Every JK owner will notice that strange little hood movement known as “hood flutter”. That is when you pass a semi on an windy day and you see your hood start to lift. The 2007 and newer JK Wrangler stock hood latches are prone to stretching which allows movement of the hood. As an easy fix, Daystar Products has introduced the Hood Wrangler, polyurethane replacements for the stock rubber hood latch. Installation is easy, less than an hour from start to finish, provided you have a the right stuff on hand.
The Daystar Products replacement kit includes necessary parts and instructions. What the instructions don’t tell you is the size of nut holding the hood latch. And, more important, the location of the nut provides a challenge to fit a wrench and loosen the nut.
First, it is easy to find where the nut is located. Yes, there is plenty of room around it, but, access is tight. To make it real easy to replace the hood latch, remove the radiator or the fenders; slightly more than a one hour job.
Knowing the nut size is a good start. After a few minutes of fumbling around, I determined it was a 13 mm nut.
The challenge was getting a wrench fitted on the nut. As noted, access is tight. I was able to slip a 1/4 inch socket wrench between the fender and bracing to reach the nut. Angles are important. As I did have a little used 1/4 inch swivel adapter in my tool box, that allowed me to fit the socket on the nut and enough angle adjustment to loosen the nut.
The instructions say to grab the existing plastic pin ends with vice grips and twist until they break. That step does work better if you use a bench vice to hold one end.
Once the plastic pins are removed, you have three pieces, one of which is the weak, stock rubber which is replaced with the polyurethane strip. Note the polyurethane piece has a “flat spot” on one end that fits into the bottom hood latch piece. Slip it in place, insert the pin, tighten and you are ready to fasten it back on the fender.
Once the pieces are assembled and installed, you are ready close the hood and fasten the new latches. There is one little line in the instructions that should be considered at this point. As per the instructions, this installation should be accomplished at temperatures greater than 70 degrees. As the polyurethane is not as flexible as the stock rubber, the latches may require some effort to close. The warmer temperatures allow the polyurethane material to stretch enough for a snug fit.
Overall, the install was simple once the nut size (13 mm) was determined and proper wrench combination found to loosen and tighten the nut holding the hood latch in place.
At left are the tools used (except for bench vise). Large Phillips and/or flat-blade screwdrivers are necessary.
For more information on these and other quality suspension products and accessories, visit Daystar Products