Halley - '17 WK2 Trailhawk Overland Build

All good, it's been mentioned a few times but no photos because I haven't received it yet to install... I'll be running a Wilco Hitchgate Solo (High Clearance version) to get the spare tire and a Rotopax jerry can on the back of the vehicle.
Have you received and installed Wilco yet? If so, is rear tailgate camera usable? Do you have picture of dash screen showing backup camera angle and view?

Thanks
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
@2180miles Did you reprogram for your new tire size at all? I'm pretty new to the Cherokee game but not un-familiar with the Wrangler one so I'm curious.
Didn't reprogram, I'm almost entirely sure there isn't a way to, though I may be wrong. I've got a 1-2 mph difference going 60 so I wasn't all that concerned about it for the odometer or speedo. If you hear of a way to reprogram, let me know... dealership *might* be able to but I was under the impression they couldn't.

Hey 2180miles -one of your snow photos just popped up in my IG feed as a chief ad. I immediately thought "I know that jeep!"
Appreciate the recognition! Always cool to be featured by them.

Awesome setup, not sure if you mentioned it anywhere but what ground clearance do you have in OR2 mode? And has the lack of ground clearance ever been an issue?
Thanks BAM! I've never measured it out. There's a photo a few pages back with the new tires and the Jeep in OR2. In the times we've had it in the thick of things off-road I've definitely hit a skid plate once or twice, but never anything too bad. Coming from nearly 30" of clearance to my transfer case skid on my TJ it's definitely a different world in the WK2, but nothing that isn't manageable if I drive intelligently.


Have you received and installed Wilco yet? If so, is rear tailgate camera usable? Do you have picture of dash screen showing backup camera angle and view?

Thanks
Received and installed. I've got to get the write-up done but I have some photos I can share. Camera is usable if you're just running a tire... not great, but not useless. Once you get a Rotopax on there though it's completely useless. I'll get the photos up this coming week.
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
So the last month has been crazy, we bought a second house somewhat unexpectedly, two family members died, work was all over the place, we had our annual summer overland trip with the local club, and tried to "relax" on top of everything else. The Jeep got over 3,000 miles in August alone, and we saw some amazingly remote places and vastly starry skies. I'll do a full write-up on the recent modifications and travels soon, but for now I wanted to post this epic photo of the WK2 at a mountaintop vista on the Canadian border of New Hampshire.

Life goal = have Jeep use my photos in their marketing. These WK2s are good for more than just groceries and soccer games.



On Top of Diamond Ridge
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2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
Chief Products Lower Front Guard & Recovery Point Installation

Throughout 2017 I ran the WK2 with the OEM lower fascia. During the installation of the Hidden Winch Mount by Chief Products, I was able to trim it cleanly to fit their hawse fairlead, but some off-road trips and high snowfall made it pretty obvious that the Jeep needed a facelift to protect the front end from impending damage from rocks and other things that we’d be moving through and over. Thankfully Chief has thought this need out, and created their Lower Front Guard to protect the front end of the WK2 and its components. Due to the way their products integrate, I’d need to also replace my OEM Tow Hooks as they are not compatible when combined with the Chief Products Hidden Winch Mount and Lower Guard.

In preparation for our August trip with our local overland club, I spent an afternoon with my Jeep buddy Shaun installing these two products on the Trailhawk. Due to me already having the Hidden Winch set-up with my OEM tow hooks I was required to take off some of the parts that came with that system, but I skipped over that in the photos.

First up, artsy photos of the front of the Jeep, then the new Chief Products:



OEM Lower Fascia + Tow Hooks
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OEM vs. Chief Products
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Chief Lower Front Guard System
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Shaun and I got to work by removing the OEM Lower Fascia and front bumper. I’ve done this before to install parts so it was a familiar process, taking all of 5 minutes and requiring nothing more than a set of pliers, two sockets, and a gentle hand maneuvering the front bumper to a resting point. It took some finagling to get the factory tow hooks off the Jeep, but after we managed that it was relatively smooth sailing for the first bit of our project. Once they were removed and the Hidden Winch set-up was bolted back together, we moved towards assembling the new Chief Recovery points. These things are BEEFY and make the factory tow hooks look like children’s toys in comparison.

Comprised of three pieces of CNC cut steel and bolted together in a stack to create the Recovery Point, Chief rates these for nearly 10,000 pounds of working load strength, and a breaking point just shy of 18,000 pounds… Holy crap! I’m pretty sure the Jeep would disintegrate to dust before I hit this load amount. Add in some beautiful powder coating, and these things are as beautiful as they are robust.

One important note to point out is that upon the installation of these two products at the same time, the tow hooks attach to the Lower Guard’s chassis mounting bracket, and should therefor not be installed until that time. Unfortunately I didn’t catch this fact, so we ended up installing (and removing) the Recovery Points two or three times.




OEM Tow Hook Removal
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Front End Stripped Down
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Chief Products Recovery Point
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Corner Mounting Brackets
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Chassis Mounting Bracket + Recovery Point
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Following along with Chief’s exceptionally well-written instructions, we began by installing the corner mounting brackets to the WK2’s frame. These stick out to the driver and passenger side of the vehicle, and add rigidity behind the Lower Front Guard. From there we moved onto the (humorously final) installation of the Recovery Points with the chassis mounting brackets. From there the Center Section is ready to be attached on both sides of the chassis bracket to hang in front, awaiting more mounting bolts from the corner guards. Chief clearly lays out the tightening sequence as the final pieces of the puzzle are installed, ensuring that the Lower Front Guard is assembled and tightened appropriately. Shaun and I messed around with the idea of putting the OEM Front Fascia back on, as technically the Lower Guard is designed to work over/around the factory front end, but decided against it for the sake of aesthetics and function.



Corner + Chassis + Recovery
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Corner Guards Added
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ACC Guard Bracket
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Hidden Winch + Lower Front Guard
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As a final touch on the project I bought some ¼” edge trim from Amazon and wrapped the front lower bumper edge with it. With the fascia being removed the factory bumper edge leaves a bit of an unfinished look, but this quick $10 fix makes a world of a difference in having the bumper appear finished. It’s got a metal core and double grip edges to hold it on, making sure it’s not going anywhere once we’re on the road and trails.



1/4” Edge Trim
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1/4” Edge Trim Before vs After
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In the month after installing the Chief Lower Front Guard we put nearly 500 miles on the Jeep off-pavement on a combination of difficult mountain climbing trails, long-ignored fire roads, and high-speed well-groomed dirt roads. There were a hundred times that we crossed over terrain that would have scratched up or even torn off the factory fascia as it hung low over the front end. While Chief notes the system doesn’t raise the front approach angle, I’d point out that in an off-road circumstance I think you’d be able to get the tires much closer to an obstacle than with the factory fascia. As you can see in the photos it also does an incredible job of keeping the (undoubtedly expensive to repair) ACC camera safe from front impact and damage.

Whether you’re looking for a facelift to improve the aggressive looks of the WK2, or are in need of a system to improve the strength and resilience of the front end, the Lower Front Guard system is one-of-a-kind in its function and design. I for one spend a lot more time looking back at the Trailhawk and checking her out both on the trails, and in the grocery store parking lot ;-)

As usual, I’m happy to answer any questions about the install.



Chief Lower Front Guard
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Chief Lower Front Guard
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#GrandAdventure Ready
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So the last month has been crazy, we bought a second house somewhat unexpectedly, two family members died, work was all over the place, we had our annual summer overland trip with the local club, and tried to "relax" on top of everything else. The Jeep got over 3,000 miles in August alone, and we saw some amazingly remote places and vastly starry skies. I'll do a full write-up on the recent modifications and travels soon, but for now I wanted to post this epic photo of the WK2 at a mountaintop vista on the Canadian border of New Hampshire.

Life goal = have Jeep use my photos in their marketing. These WK2s are good for more than just groceries and soccer games.
Great photos and you are excellent ambassador for the WK2, Jeep should use your photos for sure as they are real world not marketing stunts. I can't wait to the Wilco write-up with pics from backup camera view..

Earlier this year I took a Overland 4x4 driving course by company that specializes in 4x4 training for military and NCO's. They use all Toyota's and Rovers, but my two day class was exclusively with my WK2. With instructor we really put it thru it's paces, experimented with QTII in various ways and he was really surprised how capable this is with the QTII and QL. We got into places we thought for sure we'd be stuck and got thru it. Discovering Hill Descent works in reverse was a hoot, and extremely helpful on hill failure practice on steep slippery hills.

Chief Products Lower Front Guard Installation
I have the Lower Front Guard as well and it is probably the best looking and absolutely the most practical mod I have done. I havn't pulled trigger on hidden winch yet but it's a thought, I really don't like having to spend $400 on Chiefs tow mounts to install their winch bracket, seems excessive, but not sure of better solution.
 
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