How To Make the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Better

How To Make the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Better

When Jeep unveiled the 470-hp, V-8-powered Wrangler 392 and the subsequent Xtreme Recon (XR) package with 35-inch tires, 4.56 gearing, and upgraded shocks, it was easy to think that “peak Jeep” had been achieved. Sure, there are many ways to make the “ultimate” Jeep Wrangler that involves bigger tires, upgraded axles, and major suspension changes, and there is a place for a Jeep with all these mods. But what about those fans of the Rubicon 392 package, who want more without straying too far from the factory vehicle? Can you build a better Wrangler 392 and keep your warranty?

Fortunately, the answer is “yes,” thanks to American Expedition Vehicles, or AEV. AEV is a Michigan-based aftermarket manufacturer of OE-quality components that are sold through select dealers. AEV has a reputation for high-quality and factory-like parts that are engineered to work flawlessly together, making them a known quantity to Jeep dealers. AEV’s parts can be added piecemeal to any Jeep and have an excellent warranty in their own right, but when an AEV-upfitted Jeep is ordered or purchased from your local dealer, it retains the original warranty and the parallel AEV warranty to ensure the entire vehicle is covered to the same standard as the factory warranty.

So, what does it take to turn a Wrangler 392 into an AEV JL370 392? Let’s take a closer look.


The Wrangler 392 does come from the factory with Jeep’s steel bumpers, but AEV takes it a step further with the company’s industry-leading hot-stamped boron-steel (HSBS) bumpers. Because these bumpers are stamped, AEV can hold tight tolerances with styling that matches the Wrangler’s bodylines. Available in either the stubby RX or full-width EX, the AEV bumpers have increased clearance over stock and are compatible with the airbag system.

HSBS steel gives the AEV bumpers incredible strength while keeping the weight down. Even with utilizing a mild-steel substructure, the RX stubby weighs in at approximately 87 pounds, whereas the full-width EX is about 113 pounds.

Both the EX and RX front bumpers have provisions for mounting AEV’s 7000 Series 7-inch LED lights on the blow-molded hoops that use an internal structure to hide and route the wiring for an exceptionally clean install. A 20-inch Baja Designs light bar, when optioned, is mounted low under the bumper for improved bad-weather visibility, and is protected by a HSBS skidplate. Although designed to reuse the factory foglights, the plug-and-play and Baja Designs Squadron SAE lights are a perfect fit in the front bumper for improved street-legal light output.

AEV’s front bumpers are engineered strong from the start for winch duty, and pair well with the  industry-favorite Warn Zeon 10-S 10,000-pound-rated winch featured here. AEV’s chassis-mounted recovery points, sized for ¾-inch shackles, are tested to meet all OE load specifications, and two Hi-Lift jack guides increase compatibility with aftermarket recovery gear.

Moving rearward, AEV’s rear bumper and tire carrier have also been designed for both strength and function. With high clearance and low weight in mind, the AEV rear bumper maximizes the departure angle and is compatible with the factory trailer hitch, license plate and trailer plug wiring, and Jeep’s ParkSense back-up sensors. Plastic corner pieces save weight, and bash tubes protect the corners from trail damage. Like the front, the rear bumper has beefy recovery points designed to accept a ¾-inch shackle.

AEV’s tire carrier design is strong enough to support an oversized tire (up to 40 inches) and can be paired with AEV’s 10.2-gallon fuel caddy. The tire carrier arm transfers the weight of the spare from the tailgate to the frame, but thanks to an ingenious linkage, still retains one-motion operation to access the cargo area. A rear-facing Baja Designs Squadron Sport LED light is integrated into the rear bumper fascia, and the tire carrier mast is the perfect location for an amber Baja Designs Squadron Sport to be used as a dust light. Optional rear splash guards are made for off-road duty, and keep the roosts down during spirited driving and the JL370 street-legal in States that require full coverage.

All of AEV’s bumpers are e-coated before being powdercoated, and the rear bumper gets an additional zinc coating for exceptional corrosion resistance. AEV’s bumpers are made in the USA.


Every JL370 build is equipped with AEV’s well-sorted Dual Sport RT 2.5-inch suspension. This suspension comes standard with 46mm (piston size) AEV/Bilstein RT5100 shocks, or can be upgraded to the upsized 60mm (piston size) AEV/Bilstein XP8100 reservoir shocks, front and rear. The rest of the suspension includes 2.5-inch standard-capacity multi-rate coil springs, control arm geometry-correction brackets, front and rear bumpstop extensions, front and rear sway bar endlinks, passenger side coil spring shims, and a rear track bar tower. For those who live at the limits of their GVWR, high-capacity, three-inch lift height coils are an available upgrade.

AEV dubs this suspension “DualSport” because of its ability to enhance both on-road and off-road performance. The focus is on roll-center improvements for good handling and brings the Wrangler JK tuning philosophy of firmer coils and softer shocks to the JL platform. This gives the JL370 enhanced load control and delivers an incredible highway ride, all while maintaining its capability and comfort on the trail.

The DualSport XP suspension gives the Rubicon 392 the edge-of-the-envelope chassis control that it deserves. With the DualSport XP,  you can push harder and use more of that horsepower potential without fear of butting-up against your damping limit before the fun is done. Additionally, this suspension makes room for the 37×12.5R17 BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain KM3 tires that are offered with the package (All-Terrain KO2s are available too). With suspension, wheels, and tires considered, the Rubicon 392 JL370 sits about 3 inches prouder than a stock XR. To better control the larger tires, the steering is damped by a specially developed AEV/Bilstein stabilizer.

AEV has several different wheel designs to choose from, including the company’s Borah model pictured here. The Borah is named after Borah Peak, the tallest mountain in Idaho, which can be found not too far from AEV’s birthplace in Montana. These wheels are a favorite of ours, with their classic five-spoke look and multifunctional design that allows them to be run as a standard wheel or with a rim-protection ring as seen here. As a bonus, these wheels can even be used as true beadlock. AEV’s wheels are platform-specific and are specially sized to work in conjunction with the company’s suspension systems without rubbing, when matched to the proper wheel size. Through a custom painting program, AEV can match the wheels to the bronze accents on the Rubicon 392.

On most of the company’s packages, AEV includes re-gearing, save for Wrangler 392 XR. Because the 392 XR comes with 4.56 gears, no gear-swap is required (standard 392s will require a gear-swap) to run 37-inch tires. To protect the ring-and-pinion, AEV swaps out the stamped-steel differential covers and replaces them with stronger nodular-iron AEV covers that feature a reinforced bottom edge. Making axle-servicing incredibly easy are an oversized fill-port and a fluid-level port.


As part of the JL370 upfit, AEV offers various interior upgrades. There are several leather packages to choose from, as well as a well-wearing and durable leather and Cordura option. On vehicles already equipped with leather, the stock headrests come with an AEV logo embroidered with thread that matches the factory contrast stitching. Factory AEV builds receive a special AEV gauge cluster with a font more befitting the Rubicon 392’s personality.

Another worthwhile AEV factory option is painting the underside of the hardtop black, which transforms the mood inside the Wrangler to something sportier and more serious. Inside the passenger doorjamb, an aluminum data plate serializes your AEV as a factory build, separating it from any of the numerous Jeeps that have had AEV parts installed after the fact by the user or a shop.


On the outside, AEV vehicles can be spotted by their unique badging, which uses a bronze accent color on 392s to match the factory accents. This badging consists of AEV logos on the front fenders and driver’s-side rear corner. The tailgate gets AEV’s signature blackout look, and the exclusive windshield banner announces it as a vehicle built by AEV in Michigan.


The full JL370 conversion package on a Wrangler Rubicon 392 will add approximately $25,000 (depending on options) to the price of the base vehicle, but is a coveted package in the aftermarket for resale value. It’s rare that a collection of aftermarket parts will add considerable value to a vehicle, but that’s exactly what you can expect out of an AEV factory conversion.

American Expedition Vehicles is a brand that has been proven worldwide and transforms the Jeep platform from a trail machine into a capable and reliable backcountry exploration facilitator right out of the box, in a package that is designed to work together seamlessly. All while keeping your warranty intact.

AEV’s full-width EX front bumper matches the Wrangler’s styling and provides more clearance than the stock bumper.
To aid in weight reduction, AEV utilizes a blow-molded center hoop. This hoop hides an internal metal structure for mounting lights and routing wires, giving a clean appearance.
The AEV 7000 Series’ 7-inch LED lights feature a hybrid beam pattern and an impressive 8,000 eLumens of output. They attach to the AEV bumper with rubber-isolated anti-vibration mounts, ensuring a solid, shake-free beam.
A 20-inch Baja Designs light bar mounts low, under the bumper and winch, and is protected by a hot-stamped boron-steel skidplate.
Neoprene patches on the AEV bumper act as pads, making leaning over the engine compartment easy on knees.
AEV has developed a front camera relocation kit that moves the factory camera and washer to the hoop, mounting it between the lights and giving the user an unobstructed view.
Because the 7000 Series lights are hung from the hoop and not mounted to the bumper, the area around the Warn Zeon 10-S winch is opened up, allowing for easy access to the winch clutch lever.
While AEV designed the company’s bumpers to mount the factory driving lights, we’ve found that the plug-and-play Baja Design Squadrons SAE are a perfect fit and the easiest upgrade for increased street-legal light output.
AEV’s rear bumper and tire carrier make for a tidy match to the front bumper, while also improving clearance and utility.
A Baja Designs Squadron Sport LED light is incorporated into the rear bumper fascia, as are the factory back-up sensors.
The styled corners of the AEV rear bumper are protected by bash tubes and the recovery point can accept up to a ¾-inch shackle. Molded mudflaps finish off the look and keep the roosts down.
The AEV rear bumper is compatible with the factory trailer hitch and receptacle.
One of our favorite AEV products is the 10.2-gallon fuel caddy, which nests nicely behind the spare tire, close to the body, so it has as little effect on handling as possible when full.
The tire carrier mast is a great location for a dust light, such as the amber Baja Designs Squadron Sport seen here, a sand flag, or radio antenna.
Here you can see the heavy-duty recovery point on the rear bumper. It can accept up to a ¾-inch shackle.
The DualSport XP suspension includes AEV/Bilstein XP8100 shocks that are tuned specifically for the special multi-rate springs AEV uses. Here you can see the extended sway bar endlinks and front shock-reservoir mounting.
AEV uses geometry correction brackets that drop the stock front lower control arms and reposition them, ensuring proper geometry post-lift that preserves ride and handling through proper caster.
The rear AEV/Bilstein XP8100 shocks, like the front, feature a beefy 18mm shaft and are rebuildable. Unlike the front pair, the rear reservoir is a piggyback design for improved packaging.
Here you can see how the AEV/Bilstein XP8100 piggyback reservoir mounts to the 66mm shock body.
Painted in AEV’s custom 392 Bronze color to match the Rubicon 392 accents, the AEV Borah is a gorgeous wheel. These versatile wheels are finished with an Onyx protection ring and can be run ringless, or as a true beadlock.
AEV’s nodular-iron diff covers protect the differentials and have the added benefit of a reinforced bottom, oversized fill-port, and fluid-level port.
AEV adds a few special touches to the interior, including AEV logos embroidered on the headrests in thread that matches the factory embroidery.
The JL370 package includes AEV’s gauge cluster, which has a style more befitting the 392’s performance.
Each JL370 package includes full AEV badging, which, in the case of Rubicon 392 models, continues the 392 theme by using bronze accents.
AEV “Bison” badging is added to the rear corner of the JL370, as is AEV’s signature blackout graphic.
The American Expedition Vehicles Rubicon 392 JL370 conversion is not only one of the most complete vehicles you can buy off of the showroom floor today, but one of the finest-looking and best-engineered off-road vehicles available.
  • American Expedition Vehicles;
  • Baja Designs;
  • BF Goodrich Tires;
  • Bilstein;
  • Warn;