KEEP YOUR JK

Part 1: AEV bumpers and tire car­rier

Four Wheeler - - Contents - By Sean P. Hol­man ed­i­tor@fourwheeler.com Pho­tos: Sean P. Hol­man

Part 1: bumpers and tire car­rier

JUST BE­CAUSE THE JL WRAN­GLER LAUNCHED AND is the shiny new ob­ject in the Jeep world, it doesn’t mean that your JK Wran­gler has sud­denly be­come ir­rel­e­vant or less ca­pa­ble than it was yes­ter­day. For those of you with a JK that are con­tem­plat­ing a JL, or for those in the used JK mar­ket, you just might find that some fresh, qual­ity parts to keep it in­ter­est­ing and rel­e­vant are all your JK needs, es­pe­cially if you aren’t start­ing your buildup from scratch.

We de­cided to take a ’12 Wran­gler that was mod­i­fied back in 2011 and freshen up some parts to give it a look and func­tion that is more in line with to­day’s builds, while also adding ad­di­tional ca­pa­bil­ity for car­ry­ing our gear in the back­coun­try. For the first seg­ment of our JK re­dux, we turned to Amer­i­can Ex­pe­di­tion Ve­hi­cles and its high-qual­ity and uber-func­tional parts.

Amer­i­can Ex­pe­di­tion Ve­hi­cles (AEV) first hit the scene in the mid-’90s, and the com­pany is known for such suc­cess­ful prod­ucts as the TJ Brute, the JK Brute, and a whole slew of Oe-qual­ity up­grades for Jeeps, Rams, and now even Chevy trucks. Per­haps the com­pany’s most com­plete prod­uct line is for the JK Wran­gler.

We’ve al­ways ad­mired the unique­ness and de­sign of AEV’S bumpers. Take the rear bumper for ex­am­ple, which is con­structed from 3⁄8-inch plate steel and heavy-wall tube and has room to carry up to a 40-inch tire, ra­dio an­tenna, backup light, sand flag, Pull-pal, Hi-lift jack, full­size shovel, AEV splash guards, in­te­grated 5-gal­lon wa­ter tanks, and even a 10-gal­lon fuel caddy. All of this will mount within the foot­print of the one-mo­tion swing-out tire car­rier that al­lows the unit to open in sync with the tail­gate. Best of all, the ac­ces­sories and gear qui­etly in­te­grate with the bumper and car­rier and don’t make it look

like you are go­ing on an ex­pe­di­tion on your com­mute to the of­fice. The AEV rear bumper and tire car­rier are de­signed to be used sep­a­rately or to­gether, and the tire car­rier can even be used on the JK’S stock bumper.

AEV’S Premium Front Bumper is unique to the in­dus­try thanks to stamped-steel con­struc­tion, and it fol­lows the body lines of a fully fend­ered JK, as if it was in­tended to come from Jeep that way. Pro­tec­tion comes from a grille and ra­di­a­tor guard, with an op­tional lower skid­plate. Stain­less steel mesh grilles add style (and will match the mesh grilles on the AEV Heat Re­duc­tion Hood), while an op­tional winch mount and stan­dard 1⁄2-inch-thick chas­sis­mounted re­cov­ery points en­sure you can get your­self, or a friend, out of trou­ble. A hoop­less ver­sion is also avail­able, and all front bumpers have a re­in­forced area that makes them Hilift jack com­pat­i­ble.

All AEV’S metal parts are de­signed with OE qual­ity and dura­bil­ity in mind, and they’re proudly made in the USA. Both the front and rear bumpers go through a two-stage paint process that starts with an E-coat process and ends in an at­trac­tive and durable tex­tured polyester black pow­der­coat fin­ish that matches the tex­ture on the non-painted fac­tory flares.

For our in­stall we re­turned to our lo­cal wheel­ing ex­perts, Amer­i­can Over­land Ex­pe­di­tion (AOE) in La­guna Niguel, Cal­i­for­nia. AOE has been ser­vic­ing the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia area for more than a decade and is known for sup­port­ing wheel­ers who en­joy self-suf­fi­cient ex­plo­ration of the back­coun­try. Our kind of shop!

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22. Here are all the parts and pieces of the AEV Rear Bumper/tire Car­rier, as well as the wa­ter tanks and op­tional pump kit.3. We be­gan the in­stall by shim­ming the spin­dle hous­ing to cor­rect for any frame vari­ance and to square the car­rier to the Jeep.4. Note the high-qual­ity spi­ral-cut bronze bush­ings and the de­sign of the tire car­rier.

55. Next, we care­fully in­stalled the spi­ral-cut bronze bush­ings into the spin­dle hous­ing.6. Af­ter test-fit­ting the tire car­rier, the frame was drilled so we could lock the spin­dle hous­ing in place.7. Be­fore in­stalling the bumper and tail­gate link­age we re­moved the tail­gate ex­hauster and trimmed it ac­cord­ing to AEV’S de­tailed in­struc­tions.8. Af­ter se­cur­ing the spin­dle bracket to the frame with the sup­plied hard­ware, we lifted the rear bumper into place.

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81. We be­gan the in­stall by re­mov­ing the ex­ist­ing front and rear bumpers from our Wran­gler.

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