There was a break in the weather so I decided to give it a try. My plan was to try and do this without welding. I wanted to do it this way so people without a welder had some idea on what to do. This was my first time with body filler so keep that in mind if you try it this way.
The plan going in was to use a plate to replace the light. The hole is pretty deep so I used a 1/4 inch plate and rounded the edges so it would fit well. The pics below are from a cell phone. Sorry.
To protect the plate and entire area I decided to entomb it with some Bondo Fiberglass Resin Jelly. It is water tight and chemical resistant.
I sandwiched the resin to the back of the plate and all around the ground down hole.
I covered the back of the plate also so water would come in from the back.
Once the resin was dry (I let is sit about 45 minutes), I covered it with body filler.
From there is was primer and paint. I decided to give Duplicolor a try.
Back again with a couple updates. First the fender project is done. I ended up purchasing some Flame Red paint from http://paintscratch.com.
Here as some final shots. Also the write up thread is linked below. It turned out near perfect. I rushed it so there are some body work imperfections that don't show on the pics. They are nearly invisible up close, but if the sun hits at an angle you can see the sanding was hurried. Luckily most people who see them will be speeding by anyway.
Update number 2, YJ soft doors on the TJ. No they are not an exact fit, yes they will work. The only major issue is the need to change the latches. These can be purchased on the Internet for around $60 USD (as of 5/2011).
The info below can also be found in a separate thread on the TJ Tech board.
They do not fit exactly as I'd read previously on the Internet. They will work though if you can find them cheap.
I found a set of YJ doors on Craigslist for a good price. The condition was very good with the exception of some door seal damage and the rub spots common on plastic windows. The door latches had to be changed for them to work on the TJ clasp. Below are the pics.
If anyone in Baltimore is interested in swapping let me know. I will keep them otherwise since they are simply for beautiful days that may get some rain. With full hard doors it gets old in the summer for the doors to be on and off based on weather. I have a set of wooden half doors that worked great, but when driving in a downpour the lack of uppers was a pain.
The uppers are the problem. The lowers fit pretty good.
Below is the door interior. Pretty decent job with sealing.
The back side is where the fitment issues can be easily seen.
I decided that less is more and that I may have gotten carried away with mods. Specifically I've decided to remove the front stinger and headlight guards. I think all that stuff up front was taking away from the CJ style front that I wanted. I think it looks much simpler and draws more attention to the blinker/fender mod. I'll give it a few weeks, then I'll most likely sell the stinger and guards. Also, I'm thinking about starting to buy suspension components to let me grow a couple more inches. We'll see how far funds allow me to go with that project.
Also just a quick follow up to the YJ doors. They work great. I love having them in the back and ready to go when it rains. Terrific investment. Also they provide a lot of extra leg room compared to the stock doors. Now I am able to remove the stock doors for the entire summer. I wish I had of bought these years ago.
Decided to remove the black headlight bezels. They gave the jeep a "just got punched in the eye twice" look that I didn't care for. Back to chrome. I shined it up with some Seal-It. Again, trying to keep it a little more stock and a little less "busy" in the front. I couldn't help but look at old pics and realize how nice and simple it looked before all the highlights.
The fender mod looks great and the winch for added piece of mind. Now I'm thinking about loosing the rear swing-away. I think I'll start saving for the Bestop carrier. Every time I see one up close I admire how clean it looks. It has to weight less than the beast in back. My only reservation is the need to build another bumper so I have a hitch. Maybe a custom bumper that will incorporate the old CJ bumperettes.
nice build.....i like the orange differential......time to upgrade the tie rod to a v8 grand cherokee unit......it improved how mine felt on and off the road with the larger tires.......cheap upgrade....
I went to AdvanceAuto today with a print out of Rock Auto parts. They price matched without the added shipping fee. I got all the Moog parts for $110 after taxes. The AdvanceAuto price match policy states competitor price "after shipping" so I saved an additional $10 from the Amazon price match (which was the back up had they pushed the shipping issue).
I installed it in about an hour. I measured my tires before removing the tie rod, and remeasured after install. It went perfectly.
One other thing that should get a mention. The tie rod for a 2005 TJ has a threaded TRE on each end where the 98 ZJ has the turnbuckle/sleeve at the driver side making it extremely easy to adjust the toe.
With regards to tools, two hammers works well for shocking the TRE out of the holes. After a few coordinated whacks, the thing fell out.
Some more news. I sold the YJ doors for a set of used TJ doors. And by used I mean very used.
All they needed was some TLC. Unfortunately that included some welding, bending, cleaning, adjusting, and finally and most impressively fabric painting. Fortunately I had the forethought to have taken before pics.
And here are few of the after. They almost look new. More to come later. The fabric paint is drying.