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Old 01-17-2019, 10:57 PM
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Shakedown of the new YJ

I took my newly completed YJ to Northern Arizona for about a month and put it through a pretty vigorous shakedown. At least a thousand off-road miles and twice that on the local highways getting to/from the Grand Canyon and Sedona areas, as well as plenty of terrain in between. Snow, mud, rocks, cinders, dry desert, etc. All in all, I'm very happy with the YJ and it proved both reliable and capable. The 4.2L definitely lost a fair amount of power at 7,000 feet, even after re-jetting the mains. Can't get around thin air without a turbo or EFI I guess.

I learned a little more about confining the scope of my project as I've determined that there are trails I'm happy to turn down; anything with a reasonable likelihood of rolling or tipping the vehicle is out. I can't see ever needing Dana 60's, body roll cages, or tires over 35's, and I'm just fine with that.

Winners & losers:

Winners:
1. Maxxis Trepador 35X12.5R15's. Performed flawlessly at 25 PSI on road and 10-12 PSI off road. Very happy with these.
2. ARB compressor. Used the crap out of this for airing up before getting back on the road. Extremely happy with this setup.
3. Brand X tire deflators. Yes, the cheap brass ones. $17 on Amazon for a six-pack. Worked flawlessly, reliably and conveniently to deflate 4 tires in less than 10 minutes, more like 5. The $100 ones are pointless.
4. 4.88 gearing. Never needed 1st in 4-Low. 2nd did it all in the rough stuff. Always the slowest vehicle on the highway at 65 MPH max though.
5. DirtWorx rear bumper. Really like this thing and the RATTLE-FREE tire carrier at 1/2 the $ of the major brands.
6. Brand X LED headlights for $89 on Amazon. Will see about long term durability but they worked great in the short term.
7. PTUNA phone cradle & wireless charger. It broke, but my easy fix made it BULLETPROOF. Kung Fu grip on phone. Love this thing.
8. Green LED dash lights. Great gauge viz without being blinding at night.
9. YJ OEM heater. Got a lot of use at 0-45°F. No need for mods.

Neutral:
1. Metal Cloak fenders. Fronts are great, but fenders don't keep mud from going into the front windows. Had to make my own add-on mud guard. Rears have clearance issues (rubbing).
2. Pro-Comp 4" lift. Like the lift but the springs are a bit harsh.
3. ARB rear locker. I know, really? I didn't use it much but it definitely locks as advertised. Just didn't need it much under the conditions so I can't swear by it yet. Glad it's there though.
4. My "home" made add-on gas can carrier. Rattles and pinches the soft top. Needs a redesign but will be great afterwards.

Losers:
1. 4.2L gas mileage. 10-12 MPG at 5,000-7,000 feet. Definitely needed to carry extra gas on my longer trips.
2. 4.2L power output on highway, cold startups, choke, fast idle, etc.
3. Midwest Specialties (Quadratec) hood lock. F this thing. Can't remove the key when unlocked. Junked it. Will spend 5X more for a good one.
4. Lack of tie-downs in the YJ cargo deck. Lots of bouncing of tools.
5. Quadratop soft top. Driver window zipper seized. Very cold!

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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:38 PM   #32
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I have a 4.2 and don't experience any power issues. I live at 6500 feet. I'm running the non-stepper Carter carb and a HEI distributor.
I get a bit over 10MPG, but I'm running 31" tires with 3:07 gears. I'm looking for a deal on 4:10 axles. re-gearing should improve my mileage.

Your rig looks like a real capable rig. Thanks for the good, neutral and loser report.

Good luck, L.M.

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Old 01-18-2019, 12:15 AM
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Metal Cloak fenders

I bought these to accommodate the 35" tires I was planning to install with the 2.5" lift I already had. Metal Cloak claimed (Summer 2018) that the arched front fenders would accommodate 37" tires with a 2.5" lift, which they probably would. They have since rescinded the claim about 37s and revised it down to 35s. I'm pretty sure they made the same claim about 37s on a 2.5" lift for the rears when I bought these in Summer of 2018, but they now claim only 35"s with 2" of lift. All of the Metal Cloak stuff is very well made with good stainless hardware (anti-seize included!), good instructions, and nice fit and finish.

The fronts are great and provide absolutely unobstructed tire movement in all directions. The aluminum inner wheel well is a nice surface for mounting accessories and an improvement over stock in my opinion. I have experienced zero problems with the front units, with one exception: mud protection. I have 35" tires and did not expect factory-like mud protection from these aftermarket fenders with 4" flares. However, I was surprised at the volume and frequency of thick, chunky, gooey clods hitting my elbow and being flung into my window. Wider flares wouldn't make any difference as most of the offending material is being flung from the bottom of the tire past the tapered bottom of the flares. If I had the Metal Cloak rocker guards they probably would have caught a lot of this mud. I made my own add-on mud guard which mounts to the door and took care of about 95% of the big stuff. Mud flinging aside, I'm very happy with the fronts.

The rears are a bit more problematic. I got the "mod cut" rear mounts with 4" flares. The current website claim that 35s will fit under them with a 2" lift is true so long as that vehicle never moves, and/or has REALLY long bump stops to eliminate ANY spring compression. They may be OK for a street cruiser but won't be any good under even mild off-road conditions with 35s and only 2" of lift. I think they specify '2" BL'; body lift I assume. I don't see what difference it would make between a body and suspension lift for fender clearance. I have a 4" lift and was getting PLENTY of tire to fender contact at the rear of the wheel wells. I added +1" rear shackles for 5" total lift, which improved, but did not eliminate, the rubbing. I will add some longer bump-stops and may get some higher lift springs to gain another 1-2" of lift in the rear just to solve this issue. The Metal Cloak design squeezes pretty much every possible bit of tire clearance out of the YJ tub, so they can't redesign to get more. They reached the capability limit of the YJ tub.

All in all, I really like the Metal Cloaks. However, they are not anywhere remotely close to cheap and I am disappointed in the clearance issue on the rear which is contrary to the website claims. Metal Cloak did ping me for some feedback on my purchase and I provided the above info. No response.
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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:00 AM   #34
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Very nice update. I'm glad you were able to get out and enjoy your YJ... a lot. Are you rubbing in the front of the rear tire? I assume as much. Could you drill another hole in the spring perch to move the axle back a half inch or so?
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Old 01-18-2019, 11:00 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by LMNOP686 View Post
Boo-hoo. How can somebody bitch about their uncopyrighted pictures that they posted on the internet for public viewing being stolen when someone else uses them, and someone who specifically noted that they had been borrowed? Life is truly cruel.
Wow, no need to be a dick. It was more meant as a joke because all these new forum members stealing photos from older forum users. I've noticed that heavily lately, I was mostly just adding information to future users if you didn't read my entire post.

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Originally Posted by LMNOP686 View Post
Losers:
1. 4.2L gas mileage. 10-12 MPG at 5,000-7,000 feet. Definitely needed to carry extra gas on my longer trips.
2. 4.2L power output on highway, cold startups, choke, fast idle, etc.!
I hated my 4.2l, that's reason number 1 for my current v8 swap. The 4.2l will not make good power with any carburetor, distributors, tbi etc (I tried them all). You can swap in a jeep 4.0l out of a cherokee or use a jeep 4.0l head and mpfi on your 4.2l block and get into reasonable power. Here's a link if you're curious: Jeep 4.0l head and efi on 4.2l block
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:14 PM
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Wow, no need to be a dick. It was more meant as a joke because all these new forum members stealing photos from older forum users. I've noticed that heavily lately, I was mostly just adding information to future users if you didn't read my entire post.

I hated my 4.2l, that's reason number 1 for my current v8 swap. The 4.2l will not make good power with any carburetor, distributors, tbi etc (I tried them all). You can swap in a jeep 4.0l out of a cherokee or use a jeep 4.0l head and mpfi on your 4.2l block and get into reasonable power. Here's a link if you're curious: Jeep 4.0l head and efi on 4.2l block
Sorry for the response. I'm all on board for sarcasm but unfortunately the typed medium doesn't always transmit it effectively. I probably over-reacted on that one because I took it at face value. Lesson learned...
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:51 PM   #37
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great build and love the winner-loser portion.

I have the 4.0 and can see the mpg's will be a problem on the trail with my set up as well..... For sure will need to have extra gas on board.
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:35 AM
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Very nice update. I'm glad you were able to get out and enjoy your YJ... a lot. Are you rubbing in the front of the rear tire? I assume as much. Could you drill another hole in the spring perch to move the axle back a half inch or so?
I'm afraid moving the axle rearward would only exasperate the problem as all of the rubbing takes place in the rear of the fender well. As the leaf spring compresses, the rear shackle allows it to swing the axle in a rearward arc. Likewise, a shackle reversal setup would just reverse the problem and make them rub in the front of the wheel well, although I don't think there is such a thing as a rear shackle reversal kit because that would just be stupid. Coil springs would eliminate the lateral axle travel and limit the axle movement to only vertical, which would also help, but that's a bridge too far for my scope. "Archier" springs with more lift, and/or a body lift seem to be the only solution short of a spring over conversion, which is just more lift. The +1" shackles made enough of an improvement that I'm inclined to seek a solution through more lift and new bump stops rather than just about anything else.

I think a 1" body lift may be the place to start. I hate body lifts but hopefully 1" isn't very noticeable and won't require any other mods. Between that and about 1" higher springs I think I will solve this problem.
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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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Old 01-20-2019, 11:38 AM   #39
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I suggest staying away from body lifts, they cause more problems than they're worth and make your ride more jaring. The best thing for the long run would be spring over axle with stock springs and a traction bar or 5" springs of good quality. I can speak highly of bds springs as they much nicer than most other brands I've experienced except for rubicon express which is similar quality. You should be able to sell your current springs to at least recover some $$$$$
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Build Thread 1989 YJ, Chevy 355 TBI, 700r4, np231 sye/wide chain/6 pinion planetary, D30/8.8/4.56, 33" A/T's, bds 3.5" springs, 1" Boom Shackles, crossover heim steering
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:30 AM   #40
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Great update @LMNOP686 !!

It's interesting to hear your experience about the rear MC's. Some time ago I contacted MC and asked them which rear flares to get - the YJ or the TJ since my tub has been trimmed to TJ size. They were very adamant about getting the YJ-specific mounting rail though I have been hesitant to order them. Your update is giving me reason to delay that purchase even more until I speak to them about this issue and perhaps get another sales person's opinion on the matter. My tub is trimmed to the exact shape of a TJ tub and I'm right against the seam weld on the rear of the wheelwell.

Regarding the body lift vs suspension lift, recall that a body lift raises the body in relation to the frame and thus, the bump stops. With a suspension lift on the other hand, it doesn't matter if you have a 2" springs or 6" springs, your axle comes up to the same location (the bump stop) regardless. As a result, taller tires will come higher and into the body unless you adjust bumpstops accordingly. That being said, I'm shocked that even with 4" springs you're still hitting the rears. I'm on 4" springs as well (though I do have 1" BL) but have a lot of room in the rear before hitting the TJ flares (trimmed to TJ sized opening).

A 1" BL (get the bushing style lift rather than the "puck style" lift) will raise the body up 1" which is essentially the same as lowering your bumpstop 1". Depending on backspacing and overall fit, it sounds like you may indeed need to lower your bumpstops some (but obviously check first). I used the Rubicon Express extended bumpstops and have really liked them so far. They are tunable as well, allowing use of generic 3/8" stud bump pads as needed. When you go with the 1" BL, it's a good time to get a 1" MML as well, since it will save you from having to trim the fan shroud and will help with rear driveshaft angle. It looks like you already have the BDO mounts, which will make the BL easier...

To this day, I don't get why people ooh-ahh over the 4.2L. My real-world experience with them is fairly limited (driven plenty but never owned one longer than a few weeks), but I've never been impressed with usable street power and certainly even the most hardcore 4.2L fanboys have experienced the same issues as you have (though some refuse to admit it). I'd go as far to say that I'd be more inclined to V8 swap a 4.2L than I would a 2.5L EFI...
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Old 01-24-2019, 04:50 PM   #41
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even the most hardcore 4.2L fanboys have experienced the same issues as you have (though some refuse to admit it). I'd go as far to say that I'd be more inclined to V8 swap a 4.2L than I would a 2.5L EFI...
Exactly what happened to me, after rebuild, better carb, TBI injection, 4.0l head swap, I was never happy with the motor for on road use. I got sick of throwing money at it then without warning or knocking, a rod decided to say hello so I went with a v8 swap. Well the connecting rod really just broke in half for some reason.
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Build Thread 1989 YJ, Chevy 355 TBI, 700r4, np231 sye/wide chain/6 pinion planetary, D30/8.8/4.56, 33" A/T's, bds 3.5" springs, 1" Boom Shackles, crossover heim steering
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:44 PM
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Exactly what happened to me, after rebuild, better carb, TBI injection, 4.0l head swap, I was never happy with the motor for on road use. I got sick of throwing money at it then without warning or knocking, a rod decided to say hello so I went with a v8 swap. Well the connecting rod really just broke in half for some reason.
That's pretty good! Makes my broken engine block mount bosses look pretty good in comparison.
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:19 PM
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Great update @LMNOP686 !!

It's interesting to hear your experience about the rear MC's. Some time ago I contacted MC and asked them which rear flares to get - the YJ or the TJ since my tub has been trimmed to TJ size. They were very adamant about getting the YJ-specific mounting rail though I have been hesitant to order them. Your update is giving me reason to delay that purchase even more until I speak to them about this issue and perhaps get another sales person's opinion on the matter. My tub is trimmed to the exact shape of a TJ tub and I'm right against the seam weld on the rear of the wheelwell.

Regarding the body lift vs suspension lift, recall that a body lift raises the body in relation to the frame and thus, the bump stops. With a suspension lift on the other hand, it doesn't matter if you have a 2" springs or 6" springs, your axle comes up to the same location (the bump stop) regardless. As a result, taller tires will come higher and into the body unless you adjust bumpstops accordingly. That being said, I'm shocked that even with 4" springs you're still hitting the rears. I'm on 4" springs as well (though I do have 1" BL) but have a lot of room in the rear before hitting the TJ flares (trimmed to TJ sized opening).

A 1" BL (get the bushing style lift rather than the "puck style" lift) will raise the body up 1" which is essentially the same as lowering your bumpstop 1". Depending on backspacing and overall fit, it sounds like you may indeed need to lower your bumpstops some (but obviously check first). I used the Rubicon Express extended bumpstops and have really liked them so far. They are tunable as well, allowing use of generic 3/8" stud bump pads as needed. When you go with the 1" BL, it's a good time to get a 1" MML as well, since it will save you from having to trim the fan shroud and will help with rear driveshaft angle. It looks like you already have the BDO mounts, which will make the BL easier...

To this day, I don't get why people ooh-ahh over the 4.2L. My real-world experience with them is fairly limited (driven plenty but never owned one longer than a few weeks), but I've never been impressed with usable street power and certainly even the most hardcore 4.2L fanboys have experienced the same issues as you have (though some refuse to admit it). I'd go as far to say that I'd be more inclined to V8 swap a 4.2L than I would a 2.5L EFI...
OK, more on the Metal Cloak rears. I have a 4" Pro Comp lift, and +1" shackles on the rear. I have a little bit of a lean to the driver's side in the rear of the Jeep (front is OK). I have 4" of fender-tire clearance (rear of fender well) on the passenger side and maybe 3.5" on the driver's side. It does make a difference as almost all of the visible contact wear and audible contact is from the driver's side. Might be my 270 Lbs helping that. I've thought about swapping the rear springs to correct the lean, but I'm pretty much committed to getting some slightly taller and cushier springs anyway, so why do the swap job? I'm leaning (pun kind of intended) towards the Rubicon Express 4.5" springs, or maybe the BDS 5" springs (rear only). With factory shackles, 4" lift and my 8.8 axle, the rear rides almost exactly an inch lower than the front. My +1" rear shackles leveled it out perfectly, but I would prefer the rear an inch or so higher. It's kind of an exercise in splitting hairs at this point. I don't want enough additional lift to mess up my 8.8 pinion angle. I've already done that once, so a 1" body lift on top of new 5" springs may be the solution. I know a lot of people bitch about body lifts. Tall ones are definitely stupid looking. 1" seems minimal to me, but I've never done one. I have no fan shroud so no worries about that. I guess it broke apart decades ago and my 4.2 never runs hot so I'm not going to do anything about it. MML are the motor mount levelers, right? I think my Brown Dog mounts are the non-lifted mounts, but I'm pretty happy with my drive line geometry so I don't want to touch that if I can avoid it. If remounting the motor is a requirement for a body lift, then I'll pass.

My take is that the Metal Cloak YJ rear fender mounts ("mod cut") get about everything they can out of the YJ tub as far as rear fender clearance. The back of the fender interior is the limiting factor. If you were willing to cut into that then you could get more, but that would require some body modification work. I'm sure it can be done but I've decided that's out of scope for my project. I've done all of the cutting I'm going to do on the body. No idea what the difference is with the TJ-specific mount, but unless you're going to cut out the rear of the fender tub, there's nothing more to gain.

As far as the engine goes, the 4.2L isn't a great engine by modern standards, but it is a serviceable, durable and reliable mill. That being said, my extended shakedown decided for me that a Chevy EFI Gen III 5.3L or 5.7L is in my future. The 5.3 puts out at least 3X the power of my oxygen-starved 4.2L at altitude, weighs less, gets better mileage, and can start and warm up without me having to hover over it like Mother Hen to supervise the process. Other than the work and lots of $$, it seems like win-win. I do like the simplicity and ruggedness of the 4.2, and all of the extra space in the engine compartment, but I am not one who is nostalgic for carburetors and regular tuning. I love modern EFI engines and the consistent performance. Don't let that "EFI" 2.5L fool you. It's just a throttle-body injection system, and the 4.2L is a fire-breather in comparison. Good friend has a 2.5 YJ with a very similar drive-train setup to mine and it never gets enough momentum for a shift into 5th gear. Love my 4.2 in comparison and I've offered it to him when I drop in the V8.

Pic 1: Metal Cloaks during install last summer. Note that the triangles of blue body tub inside the fender mounts get cut off prior to install.
Pic 2: New Metal Cloaks on 2.5" lift with bad-ass 29" tires. Plenty of room!
Pic 3: Here we go again with sideways pictures... Note clearance at rear of fender well and shiny rub mark.
Pic 4: More shiny... Looks a little tight in there.
Pic 5: This is the offending and limited body panel at the rear of the fender well. Looks like it exists only to keep the rear quarter-panel in place. Could be removed or trimmed to gain more clearance, but the Metal Cloaks will then be the limiting factor.
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Old 01-25-2019, 11:25 AM   #44
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I never really liked the Metal Cloak rear fenders. They move the tube away from the tire to make it look like you have more clearance, but leave the bracket there so you really don't. Yes, I did see where you were able able to trim away some of the body with these, but If I were going to put them on my Jeep I would trim them as such.

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Old 01-26-2019, 06:36 PM   #45
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My take is that the Metal Cloak YJ rear fender mounts ("mod cut") get about everything they can out of the YJ tub as far as rear fender clearance. The back of the fender interior is the limiting factor. If you were willing to cut into that then you could get more, but that would require some body modification work. I'm sure it can be done but I've decided that's out of scope for my project. I've done all of the cutting I'm going to do on the body. No idea what the difference is with the TJ-specific mount, but unless you're going to cut out the rear of the fender tub, there's nothing more to gain.

I realized I didn't take a good picture of my rear trim, but I can say that it appears as though I've removed a lot more rear metal than what yours looks like. I went straight up to the inner wheelwell seam (I did NOT cut the spot welds on the seam, just right up to them, then put some crosscuts in and hammered flat/safe).

Look at yours again, it looks like the TJ shape is a bit more aggressive in the rear with a more angled slope towards the back of the tub. The TJ flare on my YJ comes right up to the vertical seam on the outside of the tub. Maybe I'll pull my flares this week to get some pics and measurements since I need to get off my a$$, take a break from working on the Dodge, and figure out what I'm going to do for rear flares myself...
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:56 PM
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DirtWorx rear bumper

This is a vehicle modification and part of my build, but I guess it’s also a product review of sorts. A real rear bumper and tire carrier were part of my original plan to replace the “bumperettes” and the OEM tire carrier. I wanted something that was solid, incorporated in a couple of lights, had built in shackle mounts, a trailer hitch, could accommodate a couple 5-gallon gas cans, and WOULDN’T RATTLE. Apparently, this last requirement was a tall order. I did a ton of research and read a lot of reviews. Conclusion I came to is you have to spend over $1,000 to get all these things, and pretty much all of the cheaper stuff is Chinese made crap that will require fitting and/or will rattle like a steel drum. I was prepared to bite down and dig deep into my wallet for a Rock Hard Patriot. Sounds like a post-9/11 porno but it pretty much had everything I wanted, although add another $350 for the gas can and frame mounts. I prepared to say "ouch" as I bent over. Then I found DirtWorx…

DirtWorx is “the little guy” in the Jeep bumper business. American made, and apparently not too far from being garage built one at a time. Reviews were consistently solid, and a lot of different configuration options are available. Robert is the face of DirtWorx and I’ve talked to him a number of times. Now, I’m not going to lie, the DirtWorx website is not very confidence inspiring. It’s not very well organized and is basically just a boatload of random bumper pictures with no part numbers and no easy-to-order option. But the upside is that Robert and his team will build to order. I guess each one is more or less custom. Oh, and did I mention DirtWorx bumpers are built like a brick shit-house and at HALF the $$ of all of the majors out there who make something decent?

I decided to take the plunge and I’ve got to say, I am verrrrrryyyyyy happy with the DirtWorx bumper I got. Robert built it to my spec: trailer hitch, tire carrier for a 35X12.5” tire on a 15” 4.5X5 wheel, 2 LED light cut outs (he supplied the flush mount cube lights), and a removeable jack carrier mount in the vertical post socket (more on that later). It arrived a few weeks later exactly as specified. He doesn’t do paint so they all arrive raw. No shipping damage so I was ready to go.

I took a grinder and wire wheel to a few rough spots and cleaned the crap out of it with mineral spirits. A couple coats of primer, and then I painted it with Krylon “bed liner”. This product would be essentially useless as actual bedliner but it’s has proven to be pretty good for a lot of other applications. Plus, it sticks to itself so touchups should be easy, and a bumper will need touchups. It mounted up with no problem, I wired in the lights to my backup lights and a switch, and put on my spare tire. All went well.

One unique-ish thing DirtWorx does is to use the main vertical member of the tire carrier as a socket to mount other accessories, like the cargo basket they sell. I don’t need that but I do need to mount some gas cans. I discarded the jack carrier mount that came with it as I decided I was going to use that socket for my own-built gas can carrier. More on that later.

My initial opinion of this bumper combination was very high and still is. I am really happy that I didn't spend $1000+ on a name brand bumper, and one that still wouldn't have been made to my specifications like this one was. More on this bumper below.

Pic 1: Bumper as it arrived via Fedex, after I had cut off some wrapping
Pics 2 & 3: Install. Gas tank has to come out!
Pic 4: Newly installed bumper with new 35" tire
Pic 5: Hi-Lift jack mount included with bumper
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:27 PM   #47
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That is a nice bumper! Good price too!
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:57 PM
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DirtWorx rear bumper II

The aftermarket YJ bumpers pretty much have 10 available bolt holes on the Jeep to mount to. Of these, only two really mount to anything solid. These are the 1/2" OEM “trailer hitch” bar mounts on the bottom of the frame rails. The other eight 7/16” bolts attach to the body panel under the tailgate and really are a marginal to poor attachment point. You may be able to install all ten bolts without dropping the gas tank if you have little chimp hands, but my XXL meat hooks weren't even close to getting in there. You could just skip the tough to reach ones as they really are pretty worthless compared to the remaining 6. More on that below.

On my extended Northern AZ shakedown, this bumper got shaken and hammered for a good thousand hard off-road miles. The tire carrier never rattled the slightest bit, despite the fact that the actual lock is a Harbor Freight (literally) lever lock. However, I’ve used them for a lot of other things and they work great, plus, I know exactly where to get a cheap replacement if I ever need one. I rattled the two frame-to-bumper bolts loose enough that the bumper and tire carrier were rocking more than they should have. Some blue LocTite and a few turns of the wrench and it was solid again and barely moves at all.

With my home-made gas can carrier adding a good 80 Lbs (full cans) of cantilevered weight, I was getting increasingly concerned about the two frame bolts not being enough and the bumper potentially ripping itself off of those body mounted bolts. TJs and later Jeeps can accept a simple, bolt on frame reinforcing mount to reinforce the bumper mount, and plenty of vendors sell these. Unfortunately, because of the YJ’s rear leaf spring shackles, a frame mount is much more difficult to find and requires welding. Unfortunately, DirtWorx does not make or offer these to go with their bumpers. I pretty much determined that Rock Hard (yes, the Jeep accessory guys that are ready for a XXX situation at any time) had the best, if not only, frame mount for the YJ (RH-2001-YJ). Others may make them but Rock Hard was the only one that actually had a picture of the YJ-specific mount so I could see what I was going to get for $50. Everybody else just had pictures of their non-compatible TJ mounts with a YJ order option. These RH mounts actually turned out to be great and they are a universal fit since all bumpers mount to the same bolt locations. Mounting was a little involved since they had to be welded on, but the results are a big improvement as the bumper is now locked down tight and doesn’t budge. If you are looking at getting a bumper with a tire carrier, I would strongly recommend that you weld on the frame reinforcement brackets at the same time.

Now this bumper is bolted directly to the frame by two 1/2” bolts, and four 7/16” bolts. The remaining four 7/16” bolts attaching it to the body are just fluff. Even before this frame addition the bumper stayed on while I had 4 wheels spinning on asphalt trying to pull an F-250 out of the mud. I’m feeling pretty good about it now. The tire carrier is secured to the bumper on a 2” solid steel pin hinge, and has a grease fitting, but no bearings. So far I’d say bearings are unnecessary as long as you keep a little grease in there. It’s not like this hinge is going to see thousands of cycles a day. The tire carrier does flex a little (it’s a lot of leverage and weight on that pin) but I don’t have any concerns about it.

The LED lights in this bumper are some cheap, Eyourlife lights from Amazon. No telling how long they’ll last but they’ve worked great so far. I wired them into my backup lights so they come on automatically, plus I put them on a switch to control them independently. The switch is handy for a-holes that like to leave their high-beams on as they come up from behind, which is a popular thing to do on AZ 89 just north of Flagstaff.

Pics 1 & 2: Weld-on frame reinforcing brackets
Pic 3: Frame mounted bolts from OEM trailer hitch bar
Pic 4: Tire carrier lock
Pic 5: Double gas can carrier I fabricated
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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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Old 01-29-2019, 09:44 AM   #49
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Nice gas can setup!

I was thinking of redoing the plate portion of my rear tire carrier (I'm running the Bestop Tire Carrier). I had to modify it to fit my 6x5.5" pattern wheels but didn't really plan ahead about future expansion.



I'm thinking now I'm going to weld an extension piece in the front that will allow use of a mount that attaches from the outside of the wheel (for easy/quick removal if needed on trail or when I'm not wheeling I can completely remove). I want a place better than the backseat (or hood) to store my Hi-Lift and want to add two of the Rotopax cans as flat and far forward as possible.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pc1p View Post
Nice gas can setup!

I was thinking of redoing the plate portion of my rear tire carrier (I'm running the Bestop Tire Carrier). I had to modify it to fit my 6x5.5" pattern wheels but didn't really plan ahead about future expansion.

I'm thinking now I'm going to weld an extension piece in the front that will allow use of a mount that attaches from the outside of the wheel (for easy/quick removal if needed on trail or when I'm not wheeling I can completely remove). I want a place better than the backseat (or hood) to store my Hi-Lift and want to add two of the Rotopax cans as flat and far forward as possible.
I don't know that I have anything to offer on your tire carrier, but I do have something on the Hi-Lift mount. Since I scrapped my bumper accessory jack mount in lieu of my gas can carrier (will do a separate piece on this later), I had my 48" jack bouncing around in my cargo compartment for a couple of weeks, and it was really becoming a pain in the ass. I knew I didn't want a hood mount since I'm constantly opening the hood for various reasons, and I just don't want to look at the world over my jack. I took a gamble on the Quadratec roll bar mounted jack mount. It's a 76-91 specific mount despite the web page picture of a later model. I would have designed it differently but it works really well. I'm getting my own hardware to attach the jack to the mount since I can do better than what they provide (which really isn't bad). It's gotten a lot of use and I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Not perfect but pretty damned good, and it keeps the jack out of the mud and dust and away from prying eyes. Only real downside is that it's $85; kind of a lot for what it is, but I needed a timely solution while on my trip and this fixed 100% of the problem. I thought this might just be a temporary fix but I'm keeping it and it was a good buy.

Quadratec web page pic is of a post-'91 YJ or TJ, but the mount is essentially the same. Only difference is that the jack will be reversed on an 87-91; jack foot will be on the passenger side. You do have to remove/move the bolt-on mounting point that is attached to the top of the jack post from the factory. Easy.
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Old 01-29-2019, 10:57 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by dukcaln View Post
Not knowing when the right tire carrier will come along I decided to temporary mount the farm jack....

Yes, it will take a couple minutes to remove (same for the piece of [email protected]*t thief) but I like the location. Out of the weather in winter and snug inside the tub in the summer..


Used (2) 2 3/4 muffler clamps, two extra 1/2 lock nuts, 2 larger washers & lock washers,

Once I set the height, I had to drill out the hole on the farm jack base to match the u-bolt for the clamp. I just snugged up the clamp, placed the jack in place and then used the level to make it all level. When I got the right height, I just locked the clamp down, added a nut and washer behind the jack base and arm, then added a lock nut and tightened both the top and bottom down... Done

Not the fanciest or ideal... but its cheap, secure and somewhat of a security piece of mind...











inside and rear view


dukcaln just did something similar, I'm considering it since I have a late style roll bar on my 89.
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Build Thread 1989 YJ, Chevy 355 TBI, 700r4, np231 sye/wide chain/6 pinion planetary, D30/8.8/4.56, 33" A/T's, bds 3.5" springs, 1" Boom Shackles, crossover heim steering
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:05 PM
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dukcaln just did something similar, I'm considering it since I have a late style roll bar on my 89.

That's a pretty damned good idea!. With a bit of minor fabricating of some 1/8"+ sheet metal you could pretty much duplicate my $85 Gucci mount for $10 or less.
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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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Old 01-30-2019, 12:11 AM
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As I described above in my Metal Cloak post, I was getting a lot of rear tire to fender contact while off road. The rear end of my YJ was riding almost exactly and inch lower than the front so I wanted to counter this and at least level it out, if not raise the rear an inch higher than the front. I shopped for +height shackles and wasn't happy with what I was finding, that is, until I found these wack-a-doodle Australian things. OMEGS11 is a +1” rear shackle kit that is really stout, has greasable pins, and is zinc plated.

Old Man Emu (OME) is a name that only an Australian could appreciate, and they are kind of an odd brand. OME was acquired by ARB some time ago and it appears to be high quality stuff, and the price is commensurate with that. ARB doesn't support it very well though. Getting information out of them is tough, and there's a lot they don't tell you that's kind of important. For one thing, there are no instructions with the shackles, and none available from ARB. I found another post that discusses these shackles and some helpful links are included, like a scan of an ancient and incomplete instruction sheet. However, these instructions are wrong (for a YJ anyway). Yes, they are just wrong and instruct you to install the shackles in a way that isn't possible.

Another thing is that they are all metric. I mistakenly ordered just the shackles without OME’s proprietary yellow bushings. Mistake. My red poly bushings on my OEM shackles aren't compatible. I had to undo my partial install and wait 10 days for my new yellow bushings (OMESB87) to show up. Christmas and other stuff slowed down the shipping from Quadratec. Did I mention that these aren't common bushing sizes, for which there is apparently no available substitute, and very few vendors carry OME, and that most who do are looking to gouge their customers? Quadratec had them at a fair price, but always with long ship times from the east coast.

With no instructions, install was NOT straightforward. I couldn’t find any web pics of them installed so orientation was a mystery. I installed them backwards at first. They worked fine this way but the triangle protruded to the rear and was a potential liability for getting hung up on something, plus, they wouldn’t work with my later addition of a bumper reinforcement brackets (DirtWorx post, above). A couple of days later I swapped them around and figured out the correct orientation.

A few notes on these: The shackles themselves are great. They are built like a brick shit-house; solid steel plates and nicely machined pins, good fasteners, plus quality yellow zinc plating. Just the plating itself is a great upgrade over most of the competitors. They do give a solid 1” of additional lift. All of the pieces have to be assembled in to two shackle halves per spring before doing anything to the vehicle, and then the two halves assembled on the spring & frame for each spring. Just assembling each shackle half is a minor job and should be done with a healthy application of Loctite. If you’re on this blog you shouldn’t have any problems. One downside is that the final assembly install requires the two big nuts on the inside of the frame rails to be tightened last. It’s a tight space but not too hard. Use plenty of Loctite on these. The OEM shackles were relatively convenient to uninstall and reinstall. The OMEs are a bit more work but not too bad. You just can’t bust ‘em off with an impact gun like the factory shackles. You have to use a wrench.

Performance has been great and I have zero complaints. I greased them with the expensive Daystar poly (clear) grease, although they call for moly grease (black) according to the Quadratec website listing. Supposedly poly sticks better and doesn’t wash out. If you want to indulge in reading all about the differences in bushing grease, click on this link.

Pics 1 & 2: OMEGS11 & OMESB87. All metric.
Pic 3: Shackle installed backwards. No, no, no...
Pic 4: Shackle installed correctly. Note back half has not been installed yet.
Pic 5: Installed shackle with installed (welded) RH-2001-YJ frame brace kit for bumper. Note tight clearance between shackle and brace. It's close but it works.
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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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Old 01-30-2019, 12:13 AM
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Old Man Emu rear YJ shackle "instructions"

Old Man Emu rear YJ shackle "instructions". Note: instructions are wrong.
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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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Old 01-30-2019, 12:29 AM   #55
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What's wrong with the instructions? They say "typical mounting position", the corporate way of saying make it work
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:15 PM
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YJ electrical adventures, I

So, I think most of us will agree that electrical problems are probably the most annoying and tedious problems on a YJ. I’ve come to appreciate that electrical upgrades and modifications can be pretty damned tedious too. I’ve covered a number of electrical gremlins and fixes in some of my posts, but this update to my build page covers some of the electrical accessory mods I’ve made. I wanted the usual additions to a Jeep like some spot lights, additional backup lights, maybe a light bar, and the option to add other things without having to reinvent the wheel each time. I also knew I wanted to do this right (for the first time ever), with relays rather than just splicing into existing circuits. My OEM fuse block is pretty borderline worn out so this was an opportunity to get rid of those add-a-circuit plugs that sometimes fell out, as well as to clear out a bunch of old EZ/clip-on splices from under the dash. I shopped for aftermarket relay/fuse banks and found a huge gap between the really cheap ones and the really nice but expensive ($400) ones. I bought one off of Amazon for $12, but it was literally just a plastic housing and a few brass connectors. It was going to be a mess to wire since there was no power distribution buss in it; just a small step above a bunch of individually wired relays zip-tied together. I sent it back…

After much research I came across a video from BleepinJeep that gave me a whole new idea (video and link below). Bleepin has a bunch of good videos and this one set me on a new path. Watch the video if the concept of a (relatively) neat and tidy accessory power distribution system appeals to you. He also has some really nice links to other sites for info on wiring. Summary of the video is he pulled a couple of OEM relay/fuse boxes out of early 90s XJs. He explains why that specific relay box but I can’t really remember his rationale. He basically disassembles them and pulls the guts out and rearranges everything to make a user-friendly accessory relay box. I found that my results were actually a lot better than what BleepinJeep got and has made my accessory additions relatively clean.

Overview is a that a factory relay and fuse box is very specific to the vehicle it came from and has to be rewired if you just want individual circuits that are each controlled by a switch. I pulled 2 relay boxes out of early 90s XJs, along with as much of the wiring harnesses as I could pull and/or cut out. They are cheap and having 2 makes this job easier. By being more cautious than BleepinJeep (I wasn’t under the clock making a video) I was able to minimize breaking any plastic tabs and therefore needed no glue to reassemble it. End result is that I now have a relay/fuse box for my accessories with 7 individual circuits that are each controlled by a relay and protected by two fuses, and I can add another 3 circuits if I ever need them.

Now, I’m not going to lie, this project is not for the electrically squeamish. It was very tedious and time consuming to disassemble the box and figure out what did what and how to make it do what I wanted, and how to sort out the rat’s nest of wires. Now that I’ve done it, I could do it again in a small fraction of the time. I recycled most of the wires since they already had the right connectors on one end for the relay box and found that made for a really nice end product. This is where the spare relay box comes in handy, for scrounging more wires with connectors. Additionally, for the first time ever with an auto electrical mod, I actually did all the math to figure out what wire gauge sizes I needed, what the right fuse sizes were, and if my junkyard relays could handle the juice. The math says LEDs are awesome with their low power draw so I have plenty of capacity. It’s kind of surprising how little they need.

Bleepin used CAT V cable for the switch-relay control wires. May sound like a clever way to wire it, but I chose to use the recycled wires to have something a little sturdier and am glad I did. I finished this off by going to MetalMart and having them cut a plate of 11 gauge-ish stainless so I could mount the box next to the battery. I also added a boomin’-stereo-style power/ground block right next to the relay box. Technically this isn’t necessary since I could just ground anywhere, but I wanted it as clean as I could get it and this seemed like a decent solution. Lastly, after I bought a $15 Harbor Freight butane torch, I found I could solder even big wires very quickly and easily, so I soldered the ends of all the various power and ground wires going into their respective blocks so they aren’t a smashed together wad of copper that will soon be corroded.

While I was doing all of this I put together a wiring diagram on Excel because I couldn't keep track of these circuits any other way, and because I'm anal retentive like that. I still have a way to go with cleaning up the wiring. I left a fair amount of excess wire on the circuits that aren't employed yet so it looks a little rat's-nest-y, but that's all for future expansion. All in all, this is a huge improvement over piece-meal circuit additions and random switches.


Pics 1 & 2: "New" relay/fuse box after reassembly but before installation.
Pics 3 & 4: No longer new relay/fuse box in its home, after some use.
Pic 4: My anal over-produced wiring diagram
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Old 04-05-2019, 10:43 PM
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YJ electrical adventures, II, windshield pillar cube lights

This should have been the easiest addition of all, but it was a huge pain in the ass. I’m only adding this writeup because I found nothing about a good YJ solution on the whole internet. I got these LED cube spot lights from Quadratec for about $100, and a couple of Rough Country mounts. The Rough Country mounts are nice and cheap at $30 delivered directly from RC, and nobody else sells them. Probably because they are so good for the money that nobody would ever buy a $150 set of Persian Spider mounts again. The mount is easy to install since these mount to the top of the windshield hinge, unlike the bottom-of-the-hinge mounts which require removing the dash. However, getting the cables inside the vehicle proved to be a challenge. Internet searches revealed nothing for good solutions. I didn’t want some cheesy around-the-door-frame or drilling-a-big-hole-in-the-body solution. I drove around for 4 months with these lights unconnected because it was such a job. After removing the dash and folding down the windshield, I finally found a good solution.

The seal between the windshield frame and the body is pretty thick. Thick enough for the light’s wire to pass through with a little trimming of the foam rubber seal. It does require a round file to relieve the slight lip on the front of the windshield frame a little bit, otherwise the wire will get pinched and cut. You can't see this lip because it's hidden under the seal, but you'll find it when you cut the channel through the foam rubber. There’s also a nice oval hole on the driver’s side of the body/firewall under the top of the dash to run wires into the cab. The passenger side has no hole so you have to drill one.

For some reason I was all hung up on using the Deutsch DT connectors that come attached to almost all accessory LED lights. These are cool connectors, and after much research, I bought some real ones from ProWireUSA so I could plug in the lights to the relay box. Beware Ebay and Amazon as they are pretty much all incompatible fakes as I found out the hard way. The problem is these DT connectors are bulky and mean having to make BIG holes to pass them through the body or firewall. After much deliberating and mental gymnastics as to how to get the big squirrel through a small hole, it finally dawned on me that I should just abandon them and hard wire these lights. I snipped off the Deutsch connectors from the lights and haven't regretted it. That proved to be the superior option and actually simplified the task significantly, and expanded my options.

Now the light cables pass directly between the windshield frame and the body, and then right down through the dash. No visible holes and looks pretty pro. Time will tell if leaks are a problem but doubtful, and a little sealer would fix any that did develop. The lights themselves are a pretty good addition and work well.

Pic 1: Cube light on Rough Country mount w/cable through windshield frame seal. Could still use a little refining but does the job.

Pic 2 & 3: Windshield seal & oval hole on driver's side. No, those Deutsch plugs won't fit through that hole. I tried...

Pic 4: Passenger side hinge.
Top arrow=cut a channel through the foam
Middle arrow=relieve the unseen metal lip with a round file so it doesn't pinch the wire. Make sure wire stays in this relieved spot when you close the hinge!
Bottom arrow=drill 1/2" hole and insert rubber grommet. It goes exactly opposite the oval hole on the driver's side.

Pic 5: There's no good way to keep the Deutch DT connectors unless you want big holes. If you're going through all this work, the quick connectors are a superfluous nuisance that are more trouble than they're worth. If/when you replace these lights it's a simple matter to snip a couple of wires and crimp on some new butt connectors.
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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:14 AM   #58
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I've really began to like the DT style connectors. Removing the pins and fishing wires takes only a few seconds per pin and doesn't require a special tool...
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95' YJ Build thread | 4.0L 5-spd | RE Extreme 4.5" | Dana 44's | 4.88 gears | Eaton E-Lockers | 35" MTRs | 15 x 8 AR Baja's | 1" Daystar BL | TJ Flares | Adam's driveshafts | NP231HD | JB Super Short SYE | BDO 1" MML | Viair OBA | Warn XD9000i | Hella H4's |
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Old 08-07-2019, 07:07 PM
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YJ electrical adventures, III, Stereo/ lockable center console



Early on in my ownership of this YJ I decided to relocate the stereo head unit from the dash. It had been repeatedly stolen and replaced since 1987 so I concluded that even a cheap stereo that’s visible is too enticing for beady-eyed, slack-jawed hoodlums to resist. This Jeep had a 25-year-old “lockable” particle board & carpet center console in it when I got it, but it was pretty worthless and wouldn’t even keep an honest man honest. I bought a Shittybilt #31815 steel center console with the built-in stereo slot and an elbow rest. This same console is sold under a number of different brand names for a wide variety of prices, but it should run about $100-120. It comes with a “drink-holder” built in, but this is just marketing gimmickry. The shifters are where this abomination wants to be, so your choice is to cut off the drink-holder, cut off your stick-shifts, or mount the whole thing so far to the rear you can’t put your elbow on it or control the stereo. If you're short and have the seat slid forward, this will be even worse. Even with an automatic the transfer case shifter will still be there. Once the drink holder is removed (a quick job with a cutoff wheel), this console really shines. The stereo location is really convenient and almost ideally suited for controlling on the fly. The lockable storage space isn’t huge but is a major improvement over nothing. I got a couple of dash mounted drink holders years ago that solved the stock YJ’s passive-aggressive, neglect/hostility towards conveniently retained occupant beverages. Sum total of factory provided drink holders? Zero. Why were 1980's Jeep designers so anti-beverage?

After 5 years of yeoman duty, I rebuilt this steel console with a blue-tooth compatible stereo (still super cheap), added a switchable USB/cigarette lighter plug and a green LED utility light (both inside), and power/aux leads going to the dash for a Sirius/XM receiver. And perhaps best of all, in combination with my new relay/fuse box (post above), all of this is switched to the ignition power (except for the switchable USB/Cig outlet).

Pic 1: Vacant stereo hole says “Tough break, Douchebag… Some other asshole beat you to it!”
Pic 2: It looks like that stupid drink holder will fit, but believe me, it doesn’t.
Pic 3: Stereo hole is now put to better use.
Pic 4: Dash mount drink holders do a better job. From Amazon...
Pic 5: Cut off that drink holder and accept that it isn't a real thing.
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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:22 PM
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Rear suspension and Metal Cloak fenders (again)

In keeping with the scientifically proven law of YJ-physics that dictates that you can't positively modify one thing on a YJ without negatively impacting at least two other things, I bring you this continuing saga:

As I’ve outlined in the posts at the top of this string page, the combination of my ProComp 4” rear springs and the Metal Cloak rear fenders resulted in tire to fender contact regularly. I added some +1” Old Man Emu (OME) rear shackles which helped, but didn’t eliminate this tire rub problem. These ProComp springs were pretty harsh and I was inclined to get some cushier springs, plus, I figured I needed another inch of lift to address the tire rubbing issue. I bought two BDS 004500 5” springs for the rear from Realtruck.com. They insisted on selling me something other than what I told them I wanted (lack of basic listening skills), but eventually I got the right thing. Their price was good (best price on the internet) but the rest of the experience was not.

I installed these springs with the OME (not OEM!) +1” shackles I already had, but the result was worse than before. Did you know these springs have a front and a rear? I did not... and I installed them backwards the first time, which pushed the axle too far to the rear. Why do once correctly what you can do twice incorrectly? After reversing the springs, all my clearance issues went away, but man, these are way more than 1” taller than those ProComp 4” springs. I also added some additional bump stops to the Barnes 4wd U-bolt plates on my axle. This will effectively act as an extended bump stop since I couldn’t find exactly the bump stop this situation called for. This will also mean two bump stops colliding rather than a bump stop and an axle. However, with this much lift I think I'll be hard pressed to bottom out anything.

After my botched spring install, it dawned on me that I may have also installed my previous 4” ProComp springs backwards too. Maybe all this tire to fender contact was my own doing due to a botched spring installation, but I’m not going to re-install the ProComps to find out.

Another extended shakedown in Arizona revealed that the BDS springs are truly superior to the ProComps in ride quality. BDS springs are tapered and therefore progressive, where ProComps are just old school and harsh. However, I also learned the hard way (my only way) that the military wraps on the BDS springs are a significant factor in shackle/frame clearance. The military wraps were banging into the frame with almost every hit. My OME +1” shackles just weren’t providing enough clearance. It took quite a while to determine the culprit of all that banging, and I also determined that my frame-bumper reinforcement brackets weren’t providing enough clearance for the OME shackles either. After trimming them back, I realized that the OME shackles just simply aren’t compatible with military wrap springs.

After a bunch of additional research, I bought a pair of M.O.R.E. LS9091 boomerang shackles specifically marketed for military wraps. These are specific to the spring type and brand, nicely finished in yellow zinc, heavy as crap, and fixed the problem. However, they claim to be +5/8”, but seem to provide considerably more lift than my +1” OMEs. I think this is a function of geometry with the springs rather than the shackles themselves, but they deliver as advertised. I’m happy with the shackles, but realize I probably could have gone with BDS 4” springs vs my 5" springs and still had plenty of clearance. What’s done is done, but it’s now a little taller than what I would have preferred. Not sure if it will fit in my trailer once I lift the front to correct the rake angle.

If anyone is interested in a pair of used Old Man Emu +1” shackles with bushings (6 months old) for some non-military wrap springs, I’ve got ‘em for a decent price. Add-on a pair of 1 year old ProComp 4" rear springs for another bargain bundle.

Pics 1, 2 & 3: BDS military wrap banging into the bumper mount and frame bolts. I had already trimmed back the welded-on frame to bumper mounts to clear the triangular OME shackles' travel.
Pics 4 & 5: New M.O.R.E. boomerang shackles on BDS springs. Definitely took care of the military wrap/shackle issue, but more lift than I wanted. Kindly ignore the baling wire holding the exhaust to the frame. I was eliminating potential causes of that horrible clanking before I realized it was the springs...
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Build Page 1987 Wrangler, the ORIGINAL Wrangler, pure and unfiltered... 4.2L 6 cyl w/ Holley 2 BBL carb and Nutter bypass, AX15 trans w/ external slave, Luk clutch, NP231 rebuilt with 6-gear planetary, 1.25" chain and AA slip yoke eliminator, Teraflex 2Low, 4" Pro Comp lift w/ MetalCloak fenders, Brown Dog engine mounts, Ford 8.8 rear end w/ARB & 4.88 gears, 35X12.5 Maxxis Trepadors, DirtWorx rear bumper
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