New Toad! 2016 Jeep Rubicon

We recently traded in our Jeep Grand Cherokee and bought a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (JKU) Rubicon as our new toad. We did this so we could start doing some off-roading and tent camping while in remote areas.

I had spent the last couple of years building up a 2010 Toyota 4Runner, but recently realized how limited in space it is for long-distance trips with a family of four + two dogs. Even just an overnight trip was maxing out the capacity of the roof rack and internal storage. We debated buying an off-road trailer, but in the end we figured it would be more fun (comfortable!) to take the motorhome to neat parts of the country and explore trails in the jeep from there. The 4runner could not be towed behind our motorhome without the use of a dolly or trailer, which I didn’t want to mess with for multiple reasons.

We went with a 2016 JKU Rubicon, because it has front and back locking differentials as well as Dana 44 axles and a sway bar that disconnects electronically. It’s a super capable platform for building up a really good off-road rig. And wow, so many aftermarket parts available to ship instantly, as opposed to the made-to-order 4Runner parts that take an eternity to ship. Much cheaper than 4Runner parts also.

I swapped our Air Force One brake system from the Grand Cherokee to the Wrangler. Not real hard, thanks to etrailer YouTube videos, but very time consuming. I spent about 3 days on it.

What’s neat is that Roadmaster makes different tow bar ends that attach directly to off-road bumpers (no baseplate needed), so I found a Smittybilt bumper that has two shackle mounts on each side, which is perfect for the tow bar and safety chain connections.

I mounted the airline connector, taillight wiring connector, and emergency breakaway cable on top of the bumper, recessed a little bit, so that they are all protected while going off road on trails.

Barricade rock sliders installed:

We then had the Jeep lifted about 2.5″ with a Teraflex lift kit, and put Nitto Trail Grappler tires on (285/75R17).

8″ Hi lo hitch receiver installed so that the tow bar is level:

The night before our road trip up north, we were up until 12:30 AM installing the roof rack so that we would have enough storage capacity while traveling without the RV. Talk about waiting until the last minute!


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