Review & Install Video
Hey, guys. I'm Ryan from extremeterrain.com, and today we have a 2013 2-door JK. It came to us with a couple of mods already, but we wanted to add some additional parts to increase the form and function, so, let me walk you through what we did.
This Jeep already had a two-and-a-half-inch TeraFlex lift kit on it and 33-inch tires. So we didn't need to add flat fender flares for additional clearance or wider flares for more coverage. But we decided to add these Bushwacker Factory Width Pocket Style Flares because we love the way they look. You probably know the Bushwacker name when it comes to fender flares and there's a good reason for that. They make a really high-quality product and the price reflects it.
I like these flares for a couple of different reasons. One, they reuse the factory marker light upfront here, which means you don't have to do any wiring when installing these, and they retain a little bit of that factory look. These flares also allow you to reuse the factory inner fender liner, and for me that's really important.
You can run without inner fender liners, but you'll end up with a bunch of junk and mud up in the engine bay. With these flares, you can reuse the factory inner fenders just by doing a little trimming according to the install instructions. These are a pretty unique flare because they actually come in two different pieces, and the rivets that you see are actually functional. They hold the fender flare itself to this inner fender piece. Bushwacker also includes in their kit weatherstripping to go between the inner fender piece and the painted body, as well as between the two halves of the fender flare.
Now, because you have to do some cutting to reinstall the inner fender liners and because they're a two-piece flare and they come with the weatherstripping, the installation is a little bit more involved than some other fender flare installations. But as far as tools go, you only need a regular socket set and some open-ended wrenches. But to do the cutting, you'll want to have a reciprocating saw or a hacksaw available, and a razor knife to do some fine tuning.
Now, there are players on the market that look and function similar to these and they're going to be a little less expensive and easier to install, but if you have the time and the budget, I highly recommend these. They look good. They're really well-built, and they're not going to fade in the sun over time.
This Jeep had a factory front bumper with the DIY stubby mod. The corners were cut off just outside the frame rail and it looked okay. But we decided to add a bumper that would increase the style of the front of the Jeep, and add a ton of function. We decided to go with the Barricade Trail Force HD Front Bumper with built-in LED lights. This bumper has a couple of different features that I like. It has two recovery points upfront, and it actually comes with the three-quarter-inch D-rings right in the box. It also has two light mount tabs up on top of the bumper hoop, and it has a built-in winch plate that will hold up to a 1,200-pound capacity winch.
Because of the design of this bumper, you will have to run a hawse fairlead and a winch with a synthetic line. If you decide to run a steel line winch and a roller fairlead, you'll have to do some trimming in the fairlead to get around these built-in LED lights. The built-in LED lights are the most prominent feature on the front of this bumper, but the lights are more of a marker light than anything else. They don't cast a ton of light, so I wouldn't consider them to be a true auxiliary or driving light.
However, if you have some other LED lights and especially some LED headlights, the color temperature will match and a lot of people like the way they look. If the LED lights aren't quite your style, this bumper is available without the built-in lights, and that version is designed to accept the factory fog lights. If you do decide to go with this version, getting them hooked up could not be any easier.
The kit comes with a full wiring harness including a relay, a switch, and a fuse, and all you need to do is pick a power from battery and pull the switch wire through the firewall. So, if you're looking for a budget bumper with a ton of features and you want to stand out from the crowd with the built-in LED lights, I would recommend taking a look at the Barricade Trail Force HD.
On the back of the Jeep, we decided to stick with Barricade, and we installed this Barricade Extreme HD Rear Bumper. One of the things I really like about this bumper is it's available just as you see it or with the optional tire carrier, and you can buy them together as a kit or you can always have the tire carrier to the bumper down the line.
One of the things that stands out when you first look at this bumper, is that it has a few more curves and angles than your typical plate steel bumper. It almost looks like a stamp steel bumper, but it isn't. This is a really strong 530 seconds plate steel bumper that is really heavy duty. This bumper has a few different features that I really like. It has two recovery points on the back, and just like the front bumper, it comes with the three-quarter-inch D-rings right in the box.
It has a nice deep cutout for a large spare tire and it has a third recovery point in the form of a receiver right in the middle. And the whole package is topped off with a textured black powder coat finish for both corrosion and rust resistance. So if you're looking for a really well-built, really heavy duty bumper that has recovery points, looks really good, and is upgradable down the line because you can add the tire carrier, I think the Barricade Extreme HD is a great place to look.
Instead of going with the bumper mounted tire carrier, we decided to install the Rugged Ridge Spartacus HD Tire Carrier Kit. This is a new product from Rugged Ridge and I really like it for a few different reasons. Even though we're only running a 33-inch tire on our Jeep, this is a really heavy wheel and tire combination. And having a larger and heavier combination on the factory spare tire mount can cause a few different issues. The hinges can start to wear out and you'll end up having to lift up on the tailgate every time you open and close it. You can actually end up breaking the welds on the tailgate, and you can wear out the metal on the spare tire mount which can actually cause the tire to fall off completely. All of those problems are solved with an aftermarket tire carrier.
I like this tub mounted tire carrier over a bumper mounted carrier, because you can still open and close the tailgate in one motion with one hand. With the bumper mounted carriers, you have to first open the tire carrier, and then open the tailgate. This Rugged Ridge carrier installs in the back of the Jeep using all the factory mounting locations for the factory hinges and spare tire mount so there's no drilling, and it includes this adjustable third brake light bracket that allows you to reuse the factory third brake light bracket without any cutting.
This carrier does have some adjustability for how close the tire mounts to the tailgate. I wish I had a little bit more adjustments so that we could get the tire really tight up against the tailgate to keep it from torquing around. But this carrier is less expensive than other tub mounted tires on the market, and overall, it's really solid.
The next mod we added to this Jeep increases performance both on-road and off-road. The Flowmaster American Thunder Cat-Back Exhaust System with muffler relocation will not only give our Jeep a nice low and loud exhaust note on and off the road, but it also tucks all the exhaust components up out of the way of rocks and other trail obstacles.
Right out of the factory, the positioning of your muffler and exhaust tip on your JK makes them both susceptible to being dented or even crushed off road. This system removes the tubing, the resonator, and the muffler from the exhaust system and replaces it all with this high-clearance system including a much smaller and more compact muffler which gets everything up and out of the way.
This system is designed to work on both the four-door and the two-door JK. So, if you're installing it on the shorter wheelbase two-door, you will have to do some cutting and all of that is laid out for you in the instructions. We also had to do some additional trimming to make our system fit properly. So, if you're not comfortable doing that type of cutting and trimming, I would recommend that you take your Jeep to an exhaust shop to have this system installed.
This system is made from 409 stainless, so it's not going to be quite as corrosion resistant as a 304 stainless, and we did have to do a little bit of adjusting to get it to fit right. Now there are systems that are more expensive on the market that are going to be built from some of those higher quality materials, and are going to fit a little bit better right out of the box, but for what you pay, I think this is a pretty good value.
Like I've said before, a calibrator is not the most exciting part about building a Jeep, but if you don't have one, you'll wish you did. If you're running larger tires on your Jeep, your speedometer, your odometer, the fuel mileage on the dash are all going to be off. And if you have an automatic Jeep, your shift points will be off which will definitely affect the way the Jeep rides. In order to adjust for both tire size, TPMS sensors, and a bunch of other parameters, I highly recommend the Superchips FlashCal Programmer. I like this calibrator because it adjusts all the parameters that we talked about before and it does it with an LCD screen and buttons.
There are a lot of other calibrators on the market that will do a lot of the same functions with these dip switches, and I find this a lot easier to use. When you get your calibrator home, the first thing to do is plug it in your computer and make sure that the firmware is up-to-date. You'll also be able to download a free update from the Superchips website that'll allow you to toggle your TPMS system on and off. Those of you who are running larger tires on your Jeep, know that you can run a lower pressure which can cause you to have that light on the dash and that annoying dinging every time you start your Jeep. Turning the TPMS system off will take care of that.
Something that's really important to remember is that a calibrator like this is not going to increase your fuel mileage. If you have larger tires on your Jeep and you've been driving around like that for a while, the MPG on the dash will have gone down, and when you recalibrate, it's going to go back up, but you're not actually increasing fuel mileage. You're just getting an accurate reading now. For all the function you get, the ease of use and the really fair price, I definitely recommend the Superchips FlashCal Programmer for anyone running larger tires on your Jeep.
Now that we have the bumpers, the fender flares, the exhaust, the tire carrier, and the tuner all installed on this Jeep, it's time to take it out on the road and the trail and see how it does.
So now that we got this Jeep completely built, it was time to test it out. So after driving it around on the road for a little bit, we decided to take it off-road and see what it could do. So even though the fender flares we added don't add a ton of clearance or a ton of coverage and they are more of the visual modification, we can be out on the trail and know with confidence that if we do rub off against something, they're not going to crack, break, or fall off. They'll be able to take a little bit of bending without being damaged, and they're not going to fade over time, spending a lot of time outside in the sun.
So the trails that we're running today are more fire trails. There's just a lot to flex on there. There's a lot of big rocks. There are big obstacles, but at the same time, it's really nice to know that no matter what type of trail we hit, the exhaust is not going to be compromised. Getting the muffler and all the piping moved up out of the way, gives us a lot of confidence knowing that the muffler, the tip, and all the piping isn't going to get crushed or dented when we are off-road.
Now the trails that we're running today aren't too hardcore and we're not getting bounced around too badly, but we know that no matter what kind of trails we decide to run or what size wheel and tire package we have, the tailgate, the hinges, all that stuff is going to be safe thanks to the tire carrier that we've installed.
The bumper that we added to his Jeep does look good but it also has a lot of function that we talked about earlier. Currently, we don't have off-road lights mounted on the mounting tabs. We don't have a winch on the winch mounting plate, but we can upgrade to those things down the line and that's all part of the fun of owning a Jeep.
We're not going to do anything too serious today, but it is a little bit muddy and sloppy, and because one of the big benefits of installing these steel Barricade bumpers is having the recovery points, I thought we'd show you how to use them. We're probably not actually going to get it stuck, but we will get into a situation that's similar to one you'd be in if you went into a mud puddle that had a nice, soft bottom and you got yourself stuck. A little mud puddle coming up here, let's see what we can do.
Well, looks like we did get it stuck. You probably get out of this hold, but again, to show you the way as the recovery points work, we're going to hook up a winch and we're going to get this out of here.
So this is when these bumpers really shine. It's so easy to hook up to a bumper like this and we have D-rings. I know that you have the factory tail hooks, but if you're using something like a snatch strap or even a winch like we're using, the line can come off of the hook making a little bit more difficult. With this, you have that really solid connection to a solid mount that's directly mounted to the frame, so you know you're not going to have any issues in a recovery situation like this.
So this is really why you install a solid steel bumper like this. Yay, it looks good. This one has a built-in LED lights. It has the winch mount, but what we're using right now is equally as important. The recovery points bolted directly to the frame are really strong. You can use D-rings instead of the factory tail hook, and when you get yourself into a situation where the bottom is a little softer than you thought it was going to be, you can have a buddy help you out without any worries.
So now that we've taken the Jeep off-road a little bit, let's cruise it around on the road and see how it does. The big things that are going to shine here are the Flowmaster exhaust and the Superchips tuner. Right off the bat, the Flowmaster sounds great. It definitely adds that throw to your tone and a little bit more volume and I really love the popping and crackling it does when you engine break. I haven't noticed any kind of drone in the cabin and it's not overly loud. It's a really nice balance. That combined with the functionality of the system tucking everything up out of the road when we were on the trail, I'd say that this is a really nice system.
I know that a calibrator isn't the most exciting part about building your Jeep, but it is essential when you're running larger tires. I'm driving around. I know that my speedometer is accurate. The odometer is accurate. I'm not getting pulled over for speeding accidentally, and this Jeep is a stick shift, but if I had an automatic, the calibrator would be insuring that my shift points were accurate and the Jeep is riding how it should.
Like I mentioned before, the lights that are on the Barricade bumper are more of a marker light, but on a day like today, when it's gloomy and dreary, they really do help. You're definitely going to be seen.
So all in all, I'm really happy with how this build went. A lot of the parts that we installed were more appearance parts, but some had some function as well and we're able to take the Jeep on the road and on the trail and show you how they work.
So, for more builds like this, for all the parts that you saw today, and for more cool Jeep content, make sure you check out extremeterrain.com. But for now, I'm Ryan. Thanks for watching.