I love pic's btw. My thread will be pic heavy!
So on Thursday I drove an hour out of town to go to a JY. I grabbed a bunch of parts there that I needed, including a new cage. The PO had a bunch of extra crap welded on to "beef" up the stock cage (but it had zero triangulation. Doesn't matter how many ladder bars you weld on, with no lateral support it will still rack and crumple.) And it looked like he had an "X" welded between the "family" bars for some reason and later cut it off. In doing so he cut about 1/2 way through the main hoop in two spots, and about 1/3 of the way through the family bars with big "V" notches and never filled them.
He also had a "brace" welded between the windshield bars, right across the top of the windshield, an extra bar bisecting it through the center. The bar across the windshield was welded with only maybe
a 1/2" between the tube and the windshield. It took my 2 freaking hours to get the hard top bolts out. I had to grind down a box wrench to maybe 1/2 of its thickness just to fit it in there. Even then I was only able to make maybe 1/64th of a turn before resetting the wrench. F*ck that sh*t!
So that's why I decided that the cheapest way to solve all these issues was with a "new" cage. Picked this one up, including complete padding, for about $75.00. Not bad. Down the road I'll have something custom fabbed up the right way
. But for now this will work
Yesterday/today I spent all day working on getting the old cage out and the new cage in. I f*cking hate torx!
First: The best before pic I got.
The new cage, primed and painted. I don't have a "before" pic of the cage. My camera was out of batteries so deal with it
It was a bright, metallic blue to start with. And now? Back in Black!
Today I started trying to tear out the old cage. When the PO had the inside of the tub Rhino Lined, he didn't have the cage pulled so all
of the torx bolts holding it down were completely filled and covered with the Rhino. I tried heating up the Rhino with a torch and clearing out the bolts but it was a no go. Que the grinder! I cut all them suckers out.
Bolt heads cut off.
After I had all the heads cut off, I just scored the Rhino over and over around the plates with a razor knife. A little hammer diplomacy and some pry bar action had the old cage out! (I did have to cut the windshield header bars off. Since they were tied together, they covered the bolts going into the windshield, leaving me no other way to get to the bolts. Forgot to take a pic. Whoops
At this point I FOUGHT to get what remained of the bolts out. I PB blastered the **** out them. Heated them with a propane torch, started a small fire in the Jeep (note to self, piles of mud/crud soaked in PB blaster burns really
well haha,) and used vice grips to grab the bolt. I got 9 out of the 12 out this way. The remaining 3 would not budge. I tried more heat, more oil, more hammering, more yelling at them, more cussing, more cigs, more willing them to come out, more slapping my huge wang on them, but nothing was working. Finally broke down and bought some EZ-outs.
Has anyone ever had an EZ-out work? I've sheared off more than a dozen of them in my life and can't remember them ever
working so this was my rock bottom, last resort. Guess what? They worked flawlessly! Got the last three out. Victory!
Right then I just wanted to put the seats back in a go for a drive. IMO Jeeps look so freaking badasss with the cage out. But I couldn't
While I was cutting the cage, the paint was drying on my seats. The seats were looking pretty sad, stained, faded, and terrible so I decided to try out of this in order to give them a face lift:
I plan on replacing them all together down the road. But right now that's a pretty low priority. So much more to do first. But ain't nothing wrong with $21.00 worth of spit and polish!. It took me three cans 'o that stuff to get my seats from this:
Turned out pretty sweet! Seems like it should
hold up pretty well. At least for a while!
Oh yeah I painted the roll bar padding that came with the new cage while I was at it. It was pretty gross from laying out in the JY for years, and was the same faded grey as my seats, but now it looks brand new. Took about 1 can to do that (seemed more absorbent than the seats.)
Back to the Jeep (I'm freaking tired. Give me a break! My future posts will be funnier/cooler/better though out lol!
Dropped the windshield and did some serious cleaning/washing.
The sun started dropping fast so I hurried to get the new cage installed .
Rushed to get the seats put in and my tools cleaned up before it got too dark. By the time the last bolt was put in and the last tool picked up, it had gotten dark out. I really need a garage so I don't have this problem....
Best pic I got until morning of the cage swap and the cleaned up seats installed;
Pretty crappy I know. I'll snap one in the morning and replace that last pic. She looks much more sexy now though! Much, much better than the faded seats and crappy pipe insulation/Hockey tape padding and buggered up cage I was running before!
Tomorrow- I'll take the doors off again and hit the interior panels with some Krylon Fusion to spruce them up too. Clean the Jeep up a bit more, and then it's time for Easter with the family.