What’s up JF,
I decided to make a thread about my new to me 2005 LJ. Not even 4 weeks ago I had been enjoying my ’98 TJ when it would finally lose the fight against rust. Having done an axle swap on it the previous year (rust induced), and with the frame in its condition, the only viable repair was a new frame. With only a week and half of time before I would have to move back to school, I knew I didn’t have time to commit to a frame swap.
I was sad and frustrated, my baby was dead in the driveway with so much life left in it. Even friends and family were saddened to hear the news, after all, who doesn’t love a good ride with the top down and doors off.
I spent a few days crunching numbers and looking for good condition frames, even getting repair quotes from a few shops. Nothing was looking promising and I needed to make a move. That’s when I decided to start looking at a fresh start, A new Jeep.
After a long week of looking at and crawling under countless wranglers (and even venturing into New jersy used dealerships….Yikes!) I found a prime candidate. It was a trade in 2005 Silver LJ with a 111k on the odo and a frame soo clean I would eat off of it. I was able to work on the price, and the financing was great, So I pulled the trigger and bought my Second Jeep.(From a Volvo Dealership of all places)
The drive home went smooth, She ran strong and smooth, clutch felt great and I loved the 6 speed…I was grinning ear to ear! But Like in true Jeeper fashion, my mind was racing with ideas and the urge to give it the much needed TLC(and De-Chrome!) it needed.
With my ’98 as my donor vehicle, I set off removing parts to be transferred over to the new Jeep. It was bittersweet work, but for the greater good!
I started off by swapping little parts, such as the battery and entry guards and removing milk jugs.
This LJ came with a hardtop and full doors, and While I was going to miss the top off days, I’d rather start off with the more expensive option and buy a soft top down the road. Plus the rear defrost and wiper will be great for the winter. A quick solder and some heatshrink and My rear defrost was ready for ice.
Next I removed the chrome front piece, and this is what I discovered on the grill beneath it.
I had armed myself with 3 cans of plasti-dip, and started the taping process. (I also removed the cowl section underneath the windshield to get full coverage and so I could run the wires for my daylighters I would be attaching)
While the lines are not perfect, I used good quality painters tape and pulled it while the plasti dip was still wet and I’m happy with the end result. With the headlight bezel and retainer ring, I sanded and used a flat rustoleum paint, It gives a different finish than the plasti dip, but I'm not sure if I like it yet.
I really wanted to make this jeep have a two tone look, and the faded hardtop was really bothering me. The weather was perfect for painting, so I picked up 6 cans of Krylon Fusion Satin, some 320 grit sandpaper with a plan to paint the hardtop. I was a bit nervous going into this project, I didnít want any streaks or blotches on the finish so I was very careful to prep it correctly.
With the hard top removed, I set it down on a fold able table with a couple storage bins to raise it off the ground. This allowed me to clean all surfaces. With the hard top scrubbed clean, I proceeded to sand it down with a palm sander(***be sure to wear a mask!***). I wanted to keep the eggshell texture of the hardtop, but I also wanted to remove any scratches.
After making sure every surface was sanded, I washed the top again, rinsed it really well, and then was sure to wipe the surface until every wipe came out clean.
With some helping hands, I then moved the top into the shade I taped off some surfaces
The whole time I was sanding and taping, I had left my spray cans in the sun to warm up and thin the paint. Iím not sure if that helped or hurt, but my end result came out fine. I used 6 cans total( I didnít use the end of the cans, as they begin to spurt and shoot unwanted drops of paint) and here is a picture taken about 20 mins after the last coat.
I left the top off for a few days to enjoy my jeep in it’s true nature, and also because I wanted the paint to harden before subjecting it to road hazards. In the meantime, I removed and cleaned the bushwhackers off my ’98
Followed by removing the fenders off the LJ…
While I was waiting for Crutchfield to get me the newer style dash kit for My Head unit, I decided to swap in my Kicker 5 1/4" speakers into the new dash, and try to cram my Polk db651's into the speaker pods. (For the polks to sit correctly,I ended up using the plastic brackets they came with and just popped off all but 4 of the best tabs)
After getting the speakers were tucked away and mounted with polyfill, It was time to wire up a new harness. Since the dash was already open, I also decided to run the wiring for my Daylighter switch, (Which would also be covering where the Previous owner did a hackjob installing a satellite radio mount. )
Also, since I installed my Tuffy Center Console, I had to remove my stock Center Subwoofer (which was blown), I decided to roll the dice and Pick up a slim mount powered subwoofer, so I had to run RCA cables and do all the amplifier wiring.
This is how I mounted the shallow mount sub, facing downward on the bottom of the rear seat. Basically shoved a piece of thin ply (maybe it was a solid wood shelf I cut down?! Forgot, I'll have to check) in between the the metal wire frame and the foam cushion. I ran the power cable from the hole in the firewall along the drivers side under the carpet, and the RCA/Signal cable along the passenger side. It's not as cool as the SirgCal setup I dream about, but It's stealth and will have do for now.
I like it! We are thinking of doing something similar with our hard top for the LJ but not sure how long it will last like that. Did you clear coat finish it?
Thanks! I was very excited once the top was painted, It really brought a new life back into this jeep, I'd say go for it!.
Initially I planned on doing a clear coat over the Krylon fusion, but after thinking about it, and reading these paragraphs I decided I would rather leave it just paint for simple touch-ups later.
Note: This info came directly from Krylon about clear coating their Fusion Paint.
"Thank you for your inquiry with Krylon. While the Fusion is a hard, protective, durable finish on its own, the film is not impervious. Keep in mind, Fusion is still a paint coating and can be nicked, scratched, or damaged. Consistent friction or direct pressure with a sharp object will damage the film. Please allow the last coat of Fusion to dry for 7-10 days to reach the film's maximum hardness and cure time.
If you would like to add a sacrificial clear coating over the Fusion, I would suggest using the Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish or the Minwax Polycrylic. Both of these clear coatings may be applied to a fully cured Fusion paint film. Please allow the last coat of Fusion to dry for at least 7-10 days before top coating.
NOTE: Technically you are applying a clear finish that will take the brunt of daily wear and tear before the underlying paint film. The clear finish will not be any easier to touch up and recoat then just applying an additional coat of the Fusion paint. This is the reason we do not offer a clear finish in the Fusion Line. The clear finish will not be any more durable than the Fusion paint film; but may not show the wear as quickly because of the transparent nature of clear films."
I'll Be sure to update this thread soon, I have more to tell!