Airaid Throttle Body Spacer $90
Pros. Very easy to install in about fifteen minutes. I estimate that I gained 2-4 miles-per-gallon gain and perhaps a slight hp gain.
KC 6” Long Range Driving Lights 130w $170
Pros. Look great and top class materials and construction; very bright. Easy to install if you plan ahead and think about where you are going to run the wires; takes about one hour.
Cons. Very bright; I have to have them angled down a little to prevent complaints. The instructions do not properly explain where to put the wires so unless you plan ahead and lay them in place first you will find they are too short. The instructions do not fully explain how all the parts go together so you need a little electrical knowledge and some common sense. One more thing; think about where you are going to put the interior rocker switch; it has a light which would be handy to let you know you have left the lights on but not if you cannot see it. Mine is hidden by the flasher stem when I am in the driver seat.
Mickey Thompson Classic II 10.5X15 Wheels (all 5) $625
Pros. Look great when clean and polished. Get 10.5” wide if you are using 12.5” tires.
Cons. Being uncoated aluminum they do not like salt. I used WD40 to protect them this winter. They require a lot of cleaning and polishing to keep them looking good. The hub inserts are steel with a cheap chrome plate; rust started to quickly show through at the first sight of salt on the road this winter; WD helped stop this. You can buy aluminum hub inserts but they are another $11-13 each.
33X12.5” Mickey Thompson Baja Claw Radial Tires $1000
Pros. These tires look the business and turn heads. They are loud (road noise) and give a mean look to your Jeep. I have not tried them off road yet but I can say that they make driving in the snow a piece of cake; plenty of grip.
Cons. These tires require good balancing and alignment; both of which will have to be done several times during their life. Baja Claws are directional which means that rotation is not possible in the normal way and can mean having to have them removed from the rims to include your spare so that it wears at approximately the same rate as the others. I experienced ‘Death Wobble’ a few times after lifting my Jeep but on the old 30X9.5” wheels and tires right before fitting the new wheels and tires and I never want to go there again; it was so bad my vision blurred with the violent shaking. Expect a sizable drop in your gas mileage; it takes more power to turn these things on the road than skinny stock tires.
Rampage Products Rocker/Side Guards $225
Pros. Good looking design; the finish is textured and tough looking; totally non-slip. Easy to install in about two hours. Great price from Jeep Parts R US.
Cons. Do not use the self tapping machine screws that come with the guards. I fitted the guards on a Monday evening and had to remove them the next day (after 17 miles) because the heads began to pop off. They literally snapped off like bullets I assume because of the extra tension put on them with the natural flexing of the frame; when I took the guards off there were only 7 of the 16 screws left intact. I had to buy a Dremmel and grind slots in the stubs of bolts left in the frame so that I could use a flat tip to screw them out. I bought new bolts from a hardware store and have had no problem since.
Black Diamond 3” Suspension Lift $665
Pros. The kit is one of the lowest cost available but is good value for the money. The lift is actually 3.625”. I have had in installed for about eight months now and my Jeep looks level and there appears to be no spring settling so far. The kit comes with springs, shocks, TC lowering kit, sway bar disconnects, bump stops, rear track back bracket and all the necessary hardware. Installation took me about 12 hours working alone.
Cons. Lifting a Jeep has lots of hidden costs; as soon as you have it done you need an alignment for around $75 then I had to immediately buy and fit a steering shock still fearing a repeat of Death Wobble (see above) for $70. Since I lifted my Jeep it has developed a judder at the front wheels when I take off. I have been given several reasons for this; they are: my stock clutch cannot handle the extra strain of 33X12.5” tires and I need a higher pressure plate $500; my 3.07 differential gearing needs to be changed to 4.10 $1500; the pinion angle at the front is off because the kit does not come with new control arms, to replace all the arms with adjustable would be approximately $1200 for the parts. Whatever the problem is it is going to be expensive to fix and until I do the fun of driving my Jeep is spoiled somewhat because of the problem. Lastly the shocks developed small rust spots at the welds this winter. I now have a wheel wobble at 35-40mph which I cannot get rid of yet; I am hoping that getting my front pinion angle put right may sort it out but I do not know yet.
K&N Cold Air Intake $250
Pros. There is a noticeable increase in power but do not expect a turbo like boost. The sound of air being sucked through the filter is kind of cool. It is easy to install and takes less than an hour.
Cons. I guess I expected either the gas mileage to either stay put or improve; I am not sure yet but it seems as if it has decreased a fair bit; its certainly not a fair exchange for the power increase.
Bushwacker 6” Pocket Flares $380
Pros. A jeep looks best when its front/back appearance is wedge shaped to the road; in other words a stock Jeep can look like a box on wheels. My MT wheels and tires stick out a full nine inches from the body work; adding the 6” pocket flares have made a big difference to the stance of the vehicle and now it looks the business; the wheels still stick out from the flares and create a balanced wide wheel base. The flares are fairly easy to fit if you take your time; takes about 2.5 hours.
Cons. The plastic is hard and scratches easily; it is not the same plastic as stock flares and is not flexible in the same way so beware; also the plastic scratches easily.
Black Diamond Steering Stabilizer $70
Pros. Does the job; it controls the wobble I get at 35 to 40mph and I have not had a turn with Death Wobble since fitting it. Easy to fit in less than fifteen minutes.