Review & Install Video
I am Ryan from ExtremeTerrain.com, and today we have a four-door 2016 JK that we're adding a second round of mods to. When this came to us, it already had bigger tires, a lift, and an LED front bumper. Even though this Jeep does have a lift and some 33s, it doesn't see a lot of off-road time, so the mods we added today were more aesthetic than anything else, although they do add some functions as well.
So let me walk you through the build. Starting from the front to back, the first mod we added in this round of the build is a winch. Now, I know you're thinking you just said the mods that you added were aesthetic and not functional, and generally a winch is a functional mod. But I think, if we are being honest with ourselves, a lot of people are running a winch just because they like the look. It makes the Jeep look a lot tougher, a lot more like it does goes off-road, and a lot more utilitarian. And hey, at the end of the day, it's your money, it's your Jeep, you build it how you want to.
For this Jeep, we decided to go with the Barricade 9500-pound synthetic line winch that we were able to bolt up without the need for a winch plate because it already had this Barricade Trail Force HD front bumper with the lights. We decided to go with the 9500-pound capacity winch to save a little bit of money because this Jeep isn't going to see a lot of off-road use. The general rule of thumb is you want your winch-pulling capacity to be about one and a half times the weight of the vehicle. And this is a four-door JK with big heavy wheel and tire package and some armor on it, so it does have a little bit of weight to it. But again, this winch isn't going to see a lot of use because the Jeep doesn't see a lot of trails.
So going with the 9500-pound winch was able to save us a little bit of money over something larger like a 1200-pound winch. We did decide to go with a synthetic line on this winch over a steel cable, which is a little bit of a price upgrade, and it has some additional benefits and drawbacks. I like synthetic line mostly because its lighter and more flexible, so it's easier to pull up a muddy hill when you are on the trail. And most importantly, a synthetic line, if it breaks under a load, will not snap back, which can be very dangerous and cause damage to the vehicle. As I mentioned, it is more expensive than steel cable.
Steel cable, on the other hand, is more abrasion-resistant than synthetic. It requires a little bit less maintenance. However, it does have that drawback of storing energy, so if it breaks on your load, it will snap back, can be dangerous, and can cause damage. So it really comes down to what you're going to be using your Jeep for. In my opinion, if you have the budget for it, a synthetic line is a nice upgrade.
Like I said before, installing this winch was really easy because the barricade bumper has a built-in winch plate. You can actually install the winch on even a factory bumper or a lot of other aftermarket bumpers. However, sometimes you need to add an additional winch plate. The plate will bolt directly to the frame and the winch bolts to that plate, giving you the strength you need to be able to pull the entire weight of the vehicle with the winch. Once you have it bolted up, wiring is really easy. You just have two cables that go up to the battery for your power connection and you're done.
So in the end, Barricade winches are a good budget friendly winch. And if you're going to be out on the trails every so often playing in the mud or on the rocks and there's a chance that you or a friend is going to get stuck, these are going to get you unstuck. If you're somebody who is out on the trails every single weekend doing more hard core wheeling and you expect to be doing a lot really long, hard pulls, maybe you want to spend a little bit more money and get a winch that has some additional features.
The next part we added on this Jeep was a set of Barricade rubi rails. And these might look familiar to you because a similar rail comes on the Rubicons and some special addition Wranglers right out of the factory. A rail like this is designed to cover up the otherwise unfinished pinch seam. They're not designed a ton of protection. In fact, the way the mounts are designed on this rail, it's not going to provide as much protection as a factory rubi rail will. However, for our build that isn't seeing a lot of trail time, these are going to do a nice job of finishing off the look, giving us some protection against door dings in the parking lot. And they will offer some light protection if we do hit the trail every so often.
These are a nice alternative to a factory rubi rail because a lot of people aren't taking off those factory rails and getting rid of them, which can make them hard to find and a little bit more expensive. These are going to be a little less expensive than finding a factory set, and they're gonna give you the same look and the same light protection. These rails are designed to install much like the factory rails do, and they're completely bolt-on so you don't have to drill the Jeep to get them installed.
Like with any part that's powder-coated and has threaded studs, it's definitely helpful to run a dye over those threads to clean off any residual powder coat before you start the installation. That's going to keep you from cross-threading and stripping any nuts or bolts. So if you're like us and you don't need rocker protection for hard core off-roading, but you do want to finish off the look of the pinch seam, this is a really nice alternative to finding a more expensive set of factory takeoffs.
So let me turn around the Jeep, and we'll show you the last part we added. The last part we added to this Jeep is the one that probably has the largest visual impact, and that's this Bestop Trektop NX. The first thing you notice when looking at it is it has this fastback look that a lot of you guys are after. It completely changes the profile look of the Jeep, and I think it looks really nice, especially on a four-door JK, although it is available for a two-door as well. And aside from the good looks, this Jeep used to only have a hardtop. Now that it's coming around to springtime, we wanted to more easily be able to convert to that open-air driving experience, so a soft top was a no brainer.
Now Bestop certainly isn't the only one to make a fastback soft top like this, but in my opinion, they're one of the best. You get a ton of build quality and quality of materials with this top, although you do have to pay a little bit of a premium price for it. In my opinion, it's worth it. I've installed a couple Bestop soft tops on my Jeeps, and I'll install another one when it comes time to replace it.
So let's talk a little bit about the difference between the Trektop NX that we installed and the Trektop. The NX has a few more features. It has removable side windows, and it has Bestop's sunrider feature up front. That allows you to very easily flip back the section of the top over the driver and the front seat passenger to again give you that open-air driving experience really easily. Those are a few things that the regular Trektop doesn't have.
The Trektop is going to be less expensive than the Trektop NX, but for my money, it's worth it for the additional features. Whether you decide to go with the Trektop NX or the regular Trektop, the nice thing about these is they include all the hardware that you need to install them on a Jeep, even if it's never had a soft top on it before. Of course, the fastback tops are frameless, but there is some additional hardware and some other parts that, if you go with another manufacture, you might have to purchase separately. Bestop includes everything you need in the box to make the installation really easy. Install will take you a little bit of time, but Bestop provides really clear instructions on how to do it. It helps to be detail-oriented and take you time going step-by-step to ensure the first time it rains your top isn't going to leak.
So like we said in the beginning, this Jeep has the lift and the 33-inch tires, but they are more for the look and less about hitting the trails. And the nice thing about doing a build that's a little bit more aesthetically geared than functionally geared is that we can save a little bit of money on mods like winch and rubi rails. If we were buying those parts to be used really hard on a trail every weekend, we'd have to spend a little bit more money to get something that's built really solidly. In this case, we can save a little bit of money, get a little bit of function, but get the look that we are after.
We really wanted to transform this Jeep into something that was a lot more rugged, and tough, and had that off road look. One area that we did spend a little bit more money was with this Trektop. It is a premium top and it does have a little bit of a higher price tag, but again, for my money, it's completely worth it for the build quality and for the additional features. So for more cool Jeep content and additional Jeep builds, make sure you check out ExtremeTerrain.com. But for now, I'm Ryan, thanks for watching.