Hello and Jeep Wave to you!
Welcome to the Jeep community! I purchased my Jeep, Darlin’ in 2016 and wanted to share some of the things I have learned since then.
The disclaimer is this: I am not a mechanic, I am not rich, I am not an expert. However, I love my jeep and love talking about her!
When I first got Darlin’ she was your standard “stock” jeep. No mods.. No stickers. Just a nice, black jeep. As I became involved with the jeep community I started to think about ways to get her to stand out and to also optimize what things she could do. The very first question to ask yourself with your jeep is this:
Mall Crawler or Off-Roading Bad Ass?
Mall Crawler jeeps are pretty. They have amazing mods; but the goal isn’t to take it places where there could be things such as mud, rocks, or it could get dirty. Some jeep owners worry about warranties and damage if the jeep is taken anywhere other than a parking lot or regular roadways.
Off-Roading Bad Ass jeeps can look pretty too. They also can have some of the dashboard warning lights on (mine is currently showing ABS and traction control) and there may be dirt or scratches. Maybe not too. The difference is the mods are put on the jeep to help it perform better in any condition. Winches get used. The tires have a function.
Darlin’ is an Off-Roading Bad ass.
The next decision to make is, what should I name my jeep?
Now, not all jeepers name their jeep.. but it is a bit of a right of passage. I went through a few name ideas before Darlin’ fit. My sexy Viking calls me Darlin’ and I knew that was her name. Also, not all jeepers put the name of their jeep, on their jeep. I did, and I love when I am driving and I see a jeep with a name. “Hey there is (name)!” It makes me feel connected.
After the name, it is time to consider mods and upgrades.
This is dangerous. Why? Because the first time you do an upgrade or mod, you will be hooked. I know this is silly, but my first “mod” was spicing up my grill. I added the grill inserts and painted them in my color.
Lift or no Lift? Ummm. Lift. The debate becomes what kind of lift, how high, and what brand. My lift is 4.5 inches and we used Rough Country. Rough Country is a more inexpensive lift. I have had that lift for over a year and have had no problems. If you can afford the cream of the crop; go for it. Not all of us can spend $1-2K on the lift (not to mention labor if you don’t do it yourself).
Tires. I started with 31″ tires on Darlin’. She now has 35″ tires. I did try 37″ tires on her but she was all over the road. It was like driving a boat. I like the 35″ much better. When you upgrade tires you also have to consider things like a spare tire relocation bracket and wheel spacers.
Grill. Some people like to customize their grill. It adds character. You can get different grill styles like the angry bird grill and gladiator grill. For Darlin’ my sexy Viking and I decided to do a “rustic” theme and he used a sanding/painting process to do so.
Fenders. Some jeepers stay with the stock fenders, however I did not. I also knew that since I was going to be off-roading I wanted to try out fenders that were smaller and inexpensive. These are my fenders. When I am off-roading if they get scuffed up, it just isn’t a big deal for me. I did swipe a tree once; and my man just hammered it out. I also have inner fenders put in and yes, the sexy Viking customized them for me too.
Add-ons. I wanted to customize the look of Darlin’ so I have some stickers of where I have been jeeping and I also decided to collect stickers on my tailgate.
Other things to consider. Darlin’ does not have a winch. The sexy Viking made my bumper into a stubby bumper. However, you can also consider a front and rear bumper upgrade, and one that includes a winch. If you are off-roading, or even driving in San Antonio; a winch can be helpful to get anyone out of a pickle. If you don’t have a winch, at least have straps to be able to pull.
Sway bar disconnects. If you have a Rubicon, you are lucky. It comes with a push-button sway bar disconnect and lockers. If you are like me and just have the Wrangler, you may consider upgrading your sway bar kit to have a disconnect. If you don’t, you can just use simple tools to do so each time.
Top. Darlin’ has a soft top. I have never lived life in a hard top. Some people upgrade the top to a frameless or other styles. I do have a frameless one on my wish list. Another thing to add would be a bikini top or a sunshade.
There are so many different mods and upgrades you can do with your jeep. The sky is the limit and the point is to have fun with it. I have 2 mods that are next on my list, because a jeep is never complete!
If you decide to be an off-roading bad ass; here are a few places we have found in our area (San Antonio, TX): Wolf Caves, Hidden Falls, and Viking Endeavors . Viking Endeavors happens to be our off road park which is why we are so into jeeps!
I want to hear from you- comment and tell me if you have a mall crawler or off-roading bad ass jeep; and what has been your favorite mod?