Are they designed to not hold all the mud the way my stock JLUR flares do? It takes me weeks of hosing them out from a quick trip off road.
Wow they look amazing and great write up. I love the set up good work.Okay, so I finally got some time to take some pictures of the finished product of the Rugged Ridge Max-Terrains...with one exception...my rear fender flares just came in yesterday so all of this post is featuring the front. I'll post some pictures with the rears in the next day or two. So here they are and then I'll get into my review. I apologize in advance for the length of this post.
Now the after:
Let me preface the following by saying I am not affiliated with this product in anyway, outside of being a customer. So I’m going to give an honest review of what I feel is the good, the bad, and the ugly. The problem with being a guinea pig, is that you don’t get to learn from other’s mistakes (and tricks), so hopefully those that have ordered will be able to use some of this to help them. I wished I had the patience to do an install video, but alas, this report is all I can muster. So…to begin…
The good news….
1) From a styling perspective, I think they look great. While I meant to take measurements before my install to get the exact amount of clearance over stock, I think I easily got 2-3 inches more. Certainly underneath the fender, because there really isn’t much there. But from an aesthetics standpoint, they were exactly what I was after. While I was all but ready to concede to American Adventure Labs fender mod product, I kept hesitating because I felt like with the removal of the fender trim, it no longer had a factory appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I think their product is great, but I really like the “stock” look of the Max Terrains.
2) They are also sturdy. I’m not going to lie, when I first got them out of the box I was really concerned with how light they were. I was thinking, I don’t know about this…these things are thin and light…how are they going to do outside of a SEMA showroom? But after the light brace and the supplied stanchions, these things are solid.
3) The fender portion of the install was EASY….very easy. Full disclosure, I did order AAL’s Fender Retention hardware, so I did not use the supplied plastic retainers that come with the fender. So I can’t speak as to how well they will install. But I see no real issues with them. The light install was a little bit of a different story…but I’ll get to that.
4) There were no error messages when I plugged up the lights and started the Jeep. They lights themselves worked like a charm. I have the LED package from factory.
The bad news…
Before I get into what I didn’t like about this mod, let me say that from my understanding, RR never intended to make this product. If you know the backstory, they built a 2 door for SEMA with 40’s, installed a slim led light, and customized the fender trim to give it a “factory” look. The JL world loved the look and so they started going to the drawing board. I say all that to say, I didn’t expect it to come out like the SEMA 2 door build. But I think the challenge was mass producing a product that would mimic what they custom made. I think they are very close, but I do think there is some room for improvement. So let’s look at the challenges I had...
1) I had a major QC issue installing the passenger light bracket. There are two mounting points for the light bracket. Both of those mounting points utilize stock locations. When I mounted my light, it did not line up well with the opening for the light in the fender. It was actually misaligned pretty bad (too far in). So I had to elongate the forward most mounting hole on the bracket to allow the light to come out further. And when I say elongate, I could have almost drilled a brand new hole. It was that far off. This also caused the second hole (even though it is cut to slide) to be misaligned, so I had to notch it as well. Here is a picture for reference:
I finally got the light lined up with proper spacing on each side of the opening…but there was a second problem…
2) The light was slightly crooked on the passenger side. It wasn’t bad, but the OCD in me was fit to be tied. I’ll come back to this in just a minute, but I want to fast forward and discuss the driver’s side, because this ended up helping me fix the passenger side. The instructions call for you to install the fender itself, then the rear stanchion, then the light bracket, then a second bracket that gives additional support the front of the fender. I followed this to the tee on the passenger side, but on the driver’s side, I didn’t install the rear stanchion before the light bracket. I noticed when I was pre-fitting the rear stanchion on the driver’s side, and I was pushing it in place, it was causing the front part of the fender to move. So I started thinking, perhaps on the passenger side, installing the rear stanchion first was causing the light to be a little crooked. Anyway, so for the driver’s side, when I installed the front bracket, it lined up great! So then I installed the rear stanchion, and then the final bracket. Took just a few minutes to do all of that. So I went back to the passenger side, loosened the final bracket and rear stanchion, and the light was no longer crooked. So…I would highly recommend installing the rear stanchion after the light bracket, not before. Here is the picture of the rear stanchion:
3) The 3M adhesive promoter is messy! Each fender has a ¼ inch rubber trim piece that you install that protects the paint on the vehicle from the fender itself. You use this adhesive promoter to help the trim (and some other foam pieces for the stanchion and final bracket) to make a good bond. I made the mistake of opening up the adhesive promoter (there are 3 small tubes of it and you break the seal with the cap), and just applying it like you would apply toothpaste to your toothbrush. BIG MISTAKE. It’s so thin it come out quick and gets all over everything. Including the new paint job I had on the fenders. My advice…grab some Q-Tips and apply the adhesive promoter to the end and put it on that way. Much cleaner!!
4) The light itself…I’m not a huge fan. One thing I will definitely give the nod to AAL’s fender mod is I like their LED light. To me, the exterior of the lens just looks better. The RR, with it’s “frosted” (closest description I can give), looks a little cheap to me. Again, this is 100% my opinion, and it’s not really a show stopper, but I just don’t think it looks good having crystal clear headlights and frosted LED lenses. It’s not as noticeable when they are on, but still noticeable. And definitely noticeable when you use the turn signal. I would recommend to RR to use whatever lens their competitors are using.
Here are the lights up close:
5) A few OCD quality control issues that I have…
a. Because of the design of the fender, the lights sit inside the opening. It’s a bit of a challenge to get them to line up just right. My advice is to have patience and hold the light exactly where you want it before tightening down the light bracket, maybe even enlist a helper to hold the light in its place while you secure it.
b. The bracket on the passenger side is WAY too close to the grill and doesn’t match the driver’s side. Here are some photos for reference. (And that was even AFTER I modified the mounting hole…it was worse before)
c. I think the “paintable” area of the fender should be smooth…or at least offer a smooth version. It comes textured, even in the paintable area, so without a tremendous amount of prepping, you will be able to pick up the texture through the paint. On the Granite Crystal it’s not overly noticeable because it has so much metallic in the paint, but you can still tell.
Overall, I really like them. Would I buy them again…I probably would with a little bit of refinement. I can overlook the painted area being much smaller from the stock fenders (with the trim area being on the outside and inside of the fender), and I can overlook the textured paintable area. I think my biggest hang up is the need to modify the passenger bracket and frosted LED lens. I will be interested to see if anyone else has the same issues I had with the passenger side, so please let me know either way. If you don’t…that’s great! And I’ll reach back out to RR to see if they can send me a new one (afterall, I don’t like how close it is to the front grill as I’m a little concerned with normal vehicle vibrations, it may cause the paint to start rubbing off). If you do have the same issue, then obviously it’s something they need to correct. For now, I’m going to leave them on the Jeep and enjoy. But for all those that have inquired, I’m not letting go of my stock fenders just yet. If AAL comes out with some kind of low profile trim to give a finished look (not really interested in modifying the stock trim like some others have done), I may have to rethink what product I have on.
Hope some of this helps and feel free to let me know if you have any questions.
Still waiting to get mine back from the paint shop. I hope the install goes smoothly...Thanks for the write up. mine will arrive tomorrow. I will not them installed this weekend, wedding on Saturday and hitting the trails on Sunday. I will see if I have the same issues as you.
Out of curiosity, did you have any issues with the passenger side? See my earlier post in this thread for reference.Had mine on for about a week now, they look great, few things that could be better. The directions were not great, could not figure out where the rear stanchion went on at and the adhesive promoter was a mess. Could have done something a bit better under the light in the front, it’s just a thin piece of plastic.
I didn’t get any before measurements, but as I said, I probably gained 2-3”. I have a 2.5” lift with 37s.