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Unread 02-16-2014, 04:19 PM   #6136
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Something You Didn't Expect To See Today

I'm sure that Jay will post adequate coverage of the KOH damage that the Mall Crawler soaked up in the last week or three, but I wasn't sure that he'd admit to the shameful condition in which I found his rig when he backed it off of the trailer on Saturday. So, with that said...

Pictured: Let the cringing and gnashing of teeth begin.




This highly-incriminating picture shows about 4 ounces of the fifteen or sixteen pounds of Johnson Valley that came home in that pretty white TJ. If you ever had any doubts about the amount of dust and dirt that gets into the air out in the desert - and you shouldn't have, if you watched any of the video coverage - this should hopefully lay your imaginings to rest. The stuff gets everywhere; it was under the seats, in tool boxes, in bags that were zipped closed...it even crept into the threads of the Mall Crawler's coilovers.

Pictured: No, for real...it totally did that.




Think that's bad? Look behind the coilover...that's where it gets really bad, and lest you think that this is the result of a week's worth of shock testing, pre-running and racing, consider the fact that Jay was washing this thing daily. Yes, My Darlings...this is one day's worth of uncleanliness, and I estimate - conservatively - that it's going to take about twenty-four times as long to clean it up as it did to get it dirty. Here's how that estimation took place:

Jay: "It looks pretty bad right now."
Me: "That's...well, that's a huge understatement. It's terrible."
Jay: "I know! It's going to take me a couple of weeks to get it all cleaned up!"
Me: "Don't lie to yourself; it's going to take a lot longer than that."
Jay: < anguished wailing >
Me: "You're not even going to be done finding all of the damage in a couple weeks, much less all of the hidden dirt."

I think we started drinking more at that point...and that was a good thing because we then found something even worse than caked-on dust: baked-on grime.

Pictured: No amount of hair gel makes this go away.




Our best guess at the composition of this horror is that it's about three parts dust, one part coolant, and two parts steering fluid - the latter of which can be seen in a puddle on the concrete, beneath the rig - and our best guess as to how to remove it centered around a combination of Purple Power and an exorcism. Conventional methods simply will not work, here...so if the Mall Crawler is going to be ready for any of its upcoming races - or any of the wheeling trips that got mentioned over a few bottles of Highland brew* - then a certain someone had better start scrubbing.

*- I'm totally not kidding about this either; Windrock, Harlan, Tellico, Uwharrie and a long haul to the Southwest were all mentioned. Details will be forthcoming.

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Unread 02-16-2014, 05:01 PM   #6137
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Long day today..... Longer way to go, but progress
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Unread 02-16-2014, 05:09 PM   #6138
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Long day today..... Longer way to go, but progress
That's a good angle; you can't see the lacerations on the sidewalls and the missing chunks of tread!
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Unread 02-16-2014, 05:46 PM   #6139
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Poor Mall Crawler ... gonna need goggles to drive that for a while .

Now wheres the pics and details of the led killahs ...
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Unread 02-16-2014, 05:57 PM   #6140
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Originally Posted by G Beasley View Post
Poor Mall Crawler ... gonna need goggles to drive that for a while .

Now wheres the pics and details of the led killahs ...
That's a highly-classified subject you're talking about, mister; be patient for a few more minutes...
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Unread 02-16-2014, 06:00 PM   #6141
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Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
That's a highly-classified subject you're talking about, mister; be patient for a few more minutes...
Let there be light on this subject ...
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Unread 02-16-2014, 07:46 PM   #6142
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Something Else You Didn't Expect To See Today

Just when you thought that the Advanced Projects Section was on their winter vacation...

Pictured: Ahh...a pleasant, snow-filled day...




Wait...there's something strange in that picture, isn't there? Want a closer look with less distractions?

Pictured: Here you go; I even opened the hood to give you a hint.




Figured it out, yet? Of course you have, unless you're classified as "Beyond All Help"...but we'll zoom in a bit more, nonetheless.

Pictured: Oh, my...that's much better.




Okay, by this point even the truly dense among us have figured out that there's an HID projector mounted in the driver's side of Greta's grill...but what you likely haven't figured out is the important part about this particular projector: it's a fully-sealed, 7" round housing that happens to be a perfect bolt-in fit for a TJ. Those of you that have any clue as to why this is important are now getting very, very excited, so I'll let it sink in for a minute...and for those of you that don't know why this is important, I'll explain in as over-simplified terms as I can manage; heretofore, HID retrofits in TJ's aren't the most optimal solution for getting better headlights. They usually involve cutting some sort of housing apart, installing a projector into it as best possible, sealing everything against the weather and then stuffing the entire assembly back into the headlight mounting rings and hoping that it 1) fits, 2) holds together over the long run, and 3) actually works the way you intended. These 7" housings eliminate all of those problems, and - to my understanding - these are the first fully-sealed, fully-modular 7" round projector housings that have been developed; in fact, this is the one of the first pre-production sets that's been delivered by the manufacturer and I'm told that the test-fitment today was the first time they were ever installed in a TJ. The person that provided the housings for this test informs me that although the manufacturer has successfully installed them in a few JK's, nothing has been done with a TJ/LJ until now...but as you can see by the above images, there were no problems at all. Bottom line: this new housing means that HID retrofits into TJ's and LJ's just got immeasurably easier; they're now no more difficult than retrofitting H4 halogens. You can buy the housings as part of a complete kit and install them in an hour or three...and if you look at the upcoming image, you'll see how easily they fit into place.

Pictured: "Wait...that's all there is to it? You're kidding, right?"




Greta's regrettably-still-chrome headlight bezel is removed in that picture in order to show that the factory retaining/trim ring will easily secure the retrofitted HID setup with no modifications whatsoever; the housing and lens literally drop into place and are secured just like any other 7" round sealed halogen. Here's a close-in view of the factory trim ring retainer screw after it was tightened down against the mount; since it snugs down as intended the projector housing remains solid and stable - again, just like it would be with any other halogen - and the factory aiming adjustments retain their full function.

Pictured: And being fully-functional is a good thing. Ask Data.




Here's a view of the back, showing the bulb connection; we did not have a rubber cap on-hand to seal up the back of the housing, but as you can tell there's plenty of room to install it. The ballasts and harness are not shown - they weren't needed for test-fitting - but they'll only take up a negligible amount of real estate; they can also be mounted somewhat-remotely.

Pictured: Ignore the ugly factory wiring, please.




A word on aesthetics; I usually don't like the HID look but these don't bother me at all. Compared to some of the installations I've seen, the clean, factory look that the Sealed 7's - that's their name, in case you didn't click on the link above - present is very desirable. Here's another semi-glamourous shot of the front; if you have any sort of decency you'll disregard the photobombing puppy and the ridiculous amount of salt and road grime on Greta...and if you don't have any decency you'll probably realize that I posted those horrid pictures of the Mall Crawler for a very selfish reason.

Pictured: You'll also recall that I'm Neutral Evil.




I don't know about all of you folks out there in TV Land, but I'm pretty stoked about this setup because - and forgive me for the recap here - this is a fully-sealed, completely bolt-in HID setup that can be installed by Joe AverageJeeper in an afternoon's time. It all comes in a tidy, option-rich kit from The Retrofit Source; you can pick out your preferred projectors, shrouds, bulbs, ballasts, harnesses and whatever trimmings you like. For the Electrically-Challenged - that's me, by the way - having it all show up in a kit is a good thing because there's no muss, no fuss, no guesswork and no difficulty...and although I have no direct experience with the company as of yet, the person that provided the pre-production test setup shown in this post assures me that they're a top-notch outfit that can provide whatever ordering assistance and support I might need. To that end, I'm going to be contacting them tomorrow to see about acquiring a set of these lights for Greta; general availability is slated for sometime next month, but pre-orders are evidently being taken now. The price looks to be in the vicinity of $500* for a complete kit, but when you consider what you get for that price - approximately 6,400 lumens of easily-installed, night-shredding light - it's not a bad number at all.



*- I'm informed that TRS sometimes does group buys and I'm going to inquire as to their requirements for a purchase of that nature. If anyone has any interest in getting in on a group buy and acquiring a set of these when they come out, please send me a PM; I'll post the results of my inquiries when I get them.
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Unread 02-16-2014, 08:02 PM   #6143
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My very first reaction to the photo's was, Oh no… Ebay junk headlights. But I was dead wrong. Coming over from the BMW and import world I am (somewhat) in the know about projectors and these are absolutely legit. Dudes have been retrofitting Morimoto projectors into lights for years. Basically, because they are the best. These won't be cheap, but will be the best. Hmmm…. I run an HID kit in my E-codes with decent results but might have to put these housings on my short list of "fun" mods.
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Unread 02-16-2014, 08:15 PM   #6144
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how do the HIDs compare to the LED lights out there?
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Unread 02-16-2014, 08:15 PM   #6145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gst95dsm View Post
My very first reaction to the photo's was, Oh no… Ebay junk headlights. But I was dead wrong. Coming over from the BMW and import world I am (somewhat) in the know about projectors and these are absolutely legit. Dudes have been retrofitting Morimoto projectors into lights for years. Basically, because they are the best. These won't be cheap, but will be the best. Hmmm…. I run an HID kit in my E-codes with decent results but might have to put these housings on my short list of "fun" mods.
"They won't be cheap, but will be the best" is exactly right; the Morimotos are very, very good and they're priced accordingly...and yes, The Retrofit Source is muchly-legit. The setup I was playing with today was as far from cheap eBay junk as you can possibly get; the rest of the components that I saw - various pieces from various setups, all over a workbench - was top-notch...even the braided wire coverings were well-done. If you already have everything except the housings you can probably pick them up and refit your existing arrangement into them with comparative ease; all you'd need to do is mount them to the housing. Once that's done you're just replacing the E-code housing, and you know how long that doesn't take.

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how do the HIDs compare to the LED lights out there?
It's been hard to find that information, but the output stats I've found on 7" LED units hang around the 1,300 mark, with a color temperature in the 5,000K range; that's a decent amount of light in a very "cold" white spectrum. The HID bulbs that will go into these housings put out about 3,200 lumens at 4,300K; that's a lot more light, and it's a "warmer" white. So, unless my information is wrong - and correct me if it is, please - these are brighter; even if they weren't, however, the color temperature alone is enough to sway my opinion.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 08:06 AM   #6146
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Today's Jeeping: The e-mails to TRS are sent and the enquiries are made; responses will be posted upon receipt. Now I just have to fit an HID retrofit into my AntiRock budget; THANKS FOR MAKING THAT A BIT MORE DIFFICULT, WATER PUMP.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 11:03 AM   #6147
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[/b]Today's Jeeping:[b] The e-mails to TRS are sent and the enquiries are made; responses will be posted upon receipt. Now I just have to fit an HID retrofit into my AntiRock budget; THANKS FOR MAKING THAT A BIT MORE DIFFICULT, WATER PUMP.
Speaking of water pumps, mine got done this weekend while I was out riding snowmobiles and honestly I'm glad I let one of my techs do it. The amount of beer I owe him now on top of what I paid is increased because of the bolts that were seized, stripped, or just not there on the front of my engine. Hooray. Also, my thermostat came out in about 4 pieces and the guide for the timing chain was just chilling in the bottom of the case.

Pics of thermostat
carnage.jpg  
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Unread 02-17-2014, 02:55 PM   #6148
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Speaking of water pumps, mine got done this weekend while I was out riding snowmobiles and honestly I'm glad I let one of my techs do it. The amount of beer I owe him now on top of what I paid is increased because of the bolts that were seized, stripped, or just not there on the front of my engine. Hooray. Also, my thermostat came out in about 4 pieces and the guide for the timing chain was just chilling in the bottom of the case.
That's an impressive amount of damage...and I'm honestly not surprised to hear that something in a TJ cooling system was f***** up. I'm hoping that I don't have any further episodes of that nature, but I don't expect that to be the case; I'm hoping that I don't have something seriously wrong in my steering and that my alignment issues are nothing of consequence. I suppose I'll find out soon enough; I noticed on my way back to Muppet Labs, yesterday, that Greta was a little twitchy on the highway...so something is amiss.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:05 PM   #6149
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That's an impressive amount of damage...and I'm honestly not surprised to hear that something in a TJ cooling system was f***** up. I'm hoping that I don't have any further episodes of that nature, but I don't expect that to be the case; I'm hoping that I don't have something seriously wrong in my steering and that my alignment issues are nothing of consequence. I suppose I'll find out soon enough; I noticed on my way back to Muppet Labs, yesterday, that Greta was a little twitchy on the highway...so something is amiss.
Must be the lack of Anti Rock
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Unread 02-17-2014, 03:58 PM   #6150
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While we are on the subject of steering and sway bars, you should go ahead and get the raised sway bar brackets and tie rod flip insert from Blaine's co-op page. That stock tie rod will live a much happier life up out of the way of enemy rocks.
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