CJ Grille Conversion Kit for the TJ/LJ: Project Build Thread - Page 4 - JeepForum.com
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post #46 of 2613 Old 05-05-2012, 06:16 PM
ZeroGravity
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Originally Posted by jscherb View Post
To me, the comments and suggestions that everyone posts are just as important as anything I post - I very often add a feature or start a new "side project" because of input from people in this thread. The great part of this forum is all the discussion that happens along the way in the project, and how much that influences what I'm building and how I'm building it.

I don't really have time to maintain an index to the detail in my threads, I already spend a lot of time taking photos and writing posts. But if someone wants to maintain an index to this (or any other of my threads), it would be great, they can do a post in the thread with an index and I'll link to it in post #1 of the thread.

I'm working on a detailed project post and photos for later today BTW...
I agree that discussion in a thread is important. However, it comes off a little pretentious that you're willing to do and document this kind of work but not be bothered by having to copy and past a url into the first post every time you update.

You've done nice work in the past and I'm looking forward to this build and final product. I, too, prefer the CJ front clip and am in the process of installing the grill/hood of a CJ on my YJ project.


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post #47 of 2613 Old 05-05-2012, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post
I agree that discussion in a thread is important. However, it comes off a little pretentious that you're willing to do and document this kind of work but not be bothered by having to copy and past a url into the first post every time you update.
In case you haven't noticed, he updates FREQUENTLY. He probably has a third of the posts in any of his threads. That could mean hundreds or thousands of links in the first post. Kinda ridiculous. Suggestion: just subscribe and keep up with what's happening that way
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post #48 of 2613 Old 05-05-2012, 09:28 PM
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Yeah there is nothing pretentious about taking the time to share and update his projects with us. He is taking his own time to keep this thread updated and we should be thankful enough for that.

Great work! I would love to be able to do what you can do with jeeps. Your retro truck is amazing.

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post #49 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 05:46 AM
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i love the idea of creating a "what if" vehicle

just like seeing Cherokees with round headlight front ends
this is probably way cooler!

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post #50 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
jscherb
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In these photos I'm fitting the CJ sheet metal to the TJ tub section. My goal is to have the distance from the engine fan to the radiator be the same as in the stock TJ situation, so I've added temporary wooden spacers to the back edge of the CJ fenders.



With the fenders lengthened by the spacers, the fan/radiator distance will be correct, so when I make the fiberglass fenders I'll make them longer by the thickness of the spacers. This also means I'll also need to make the custom CJ hood longer than the factory CJ hood by the same amount.



It would be possible to use stock CJ fenders and mount the CJ grille to them at the same stock CJ distance from the firewall, but for the 4.0L engine that would put the fan uncomfortably close to the radiator, so I think it's worth the extra effort to make the fenders and the hood the same length as the TJ parts.

Also, the way I plan to make the mold for the custom hood it will be possible to mold the hood in either TJ-length or CJ-stock-length in the same mold, so it would be possible to create two versions of this kit - one version could be TJ length and include the longer hood, the cowl panel and longer fenders, and a second version could be just the CJ-length hood plus the cowl panel and use factory CJ fenders and leave it up to the builder to deal with the possible fan clearance issue on the shorter version. (Same goes for the fenders BTW, the molds I make will be capable of making the lengthened fenders or stock CJ-length fenders).

While I had this all set up, to recheck the updated length of the CJ fenders I threw the a TJ hood on with the CJ fenders and the CJ grille mounted at the new further-forward position. The front of the hood lines up with the grille, which is what I intended when I lengthened the fenders, but of course the hood doesn't close because the CJ grille is taller than the TJ grille.



Anyway, using the TJ hood like that isn't in the plan for this project, I just threw it on there for the recheck the length of the fenders. With my design dimensions verified, I can now move on to making actual custom parts.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #51 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 08:10 AM
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Jeff,

As far as the tie downs and such, I would think that if you are going to pull off the retro look you would want them all to be retro. Just my opinion, but I think all of the old items will really tie in nicely. Now you just need to relocate the gas filler as well!

Also, do you plan on making a high clearance fender version? Maybe like the old flat fenders? I think this would broaden your market if you decided to sell this as a kit eventually. I am sure you have seen the AEV high fender kit and others similar to it. I put tube fenders on the front of mine as the AEV kit including the hood was just too much to spend for the same result. Your option could add a cool look and clearance in the same package.
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post #52 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 08:18 AM
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Looks like a good project and you have always done great work. Subscribed...
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post #53 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 08:29 AM
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I just read most of this and didn't see anything mentioned about where the tire will sit in the new location... if you move it forward, it might make the tire not look as centered in the opening... not sure if it will be that big of a deal, but if you wanted it to look like the opening of the TJ, would you then have to cut the back of the fender opening to give it the same overall appearance?

cb


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post #54 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepinjas View Post
Jeff,

As far as the tie downs and such, I would think that if you are going to pull off the retro look you would want them all to be retro. Just my opinion, but I think all of the old items will really tie in nicely. Now you just need to relocate the gas filler as well!
I agree, for a total retro look, all of the old CJ hardware should be used and it would look great. For my LJ, I'm going more for a "what if Jeep made a TJ with a CJ grille in the 2000's", rather than a total retro look, so I'm going to mix and match a few bits to suit my taste. I prefer the TJ hood latches, so I'll use them.

But nothing I'm doing in the design of these parts requires that either the CJ or the TJ hardware be used, so each installation could be outfitted however the person desires, any of these could be used:

- TJ latches or CJ latches
- TJ round rubber windshield rests vs. CJ u-bolt rests
- TJ large rubber footman loop vs. CJ smaller metal one
- TJ integrated cowl vent vs. CJ bolt-on vent

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepinjas View Post
Also, do you plan on making a high clearance fender version? Maybe like the old flat fenders? I think this would broaden your market if you decided to sell this as a kit eventually. I am sure you have seen the AEV high fender kit and others similar to it. I put tube fenders on the front of mine as the AEV kit including the hood was just too much to spend for the same result. Your option could add a cool look and clearance in the same package.
I've done a preliminary design for a high-line version of the hood and fenders. The high-line hood could be made in the same mold as the regular hood, using "dams" as I've used before on other projects, so it would be very easy to do a high-line hood. To do highline fenders well would require new molds, but probably no more than a week or two new development work on those, so it's very possible I could decide to build them.

I'll decide what other options I'll make a little later in the project, first thing is to get the basic hood, fenders and cowl panel masters completed.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #55 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by certifiablejeep View Post
I just read most of this and didn't see anything mentioned about where the tire will sit in the new location... if you move it forward, it might make the tire not look as centered in the opening... not sure if it will be that big of a deal, but if you wanted it to look like the opening of the TJ, would you then have to cut the back of the fender opening to give it the same overall appearance?

cb
The fenders will be custom, and the wheel will be properly centered in the opening. CJ wheel openings are too small for many people anyway, so the custom fenders will have larger openings.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #56 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Now that I've finished verifying all of my design dimensions, the plan goes like this:

Phase 1: Make "Master" parts. These are complete custom parts intended to serve as patterns for making the fiberglass molds. The steps for phase 1 are -

1. Make a new custom cowl panel. Conveniently, the TJ tub has a removable top cowl panel, which is perfect for this project because I'll make a new cowl panel that eliminates the hump in the center.

2. Once the new cowl section is installed, I'll make the new hood. The hood will be made from pieces of two factory CJ hoods (to get the extra length), and a factory TJ hood (to get the proper radius curves at the side of the tub).

3. Then I'll make new CJ-styled outer fenders that are the proper length and have some tweaks to deal with my plan for flares.

4. After that I'll make new TJ inner fenders by making molds of factory TJ inner fenders, making a set of parts in those molds, and then modifying the parts a bit to fit with the narrower CJ grille and the modified CJ fenders. The plan is to have all of the TJ engine compartment accessories bolt right up to the inner fenders just like factory.

Phase 2: Once all those master parts are made, I'll be able to make fiberglass molds from them so I can make multiple copies of the parts easily. In the process of making the molds, I'll also need to make a mold for inner bracing for the hood, but I'll do that inside a fiberglass hood that's come out of the mold so I get the size and shape exactly correct.

Phase 3: Making parts in the molds

Phase 4: Installing the parts on one or more test TJ's/LJ's.

By the end of this week I'll have the custom cowl panel done, and next week I'll be doing the custom hood.

So on to making the custom cowl panel. I'll start with a factory TJ cowl panel and make a mold of it. I'll also make a mold of the cowl section of a CJ tub (CJ tubs don't have removable cowl panels). I'll then make fiberglass parts in both of those molds, and I'll cut up those parts and piece them together to arrive at a new removable cowl panel that's a factory fit on the TJ tub, but has a gently curved top section instead of the hump in the middle that the TJ cowl panel has.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #57 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbjorgen View Post
In case you haven't noticed, he updates FREQUENTLY. He probably has a third of the posts in any of his threads. That could mean hundreds or thousands of links in the first post. Kinda ridiculous. Suggestion: just subscribe and keep up with what's happening that way
My thoughts are that it's nice to be able to go back and look up specific steps in the design/build/test stage because you really take it with you and can apply it to your own projects. But I see what you mean. I usually read threads sections at a time, after they have been completed.


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Yeah there is nothing pretentious about taking the time to share and update his projects with us.
You didn't comprehend what I said in my original post because that's not what I meant at all, mister Jaik...Try again.

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post #58 of 2613 Old 05-06-2012, 05:38 PM
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Subscribed to this. Amazing build threads as always. Just curious if anyone has ever tried to add just the CJ headlight buckets to a TJ? So, it would have that bug eye look with the headlights sticking out from the grille.

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post #59 of 2613 Old 05-07-2012, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
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Time to start making the custom cowl panel - I'm doing this part first because it's really the key to making this conversion work. The custom panel will be a direct replacement for the factory TJ cowl panel, except that it won't have the center bulge of the factory panel; instead it will match the curve of the CJ hood.

I could make this part by modifying a factory sheet metal TJ cowl panel, but I've decided that a better way to make it is by making molds of a factory TJ panel and of the cowl section of a CJ tub, making fiberglass parts in those molds, and then cutting and piecing the resulting parts together to make the final master part that I need.

Before making a mold of the cowl section of the CJ tub, I'm welding in a TJ cowl vent grille into the cowl on the CJ tub section so I'll end up with my custom cowl panel having a molded-in TJ vent grille. I could piece in the TJ vent grille at this stage or a little later when I'm piecing together the molded parts to make the custom cowl panel, but I've decided that results will be best if I insert the TJ vent grille in the CJ cowl before I make the mold of the CJ cowl.

Here's a few shots taken during the cowl vent surgery.

I cut a hole in the CJ cowl, and cut a vent grille out of a TJ cowl panel. Using flanging pliers, I'm fitting the TJ vent into the CJ cowl:



All fitted and held in place with Cleco rivet clamps, it's ready for welding:



Being welded in place:



Bodyworked and primed:



Next I'll prep the CJ cowl area to make the mold of it, and I'll also prep a factory TJ cowl panel to make a mold of that too.

And I'll show more about vent grilles later in the project, even though I'm molding this with a TJ vent grille, the way I'm doing it will allow the use of either this molded-in TJ grille or the bolt-on CJ vent grille.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #60 of 2613 Old 05-07-2012, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Here are the two cowls prepped for mold making; basically that involved sealing up any bolt holes in the parts (and the vent grille holes) and making sure there are flanges on the parts to make the mold larger than the part, that way parts made in the mold can be trimmed to size. I used a combination of wood and masking tape to make the flanges on the TJ cowl panel pictured below, the flanges don't have to be anything fancy for one-use interim molds like these.





After I make the molds and then make parts in the molds, I'll cut out the raised center section of the TJ cowl panel and splice in the flatter center section of the CJ cowl.

The steps involved in making the fiberglass molds are:

1. Three coats of mold release wax are applied.
2. The parts are sprayed with PVA mold release.
3. Gelcoat is sprayed on with a gelcoat "dump gun".
4. When the gelcoat has cured to the proper point (about 2 hours), layers of fiberglass cloth/mat are applied and saturated with resin; typically three layers are used.
5. Everything is left to cure overnight, then the mold can be popped off the master part.

Tomorrow I'll post photos of the finished molds, and then I'll make parts in those molds using the same steps as above.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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