a Wrangler JK you might have experienced something very unsettling while driving on a freeway. When you go over 60 MPH, you can’t help but notice the hood jumping up and down so violently you think at any minute its going to rip the latches off and come flying up at your windshield. Not everyone notices it and some people simply ignore it. I was ignoring it myself for over three years, even though it always seems to scare the crap out of me! I know that the chances that both latches fail and the secondary, metal latch in the front fails also at the same time are slim, but it’s just a distraction that I don’t need while I’m driving my “brick on wheels”. It is funny though how my passengers react to it when I point it out to them…
Finally after three years of driving my jeep, the passenger that I’m in a relationship with, asked me to do something about it so I did.
The reason behind this flutter is the fact that the stock hood latches utilize a weak and stretch-prone rubber that allows the hood to lift and flutter at speed. The rubber is very soft! You can actually pull on your locked hood, grabbing it right under the latch and see it lift slightly. That is not a good sign!
The solution to this problem is to make sure your hood closes tighter and doesn’t lift when the gust of wind hits it.
There are few ways to accomplish that. Some are free and pretty “ghetto” and some require buying replacement parts, but are permanent:
1. You can remove the hood latch spring in the front
This is the simplest and free fix, and it might take care of the problem for you.
2. You can wrap a zip tie tightly around the rubber piece of the latch to prevent it from stretching
This is another simple and cheap fix, but you have to remember to carry extra zip ties in your jeep since they break often, plus this fix does not look too clean and cool.
3. You can wrap the rubber piece with velcro to keep it from stretching
Similar idea to fix #2
4. You can use a “Woods hood flutter fix kit”
I can only assume this is a home made kit. It’s goal is to make the metal latch under the hood close tighter, therefore keeping the hood from lifting.
5. You can buy replacement hood wranglers which are the rubber pieces of the latch
This is what I decided to get. The best and most popular are made by Daystar. These hood wranglers upgrade the soft rubber on the factory latches with a heavy-duty polyurethane material that is much more stiffer and doesn’t stretch almost at all. Installation is simple and maintains the factory look.
Here’s a short install video :
It takes only about 15 minutes to replace the parts, but you will immediately notice how much shorter and stiffer this new part is. Honestly it might take you longer to close your new latches than to install them!
When I installed them for the first time I seriously didn’t think they were long enough for me to be able to close the latches. After struggling for several minutes, I discovered that the only way to close the latch is to hold it with both hands and get as much stretch as possible from the rubber, to make it “over” the other piece (trying to close it with one hand while holding the hood down with the other hand will not work).
I have had the new latches for a couple of months now and I can say that they stretch out just enough to make it little easier to close, but they definitely do their job of eliminating all the hood flutter. Well worth the money!
Feel free to comment if you have any experience with any of these methods.