The Jeep Icon – A 90’s Concept Car That Almost Became Wranglers Adopted Little Brother

I remember, as a kid in the 70’s, looking at pictures of concept cars and feeling a sense of exhilaration at the oddly obvious wedge-shaped styling that seemed to dominate that era. While I’m not a fan of driving a car that so closely resembles a doorstop, I think these styling trends transferred into some really beautiful designs like the DeTomaso Pantera and the Lamborghini Countach, both of which had large images that adorned the walls of my bedroom for the better part of my youth.

Photo Credit: JeepForum.com

Photo Credit: JeepForum.com

 

I then remember, as an adult in the mid-90’s, when an odd little Jeep concept vehicle made its inaugural appearance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the strong sense of disdain I felt for what was being presented to the masses as a possible design path for the Wrangler. We had just survived a generation of Jeeps that donned rectangular headlights in the Wrangler YJ and were inversely giddy with enthusiasm over the return of the iconic round headlights in the new Wrangler TJ. How had we come to this? Chrysler is going to boldly present this new concept to us and even be so daring as to name it “Icon”? As if having ‘Melrose Place’ on your TV at every turn was not punishment enough. We had somehow come to this…

The Jeep Icon was, from the outside and at a long distance, not far-removed from the venerable Wrangler and CJ’s of the past, with its federally-mandated 7-slot grill, round headlights and open roof design. It’s what lurked just beyond that first glance that seemed to cause the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Chrysler Senior Designer Robert Lester declared that the inspiration for the ‘Icon’ was drawn from elements found in high-end mountain bikes. These words were not completely wasted on me as I was likely to be shopping for such a mountain bike in the near future, as an alternative to driving the new Icon.  While the designers felt that adorning the vehicles body with gratuitous Jeep logos at every turn would be a reasonable penance for the rest of the Icon, it felt more like an attempt to remind you that this was an actual Jeep, a mission made even more important by the misplaced independent front suspension, industrialized car-like interior and wheels that were clearly repurposed from a Camaro RS. Maybe this could be a baby Grand Cherokee, but definitely NOT a Jeep.

Photo Credit: allpar.com

Photo Credit: allpar.com

 

Despite the tepid response from the press and media, the Icon was still being heralded as the next generation in Jeep styling but with the added corporate spin of its intended purpose not-so-much-being a replacement for the Wrangler, but more a smaller platform to serve as direct competition for the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. As of 1998, there were patents filed for the Icon under the Jeep JJ platform and the likelihood of its making it to actual production seemed imminent.  The Icon would feature four cylinder drivetrain borrowed from Chrysler cars and would find its segway into the American market as a Jeep for beginners and would be utilized, to a greater extent, in Third World markets. Approximately 60 vehicles were built as prototypes and were able to meet all of the quality and durability standards as mandated by Chrysler. The problem with the JJ Icon came when the vehicle was being tested for its “Trail Rated’ badge.

In order to proclaim the Jeep name, a certain amount of off-road prowess must be displayed. The JJ was limited to a fairly small diameter of tire due to its independent front suspension and limited body clearance. Although the Icon easily outperformed its small off-road market counterparts, it was unable to successfully negotiate the famed Rubicon Trail without the assistance of a tow rope which fostered serious concern over whether the JJ was a TRUE Jeep, a blemish that seemed to match the sentiment of the mass majority and the project was subsequently scrubbed. The 60 some-odd prototypes never left the confines of the assembly plant and were likely destroyed. Senior Designer of the Jeep Icon, Robert Laster, moved on to a lengthy stint at Ford Motor Company in 1998, where he aided in both interior and exterior design making significant contributions to the automotive realm with cars like the fabled Ford Figo and the Ford Ka (You can’t make stuff like this up) that are each icons in their own intended market places of China and South America. I can’t help but think that the original objective of the Jeep Icon may have been to lend Jeeps legendary off-road persona to a smaller fuel-efficient mode of transport that would largely appeal to an overseas market with the benefit of its greater capability, while not completely alienating the grass-roots customer base, who were likely left hoping for something more; many of the Jeep faithful would likely have been left with a dazed look, scratching their heads and wondering what just happened. The Icons compromising of its core values in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience was at the core of its undoing, which left me with a renewed faith in humanity and a reassurance that Jeep may have some reluctance to ever try and market a Jeep blessed with the spirit of a mountain bike. I’ll carry my ‘spirit of a mountain bike’ on a bike carrier on the back of my Jeep where it belongs, Thanks!

Photo Credit: CarblogIndia.com

Photo Credit: CarblogIndia.com

 

Despite its demise, it’s easy to see that many of the design characteristics of the Icon concept have undoubtedly made it to production in platforms such as the Jeep Liberty and Compass/Patriot, and I, for one, feel much more excited about the future of Jeep based on the upcoming Wrangler JL and the handful of current concepts we’ve seen recently, like the Shortcut concept that made the rounds last year- Maybe even enough to hang some posters on my wall!  OlllllllO

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March 2017 Monthly Update

Hood Bra

Protect your JK’s hood from unsightly damage caused by bugs, rocks and road debris with the Rugged Ridge Hood Bra. Our one-piece bra design is constructed of durable crush grain vinyl that defends against the hazards of everyday driving while the pillow-soft inner layer pampers your paints finish, shielding it from scuffing and scratches. Since this Hood Bra is made specifically for the Wrangler JK, it won’t interfere with factory or aftermarket hood catches and installs quickly & easily with an adjustable strap secured to the footman loop. Since when did protecting your paint look so great?

Part Number Description Price
12112.01 Hood Bra, Black, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited $44.99

Eclipse Tube Door Cargo Covers


Rugged Ridge Eclipse Tube Door Covers give JK owners the ability to enjoy the open air element of their Rugged Ridge tube doors while providing a higher level of containment for the passenger area and its contents. Nylon reinforced mesh construction offers a sturdy barrier that installs quickly and easily with the integrated bungee top and button retaining system. Highly functional and great-looking…you’ll wonder how you ever did without them! Set includes front and rear pair.

Part Number Description Price
13579.52 Tube Door Covers, Full Set, Black, 07-17 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited $172.99
13579.50 Tube Door Covers, Front Pair, Black, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited $133.99
13579.51 Tube Door Covers, Rear Pair, Black, 07-17 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited $93.99

Paracord Grab Handle


Rugged Ridge Paracord Grab Handles are constructed of durable 550 nylon parachute cord that is woven into a brawny “Double Cobra” style knot that feels substantial in your grasp. Each handle secures to two OR three-inch diameter roll bars with heavy duty hook and loop straps for a firm and stable fitment. Your Jeep will love the attractive tactical styling, not to mention how much you’ll love the assistance getting in and out of your rig! Paracord Grab Handles are available in a variety of color combinations, with one to suit any taste: Black on Black, Red on Black or Gray on Black. Sold in pairs..

Part Number Description Price
13505.30 Paracord Grab Handles, Black/Black, Pair $52.99
13505.31 Paracord Grab Handles, Red/Black, Pair $52.99
13505.32 Paracord Grab Handles, Gray/Black, Pair $52.99

Dual Beam LED Light


No Jeep or off-road vehicle is complete without a full array of off-road lights and no light is more efficient at lighting your path than an LED. Rugged Ridge now offers an innovative LED light that provides that searing nighttime illumination accented by a functional and cool-looking running lamp allowing you to be seen without blinding other drivers. Each LED is constructed of a virtually indestructible black thermoplastic case that houses four bright white high-beam LEDs with a single center-mounted amber low-beam LED illuminating a unique “cross-hair” designed reflector giving you greater visibility in low light conditions. With a high-quality Fresnel optic lens and an IP-67 Waterproof rating, these LEDs are built to provide years of outstanding performance making them the perfect complement to your existing light package or as a standalone lighting option. Rugged Ridge Combo LED Lights are available with Cube or Round housings to t any application or suit any taste.

Part Number Description Price
15209.30 Cube LED Light, 3 inches, Combo High/Low Beam, 10 Watts, 900 Lumens $106.99
15209.31 Round LED Light 3.5 inches, Combo High/Low Beam, 10 Watts, 900 Lumens $106.99

Switch Pod Kits


Looking for a handy place to mount your accessory switches that doesn’t require cutting or other modifications? This A-Pillar Switch Pod Kit from Rugged Ridge has pre-molded cutouts to allow you to mount up to four aftermarket switches, in easy reach, on the driver’s side A-pillar, and out of the way of the shifter handle. Our Pillar Pod has the textured molded finish just like the factory cover it replaces. It snaps into place just like the OE for a great fitment! Each kit includes the driver side A-Pillar Switch Pod and FIVE 2-position Etched Rocker Switches (Zombie Lights, Light Bar Lights, Sasquatch Lights, Rock Lights and Off-Road Lights)

Part Number Description Price
17235.70 Etched A-Pillar 4 Switch Pod Kit Left Hand, 07-10 Jeep Wrangler JK $79.99
17235.71 Etched A-Pillar 4 Switch Pod Kit Left Hand, 11-17 Jeep Wrangler JK $79.99
17235.72 Etched Lower 4 Switch Panel Kit, 07-10 Jeep Wrangler JK $79.99
17235.73 Etched Lower 5 Switch Panel Kit, 11-17 Jeep Wrangler JK $79.99

I’ll Spare You the Details

1One of the most unique and differentiating features of the Willys / Jeep vehicle has always been the presence of an externally-mounted spare tire. In the early WWII-era models, the spare was first mounted to the rear of the tub but was relocated later to the rear side panel as civilian models were introduced in the mid 40’s, making way for the new rear tailgates on the CJ2 and CJ3 models. While the external mounting of the spare was most likely done out of dire shortage of interior space, the fact that it still resides outside of the frame rails today, some 75 years later, is somewhat surprising. With all of the creature comforts and niceties that have found their way into the current Jeep platform, one would almost expect to see the unsightly spare tire hidden underneath the rear end or tucked away discretely inside the cargo area. That just isn’t the way Jeep has ever done it. Jeeps are about no-nonsense utility…if we have a humongous spare tire, we want it right where we can get to it! Otherwise, we would’ve equipped them with teeny, tiny donut-shaped space-saver spares that tucks underneath your passenger seat.

I have information from very reliable sources, from people that have actually experienced an off-road vehicle roll-over firsthand, and they all unanimously proclaim that, in the event of such an occurrence, you do NOT want anything on the inside of your passenger compartment larger or heavier than a small stuffed animal. Cellphones, toolboxes, tire irons, roofing hammers or, heaven forbid, a 30 ounce stainless steel thermal tumbler filled with scalding-hot coffee are all transformed into barrel-rolling projectiles of terrifying mass that will dent, beat and bludgeon anything and everything in their path. While I agree that the spare tire mounted on the outside is still going to wreak unbelievable havoc if you go belly-up, I am much more comfortable with it not using my lap as a starting point for its dismount. For that reason, storing the spare tire outside the Jeep seems to make a great deal of sense.

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3Another dilemma that is not so easily solved is what do we do in the event that we have a damaged tire and need to use our spare? First of all, if your Jeep has even a small suspension lift and larger tires, you will find that your original equipment jack is of little OR no use to you, other than keeping the jack mounting brackets from rattling. You are going to need to utilize a hi-lift or farm jack and some level of ingenuity in your execution of its use in order to change your flat tire. You will also face a similar problem when it comes to decide where to stow your jack. I prefer a hood jack mount for two reasons: first, the fact that the jack is easily accessible regardless of your vehicles positioning. Secondly and more importantly, those unknowing passersby who seem to inevitably mistake it for some sort of machine gun mounting apparatus always yield some really humorous conversations at the fueling station. Many people opt for mounting the jack right next to the spare on the rear bumper or tailgate which has its own merits. Of course, you could mount the jack on the inside of your Jeep, too (see paragraph above).

Once you have a hi-lift jack mounted in a convenient location on your Jeep, yet another dilemma rears its ugly head. Gravity was happy to assist you when you removed the spare tire but now it’s time to remount the flat tire on your carrier and you have seriously underestimated the weight of a wheel and tire combination, even when it’s flat. Hopefully, you have someone riding with you that can assist with the task of lifting the tire. Even a 35” diameter tire can be cumbersome to lift, if not impossible for some, especially when physical exhaustion and uneven terrain become factors. If you have a 37” tire or larger, I might suggest digging a shallow grave to bury it in or hide it under an immense pile of brush temporarily and return later with a friend/accomplice to retrieve it. However inconvenient this may seem at the time, it pales in comparison to the deflation of being found days later, after an extensive search, with only your arms and legs protruding from under the giant spare tire.     

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Rugged Ridge adds new XHD Stinger Guard for XHD Bumper-Equipped 1976-2016 Jeep CJ/YJ/TJ and JK

New XHD Stinger Guard Gives the XHD Steel Front Bumper an Aggressive and Cutting Edge Look

Rugged Ridge, industry leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today announced the addition of the new XHD Stinger Guard as an addition to the popular XHD Steel Front Bumper series, which is currently available for 1976-2016 Jeep CJ/YJ/TJ and JK models.

Rugged Ridge's new XHD Stinger Guard combines aggressive off-road styling with an increased level of protection for the grill and radiator, whether on the trail or the highway. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridg

Rugged Ridge’s new XHD Stinger Guard combines aggressive off-road styling with an increased level of protection for the grill and radiator, whether on the trail or the highway.
Photo Credit: Rugged Ridg

The Rugged Ridge XHD Stinger Guard is a one-piece design constructed of a high-strength stamped steel plate that is contoured to match the dimensions of the XHD Stinger (11540.13) and then finished in a tough, trail-ready black textured powder coat for durability and rugged aesthetics. The center area if the XHD Stinger Guard is vented to provide better airflow to the grille and radiator while still providing increased protection hazards on and off-road.

Since the Rugged Ridge XHD Stinger Guard is designed specifically for the Rugged Ridge XHD Stinger, installation is simple with only minimal drilling required and all mounting hardware and instructions included. The XHD Stinger Guard will allow for full use of the XHD Stinger Winch Hook Holder when properly installed, preserving all of its functionality, but with a new and integrated look.

The Rugged Ridge XHD Stinger Guard is backed by Rugged Ridge’s five-year-limited warranty and is available online and through select Jeep® and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with a starting MSRP of $95.99.

For more information about the XHD Stinger Guard, 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 the company’s website at www.RuggedRidge.com.

Part Number Desciption Price
11540.29 Stinger Guard, XHD $95.99

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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Rugged Ridge introduces all new Armor Fenders for 2007-2016 Jeep Wrangler JK/JKU Models

Resists Damage from On and Off-Road Hazards


Rugged Ridge a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep, truck and off-road parts and accessories, today announced the release of its new line of Armor Fenders for 2007- 2016 Jeep Wrangler JK / JKU models.

Both front and rear fenders attach high on the body for increased tire clearance and feature beveled edges with hidden weld seams relaying a bulky, muscular image.

11615.01_installed1

The Rugged Ridge Armor Fenders for JK are constructed of a high-strength steel plate and finished with resilient black powder coat for a surface that resists damage from the hazards. The front fenders are notched to allow use of both OE and aftermarket hood latches and are stamped with a screened vent behind the wheel opening to help vent the engine heat. The rear fenders two-piece design utilizes a separate rear tail light guard for added protection.

The Rugged Ridge Armor Fenders are compatible with Rugged Ridge XHD bumper systems and the XHD modular snorkels and can be installed using the factory Jeep wheel liners, with slight modifications, or, for best results, can be installed with Rugged Ridge All Terrain Wheel Liner Kit.

Rugged Ridge Armor Fenders are back by an industry-leading-five-year warranty and are available online and through select Jeep and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with an MSRP starting at $933.99

For more information about the new Armor Fenders or any Rugged Ridge’s complete list of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find an approved retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge (770) 614-6101 or visit www.RuggedRidge.com

Part Number Description Price
11615.01 Armor Fenders, Front Pair; 07-16 JK / JKU $933.99
11615.02 Armor Fenders, Rear Pair, 4DR; 07-16 JKU $933.99
11615.03 Armor Fenders, Rear Pair, 2DR, 07-16 JK $933.99

Rugged Ridge expands line of Off-Road Recovery Gear with new Soft Rope Shackles

New Rope Shackles Constructed With High Modulus Polyethylene Fiber To Offer Increased Flexibility

Rugged Ridge®, a industry leading manufacturer of high quality Jeep®, truck and off-road accessories, today announced the expansion of its line of off-road recovery gear with the addition of new Soft Rope Shackles for various on and off-road applications.

Rugged Ridge has taken the same developments in synthetic rope technology over the past decade and applied them to a simple, easy-to–use recovery shackle. The new Soft Rope Recovery Shackles are 7/16- inch diameter section of high-quality High Modulus Polyethylene Fiber (HMPE) rope, which is woven into a “noose” that is stronger than a comparable steel D-ring shackle while gaining infinite flexibility over its rigid steel counterparts. With a 7,500 pound working load limit, they are significantly stronger than a in comparison to a steel shackle of the same
diameter.

Rugged Ridge Soft Rope Shackles are engineered with high-quality High Modulus Polyethylene Fiber and offer a 7,500 pound working load limit. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

Rugged Ridge Soft Rope Shackles are engineered with high-quality High Modulus Polyethylene Fiber and offer a 7,500 pound working load limit. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

The Soft Rope Shackles’ one-piece construction eliminates the chance of losing shackle pins, and allows the pins to be manipulated easily even while wearing gloves. The light weight of the equipment allows the pins to float, making them perfect for use in marine applications. Soft Rope Shackles are so lightweight that, if dropped they will sit on top of mud rather than sinking to the bottom.

Rugged Ridge’s Soft Rope Shackles allow for limitless recovery scenarios as their flexibility permits securing to a wider array of recovery points. The synthetic rope fiber does not absorb water, has low-friction characteristics and resists abrasions. The rope shackle can be washed with water, air dried, and will not rust. Soft Rope Shackles can even be wrapped around a roll bar, when not in use, making a convenient grab handle.

The Rugged Ridge Soft Rope Shackles are backed by an industry-leading five-year limited warranty and are available through select Jeep and off-road parts & accessories retailers nationwide with retail pricing starting at $46.99.

For more information about the new Soft Rope Shackles, or any of 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- 614-6201 or visit www.RuggedRidge.com

Part Number Description Price
11235.50 Soft Rope Shackle, 7/16-inch, 7500 LBS WILL $46.99
11235.52 Soft Rope Shackle, 7/16-inch, 7500 LBS WILL, Pair $93.99

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 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!

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