The Overland Jeep – Plans For 2016

the VagabondExpedition Overlanding Jeep Wrangler - late 2015

I’ve mentioned before, that one of the wonderful things about a Jeep is the fact they are so incredibly customizable. If you want a rock crawling monster rig, it’s easy to build in that direction. If you want a mudding machine, no problem. And if you’re after something along the line of the VagabondExpedition Overland Jeep for long distance exploring, it’s easily obtained too.

So, what’s on my list of Overland Jeep plans for the New Year? After all, doing a few upgrades on the Jeep keeps me in check from buying a new vehicle, so really a few mods is saving me money in the long run, or at least that’s how I’ll justify it for the time being.

Already purchased/waiting to install:

Limb risers – I’ve actually had them on order for a while, and they finally arrived over Christmas holidays. I only paid $3.00 for them and hopefully they’ll help keep me from getting a broken windshield on those tight trails!

Rock lights – I do have lights all around the Jeep, but those function more like area lights as they are up high, so I’ve been considering rock lights for a while to light up more of the underside of the jeep to see where my wheels are during night trail exploring -although I don’t do much of that currently. A two-for-one deal on KC Cyclone lights had me buy a few of these to strategically place under the Jeep once it warms up outside.

Under hood light – I’ll have a couple of left over lights from what I purchased for rock lights, so at least one will go under the hood for any night-time access requirements. I have no idea why Jeep doesn’t include one here as it is.

More fuel and water storage – I’ve got two more 2 gallon fuel Rotopax containers sitting around, and two more 2 gallon water containers too. I also have half of the required mounting brackets, so I’ve ordered an additional bracket. These will need to go on the roof and I’ll see about moving my traction plates to the rear on the spare tire. I carry a ‘jug’ of windshield washer fluid in the rear of the Jeep and am thinking that one of my spare water Rotopax containers will be converted to washer fluid. I’d then have capacity for 6 gallons of fresh drinking water on board, 6 gallons of extra fuel and 2 gallons of washer fluid.
jeep rotopax running water

Important Must-Haves:

Rear suspension upgrade – When the Jeep is loaded for a weekend -or longer – I’m still sagging in the rear. Not as badly as my old worn out ProComp suspension, but it still sags. I’ve been researching a few options – one being the Arb Old Man Emu 4″ heavy springs, another idea is the JKS adjustable pro spacer and I can keep my existing springs. I’d like to get something figured out ‘sooner than later’ so I can benefit from the upgrade over the 2016 season.

Tires – my Dunlop Fierce Attitude tires were a good deal when I bought them, and with over 40,000km now on them I feel that they have served me well. A friend just bought BFG KO2’s and they look like a nicer all around tire. The Dunlop tires just don’t give me that comfortable feeling on icy roads, so it’s time to change. Being this late into the 2015-2016 winter season, I’ll probably push these tires until fall of 2016 and upgrade then.

Other Stuff:

A-Pillar Brackets – I have brackets, and Rigid Dually D2 lights, but they are forward facing, with no option to adjust the angle. I’d really like these lights to angle to the front left and right of the Jeep. New brackets will be required.
satellite antenna relocation

Exterior camera mounts – I do have a few clamps for the GoPro cameras so that might be good enough, but I’ve been thinking of creating a mounting point on the driver’s side rear view mirror, and on the rear of the Gobi roof rack.

Rock Rails – the plastic side steps on your factory Jeep are quite useful – but they don’t offer up much protection. Bump these things too hard and you’ll end up with body damage. I had one run in 2015 where I was hung up on the side step and that had me worried – it also has me picking and choosing trails quite differently than others. Smittybilt had a reasonably priced rail system I’d like to consider, but will need to research other options too.

Front Bumper – I’m stuck trying to decide between the ARB full width, the AEV, and the Smittybilt Atlas. I like full width bumpers and want clean tie ins to factory fender flares.

Winch – dependant on when and if I do that front bumper upgrade. I know Warn winches are probably “the best”, but for the price difference, I’m thinking about a Smittybilt Gen 2 X20 system with synthetic winch cable.

Dual Battery – the Jeep currently is running a basic dual battery system, but it’s not under the hood. I have a secondary battery in the back of the Jeep for auxiliary devices when parked. I really should have just invested in a proper dual battery system under the hood. Genesis Off Road has a nice drop in system, or I can take a more DIY approach. Decisions!

Solar Input – my security system and various battery chargers use a lot of power. I have installed a ‘shore power’ and battery maintainer system, but it is dependent on having access to 120v plug-ins. I’d like to modify the system to accept solar input and have a ‘decent’ solar panel to keep things topped up when ‘off the grid’.

Maybe Items:

Fridge – I love the idea of having a fridge on board. No more coolers and ice to deal with. But a fridge takes up so much space, and will require a dual battery system (just due to my other power requirements as well).

Rear view camera – I can’t decide if I should tie into factory display system, go with a secondary monitor (and maybe run the rear view camera full-time), or even try one of those rear view mirror monitors. Anyone have any great ideas?

Snorkel – I really try to avoid the water after a not so pleasant experience a couple of years ago, so the snorkel isn’t high on the priority list -but it would function for extra piece of mind when in the water. The AEV snorkel will be the must have if and when I do this modification.

New Roof Rack – there isn’t anything wrong with the Gobi, and I have no paint issues yet after three years. A new roof rack isn’t high on the task list, but I am looking at the FrontRunner Slimline II Roof Rack as an option.

What’s on your list? Any comments and suggestions on my ideas above? Anything I’ve missed that you’d think is a “must have” for an overland capable Jeep? I’d be happy to have some input!

4 thoughts on “The Overland Jeep – Plans For 2016”

  1. Erik says:

    $3 limb risers? Do tell. Also looking forward to your noco plug write up

    1. ej says:

      My $3 limb risers are deceiving… They are the Smitybilt limb risers (on Amazon here). They cost me $3 as I had a gift card given to me from a local off road club on a fall trail run. So, they did cost more, but really only $3 out of pocket… and they finally arrived after several months waiting. I’ll need to do some modifying to get them to fit to the roof rack, but I’m eager to get them installed.

  2. Robert Yates says:

    I have the OME 2+ Heavy lift, and I am very impressed with it, whether loaded or not, Yes I have the Smit. Limb Lifters, after two windshields.The rear view camera setup I did for about Thirty dollars on Amazon, the TV is mounted on my overhead storage box, in between the doors , I am going to change the holder to a flatter one from Amazon.The Camera is on a bracket mounted looking through the spare tire, my trasharoo hangs just low enough to use it…When you go for your winch,hit up Rick from Quadratec, he got me on mine and my Daughter’s too on her winch..(on the Wrangler Forum)

  3. Robert Yates says:

    I forgot the Rock lights, I am going to use these,LEDENET® 5M Double Row 600LEDs SMD 5050 LED Flexible Strip Lighting DC 12V Cold Cool White .on Amazon. I have a friend who used these and they work great and draw little amps, and can be cut to fit anywhere….

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