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2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited

A Wrangler Rubicon Built For The Toughest Trails

Seder Burns
Jun 30, 2015
Photographers: Seder Burns
The small city of Moab, Utah, is most famous for its proximity to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. That is, unless you are a Jeeper, which in that case you know it for its world-renowned off-road trails and the annual Easter Jeep Safari, which is put on by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers. With a population just over 5,000, Moab swells with Jeeps and people during the annual nine-day event. An estimated 1,500 Jeeps were in attendance this year, and the main street of the event is a virtual nonstop parade of every Jeep imaginable.
There are an incredible number of trails to meet everyone's vehicle and experience level. The trails are all rated on a 10-point system, with 1 being the easiest. Leave your Camry at home because even trails rated at 1 call for a vehicle with high ground clearance. Trails rated 7 and above require front and rear locking differentials, tires of at least 33 inches, high ground clearance, and tow hooks. A winch is suggested, and it is cautioned that mechanical or body damage is likely. Most of the trails have multiple lines you can take, allowing you to avoid some of the more challenging terrain if your vehicle, or you, are not up to the challenge.
Photo 2/22   |   2014 Jeep Wrangler Icon Shocks
Don't worry though, if you do break down, we don't think you could find a more eager or qualified group to help. During one long day out on Metal Masher, an aptly named trail rated as a 6, we saw vehicles with various amounts of damage, including a broken shock mount, a broken U-joint, a broken axleshaft, and a loose leaf spring. All received plenty of help to get them back on the trail. Our ride was a very-well-equipped '14 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited. Straight from the Toledo factory, the Rubicon is a respectable trail rig with Dana 44 axles front and rear, electronically locking differentials, and a heavy-duty transfer case. If you really want to take the harder lines on the tough trails, even a Rubicon will require a more specialized setup. Given that was our intent, our rig was outfitted with a 4-inch Skyjacker lift, 17x9-inch Method Race Wheels, 37x12.5-inch General Grappler tires, Currie Anti Rock Sway Bars, and a PSC hydraulic-assist steering kit. Stuffed inside the Factory Dana 44 axles are G2 axle shafts and 5.13:1 gears. Everything worked great together on the trail to insure that we didn't need to use the Warn Zeon winch, Bubba Rope, or the Hi-Lift jack we had on board.
Rubicon JK Unlimiteds come with a standard 3.6L V-6 putting out 285 hp. Our JK has a few extras such as a Magnaflow exhaust, K&N intake, and a SuperChip tuned on level 2 to help increase torque and horsepower. This tuner also allowed us to lock the differential quickly with just a push of a button. It also displayed the (sometimes alarming) angles of the Jeep.
Photo 3/22   |   2014 Jeep Wrangler Rear Passenger Side
Preventing us from falling out onto the trails was a set of Body Armor Trail Doors. It was great to experience the warm weather through these open half doors, and it was amazing how much better the view of the trails was without the stock doors. When travelling in a convoy, you are going to eat some dust along the roads leading to and from the trials. The fine dust in Moab is unlike any we've experienced before. Fortunately, we had a BedRug floor liner in the front and BedTred in the back which allowed us to easily wash out the dust with just a hose.
The views from the trails were incredible. The snowcapped La Sal Mountains were readily viewable from the Fins and Things trail. This trail is only rated as a 4, but it was so much fun and offered such a diverse range of terrain that we drove it three times—one of which was at night! After two nights of wheeling, we can tell you that our PIAA RF Series lightbars and our JW Speaker headlights aren't just decorative—They provided ample light on the trails. Taking on Fins and Things at night was a radically different experience than during the day. It was awesome!
The trip was a really fantastic journey. There was really a great camaraderie among the participants. From little kids to grandparents, people of all ages were on the trails. Off-roading is a great family activity and can be done by just about anyone. There were even some non-Jeeps in the mix to keep things fresh.
Photo 4/22   |   2014 Jeep Wrangler Driving In River
Our Jeep proved itself on some really challenging trails and made it through shiny side up. With next year being the 50th anniversary of the Safari, you can be sure that it will be the biggest ever! Be sure to book your hotel soon—We've already booked ours.
2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
Engine: 3.6L V-6
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Horsepower: 285
Torque: 260 lb-ft
Suspension: 4-inch Skyjacker lift kit with ICON shocks and a Currie Anti-Rock swaybar
Tires: 37x12.50R17 General Grabber
Wheels: 17x9-inch Method Double Standard