Exact same here. And if all you know is the way of opening them with your thumbs, than you cant imagine what your missing. It blew our minds how much better it is.It seems logical to flip them to me. I use my left hand for the drivers door and right for the passenger door so I would think fingers are easier than thumbs.
It isn't so much an issue of opening it but breaking it. Having had to back down a hill and having a small branch go between the mirror and door and breaking the mirror off the side of the door, I don't think opening the door that a branch is just going to shut anyway is the issue.Exactly. I can see it happening but so what? Close it if that happens.
Must say, I live in the forest and while I believe the theory might be correct the need.... not so much, 15 years with my YJ and maybe a few times a branch opened the door.... not critical since the the next branch slammed it shut.... in theory..... the TJ handle could be opened while backing up....I dont drive mine in the woods, so no problems there. They otta do a recall on these 4 poppers, and give us an engine, or some rear ends.
Find a YJ and spend a day with it. The TJ handle is like pushing with a tow rope.I may be in the minority in saying this - I like the way the TJ handles are placed. Being right handed, I can't see how the YJ style would be more "natural" to grip and open, unless perhaps you use your thumb to flip the paddle open.
The hardest part is changing the handles. Even if you were putting them back as stock, and facing them backwards, thats the worst part. Figuring out how to bend the rod is easy. And just make sure you note how the rod moves downwards when handle is pulled, and you put the correct handle on the correct side, so it pushes the rod downwards. At the bottom of the rod is a keeper screwed on with two screws, remove those, to pull out the rod for easier bending.The door handles felt awkward to me from day one. I suppose I COULD get used to them, but now that I know it's an easy change.... I'll invest a couple beers worth of time in that mod!
When you look at the rod, look to the point that is at the very bottom. The section that goes down below the window glass, when its down. That is the section that will need bent. Just hold the rod outside the door, but on the inside of the door, then bend one half of the rod backwards towards the spot it needs to be on the handle. You might have to put the rod back in after tweaking it to see if it fits right. If not, take it back out and tweak it again. After enough times youll learn more on how it should look. Took me a bunch of times to get the drivers side. But when i got to the passenger side, i bent the rod once and it was perfect. Good luck!I am currently attempting to reverse my door handles like you said you did but when it comes to bending the push rod, how did you do it? I didn't really bend it, just forced it over to the other side of the handle and was actually able to attach it to the pin but now there's so much stress on the push rod that it doesn't want to move freely enough to unlatch the door when I pull the door handle open. I took the door back off and am now trying to figure out how to reengineer this push rod.
I dont think aerodynamics will help me much, being the 4 cylinder doesnt make the TJ go fast enough for the air to move around it.It is probably a bit more aerodynamic with the handles facing the TJ way.
When they are mounted the other way like on the CJ and YJ models, air is going to get into that little pocket and stop under the door handle. Mounted "backwards" on the TJ, it seems like the air would just go over the handle assembly.