Jeep Upgrade Mistake #1 - Reading Too Many "Top 10 Things To Add To Your Jeep" Blog Posts:
A.K.A. Advertisements For Crap You Probably Don't Really Need.
I scoured the internet and read so many Top 10, Top 8 and Top 5 things you must add to your Jeep articles that eventually I found the commonality in them and set about doing them. In and of itself that is not a bad place to start. But without proper information, many of those upgrades quickly went to the parts pile because they were wrong for what I was doing. Or wrong for the style of 4 Wheeling I thought I was going to do. It also didn't help that after exploration and time on the trail, my style of 4 Wheeling changed.
- Cool air intake: Needs a tune and must be enclosed if you are going to wheel in the desert.
- Multiple sets of wrong tires and rims: Build for height and clearance if you are going to wheel.
- Doorless footpegs: I will still probably use these eventually but I went with tube doors.
- Doorless Mirrors: Shook so much they were pretty much worthless and the tube doors came with great functional mirrors.
- Soft top, bimini top, bikini top and many more......
Gather information, yes. My advise is to walk before you run about modifying and changing your Jeep or 4 Wheel Drive vehicle.
Jeep Upgrade Mistake #2 - I didn't find a Trusted Local 4 Wheel Drive Shop
I did not find a trusted local shop until I had made substantial amounts of mods on my own. I would have saved a lot of time and money if I had talked to a local 4 wheel drive mechanic about the things I wanted to do to my Jeep.
Through Facebook group referrals I found Jon Rauch of Bullpen Garage. I have had multiple conversations with Jon. He has since done several upgrades and mods on my Jeep. He has also assisted in information that kept me from making bad upgrades and adding to my pile of modification mistakes. Jon is not pushy or trying to sell me anything. I appreciate his approach to upgrades being a personal thing and no two 4 Wheelers are exactly alike.
I have found his commitment to quality in the experience and his work to be better than any other auto upgrade or repair professional locally. Jon goes out of his way to do it right and serve his clients.
John has saved me a lot of grief in putting the wrong upgrades on my jeep. For example my initial thoughts were to go super high with my lift. John suggested I go with a 2.5" lift and larger tires to get to my desired height. If I had gone higher the daily driver part of my ride would have been frustrating and I probably would have lowered it and paid twice. Just one example of getting a better desired result by using a trusted local shop.
Jeep Upgrade Mistake #3 - Changing How I Use My Jeep
As I said before, when I began, my intentions and attitudes about 4 Wheeling were different than they are now. When I started, I was more of a destination 4 Wheeling guy. Getting to a desired location was more important that how you got there.
Today, it is more important to me, how we crawled, climbed or muddled our way there, than where we end up. If I can do both that's great. The ride is the important thing.
The problem with changing my strategy was that it changes how you upgrade your ride. A cross country setup is a lot different than setting up as a crawler. You can do both with a hybrid setup but it will not be great in either type of wheeling. This may be an unavoidable upgrade dilemma in that until you wheel for a while, you will not know what type of wheeling you like best.
Jeep Upgrade Mistake #4 - Listening To Forum Advice
One thing I know for sure is that 4 wheelers rarely agree on anything when it comes to upgrades. I have spent countless hours reading reviews and opinions about a modification only to run in circles and end up more frustrated than when I began. Refer back to Mistake #2 and find one or more trusted professionals that will give you input. Face it, at some point we were all Jeep or 4 wheel drive newbies. I will continue to read the forums but I will not take "advice" on the forum platforms as seriously as I once did. If you look hard enough and long enough you will find some helpful nuggets.
Jeep Upgrade Mistake #5 - Waiting WAY Too Long To Drive a Jeep Again
I began 4 wheeling many years ago in an older Jeep XJ(Cherokee). At that point it was simply getting to camping sites off the beaten path in Colorado where we lived. When the kids got older I had to let go of the XJ and move into people hauler SUV, Minivans Etc. Once the kids moved out and it was just us again, "The Blue Burro" was born and the adventure began again. The past few years we have been on some amazing wheeling/crawling trails and try to get out every few weeks year round.
The even bigger change since my earlier days is the Jeep and 4 wheel drive community. With the advancements in the internet connectivity and social media you can connect on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms to people who are as passionate about 4 wheeling as you are. Below are a few networks and platforms I connect on.
Shout Out To:
The Jeep Mafia
- Twitter.com - @thejeepmafia
- Instagram - @thejeepmafia
Arizona Jeep Wrangler Classified
Jeep Wrangler Enthusiasts
What upgrade mistakes have you made?
What other ways do you connect with 4 Wheelers & Jeepers?