I figured it was time for me to start a build thread. I've never really had a place to update the various projects and upgrades I've made to my Jeep. A lot of things have disappeared into the homemade mods, or what did you do to your Jeep today threads.
This isn't going to be much of a build thread since the Jeep is pretty much built how I want it, but I'm still making changes as I go. For progress to date, the specs are in my profile.
Started like this about 14 years ago. It looked like the previous owner bought everything from the Mopar catalog.
and now it's looking like this.
So there is my current staring point. I'll be posting up some projects as I go, including some items that have been recently finished.
So first up just so there is some tech in here are my LED rock lights. I've been running rock lights for years as we do tend to have a blast riding at night. I originally installed 4 Walmart 55w fog lights (~$20/pair). Simple wiring through a relay with 1 light on each side. This worked great for a while, but it was a pain when bulbs burned out, and running 4 halogens +headlights +electric fan made my charging system less than happy.
Here's a shot with the old lights *edit* Found a better pic with all the lights working.
I picked up a string of LED light pods from a vendor on another forum to install under the Jeep and replace the halogens. I got 20 lights for ~$30 (there are lots of options available, and some for a better price). I broke them up into groups of 5 lights to mount on each side. Since I already had lights installed on the sides, and front and back I was able to use all the existing wiring. I just needed to mount the lights and add a connector to the end. The lights are in strings so you only need 1 power and 1 ground for all the lights in a group to run.
I started on the sides and welded small tabs near the top of the frame for each light. These lights have a hole through the middle so I used a self drilling screw for each. They also had double sided tape for extra security.
5 on each side gave me this. You can also see the color difference with the halogen up front (and the rear is burned out in that pic.. lol)
In the front and back I made a mount out of 1/8" strap steel and some more thin tabs. I bolted all the lights on these and installed them with self drilling screws front and rear. Apparently I never took any pics of these so I'll just leave a spot here so I can add a pic later.
Here is the end result with all 20 lights installed. It lights up even better than the pic shows. I guess the stack of wheels by the Jeep isn't helping anything either. In any case, plenty of light, and very low amp draw on the charging system. Between these and my LED light bars I should be able to light up the night. I'm sure they will get a proper test next month in Harlan.
Up next in my recent updates is a music upgrade. Simple plan. Ditch the CD deck/receiver (the radio stopped working a while back anyhow and CDs are a PITA to carry on the trail), toss the old speakers, install an amp under the passenger seat, wake tower speakers on the cage, and run my phone or MP3 player direct to the amp for music.
First I found a deal on some Bazooka tubbies so I picked those up for the speakers. For the amp I wanted a marine rated unit and found a 2ch MBQuart amp from sonixelectronix for ~$60 after adding a warranty. That's all I needed for parts so this weekend I did the install.
Step 1, remove the old radio and associated wiring
Next I pulled the passenger seat out and added some flat steel to bolt the amp to. I wanted to keep it off the floor and as protected as possible. Initially I had the mount on top of the tubes but I was concerned it would be too close to the bottom of the suspension seat so I dropped it down.
I added a piece of lexan over the amp for a little extra protection in case I get rained on.
I added a switch between the seats to turn the amp on and off. You can also see the phone holder that clamps to the seat mount. All the wiring for the amp and speakers is contained to the cage except the power wire of course.
Speakers are mounted just behind the shock mounts on my cage
and after testing it all out, reinstall the seat. Ready to rock and roll. Since this pic I have covered the visible wires with a section of wire loom, then bent another piece of lexan 90º, painted it black, and velcro'd it on top to completely cover the exposed side of the amp. Unless you are looking for it you'd never even know the amp was there.
I've been holding off posting my current project for a bit until I knew it would actually work. I was searching the junkyard a couple weeks ago and came across something interesting and thought I'd give it a shot. I've wanted to swap my accessory drive on the motor from V belt to serpentine for a while but finding YJ parts is hard/expensive. I went looking to see if parts from a 4.0 would mount to my motor since there are always plenty of Cherokees in the yard. What I found was even better.
So the 4.0 brackets could have worked I think. Most of the mount points used exist on the 4.2 block. I had some concern about the lower alternator mount from the 4.0 as mine didn't have all the same block side mounts. Also the PS pump on the Cherokee bolted through the pump and into the manifold and I knew my manifold would not accommodate that setup.
I came across an older Comanche in the yard (I think 88) and the brackets looked right. It was a non-AC Jeep which was good for me since all I need are alternator and PS mounts for my motor. I didn't even notice until I was half way finished removing the brackets (guess I wasn't paying attention) that this was a 4cyl. I paused at this point and did some quick searching to see if there was anything in the yard with a 4.2 but no dice. I looked over the motor in the Comanche again and I was pretty sure that these brackets looked right for my motor. Figured for the $50 or whatever it was going to cost I could take a chance.
Well, yesterday I started working on it and there's good news. Bolt-on swap. Everything from the 2.5 lines up perfectly on my 4.2. The mounts in the block, and the way the PS bracket mounts to the manifold are all an exact match. I only got so far as mounting the alternator bracket, and a quick test fit of the PS bracket. I have a new PS pump and harmonic balancer to install. Still waiting on my new water pump to show up, and I and I'm ordering a new 105 amp alternator for it. It won't be a cheap swap by any means but to me it's worth it.
Here is the fitting I've done so far.
First is the alternator mount. I grabbed the alternator from the Comanche for a test fit. There is also an idler that goes in the hole at the top right of the bracket.
The PS bracket bolts to the manifold and the water pump at 2 points each. Everything matched exactly.
While I'm at it, I'm going ahead with swapping the Volvo fan I picked up months ago to replace my Taurus fan. I haven't had any trouble with the Taurus fan but I want to swap the Volvo controller and VW temp switch to run the fan. My current fan control setup is complicated to say the least. It works great, but running a 2spd controller with a total of 5 relays certainly isn't as clean as the Volvo controls.
Here is a pic with the Volvo shroud mounted to the radiator. This shroud is a bit wider than the Taurus fan but it still covers about the same area of the radiator. I also had to run the shroud upside down (which is great since I could just flip the fan to keep the wires where I wanted), and cut close to an inch of the front of the shroud to get the fan where it would clear the water pump. This fan is definitely thicker than the Taurus fan. Eventually I think I'll build a custom shroud that covers 100% of the cooling surface to use with this fan, but this will work for now.
and here is all the stuff that currently controls my fan. This will all be replaced except 1 of the big relays. I'll use that to switch the main power lead for the Volvo relay pack.
If anyone really wants to know what all that stuff does I'll be glad to explain, otherwise I'll leave it at a pic. It has worked (with a few variations over the years) very well over all.
Not even close. Intake is from a 90s Cadillac Deville. I'm big pimpin now. LOL
No progress to report. Still waiting for the water pump which should be here today. I also ordered an alternator. Rockauto seems to be a crapshoot on their shipping, but prices are good and parts I've gotten have been good as well. Good thing I'm not in too much of a rush (yet), but when they list shipping as 2-3 days, I really don't expect them to wait 4 days before they put it in the mail. Leaving for Harlan in just over 2 weeks so I think I'm good on time.
On a side note, I did find a 95 Buick Regal alternator was the right type as well (cs130 105 amp), but the mounting holes are further apart. I initially planned to buy the Buick alt locally and swap the front from the one I pulled at the JY, but after looking at prices I figured if I was spending $100 on an alternator anyways I might as well get the one that bolts right in.