One of the best aspects of owning a Jeep is the ability to drive topless and doorless. The only downside of topless driving is the fact that anything stored in the “trunk” space behind the rear seat is visible and easily accessible. For the last few years, every time I would take the top down, while using my Jeep for daily driving, I would also remove my tool bag and recovery gear form my Jeep and leave it in the garage. I felt that it is not secure in my trunk and it’s way too valuable to risk having it stolen. I finally decided to look into securing the cargo area while driving topless. I did some research looking for a Jeep JK security tailgate enclosure and it seems like there’s two products available that provide exactly what I was looking for. One of them is the Tuffy Security Products Tailgate Security Enclosure and the other is the Bestop Instatrunk.
Both these tailgate security enclosures are simple but solid designs made out of 16-gauge steel, that create a lockable storage trunk completely protected on all sides. They work in conjunction with the lockable vehicle tailgate to secure the trunk area created. Both these enclosures maintain the use and function of the rear seat in 2-door models. The installation is quick and easy using standard hand tools in both 2 and 4 door Jeep models with an OEM hardtop or soft top. Both these products mount to the floor of the Jeep from the inside of the trunk. The enclosures work in vehicles equipped with or without the subwoofer.
There are several options of these enclosures, depending on the year and model of your Jeep:
– Tuffy 297-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 87′-95′ Jeep Wrangler YJ
– Tuffy 296-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 97′-06′ Jeep Wrangler TJ
– Tuffy 286-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 07′-10′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door
– Tuffy 310-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 07′-10′ Jeep Wrangler JK 4 door
– Tuffy 282-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 11′-17′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door
– Tuffy 299-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 11′-17′ Jeep Wrangler JK 4 door
– Bestop 42700-01 Instatrunk for 87′-95′ Jeep Wrangler YJ
– Bestop 42701-01 Instatrunk for 97′-06′ Jeep Wrangler TJ
– Bestop 42702-01 Instatrunk for 07′-10′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door or 4 door (without factory subwoofer)
– Bestop 42637-01 Instatrunk for 07′-10′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door or 4 door (with factory subwoofer)
– Bestop 42704-01 Instatrunk for 11′-17′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door or 4 door
November 24, 2017 | azoffroading.com
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent is a ultralight tent for three season backpacking. The NX stands for NEXT, the next generation of the Hubba series, as it has been redesigned for 2014. The three pounds and seven ounces of the Hubba Hubba NX is the lowest weight yet, as well as offering two different fast and light modes when combined with the optional footprint. Whatever it takes to give your back respite on the trail. The color coded webbing makes for a quick and easy set up so you can clamber inside to enjoy plenty of head and shoulder room due to the symmetrical pole geometry and non-tapered floor. The two large vestibules leave room for your gear and friend’s, with StayDry entry provided by built-in rain gutters on the rain fly. MSR added plenty of venting options to aid in the war against condensation, just roll up the vestibule from the bottom, open the kickstand side vents, or sleep through the night sans-vestibule. The mesh will protect you from pesky bugs. Rise early and pack up camp in a flash with the wide mouth stuff sack, cinching it tight with the attached compression straps.
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is a great tent for two people. It’s incredibly easy to set up, lightweight, and has two doors so you can come and go at night without disturbing your partner. Nearly freestanding, the pole configuration creates an interior space that has near vertical walls, providing excellent interior space and livability. With a trail weight of three and a half pounds, the Hubba Hubba NX is lightweight enough for backpacking use when shared by two people, but on the heavy if used by one. Still, MSR has done a fine job designing this tent, which should definitely be on your short list if you’re looking to upgrade to a spacious and comfortable lightweight two person tent for backpacking and camping.
October 29, 2017 | azoffroading.com
Changing the engine oil is a necessary part of routine Jeep maintenance and really, it’s something that anyone can do. In fact, thanks to the design of the 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine in a Wrangler JK, it’s something that’s easier to do than ever before.
The new Pentastar engine does not use a traditional can style oil filter, but rather uses a disposable filter media that is installed into the top of the engine. This makes changing your engine oil super easy and eliminates most of the mess.
This short write-up will explain in detail what is involved in the process of a Jeep JK 3.6L Pentastar engine oil change and just how little you will need to do. The entire project takes about 30 minutes. And after you’ve done this on your own, I can almost guarantee you’ll never take your Jeep back to your dealer or a shop to have it done for you again.
The mileage time frame for an oil change is not an exact science these days. While many still swear by the old 3,000 mile rule, today’s engines and oil blends do allow for a longer duration between changes. In fact, Jeep owner’s manual doesn’t really tell you exactly when to change oil, it just mentions that depending on operating conditions, the “change oil” message may appear as early as 3,500 miles since last reset. It does say however that you should never exceed 8,000 miles or six months between oil changes.
It is my personal opinion that you should switch from conventional oil to synthetic oil as soon as you have a chance. There are many opinions on this topic, but I made a switch after first two oil changes, and ever since the third one started using synthetic oil only. Many cars however come with synthetic oil from factory so there is no need to wait to make a switch.
Ever since I started using synthetic oil I have been putting about 10,000 miles between oil changes and my Jeep runs great, even in the hot Arizona climate. My Jeep is a daily driver but it’s not a road trip vehicle so the oil changes happen once a year or so.
Disclaimer: Like I always mention I am not a professional mechanic, I just try to do as much work on my Jeep as possible. It helps me learn more about my vehicle and save some money that can be spent on parts and upgrades.
September 26, 2017 | azoffroading.com
I take no responsibility for any injury or breakage which might occur if you decide to follow these steps. You have to decide if you’re comfortable working on your Jeep. If you’re not, please have a professional do the oil change for you.
A multi-function switch, just as the name suggests, controls several different functions related to the lights of your Jeep. Using this one switch you turn on the headlights, fog lights, control turn signals, dashboard lights and dome lights. Unfortunately there might come a time when you notice that something about your lights doesn’t seem right. There could be a few different reasons for your lights or dash indicators to start acting strange. First thing you should always check is the light bulbs. Unless you have all LED lights, check your headlights and turn signals to make sure that all light bulbs work. You might have a fuse that is damaged and needs replacing. You can inspect the fuses an replace the damaged one.
The most common reason for your lights and turn signals not working properly is the multi-function switch failure. Over time some connections inside the switch might become loose and cause problems. You can inspect the switch lever and check whether it stays firmly in each position or if there is some play.
With loose connections, your dashboard lights, dome lights, fogs, or even headlights might randomly flicker or come on unexpectedly, which can be very dangerous. You might encounter problems with your turn signals as well.
The reason I decided to replace the multifunction switch on my Jeep, was due to the fact that my turn signals started acting strange. While turning right and activating the right turn signal by pulling the lever up, the left turn signal would come on first and flash once, and only after that the right turn signal would come on. It has been going on very randomly for the last couple of weeks and it started to drive me crazy, not to mention it was probably irritating other drivers behind me.
Another problem with the turn signal you might experience is that it doesn’t automatically shut off after you complete the turn. I have not personally have that problem, but I hear it is unfortunately a common issue.
Replacing a Jeep JK multi-function switch is a very easy and quick task. The procedure is the same for all 2007-2017 JK’s. The entire project should take about 30 minutes and you only need few tools. If you prefer to watch a video, here’s the best one I found on this subject.
Disclaimer: Like I always mention I am not a professional mechanic, I just try to do as much work on my Jeep as possible. It helps me learn more about my vehicle and save some money that can be spent on parts and upgrades.
September 18, 2017 | azoffroading.com
I take no responsibility for any injury or breakage which might occur if you decide to follow these steps. You have to decide if you’re comfortable working on your Jeep. If you’re not, please have a professional do the installation for you.
It might sound like a cliche, but water is life. Whether it’s for an emergency kit or a camping trip, having a supply of clean water is most important in any survival situation. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need about one gallon of water per day, per person (and per pet!) in the event of an emergency. It is a good idea to always store at least one week worth of clean water in case of a disaster. Water sources can become disrupted or contaminated for prolonged periods and you’ll need water for both consumption, cooking, and hygiene purposes. Proper water storage is fairly simple if you have good water storage containers and know how to store them appropriately.
First of all, you need a water storage container that meets a number of safety requirements and viability tests. A container cannot be too heavy when full, needs to be durable, portable, puncture resistant, leak proof and meet food safety requirements. You also may or may not need it to be stackable, or to have a pouring spout or a spigot.
It is not recommended to use metal containers for long term water storage. The safest containers to hold water in are polyethylene-based plastics, or plastics #1, #2, and #4. These types are food-grade, BPA free, excellent for long-term storage and do not leach harmful chemicals into the water leaving a “plastic” taste.
The size of the water container you select depends on your needs. For short term storage you can use small containers (2-10L or in other words less than 3 gallons) and made out of soft collapsible plastic. If you plan to store more water for a longer period of time, you should pick a larger container made out of the most durable hard plastic material.
When you are deciding on water storage for camping or offroading trips, you need to select a container that is large enough to carry plenty of water (there might not be a clean water source the entire trip in some cases) and is durable enough to withstand the abuse in the backcountry.
Carrying a good water filtration system is also a good idea when you’re out in the wild.
Here are some of the options you have when selecting water containers:
Collapsible water containers:
2L Platy Bottle by Platypus
6L Water Tank by Platypus
2.6 Gallon Water Cube by GSI Outdoors
5 Gallon Fold-A-Carrier by Reliance Products
5 Gallon Collapsible Water Container by Coghlan’s
Hard plastic water containers:
5 Gallon 5 Gal. Water Bottle by ORE International
3.5 Gallon Stackable Water Container by WaterBrick
7 Gallon Aqua-Tainer by Reliance Products
5 Gallon Jug with Water Carrier by Coleman
6 Gallon Desert Patrol by Reliance Products
5 Gallon Rhino-Pak by Reliance Products
5 Gallon Water Can by Scepter
5 Gallon SKILCRAFT Water Can by LC Industries
5 Gallon Military Water Can by Scepter
August 26, 2017 | azoffroading.com
Determining which backpacking tent is the best for your adventures can be a difficult decision that is often influenced by your preferences. Where and when will you camp? How will you camp?
The three big items that affect your backpack weight are your pack itself, sleeping bag and your shelter. Investing in a lightweight tent can be one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce total pack weight.
There are many different types of tents out there, and choosing the right one will ensure a better camping experience. A tent, after all, is quite literally your “home away from home”.
Prices of backpacking tents vary, of course, although most high quality backpacking tents will cost between $100 – $500. Usually the more you spend the better the materials used. Materials that provide more strength and weigh less. There are few one person backpacking tents under $100 but around $200 is what you need to expect for high quality tents.
Choosing your backpacking tent involves the following key decision points:
• Capacity: likely number of sleepers
• Seasonality: tent construction relative to expected weather conditions
• Weight: ounces carried vs. dollars spent
• Livability: comfort and convenience based on design and features
Other considerations include ease of tent setup and tent materials. Also, don’t forget the footprint, often sold separately, that goes under your tent floor to protect it from routine wear or an overlooked rock or pine cone.
August 24, 2017 | azoffroading.com
Many Jeep owners don’t even realize there is such thing as a cabin air filter in their vehicle. After all, when you drive topless and doorless, who needs a filter for the cabin. I count myself as one of those jeepers. The topic of cabin air filter did not even cross my mind for the first year of owning my Jeep. I only thought about it after one extremely dusty Jeep run. Some of you who have done the Backdoor to Crown King trail, Box Canyon in Florence or any trail in Arizona for that matter, might recall that before you get to the fun part of the trail you have to drive down a dirt road for a few miles. With several vehicles in your group that gets crazy dusty.
August 10, 2017 | azoffroading.com
After coming back from a run like that, I spent a couple of hours vacuuming and cleaning the interior of my Jeep and accidentally turned the air blower volume dial to maximum and the air direction dial to panel, meaning “in your face” position, without realizing it. After cleaning everything I proceeded to start the Jeep and drive away. It was at that exact moment that a huge cloud of dust came out of the vents full speed and covered both me and the entire interior of the Jeep. Two hours well spent! After catching a breath I thought to myself that there shouldn’t be that much dust in the air system. Isn’t there a filter that prevents it? I had to look up where the cabin air filter is located and after a little investigation I discovered that my Jeep did not come with the filters installed. I did some research online and it turns out it is very common to not have the cabin air filters installed from factory in brand new Jeep Wranglers. I guess you learn something every day.
Whether you’re installing a filter for the first time or replacing a dirty one, here’s a step by step instructions for Jeep JK cabin air filter replacement.
One of the most common upgrades a lot of jeep owners do is a set of new wheels and tires. Once you upgrade your wheels to ones with less backspacing, and you still install your spare tire on your factory tailgate carrier, you’ll notice that your factory rubber bump stops no longer touch your tire and therefore do not protect your tailgate from vibrations caused by the spare tire. This vibration can potentially lead to damage to your tailgate and the hinges.
The solution to this problem is to extend the spare tire bump stops to push against the tire and stop it from vibrating. You might only need an extra 1″ if you’re only getting new wheels and keeping stock tires. Once you upgrade your tires as well, switching to 35’s for example, and still using the factory spare tire mount on the tail gate, you might need to install a wheel spacer or relocation bracket on the carrier to fit the new wheel/tire and clearing the rear bumper. That means that now you might need at least a 2-3″ bump stop extension.
There are two ways you can go about extending your spare tire bump stops. You can purchase aftermarket ones or you can go the DIY way. You have a couple of options for aftermarket bump stops, the most popular are bump stops made by Daystar, and another option is a set by Energy Suspension. The only thing you need to remember is that the Energy Suspension bump stops are 4″ long and the Daystar ones are 4.5″ long.
Going the DIY direction gives you more flexibility in regards to length. I’ve spent way too much time researching this online and from what I can tell, depending on how much you need to extend the bump stops, you could:
1. install a 1-1/2 in. x 1-1/4 in. flexible PVC coupling over the factory bump stop
2. install a radiator hose over the stock bump stops and cut to length
3. insert a 1-1/4 in. garbage disposal air gap rubber hose, cut to length
4. install a hockey puck under you stock bump stop
August 6, 2017 | azoffroading.com
In this post I will attempt to describe a step by step installation of a Synergy Manufacturing Jeep JK front track bar brace. This brace is designed to distribute the increased load the track bar frame side mount encounters on a lifted Jeep or a Jeep with larger size tires. The brace is laser cut and CNC bent from 3/16″ high strength steel. The added track bar bracket thickness prevents the track bar bolt from ovalizing out the stock mount holes, which can lead to vibrations and eventually cause the dreaded death wobble. There are multiple reasons causing the “wobble”, like worn ball joints, loose tie rod ends, worn u-joints, loose adjustment collars on tie rod, drag link or track bar, or worn track bar attachment points on either axle or frame side. Your track bar keeps the axle centered underneath the Jeep when turning and operates under tremendous forces, and the weak stock mounts on both the axle side and the frame side could potentially begin to fail. The holes in the mount might start to become more oval and cause a bit of a play, resulting in shimmies and wobbles. If you use your Jeep as intended and do wheel it, you might encounter a situation where your wheels are blocked by rocks while you try to turn, and your track bar pushes so hard on the mount that it finally brakes it off the frame. It is an extreme scenario, but I have seen it happen. This brace adds strength to the mount and eliminates this weak link in the system.
July 23, 2017 | azoffroading.com
I decided I’m going to expand the range of topics in the blog beyond offroading. I really enjoy wheeling, the whole offroading culture and people I meet on jeep runs who share the same passion. Sometimes however I feel like driving my Jeep some place away from the crowd, far from the city where there’s no cell signal, get out of my vehicle, and enjoy nature more directly.
I’m talking camping, fishing, kayaking, hiking or backpacking. We are really fortunate to have so many beautiful places in Arizona, with forests, lakes and rivers that are worth visiting and truly enjoying. Enjoying responsibly.
Most places are easily accessible by car, but having an offroad-capable vehicle gives us a chance to discover some hidden gems.
We’re lucky because our vehicles can take us to places where others can’t go. We can venture deep into the back country, follow the trail for as long as we want and then set up camp. We can just relax and enjoy the spot, go on a backpacking trip or a day hike.
I’ve always enjoyed camping, backpacking and hiking. The outdoors in general. I recently decided to update my gear, trying to find a balance between good quality ultralight equipment and the price. I have been acquiring new gear over a period of several months and intend to keep doing it into the future. All this gear needs to be tested in the wild, so any chance I get, I head for the back country or at least the desert away from the city.
I am going to post short articles describing the locations I visit and my experience with the gear I selected.
I am going to share my thoughts and opinions on all kinds of camping, backpacking and hiking gear I decided to purchase for myself. Some of the categories of gear will include: shelter, sleep systems, backpacks, cooking systems, water storage, water filtration and more.
I will be sharing descriptions of the campgrounds I had a chance to visit. I will include directions to the site, description of the campsite and amenities, and include some photos of the site.
HIKING AND BACKPACKING
I will be describing trails I hiked, including directions to the trail head, description of the trail and photos. You really do not have to go far from the Valley of the Sun to find a great hiking trail.
July 21, 2017 | azoffroading.com
A lot of work you might want to do on your Jeep, SUV or truck can be done on the ground level and doesn’t require jacking up the vehicle.
If you’re rotating tires, you need to jack up the axles so the wheels/tires are off the ground.
When you’re working on suspension you need to jack up the frame so that the axles can be lowered.
Sometimes however you might need easier access to the under body with more room to maneuver. When you’re changing oil or working on exhaust or skid plates, you could use ramps to drive on top of, to get more room under your vehicle. Using ramps is easier and quicker that jacking up the entire vehicle and setting up four jack stands.
There are several options available if you decide to purchase car ramps, like the RhinoRamps, Scepter Ramp Set, Magnum Ramp System, Black Widow Service Ramps or a Nicky Nice Solid Steel Ramp Set.
Most of them are made out of plastic, some are steel. Weight limits vary and can be anywhere between 6,000-16,000 lbs. These numbers suggest that those ramps should be fine for Jeeps, trucks or SUV’s, but I have seen way too many photos of broken ramps that collapsed under vehicle weight to trust them myself. There is something about the hollow construction of these ramps that makes me uncomfortable. They seem to also slide when you start driving onto them. And there is the cost – they are not cheap, usually you would have to spend around $100-140 for a set of four. They are however light and easy to store.
After considering all the pros and cons, I decided that I would rather make my own ramps and make them out of material that will definitely support the weight of my vehicle – wood. I could custom build them to fit my tires and the height that I prefer. They are much heavier (about 33 lbs each) and larger than the plastic ramps, but they cost less money. You need to make sure you have a place to store them when they’re not being used.
Building your own set of DIY wooden car ramps is a very easy project. If you have all the materials and tools ready, it should take less than a couple hours to complete all four ramps.
July 20, 2017 | azoffroading.com