Jeep JK Tailgate Tire Carrier by Rugged Ridge


Jeep JK Tailgate Tire Carrier by Rugged RidgeInstalling a suspension lift on your Jeep Wrangler is one of the most exciting and most common upgrades any Jeep owner can think of. Lifting your Jeep results in higher ground clearance, better approach, departure and break over angles, as well as the ability to put on larger tires. Upgrading your tire size will require a new tire carrier to accommodate both the heavier weight and larger diameter. Factory tire carrier of a Jeep JK is made of thin aluminum and designed to carry a maximum weight of 50 lbs. under normal to light trail conditions. Exceeding that weight limit could cause damage to the tire carrier or even the tailgate itself. The Wrangler’s tailgate is comprised of an outer and inner shell, spot welded on the inside. When more weight is introduced to the tire carrier, it pulls the carrier back, along with the outer shell. Eventually, the force will begin to pop the welds along the inner shell, separating both pieces and causing damage to the tailgate.

Before you install larger tires, you need to consider how you’re going to carry that new full size spare. Similar to most aftermarket parts for the Jeep, there are a variety of tire carrier options available.
The first decision to make is whether you would like to retain the stock look, by running a larger tire on the tailgate itself, with heavy reinforcement, or run an aftermarket rear bumper with an integrated tire mount. Both solutions will solve the two major issues involving weight and clearance.

If you decide to go with the tailgate option, there are several manufacturers of the body mounted tire carriers: TeraFlex, Rugged Ridge, MetalCloak, Rock Hard 4×4, EVO Manufacturing, Barricade, Smittybilt.
This option replaces the factory hinges and tire carrier itself with a heavy gauged robust hinge system. The system no longer relies on the tailgate for support and alleviates any stress on the spot welds. It also allows you to adjust the mounting height in order to take into account larger tires and is rated to carry up to a 37” tire.
Body mounted tire carriers retain your Jeep’s one handed, easy access to the rear cargo area.
Compared to a stock spare tire carrier, which weighs less than 10 lbs, an aftermarket body mounted tailgate tire carrier kit will weigh around 50 lbs.

If you’re looking to upgrade your rear bumper and are looking for an even sturdier solution, than a steel bumper with an integrated tire carrier might be a better option.
This system floats independently from the tailgate, requiring you to first swing open the tire carrier, followed by the tailgate, in order to access the cargo area. This solution however introduces a great deal of weight to the rear of the Jeep, with the bumper often coming in at around 100 lbs. and the carrier itself an additional 50 lbs.

I decided to go with a heavy duty Jeep JK tailgate tire carrier option. This step-by-step write-up describes installation of the Rugged Ridge tire carrier kit. The kit includes the hinge casting, wheel mount with lug plate and brake light extension.
You can also watch these installation videos if you prefer: from CJ Off-Road or Rocky X TV. Be aware however that in both videos, I noticed they forget to install the spacer plates on the driver side of the new wheel mount, or simply fail to mention that it needs to be inserted between the wheel mount and tailgate.

June 8, 2020 |

Jeep JK Axle Vent Hose Extension


Jeep Wrangler Axle Vent Hose ExtensionInstalling a suspension lift on your Jeep Wrangler is one of the most exciting and most common upgrades any Jeep owner can think of. Lifting your Jeep Wrangler results in higher ground clearance, better approach, departure and break over angles and ability to put on larger tires. That means you can take your Jeep out to the backcountry and enjoy some real offroading. With all that fun, you might eventually find yourself doing a water crossing, or simply playing in mud.
Lifting your Jeep Wrangler increases the distance between the frame/body of your Jeep and the axles. In addition to installing longer shocks, springs, control arms and sway bar links, there are several hoses and cables that connect the body of your Jeep to both axles, which will need to be extended as well, especially if you’re lifting your Jeep more than 3″. One of the elements that is often overlooked, is the axle vent hose.
On any Jeep Wrangler, both front and rear axles have vent hoses installed, right next to the differential, which run up from the axles and terminate at a higher level, typically on top of the wheel well.
The purpose of the vent hose is to keep the vent opening further away from the axle tube where there is dirt and moisture (water) that might enter the axle and differential. Using the hose restricts debris while allowing air in and out easily. Axle vents allow pressure inside the differential to equalize with the atmospheric pressure.

There are in fact a total of four elements of your typical Jeep Wrangler that have vent hoses installed: front axle, rear axle, transfer case and auto transmission. While you can consider extending all four during suspension lift installation, it’s the axle vent hoses that are impacted directly by the lift. Those are also the hoses that terminate inside the wheel wells, and need extending if you plan on doing any water crossings in your Jeep. The transfer case and transmission vent hoses terminate inside the engine bay, right below the plastic engine cover.

Leaving the axle vent hoses at their stock length might result in them getting disconnected from the axles during flexing on the trail, and can lead to debris and water entering the axles and differentials, contaminating gear oil and ruining your axles and gears.
It is a good idea to plan on running the extended axle vent hoses higher that the stock termination location. For the front, it could be the top of the engine bay, and for the rear it could be right behind the passenger side tail light. That way there is less chance of water being sucked into the hose and eventually the axle, during deep water crossing. If the water level is higher than that, you have bigger problems 🙂

Under normal operations, drivetrain assemblies heat up and the air inside expands, increasing the pressure and thus the need to be vented to the atmosphere is created. When the drivetrain assembly cools down the air inside contracts and creates a vacuum.
Driving through water crossings creates a vacuum caused by the drivetrain assembly being cooled rapidly by the water.

You could run into a situation where the cap at the end of the vent hose is clogged by mud or debris, due to being located right inside the wheel well. Pressure inside the axle can’t be equalized so the air will be sucked thru the axle seals. Many times the seals are still submerged below water, leading to the water being drawn into the drivetrain.
Even with the vent hose cap not plugged by debris, if it’s below water level, it’s going to pull water inside the axles as well.
It is highly recommended that you perform a differential fluid change after your Jeep has spent any extended period of time in water.

In order to avoid vent hoses coming off the axle housing during flexing while offroading, and assuring that the open end of the breather hose is always above water level, I would highly recommend that you put in this Jeep JK axle vent hose extension after installing a lift.
You can simply buy extra 3-4″ of fuel line and add it to the length of each vent hose with the help of a hose mender, or you can replace the entire hose with a longer one. I opted for buying new, longer hose. You want to purchase fuel line and not a plastic or vinyl hose, because gear oil and ATF are too aggressive towards regular hoses. The chemicals will coat the inside of the vent hose and break down plastic eventually. Any hose mender or adapter used, should be made of brass and not plastic.

I have a 2012 Jeep JK so if you own a different Model Year Wrangler, some things might look different, but hopefully you can use most of the information provided.

February 16, 2020 |

Jeep JK Front and Rear Driveshaft by Adams Driveshaft


Jeep JK Front and Rear DriveshaftLifting your Jeep Wrangler JK results not only in higher ground clearance, better approach, departure and break over angles and ability to put on larger tires, but it also causes changes to your driveline as well as steering geometry. Make sure you educate yourself on this topic before installing a lift on your Jeep, especially anything over 3″.
Lifting your vehicle will cause your front and rear driveshafts to operate at different angles, as well as your axles to rotate. It will result in rolling your differentials upwards, causing changes to the caster/pinion angle in the front, and pinion angle in the rear. All these angles are carefully set in stock Jeeps and the original parts installed guarantee smooth operation and ride quality. Installing a lift messes with all these aspects and you need to make sure that everything works together as close to perfect as possible. Stock driveshaft is too short to handle suspension travel and might break under stress. It’s also not designed for larger, heavier tires.
I did realize at the time I was installing my new lift that I would need new driveshafts, however my plan was to replace them a couple of months after the lift, since I was not going to wheel my Jeep during that period (middle of Arizona summer). I knew that especially the stock front driveshaft is vulnerable while operating at higher angles, and might possibly be coming in contact with the exhaust cross pipe (I did install an exhaust spacer during lift installation, however I always considered it a temporary fix). My assumption was that city driving will not result in any issues.
Unfortunately I was wrong.
A stock Jeep JK front driveshaft includes a RZeppa joint on the transfer case side, and a single U-joint on the differential/pinion side. This low angle stock RZeppa joint is not designed for a lifted Jeep. The rubber boot protecting the joint will get damaged by the driveshaft, even during daily driving, for example going over speed bumps. This rubber boot keeps the grease in the joint from coming out.
The way my Jeep let me know that the front driveshaft needs immediate replacement was quite unnerving. I was driving topless and doorless, and one day after my morning commute to work, after parking and turning the ignition off, dark smoke began to come out from underneath the Jeep.
I have never seen that before…
I immediately started to look for the source of the smoke, and came to find out that the rubber boot was completely destroyed, which caused the grease to splatter all over different parts including the exhaust pipe. The heat of the pipe resulted in the grease smoking. Luckily it didn’t cause a fire. After returning home that day, I removed the driveshaft and spent couple hours cleaning the undercarriage to remove all the grease.
That experience prompted my purchase of replacement driveshafts sooner than I had planned. I decided to buy both front and rear driveshafts to take advantage of a package deal. The rear stock driveshaft will however work fine for a while after lifting the Jeep, provided the pinion angle is properly set.
Choosing an aftermarket driveshaft comes down to your personal preference. Do your own research and read comments and reviews on the Jeep forums. Depending on your rig and your driving style, you’ll need to also decide on the U-joint size, choosing between 1310 and 1350 series driveshafts. Both 2-door and 4-door JK’s have the same length front driveshaft, the rear is of course different. I would highly recommend that you visit the manufacturers’ websites for instructions on measuring and determining the correct length of the rear driveshaft, and calling them if you have any questions.
Two most highly regarded driveshaft manufacturers are Adams Driveshaft and Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts.
Both manufacturers offer double cardan driveshafts. This design is considered to be a much better option for lifted Jeeps. These driveshafts are also commonly called CV driveshafts. Most in the Jeep community use the terms double cardan and CV to mean the same thing. They are really referring to the double cardan style shaft with two u-joints and a centering ball on the transfer case end and a single u-joint on the differential end. Both the Rzeppa joint and Double-Cardan joint are types of CV joints.
CV joint means constant velocity joint, meaning that it theoretically does not change speed as it rotates through it’s range of motion when operated at an angle.
In this post, I will attempt to describe installation of Adams Driveshaft Jeep JK front and rear driveshaft which I purchased to replace my stock driveshafts, following a lift install on my 2 door JK. Prior to the installation, I reviewed all available instructions online and watched several videos. Check out this video for example, showing the installation process.

November 11, 2019 |

Jeep JK Winch Bumper by ShrockWorks


Really popular modification that most Jeep owners will do to their Wranglers is to replace the factory front plastic bumper that came with their stock Jeep JK, with a heavy duty offroad bumper. Aftermarket bumpers offer a ton of advantages over the factory bumper, providing better protection for the front of the Jeep, but most of all allowing you to install a winch and additional offroad lighting. Depending on the design, aftermarket offroad front bumper might also increase your Jeep’s approach angle and expose the front wheels, making it easier to put tires on large obstacles. It might also include steel skid plate, protecting the electronic sway bar disconnect motor, if your Jeep has one.
Aftermarket bumpers generally come in three sizes: full width, mid width, and stubby. When choosing your new offroad bumper you will need to decide on the width, which depends on the way you plan on using your Jeep. You need to also decide if you’re going to mount a winch to it, and whether you prefer a top mounting winch bumper or an in-bumper mounting option with winch plate located between frame rails.

There are plenty of manufacturers offering aftermarket offroad bumpers. You can find different designs made by companies like: Poison Spyder, Rugged Ridge, Rock Hard 4×4, Teraflex, ShrockWorks, Evo Manufacturing, Smittybilt, Artec Industries, M.O.R.E., Crawler Conceptz, LOD, Rampage Products, ARB, Bestop, DV8, Or-Fab, AEV, Rough Country, Warn, Barricade, JCR Offroad, and others. You can often order your new bumper from an online store like Northridge4x4, ExtremeTerrain or Quadratec and if they have it in stock, you’ll receive it in few days. Some manufacturers build your new bumper after you place an order with them, so you will have to be more patient since it might take few weeks before you receive your bumper.

Depending on the brand and design of your new offroad front bumper, there might be some modifications to your Jeep that are necessary before installation. If you go with a bumper that has a winch mounting plate between the frame rails, you need to make sure that it will fit, and that might mean that your vacuum pump needs to be relocated and it’s stock mounting bracket needs to be cut off. Refer to instructions that come with your aftermarket bumper to be clear on requirements.

Obviously before installing your new aftermarket bumper, the factory bumper needs to come off. This is often the part that takes the longest, and if you have factory fog lights, you need to pay close attention to the wires and disconnect everything before pulling off the stock bumper.
Here’s a good video showing you how to remove factory front bumper on your Jeep Wrangler JK.

There were several requirements I had for my new offroad bumper. I decided that I wanted a stubby bumper, with low winch mounting position between frame rails, allowing good air flow to the radiator, integrated recovery points, no fog lights but instead brackets for offroad flood lights, welded-on bull guard providing additional protection, and included skid plate.
After researching for a very long time and reading countless reviews, I decided on a Shrockworks stubby front winch bumper. It checked all the boxes for me, and other owners seem very happy with the quality of their products (especially the quality of their welds).
I contacted the sales person at Shrockworks and discussed all the options. They were very knowledgeable and helpful, and after mentioning that I already own the Superwinch Tiger Shark 9500 winch, I was advised to get the “offset” version of the bumper, with the fairlead slot cut off center, towards driver side. It is due to the position of the drum on the Tiger Shark winch.

This post will describe steps to install a Jeep JK bumper by ShrockWorks, including removal of the vacuum pump bracket to fit the winch plate, as well as installation of the Superwinch Tiger Shark 9500 winch.
Whatever combination of bumper/winch you select for yourself, I would advise you to contact manufacturers of both, to confirm fitment. You can also contact the authorized dealers, including aftermarket offroad parts stores, since they should be knowledgeable in this topic.

September 1, 2019 |

Jeep JK Cargo Area Light


Jeep JK Cargo Area LightJeep Wrangler JK unfortunately lacks proper lighting in the rear cargo area. Any Wrangler owner probably experienced a situation when they were loading or unloading their Jeep after dark and could not see anything in the cargo area behind the back seats.
The interior dome light in a Jeep Wrangler JK is very weak and does not provide sufficient light for the cargo area, especially in a 2 door JK. With the rear lift gate open for extended period of time, dome light turns off after maximum of 10 minutes, unless you set the interior lights to “always on” on the multi-function switch/lever by the steering wheel. This timer is logical for courtesy lights, however it is impractical for overlanding or camping, when you might need to open the back of the Jeep multiple times while the engine is off, and leave the liftgate open for more than few minutes.

You can replace the dome light bulbs with LED to improve visibility a little bit, however it does not completely solve the problem at the back of the Jeep. The cargo area is notoriously dark. There is a clear need for additional light source under the liftgate.

There are several products available on the market, which try to solve this problem. One of them is the iKonic Cargo Light, which replaces the stock wiper motor cover and comes ready to install. It operates on a 9V battery which needs to be replaced periodically.
Another popular product is the Brawlee Jeep Wrangler LED Rear Glass Lift Gate Dome Light Bar, which attaches to the inside of the liftgate and can be plugged in to the rear power outlet or hardwired to the dome light.
You can purchase one of these products and it will most likely work great for you, depending on your needs.
You could also simply get a wireless, battery operated puck LED light and attach it to the inside of your Jeep’s hardtop.

Being more of a DIY person, I wanted to create my own custom solution, which would seamlessly integrate with my Jeep and look like it was there all along.
Inspired by the available products, I decided to combine some of the features together and install my own version of the cargo area light. One that would be integrated into the wiper motor cover and hidden as much as possible, provide just the right amount of light for either the rear of the Jeep OR the interior of the cargo area, and be hardwired to the constant power from the Jeep’s battery, thru the rear power outlet wiring, allowing me to switch it on & off at any time while the Jeep is parked and the engine is off.

I enjoy car camping with my Jeep and while spending the night in less developed campgrounds, I use my tailgate fold-down table a lot.

This post will describe a step by step fabrication and installation of a Jeep Wrangler JK cargo area light, however some of the details might apply only to my Jeep’s model year and trim level. If you own a different model year JK, you are welcome to follow all or most of the steps described below, or adjust anything you find necessary. Use this post as an inspiration for your own cargo area light solution.

June 4, 2019 |

Jeep JK Stainless Steel Extended Brake Lines


Jeep JK Stainless Steel Extended Brake LinesThe most common situation when extended brake lines are necessary is when you install a lift on your Jeep. The distance between the frame/body of the Jeep and axles increases after a suspension lift, therefore longer brake lines are required during articulation. You might also want to replace your stock rubber brake lines with stainless steel braided brake lines when you realize that the stock lines are deteriorating due to weather conditions (very high temperatures in the summer or lots of salt on the road due to ice and snow in the winter) and when you begin noticing a much softer, spongy brake pedal feel. That feeling is most likely due to moisture getting into the brake lines, which leads to reduced boiling point of the fluid and forming of air bubbles, as well as corrosion of the metal components of the system and consequently contamination of the fluid.
Any time you open up the brake system, like when you replace the flexible brake lines, you must perform a proper bleeding procedure. When bleeding the brakes you will need to add more fluid to your master cylinder. I would suggest that while you’re at it, you might as well flush the entire braking system and replace all the brake fluid with fresh one. It is actually recommended that modern vehicles have their brake fluid replaced once every 2 years.
This is due to the fact that most cars today use DOT brake fluid, and the characteristics of that fluid.
DOT brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it attracts moisture. Over time brake fluid will accumulate a certain amount of moisture; a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 20 percent of the cars they tested had brake fluid with 5-percent moisture content. A 3-percent moisture content in DOT 3 brake fluid reduces the boiling point of the fluid by more than 100 degrees.
When moisture in the brake fluid boils because of the tremendous amount of heat generated by the brakes, you can actually lose the ability to stop. In addition to that, the moisture can cause corrosion of the wheel cylinders or brake calipers and eventually cause a leak.
The other thing to watch out for is dirty fluid. Brake fluid can get very dirty if left unchanged year after year. I have seen some master cylinders that look as if they were filled with mud.
With newer model vehicles like the Jeep JK, most common issues stem from the levels of dissolved copper and depleted additive package in modern brake fluids. When the additive package of brake fluid is depleted, one of the negative results may be internal brake system component corrosion and sludge build up.

In this write-up I will be describing the procedure of replacing all four flex brake lines as well as flushing the entire brake system and bleeding the brakes. With brand new, extended stainless steel flex lines and fresh brake fluid flowing thru the entire brake system, as well as replaced brake pads and new, larger brake rotors (see my post), my Jeep’s brakes are going to work as new again. I am performing a complete brake system overhaul in preparation for a suspension lift, to make sure I can confidently drive my lifted Jeep on a daily basis, as well as enjoy wheeling it over some fun obstacles.

February 24, 2019 |

Jeep JK Big Rotor Kit by Teraflex


Jeep JK Big Rotor Kit by TeraflexWhen it comes to Jeep upgrades, brakes are often very low on the list of priorities. After upgrading wheels and installing larger 35″ tires, your stock brakes will have a very difficult time stopping your vehicle, both on the road and especially while negotiating thru an obstacle while offroading. When you increase the size and weight of your tires, you should really think about upgrading your brakes as well. It will improve your confidence while driving and just might help you avoid a collision or an accident. New, upgraded brakes are not cheap, however knowing that your braking power has been increased and stopping distance has been reduced is definitely worth the investment.
There are few options when it comes to aftermarket brake kits, which include new rotors, anchor brackets, calipers and brake pads. Most popular options are Teraflex brake kits, Crown Automotive brake kits, Power Stop brake kits and Dynatrac brake kits. You can find kits with rotors and brackets only or kits with rotors, brackets and calipers included. New brake pads sometimes are included with the kit, or you can purchase your favorite brand of brake pads separately. When it comes to rotors, you can find kits with standard vented rotors, slotted rotors, or drilled and slotted rotors. Your decision comes down to preference, your driving conditions and of course your budget.
After a lot of internet browsing and research, I decided to go with Teraflex Performance Big Rotor Kit for both front and rear wheels. I selected standard vented rotors (I believe smooth rotor surface is the best option for a combination of daily driving and weekend offroading, conventional rotors provide highest mass which improves cooling, and with no slots I don’t have to worry about mud collecting there and damaging brake pads prematurely), with included larger anchor brackets which allow for use of the stock calipers and brake pads. After reading reviews on the Teraflex Big Brake Kit, I decided that I don’t want to switch to a two piston caliper and affect the brake pedal feel, as well as possibly having to replace master cylinder.

The TeraFlex JK/JKU Front Performance Big Rotor Kit includes larger 13.3″ (338mm) rotors for improved stopping performance – stock is 11.9″ (302mm), and larger brake caliper relocating anchor brackets. It retains factory brake calipers & brake pads. Rear Performance Big Rotor Kit includes larger 13.5″ (343mm) machined rotors and larger brake caliper relocating anchor brackets, also retaining factory brake calipers & pads.
When installing the Big Rotor Kit there is no need to disconnect the calipers from brake lines therefore you don’t have to bleed the brakes if you don’t want to.

The way this kit works is pretty clever. Moving the location of the caliper outward just a bit accommodates the larger diameter rotor which allows for more efficient heat dissipation and better mechanical advantage in stopping. The increased clamping distance from the rotor center results in greater braking leverage to allow stopping distance to be decreased. It is however worth noting that neither the caliper clamping force nor the pad-to-rotor contact area are increased (as they are with the complete Big Brake Kit).

One thing to remember is that this Jeep JK Big Rotor Kit by Teraflex requires a minimum of 17” diameter wheels.

February 7, 2019 |

Jeep JK Hidden Garage Door Remote


Jeep JK hidden garage door remoteOne of the greatest benefits of owning a Jeep is the possibility to drive topless and doorless. Removing the top and doors does however leave the interior of your Jeep exposed and unprotected. One of the items that could be stolen from your vehicle is your garage door remote. Most people have it attached to their sun visor, which makes it very visible to a passer by. This post describes the steps to hide your garage door remote inside one of the plastic panels of your Jeep and use a small, discrete push button switch to activate it.

There are several different options when it comes to your Jeep JK hidden garage door remote. Popular, and free, option is to simply hide the garage door remote inside the sport bar padding above the driver door. You can also hide it behind the panel below the steering wheel or behind the dashboard just below your air control panel. You just need to find a place that will allow you to keep the remote secured and drill a small hole to mount the push button switch.
I selected the A-pillar top panel to mount my switch just to the left of the sun visor where I instinctively expect it to be. But if you prefer to place it in a more secret location, you have many options when you own a Jeep.
There’s only few parts and tools needed for this project. You need to pick up a momentary on/off button switch and about 12 inches of 18 GA wire. Some of the tools might be in your tool box already.
Your remote might be different shape of course if your garage door opener is a different brand.

December 28, 2018 |

Jeep JK Vacuum Pump Relocation


Jeep JK Vacuum Pump RelocationAll 2012-2018 Jeep JK models have the vacuum pump installed in a bracket located on the inside of the driver side frame rail right behind the bumper.
The vacuum pump is there to give added power when braking under emergency situations. It’s part of the BAS/PBS (Brake Assist System/Panic Braking System) and is included in all of the Chrysler vehicles that have the 3.6L engine.
When you make a decision to upgrade the front bumper on your Jeep, you need to realize that the vacuum pump might need to be moved to a different location.
Relocation is only necessary for aftermarket bumpers with recessed winch plate located between frame rails. Relocation is not necessary for non-winch bumpers or top fairlead mount bumpers, where the winch sits on top of the bumper. For bumpers where the winch is mounted on winch plate installed between frame rails, vacuum pump bracket, which is welded to the frame rail, needs to be removed to allow the winch plate to fit.

The most popular option is to relocate the pump into the engine bay, near the Jeep’s computer. After relocating it into the engine compartment, do not be surprised that you’ll hear the vacuum pump run a couple of times after releasing the brake pedal during each cold start. It is rather loud and that is probably the reason behind it’s stock location, as far from the cabin as possible. Getting used to that noise is just a price you’ll have to pay for customizing your rig.

Jeep JK vacuum pump relocation is not a complicated and difficult task. The entire project should take about 2 hours (including grill and bumper removal and reassembly) and you only need few tools. If you prefer to watch a video, here’s one for the bracket kit I selected.

This step-by-step write-up is for a Metalcloak Vacuum Pump Relocation Kit. There are several other kits available out there (e.g. Teraflex Kit, Rock Hard 4×4 Kit, MBRP Kit, Rough Country Kit, Rock Slide Engineering Kit). Some brackets will be installed in the same location and some in other locations, therefore some of the steps described below might not apply to your situation.

August 25, 2018 |

Jeep JK Security Tailgate Enclosure by Tuffy


Jeep JK Security Tailgate Enclosure by TuffyOne 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 |

Jeep JK Front Track Bar Brace


Synergy Manufacturing front track bar braceIn 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 |

Jeep JK tailgate MOLLE panel & fold-down table


Jeep JK tailgate MOLLE panel & fold-down tableAny owner of a two-door Jeep Wrangler knows that storage inside of your vehicle is always at a premium (some of you JKU owners might feel the same). And if you’re anything like me and like to be prepared for unexpected situations, you carry a lot of gear in your jeep. Whenever you go wheeling and especially camping you add even more stuff and quickly run out of room inside your Jeep. You have to be pretty creative and use every available square inch of space.

Having a two-door JK myself I’m always looking for smart ways of storing my gear inside my Jeep, that would allow easy access and keep the items secure at the same time.
While surfing the web I came across a subject of MOLLE racks, and specifically tailgate racks. It is such an obvious, great spot for storing gear with incredibly easy access. MOLLE system provides great flexibility and there are so many options when it comes to pouches!
As it turns out there are several products that can be attached to the tailgate. It all depends on what your needs are, and of course what you’re willing to spend on the system.

You can obviously build a simple panel or rack yourself, and customize it the way you wish. I’m all about DIY projects, but after some calculations I decided that in this case I will save myself time and trouble and pick one of the available products out there.


So there’s few options (prices and availability might change):

Smittybilt G.E.A.R. Tailgate Cover. It’s manufactured out of 600 denier polyester, and requires drilling into your tailgate (around $60.00)

Quadratec Tailgate Cargo Shelf. Made out of steel, requires no drilling (around $100.00).

Springtail Solutions JK Rear Door Folding Tray/MOLLE Panel. It’s made out of steel, folds down to a table, requires no drilling into your tailgate (starting at $225.00).

Teraflex MP Tailgate Table. The MP table is constructed from lightweight aluminum with stainless steel hardware and is rated for 75 lbs. of evenly distributed load capacity. Requires drilling into your tailgate (around $250.00).

The MP Table (Multi-Purpose Table) from Vector Offroad. It’s manufactured from aerospace alloy aluminum, it folds down to a table, requires drilling into your tailgate (around $280.00).


After many hours of reading descriptions, reviews and looking at pictures I decided that I wanted four things out of my system:
#1 – MOLLE rack
#2 – solid steel construction
#3 – fold-down option that turns the panel into a table
#4 – no drilling into my tailgate

August 17, 2015 |

Jeep Wrangler JK hood flutter fix



jeep hood flutterIf 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.

February 2, 2015 |
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