JandL Off-Road's Roll Cage for Jeep Wranglers (YJ)
While planning my trip to Moab this year for the Easter Jeep Safari, I decided some extra protection was needed for my Wrangler.
I had been looking for a front roll cage for a while, but most that I had found were designed for CJ's and would take some significant fabrication or modification to fit into my YJ (Wrangler). During a trail ride last summer I had met Leo Schneider from JandL 4-Wheel Drive Center in Sun Prairie Wisconsin who gave me a flyer for a front sport cage kit they were selling for YJ's.
His shop is located about 5 miles from my in-laws (perfect for those quick "I need to go stretch my legs" excursions during a weekend visit) so I thought I'd stop by and see if it would fit my needs. I found that they offered two kits that would fit my needs: the J&L roll cage kit is offered in either a three-piece bolt together UPS shippable version or a one-piece welded version (which is not as easily shipped).
Since I could pick it up directly from their shop I opted for the one piece cage kit. In the weld in cage kit, each of the welded joints is also reinforced with a welded gusset for extra strength and rigidity. The kit replaces the two bars connecting the rear roll bar and the windshield and includes a cross bar which connects the two down bars.
|The windshield support bracket|
One of the concerns I had with using a CJ front cage was the lack of a windshield connection. The JandL kit has two brackets that mount using the original nuts in the windshield frame and reaches back to bolt to the cage. The windshield can be folded down by easily removing one bolt on each bracket and one bolt on each windshield hinge (note: if you have lights bolted to your windshield hinges you may not be able fold down the windshield without removing them).
|The mounting plate|
The feet of the cage mount on top of two of the original drain holes in the floor so you may need to add new drain holes. I added the optional outrigger kit which welds to the frame and uses poly bushings which are bolted to the frame through the drain holes (note: My Smittybilt nerf bars were mounted in the same location as the outriggers, I just kept telling myself: "You need the extra ground clearance and just don't listen to your short wife complain about getting in the Jeep:).
All hardware and a very complete set of instructions are included with the kit. The install took two of us about two hours including welding on the outriggers.
|Test fit - drivers side|
|Unbolting the factory bars|
|The cross bar is attached to the main loop with a #50 Torx Bolt|
|The frame outriggers|
|The fit on the drivers side.|
One of the big concerns I had was the interference of the down tubes and my legs. Being 6'-4" I don't exactly fit real well anyway and I was worried I wouldn't be able to sit comfortably. Surprisingly the only time I'm affected is putting the emergency brake on. With a little practice I don't even notice it anymore. With my hard doors on I have to open the door to roll down the window but since I only have doors on during the winter I'm not really worried about it. The frame has been significantly stiffened now and I noticed more tire lifting at Moab. It surprised me the first couple of times but now that I expect it I seem to be able to control it. After seeing the aftermath of a couple of Jeep rolls during the Safari I'm really happy with my decision.