My supposed to stay stock JKU

CCH

Adventurer
So, after years of driving almost nothing but half ton trucks and a brief, but fun, stint with an Xterra, I am now almost two years into driving my 2014 JKU. It is the MOST fun vehicle I have ever owned. When we purchased it, I looked hard at Rubicons but other than the 4.10, there was nothing I wanted enough to justify the cost to my family. So, we ended up with a JKU Sport S package with the 3.73 LSD. The plan was to use it as my daily driver as well as a fun weekend exploring, camping and hunting rig. We planned to do forest roads and trails, but not serious rock crawling. The only "modification" I insisted on was new tires and within 1,000 miles it wore Cooper ST-Maxx all terrains. Still very happy with that choice. Picked up some Rubicon sliders from Craigslist for a hundred bucks and called it good.

Flash forward a bit, and we started to miss having a camper. I suggested we go back to a small pop up. However, our most recent camper was a 30' pulled by a 3/4 ton diesel, and my wife wasn't willing to go quite that far back in our camping comfort. We settled on the smallest current R-Pod I could find. It is a load for the JKU, but within specs. However, once the Jeep is loaded, it really drops the rear end even with an equalizer hitch. I quickly tired of having people flash their brights at me due to my cool attempts to signal passing planes while towing at night, and let my wife know we had to do something about the suspension. In an effort to keep expenses down and keep it as close to stock as possible, I explored many options. An exchange with the nice folks at Synergy had me then looking into OME and AEV. After much angst and research, I just had an AEV 2.5" Dual Sport suspension installed by Barney Brothers in Grand Junction. So long stock.

This was a very recent install so I haven't had a chance to wring it out off road. However, it is simply superb under load. I was not able to adjust my equalizer hitch low enough to work so ended up towing with just a regular hitch. No problem. The rear end barely twitched. While I am very weight conscious and try to keep the load as light as possible, I was impressed with how much better it handled said load. Highway manners improved as well. Body roll was almost eliminated.

So, I'm done. That's it. No more mods. It is perfect just the way it is. I don't NEED anything else. Well, the lights still suck. And now that it has the better suspension, it really needs a little more weight out front to balance things like say a more elk resistant bumper (my wife suggested a heavier woman in the front seat instead -- I declined.) Oh, I will probably go with 33" tires next time around instead of 32". That might mean the need for deeper gears than 3.73 for towing. Crap, I forgot that at times we will need to put gear on top. Have to check out roof racks. But other than THAT, I am done. I mean it. That's it.

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Pre-lift and rock rails. Headed to the trail.
 

EMrider

Explorer
I'm largely with you in spirit on this. Just do the mods that are really in the "need" category, and try to stay away from wants or impractical stuff.

Easier said than done though!

R
 

kojackJKU

Autism Family Travellers!
Yep. I have staved off the 35" bug for 5 years now. ha ha. Same with the metal bumpers. Don't use or need them so I am not adding them.
 

CCH

Adventurer
I think what kept me safe for so long was the stock suspension. It was working just to haul all the gear/people/dogs we have. That is no longer a problem. Not that I want to make things any heavier than necessary, just that more things are possible. ;) The towing factor will keep me from anything larger than 33". Based on how it does now with our camper, a re-gear would be mandatory if I went with a bigger tire.
 

kojackJKU

Autism Family Travellers!
For what we do, 33's are perfect. I am adding teraflex 2.5" springs, speed bumps and fox resivoir shocks this spring, that should make the jeep handle, ride and perform on and off road much better. Mine does good now, but will be much better after!
 

CCH

Adventurer
Oh, I forgot. I added a Stealth Rack for my Hi-Lift and shovel. Now that I used some cable ties on the jack to eliminate the rattle, I'm a huge fan. But THAT (and all the other things I mentioned and probably some stuff I haven't thought of yet) is it! ;)
 

professorkx

Observer
On my 2014 Rubicon X, I run air bags in the rear springs, and put in 20-25 pounds when I tow my trailer, but run 0-5 pounds without the trailer. For the $100, they were a great towing modification, and really improve the vehicle handling while towing. I have the stock suspension with a leveling kit, so the rear squatted a lot when I attached the trailer. The only other towing modification was the addition of a superchips flashpaq, and the difference while towing is amazing. Quite frankly, this is the first programmer I have ever used that had a measurable result. I even increased my normal fuel mileage by almost 3 mpg by using the 87 octane tune.

I have other modifications, but they are suited to my vehicle use, nothing more. Not much into the mall crawler theme were things are added because they look cool, so focus on modification that serve my purpose.
 

professorkx

Observer
Right there with you on the shovel and jack...used them both too often to leave them at home. I also added two Rotopax gas cans and two rotopax water cans, and I have used both on adventure trips. I also carry a MSR water filter that will fill up a water jug in less than 5 minutes from an water source, and we filter water on almost every overland trip. Keeps me from having to worry about water when the temps start to climb.

 

CCH

Adventurer
What mount are you using for the Rotopax? I've been looking into different options. For some of the stuff I do, range is definitely an issue, especially if I towed the camper to get wherever we're exploring. Have not considered chipping it. Will have to do so if it makes that much of a difference.

Considered air bags, but wanted the all around improvement in ride as well. Really happy I went the route I did. Most of the time, I don't have a camper and living in Grand Junction now I have lots of opportunities to push it a bit off road.
 

professorkx

Observer
I am running the LOX Pack Mount (SKU: RX-LOX-PM) that use 4 carriage bolts to hold the mount in place along with the 1.75 gallon extensions (SKU: RX-1.75EXT). My bumper is from Poison Spyder, and I added their jack mount. I built the tank mount bracket out of 1/4" x 4" x 4' flat bar, bent an upward 90 at each end just past the tire, and the bar bolts between the tire carrier and the swing away carrier in the middle. The small Rotopax mounts bolt to the ends that are turned on an upward 90 (you can see the 4 silver bolts in the picture) .

I also built the mounts for the shovel and the ax, and these attach to the hi lift jack mount. To secure everything, I use a 7 foot long 3/8" cable that routes through the handles of the Rotopax tanks on top and the shovel, and locks to the jack.
 

toymaster

Explorer
Just so you know... a stock jeep is an unloved jeep. Every time I see one (on the rare occasion) I think poor little jeep no one loves you.... Kinda like seeing a puppy in a window.
 
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