Just Expect Extra Purchases

Update #12

Got the rear fenders mostly complete. Still need to fill in the panels. I'm thinking either aluminum or plastic sheeting riveted on but I need to figure out how to make it water tight. Also finished up the headlights & however I only get hyper flash when the fog lights are on at the same time as the turn signals.... weird.

Discovered that the washer fluid pump isn't working or the lines are clogged. The top piece of the dash is cracked & the engine bay light is also busted. I guess I should probably put down the welder an pick up some wrenches for some much needed maintenance.

Started preparing for converting the tailgate to a drop down tailgate. Might tackle that next while I figure out what I want the tire carrier to look like. Eventually I'll get to fabricating the front fenders. I'm torn between taking off the steel fenders completely or partially, might get squirrely and try to make my own high line style fenders.

Thanks for checking out my build

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Update #13

Well the planned projects got derailed this weekend because I was gifted a new to me harbor freight winch, Chicago Electric 10K. A coworker replaced the one on his goose neck with a 20K Sherpa something or other. It had some long leads from the winch to the control box & battery. I decided not to shorten them & mounted the control box under the dash on the passenger side.

Still waiting on the washer fluid pump, & under hood light, but I was able to change over the battery terminals to quick disconnects Also got the rampage frameless top so I threw that on too.

Of course since I now had a winch I figured it was time to hit the dirt & finally see what this thing is capable of. Now I have some questions on the build progression which I will post in the general discussion board.

Last few pictures are from Creekside Off-road Park in Splendora, TX

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Update #14

The LED under hood light came in this weekend, still waiting on the washer fluid pump but at least now I can see what I'm doing under there. It's a simple/cheap upgrade that I recommend everyone look into. Also I repainted the cowl but i'm not going to include a close up picture because it looks like crap.

Working on the taillights I found a lot of splices from the PO so I'm trying to correct those as well as install some flush mounted tail lights. I ended up dropping the fuel tank so it was easier to get a good look at the wires from the driver side to the passenger side. Those carriage bolts for the skid plate are a PITA, but I sorted that out with a few tacks. Removed the OEM license plate cover and ditched the LEDs from the PO. Had to order an LED tail light converter from Curt so I can use the new tail lights when I flat tow instead of the magnetic ones. I can include a wiring diagram if anyone is interested.

While waiting on UPS I got back to working on converting the tailgate to a drop down. Sourced some lower door hinges from ebay ~$15. The passenger side gave me some trouble only because I picked a bad spot to locate the hinges. I didn't take into account the plates used to attach the stock hinges, ended up taking a die grinder with some carbide burr bits to make room for the nutsert. Also I didn't like the look of the plastic factory vent so I found some scrap steel and welded it shut. I nee more practice doing body work. I figured since I already had the welder set up I would go ahead & plug all the holes on the back as well as the tailgate. I decided to delete the latch & lock to use inside latches to give it a cleaner look. I'll fill those holes in later. Still need to rig up some limiting straps, but I bought a pack of footman loops off amazon & will go with 550 cord because it's sterile and I like the taste.

Thanks for checking out my build

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Update #15

Decided to go a different direction & ordered some export OEM tail lights. These are a 4 wire set up instead of 3 so I need a dedicated brake wire. Traced the running/brake light wire to where it splits off to the brake switch to run a separate wire for the brake light.

I'm going to recess them into the tub but this requires a bit of prep on the passenger side. I needed to move the evap canister back about an inch.

Not sure if anyone has attempted this, but I'll include the steps if anyone wants to do the same. You will need three 8mm x 1¼ x 40mm bolts, three ⅜" x 1" steel spacers, brake cleaner, grinding disc, cutting wheel & a welder.

FYI My fuel tank was already out, but this isn't necessary however, it is necessary to take off the wheel though.

Thanks for checking out my build

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Remove the cover plate, 2 bolts & a nut (13mm), disconnect the hoses from the fuel tank, then 2 bolts on the tray 1 in front & 1 underneath.
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There's a little red tab that has to be taken out before unplugging the wires. The tray pulls out really easy. I disassembled everything so I could modify the tray and give everything a good cleaning.
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On the top part of the tray I cut off this tab & moved it back about an inch & welded it.
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While everything was still hot I bent the excess down & welded it. Steel is more pliable when it's hot. Quick coat of paint & then reassemble/reinstall.
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Used a longer bolt & one spacer on the front of the tray & a large fender washer on the bottom because it barely grabs the edge of the slot.
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When it came to the cover plate I decided to extend it down to the bottom of the canister for a little cheap insurance. This requires a lot of test fitting & I got tired & trying to hold the spacers behind the plate so I ended up welding them to the back of the plate. Also I had to shape it for a tight fit which I managed to do with a hammer & my anvil. Also cut a hole for clearance of the bracket.
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This gave me about 1¾" of clearance for the tail lights...when they show up.
 
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Update #16

Finally completed the drop down tailgate conversion. Filled in all the holes & ditched the factory latch. Went with some simple latches I found on Amazon. Also ordered some footman loops off amazon to use for the straps. I used some Duplicolor touch up spray even though it shows my horrendous body work, I'm a "fabricator" not a painter. I still need to trim the carpet but will eventually install bed rug so its not a big deal right now. If you noticed that the tailgate doesn't lay flat, that's because 550 cord is designed to stretch up to 30% so I tried to account for that.

Next up was the washer fluid pump which went bad because the grommet on the tank did not create a perfect seal. Hoping to fix this soon with some RTV. I've never used this stuff, but my mechanic recommended to give it a try. Replaced the pump & it works. I got it off you guessed it Amazon for about $12.

Finally I cut some speed holes in the hood. I was more upset about breaking the hood footman loop than cutting holes in the hood so I'll need to source a new one or make one. Instructions recommended taking the hood off but I just used a welding blanket. Got the vent installed mostly myself, I had to utilize my 6yo to hold the bolts while I put the fasteners together.

Next up is the tail light install, replace the starter because it shit the bed, oh & I ordered all new seats. I know what your thinking...when are you gonna do the front fenders?...eventually. Decided on doing a highline using the stock fenders & have read through the forum about all the things that it involves so I'm slowly collecting parts & developing a plan of attack.

Edit: the starter was good, just a bad electrical connection

Thanks for checking out my build

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Update #17

Finished the export tail lights & I think they look amazing, even though they are upside down (accidentally on purpose?!?) I got them from Omix-ADA & I'm very impressed with the build quality. The cover is thick plastic & doesn't look like it could brake easily (Edit: I broke one by over tightening the screws). The wiring had me frustrated until I realized that the bolts used to mount the lights are also the ground connection so I added an extra ground wire. I also ran a separate wire from the light switch to the running lights because I needed to separate them from the turn signals. The exports use a 4 wire while domestic are 3 wire. Cut the holes for the lights, deburred the edges, put in the riv nuts then used some closed cell foam as a makeshift gasket. There was some trimming that needed to be done on the light box but the Dremel made it easy. I had to get some longer hardware so I went with stainless.

Also noticed that the jounce bumpers were practically non-existent so I replaced them. Also noticed that there is a spacer between the cup & the tube. I seem to remember reading in the forum that spacers should be added on the axle end instead of the tube. But I left it in for now.

Another bit of fab work was welding braces for the rear cross member where the bumper attaches. I made sure to leave room to access the body bolts. I still have some pieces of pipe left over so I'm considering reinforcing the bumper mounting positions as well.

Finally I ditched the plastic grill inserts for some aluminum ones from DV8. They didn't come with instructions so I'm not sure if they are supposed to be recessed inside the slots or not, but I'm not complaining.

Thanks for checking out my build

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Update #18

Ordered some moldable plastic sheet, similar to Kydex, & used it as a fender cover. It's an interesting material, basically I used a heat gun & a boat load of clamps. Also picked up some closed end sealed stainless pop rivets. Hopefully this will limit the amount of moisture getting inside the tube.

My seats were delivered as well. Very excited about this!

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Update #19

Started taking the original seats out & decided to remove the carpet as well. It was very grimey & stunk like a pole cat. Ultimately I tossed it & decided to go with bed liner.

In the meantime I started fabricating brackets for the rear seats & modifying the front seat risers as well. I pulled out the center console for easier access. This was cleaned & painted as well as part of the dash, the rear seatbelt covers & door surrounds. I still need to pull the rest of the dash off and paint it black.

After a bit of test fitting with the new seats I started prepping the tub. I decided on:
Custom Coat Federal Standard Coyote Brown Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner, 1 Gallon Kit with Spray Gun & Regulator https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JNRGDW9/?tag=wranglerorg-20

This stuff went on beautifully. Four bottles was more than enough & it's very simple to do. There's not a ton of over spray either. I ended up using only 3 & saved the fourth for touch ups (if it doesn't go bad). Also the spray gun is included. I went with 40psi to get more texture. Edit: definitely needed the 4th bottle for touchups due to first timer mistakes.

I let it set for a week while I worked on some other bits. Like painting the door cards, replacing the door bushings, Tesa taped all the wires, repositioned the side mirror brackets, put stone guards on the lights, replaced the OEM door handles with 550 cord.

Thanks for checking out my build.

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Update # 20

Had some issues that I've been running down for the past week. Idle was really low which I figured out was the IACV needed cleaning, simple fix. Also There was a parasitic draw on the battery which I found out was the fog light switch arm in the MFS was worn down. Both of these issues I was able to determine because of this forum so thanks y'all. To fix the divot on the fog switch plastic arm in the MFS I've been wanting to try something I've been seeing on the various DIY repair sites. Basically I filled the divot with baking soda and put a few drops of super glue and it make a very strong (& cheap) plastic filler. I forgot to take pictures but let's hope it holds up.
https://www.instructables.com/Baking-Soda-Reinforcing-Glue-Repair/#:~:text=For example if you want,making a rock solid bond.

I bought an 81mm mortar ammo can to use in the back to hold my recovery gear, it's a tight fit, but i think it will be perfect. Also picked up a 30mm ammo can that I will be modifying to be a center console. Coincidentally if anyone is in need of the back half of a center console then I will be placing one up for sale soon. Installed some black SS stone guards on the lights as well as SS headlight bezels.

Finally got around to replacing the cowl with one from a 97, I prefer the look of the 3 vents. I did not like the plastic mesh so I got creative. Ordered some 3M VHB double sided tape & some stainless wire mesh sheets. sandwiched the mesh between 2 strips of tape & stuck it to the back side of the cowl. I think it looks pretty damn good. Edit: 1 year later & this is holding up great in the Texas heat.

Thanks for checking out my build.

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Update #21

Made the brackets for my ammo can trunk thing but still need to put in some nutserts to bolt it down.

Also pulled the stock air box to begin with the Ford Windstar intake conversion. My plan is to reuse/repurpose as many parts as possible. Drilled a 3" hole in the firewall & I used the small half of the rubber accordion tube through said hole. Also trimmed down the after filter portion because I believed it was too bulky. I have some silicone connectors on order. My plan is to run a HMMWV style "snorkel" through the cowl that I just bought & detailed in the previous post.

This is probably gonna sound weird, but I got tired of leaning over the fuse box in the engine bay so I modified the bracket to be about 1¼" lower. Now my gut doesn't hit it anymore.

I didn't like how the wiper motor was exposed to the elements so I fabricated a little cover out of left over body panels from the old cowl. (I did something special with the grill from that cowl. Should be done this weekend)

Not jeep related but I think I have an addiction to bright lights and molten metal.

Thanks for checking out my build

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Update #22

I was able to complete 2 projects today. First I got the ammo can trunk installed. I decided to add some expanded metal to the back of the brackets so I can store things underneath and not have to worry about them sliding everywhere. Also found some foam floor padding & put that in to help reduce rattling from my gear.

I jumped the gun with my drop down tailgate & it needed a redesign. The sheet metal wasn't strong enough for the hinge set up. Also when it was down it was about 2" higher than the tub floor. So I took it apart, reinforced the bottom with some 3/16" flat bar & also added reinforcement to the back of the tub. I lowered it so it's about level with the tub. I wasn't happy with my choice of vent holes in the center & I still had the original cowl panel. I decided to make the vent match the new cowl in the front.

Almost forgot, my "snorkel" came in. It's off an old deuce & ½ instead of a HMMWV. I had to trim the top down to a more manageable diameter. It was 12" but now it's just over 8". Still waiting on the couplers to arrive then I'll be finishing up the air intake.

Thanks for checking out my build

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Update #23

I've been putting this off for weeks but I need to highline the fenders first to move on to other projects. Made the initial cut at 3⅜" to try & get the trim lines to somewhat match up. Then cut the lower lip of the hood to weld it back on. 0.035" hardwire, 16.6v & 116 wfs if anyone is interested in the settings. I trimmed some 2x4s to give me a flat surface. In the end I had to trim some more towards the front to get everything lined up.

Took the fenders off & that's when the fun began. Ended up using my multi tool to get into the tight spots.

Thanks for checking out my build

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Update #24

Turns out the hood is the easiest part. My suggestion for anyone wanting to reuse the stock fenders, be prepared for a shit ton of fabrication. I wanted to challenge myself to only using the sheet metal that came off the Jeep. Mostly because I'm cheap & didn't want to buy any steel if I didn't have to. Ended up using the cutouts from the hood & the rest of the cowl that was left over from the tailgate project. I think I put the fenders on & off about a dozen times to get the fit somewhat close.

First problem I ran into was trying to maintain a stock-ish look & retain the front downturn. After forcing it to somewhat fit I realized that the rest of the Jeep doesn't look stock so I cut the fender flush with the grill. The front part of the fenders will get put back on....eventually. Edit: No they wont.

I re-drilled all 4 bolt holes & added a 5th hole & used a nut-sert for the top fender bolt. I needed to clearance the wires going to the lights as well as the radiator overflow tank. I cut out about 3" back and flipped those pieces to the opposite sides. I used the brackets for a guide to extend the inner fender outward.

Made some extensions for the fenders to match the bottom of the tub & extended the inner fender a bit. Also used some small pieces as a backing so I could plug weld all the little holes from the stock fenders. Added another nut-sert to attach the front to the grill, but I had to add some extensions to the inner fender.

Once I got the fenders done, I had to modify the support brackets. Basically I cut them in half, attached one side to the firewall & the other to the fender, tacked them in place, removed the fender, took the bracket off the firewall. I decided to bolt the brackets back on the fender and bolt on the top plates to minimize the warping from welding. I think it worked because it bolts on no problem now.

The new brackets moved the battery up & the ECM/PCM prevented me from re-using to battery hold down. I grabbed an old ratchet strap, put a few grommets in & it seems to hold.....for now. Also when I was taking the battery out I broke my cheap quick disconnect battery terminal so I bought some clamping terminals, a disconnect switch & made a bracket to bolt it to the fuse box bracket which I had to modify as well.

On the opposite side I mounted the horn next to the brake booster. I've seen some people will put the washer fluid tank there but mine is leaking, again & I broke the nozzle when taking the hood off. Forgot to disconnect the hose.

Since I had the hood off I closed up the holes on the end from when I trimmed it.

Finally the silicone elbows I ordered for the air intake/"snorkel" showed up so I'll be moving to that project before I start making the tube outer fenders to match the rear.

Thanks for checking out my build

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