Meet Rubi Our New Jeep

Fall is in the air in Wisconsin, the temperatures at night are already reaching down in the 40’s at night and the days sometimes not breaking 70’s.  We have been in Wisconsin now since the first part of April and summer has sped by being new grandparents for the first time and Jason putting in his 25% of the year at the university.  We got out on the trails at the Apple Valley Farm event this summer and even those small trails provided us with some challenges.  This weekend now we head out for our third year and will be making our way back to Florida for the winter.

Since we purchased our 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Backcountry Edition in February we have fallen in love with the new hobby of off-road use.  We have had a chance to get out on two different offroad parks.  The Jeep was pretty decent on those trails.  The Backcountry edition was an upper mid-range vehicle, having some Sahara like features and some Rubicon features.  We found our limits were only the basic green trails and if we wanted to do anything more demanding we would be pretty limited, mostly by the clearance and the lack of any dedicated differential lockers.

There are a number of good shops in the Minneapolis area that could have done some modifications, but we found Rubi the “Billet Silver Metallic” gray 2017 Rubicon JK Wrangler Unlimited on a lot.  Ready-made with what we wanted to add to our smaller white Jeep all sitting there ready to go.  The sales transaction was better than we could imagine with our trade-in, so it seemed like a no brainer.  Later we found out that it had been sitting on the lot for eight months not selling, it was just not a build someone in Minnesota needs for winter commuting in the metro.

Before! We purchased our rig from Apple Jeep in Shakopee, MN, and they were great to work with on sales and warranty. The previous owner had a number of upgrades on the rig and some were good and bad. The number one issue we wanted to fix was the lack of a full-size spare tire. Barb also needed to have some steps added to have even a remote chance of getting into this lifted rig.

We found out from our salesmen that the rig “has never seen dirt” and that the previous owner only wanted the great look.  He had changed 17″ wheels with 16″ and upgraded the profile to 34″ tires riding on Teraflex Sport and Fox lift kit, added a small front bumper with a no-name winch that was not even wired into the electrical system and deleted the spare tire from the tailgate.  There were just a number of this cosmetic sort of things that had to be tightened up.  Even the FM radio antenna was cosmetic and useless.

To flat tow behind our motorhome we added back in an M&G Engineering Brake kit with the emergency break-away tank system for emergency braking. Jason did most of the work on that except for the actual changing out of the Jeep’s components to interface the system with the factory brakes, we had Dan’s Auto Center in Baldwin, WI, do that work for us and they did a great job.  Otherwise, Jason did the remainder of the work either in our RV site or at his dad’s shop with his help.  We had to also add the wiring harness to interface the Jeep’s brake and turn signals with the motorhome.  On our front bumper, we will be connecting up our Blue Ox tow bars via the D-rings to the bumper, safety cables wrapped around the frame, the airline for the brakes with the emergency brake-away cable (like used on a 5th wheel) and the six-way connector for the lights.

After!  Rubi is ready to go out on some trails, she is ready to find some mud and rocks!

Built-Out Material Lists

The Amazon links of the parts we used are below, we are not affiliated and do not get any commissions on these links.  These are the parts that we used to accomplish our build on a 2017 JKU Rubicon, these may or may not be the right parts for you as I have no idea what was actually factory stock or not given the nature of the previous owner’s projects on the rig.

Flat-Towing Behind Motorhome

Better and Safer Jeep Living

Spare Tire / Rear Bumper Relocation

We “flat tow” the Jeep. We are no longer using the Blue Ox “plate” on this Jeep and are using the Blue Ox “D-ring” option instead. From the left to the right, we have an air brake connection to drive the Jeep brakes from our motorhome’s air brake system to the right of the wench is the breakaway cable that deploys the air tank and locks up the brakes in an emergency and then is the six-way lighting plug.