The One That Your Mother Warned You About…

1You don’t have to be involved in the Jeep community for very long at all and you’ll hear about “it”. Much like the boogeyman, its shady reputation precedes it deep inside the inner circles of the Jeep world, secretly inciting as much fear and anxiety as any horror movie monster ever could. “It” is the dreaded “Death Wobble” and no other mechanical phenomenon is responsible for alienating more “enthusiasts” from their beloved hobby than this. I’ve even heard of people walking away from their almost-new JK, leaving it on the side of the road, too afraid to drive it again. Who can really blame them? Afterall, do YOU really want to drive around in a vehicle that is obviously possessed by the devil himself?? If you have ever experienced “Death Wobble”, you can relate. If you haven’t experienced it, say your prayers that you never do. On second thought, let’s put fear aside and try to put this infamous condition into some better light and maybe we can diminish some of the anxiety people may have

2What is “Death Wobble”? Well, I am by no means a rocket surgeon but it can be best described as an oscillating condition that occurs in the front drivetrain of any vehicle with a solid front axle and coil springs, usually one that relies on a track bar for the centering of the differential. By “oscillating”, I mean that the front end of the Jeep moves from side to side, on an less-than-stable axis, in such quick succession that it will feel like it is going to eject itself from under the vehicle in a very violent fashion. Loss of vehicle control is a side effect of the dreaded death wobble; however, restoring the integrity of your basic steering controls IS the key to eliminating death wobble. As your steering and suspension components age or are exposed to the harsh service conditions of off-roading, they are no longer as tight as they need to be, all of which are accentuated by larger tires. The cumulative total of all of the ‘play’ in these components could result in this condition or it could be a critical failure in just one or two components.

If you experience “Death Wobble” in your four wheel drive vehicle, first ask yourself if this happened out of nowhere or can it be associated with a recent event, like a recent off-roading adventure or the installation of a new lift kit. This will help you decide what components to check first. Contrary to popular opinion, steering stabilizers are not usually the cause of “death wobble”. The installation of a quality steering dampener can minimize the symptoms making you think it has been remedied but it will be back as the underlying problem still exists.

The fundamentals of your front suspension are the first things to check out and, to our satisfaction, don’t usually cost a thing. Are your tires properly inflated to the manufacturers specs? Do you notice any troubling wear patterns on your front tires or are they wearing evenly? Has the vehicle been treated to a proper front end alignment, especially after the installation of a lift kit or steering components? Make a thorough visual inspection of your front steering linkage and look for anything that is bent, damaged or loose.

My first investigative task in a such a case of ‘Whodunnit’ is to identify the most likely suspect based on my prior experiences- when it comes to death wobble, this seedy character is clearly the Track Bar. On a leaf sprung suspension like a Wrangler YJ or CJ, you can toss the front track bar in the scrap bin and drive down the road with no significant issues. The leaf springs linear design keeps the differential pretty well centered under the Jeep and perpendicular to the frame rails. On Jeeps with coil springs however, the track bar is absolutely vital to maintaining steering and vehicle stability. Any ’play’ in the bushings, sleeves or even loose attaching hardware can be cause for great concern and would need to be addressed. Often you will find that the bushing is wallowed out around the metal sleeve allowing it to move slightly. The same methodology can be used inspecting both upper and lower control arms, checking for any degraded bushings or loose hardware. Keep in mind, the lower control arms are used for setting the front end alignment so a trip to an alignment shop should be on your short list of things to do if the control arms are replaced. The steering linkage can then be examined for problems. While a helper slowly turns the steering wheel back and forth, you can observe the steering linkage, checking for any excessive wobble in any of the tie rod ends. You can also grasp the tie rod end by hand and try moving the outer tie rod end up and down looking for movement of the ball in the socket. Inner tie rods should be checked for forward and rearward movement and replaced if suspect, again, with a visit to the alignment shop after replacement.

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Lastly, check the upper and lower ball joints for excessive play. This can be done by jacking up the front wheels and setting the axle tube on a jack stands with the tire a few inches off the ground. Have a helper place a section of 2 x 4 or a short piece of pipe directly under the tire and pry upward from the face of the wheel while you examine the ball joints for any movement, also listening for any clunking or clicking from the joints. Any excessive movement or noises calls for replacement ball joints which, due to the level of involvement this job requires, should be replaced as a complete set by a skilled, experienced professional.

While it is possible that there may be multiple root causes for your particular case of “Death Wobble”, it is crucial that each component be evaluated thoroughly and not bypassed based on any preconceived opinion. For example, “I just replaced that track bar a year ago, there’s no way it could possibly be faulty”…think again! As you identify issues with your steering and suspension and resolve them, short test drives can be taken to evaluate your progress. It’s possible that the speed at which the wobble occurs may change or it may develop into an occurrence that is only triggered by a bump in the road or dip of the suspension. Stay the course and remember to give attention to the details. Persistence will surely prevail and you can then return to enjoying your Jeep without fear.

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So…..What Are You In For???

It’s a phrase that instantly sparks uncomfortable images of an awkward, blundering conversation between two prison inmates where one answers “Tax evasion, How ’bout you?”. That is, thankfully, not the nature of this particular question. Many of us are serving a ‘life sentence’, of sorts, for something we’ve done. At what point in your life did you first see a Jeep and tell yourself “Geez…that is cool! I gotta have one of those!”?

1For some, it may have been watching afternoon episodes of “The Dukes of Hazard” and seeing the bodacious Daisy Duke wheeling around in her classic ’80 CJ-7 Golden Eagle. I can definitely see the attraction this likely presented for some but I was slightly more preoccupied, as a 12 year old boy, with that ridiculous ’69 Charger to even notice Daisy Duke (that didn’t keep me from having a poster on my wall with her laying across the CJ’s hood a few years later) but that orange jump-happy hotrod with an air horn that plays the opening notes to “I Wish I Was in Dixie” was what totally had me captivated…not enough to seek to own a ‘General Lee’ car myself but enough to think it was pretty darn cool. Decades later, it still is just as cool. Did you ever wonder why the horn didn’t play “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”? Probably not.

2For some younger Jeepers, it may have been seeing the two-tone YJ Wranglers that adorned the big screen in the 90’s blockbuster Jurassic Park. I remember thinking that the gaudy red 5-star alloy wheels were perfectly suited for transporting tourists around an amusement park while it was also clear to me that the Renegade lower body cladding was certainly going to become a casualty the first time the vehicle tries to drive over an immobilized raptor. There was absolutely something captivating about that sand beige and red paint scheme and Sahara interior that led to a surge in popularity for the otherwise less-than-lovable Wrangler YJ. Truth is I was hooked on Jeeps well before Jurassic Park movie directors even started shooting.

3For me, I was hooked on the concept of driving a Jeep and eventually owning one when I was exposed, as a kid, to a late 60’s television action-drama entitled “The Rat Patrol” {In Color} (That was a pretty cool little disclaimer thing that was common to a specific time period where a majority of the programs viewers didn’t necessarily have color TV sets so you knew right up front that you were missing out on something and your parents were gonna hear about it). This program was the stuff of my boyhood dreams! Four allied soldiers, who cruised around the desert in highly modified Jeeps complete with rear-mounted belt-fed machine guns, fighting German troops who were much better-equipped for combat, having armored vehicles and tanks at their disposal. It didn’t matter. The Rat Patrol has two, count them, TWO Jeeps and they drove them like they stole them, often launching them over the crest of sand dunes at full speed, causing the man who had the unenviable task of manning the machine gun in the back to become airborne and likely knock his canine teeth through his forehead on his return to the ground. Every one of the four primary characters wore really cool and distinctive hats to match their personality and, did I mention, they had Jeeps? That did it for me!

Regardless of what may have inspired you to long for a little piece of the Jeep lifestyle, or whether it’s a longing you have yet to fulfill, one thing is certain. The impression that Jeep has made on many of our lives is unmistakable and only gets bolder with time.

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Rugged Ridge introduces new Elite Line of Exterior Accessories for 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler JK/JKU Models

Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road parts and accessories, today announced the expansion of its Elite line of exterior styling accessories with the addition of its Elite Headlight Guards, Elite Tail Light Guards, Elite Fuel Doors and Elite Door Handle Inserts for 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler JK models.

Rugged Ridge’s Elite line of exterior accessories features patented designs intended to provide an attractive and desirable option for JK owners that incorporates Rugged Ridge exclusive Elite styling, high- quality materials and a choice of premium finishes — all elements selected to separate the products from others currently found in the JK aftermarket.

Rugged Ridge Elite Headlight Guards are cast from rugged aluminum alloy and are designed to provide superior protection for headlights while adding a unique geometric design. Three premium finishes are available: textured black powder coat, vibrant red powder coat or raw aluminum.

Rugged Ridge Elite Tail Light Guards feature a patented, innovative design that fully encapsulates the tail light for unsurpassed protection. Constructed from sturdy cast aluminum and built to withstand serious off-road assaults, the Elite Tail Light Guards can protect Jeeps on the toughest adventures. The Elite Tail Light Guards are offered in a variety of finishes: textured black powder coat, red powder coat, raw aluminum or a textured black powder coat with machined aluminum slats.

Also introduced as part of the Elite Line is the Rugged Ridge Elite Fuel
Door Cover. The cover incorporates a smooth-operating internal hinge mechanism and a positive retention latch that opens and closes with a simple press of the lid, and is constructed from heavy cast aluminum.

The final installment to the Elite line are Rugged Ridge’s Elite Door Handle Inserts. Each inserts is made from durable cast aluminum and feature an off-road inspired tire tread inlay, available in a choice of three finishes: black tread, brushed aluminum tread or brushed aluminum with contrasting black tread. Sets are available for both two and four-door models.

The Rugged Ridge® Elite line of exterior accessories for Wrangler JK are backed by an industry-leading five-year limited warranty and are available online and through select Jeep and off-road accessories retailers nationwide.

For more information about the Elite line of products or any of Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high- quality Jeep and off-road parts, or to find an authorized retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit www.RuggedRidge.com

Part No. Description MSRP
11230.12 Elite Headlight Euro Guards, Textured Black, 07-17 JK/JKU $66.99
11230.15 Elite Headlight Euro Guards, Red; 07-17 JK/JKU $66.99
11230.16 Elite Headlight Euro Guards, Raw Aluminum, 07-17 JK/JKU $66.99
11226.04 Elite Tail Light Guards, Brushed Black; 07-17 JK $173.99
11226.05 Elite Tail Light Guards, Black; 07-17 Wrangler JK $159.99
11226.06 Elite Tail Light Guards, Red; 07-17 Wrangler JK $159.99
11226.07 Elite Tail Light Guards, Raw; 07-17 Wrangler JK $133.99
11425.10 Elite Fuel Door, Non-Lock, Brushed Alum; 07-17 JK $126.99
11425.12 Elite Fuel Door, Non-Lock, Black, 07-17 JK $113.99
13311.48 Door Handle Inserts, Black Tread, 2 Door; 07-16 JK $52.99
13311.49 Door Handle Inserts, Black Tread, 4 Door; 07-16 JKU $79.99
13311.50 Door Handle Inserts, Brushed Tread, 2 Door; 07-16 JK $52.99
13311.51 Door Handle Insets, Brushed Tread, 4 Door; 07-16 JKU $79.99
13311.52 Door Handle Inserts, Contrast Tread, 2 Door; 07-16 JK $52.99
13311.53 Door Handle Inserts, Contrast Tread, 4 Door; 07-16 JKU $79.99

February 2017 Monthly Update

Elite Fast Track Accessory Bar

Rugged Ridge designed the new Elite Fast Track Accessory BarTM (patents pending) to be the most versatile component you’ll likely ever bolt to your JK, allowing you to adapt your light bar configuration for your changing tastes or to better suit your needs. The innovative design of the Elite Fast Track Accessory Bar incorporates a revolutionary series of channels that run the length of the a-pillars and crossover section so that any variety or combination of lights, cameras, trail mirrors or accessories can be assembled and reconfigured in countless combinations. Constructed of high-quality 6061 T6 aluminum, the Elite Fast Track Accessory Bar is extremely lightweight but impressively strong, able to withstand the grueling conditions Jeeps are prone to endure. The light bar works with most LED light bars, regardless of length and incorporates an aerodynamic design and integrated end caps that alleviate air ow turbulence that often result in soft top buffeting and annoying whistling. The A-pillar sections unique channel design conceals the wiring, keeping it out of sight and well-protected. A durable sleek black powder coat finish gives great protections from the elements while sturdy steel brackets with Grade 5 mounting hardware insures years of dependable service that is backed by our 5-year limited warranty.

Part Number Description Price
11232.50 Elite Fast Track Accessory Bar, 07-17 Jeep Wranlger $333.99
11232.55 Fast Track Kit, 1 Bar, 8 Rounds, Mirrors; 07-17 Jeep Wrangler $1333.99
11232.56 Fast Track Kit, 2 Bars, 9 Rounds, Mirrors; 07-17 Jeep Wrangler $1666.99
11232.57 Fast Track Kit, 3 Bars, 8 Rounds, Covers; 07-17 Jeep Wrangler $1999.99

Total Eclipse Shade

Rugged Ridge Total Eclipse Shade revolutionary design offers superior protection from the intensity of the sun’s rays without the need for a separate windshield header. The Total Eclipse Shade 1-piece design utilizes the same attaching method as our Eclipse Sunshade, securing to the windshield frame and sport bar with integrated bungee straps, so there is no cumbersome buckles or straps to lose, but provides a greater level of sun protection with durable Black Diamond soft top fabric. Installs in minutes and can be left in place with the top on or off. Includes a handy storage bag.

Part Number Description Price
13579.15 Total Eclipse Shade, Soft Top, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler $93.99
13579.45 Total Eclipse Shade, Hard Top, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler $93.99

Dual Soft Rope Shackle and Grab Handle

Bring your recovery gear into the 21st century with Rugged Ridge Soft Rope Shackles. Constructed of an ultra- strong HMPE rope material, these shackles are considerably stronger than steel with a 18,150 lb. breaking strength and, unlike nylon, they actually repel water, resist abrasions and have very low elasticity making them the obvious choice for off-road recovery. Unlike rigid steel shackles, Rugged Ridge Soft Rope Shackles are always pliable so they can be manipulated easily in tight spaces, even wearing gloves, allowing for painless attachment to tow hooks or recovery points. When not in use, Soft Rope Shackles make a great Grab Handle; just store them conveniently around your roll bar at either door – you’ll nd yourself using them, even when you’re NOT using them! Better yet, Rugged Ridge Soft Rope Shackles won’t ever rust, nor will they open under load however, they can be opened easily once a load is removed, making them an ideal addition to your off-road recovery gear.

11235.51 Rope Shackle and Grab Handle, 5/16-Inch $29.99
11235.53 Rope Shackle and Grab Handle, 5/16-Inch, Pair $59.99

Lower Switch Panel

The Rugged Ridge Lower Switch Panel allows for practical & convenient installation of electrical switches in 2011-2017 Jeep Wrangler models, regardless of transmission type (Manual or Automatic). This switch panel replaces the lower center dash panel with an injection-molded panel made of an impact-resistant thermoplastic, matching the color and grain of the factory dash for a nished look. Each Lower Switch Panel Kit includes FOUR 2-position rocker switches (Amber, Green, Red and Blue) and a nifty Dual USB Charging Port to maintain those essential electronic devices. Switches are ergonomically positioned for easy access and effortless operation in your JK, while maintaining the factory correct appearance.

17235.54 Lower Console Switch Panel, 11-17 Jeep® Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited $20.99
17235.84 Lower Console Switch Panel Kit, 11-17 Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited $93.99

The Importance of Being Prepared (or at least looking the part)

One of the most interesting facets of our automotive culture is the fact that society attaches personality traits to drivers based on their choice of transportation. Guys cruising around in a flashy Corvette are often labelled as being waist-deep in a mid-life crisis, even when this could likely be the farthest thing from the truth. Gigantic SUV’s adorned with plus-sized chrome rims and TV monitors mounted in every headrest are quickly assessed as being well-to-do soccer moms who seem fixated on making an impressive display when they drop the kids off at lacrosse practice, with a total lack of concern for fuel economy. I think Jeep drivers are labelled in a similar fashion, as well.

Photo Credit: Chrysler Group LLC

Photo Credit: Chrysler Group LLC

Jeep has always been marketed to the purchasing public in a very utilitarian way; in fact, if the Boy Scouts had not already called dibs on the moniker ‘Be Prepared’, Jeep could have gobbled it up and put it to good marketing use. Jeeps have always been heralded for their legendary off-road capability using slogans like “Go Anywhere, Do Anything” and “Only in a Jeep”. It’s quite clear that Jeep owners place a considerable value in the concept of being prepared and equipped for anything. One particular print ad released by Jeep actually portrayed a Jeep in a remote desert location with the catch phrase “To survive out here, you’ll need a needle, thread and a Jeep Wrangler”. While I would probably have added in a couple of gallons of clean drinking water to that list just for good measure, I do agree with the premise. Another advertisement used by Jeep back in the early 2000’s was a large photo of a Swiss Army knife where one of the folding blades was an actual Jeep ignition key. What a novel idea! That should have been a dealer promotional item at some point. I’m all for it! Replacing the small tweezers that are usually rendered useless after a few uses seems like a logical step to making this become a reality.

One of my favorite advertisements that typifies the personality and lifestyle of a typical Jeeper was not even an ad for Jeep or Willys directly. It was an advertisement taken out by Campbell Soup Company in the early 1940’s, during the height of the second World War. The ads lengthy dialog speaks to the ingenuity of the American soldier who would place a can of soup under the hood of his Jeep so, as he ran his maneuvers and mealtime eventually rolled around, his meal would be prepared, hot & ready to eat. No reference has to be made or implied to the soldier’s ability to open the tin soup can. It’s understood that he is well-equipped and prepared for anything. As wholesome an image as this depicts, with four guys assembled together to enjoy a piping hot can of Chicken with Wild Rice that tastes vaguely like a fuel-soaked ashtray, it is an moderately accurate representation of the type of people who typically choose to drive a Jeep. They are the kind of people certainly equipped with a multi-tool, complete with a can opener, and the technical wherewithal to use it. On a side note, soup packaging has also advanced tremendously over the past 75 years to the point where soup cans now come with a pull-tab and don’t even require a can opener. I’m somewhat sure a Jeep guy helped develop that technology as well.

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The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL-An Exercise in Patience

Like children tucked away in their beds on Christmas Eve awaiting Santa’s arrival, the collective Jeep community waits with sparse patience for the long-awaited arrival of the new Jeep Wrangler JL. We have been teased, tempted and taunted with spy photos, artist’s renderings and our own biased suspicions of what the future holds for our beloved Jeep, and yet we still find ourselves indefinitely awaiting the day when the present is finally under the tree, ready to be opened. Until then, all we can do is speculate as to what the future holds for the Wrangler platform.

Certainly not everything you read on the internet can be taken as truth; I’m pretty sure that there is photographic evidence proving, not only, the existence of Bigfoot but that he had considerable hand in rigging our nation’s recent elections. For that reason, we have to take the evidence that we see and hear from various media sources online with ‘a grain of salt’. Essentially, just because one off-road forum stated that the new Wrangler JL will feature full-time AWD does not make it so. jlOne thing that we do know, with a great deal of certainty, is that the engineers at Jeep have labored tirelessly to make the new JL more fuel efficient than it has ever been before. That, alone, is a great cause for celebration. With current JK owners experiencing lackluster fuel economy on even bone stock models, a trend towards better fuel consumption balanced with performance would be welcomed. What that means in terms of design is that we are likely going to see an increase in the ‘rake’ of the windshield allowing it to carve through the wind rather than slam into it. This reduction in wind resistance will ultimately result in better MPG numbers at the pump but will most likely come at the expense of the iconic folding windshield. While this seems like Jeep is callously parting ways with a long-standing styling tradition, I feel it is a fair trade-off in that the benefits gained far outweigh the under-appreciated ability to fold the windscreen forward and flat to the hood, if the mood were to strike you- a feature that I would dare to say goes vastly unused in today’s society.

The area of discussions about Jeeps design of the new JL that is arguably the most heated is in regards to the top, whether it will be a soft or hard top and if it will preserve the Jeeps heritage of providing its owner with a true open-air driving experience. While I am a firm believer in the rule that real Jeeps don’t have tops (or doors for that matter), the Jeep Wrangler JK has changed the establishments thinking on this premise. With many JK owners opting for a more expensive hardtop, the target demographic has seemingly chosen the year-round convenience and security of a fixed roof and removable doors as an acceptable compromise to noisy soft tops and the cumbersome hardware they entail. With this in mind, much of the buzz around the new JL eludes to a modular fixed roof structure with a three removable sections- one over the front seats, one over the rear seat jldiagramand one over the cargo area for greater versatility. This concept means that the roof rails that run horizontally from a-pillar to d-pillar would stay in place, thus doing away with the need for a separate sport bar. This would allow the JL to meet strict Federal Safety standards that have always plagued the Wrangler in rollover testing. What this means in regards to the plausibility of an upcoming soft top is unclear. Significant evidence exists in the US Patent office that German company responsible for the open roof system utilized in the Jeep Renegade have filed patent requests for a power-retracting soft top, similar to those used on the Fiat 500, built on an SUV platform with stationary roof rails unlike any previous Wranglers roof structure. Outside of such a retracting roof skin, I do think it is safe to say that any new soft top that might be offered would bear little resemblance to anything we’ve seen on prior Jeep models. With changes come new possibilities.

The JL stands to receive its motivation from a 3.6 Pentastar V6 engine with talk of a new 2.0 liter Hurricane Turbo 4 engine that produces in excess of 300 horsepower being introduced as an option- truly a drivetrain I would like to take on some rock ledges. Rumors of the distinct possibility that a diesel power plant will be offered are still being touted, if not shouted from Jeepers rooftops, with the existing 3.0 EcoDiesel used in the Ram 1500 trucks being the likely subject, a twist which could make a 30 MPG Wrangler a reality. An 8-speed ZF Automatic transmission will likely do the gear selection with the three additional gears improving the JL’s credentials in the quest for better fuel economy. A 6-speed manual gearbox may likely find its way between the hydro-formed steel frame rails to put the purists at ease, still sending the power to solid axles, front and rear, the way God intended. The likelihood of the JL being presented in an electric or Hybrid form is certainly possible but would appear to be fairly far out on the horizon due to numerous weight and space considerations.

With a considerable amount of uncertainty looming around the JL, it does seem as though the new flagship for the Jeep brand will maintain its overall “boxy” appearance and the legendary seven slot grille will remain in place, although it has been given a contour where it will slope rearward slightly towards the top of the vertical slats to match the longer fenders as they project forward of the grille. The JL will receive a treatment of trendy LED lighting from the factory as well as a few aluminum body components in the interest of weight reduction. Jeep promises to make the new JL a satisfying Go Anywhere / Do Anything vehicle that Jeep enthusiasts have grown to expect and love. Rest assured that we won’t rest easy until it’s here.

As for the JT (the new Wrangler in pickup form)…were saving that dream for next Christmas!

xmasjl

Give Us an Inch and We’ll Take a Yard!

Once upon a time, there were capable off-road vehicles that were purposefully designed from the factory to have the odd ability to fold the windshield down to lay flat on the hood! Right about now you’re probably saying that this “Once upon a time” is actually now and that off-road vehicle is pretty much every Jeep ever built. You would be correct. Heck, even a 2016 Wrangler JK has such folding capability; if you have some hand tools and the sudden desire strikes you to eat dragonflies that are smashed head-first into your clinched teeth at 60 mph, you can lower the wind screen in a matter of half a day and satisfy your appetite for insects. Very few people today would find any allure in riding down the road with no windshield, not that it doesn’t provide some thrills for the first few minutes but without a helmet and goggles, the thrill subsides rather 1quickly- much like the way the fuel gauge needle seems to descend at a rate that is in direct reverse-relation to the rate the speedometer needle climbs. The means just don’t seem to justify the end.

The fact that the windshield is designed to do such a stunt raises some relatively simple questions. Why do we need a windshield to fold down anyway? The fact that Jeep still builds this feature into their production vehicles today is a tougher question to answer.

Today’s Jeeps ancestry can be traced back to World War II where 135 companies were propositioned by the war department to submit bids for building general purpose personnel carriers for the war effort. Among the specifications that were required in the prototypes, an overall height of 36 inches (excluding the top) and a folding windshield were mandatory so that the vehicles could be packed, partially assembled, in low profile crates and stacked on top of each other for shipment overseas. So, the Willys/Jeeps folding windshield is there for a reason but not necessarily given a clearly defined purpose until it was exposed to the battlefield, where a healthy dose of ingenuity from the GI’s could transform this space saving attribute into a beneficial option that served the needs of the users like it was put there for that distinct purpose .

2Once the folding windshield was implemented by the troops in the field, the benefits that it provided on the front lines became clearer. Although the rear-mounted machine gun stood on a floor-mounted turret tall enough to clear the windshield as well as the heads of front seat passengers, the front passenger side cowl proved to be an ideal position for mounting a smaller secondary gun that allowed for forward firing from a less-exposed seated position. The folded windshield also proved to be useful in allowing for variable positioning of crew and cargo to extend outside the cab, proving invaluable with interior space being very limited and confined in these relatively small vehicles.

The folding windshield also proved as a crucial element in the task of 3avoiding detection by enemy troops. Where an upright windshield was prone to cast glare and reflections from sunlight, electric lights and the bursts of fire given off by artillery, the folded windshield avoided such reflections which allowed the vehicles to enable blackout lighting making them nearly invisible, ultimately eluding the watchful eyes of their adversaries which gave troops a greater chance to achieve success in their missions.

Even the Jeeps that were primarily used for medical transport recognized benefit in that folding the windshield down flat to the hood allowed for injured soldiers to be carried on a stretcher that ran long ways with the length of the vehicle, rather than having head and legs overhanging on both sides due to the Jeeps narrow 48-inch track width. The Jeeps practical use as an ambulance, already hindered by the vehicles size, would have severely suffered if not for this design detail.

The fact that this unique folding windshield has continued to appear as a feature on every year model since World War II is really quite surprising. In the last decade, as federal automobile crash testing has become more strenuous, the Jeeps sport bar and windshield have become more unified in an attempt to improve the integrity of the passenger compartment in the event of a crash. For a vehicle to have a windshield frame that is only bolted in place, as opposed to a solid welded structure with the cabin, leads me to believe that it only retains its place on the current JK out of some reverence to its heritage and will likely go the way of the Sears catalog and the rear machine gun mount when the new Wrangler JL comes out later this year. I, for one, will be sad to see it go.

A Meager Attempt at Deciphering the “Jeep Wave”

wave

If you have ever driven a Jeep, particularly the breed without a fixed roof, you certainly are all-too-familiar with the cultural phenomenon known as the “Jeep Wave”- a universally accepted social gesture that is as equally deeply-rooted in the Americana of our great country as it is both misunderstood and under-appreciated. How is it that a simple wave, in passing, could somehow be more than that?

11895937_1660948677484455_41573048772833009_nThe suspected origin of our revered wave goes way back to a time when our country was embroiled in the throes of World War II, a conflict which engaged our nation’s people unlike any event ever had. A product of this engagement was symbolized in the way that corporations stepped up to support the war effort in any way they were able. Companies like Ford and Willys-Overland were called upon to produce four-wheel drive reconnaissance vehicles for use by troops and military personnel, both at home and abroad. Out of ingenuity and necessity, the great-grandfather of today’s Jeep Wrangler was born in the form of Ford GPW and Willys MA & MB, or “jeeps” as they were often called by Army personnel. As GIs willys5scurried back and forth in their Willys MB’s, they would often give a slight, subtle “wave” to other jeeps passed in their travels as a means of signifying that they were, indeed, allies or friendlies; often nothing more than two fingers raised from a hand otherwise preoccupied with clinching firmly the Willy’s massive steering wheel and keeping it centered in the ruts and out of the ditches. In the interest of safety, there was no rank recognized or observed and no salutes given on these short jaunts , so as not to tip off anyone to the presence of a high ranking officer who was out for a drive. As the war came to a close, the army’s surplus of these vehicles was liquidated and many military soldiers were offered a “war-certified” used Willys Jeep for purchase for a song…some for as little as $400.

Many of these were quickly snatched up for use on family farms back home or for basic transportation needs leading up to the eventual late 40’s release of the Willys adapted for civilian consumption, the CJ. For this reason, many of the people who drove these vehicles in the years immediately following the war associated closely and personally with another passing Jeep, identifying them as being a “brother”, someone who had also served their country and given a sacrifice similar to their own- someone worthy of respect and even some level of mutual admiration. With no real intentions, the “Jeep Wave” was born. How it continues to thrive today, 75 years later, can only be described or explained as “A Jeep Thing” that no one can truly understand

SO…why would anybody choose to drive a vehicle where a 10 minute drive to the grocery market can be transformed into an aerobic workout? At some point, would this not become annoying? To answer in a word, No. Why would anyone, especially someone with the presence of an otherwise sound mind, allow themselves to be instinctively programmed to wave at every Jeep they pass, even in the dark, triggered only by the glow of those tell-tale closely spaced round headlights? Heck, even when they are driving their “other” vehicles that AREN’T Jeeps – we often still wave!

I think that today’s version of the “Jeep Wave” can be best analyzed by classifying those people who, by their own choice, drive a Jeep today as a person who longs for adventure, loves the outdoors, isn’t afraid to get a little wet in a downpour and possessing an understanding that the destination is often not nearly as important as the journey that is experienced in getting there. To own a vehicle that can display such therapeutic qualities as to remove all traces of an 8 hour stress-filled workday by merely enjoying a 30-minute ride home at sunset with the wind blowing through your hair. There really is no equal, even when you take into consideration the relentless task of waving at every Jeep that passes you by. So keep waving when you see a fellow Jeep owner out on the road (Yes, even the ZJs), whether you’re paying homage to the past or celebrating the unique camaraderie we share as fellow Jeepers in the present. Wave, smile and know …..It’s a Jeep Thing!!

January 2017 Monthly Update

Steel Armor Fenders

Protect your Jeep’s body while adding a aggressive look with Rugged Ridge Steel Armor Fenders. Constructed of heavy-gauge 3 mm thick steel plate utilizing fold-and-weld techniques for integrity without compromise. Add strength and functionality to your Jeep with these fenders.

Part Number Description Price
11615.01 XHD Front Armor, Fenders, Pair, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK/JK Unlimited $933.99
11615.02 XHD Rear Armor Fenders, Pair, 4 Dr., 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited $933.99

Elite Product Line

Add style to your Jeep with Rugged Ridge ELITE Series of exterior accessories. We’ve developed a full line of exterior accessories engineered and tested to set your JK apart. Each of our patented Elite designs ensure that you receive the top quality you demand from a genuine Rugged Ridge product at a reasonable price. Constructed of high-quality materials featuring a variety of exclusive premium finishes and machined accents, The ELITE line possesses a style unlike anything on the market today. Choose the best- choose the ELITE from: Tail Light Guard, Headlight Euro Guards, and Fuel Door Covers.

Part Number Description Price
11226.05 Elite Tail Light Guards, Pair, Black, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK $159.99
11226.04 Elite Tail Light Guards, Pair, Black and Brushed Aluminum, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK $173.99
11226.06 Elite Tail Light Guards, Pair, Red, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK $159.99
11226.07 Elite Tail Light Guards, Pair, Raw, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK $133.99
11230.12 Elite Headlight Euro Guards, Pair, Textured Black, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK/JK Unlimited $66.99
11230.15 Elite Headlight Euro Guards, Pair, Red, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK/JK Unlimited $66.99
11230.16 Elite Headlight Euro Guards, Pair, Raw, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK/JK Umlimited $69.99
11425.12 Elite Fuel Door, Non-Lock, Black, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK $113.99
11425.10 Elite Fuel Door $126.99

Recovery Kit With Mesh Bag

Be prepared and ready to go in case of any emergency while your off-road on the trails with Rugged Ridge Recovery Kit with Mesh Bag. Our kit includes a 30-foot kinetic recovery rope with a 7500 pound load limit that makes quick work of even the stickiest of situations, a 20,000 pound snatch block pulley, a 3-inch tree strap, a pair of 7/16-inch soft rope shackles, a high-visibility winch line dampener and a pair of rugged leather work gloves- all packed in a lightweight mesh recovery gear bag.

Part Number Description Price
15104.29 Premium Recovery Kit with Mesh Bag $293.99
15104.39 Recovery Gear Bag, Premium Mesh $47.99

Rugged Ridge introduces new LED Rock Light Kit for various off-road applications

All-New LED Rock Lights Make Adding Exciting Illumination to Off-Road Adventures Quick and Simple

Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today introduced its new LED Rock Light Kit for Jeeps and various off-road vehicles.

Rugged Ridge LED Rock Lights are the ideal addition to any trail-ready vehicle, whether illuminating obstacles or posing for the perfect shot. These Rock Lights mount to a variety of locations on the body or undercarriage to project radiant white light to the ground below, for a whole new trail driving experience at night or in low-light conditions.

Rugged Ridge LED Rock Light Kit includes four waterproof die cast aluminum LED housings that are IP68 rated for water-resistance, each with a flat and curved mounting base for ease of installation.

Rugged Ridge LED Rock Light Kit includes four waterproof die cast aluminum LED housings that are IP68 rated for water-resistance, each with a flat and curved mounting base for ease of installation.

The Rugged Ridge LED Rock Light Kit includes four waterproof die cast aluminum LED housings that are IP68 rated for water- resistance, each with a flat and curved mounting base for ease of installation, regardless of the location. The lights are individually terminated with weather-resistant connectors for simple plug-and-play connectivity, while powder-coated housings and stainless hardware ensure that these lights will illuminate consistently on even the stormiest of nights.

Rugged Ridge LED Rock Light Kits are available as a stand-alone basic kit, or, depending on vehicle requirements, as a complete package that includes a two-position rocker switch, 40 amp relay and integrated wiring harness.

The Rugged Ridge LED Rock Light Kits are backed by Rugged
Ridge’s five-year limited warranty and are available online and through select Jeep and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide and a suggested MSRP
starting at $120.99.

For more information about the LED Rock Light Kit or Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find an authorized retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit www.RuggedRidge.com

Part Number Description Price
11232.39 LED Rock Light Kit, 4-Piece, White $120.99
11232.40 LED Rock Light Kit with Harness, 4-Piece, White $146.99