ADDICTED TO DIRT: PART 3
The Value of Tube Doors and a Security Compartment
Open top, no-door vehicular trail riding is an experience that can’t be really spoken or written about accurately, so its best to enjoy it first-hand to gain a sense of true off-roading. As the build on our friend Zoran’s 2015 Jeep JK progressed, so did our anticipation of what was to come next.
In previous installments, we began by beefing up the suspension, tires and wheels. We also fortified recovery points and prepped for a future winch system. Now we turn our attention to adding hardware that will give Zoran a “pride of ownership.”
We know this vehicle can handle the trails as Zoran has gleefully brought his polished Jeep JK out on many runs in the mountains. These rides also revealed some shortcomings, and it was finally time to deal with this new list of 'wants'.
The first desire was to deal with the factory running boards that did nothing for protection against the elements and even rubbed against the tires at full stuff. Powder-coated running boards from Aries Automotive were the order of the day (that also matched the bumpers). The running boards easily bolt into the factory locations and take less than an hour to install with simple hand tools – perfect.
The other area of annoyance are the full doors. If you are lucky enough to not reside in BC, where a lack of doors on any vehicle in which they were originally equipped is illegal, then we envy you. Nevertheless, we ordered a set of quality tube doors from Aries Automotive, which were shipped with the same order as the running boards. We also ordered a set of Rugged Ridge factory mirrors for the new tube doors, so we wouldn’t have to swap mirrors every season when the other doors went back on. Again, here in BC, vehicles are required by law to have two rear view mirrors, which we understand. It’s just too bad that Aries Automotive doesn’t include a set with its tube doors.
The install is super simple and only requires a Torx bit, which you should already have if you own a Jeep. In the event you never taken your doors off in the past, expect to spend some time (and the use of some penetrating lube) getting them off. Having a buddy to assist you is a good idea as well.
With the top down and tube doors, the Jeep JK platform doesn’t leave a whole lot of space to secure valuables. We ordered a rear close out kit – again from Aries Automotive – so Zoran could keep his ‘speedo and tanning oil safely stowed away from prying eyes’. The kit includes closeout gates, which still allow the rear seats to be folded down for extra cargo space while keeping the rear trunk compartment secure. The kit also allows a hard or soft top to be install over it so there’s no need to be swapping it in and out during the year depending on what top was on.
Some tweaking and tuning of the brackets was required to get a proper fit and to be able to use the included locks and keys. One of our gripes was that the installation instructions could use some better illustrations to show the placement of the brackets as we had to take a few stabs at it. Nonetheless, we liked the rubber seals that keep rain or moisture out of the trunk area, as well as the top deck that’s strong enough to place larger items like a cooler on top.
Off-roading can be enjoyed in just about anything with the proper tires, and we have the fire-red Jeep JK ready for whatever may come over the horizon, which is what it’s all about. Some personal items to provide more comfort and security are always money well spent when the funds allow. Choosing additional gear can become a choice of “who, what, when, where, why, and how much,” but by sticking with aftermarket products that are well engineered always trumps “flashy” and “new” any time. We chose Aries Automotive for this install because the items are easy to procure, they are well made, and have been around for quite a while with no signs of leaving the market any time soon. They are simple to work with, just like us!