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Life with a Jeep - Hood Latch Replacement

The 2007 and newer Jeep Wrangler stock hood latches are prone to stretching which allows movement of the hood, that strange little movement known as “hood flutter”.  That is movement is noticeable when you pass a semi on a windy day and you see your hood start to lift.  An easy fix, replace the stock rubber latches with one of the numerous aftermarket latches.

I did that replacement soon after buying my 2010 JK.  At that time, polyurethane replacements for the stock rubber hood latch were the only option.  Later, more options began appearing with billet aluminum the leading material.  My polyurethane replacement latches held for seven years before southern California sun took its toll.

A quick internet search yielded a variety of replacement hood latches covering a variety of years. My search did note there were a few hood latches that were year specific.

I selected the Voodonala (see Figure 1) because of the style and the material was aluminum alloy with stainless steel hardware in a black matte finish.  The hood latches arrived with all parts, three Allen wrenches and a cryptic instruction sheet.  It was easy to determine that other necessary tools were 10 mm and 13 mm wrenches.

The location of the nut holding the stock hood latch provides a challenge to fit a wrench and loosen the nut.  I resorted to pulling the front grill loose.  It is held in place by seven snap-in plastic tabs across the top which must be removed.  Then, steady pressure on the lower portion was necessary to pop the retaining tabs out of their slots.  With the grille out of the way, access to the inside of the fender nut location is still tight.  There is plenty of room around the nut, but access is tight. (see Figure 2)

I was able to slip a 1/4 inch socket wrench between the fender and bracing to reach the nut.  Angles are important.  I do have a little used 1/4 inch swivel adapter in my tool box that allowed me to fit the socket on the nut and provide enough angle adjustment to loosen the nut.

The latch has two pieces, one fits on the fender and the other on the hood.  Both pieces have gaskets that fit between the latch and the body panel.  There is a rubber piece on the stock hood latch that needs to be moved to the corresponding tab on the replacement latch that fastens to the fender.  The fender mounted latch piece does nee to be disassembled to allow access to the Allen head bolt. (see Figure 3)

Once the pieces are assembled and installed, you are ready close the hood and adjust as necessary.  The latch pieces on the hood do have a little adjustment room in the bolt slots. (see Figure 4)

My previous hood latch swap used the Daystar polyurethane hood latches which can be viewed here - http://www.4x4wire.com/entry/daystar-hood-wrangler-install

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

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