I thought it was about time to update everyone on a few projects Iíve been working on. With Ross pursuing his new venture, and living next to recession annihilated Elkhart, IN (RV capitol of the world) I have started trying to get some ideas out of my head and into reality. I ordered a few parts today from moparonlineparts.com: Mopar front suspension skid plate and transfer case skid plate (and replacement wheel center caps, but who cares about those) and a few extra parts for my Hi-Lift Jack on Monday: Handle keeper, neoprene cover, and Jack-mate for the wheel. (note: If you search by the Mopar part number at moparonlineparts.com, the skid plates are only $40 each and it was only $30 for shipping of both skid plates and $5 handling Ė saving me about $40 compared to other sites. I know I canít put the transfer case skid plate on without the gas tank plate, but we are working on a way to do it (or I may just order the gas tank skid plate instead).
My local jeep club, Michiana Jeep Club, has a good deal of smart, talented people, one of which works at a steel fabrication company that previously made parts for Monaco Coach (who left Elkhart awhile back). In effort to keep the company going, theyíve been trying to diversify and work on various projects, everything from ambulances to garbage crates. The warehouse is full of multimillion machines that used to run 24 hours and now run at half capacity Ė everything from laser cutting, sheering, powder coating, welding and so on. The only thing it doesnít have is a mandrel tube bender. Well, he is as ambitious as I am, and is helping me build parts for my Commander. (Admins, donít worry Ė these arenít items for sale, just things that I am custom fabricating for myself). Right now he is only working on the tire carrier and d-rings, but he might be helping me with other parts later - my uncle also makes steel parts for trailers, but his operation is much smaller. Last night I also removed my brush guard and started working on a few design steps
Custom rear tire carrier and skid plate -
I just want a basic, swing down, spare tire carrier that has a mount for a hi-lift jack and a 2nd receiver, but no one makes one. Ė Before you say it, NO, they donít. It doesnít swing down, it doesnít have a receiver, or they stopped making it. Trust me. - So, we have been working on a prototype that is on track for completion by the Midwest Badlands trip. This is not a picture of the one we are making, but just to give you an idea of what it could look like. It wonít angle backwards at the top either. My only concern for now is how to wire up the light for a license plate bracket.
The plan is to also add a rear bumper skid plate that mounts to the frame and goes around the bottom of the carrier (it may look something like the 4xguard version for the WK)
Font End -
Short term: we are making a custom mount for D-ring shackles (no pics yet)
Long term: Donít really have a design yet, except for the one in my head, but I am making a front winch piece. Think of how the mopar grill guard covers the front bumper cover, but image it was actually attached to the steel bumper behind it, additional supports would come from the bottom, and a front skid plate would run down to cover the radiator. I would like the winch plate and skid plate to be all one piece, but donít know if it is possible. Also, I donít know if it is possible to cut out the center piece of the bumper cover and keep the whole thing stable, so I am looking into that too Ėattaching the bumper cover to the new piece, etc (and searching for a very cheap, used bumper to test it)
Rock Sliders Ė
As I mentioned, my guy doesnít have a bender, but I am working with a few of the MJC guys who made sliders for their TJís, XJís and ZJís.
Nothing finished yet (is anything ever really done?) but I wanted to get these ideas out of my head and into words, and I figured this was the best place for it. Look forward to your thoughts and opinions