Kentrol at The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival 2017!

The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival has become one of the premier Jeep events in the country and is certainly one of the largest in the East. It’s known as the Birthplace of the Jeep and this event brings thousands of Jeepers out to celebrate the heritage of their Jeep.

It takes place at the Cooper’s Lake Campground, a few miles northwest of Butler, near the intersection of Interstate 79 and State Route 422. Cooper’s Lake Campground is a great venue. They had 135 vendors offering everything from vintage used parts to the newest and most trick aftermarket stuff, the Jeep History Exhibit, a big show ’n’ shine field, and plenty of good food.

   

We attended the 2017 Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival again this year. Overall, we had a great weekend with really good weather. We saw thousands of customers and had an opportunity to showcase all of our new products to them. The weekend goes quickly because there is always a Jeep enthusiast standing in the booth that’s curious about Kentrol products. 

For an event, Bantam offers the customer a lot. The Event kicks off Friday with an obstacle course, offsite trails, historic Jeep tours and a Jeep invasion on Friday night in downtown Butler PA. Saturday and Sunday offer tons of activities for the customer to participate in. One thing that we specifically enjoy is the WWII encampment. There are vintage Jeeps with tents setup just like they would have been during WWII with fully dressed participants, tents and support vehicles. It’s like going back in time. 

The mission of the Friends of the Bantam Jeep Association Inc. is to educate the public about the history of the Bantam jeep’s creation in Butler, Pennsylvania through the annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival and to support charitable endeavors, including through contributions to other 501(c)(3) organizations.

There's something very fitting about a Jeep event in Butler, Pennsylvania. After all, it’s where the Jeep began. 

2018 JL Wrangler Interior Images!

We are excited to show you the first look at the production interior of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL!

Like previous Wranglers, it seems from these photos that the all-new 2018 model will have a shallow, largely vertical dashboard. This kind of design goes back to the flat metal dash of the earliest military and civilian Jeeps, and helps maintain a minimalist air in what is, admittedly, becoming a more and more luxurious 4x4.

You can see the large central infotainment screen, likely Fiat-Chrysler's UConnect system that handles navigation, music and heated seats, and displays information on vehicle settings and climate control.

Below the infotainment screen is a new grouping of buttons for the audio controls, HVAC and powertrain. Three knobs control the audio volume, infotainment screen actions and HVAC, which are joined by buttons for the traction control, heated steering wheel, front axle disconnect, auto-start stop and parking sensors, among more. The roof includes integrated garage door opener buttons, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a manual release lever for the folding roof.

Among the most important portion of the interior spy photo involves the control buttons along the bottom of the center console. The series of buttons reveal several important options that could make their way into production.

And to top it off, a stick shift is seen in this prototype, so there is a good chance that consumers will still be able to bring home a manual transmission. Powertrain options are expected to include a 3.6-liter V6, a 3.0-liter diesel and a small turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Overall, it appears to be a more pleasant place to spend time while you’re doing extreme off-roading. There’s no reason the modern Wrangler can’t be tough and still nicer inside than the last one.

Do you spot any interesting details from these photos?

 

 

 

 

 

 

New 2018 Jeep Wrangler is definitely a Jeep Wrangler!

A redesigned Jeep Wrangler will be unveiled later this year. it is exciting to see what it could be. We can have a sneak peek by the photos were posted on JL Wrangler Forums, whose sources claim it’s legit.

      

The first thing that Jeep fans will be happy to see is that the Wrangler continues to use a solid frame with a removable roof and doors. The overall look hasn’t changed much, but there’s a longer hood, a more prominent front bumper, vents behind the front fenders, and a character line running under what appear to be taller windows. It also looks like the window surrounds will be more recessed. Up front, the grille is canted rearward at the top, the fog lights move to the ends of the bumper, the turn signals move to the front of the fender, and the hood latches are pushed forward a bit. The windshield appears to be a bit more upright and less curved than the current model.

At the rear, we can see new taillights, a side-hinged tailgate with hinges on the opposite side, an indentation in the rear bumper where a spare tire would fit, and steps carved into the corners of that bumper.

It finally confirms that the doors and roof are fully removable, a feature that some feared would disappear with the new model. It looks like a fixed roll cage will help strengthen the Wrangler and protect occupants in the case of an accident. Hinges up front mean the windshield is still able to fold forward as well.

Also, we love the new fender flares...looks much better and allows larger tires. Grille looks like a TJ grille, which is a nice change.

Jeep is supposed to reveal the car at the LA auto show in November, and release the car in January. So, until then, we will just have to wait patiently for more (ideally official) information.

Removing your Ugly YJ Full Steel Door Mirrors

Does your YJ have full steel doors with goofy looking plastic mirrors mounted on it?

If so you can update your mirrors with Kentrols TJ style Mirror Kit and a set of Kentrol door hinges. This takes a little work, but it’s a relatively easy installation and the improvement to the look of your Jeep is worth the work.

 

To start you need to order the following parts.

-#50475 Mirror Kit

-#50420 Hardtop Door Hinge Set

-¼ - 20 tap and drill set

-Silicone Sealant

 

Once you have all the parts you need, start by removing the factory  door hinges and replacing them with the Kentrol #50420 Hardtop Door Hinge Set. Once installed take the 1/4"-20 drill bit and CAREFULLY drill 3 holes into the door through the holes shown below. If you don’t drill these holes the mirror bolts will bottom out. Once drilled, take the ¼-20 tap to add the threads needed for the bolts.

 

Now install the #50475 Mirror Kit onto the new hinges using the silicone sealant on the threads of the bolts. This will insure that its totally sealed. Lastly adjust the mirror to your liking and enjoy your updated look. All of the Kentrol products you just installed on your Jeep are made from 304 Grade Stainless steel and will look great on the Jeep for years and years!

 

 

SEMA 2016 is only a week away...!

SEMA 2016 is one week away and the excitement for the show is building. Kentrol is working on all the final details for our booth and setup to make sure it’s a flawless show this year. If you’ve never been to the SEMA show, you need to add it to your bucket list. It’s an unbelievable experience and perfect for any Jeep or Car enthusiast with over a million square feet of vehicles, new products, displays and anything car related you can image. If you’re attending the show for the first time, map out what you want to see or you will be overwhelmed by the size and scale of the show. Kentrol has been attending the SEMA show since 1991 and there is always something big that happens at SEMA. Each year we question if it can be bigger than the last and it never fails to increase in both size, wow factor or excitement. SEMA for Kentrol is an opportunity to showcase new products and build brand recognition with existing customers. If you are in Las Vegas November 1st  – 4th make time to go to the Las Vegas Convention Center. SEMA is closed to the public, but you can wonder around the outside of the Convention Center and see all the crazy vehicles and get a feel for the insanity that goes on inside the show. If you see someone in a Kentrol shirt, say hello and ask about the new products we released this year.

  

Winter Weather: Drive with Confidence

 

It took its sweet time getting here, but winter weather has finally brought us snow. Whether you’re roaming the snow-covered trails or dealing with slippery road conditions, your Jeep is more than capable of handling any winter driving situation.

If your Wrangler has the standard Command-Trac® 4x4 system splits torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles, which comes in handy when you need more traction while off-roading. And Rubicon’s Rock-Trac® 4x4 system is surefooted on just about any surface.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to take precautions.

 

Drive Cautious

No matter what you drive, ice is ice. Reduce your speeds when necessary and be sure to leave plenty of space between yourself and other drivers. Be especially careful while driving at night, driving through shallow snow, or driving over bridges.

If you hit ice, don’t lock those brakes no matter what. Pump your brake pedal and draw down your momentum before trying to come to a complete stop.

 

Secure Your Gear

When conditions are right, it’s time to ski! Whether you’re heading to the mountains or seeking out a secluded place for some cross-country skiing, make sure your skis, snowboards, and whatever else are secured safely to your rack.

What do you mean you don’t have a rack? Check these out to see which is best for your needs.

 

Off-road With Care

Tread snow like deep mud or sand. Feather the clutch and throttle for the smoothest launch possible to keep from digging down into the cold stuff. High-floatation tires are best for deep snow, on and off the road.

And four-wheel drive only truly helps at lower speeds. Not bad for off-roading, but while driving at higher speeds on-road, it’s best to just take it out of four-wheel drive.

 

Keep Emergency Gear Packed – No Excuses!

Pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re wandering off the beaten path you should always keep some emergency gear stashed for the worst-case scenario. Extra food and water, basic tools, fire extinguisher, flares, spare tire, jumper cables, and blankets are all standard. Here’s an incredibly comprehensive list to consider.

Above all…and we cannot stress this enough…do NOT wait until the last minute. The only thing that sucks more than being stuck in the snow, is being stuck in the snow and thinking about all the things you should have packed.

 

Learn How To Use Your Winch and Tow Rope

 

It seems so simple. You just take that thing, then pull it out of the thing, then…tie it around that thing…then…um.

Yeah. It’s a little more involved than that. Watch this video for a basic tutorial.

 

Know Your Terrain – Downhill is Easier Than Uphill

Remember how much fun sled riding was? Remember how much of a pain it was to walk back up to the top of the track?

Ok, now imagine going downhill for pretty much the entire length of a trail, then turning around and trying to get back out.

Before you get yourself into a situation you can’t get out of, research your intended off-roading area and know the terrain. Know where you want to go, and which places you want to avoid. Having a GPS is great, but knowing how to use and read a compass is indispensible.

 

Follow us on Facebook!

All that being said, be safe out there and have fun. And by all means, share your winter adventure pictures on our Facebook, and we’ll put together a photo album for our blog at the end of the winter!

Keep on Truckin’: Updates on What’s New for Jeep

Jeep Truck to be Built in Toledo

On Monday, Jan. 11, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) CEO, Sergio Marchionne, confirmed that the new Jeep truck model will be built at the company’s Toledo Assembly Complex. Production will begin shortly after the redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler model begins production.

Jeep has teased a pickup truck variant for years with the previous Gladiator and J-12 concepts, but never pushed the button. At this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mike Manley, president of FCA’s Jeep brand, confirmed that the Jeep pickup truck will be available prior to 2019.

No specific details were given, other than the vehicle will be assembled in Toledo. In September, FCA announced they would keep production of the JK Wrangler in Toledo while moving production of the Jeep Cherokee elsewhere.

 

Speaking of the JK Wrangler

Since the Jeep community got word that new regulations would force the automaker to redesign the revered off-roader, speculations on the 2017 model have been plentiful.

Starting with the 2017 Jeep Wrangler, the automaker needs to find new and inventive ways to reduce weight and fuel economy to meet stiff MPG regulations without weakening capability. All automakers are tasked with boosting fuel economy to meet the mandated corporate average of 54.5 MPG by 2025. By 2017, they must meet an interim standard of 37 MPG (New York Times).

The 2016 Jeep Wrangler 4WD, which runs a 6 cyl, 3.6 L, Automatic (5-spd) or Manual (6-spd) gets about 17 MPG city and 21 highway using regular gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

If FCA has any definitive information on the 2017 Jeep Wrangler, they’re keeping it close to the vest. As of press time any information on release date or changes are purely speculative, but seem to be pretty consistent across the blogosphere. Here’s what we’ve seen:

  • Specifics on the 2017 Jeep Wrangler will likely be made public sometime in mid 2016; the vehicle should be ready for sale in early 2017.
  • According to FCA’s Manley, the redesigned Wrangler will have its own platform, and will not be developed on a Fiat platform.
  • Most of the changes seem to be its exterior, including a body-on-frame construction with an aluminum body, making the vehicle lighter. This would improve fuel consumption and increase performance.
  • The old engine will be discontinued and replaced with two models: a base 3.0 L twin-turbocharged Pentastar V6 with up to 300 horsepower and more than 350 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.0 L twin-turbo V6 diesel with up to 240 horsepower and more than 400 lb-ft of torque. (We talked a bit about the diesel engine in March 2015.)
  • There will also likely be some interior changes, though there has been very little speculation in that regard.

The Toledo Blade reported Wednesday that FCA’s Manley wouldn’t divulge production numbers, but that the next generation Jeep would build an increased customer demand. Last year, Jeep sold a record 255,000 Wranglers globally, but

“We have to make sure that the hard-core guys, the weekend warriors, the people that are out on the trails all the time, feel we’ve been true to the Wrangler almost as a sub-brand,” Manley said. “That’s why I stress I’m absolutely more than comfortable they’re going to be very pleased with what they see.”

The Jeep Wrangler is currently built at the Toledo Assembly Complex.

Renovation Open House Recap

 

Check it out! We held an open house on Wednesday to show off our reorganized and renovated warehouse in North Lima. We’ve been working on this since April and we’re very excited with all the changes. It was so nice having everyone stop by to check out our new digs!

We have a brand new roommate! We’re sharing our 40,000-square-foot building with Discover Global LLC, a solutions provider for metal and plastic components for multiple industries. Part of the space that we share will be used for engineering, product development, and product photography. It’s a very cool setup!

 

The reorganized shipping and receiving department also allows for inspections in the same place. And the new receiving dock will make it easier for trucks coming in and going out.

It’s been a great time growing Kentrol for the last 27 years, and we’re looking forward to seeing where things take us in years to come!

 

Chemical Flaw Brings Out the Worst in Factory Hinges

The only thing worse than corrosion is when you can’t do anything about it.

If you own a Jeep JK built in 2007 or later, be on the lookout for bubbling paint on the outside hinge of your door. At the start of the 2007 model year, Jeep started using aluminum hinges that carry a secret; a flaw in the way that the aluminum is anodized causes oxidation under the paint, even with the absence of air and water.

You will feel it before you see it. From the surface, the paint will feel bubbly to the touch. As it continues to corrode, the paint will bubble further until it eventually flakes and falls off. Our own Peter Taraborelli noticed his hinges were bubbling just one year after he bought a brand new Jeep JK in August 2012, and he investigated the issue.

“What you essentially have is a $25,000 vehicle with hinges that are subpar,” Taraborelli says. “There are still Jeeps out there today that are being manufactured with these hinges, as recent as last year’s models.”

Taraborelli, who hosts our installation tutorial videos, says that sandblasting and repainting the hinges or powder coating the hinges won’t matter. The corrosion will continue because these processes don’t change the actual metal itself. He recommends investing in ready-to-paint hinges and having a body shop do a factory-match paint job.

To meet this need, we rolled out a new line of ready-to-paint hinges that are sandblasted, so they can hold the paint better. We also make some very attractive polished stainless hinges, as well as hinges that are powder coated black with smooth and textured finishes.

The best part is that our hinges are made from stainless steel, so you won’t experience that bubbly, corroded mess.

In addition to looking nice, our hinges are designed and manufactured with brass bushings in the lower portion of the door hinge, whereas stock hinges have plastic bearings. Eventually, the plastic bearings deteriorate and break down, making doors very difficult to open. The brass bushings in our hinges provide smooth metal-on-metal movement, ensuring your doors operate better for longer.

For more information on our ready-to-paint hinges, contact our main office at (330) 549-2235.

 

Kentrol Brings New Products to SEMA

Viva Las Vegas!

Kentrol is making its way to the City of Lights to attend this year’s SEMA Show and exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Nov. 3–6.

We look forward to this show every year, and we’re very excited to remind friends we’ve made there why Kentrol offers the best in specialty Jeep parts and accessories, while introducing our products to a brand new audience.

We have plenty to show off that’s new, including black textured stainless, replacement rubber hood latches and ready-to-paint steel accessories for the JK, stainless steel mirrors and accessories for the CJ, YJ, TJ, and JK. We’re bringing many of these new items to the show, so visit us at booth #33031 to get your first look.

 

SEMA is the automotive industry’s premier gathering of manufacturers of specialty auto products. Businesses will introduce more than 1,600 new and featured products to more than 60,000 qualified buyers, 73% of whom are more likely to buy from a SEMA exhibitor.

See you in Vegas!