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Build or Buy: Part 3

Since the previous installment in this series the local dealership and their contracted modification company put forth extra effort to fix the missing or inadequate mods on my husband’s Jeep. Special thanks to Steve Hardy at Fort Collins Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep, who researched the issues provided to him and who worked out a reasonable solution with Preston at RMT/VanWorks.

I’ve been driving hub’s Jeep all week instead of mine (as mine doesn’t currently have a front bumper – more deets on that surprise will be coming soon!). Here’s a list of what the dealership added or fixed to make this Jeep more “trail ready” as sold:

- High Steer Kit (all lifts 3.5” and greater should have a high steer kit installed. This was not done initially which perhaps contributed to the loose steering issue. High steer kits "maintain steering geometry at the correct angles for superior highway drivability").

- JKS Quicker Disconnects (sway bar quick disconnects that have locking pins to keep them on. We purchased and had these installed ourselves but Jeep/Mopar did reimburse us since their sway bar connector fell partially off more than once, and then fell off completely).

- Hi-lift jack mount (when a Jeep is sold lifted but without a hi-lift it wouldn’t do anyone much good in a situation where a jack is needed. We’d purchased the jack ourselves but the dealer mounted it – and impressively I might add. I’ve never seen a jack mounted in front of the driver’s side door, but it doesn’t block visibility at all, it’s solid, and best of all the lock is keyed to hub’s Jeep key. Very cool! If you’re interested in this mount, check it out here).

- Hyline Offroad front inner fender liners (one issue to be aware of when purchasing after market fender liners is that many don’t cover the hole behind the front wheel where dirt/salt/etc. can get in and rust the body of your Jeep. Hub found these liners that cover the whole front wheel area and the dealer was agreeable to obtaining and installing those. They fit, they’re quiet, and they work – good job!).

- Missing push nuts to secure firewall insulation were installed.

The lesson here for dealers is do it right the first time! The lesson here for buyers is check an already-modified rig very carefully and have it double checked by a trusted Jeep friend or mechanic who knows their stuff – before purchase! If it’s sold as “trail ready,” make sure all the necessities are installed so you don’t run into issues after you lay out the dough.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe on the trails!

Update, August 2017: for a year we've fought with our bought rig like a partner in a dysfunctional relationship. Read more in the final conclusion with evidence to prove that buying a dealer-modified Jeep with warranty is actually way costlier than buying a stock vehicle and building it yourself – plus you run a big safety risk by driving cheap dealer mods.

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