Because your Jeep can never be over-prepped for the trail.
Regular readers may recall our recent test (July 2010) of a trick hardtop Wrangler Unlimited, which was outfitted with a host of bolt-on upgrades from Mopar and which we used as a support mule at King of the Hammers last February. Well, we just returned home from Top Truck Challenge, and this time, we got the chance to try out the short-wheelbase version of the JK, with a soft top this time, in Full Mopar Trim.
Our Moparized two-door tester had all the goodies you’d like to see on a JK Rubicon: 2-inch suspension lift with a revised rear track bar, Mopar/Bilstein monotube shocks, 35-inch Goodyear MT/Rs mounted on 17-inch alloy rims with Hutchison 15-bolt internal-style beadlocks (a new accessory, and extremely cool), 4.88:1 axle gears, beefy rock sliders and rear corner/taillight rock guards, and heavy-gauge steel bumpers at both ends, the front bumper also cradling a Warn 9.5ti winch. And of course, all the top-notch OE gear is along for the ride as well, including the 4:1 Rock-Trac transfer case and electronic locking diffs front and rear. As you might expect, this was not the quietest or best-behaved JK on pavement at freeway speeds (get a longer-wheelbase, hardtop Unlimited Sahara with a less aggressive tire if you prefer pavement over dirt), but for the sometimes-demanding hill climbs and rock trails of trails of Hollister Hills, the Mopar Wrangler was happy in its element. And besides, when you step out of a rig like this and other wheelers ask you where you got all those cool aftermarket parts for it, you can say, “Nowhere, really. It’s stock, can’t you tell?” And technically speaking, you’d be correct.
All of this good stuff (except the gears and tires, which are your choice) can be ordered straight from the Mopar online catalog for either the 2007-and-later JK or Unlimited, and installed at your local dealership. Besides adding function and form, what’s additionally awesome about these “factory” parts are the facts that (a) you don’t have to bother re-calibrating or re-programming your vehicle’s ECU or otherwise worry about messing with your electronics , and (b) they won’t void your vehicle’s existing warranty.
Now, we’d never mean to infer that accessories such as these Mopar pieces will (or even should) take the place of the aftermarket. When it comes to really fine-tuning your 4x4 the way you want—be it with beefier axles and driveline components, lower gears, more power underhood, or more suspension travel), nothing beats the panoply of parts that are available from the aftermarket. And most of the Mopar accessories, being top-quality components and not sold in high volumes, are not designed (or priced) with the bargain-hunter in mind. But for the Wrangler owner who wants to Build a Better Rubicon, and do it with a minimum of fuss and trial-and-error, the Moparization Method is an attractive and convenient alternative. We certainly appreciated the added function these parts lent to our Jeep---plus, we just think that a JK rollin’ on 35s looks really, really cool. You can check out the Mopar JK catalog online right here.