2012 Jeep Wrangler: Light Off Roading
October 22, 2012
Did about 25 miles of light off roading near Big Bear this weekend in the Wrangler. No rock crawling. No super steep inclines. Lots of decomposed granite roads and lots of small embedded rocks. Rough, but not rough enough to crawl.
Following are a few observations:
- The Mopar Stage 3 kit, despite its Fox shocks, is better at crawling than at actually moving. Perhaps you've heard the old expression, "the faster you go, the smoother it gets." Not so in this Wrangler where, by and large, the faster you go, the more Excedrin you need.
- It just never really feels compliant. The spring rates feel too high and after an hour of bouncing over rocks and waterbars, I'd had enough. Crawling, yes. Flying, no.
- Regular driving like this demonstrates the need for lower axle ratios nearly as much as crawling. Getting the Wrangler moving on steep hills gives the clutch an unnecessary workout. I ended up using low range on terrain that didn't demand it just to preserve the clutch. This means you find yourself in fourth gear at 20 mph, which is silly.
- It's tough. I ended up giving the thing a pretty good pounding in this little test and it didn't care. Drives just like it did before, which it should with these mods.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor