I am relatively new to the Jeep scene but am not shy when it comes to getting my hands dirty, I will dive right in!
A little background first... since I got my license, I have driven 3 different vehicles before my beloved Jeep...
1) Grey 1997 Dodge Ram 3500 Van with custom rust (pics to follow) - aka The Candy Van... used in high school
2) Purple (yes, PT Cruiser freakin' purple) 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan (pics to follow) - aka The Grape... used in college
3) Silver 2005 Chrysler Town & Country
No, I don't have a thing for vans... my parents do. The price was right, all of them were free!!
Needless to say, after 267,000mi on the Chrysler (impressive right??) and it throwing a hissy fit, it was time for me to have my own car! Due to my work and being a volunteer firefighter, I needed to be able to be mobile rain or shine, snow or hurricane. Plus this is my DD, so it needed to be decent on fuel.
I finally found this baby with 86k on it at just the right price 14 months ago. This is the day saw her and bought her:
It had everything I wanted in my first car and it was MY FIRST CAR! But it's not a car, it's a JEEP!
Being a volunteer firefighter, my first mod (of a several to-date) was to take my blue lights out of the minivan and put them in the jeep. I had them mounted at the sun visor on the minivan and liked them there, so I wanted to do the same. I soon realized the vast difference in windshield layout... the van had A LOT more windshield space. It was also more concave from roof to hood compared to the jeep which was more concave from post to post. The result of this is that the lights would not sit as flush against the windshield as I thought, potentially giving me more flashback. I mounted them anyway figuring I would see how I liked it and would change it later
First I put the mounting bracket right at the end of my roof liner and marked out where I wanted them. Next I cut a rectangular piece of plastic (from a 2L coke bottle) which I was going to use as my backing between the roof material and metal roof of the jeep (since I knew from the minivan that screws right into the material wasn't enough to hold the lights). Using the plastic backing, the 1/4" screws would bite and clamp down nicely.
After mounting them both, I spliced the both positives and then both grounds together from my two lights, into one which lead to the switch at the cigarette jack.
I routed them thru the driver post, under the dashboard, and then right out under the center console.
(I tried to upload video, but it didn't work)
I also did the same thing for my rear lights which are red/yellow. I mounted these using 1/8" bolts on the overhead trim at the tailgate.
They are fed under the trunk compartment, along the door jams, and again under the dashboard popping out at the console.
This setup has worked out nicely but I finally decided where to put the permanent switch, which I am actually working on right now.
In the minivan I had mounted my Streamlight Vulcan flashlight onto one of the interior body panels right next to a 12V plug, so I wanted to do the same in the Jeep. After a while of not wanting to drill a hole into my new panels, I just said screw it. Here is the final placement:
Shortly afterwards, I noticed that the plastic mounts were rattling/squeaking because that panel is not level (i thought I tightened it down the first time enough to not rattle) . So I cut a ¼” thick neoprene that I had lying around just bigger than the mount dimensions and put that between the panel and mounts. Rattle no more!!
I commute into NYC and traffic can be brutal… not wanting to get rear-ended, I installed a Curt hitch receiver with 2" Curt hitch. I was afraid to cut the bumper, so I got the hitch receiver that dropped underneath it! Having installed a hitch system on the big van, I was surprised how easy this one went on… 30mins later I am done!
(pic to follow)
I never put wire harness) on because I had to get plastic protective tubing… I got it and now they are both just sitting in my garage
In June my driver side seat was developing a crack as a result of my fat arse getting in and out. So I order some leather repair and took care of it. I followed the directions and patched the sample piece and it worked well. So I finally applied it to my seat but the liquid kept seeping into the crack rather than sealing it… so after 3 futile attempts I globbed a bunch on and let it dry. It sealed! But not in the most glamorous fashion. So I am going to peel all the excess off so it looks clean again.
This stuff is pretty permanent, it hasn't pealed other than what I have tried to pull off. I recommend layering it there will be a good base in the crack and you will work the repair solution to the surface after 4-6 layers. It was a learning experience so next time this happens I will have a clean look.
I did not do much for a while, but then in August I started doing mods again!
I always liked the Rhino bars style grill guard but they didn’t make them for the newer jeeps I was thinking about buying one and fabricating a bracket but I had neither the skills or equipment to do so (minor technicalities!). But then I saw a jeep with a very similar one on instagram and had to have it! (thanks @thealekman!) The Hunter Brush guard is like every other brush guard except that the headlight guard frame bolts on separately.
The brush guard installation was a cinch. First you have to put the mounting brackets on the front bumper where the tow hooks would go and the upper brackets are added to the hood latch. The upper brackets are easier to install if you roll the grill forward for some more clearance. Next is to add the guard itself! Put all the hardware on but keep it loose so you can adjust it. My hood latch brackets were tightest so I did those first and worked my way down such that it was centered. Then I tightened the bolts to torque per spec. It took me about 90mins for the whole install.
Just in time for 9/11, I added a little Patriotism to the Mark I!
Pro-tip: after thoroughly cleaning the area, lightly flick water on it so you have tiny droplets (no runs) and apply. This will enable you to A) move the decal briefly so you can align it nicely and B) get rid of any bubbles. The water can be pressed out A LOT easier than air bubbles.
One of my buddies commented on how he liked my grill guard but said it looked stupid because the bolts stood out since they weren’t black. Since then, it bothered me...thanks Jeff. So while I was plastidipping, I was also painting the grill guard hardware gloss black! I put everything back on and we are back in action!
Two weeks ago it rained pretty hard in the northeast and as I am driving to the train station I am getting wet from my overhead light fixture… and the posts are wet… and the floor too. Somehow my moonroof is leaking so when I get home I start the drying out process. My biggest concern was the floorboard, so just like I do with shoes, I stuffed newspaper between my carpet and floorboard for the driver side and passenger side. I changed the newspapers one more time and by the next morning it was dry.
Then started the diagnosis… is the roof glass flush? It looked like it was sitting higher in the back compared to the front thus not flush, possibly the reason for the leak.
So I went to my shop manual and saw the factory reset to put the roof in customer mode (open vent, press and hold vent button for 5s until roof moves, then cycle between vent and completely open 7x). It still sat the same. I did this 4x to make sure I did it properly. So I moved on…
Are the drains clogged? I went back to my shop manual and saw the front moonroof drain lines run from the front corners of the moonroof down the front driver & passenger posts. It then connects to the floorboard 3” from the side panel. Here is a good video a guy with a Commander made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxrQNKg182I
I blew out the corrugated lines (who really thought that was a good idea??) with an air compressor and cut that tip off the rubber grommet on the floorboard so the tube sticking out and debris can’t get hung up. I had a little stuff come out but nothing I would consider clog worthy. Unfortunately the neither the shop manual nor the video showed where the rear drain lines ended up, but I deduced by partially removing the driver side post (#3) panel and seeing the corrugated tube enter the enclosed post, that I was not going to be able to get to it easily.
Does it still leak? I dried out the trough and drains and I ran a garden hose over the roof for a couple minutes to start. Bone dry. I ran it for 7 minutes got a little bit in. I didn’t see any adjustment screws, just glass removal screws. I tried for another hour to figure out why it leaked, but surprisingly couldn’t get water in anymore! School has told me for every experiment there is always an outlier… could the fact that I got a little water in on my first test be the outlier? Or was that leftover water that shifted? There was no way for me to tell.
In two days time it was going to rain heavily again so I had to make a decision on whether to find out the hard way if there is still a problem or bring it to the stealership. Not wanting to risk more water coming in, I buckled and brought it in…
They said that it was slightly out of calibration and they brought it back to spec. I got to pick it up and it is sitting higher! I ask the tech about it and he said that the front typically sits low and that the back sits higher so that water ideally slides right over and avoids the seam. I didn’t exactly agree with that because what if I am sitting on a downslope? All the water is going to pool right on the seam. He lowered it slightly, still within spec, and confirmed with a water test that there were no leaks.
$143 later, the moonroof looks the same as when I brought it in… but my wallet is lighter . I don’t know if he fixed it or I fixed it, but I hope it is in fact fixed. Only time and rain will tell… excuse me while I go do a rain dance so nature can test my roof...
This past weekend I set out to tackle my OME HD lift kit (from everyone’s friendly neighborhood Kolak!) that has been in my garage for a couple weeks. I started Friday night at 7pm on the front since I knew it was more complex and so I had plenty of time for issues. Well, that started pretty quick…
I successfully trimmed the UCA bolt on both sides to fit 265 tires
Then I disconnected the sway bar and moved to the clevis bolt. It was then that the fight began… keep in mind that I do not have air tools but instead have a breaker and a 3’ pipe for leverage . I sprayed rust penetrant and shocked it with hammer. Even with that I was not able to free up the nut or bolt, rather only accomplished to smash my finger
Now one crucial digit down, I recruited my dear ol’ dad and together we were able to finally get the nut removed, but the dreaded bolt would not move. We noticed that it rotated, but slowly rotated back to its original position… indicating that it was so seized up in the bushing that we were deforming the rubber. A couple forum reads later and I find out that others have had this same issue and there is a metal ring in the center of the bushing that rusts to the bolt.
The hour is 1:30am. Frustrated that I spent 6 hours on the lift to only accomplish enough work to rotate my tires, I called it a night. I read up more and decided that even though I wanted the fight to be mine, I didn’t have the time to dedicate to break that bolt free efficiently. So i brought it to a shop to have them remove the bolt on both sides I will find out what happens later today...