KEEP YOUR JK
Part 1: AEV bumpers and tire carrier
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!
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.
81. We began the install by removing the existing front and rear bumpers from our Wrangler.