It is the official vehicle for Park City, Utah. At least it looks like you were driving Route 224 on any given day.
I bought my first Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon in 2017. It was the JK model, which ran from 2007 to 2018. Since then I have upgraded to a 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, which is the second year for the new model. JL … the fourth generation of the popular Wrangler platform.
I first bought the Wrangler to have a convertible option in the summer. It wasn’t for off-roading, per se, and I didn’t make any changes. This time around, however, the pandemic prompted me to explore off-grid camping and boating in the Utah backcountry. And, well, the Rubicon stock just won’t do. After a lot of research, here is the list of upgrades to make it perform better off-road, while setting it apart from so many other Jeep Wrangler JLs in my hometown.
1. 2 ” Mopar Lift Kit with Fox Series Shocks ($ 1,675)
The lift kit is a first step in any Jeep Wrangler build, and it is ideal to go with a factory supported version to be sure of compatibility and performance. With the Rubicon variant, this 2 inch kit can accommodate up to 37 inches of tires. It features tougher Fox shocks specifically designed for the Wrangler, as well as suspension arms that improve cornering and off-road handling.
2. Mopar Functional Bead Lock Wheels ($ 520 / wheel)
The original Rubicon wheels are fine. They look great and you can just add bigger tires. But if you also want to improve performance, while giving your Jeep a better look, these heel lock compatible wheels are stylish, understated and flexible. First, they increase the offset from the factory wheels, giving it a wider and more stable stance. The key components, however, are the included bead lock rings. They are not road approved (DOT approved), but they do allow you to run much lower air pressure for extreme off road terrain. Otherwise, you will make a standard DOT tire holder with the silver trim rings, which look the same as the bead locks.
3. Mopar Oversized Spare Tire Rack Mounting Bracket ($ 290)
When using larger tires, the standard tire holder may seem to work. But over time, that extra weight will wear down on the tailgate hinges. It is better to upgrade to this Jeep brand reinforcement, which can support tires up to 37 inches. In addition, it is compatible with the rear view camera.
4. Go Rhino Dominator Extreme DDS Sliders ($ 481)
My Rubicon stock comes with a single rail, which protects the body but does not offer a step. When you lift the Jeep up and replace it with bigger tires, most people, especially my 11 year old daughter, will want to take a step to get on and off the Jeep. Not to mention the loading equipment on the roof. These Go Rhino sliders offer body protection on rocky terrain as well as a grippy walk. They are easily replaced without cutting or drilling.
5. Go Rhino Rockline Complete Front Bumper ($ 578)
Upgrading the front bumper can increase approach angles and offer a range of different lighting and recuperation options, all while boosting the look. Go Rhino’s Rockline has room for four cubic lights (two on each side), as well as a 20-inch light bar … all of which are protected in the bumper itself. You can mount up to a 12,000 pound winch (with optional winch bracket) with the optional skid plate for extra protection. No drilling or cutting required.
6. Go Rhino SRM500 Roof Rack ($ 550)
Personally, I have two main use cases for roof racks: ski racks in the winter and an overhang tent in the summer. Go Rhino’s SRM500 is ideal for both. This size mounts exclusively on the hard top, so it comes off in one piece when you want to go topless. It is also low profile, very close to the roof.
7. BF Goodrich T / A KO2 all-terrain tires ($ 261 / tire)
The Rubicon comes with BF Goodrich KO2 tires, but it’s the 33 inch version. Going up to the 35-inch size, you could go for the more aggressive KM3. However, if you want something that is ideal for all seasons for driving in the snow, besides taking it off-road, it makes more sense to stick with KO2 and go bigger.
8. BF Goodrich Off Road Wiper Blades ($ 70)
The windshield wipers are at least viable. But if you regularly encounter mud and snow, these high-performance wipers from BF Goodrich deliver all-terrain wiping power. The tread design wicks snow and water away from the blade, reducing freezing.
9. KC C-Series LED Light Bar ($ 303)
With a range of six to 50 inches, the KC C-Series light bar has a great range. With the Go Rhino Rockline bumper (above), it is designed for a 20 inch bar that mounts behind the crash net. This gives you 10,800 lumens of light, which are projected as a combination of eight-degree and 90-degree scatter patterns. So it really is a versatile light bar that is a good place to start, besides being the center of a larger lighting set.
ten. KC 3 ” C Series LED Pair Pack System ($ 172)
KC C-Series LED Cubic Lights offer maximum reach and flexibility. They are sold in pairs and can be configured as spotlights or spotlights with the option of light or amber colors. The Go Rhino Rockline bumper (above) has mounts for two lights on each side, so you can mix and match depending on your on-road and off-road riding needs.