Innovation breeds efficiency, and nowhere is this more apparent than within the 4×4 automotive aftermarket. While at Easter Jeep Safari 2022, we encountered quite a few products that exemplified this fact, with Apex Performance Products (aka Apex Design) being one of the more prominent stand-out booths this year.
As we perused the goods that were on display, Michael from Apex Design walked us through a few of the Utah-based company’s more innovative off-road products. He gave us the rundown on what makes these innovative components so useful, and why 4×4 enthusiasts have rallied behind the Apex Design brand.
Before we get too deep into the nuts and bolts of the matter, here’s a little quote straight from the guys at Apex Design, for they truly are all about making things more functional and as easy to use as possible when it comes to wheelin’ in the wild.
As an innovative company, we want to make products that stand out by fixing known issues that are an irritation for the off-roader. — Apex Design
The Apex Design autoLYNX Sway Bar Disconnect System
Starting off our Apex Design product tour was a set of the brand’s patent-pending autoLYNX Sway Bar Disconnect System affixed to a Jeep JL sway bar. This is an appealing product to off-roaders because it has revolutionized the old antiquated “not so easy to use” sway bar disconnect system.
Simply designed and compatible for many applications, this autoLYNX system will work on pretty much any chassis as long as it fits underneath and has enough room to clear through the suspension travel movement. Michael tells us that other popular platforms include the JT, JK, TJ, and even the mighty Power Wagon. Apex is paying attention to other vehicle applications as well. They have just recently devised an all-new Sway Bar Disconnect kwikLYNX product around the Toyota platform that works much differently.
The autoLYNX doesn’t matter if you are on completely flat or uneven ground, an Achilles hill of traditional sway bar disconnect systems, this new device allows a full 4-inches of increased articulation to be easily achievable via the twist of a knob and the snap of a ring. By replacing traditional sway bar link designs and old-school pin-style disconnects, but retaining OE axle-side bolts for hardware, Apex Design has eliminated the need for heavy lifting, corner rocking, and all of the exertion that goes with it.
Merely measure your existing end link setup, and set the system to the desired height that suits you and your rig. Not only does it eliminate the annoyances of stuck QD links and the act of locating a piece of perfectly flat terrain for adjustment.
The autoLYNX Makes Disconnect Your Sway Bar Quick And Easy
Disconnecting the sway bar merely requires rotating the knob a quarter turn on each side. It really only takes less than 10 seconds to dial everything in. The hardest part of the entire operation is getting in and out of the vehicle!
When it comes time to reconnect everything, there are a few simple steps. Simply twist the knob back to the lock position, and push the sway bar down until it clicks back into place. This secures everything and you are back on the road! Also, only one side needs to be pushed down to latch. Somehow the other side will follow suit as you drive, even when the suspension is at full articulation.
From a construction standpoint, Apex Design’s autoLYNX Sway Bar Disconnect System is heavy-duty and made to last. Many of the same genetics from high-end suspension dampers are shared; induction-hardened, hard-chromed shafts and anodized bodies, with one-off, OE-style vulcanized rubber bushing sets. A specialized swivel end link design on the upper end accommodates an additional sway bar swing.
Michael says Apex first produced the prototype for this sway bar end link replacement upgrade over three years ago. “Outside of a few rock chips here and there, the laser-etched ring lands and anodized exoskeleton of the original beta set still looks and performs the exact same as it did when we first installed it all those years back.”
The autoLYNX Sway Bar Disconnect System Has Adjustability Built-In
Apex Design’s autoLYNX Sway Bar Disconnect System is available in 8-inch and 10.5-inch stroke configurations. Each of these offers levels of height adjustability.
The shorter of the two units is ideal for rigs still rolling atop stock shocks or machines with mildly modded OE upgrades, like the popular Mopar 2-inch lift kit for Rubicon, Sport, and Sahara Jeep models. JK/JL/JT chassis options are all compatible with this kit, as well as with Jeep’s more modded Mojave Edition.
Just be sure that you are not rocking anything above 8.5-inch stroke shocks. This shorter kit will not be able to accommodate the increased height. That is precisely why Apex Design came out with its 10.5-inch autoLYNX Sway Bar Disconnect System.
Regarding construction, appearance, installation, and adjustability, the larger version is identical to its smaller sibling in every way. Meaning that it is just as durable as it is easy to use. The lengthier end-link upgrade is ideal for those with more hardcore lift kits and custom suspension configurations.
Airing Up and Down With Apex Design’s RPV Options
Apex Design’s Rapid Precision Valves (RPVs) were on display as well. This is a marvelous patent-pending time-saving device that allows for rapid tire deflation through this intuitive valve stem. Ideal off-road psi can be easily achieved in seconds.
Apex Design produces this device in both long and short configurations, for not all valve stems barrel and lip seats, and wheel offsets are the same. These are offered in multi-packs or as single individual units. Every component within the RPV is also available in a rebuild kit via the Apex Design website.
Each valve comes with a TPMS adapter to prevent CELs from forming on the dash. Apex has separate variants for Asian and Euro platforms available as well. Simply unlock the cap, and pull the sliding lock ring out to quickly begin deflation. A 40-inch tire at 30psi can drop all the way down to 10psi in under 15 seconds.
An incorporated pressure gauge adaptive capabilities were built-in since they can’t be preset to stop airflow at a certain psi. But it is so easy to use, you only need to watch the clock for a few seconds for accurate deflation. They presented a sticker chart once you get it all dialed in to help keep track.
Michael explains that this product, just by the nature of the design, also helps during airing up as well. With 40-inch dedicated off-road tires the norm, he can now fill up 10-to-30 psi in under 2 minutes.
The XL (extended length) variant is intended for alloys with deeper valve stem wells and beadlock wheels. We were told to note that the Apex RPV is not compatible with AEV wheels.
The Apex Design Power Steering Cooler Boost Kits
The third innovative product on the table was Apex Design’s power steering hydraulic Boost Kit for the JL and JT applications. This device is designed to bolster and increase the pressure output of the factory power steering pump. The kit also adds a cooler where there was not one before.
Anyone wheelin’ one of these new Jeeps with electric steering and big tires may know the scenario; the pain and agony of a “no-turn” power steering lockdown. When an internal temp threshold is reached, a thermal safety switch forces the power steering system to enter preservation mode.
Greater fluid volumes, and externally and internally mounted cooling fins facilitate lower operating temperatures. That means no more steering system locking issues due to overheating, and a considerably lengthier power steering service life.
Compatible with all Jeep JL and JT engine and transmission combos, including the ever-unloved e-Torque system, this setup bolts to the factory hydraulic pump, and is commonly mounted directly beneath the crossmember for a flush mounting point. However, the system can be installed virtually anywhere for an air-cooled solution helping to avoid steering rack shutdowns.