Next came my compressor! I had been searching around for deals and finally landed an awesome one from 4WD.com. I decided on the ARB High Output Compressor (CKMA12), Tire Inflation Kit (171302), and Tire Inflator with Gauge (605US) (not shown).
I chose the ARB mainly because it is rebuildable, but also because they are hardy and very reliable! The last thing I wanted was to have my tires aired down or needing to swap out to the spare just to have my compressor take a crap. I had one of those cheap ($50) auto parts store compressors in the past and it didn't last long. Luckily it went out on me in the drive way (I have to deflate the tires on my XJ to get it into the garage )
I wasn't quite sure where I wanted to mount it. I knew I didn't want it in the rear cargo area and I preferred not to make a bracket for it unless I had to. I looked around in the spare tire area and found that I could fit it up in there with the spare, but preferred to have it in a more accessible location. So that left a spot under the hood that I had been eye balling.
This is the passenger side strut tower. I wanted to put it on the back side of the tower (by the firewall) but my drill was too big to fit in there and drill the holes. So I settled for the front.
With the compressor mount in place.
And then the compressor in place.
Once it was fully assembled with the intake back in place and the coolant bottle in its temporary location.
Not the perfect arrangement, but it go the job done for the time being! All that was left to do now was the wiring. It would be a simple wire install compared to what it would be if I was also installing two ARB lockers.
I had no need to run the switch to the interior since I would only be operating the compressor to inflate my tires. So it was mounted right beside the compressor on the side wall.
I also used the factory ground stud that was there for the compressor ground along with the relay mount.
I ran a wire for the ACC power so the switch would illuminate and so the compressor wouldn't come on when the engine was off if the switch was accidentally bumped.
Once everything was reassembled. I also did a test run!
Oh and I placed the fuse right behind the passenger headlamp for easy access. If I need to change it or pull it for any reason, it is as simple as popping the headlamp cover off and there's the fuse!
Next I will skip forward to the relocation and modification of the system. . . .
SO once I finally got a smaller drill and was able to get to the back side of the strut tower I relocated the compressor. All that was required was to find the exact spot where it wouldn't interfere with anything like the computer, drill the holes, remount it, and extend the motor and pressure sensor wires. Then I was able to put the coolant bottle back in the OEM location.
Along with the relocation I also added a tank! I looked into many different locations and tanks, but settled on a 3 gallon pancake tank that would fit into the spare tire (an idea I got from Russ ).
I started by making a mount out of some thin steel.
Then I plugged the two holes I wasn't planning on using.
Next was the hose that would run up to the compressor.
And finally installing the tank into the spare. The install steps where as follows: run the winch end through the mount, bolt the mount to the tank
Then run the hose through the spare and place the drop the spare over the tank.
Lastly winch the spare and tank up into position.
I have the hose coming out from the top of the spare and running over the top of the track bar crossmember. Right after that I have a quick disconnect so I can drop the spare if need be.
And once the rear 4xGuard skid is bolted in place it is finished. The tank is tucked well out of the way from rocks, logs, and whatever else I feel like driving over. If by some chance something does whack the tank, well it is made out of steel! The skid is also handy just in case the winch gives way. The skid has the spare and tank pinned up in position.
Oh yes, NEW TIRES!!! I scored a set of used BFG KM2s 285/70/17 for $300 from a guy with a Tacoma, because as he said, "They are too loud!".
I wasn't sure how well they were going to fit since I hadn't seen anyone with tires larger than 255/75 on an OME lift. But I was determined to make it work. I just needed them to work for six months or so until I could buy a new set. I had to sit on them for a couple of days until I had time for the instal.
And then out with the old and in with the new!
At this point I had installed a Rusty's strut plate for an additional .5" up front. As you can see the rear sits a little lower, though this pic exaggerates it. I had installed the spacer some time after the front guard and Matrix went on, because they brought the front down about a .25".
My greatest consern was up front with the UCA bolt at the spindle. I was trying to keep the .25" wheel spacers on the front and rear still. As you can see it was really close!
That weekend I went out for a quick test. These were taken at the top of a peak that a Border Patrol agent in a Tahoe said there was no way I was making it up in this Jeep. Ha! I went anyway and made it no problem! On the way back down I passed him again where he had gotten out to watch. He had a big grin on his face and just said, "Wow, I had no idea that thing was so capable"! I said, "Well of course, it's a JEEP"!
That trip did teach me one thing. I needed to do something with my rear! I had enough clearance up front because of taking care of the pinch weld, and now the rear needed some love. I figured I had tow option, 1. extent my bumpstops 2. trim my fender. I chose option 2 because I wanted to keep the little bit of wheel travel we had.
I eventually did a write-up after I was bugged (I mean encouraged ) enough which can be found HERE!
After the new meats came the discos! In my plans to push this OME lift I contacted Rusty's to see if I could acquire a few things from their 4.5" lift kit. I came away with their adjustable rear track bar, another set of their strut spacers, a pair of custom made rear sway bar links, and JKS Quicker Disconnects. The discos were the only thing going on at that time.
Initially I adjusted the links longer thinking I was accommodating for the added lift, but after talking to a buddy he told me that unless I was installing the SL drop brackets I shouldn't lengthen the links. So they went back to the stock length (9").
The next item I almost missed out on. At the time I wasn't on Facebook. I heard from a friend that 4xG was about to release their new diff guard and was giving a weekend deal through a link they provided on Facebook. I quickly jumped on my wife's account, followed the link, and purchased one of the first 12 bolt diff guards It shipped that Monday and I got it later that Friday once I got home!
Lucky for me I had a wheeling trip planned the next morning. So I got up early and installed it. Once I got back home I created a Facebook account and posted this pic onto 4xG's page.
It was the first one they had received, so they asked to use it! Awesome!
I set out on my first really good trip. The destination was Corral Canyon OHV park! I went with two of my buddies who had Wranglers. I still did not have the Belly guard or sliders yet so I had to be careful. But what I lacked in clearance and armor I made up for with traction. Here are the highlights.
At the staging area waiting for the Wranglers to get ready
Once we hit the first trail.
Tread Lightly. . . What's that!
Now it gets a little skinny!
^^I just kissed the rocker there which I ended up bending the pinch seem under the rear door. I folded it back when I got home.
After running these used 285s for a while they were getting down to about a .25" of tread left, they had been looking more like the Krawlers then the KM2s that they are. So I decided to try and restore the biting power they used to have. From the factory they are only grooved about half way down into the lugs. So once you wear them down they loose their grooves between most of the lugs leaving them looking like the Krawlers. My solution was to get a tire groover and cut the previous grooves back into them.
I picked this up for $80. It came with #4 and #2 heads with 12 blades each.
It worked pretty good. You can pick the thickness and depth you want, plug it in, and cut away. It took me about an hour to do each tire applying moderate force. Here are some before and after shots.
Then I decided to use the #2 and make additional cuts on the outer lugs.
The end result:
And the pile of packing I now have for presents!
I really just needed to bring these babies back to life for the next couple of months until I bought new tires. I was also planning a trip out to CO for Christmas to be with family. So this did the trick!
The black side mirror is something that has always bugged me. I was glad to see that later models they decided to color match them. So I grabbed some chrome mirror covers off eBay and painted them Khaki to match.
Unfortunately I lost one of them during my Colorado trip I think the constant rain/snow on the drive out along with high speeds and freezing temperatures had something to do with it. Eventually I plan to paint the actual mirror and get another set of covers to pop on when I go wheeling. That way I wont loose all the work I did, and they wont get all scratched up either!