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Discussion Starter #1
I thought it was about time to update everyone on a few projects I’ve 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 – saving me about $40 compared to other sites. I know I can’t 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, they’ve 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 – everything from laser cutting, sheering, powder coating, welding and so on. The only thing it doesn’t have is a mandrel tube bender. Well, he is as ambitious as I am, and is helping me build parts for my Commander. (Admins, don’t worry – these aren’t 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. – Before you say it, NO, they don’t. It doesn’t swing down, it doesn’t 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 won’t 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: Don’t 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 don’t know if it is possible. Also, I don’t 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 –attaching the bumper cover to the new piece, etc (and searching for a very cheap, used bumper to test it)



Rock Sliders –
As I mentioned, my guy doesn’t have a bender, but I am working with a few of the MJC guys who made sliders for their TJ’s, XJ’s and ZJ’s.

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
 

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I'm interested in watching your progress on your projects. I am also considering fabbing a tire carrier.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Forgot to mention... I am also considering putting a different color grill on. Either the dark kahki/slate grey or silver one. This could be something I swap with someone or just paint myself. I'm bidding on a bumper with one right now but dont think I will get it... so if anyone has a bumper or grill sitting around that they are trying to get rid of, send me a pm!
 

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so you have to buy the upgraded gas tank skid to attach the transfer case skid? You can't connect/mount it to the gas ski that comes stock?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
so you have to buy the upgraded gas tank skid to attach the transfer case skid? You can't connect/mount it to the gas ski that comes stock?
Unfortunately. Same holds true with 4XGuards Belly Guard. The steel gas tank skid plate has an extra piece that the transfer case skid plate attaches to. But with a couple custom pieces, it may be doable, I will just have to find out!
 

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BoilerCommander,


Adding the light for the license plate is fairly easy. Remove the tail light assembly from the side that the tie carrier pivots on. Tap into the running light wire. Route the wire under the assembly and leave some slack in the wire before taping it to the tire carrier and bring it either inside or taped to the back of the tire carrier to the licensed bulb. They have LED lights complete with the housing at any auto parts store.

I also used a quick disconnect in case you need to rempove the tire carrier. You could even drill a small hole in the bumper if you wanted to hide it even more.

Here is a picture of mine and the wire is barely visable so I included a close up picture.






Here is a picture of the left tail light housing from when I wire the top sequential turn signals, but it shows how to use a tap to get the power from the circuit that you need. I cannot remember the color for the running lights but it woould be easy to find it by looking at the socket for the tail light. There are some extra components in this picture, the diodes for my connection to the motorhome for being towed and the ballast for the LED tail lights. Good Luck with your project.

 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the detailed instructions Huey. My carrier wont have the cross bar and the pivot like yours, it will go straight up front the hitch, but it looks like I can just run the wires under the plastic bumper cover and run it up the length of the carrier arm. I know tail lights are really weird it comes to diverting amps, so it is good to know you can tap into them without having any problems (I thought I was going to need a relay). With your picture and a meter, it doesn't look like it will be a problem anymore. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I realize I spend too much time planning :program: this and may be a little too ambitious with this project, but hey, I enjoy it.

Anyways, GP and I were talking, and I think it actually wouldn't be too hard to build something that integrates almost on top of the plastic bumper cover, and attaches to the steel bumper from the bottom. If you look GetLost's winch plate on adamag's XK , the winch plate attaches to the bumper at the back.


The plate could sit on top and attach the bumper frame from the bottom, with supports added where needed. A skid plate could follow the body line to the radiator, making a fairly simple design. This way the bumper is much more stable because the middle section would be intact, but with a few cuts. This is essentially what I was thinking the entire time but didn't know how to explain it. Think about the Mopar guard and how it attaches to the bumper cover:

Installation instructions


How confident am I that this is possible? Enough that I bought a used bumper on eBay tonight so I don't tear up my stock one. (candle not included). I won it last minute and it says that the bumper is for an 07 - 08 Commander. The seller sent me a ton of pictures last night, and from everything I see it will still fit my 2006. There are a few imperfections and scratches but my buddy sprays for a local dealer and that wont be a problem to fix




I DO NOT want to copy Ross' work on the bumper or the winch plate. He is a true innovator and I don't want to do that. With that in mind, I think the design skills and creativity on the forum are too creative to ignore. If any of you crazy AutoCad folks have time to help me come up with some ideas, I would appreciate it.
 

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We were giving away bumpers about 6 months ago. I ended up throwing mine away. Several of us had them left over after switching to the "Get Lost" front bumper. Mine was coated with bedliner anyway and might not have worked except as a template.

I will enjoy watching your progress. Post lots of details and pictures. Good Luck.
 

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If any of you crazy AutoCad folks have time to help me come up with some ideas, I would appreciate it.
Looks like your plans are on track and I cannot wait to see what you come up with. I would like a rear skid plate also so hopefully you come up with something good. Unfortunately I don't meet all of your above requirements, I am crazy, and I know Acad, but I don't have too much spare time. Please post pics as they are available.
 

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I am the "Original AutoCad Crazy" I bought the first version of AutoCad V1.1a and had to work with the support guy at Autodesk to get it to work on a portable (sewing machiine size) computer in the early 80's. What I would need to work up some ideas would be some of the libarary of existing as built drawings to insure that the underlying basic dimensions are all accurate. Editing or changing existing drawings is so much easier than duplicating the accuracy of the factory drawings.

Let me know if you find any existing drawings.
 

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Looking froward to seeing your modifications, I need to do a tire carrier and the extra fuel cell.
 

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Are you putting a fuel cell or just an extra gas can on the back?
I wanted the extra fuel cell like Huey has but not sure if it is still available or not.
 

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Why not use your tow wiring harness to supply power for the tire carrier license plate light? Assuming most people have that option.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Why not use your tow wiring harness to supply power for the tire carrier license plate light? Assuming most people have that option.
You might be able to, but the funny thing is I actually didn't add it yet. I really only put the hitch on for cargo reasons (bike carrier, tire carrier, and rear hitch shackle)
 

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I myself am very interested in your design for the rear...wanna try something myself just dont have the connections like you seem to. Can't wait to see the outcome!
 
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