One of the benefits of attending Jeep events across the country is that we get to see regional differences in Jeep modifications supported by the cottage industry within the Jeep community seeking to solve problems and enhance individuality. We have seen thousands of jeeps from Moab to Daytona Beach and no two are exactly the same. That’s a testament to the broad range of aftermarket accessories that are available for all jeeps and for our Wrangler JK Unlimited particularly.
Let’s start with Azzy’s Design Works and their unique JK Gauge Face product. We met Azzy’s founder Bryan Spiegel at the Bantam Jeep Festival and was immediately impressed with the quality of his product and the level of customization that he could produce. We discussed a one-off red, white and blue themed gauge face to echo the graphics of our 101 Jeep; featuring the JC Whitney and OC Motorsports logos. Bryan knocked it out of the park with a unique gauge face that was perfect for our Jeep. Azzy’s also offers a line gauge faces for new and old Jeeps. The installation process is technical and requires patience, a steady hand and more patience.
Removing the dash top and instrument panel are the easiest part of the project and the (4) bolts securing the dash to the bulk head are quickly removed. Next remove the (4) bolts securing the instrument cluster and gently remove the (3) connectors from the back of the cluster. With the cluster free we proceeded to a clean desktop to disassemble the cluster, removing the clear bezel to access the needles and gauge face. This is where the patience and steady hand are required since you are dealing with small plastic bits that have to mesh together perfectly or your needles will be out of whack (ask us how we know!)
Fortunately with coaching from Bryan at Azzy’s we were able to put it all back together correctly and we think the results are worth all of the effort! Thanks again Bryan for adding a truly unique touch to our 101 Jeep.
If there was a Nobel Prize for the Jeep aftermarket we would nominate Innovative JK Products and their spectacular rear seat recline kit for making the Wrangler Unlimited more comfortable, usable and passenger friendly. Marketed under the JC Whitney 4WD Pros brand we love the simplicity of the rear seat recline kit and recommend it highly for any JKU owner. It’s a tremendous upgrade for less than $60.00 dollars and an hour of install time. The recline kit changes the angle of the seat back by approximately 10 degrees, adding nearly 2.5 inches of rake and making the seat infinitely more livable. All of the folding functionality is retained and there is still plenty of space in the back for lockable trunks and other popular storage accessories for the Wrangler Unlimited.
Taller passengers will appreciate the extra head room and an added benefit for families with small children in car seats and boosters, the recline kit helps reduce the “head flop” of kids sleeping during road trips. The 4WDPros recline kit fits all 2007-2016 Wrangler Unlimited models. Before the Recline Kit:
Having traveled around the country to various Jeep events we know that factory carpet floor mats are useless and should be replaced immediately. JC Whitney has numerous options, colors and materials to choose from and for the 101 jeep we chose to install Rugged Ridge All Terrain front and rear floor liners. These liners are molded of heavy duty thermoplastic and will stand up to dust, dirt, mud, muck, sand and just about anything else you can throw at them. Available in Black, Gray and Tan, the front liners feature mounting points to secure them to the factory anchors to avoid sliding. Another easy upgrade that will protect your jeep for years to come. Useless stock floor mats:
The molded plastic is soft and follows the contours of the floor perfectly. The deep treads of the Rugged Ridge liners trap debris and are easily removed and hosed off to look new again. Notice the notches in the rear liner, they match the legs of the rear seat for a custom fit.
Continuing the theme of functionality and problem solving, we chose to install another Trail Rocker Accessory Control System to actuate our front and rear auxiliary lighting and the E-locker in the Dana 44 Ultimate front crate axle. We appreciate the Trail Rockers’ factory fit and finish and installation simplicity. Everything required for a successful installation is in the box including a collection of spare fuses, bullet connectors, heat shrink tubing, zip ties and comprehensive instructions.
Installing the Trail Rocker consists of two major components, the fuse block under the hood, next to the battery and the control panel custom fit for the Jeep lower dash ahead of the shifter. Both pieces fit perfectly without cutting or permanent modification of the Jeep. Even if you aren’t very skilled with vehicle electrical systems the Trail Rocker will make you look like a pro. Here’s the Painless Performance fuse block adjacent to the battery-it bolts securely to the firewall and connects to the battery box for stability. Routing the fuse block harness to the switch panel inside the Jeep is neat and easy; Painless Performance has identified an opening in the firewall to pass the harness through and route to the panel. An OE grade connector ensures a worry free termination between the two components. All that’s left is to connector the color coded Trail Rocker wires to power each accessory and ground them and you are an electrical pro!
The switch panel fits on the lower dash panel forward of the shifter and replaces the factory mesh pocket.
Brands featured in this episode: