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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August 2015 Monthly Update

Spartacus HD Tire Carrier

11546.50_install4

Part numbers: 11546.50, 11546.51, 11546.52

 

Spartacus HD Tire Carrier System gives you the ultimate strength for mounting your oversized wheels and tires.Functionally designed to manage the amplified force and vibrations produced during extreme off-road conditions, the precision die-cast aluminum Hinge Casting provides maximum strength without the excess weight of steel. The one- piece design maintains one-handed access to cargo area and rigidly links the Wheel Mount to the reinforced section of the rear quarter panel. This, in combination with forged steel hinge brackets and hardened steel pins, results in far superior load capacity than the factory tailgate hinges, thereby effectively reducing wear and increasing longevity. Independently tested and rated for up to and including 37” wheel tire combinations when hinge casting and wheel mount are used together. Includes adjustable third brake light bracket. Compatible with OE and most aftermarket rear bumpers. No drilling required. Patent Pending.

 

Bowless Top

Part numbers: 13750.38 and 13750.39

Ready to replace your worn out soft top for your JK? Rugged Ridge Bowless Top Systems available in black diamond gives you a distinctive fully enclosed design quickly converts from a full top to a Savannah top, taking you from ceiling to sky in seconds and eliminating the need for the bulky OE soft top frame. Precise engineering allows for a secure and formed fit over the factory sports bar. Supplied “whisper bars” dramatically reduce wind and road noise commonly associated with other frameless soft top designs. These Bowless Soft Tops also feature useful zippered mesh corner pockets for extra and convenient storage.

Crush Recovery Build: Rugged Ridge Aluminum XHD Bumpers


Finally got the Rugged Ridge Aluminum XHD front and rear bumpers installed, along with the tire carrier, and winch as well. The build is really starting to come together and is looking more and more like the rendering every day!

Let Rugged Ridge fill your stocking with cash!

‘Tis the season for giving and receiving gifts, and your friends at Rugged Ridge have figured out a way for you to accomplish both at once! Give yourself Let your loved ones give you everything you need to turn your rig into the 4×4 of your dreams and receive up to $200 cash back! That’s right! You can and pick and choose from more than 15,000 of the best Off-Road and Performance Accessories from Rugged Ridge, Omix-ADA, Alloy USA, Precision Gear and Outland and get paid for doing it. Who doesn’t want a new winch or set of HID lights sitting under the tree and cash stuffed in their stocking?

Our lawyer says other terms and conditions apply, but you can read those here . I say, start turning wrenches and get cash back!