Top 10 Exterior Mods: Part 2
In the first post I covered the first 5 of my top 10 exterior mods. If you missed that post, check it out HERE. As a quick recap, here are the first 5:
10. Armor (Bumpers all the way around)
9. Roof-Top Tent
8. Rack system for the roof
7. Lights on lights
6. Dual Battery
Now, for the remaining 5.
5. Suspension Upgrade
If your tires aren’t soaking up the bumps (more on this on mod #2) or you may need a little more clearance, upgrading the suspension is a great way to get those things done. In my case, I wanted to make sure I stayed in budget as much as I could while getting a system that was going to work for me. Here is where I made some mistakes. I decided to get the SkyJacker kit that lifted the jeep a couple of inches while keeping the spring rates similar to the factory rates. Let me just tell you, this kit is okay but I’d rather have gone with something else. When I got the kit I realized that none of the bushings were pushed into the eyes of the shocks… If you do not have a press, good luck. This led me to “modify” the bushing to get it installed and I knew it was only a matter of time before the “modification” led to a malfunction, which it did around the 25k mile mark. I upgraded to some Fox Shox 2.0 Adventure shocks and I will continue to buy them going forward. I also think the springs are a little soft and I should have gone with a heavier spring but they are working for now, especailly with the next mod.
4. Air Bags
While I am driving the Jeep with none of my gear in it, it drives fine. When I load it down on the soft SkyJacker springs, I’m all over the bump stops and that isn’t good. Because of that, I decided to get some air bags to help the springs do their thing. These have been an awesome addition to the rig and gives it the stability it needs when weighed down. After removing all the gear I let out most of the pressure and I’m back to a nice ride for my drive to and from work. I may still upgrade to some stronger springs but I am happy at the moment.
This is one of those things that is expensive and rarely used for most people. I did not have one for a LONG time and decided to get one right before I got stuck in Little Sahara State Park where I could have legitimately used it. Too bad it was sitting in my garage half a state away. Dang. Now I have it on there as one one those “peace of mind” items. I have a terrible back and cannot wrestle with the Jeep or someone else’s so I now have a winch to help while not breaking my back. I knew I would not use it a whole lot so I went with a winch I found on Amazon that looked to be built well and was in my price range for a “peace of mind” item.
2. On-board Air
One less on that I have learned over the past year or so overlanding is that letting a little air out of the tires can make a significant increase in comfort on dirt or rough roads. This goes beyond passenger comfort because if the tires soak up the majority of the bumps, that is less work the suspension has to do and the less abuse the rest of the vehicle takes. That is super awesome but what isn’t super awesome is trying to use low pressures on normal roads. The vehicle is much less stable and the performance is severely limited when turning and stopping, two critical aspects of driving around other people who are already limited my their own lack of driving ability. This means that I need to air back up and I used to think that it would be fine to use one of those cigarette lighter compressors and some of them work just fine. I wanted something that was proven and as little hassle as possible. There is a reason everyone uses those little ARB compressors, because they work! I bit the bullet and got one of the small ones and I have to say it has been great. I wish it had a little more umph for blowing off dust and stuff but it is what it is. When I need to air up, I pop the hood, couple up the hose and away I go.
1. Hood Lock
As you have seen, I keep a lot of valuable things under the hood of my Jeep that include a dual battery system, a nice air compressor, a K&N filter, the antenna for my WeBoost, and the box for all of my external electronic items. Also, if you own a Jeep or plan on stealing one, there is nothing preventing you from popping the latches and stealing whatever you want from under the hood or just taking the battery to make the vehicle unusable. Traveling on my own a long way from home a lot of the time, I can’t let that happen so I have a BOLT hood lock. This lock is trained to work with your factory key and is riveted in place. You will need a rivet gun or a friend with one but once this is installed, everything under the hood is secure.
Well, that’s it. There are my top 10 exterior mods. At the time of me writing this post, I am very happy with the condition of the Jeep and I don’t really anticipate adding anything in the near future. I think tires are next so I gotta start saving for that $$$$. Let me know if you all have anything you would recommend other than the things I did. Also, let me know if there are better products out there now that I didn’t even consider. Thanks for reading!