I have owned a JL Wrangler since their release. I wanted to pick up my JL within a few days of them hitting the dealer lots and I ended up traveling out of Maryland to track one down.
Having owned a JL since they were released I have developed a few opinions on parts I would like to see offered. Some of these items are available but they are either available in limited numbers or in designs that don’t have a lot of originality. There just aren’t many designs that are original without looking like they escaped from a low-budget car movie.
One of my top asks is for fender flares that cover the tire.
Taller tires are wider than stock and most suspension lifts recommend a wheel with less backspacing than the stock wheels. Combine that with many states requiring the tire tread to be covered across the entire width of the tread and you have a recipe for issues with Johnny law and the inspection garage.
This issue isn’t just for the JL, JK flares are also too narrow and leave you open to fix -it tickets.
What I want is a fender flare that is aluminum or plastic that can cover a 37×12.5×17 tire from edge to edge and doesn’t look like a reject from a Fast and Furious movie. If it’s plastic it needs to have built-in supports so it doesn’t flap around like a tarp in the wind.
An aluminum fender flare needs to add strength to the fender and not become the reason a light trail hit mangles the entire side of the Jeep. Too many flares are incomplete thoughts that are no better than just cutting or removing the factory parts. My ideal flare would be based on the GenRight TJ flares that replaced the entire flare and side panel.
Better options for aluminum bumpers and sliders.
I’m tired of heavy steel bumpers and rust on parts before they are even installed. The same goes for sliders. A frame-mounted aluminum slider that has replaceable Delrin pieces to help them glide over obstacles and not gouge the aluminum would be amazing.
The same goes for bumpers. Heavy-duty frame-mounted anchor points, robust winch plate, and replaceable wear parts to further protect the metal. Heavy bumpers impact performance, economy, and handling. It’s time we level up our accessories so they start providing performance advantages and keep economy. Gone are the days of just accepting it’s a “Jeep thing” or accepting that every accessory has to decrease your fuel economy.
Tire carriers are weak and hold the tire too far away from the Jeep body.
The Jeep tailgate isn’t that strong, it does a passable job of holding a stock tire but anything larger than that and it sags and rattles. Putting a larger heavier tire on it really puts a strain on it and most solutions move the tire further away from the body creating additional leverage and exacerbating the whole issue.
There are a few tire carriers that address the issue by holding the spare tire in the almost stock location. The problem with several of these is the weight of the carrier itself. They are heavy and made from thick steel plate that adds even more weight to the tailgate. I have tested a couple of these carriers and they do a better job than the factory hinges but can still end up rattling like a set of beads at Mardi Gras.
I will be reviewing the latest version of the TeraFlex tire carrier soon. That carrier appears to address some of the concerns above being made from cast aluminum and adding strength across the entire tailgate. We shall see how it stacks up.
All control arms should be adjustable while installed on the vehicle.
I’m tired of having to remove parts to make small adjustments to get the Jeep dialed in. Either make the arms fixed for your particular suspension or make them adjustable on the vehicle so they can be set easily and repeatably. Loosen adjust, tighten. Things should not be more complex than this.
I’m also over joints that require a ton of maintenance. I daily my Jeep so it needs to just work day after day. Weekly grease sessions are not my thing anymore. Many companies have developed new joints that are part rubber bushing but with the added ability to rotate like a heim joint. (TeraFlex IR bushing, Metalcloak Duoflex, and Clayton Off-Road Giiro joint)
And while we are at it the tie-rod, drag-link, and track bars should follow this same ethos. Easy to adjust, and easy to maintain.
Soft top design is stagnant and derivative.
One of the best soft tops we have ever reviewed is a frameless top from Rampage Products. It could fold back, the windows all came out and it was inexpensive. The greatest feature however was its ability to store the windows in the top itself. It had a pocket with separators to protect the plastic so you always had your windows handy but they were out of the way and protected.
For all of the advancement with the new JL soft top design and its overall efficiency of operation it doesn’t address window storage. The MOPAR window bag doesn’t fit the 2-door and while I will be testing several options that are out there a top that can store it’s own windows needs to happen.
What are your ideas?
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