Wrangler JK 2Doors Soft Top 2015 Red Firecracker

My Expedition Jeep

Looking for the perfect Wrangler expedition vehicle? In what order should your Jeep be upgraded before taking it for long-distance off-road trips?

 

No rig is the same because Jeep owners have different tastes, needs and budgets. But what matters here is to build a rig that fits the terrain and the requirements for long distance journeys in the wilderness.

 

Huge 37’’ tires, flashy stubby bumpers, and 6’’ suspension lift kits look awesome at the beach (especially when surrounded by girls in bikinis). But those upgrades quickly become a major disadvantage in the remote wilderness if you really want to build a Wrangler Expedition Vehicle.

Solo Jeep Expedition

 

Prepare your first expedition with your Jeep in the extreme remote wilderness. Spend your money where it counts. A very capable Jeep is one that has mods that nobody can see (like 4.56 gears, differential lockers, dual piston calipers, etc.).

 


 

List of Upgrades


Wrangler JK Yukon Solo Expedition

Before you start installing mods and upgrades, you should keep in mind that any modification to your Wrangler causes a chain reaction (and I’m not just talking about money). Bigger tires require a lift kit. A lift kit requires a new rear driveshaft. A heavier Jeep requires better brakes. Better brakes require you to replace the factory brake lines as well. And so on. If you make a mistake right off the bat, you create numerous weak points that will eventually break on the trail (or at least wear prematurely).

There are different schools of thought on the Jeep scene. On my side, I believe in safety and durability. I also think that having a low profile is an advantage in the woods. For that reason, I prefer a medium-height lift kit (3.5’’) and 34’’ tires, and I don’t want to have a roof rack.

 

9 Steps

 

 

 

Movement Safety

Tires 34x10.5R17

Full Width Bumper

AEV 3.5" Lift Kit

Big Brakes (2 Pistons)
Fox 2.0 Shocks Odyssey Battery
Rear Driveshaft Battery Hold Down
Gears 4.56 (Front/Rear) Axle Tube Seals

Front Axle

Rear Differential Slider
Tire Carrier & Rotopax Limb Risers
Performance Hood Deflector
Cold Air Intake Led Light Bar
Throttle Body Spacer 2 Led Light Pods
Borla Exhaust Fog Lights

 

Total Added Weight : 336.71 lbs.

(536.71 lbs. -200 lbs.)

(Scroll to the end of the page to see how I reduced the weight of my Jeep JK Sport 2-Doors)


Customized Jeep Wrangler JK 2 Doors

The list

I made mistakes with my previous rig and I didn't want to make them again. The following is the order in which I installed upgrades and mods (step by step) on my Wrangler JK.

 

 
   

Tire BF Goodrich K02 LT34x10.5

 

KalTires
(Canada)

4Tires.ca
(Canada)
Amazon.com
(USA)

Newegg
(Worldwide)

 

 

1. Tires BF GoodRich T/A K02 LT 34X10.5R17

- First upgrade I made.

- Superb grip and endurance on gravel roads. Made for very long-distance off-road journeys.

- Tough sidewall rubber compound (Coreguard). Resists snags and sidewall splitting. The toughest tires ever made by BF Goodrich (according to themselves).

- Deflects protruding objects on the trail or hidden in creeks.

- Mud and snow rated (M+S) - Deliver good performance at -10 Celsius.

- Mopar Wheels (I removed the useless decorative wheel caps to save weight, so minus 2 lbs).

- Added weight: 118.0 lbs (including five wheels).

 

 
   

AEV Lift Kit Wrangler JK

 

JustJeeps.com
(Canada)

AEV
(Worldwide)

Quadratec
(Worldwide)

 

2. AEV 3.5" DualSport SC Lift Kit

- My second upgrade.

- Fits max tire size 35’’.

- Well balanced on the highway.

- To my knowledge, it’s the only aftermarket lift kit recommended by Jeep dealerships because Chrysler tested it. It’s a safe, widely spread, durable, and stable lift kit for Wrangler JK.

- Affordable (less than $2,000) and easy to install for a mechanic (about four hours, so you’ll save money).

- Added weight: 24.0 lbs.

 

 
     

Fox Shock Absorbers Wrangler

 

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Newegg
(Worldwide)

 
3. Fox 2.0 Shocks Performance

- For a smoother ride on the trail.

- I experienced serious back pain after several months of trail driving. I had some budget but needed to choose between replacing the driver’s seat (I wanted the Corbeau Baja RS Suspension Seat) or upgrading my shock absorbers. I chose the second option and have never regretted it.

- Added weight: 0.0 lbs.

 

 
     

Yukon Rear Driveshaft Wrangler JK

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Rakuten
(Worldwide)

 

 
4. Yukon Rear Driveshaft YDS011

- Installing a 3.5’’ lift kit makes the factory driveshaft too short to be strong, reliable, and durable. The stock driveshaft isn’t made to operate 34’’ wheels either.

- An adjustable and heavy-duty driveshaft won’t have any problemshandling suspension travels and will probably never break under stress (even after 200,000 km).

- I’m willing to deal with a broken front driveshaft on the trail but not with losing traction for the rear wheels. Never.

- Added weight: -10.0 lbs (yes, it weighs 10 pounds less than the factory driveshaft).

Yukon Rear Driveshaft Wrangler JK 2 Doors

 

 
     

Yukon 4.56 Gear Front and Rear Differentials

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

 

 

5. Yukon Gear 4.56 Regear Front/Rear

- The gear ratio means how many times the driveshaft has to rotate on itself. 3.73 means the driveshaft rotates 3.73 times in order to spin the wheels once. I had no idea about that when I bought my first Jeep and installed larger tires. For years, I felt that my Jeep suddenly lost 20% of its power, and I attributed that to the fact that my bigger tires where actually very heavy. It felt like their weight was 200 lbs each!

- Regearing to a ratio of 4.10, 4.56 (my case), or even 4.88 increases the amount of force sent my the engine to the axles.

- Increasing low-end torque and acceleration is akey aspect when it comes to off-road performance. I wouldn’t make any other upgrade but this one if I was running out of money. Tires, lift kit, rear driveshaft, and a set of new differential gears are the most important things for a lone Jeeper scouting the remote wilderness.

- Added weight: 2.0 lbs.

 

 
     

Yukon Front Axle Shafts W24170

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Rakuten
(Worldwide)

 

 
6. Yukon Front Axle Shafts

- Snapping a front axle is among the most common and annoying problems on the trail that any lone Jeeper should avoid. Using cheap shafts or factory shafts will force you to carry spare axle shafts (they cost $$$ and are bulky and heavy).

- Heavy-duty shafts have a higher resistance (to torsional loads) and help eliminate U-joint failure (at some point).

- Direct replacement fit. Very easy to install.

- Maximizes strength and durability.

- Yukon Gear YA W24170 Chrome-Moly Axle Kit Dana 30 Front W/1350 Joints Chrome-Moly Axle Kit.

- Added weight: 8.0 lbs.

 

 
     

SRC Tire and Rotopax Carrier Bumper Wrangler JK

 

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Quadratec
(Worldwide)

 

 
7. SRC Tire Carrier + Rear Bumper

- SRC Bolt-On Tire Carrier 76857 + XRC Rear Bumper 76858 Gen 2

A) 2 Rotopax Fuel Can Mounts
B)
CB Antenna Mount
C)
Bottle Opener
D)
Strong Pivot Point

- The sturdiest and lightest way to carry two cans of extra fuel on the trail. Fits 1.75G or 2.0G RotopaX gas cans (don’t forget to buy 2 Rotopax mounts too).

- I can also use the CB antenna mount as a jack mount (Hi-Lift 48’’).

- Still no rust at all after hundreds of days and nights in the wilderness.

- Useless installation manual and no support to be expected from the manufacturer (Smittybilt), but it’s a hell of a good product.

- Added weight: 104.0 lbs.

- Including 2 RotopaX & 2 mounts (7.78 lbs.): 111.78 lbs.

 

 

     

XRC Atlas Front Bumper Wrangler JK

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Newegg
(Worldwide)

 

 
8. Full Width Bumper XRC ATLAS

- XRC JK ATLAS FRONT BUMPER 76892 Smittybilt

- I wanted a massive and armored front bumper because I often use my JK as a ram for various tasks. It’s really heavy, strong, and great for airflow. Ilove my bumper.

  • - Low-profile winch plate for optimal winch rope angle.
  • - Wide fog light sockets, which optimizes efficiency in thick patches of fog.
  • - Indestructible ventilated bolt-on skid plate.
  • - Molded D-ring mounts (two extremely strong recovery points).
  • - Marine grade stainless steel extra front plates.
  • - 5-year warranty against rust.

- Added weight: 180.0 lbs.

 

 
     

Teraflex Big Brakes Wrangler JK

 

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)
Newegg
(Worldwide)

Rakuten
(Worldwide)

 
9. TeraFlex Big Brakes & 2 Piston Calipers

- TeraFlex Brakes with Slotted Rotors - #4303420

- Adding weight and larger tires requires a brake upgrade to stay safe on the trails. The stopping power of big brakes is tremendous compared to factory brakes and can save your life. Shortening braking distances by only 1 meter (3 feet) could make a difference between stopping safely or sliding into a ditch.

- Oversized rotors and calipers with twin pistons. It’s actually pick-up truck brakes installed on a small Jeep. The result is impressive.

- If you can’t afford the whole kit (four wheels), having a least two big brakes at the front is a major improvement.

- I had to install a new brake master cylinder (+1.6 lbs) and extended steel brake lines (+1.4 lbs for a pair) too.

- Added weight: 44.4 lbs

(or 20.0 lbs if only one pair at the front + master cylinder + two brake lines).

 

 
     

Odyssey Dual Terminals Battery Wrangler JK

 

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Newegg
(Worldwide)

 

 
10. Odyssey Battery with Dual Terminals

- AGM 34/78 PC1500DT Extreme Series

- Get two extra terminals dedicated to the winch.

- It’s actually a marine battery made to resist constant vibrations and delivering a massive starting power (over 800 cold-crank amps). Still 400 crank amps if discharged, 80%.

- Probably the most reliable battery in the world for off-roading and fitting a Wangler JK (G34).

- Extreme temperature tolerance (-40 Celsius to 80 Celsius).

- Dry AGM battery.

- 100% pure virgin lead plates (not made from recycled lead).

- Only 50 pounds.

- Added weight: 4.0 lbs.

 

 
     

Savior Hold Down Group 34 Battery Wrangler JK

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Quadratec
(Worldwide)

 

 
11. Savior Battery Hold Down

- Savior Junior for Group 34 Battery Tray Spacer

- Includes a strong nylon strap + buckle to hold the battery firmly.

- Extra layer of protection : decreases harmful vibrations while driving off-road. Absorbs most severe shocks and vibrations.

- Keeps the battery in place in case of roll over.

- Added weight: 3.2 lbs (including the carry bag, hose, and battery clamps).

 

   

 

 
     

Alloy Tuble Axle Seals

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Newegg
(Worldwide)

 

 
12. Front Axle Tube Seal Caps

- Keeps sand, debris, and dirty water out of your front axle tubes when you ford water.

- I’ve seen so many dirty and rusty axle shafts on the trail that for me there’s no debate anymore: an extra seal is vital.

- The last time I took a look at my shafts, they looked brand-new (after hundreds of kilometers performed on backcountry roads and numerous creek crossings). I no longer trust Saturday afternoon’s off-road warriors who pretend that external tube seals are worthless. They just don’t know what they are talking about.

- Added Weight : 0.1 lbs.

Front Axle Seal Cap

 
     

Rear Differential Skid Plate Rock Slider Wrangler JK

 

NorthRidge 4x4.ca
(Canada)

Quadratec
(Worldwide)

 

 
13. AEV Slider Rear Differential

- 1/4'' Skid plate AEV NTH24220AB for Wrangler JK with Dana 44

- Protects the rear driveshaft, CV joint, pinion yoke, and rear differential (four vital parts on the trail) from rock and tree trunk damage.

- Decreases clearance by only 0.5 inch (I measured it). This skid plate fits very tightly.

- Works with all JK Dana 44 rear axles.

  • - Easy to install with basic tools (10–20 minutes).

- Another option : Rough Country 799 Differential Skid Plate (less expensive and easier to find) (Amazon.com)

- Added weight:18.0 lbs.

 
     

Limb Risers Kit

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Newegg
(Worldwide)

 

 
14. Limb Risers Kit

- Protect the windshield and hood by deflecting branches.

- Better visibility while driving through heavy foliage.

- If you want to have the exact limb risers and off-road pillar mounts I’m using : Pillarguardz from www.trailskinz.com (a company based in Chilliwack (BC) Canada.

- Added weight: 8.0 lbs (including twoPillarguards).

Limb Risers

 
     

Hood Deflector

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Rakuten
(Worldwide)

 

Rugged Ridge

 

 
15. Hood Deflector

- Rugged Ridge 11348.02 Matte Black Bug Deflector

- My first hood deflector took so many hits (and I’m not talking about bugs but branches and flying debris) that it convinced me I couldn’t hit the trail anymore without having that extra level of armor. It’s lightweight and less than $100. No drilling, direct fit.

- Added weight: 2.2 lbs.

Hood Deflector Wrangler JK

 
     

Rigid Light Bar Mount 20 inch

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Rough Country
(Worldwide)

 

 
16. Rigid Light Bar + Hood Mount

- Rough Country 20-inch LED Hood Mount #70210 + Rigid E-Series 20 inch light bar #12021

- Unbreakable polycarbonate lens (can take several hits in the bush).

- 8400 lumens.

- Light bar = 8.93 lbs + mount = 2.0 lbs.

- Addedweight: 10.93 lbs.

 

 
     

Pods Led Lights

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

 

 
17. Led Light Pods

- Lightfox 4’’ Pods Lights

- Rotate them on their mount to widen the field of view on the trail. See ditches and wildlife.

- 1800 lumens.

- Affordable (less than $40 for a pair).

- Added weight: 1.0 lbs.

 

 
     

Xprite Fog Lights Red Halo

Difference JK Factory Fog Lights and Xprite Halo

 

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Newegg
(Worldwide)

 

 
18. Fog Lights Red Halo

- Xprite FL-R4IN-60W-VARIATION

- A major improvement compared to stock fog lights.

- Make yourself more visible in the wilderness for logging trucks and other vehicles.

- 2400 lumens.

- Added weight: 0.25 lbs.

Red Halo Fog Light

 
     

Mopar Cold Air Intake Jeep JK

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

MoparOnlineParts
(Worldwide)

 

 
19. Cold Air Intake

- Mopar 77070052 Cold Air Intake

- Get additional horsepower and more torque.

- Cooler air inside the manifold.

- Direct fit for any JK 2-Doors or JKU Unlimited with Pentastar V6

- Added weight: 3.0 lbs.

 

 
     

Airaid Engine Body Spacer Wrangler JK

Throttle Body Spacer

 

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

 

 
20. Throttle Body Spacer

- Airaid PowerAid Throttle Body Spacer 300-637

- Creates a high-velocity air-intake tornado and gives your Pentastar V6 engine more low-end punch.

- Increased throttle response when you need it on the trail.

- A cheap and easy trick to get more air going through the manifold.

- Direct-fit installation.

- Added weight: 0.43 lbs.

Air Flow

 
     

Borla Exhaust System JK

 

Borla Exhaust Wrangler JK

 

Extreme Terrain
(Canada - USA)

Carid
(USA)

Quadratec
(Worldwide)

 

 
21. Borla Exhaust System

- BORLA Exhaust System 11818

- Gets rid of burnt gases faster and helps the engine work better.

- Increases airflow capacity by up to 40% compared to the stock exhaust system. It’s a genuine performance system.

- Sturdy clamps for hardcore trail driving.

- Quiet (moderate growling sound).

- Offered with a black tail pipe too (if you prefer that color)

- Added weight: 5.2 lbs.

 

 
Other installed accessories

 

CB Radio SSB

Shower WaterPort

Phone Booster

2 x 1.75G Rotopax

 

 
   

SSB CB Radio Jeep Expedition

 

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)
Rakuten
(Worldwide)

Newegg
(Worldwide)

 

 

1. Bearcat Uniden CB Radio SSB

- 980SSB - 7 Color Display

- 300% more powerful compared to a classic CB Radio (12 Watts instead of 4 Watts).

- SSB channels are frequently used in Yukon (Canada) with a communication range up to 10 miles / 16 km

- No Ham Radio license required.

- NOAA weather alert activated. It's my only way to get the weather forecast.

- An extra layer of communication when it comes to ask for help on the trail.

- Added weight: 7.0 lbs (including side seat Quadratec CB mount).

 

 
   

WeBoost Jeep Wrangler JK Phone Booster

 

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Newegg.com
(Worldwide)

 

2. WeBoost Phone Signal Booster

- 50 dB Gain extends the range of my cell phone by up to 15 miles (22 km).

- I constantly use that booster. Even one bar on my cell phone for only 1 minute makes a huge difference for me. I can read news or receive/send an important email or text message.

- People always ask me about that odd-shaped antenna behind my Jeep. Well, it's a WeBoost 4G Long Haul Truck Version. It helps me to get phone and internet service when nobody else can. Want to learn more about it? I wrote an article about it: Best Phone Booster 4x4 Expedition

- Added weight: 4.0 lbs.

 
     

Hitch Mount Shower Tank Wrangler JK

 

TheWaterPort
(Worldwide)

 
3. The WaterPort Shower

- Pressurized water (only requires a small bike pump).

- 3.3 Gallons of water (enough for two showers on the trail).

- Pour hot water from the tow full coffee pots and get a hot shower.

- Added weight: 7.5 lbs.

Portable Shower Jeep Wrangler

 
     

Two Rotopax 1.75 Gallons

Amazon.ca
(Canada)

Amazon.com
(USA)

Rakuten
(Worldwide)

 

 
4. Rotopax 1.75G Fuel Cans

- 3.5 Gallons of Fuel (13.2L)

- Extends mileage of about 60 miles / 100 km (on the trail). It's often a lifesaver in my case.

- Compact : 13.5 x 15 x 3.5 inches.

- Added weight: 6.8 lbs (29.0 lbs when full of gasoline).

Rotopax 1.75G Wrangler JK Tire Carrier

 


Decrease weight of a Jeep Wrangler

 

How to reduce the weight of your Wrangler JK

Added net weight: 536.71 lbs (compared to the initial factory Wrangler JK)

500 pounds may look like quite a heavy load to carry on the trail, but you can easily get rid of 200 lbs if you do like me:

1. Remove the back seat (-70 lbs)

2. Remove two rear cargo mats (-5 lbs)

3. Replace hardtop with a soft-top (-100 lbs to -125 lbs, depending on if your soft has a frame or is frameless)

4. Only two lug nuts instead of five for the spare wheel (-1 lbs)

5. Remove rear seat belts (-2 lbs)

6. Replace your windshield with a lighter one like PPR Industries (-10 lbs to -12 lbs)

7. Lose 10 pounds. Yes. I’m sure you need to anyway. (-10 lbs)

---

Total weight reduction: 200 lbs to 225 lbs

Want to drop more weight? I wrote an article about that: How to reduce the weight of your Jeep