I’ve been very fortunate to this point, in that I’ve not experienced the overheating seemingly common to Jeep JKs. I’d like to be proactive, though, so I’m planning to include some form of under-hood heat reduction as part of Smokey’s build. Additionally, Smokey had some minor hail damage on her hood when I bought her, so these options either will mask or eliminate any trace of that damage. Take a look at the options and my thoughts on each of them, then feel free to share your opinion in the poll and/or leave a reply below.
Daystar Products hood cowl: I recently discovered Daystar’s new hood cowl during a search for other Jeep products. Made of a hard plastic, the cowl comprises a vent on the hood’s leading edge, which is covered by a cowl that includes two built-in vents along the two sides. The cowl is paintable and, according to Daystar, reduces under-hood temperatures by about 12 percent. (That figure jumps to an impressive 27 percent when used in coordination with Daystar’s dual hood vents, which I happen to find too bulky.) MSRP: $329
Mopar Rubicon 10th anniversary hood: Mopar’s special-edition hood includes a classic Jeep Wrangler hood bulge and a pair of functional integrated heat vents. (The plastic vent openings are rather small from the factory, but easily can be opened for better airflow.) Until I discovered the much more affordable Daystar hood cowl, the Mopar hood had been my choice for heat exhaust. MSRP: $625 plus paint
Rugged Ridge performance vented hood: While only on the market a couple of years, the Rugged Ridge stamped-steel hood has gained quite a following, and it’s easy to see why. The hoods lines complement the Jeep’s body lines, and the two forward and six rear vents (three on each side) offer significant airflow improvement over the stock steel hood. MSRP: $699 plus paint
American Expedition Vehicles hood: The original, and still a standard, AEV’s heat-extraction hood offers stylish performance and, thanks to its quality heft, helps reduce JK hood flutter, too. While there’s no reason for concern with running open screens on a Jeep’s hood (the engine compartment is exposed to moisture and the elements from underneath, anyway), use caution during water crossings if you’re not running a snorkel, as one of AEV’s screens lies directly over the stock airbox intake. MSRP: $836 plus paint
Note: I’m not including bolt-on vent panels in this list, as I have something special planned for the center of Smokey’s hood. Stay tuned …