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. One 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 and 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!
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 quickly- 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 .
Once 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 avoiding 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.
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?
The 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 scurried 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!!
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.
|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.
|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.
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.
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
New Isolators Effectively Eliminate the Rattle of D-Rings and Shackles
Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today announced the launch of its new line of D-Ring Isolators for all Jeep models and off-road vehicles to eliminate the recovery rattle.
The Rugged Ridge D-Ring Isolators were designed to eliminate the rattling, banging and clanging D-Rings cause against the bumpers while not in use. The Isolators can be installed in a few minutes and offer industry-leading protection.
Rugged Ridge D-Ring Isolators are a three piece design that incorporate a collar that clips to the outside perimeter of the shackle, as well as two washers that insulate between the shackle pin and the bumper mount for total isolation. Molded of sturdy polyurethane, the Rugged Ridge D-Ring isolators are extremely resistant to harsh environments, abrasions and impacts, for a long service life.
Rugged Ridge D-Ring Isolators are available in, 3/4 inch and 7/8 inch to fit most recovery shackles and are molded in a variety of colors including: black, red,
yellow, green and pink.
Rugged Ridge D-Ring Isolators are sold in pairs of two isolators and four washers and are backed by an industry-leading 5-year limited warranty with a starting MSPR of $11.99.
For more information about the D-Ring Isolators, 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.
|11235.30||D-Ring Isolator, Black, 3/4-Inch||$11.99|
|11235.31||D-Ring Isolator, Red, 3/4-Inch||$11.99|
|11235.32||D-Ring Isolator, Yellow, 3/4-Inch||$11.99|
|11235.33||D-Ring Isolator, Green, 3/4-Inch||$11.99|
|11235.34||D-Ring Isolator, Pink, 3/4-Inch||$11.99|
|11235.40||D-Ring Isolator, Black, 7/8-Inch||$11.99|
|11235.41||D-Ring Isolator, Black, 7/8-Inch||$11.99|
|11235.42||D-Ring Isolator, Black, 7/8-Inch||$11.99|
|11235.43||D-Ring Isolator, Black, 7/8-Inch||$11.99|
Versatile CB Radio Mounting Bracket Places Jeep’s CB Easy Reach
Rugged Ridge®, an industry leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road products and accessories, today announced the addition of a new CB Radio Mount for 2003-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ / LJ Unlimited models.
Following the design concept of the Rugged Ridge CB radio mounts for 2007-2016 JK models, Rugged Ridge engineers used similar ergonomic placement for the TJ / LJ mount, attaching to the upper windshield frame above the rearview mirror. This location puts the radio controls and microphone in easy reach of the driver, eliminating the need to stretch across the cab to change channels or locate a stray microphone, helping provide an increased overall level of safety.
The Rugged Ridge CB Mount is constructed of sturdy Q235 steel and finished in a gloss black powder coat for years of durable service’s The mount is designed to support the weight of the CB unit, store away the microphone and look
good while doing it. All of the mounting hardware is black zinc coated for an OE appearance while the CB mounting bracket has a universal mounting pattern allowing it to work with most manufacturers mounting kits for ease of installation.
“The easiest place to mount a CB in a Jeep has always been at the base of the dash,” said Alain Eboli, Engineering Manager at Omix-ADA / Rugged Ridge. “Unfortunately, doing so can cause safety concerns for the driver, which is why we engineered the CB Mount to fit the windshield and avoid distracted driving.”
The new CB Radio Mount for 2003-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ/LJ models backed by Rugged Ridge’s industry- leading five-year limited warranty and will be available online and through select Jeep and off-road parts and accessories retailers with a suggested MSRP of $26.99.
For more information about the CB Radio Mount, 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.
|13551.07||CB Radio Mount, Windshield; 03-06 Wrangler TJ/LJ||$26.99|
Elite Door Handles
Spruce up the exterior of your Jeep with our Elite Door Handle inserts that features a tread style design. This accent is made from a lightweight cast aluminum that has a slight sheen brush finished with recessed black that gives your Jeep a custom look. Installs in minutes with double sided tape made to last.
|13311.52||Door Handle Inserts, Contrast Tread, 3 pcs, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler JK, 2-Door||$66.99|
|13311.53||Door Handle Inserts, Contrast Tread, 5 psc, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited||$102.99|
Interior Courtesy Light
Illuminate your interior with our Interior Courtesy Light that are multi-colored LED tubes. Our kit comes with everything you need to make the install fast and easy. With a built in microphone sensor you can have your music light the way with its rhythm to give the best visual experience.
|11250.09||Interior Courtesy Lighting Kit, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited||$132.99|
Soft Rope Shackle
Try a different way for your off road recovery with out Soft Rope Shackle. Constructed of the strongest HMPE rope material that can even out perform the steel shackles your so use to. This rope repels water, resist abrasion, and has low elasticity making it ideal for off road recovery. You don’t have to worry about rust with these shackles and the are easy to attach and detach for quicker recovery time.
|11235.50||Soft Rope Shackle, 7/16-Inch, 7500 LBS WLL||$46.99|
New customer lighting option offers optimum visibility and performance
Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today released its new LED Mesh Grill Insert for its popular Spartan Grille for 2007- 2016 Jeep Wrangler JK/JKU models.
Each LED Mesh Grill Insert is constructed of eight millimeter perforated steel mesh with a durable black powder coat finish. The integrated LED light brackets properly and securely position the LED housings for optimum visibility and performance by positioning two round 3.5-inch driving LED lights in the grilles mesh insert.
The LED Mesh Grille Insert features two highly-efficient 18 watt round LED lights with 1080 lumens output, capable of impressive illumination while only consuming 1.46 amps. With IP-67 waterproof ratings and corrosion-resistant aluminum housings, these LED’s will perform well in the harshest of environments.
The new Rugged Ridge LED Mesh Grille Insert is backed by an industry-leading five year limited warranty and is available online and through select Jeep and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with an MSRP of $267.99
For more information about the LED Mesh Grille Insert, 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 ww.RuggedRidge.com.
Euro-Spec XHD Aluminum Wheels provide correct wheel size and backspacing for a factory look with O.E. tires
Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road parts and accessories, today announced the addition of new Euro-Spec XHD Aluminum wheels in 17-inch x 8.5-inch, which allow JK owners to remount slightly-used stock tires or upgrade to a similarly-sized off-road tire without changing the stock track width or stance.
The Euro-Spec XHD Aluminum wheel is designed with the same hub- centric design as that of JK factory wheels in order to provide adequate clearance for factory brake rotors, steering linkages and suspension components, making for a fast, trouble-free install. The one piece design incorporates decorative button head socket cap screws around the perimeter of the wheels, giving the appearance of a more expensive three-piece wheel, while 5.17-inch (11mm) backspacing ensures a superior fit for vibration-free performance. Each wheel has tapered seat-mounting holes to accept the original JK lug nuts and work with original factory tire pressure monitoring system.
Rugged Ridge XHD Euro-Spec wheels are available in Satin Black or
Gunmetal powder coated finishes, not just for a great aesthetic, but
also a long life. All XHD wheels have been independently tested to meet and exceed stringent SAE J2530 standards for wheel strength and durability.
Rugged Ridge Euro-Spec XHD Aluminum Wheels are backed by Rugged Ridge’s limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship, as well as a one-year finish warranty. They are available through select Jeep and off-road parts & accessories retailers nationwide with retail starting at $229.99 each.
For more information about the Euro-Spec XHD Hub-Centric Wheels, 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.