Find a Genie in a Bottle? Read On…

GenieJeepEver since we were little kids, we’ve been tempted with the possibility of stumbling upon a brilliantly-embellished jug that, when rubbed properly, would yield a beautiful, scantily-clad genie who would grant you three wishes. In all fairness, some of the genies are heavyset and male but my preference prevails in this story. While the possibility of such a wish-granting enchantress actually existing in our world is pretty darn low, what kind of person, when given such an opportunity, would then rattle-off a checklist of Jeep parts without ever addressing the bigger issues like world hunger and global peace? I beg of you…please don’t answer that.

I was recently talking with a magazine editor who was compiling a comprehensive ‘Top 10’ list of upgrades for Jeep owners. My responses to his inquiry seemed more and more difficult to assemble the more I thought about the question. Obviously, the chosen ten could vary greatly depending on the particular owner, the current status of the Jeep and would then need to be tailored to what it is they want to do with the Jeep. So what if the chosen Jeep was a bone-stock model and you needed the mod to fit the bill no matter who owned it or what path they have in mind for the Jeep in the end? What single upgrade or mod would you whole-heartedly recommend?

The easy answer for any Jeep owner to do as their first upgrade, in my opinion, would be wheels & tires. With such an incredible number of wheel styles available from the aftermarket, it’s the easiest way to make your Jeep distinctly your very own. A wisely-chosen wheel package can entirely change the look of a Jeep in one simple step. Unfortunately, it’s also the “gateway” mod to a never-ending list of other modifications. If you get larger wheels and tires, the need for a lift kit will make itself known almost immediately. And once lifted and decked out in new massive rubber, the drivability of the rig will leave you wanting for a re-gearing to recapture some of the prior performance or economy. Be warned that the pursuit for perfection never ends but the quest is massive amounts of fun.

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Even if the existing tires on the Jeep are in relatively good condition, replacing them with something more suited to your taste and personal preference is a pretty safe bet. You can even offset the cost of the new wheels and tires by liquidating the old set on Craigslist or through any number of online Jeep forums. There is quite a rabid market for reasonably priced factory wheels and usable tires. Besides, I think it was Ben Franklin who once said “It’s always better to have a few bucks in the billfold than a hi-rise spider hotel in your garage.” On second thought, it could have been Paul Revere.

What could you choose as a second wish that would be an upgrade to satisfy any Jeeper no matter the Jeep? I don’t think you can go wrong with a quality set of floor liners. Often the factory floor liners are made from auto grade carpet and just aren’t up to the conditions that a Jeep is prone to endure. Carpet needs to be protected from snow, mush and muck. Being able to climb into my Jeep with mud-caked boots with no real regard for the well-being of my floorboards is very liberating. Sure, you can get some universal vinyl mats from the corner auto parts store but the fit is going to be less than perfect, not to mention less than durable. Face it, your Jeep is worthy of so much more.

Floor Liners, Front, Black; 76-95 Jeep CJ5/CJ7/CJ8/Wrangler YJ Custom fit black All Terrain Floor Liners front pair, fits 1976-1983 CJ5 1976-1986 Jeep CJ7 and CJ8, and 1987-1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ Rugged Ridge Floor liners provide complete protection for the cabin floor of your vehicle while keeping it looking factory fresh. Each liner is perfectly contoured to your vehicle's floor for precise secure fitment (floor hook attachment where applicable). The raised lip captures all spills, water and debris keeping your interior pristine. The Chevron-shape patented Deep Tread Technology channels liquid away from your shoes keeping them dry. Made of a durable OE-quality Thermoplastic material that can withstand the rigor of daily abuse. Backed by our Limited Lifetime Warranty. Patent No. 8,163,369; D627,285; 2,699,641

Assuming that world peace & hunger have already been tabled for the purposes of this article, we are left with a single upgrade for which to beg our genies consideration. My answer to this final quandary will allow for a measured dose of personal inclination. Based on what you most want from your Jeep, choose an upgrade that takes you the farthest towards your goal.

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Maybe the vision of what your Jeep needs to be is clear or maybe not so much. Until you are certain what Jeep you want to build, don’t commit to many mods that determine any given outcome. For example, if you are going to be daily driving the Jeep, you might steer clear of enormous lifts and 40-inch tires. Likewise, if you plan to do some mild trail riding, you might want to invest in some armor to protect your exteriors appearance rather than things to beautify it.

Rugged Ridge Armor Fenders for Wrangler JK are not just another bolt-on accessory. We developed our Armor Fenders with such a brawny & bold styling; they’re capable of transforming your rig into an unmistakable, attention-grabbing shadow if its former self. High body lines and aggressively arched wheel openings provide greater clearance for larger tires and allow for improved wheel travel and articulation off-road. Each fender is constructed of heavy gauge 3 mm thick steel, utilizing fold-and-weld construction, for greater structural integrity you can appreciate. Each section is meticulously finished with a resilient black textured powder coat that protects from real-world road hazards. The rear Armor fenders revolutionary 2-piece design allows for full encasing of the taillight and allows for a fitment that is free of gaps for tight fitment and unsurpassed protection while the front Armor fenders integrated vent screen helps expel engine heat for better overall performance. Installation is simplified with the addition of our Gen 2 Inner Fender Liners so there’s no need to modify your factory parts in the process. Armor fenders work with all factory components as well as Rugged Ridge Spartan Grill, Aluminum Hood Catches and even Rubicon Rock Rails. Includes marker light assemblies, hardware and complete installation instructions. Patent Pending.

Many Jeep owners have no off-road aspirations whatsoever but still want to have an aggressive, capable- appearing trail beast that will likely never leave pavement. Outfitting any Jeep with narrow width off-road bumpers with recovery points and high-clearance fenders can be all it takes to covert a showroom stocker to a trail-ready rocker, especially when complemented by the larger rolling stock we secured in our first wish. Even if the benefit of the upgrade is purely visual, making your Jeep become the one you see in your dreams is what it’s all about. Getting to that point as efficiently and economically as possible is the goal…especially if you don’t have a genie in a bottle.  OlllllllO

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Training Tomorrow’s Heroes

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in their life is a hero to me.” ― Fred Rogers

When it comes to turning wrenches on a Jeep, too many people would write it off as dirty, knuckle-busting work. While this conclusion is more than substantiated, it fully dismisses the larger truth that hard work, and in this case mechanical work, can be nothing short of good medicine.

In the foothills of southern Tennessee, there is an organization that really “gets it”. The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer has made it their mission to not only erase the effects of childhood cancer but to optimize the quality of life for these kids as they experience the impact of diagnosis and as they brave the trials of their ongoing treatment. The Foundation has found a way to give these kids and their families a valuable tool with which to fight those daily battles- best of all, it’s a tool that already lies within them. They only need to learn how to access it and perfect it’s usage. In my opinion, what better subject with which to develop their craft than on a Jeep.

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While the Jeep seemed a perfect blank canvas for Hatch’s Kids to practice their magic on, it’s not every day that a brand new Wrangler JKU lands in your lap either, at least not in the real world. Fortunately, the fine folks at the Mtn. View Auto Group see things a little bit differently. They jumped in and fired-up a brand-spanking new Wrangler, hopped on the freeway and dropped it on their doorstep…literally. It still had the paper floor mats in it. But not for long.

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The Austin Hatcher Foundation’s goal was to transform this bone-stock JK into a modern interpretation of the classic Jeepster Commando, an early-70’s rarity that added popular muscle car styling to the time-honored CJ persona. Rugged Ridge donated pile upon pile of parts to accomplish this massive undertaking while Truck ‘N Trailers USA provided enough shop space, lift and tools to build a space shuttle. And to top it off, they’ll accomplish this task with manpower sourced from the families that they serve on a daily basis. Yes…they’re gonna build this beast with kids.

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It was a brilliant plan whose full perfection would not be realized simply or quickly, but through a series of scheduled “Build Days”. Days that were carefully planned to insure success with a project checklist for all to see. A list detailing what needed to be accomplished that day and providing a visual reminder of the team’s successes as items are checked off. While these were likely some tough build days, they are not nearly as tough as the kids who’ve fearlessly tackled them and found ways to laugh and smile through the entire process.

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And now, with all those pesky words out of the way…bask in the glory of Hatch’s Kids building a super-sweet 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Hurst Edition. It doesn’t get any cooler than this.

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So let’s hear it for the Austin Hatcher Foundation family and the outstanding influence this project has had in the lives of these young people. Be sure to keep any eye out for this beauty making appearances at automotive events over the upcoming year. It is possibly half-as-cool as the kids that built it but still way cooler than most anyhting else on the street.  You can find out more about the Austin Hatcher Foundation and the amazing work they perform in the lives of kids affected by cancer by visiting https://www.hatcherfoundation.org/  OlllllllO

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Amazon Jeep Giveaway: Orange Crusher

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Amazon is kicking off September by giving away a custom built 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to one lucky automotive customer. Along with the sweepstakes, Amazon will also be providing discounts of up to 40-percent off select Jeep parts and accessories for the entire month of September. This event marks the first time in its 18 year history that Amazon has given away a vehicle, a radically modified Jeep no less!

The 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, dubbed the Orange Crusher, has been built to conquer any terrain and features a 4-inch Rugged Ridge ORV lift kit to clear the 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ tires mounted on hyper silver Rugged Ridge alloy wheels with color matched simulated beadlock rings. A set of heavy duty Rugged Ridge skid plates protect the underside of the Jeep from sharp rocks while crawling around trails. An XHD modular bumper with high-clearance ends offers plenty of protection without getting the Jeep hung up on obstacles. A Rugged Ridge 8500-pound performance winch ensures the big Jeep can pull itself out of any sticky situation. Since most Jeep enthusiast love playing in the great outdoors, a Rugged Ridge roof rack offers plenty of space to mount a kayak or mountain bike as well as HID lights to illuminate the darkest nights. To give the Jeep a little more power under the hood, the Orange Crusher Jeep was outfitted with a Rugged Ridge cat-back dual exhaust system.

Just in case the Orange Crusher Jeep needs to ford any deep rivers or mud pits, a modular XHD snorkel system will ensure it can make the trek across. As in any off-road truck, getting a flat is inevitable and part of the cost of playing in the dirt which is why the Orange Crusher features a heavy duty rear mounted jack.

The cost of a new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with these types of modifications is valued at $45,531, but luckily, you can enter for a chance to win this orange beast.

The deadline for sweepstakes entries is 11:59 PM PT on September 30, 2013. Amazon Automotive Jeep Giveaway rules, entry form, and promotion details are available at http://www.amazon.com/jeepgiveaway

From: Fourwheeler

Jesse’s Custom 1950 CJ-3A Jeeprod

This custom CJ-3A is a project that Jesse over at Fortec Atlanta had worked on for well over a year. Using a bunch of Omix-ADA, Rugged Ridge, and Alloy USA parts, as well as some custom fabrication – the build finally came to completion just before the 2012 SEMA Show! Be sure to check out the gallery at the bottom of the post.

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Body:
Omix-ADA fenders stretched 8”
Omix grill
Omix “WILLYS” branded tailgate
Original windshield frame chopped 12” and 1” added to opening to accommodate bigger glass
All Omix lights
Original headlamp bucket assemblies
Aluminum tub
Omix stainless steel front OE style bumper shortened
Omix stainless steel OE style rear bumperettes
Omix side view mirror 

Frame:
72-75 CJ-5 frame, boxed and fitted with custom cross members
Custom tubular trans mount
Custom motor mounts 

Suspension, Brakes, and Steering:
Independent front suspension with adjustable coilovers
Parallel 4 link rear with adjustable coilovers on custom mounts
Custom rear track bar and mounts
103” wheelbase
Manual rack and pinion steering
Under dash master cylinder and booster
4 piston front brake calipers
Disc brakes on rear
All hand bent stainless steel brake lines with braided stainless hoses 

Engine:
5.7 Hemi form 2008 Dodge Ram
426 Hemi intake
6.1 Hemi fuel rail and injectors
6.4 Hemi front accessories and oil pan
– 224 / 228 @ .50” lift Cam
High Flow Electric Fuel Pump
15 Gallon Aluminum Fuel Cell
Custom Headers with Gibson Sand Rail Mufflers
Custom Aluminum Radiator
Omix Dipstick handles and oil filler cap 

Transmission:
Built 545RFE from 2008 Dodge truck
3000 Stall 

Rear End:
Dana 44 from 72-75 CJ-5
– Limited slip
Precision Gear 4.10 Ring and Pinion, and rebuild kit
Alloy USA replacement shafts
Alloy USA diff cover 

Wheel and Tires:
Front: 26 x 4.5 / 17 M&H Racemaster tires on 17 x 4 Aluminum Wheels
Rear: 28 x 12.50 / 15 M&H Racemaster tires on 15 x 12 American Racing Outlaws 

Interior:
Omix OE style CJ-3A seats
Omix Leather wrapped steering wheel re-wrapped in brown leather
Omix glove box door and grab handle
Stainless steering column
Custom Aluminum Console

Crush Recovery Build: SEMA Ready

Well, just it’s just about complete! At the time of this shoot the paint matched seats and hood mentioned on the previous post hadn’t been installed yet. Everything else is good to go, and everything has come together very well! You’ll notice some the great details in the paint matched accents in the gallery below. The build features more than 60 of the latest products from the Omix-ADA family of brands; some of the newest products from Rugged Ridge such as the new Aluminum Hood Latches and Aluminum XHD bumpers, and Alloy USA’s high-strength axle shafts.

The final outcome of this Rubicon has definitely met the original goal of the build. Crush Recovery is designed to be the ultimate off road vehicles to recover 4x4s stuck in the toughest terrain. Inspiration stems from both Jeep’s trusted reputation and and unmatched versatility. Additionally, the new for 2012 Jeep color, Orange Crush, provides added utility and safety to Crush Recovery. The vibrant color stands out amongst the green and brown hues of the outdoors, making rescuers easily visible to those in need. Make sure to follow the coverage of the SEMA Show 2012 from Rugged Ridge to Crush Recover completely finished, as well as all of the other vehicles featured this year!

Crush Recovery Build: Custom Painted Seats and Hood

We’re less than a week away from the 2012 SEMA Show, and the Crush Recovery build is coming to completion. The custom painted ProCar Evolution seats and Truck Master Designs hood are a couple of the last finishing touches. Drew Brothers Customs did an awesome job on these! Check out the photos below:

Crush Recovery Build: October Update

A lot of work has been put into Crush Recovery recently, and since the last update I’ve also started working on a second JK dubbed Crimson Sol! Within the past few weeks I’ve finished installed the following:

Rugged Ridge XHD Aluminum Rear Bumper, Tire Carrier, and spare tire
– Rugged Ridge JK Flat Flares
– Rugged Ridge Cowl Armor
Procar by SCAT seats with custom rear bucket seat mounts
Daystar™ Can Cam System
Recon fog lights and marker lights
– Custom gauge cluster and custom paint matched Rugged Ridge HID lights
– Doetsch Offroad Headrest Covers
– Rugged Ridge Half Doors

We’ll continue to keep you all updated as the build progresses to The SEMA Show 2012 – along with Crimson Sol!

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!

Crush Recovery Build: Rhino Lined Interior

Took Crush Recovery to

Rhino Linings Unlimited to have the entire interior floor Rhino Lined. Rhino Lining offers better protection and is more rugged than the stock carpet. I stripped out all of the carpet myself, and prepped everything for them to do the lining job. Check out the before and after!

 

Crush Recovery Build: JK Exhaust and Receiver Hitch Install

Today I’ve installed the exhaust and receiver hitch, both from Rugged Ridge. No issues with the install process on either part, but removing the factory exhaust… well, that’s another story. One of the hangers on the muffler seemed to be really seized up, so I had to resort to cutting it to remove it, which you’ll see in the photos. The new exhaust definitely gives a good power increase, and has a nice sound from the dual exit exhaust.