Q I'm ready to add a winch to the front of my Jeep. Should I pop the big dollars for a Warn or Ramsey, or go with one of the cheapie winches I see advertised online?
A There's something to be said for quality. And if you're hanging your entire Jeep's weight from a winch going up a waterfall the last thing you want to hear is cracking plastic and bending metal. And you certainly don't want to smell fried solenoids and wiring during long, hard slogs through thick, gooey mud. If gnarly wheeling is in your future, if you do long pulls through heavy terrain like mud, snow, or rocks, or if you plan on pulling vehicles larger than your own, then we'd say going with a big name winch is a wise investment.
If you only wheel occasionally and you're just looking to stick something on the front of your Jeep in the rare occurrence you get stuck, then you should check out our story, "Affordable Winch Review" online at jpmagazine.com for some more information on winches that will set you back less than $650.
Q How can I eke a little more mileage out of my 4.0L?
A Believe it or not, you can usually make a 4.0L get mileage just as good, if not better than a 2.5L. Remember, you usually drive a 2.5L with your foot on the floor.
For starters, run a couple bottles of fuel injection cleaner through your fuel tank to rid your injectors of any deposits. Then, a cold air intake will really help flow at mid- and full-throttle and by itself can be worth 1-2 mpg. The stock 4.0L ignition doesn't need much help to light off the mixture, but it's still a good idea to check the cap, rotor, and plug condition and replace them if necessary. A good free-flowing after-cat exhaust and even a header will noticeably bump up the power and help with the mileage. Finally, if it's a Wrangler, consider replacing the factory fixed-blade fan with an electric fan. On a stock Jeep with all of the modifications listed above you could see as much as a 3mpg increase.
Q What's the best lift kit for my Jeep?
A "Whichever damn one you want." Or at least, that's usually our first thought. Whether leaf spring, coil, simple, or full mambo, you owe it to yourself to do a little research. The Web is your friend. Virtually every manufacturer is marketing its suspensions on its web sites. Pick your lift height, then pick your budget, then do your research.
Start by comparing the components included in each manufacturer's systems. You're looking for steering corrections, dropped brake lines, methods of driveshaft angle alleviation, and so on. The one with the most complete kit is usually the winner. Once you narrow down your selection to just a couple, then shoot me an e-mail, post up to the Q&A section on jpmagazine.com, or even ask at your local off-road shop.
Q Spring-over or spring-under? Which is better?
A couple years ago we were actually making fun of guys with spring-under suspension. Well, maybe not making fun. But we certainly didn't hold them in as high regard as guys running spring-over.
Our tune has significantly changed. With all of the excellent spring packs made today, we can't really see much of a need to go spring-over unless you're trying to go total junkyard. It opens up a whole can of worms with regard to steering corrections and axle wrap issues. We're fairly certain we've done our last spring-over conversion for at least the next decade.