Sunday, April 02, 2017

Bulkheads, pass throughs or whatever you want to call them, eventually those wires are going to have to pass through the firewall. A few criterias were in order. Weather proof, hidden and quick disconnect. The battery was kept 1 1/2" away from the fire wall to allow the wires to exit the firewall directly behind it, that takes care of the hidden part. The weather proof part wasn't really a problem, but with only having 1 1/2" to play with was. A very nice weather pack bulkhead is available utilizing 22 circuits, but is pretty bulky and comes straight out from the firewall. We needed one that turned down 90 degrees. and had a disconnect plug. An internet search turned up some nice billet ones but not with a disconnect.
It never seems to fail we often come to a situation in this build that either parts are not available or we want to do it a different way. So off to the drawing board. Using a 6 conductor weather pack connector as our starting point a holder was made from some aluminum stock laying around the shop. An extruded angle and some 1/2" square aluminum was used. A 3/16" radius was milled into the 1/2" pieces to match the radius on the connector with a 1/8" hole drilled into the radius to utilize the existing pins already on the connector to hold in place. The connector was sandwiched in between the 2 pieces and attached to the angle with 8-32 stainless socket head cap screws. The assembly
was milled square for future polishing. The wires will exit the top of the connector, turn 90 degrees, go through the firewall into another aluminum piece with 6 hole drilled through in the exact spacing as the weather pack connector. This piece will be mounted on the inside of the firewall and use the weather pack o-rings. 2 8-32 screws will pass through the outside piece into the inside piece sandwiching the firewall in between making for a good seal. 3 of these assemblies will be used to give us a total of 18 circuits and mounted just enough above the battery to be visible. No sense in making them totally hidden since they will be polished. Any unused ports will be filled with the weather pack
rubber plugs. The wiring can now be run behind the battery to underneath it where the starter solenoid, relays, mega fuse and terminal strips are mounted.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Finished up the tail light wiring by wiring up the new LED units, only to find out they were not working properly. I had originally grounded them to the frame. Jeffrey suggested running a ground test lead right from the battery and sure enough that fixed it. With our temporary wiring we had run the ground cable directly to the engine block but not to the frame. So it was trying to ground through the engine mounts. A braided ground strap from the engine to the frame cured it. Ironically the American Wire kit did not have provisions for a reverse light circuit. A feed was run to the shifter switch then to the rear. That would mean 4 wires would be passing through the body for lighting (tail, r. turn, l. turn
and rev.) along with fuel gauge for a total of 5. A 5 conductor weather pack connector was sourced for Custom Connector Kits and using their terminal crimpers, a plug was assembled where the floor kicks up for the rear floor behind the console. Continuing on to the lights a 3 conductor plug was added to each light along with an additional 4 conductor plug feeding them which in the event that a trailer harness is installed can be pulled apart and a T connector plugged in to go to the trailer plug. This way the body can be lifted off just by pulling these plugs apart. The T connector is a Hopkins #41125 for a 1988 to 1998 full size Chevy truck.
that can be purchased through Advance Auto or Amazon. These weather pack connectors are great and crimping on the terminals and seals is pleasurable with the correct tools. Next we'll show you how the wiring will be hidden behind and under the battery box and the bulkhead connectors that were fabricated to come through the firewall.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Been a while but we are still here. With a wedding and job priorities in N.J. slowing construction down it's good that we are not on a time deadline. Rather rushing, paying a 3rd. party to finish it or just bailing out of the project like happens much too often, we are determine to see this through to the end by doing quality work ourselves. So on to the next phase, wiring. An American Autowire kit was purchased from a vendor at Carlisle. This is part 500703 Highway 15 series. Advertised as completely made in the USA, the quality is second to none. Very straight forward and easy to follow instructions.

 We started by mounting the panel to the driverside firewall on an aluminum plate. The plate being fastened to the firewall permanently and drilled and tapped to mount the panel. This way the panel can easily be removed for service if needed. All wires are labeled as to where they feed, so it's virtually impossible to make a mistake. The rear light wires were tackled first, as they will be routed inside  the body through the console then exciting the body at the back of the console where the floor kicks up. Just outside the body we will be using a weather pack

connector. This way body removal can easily be done in preparation for paint. Speaking of weather pack connectors, these were originally
developed by Delphi for GM vehicles and variations are now common on all makes. Buying the connectors is rather expensive, so as frugal as we are, (or is it cheap?) we found an alternative. A trip to the local u-pull netted around 60 connectors, including a bulkhead connector for $10.50. The bulkhead connector alone runs around $28.00. Most of these were gotten off semi tractor cabs. Now if you leave a length of wire on they can be spliced into your harness, but that would be defeating the purpose for a weather proof connector. The terminals and
removal tool and crimpers can be bought online by various suppliers, again with a wide range of cost. A company in California was located by online searching that has very reasonable prices. Custom Connector Kits These guys have everything you need to do
the job correctly and are very friendly and customer conscious. In fact I had placed an order online that came up to $11.00 short of $75.00 with $14.00 shipping and received a call from them the next morning informing me that if I spent over $75.00 that they offered free shipping. Now not too many companies would do that. All outside connectors will be weather pack. Posts for this phase will be split up into separate sections to show different methods of assembly so stay tuned.

Friday, July 22, 2016

We figured while we were working on the windshield frame, it would be a good time to fab in the defroster vents since it was a Wrangler (YJ) frame. Previously I had attempted to use the YJ defroster vent setup by making a wire frame that mimicked the CJ dash pad, which would have been labor intensive, then discovering that the YJ duct work would not clear the gauges that were sunk into the dash panel. Needless to say the whole defroster ducting had to be re-engineered which was covered in a previous post. Any how vents were sourced from Omix-Ada  part number 17907.04 or 5750340k. These are listed for a
1978 to 1986 CJ at a cost of $24.99. Nice quality. Slots were marked and cut using a cut off wheel in a die grinder then finished off with a carbide burr, also in a die grinder. Screwed into place using #8 x 1/2" truss phillips self drilling screws.
Jeffrey had previously ordered a CJ dash pad from Omix-Ada part number DMC-5760458 in black. Real nice quality for offshore. It would have no problem replacing an original using factory hole locations. We didn't have to worry about that with this being a new construction. We started with marking centerlines on the cowl and pad to get good location. I should also mention at this time that the centerlines were also used to cut the defroster holes in the bottom of the YJ windshield frame, along with then mounting the cowl to windshield rubber seal. Since we had to lay the frame down
to install the pad we took care of two things. The bent top edge of the dash panel where it wraps up over the cowl had to be addressed by using a plate that doubled as a washer for the screw that fastens the square tubing defroster duct and as a spacer underneath the dash pad tab. It worked out nice that the 1/8" wall square tubing could be threaded for the dash mounting tabs versus trying to hold a nut from underneath. These plates are the same thickness as the lip on the dash panel. Washers were also cut with a flat to butt up against the same panel. Dash pad mounting was pretty well straight forward using 10-32 socket button head screws for the upper tabs and upholstery sheet metal screws for the bottom.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Seat belts? The law and also common sense. They also keep you and your passengers from falling out during those hard cornering maneuvers. A set was ordered from Morris 4 x 4 in black for the front seats. These are quality 3 point retractable belts made by Seatbelt Solutions Mounting the retractor on the drivers side was critical due to the way we mounted the e-brake for which clearance was needed for proper operation. So we started on that side first then duplicated the passenger side to match. We started with a length
of 2" x 2" x 1/4" angle with a circular cut out for the roll bar, then welded a 1/4" thick plate to mount the other end of the belt. Two holes were drilled to accommodate 1/2" x 20 grade 8 bolts that were welded in place.Then the whole assembly was tack welded in place. The roll bar was then removed for a more thorough welding. After reinstalling the roll bar, a location for the 3rd. mounting point was established by sitting in the seat and finding a comfortable shoulder position height on the roll bar. Since this position is non adjustable as on newer cars, it was a once and done deal. Nothing more aggravating than having a shoulder belt cutting into your neck. We looked around for weld in seat belt bungs for roll
bars, but came up empty handed. The bar we are using came from a later CJ7 with no shoulder belt accommodations or windshield bar mounts. This bar measures 2 1/4" diameter. The longest bungs found only work with a maximum of 2" diameter roll bar. So we had to come up with our own solution. Ironically even if we would have found longer bungs, they could not have been inserted from the back of the bar because the angled down tube was in the way. We got some 3/4" round stock and cross drilled and tapped for 7/16 x 20 thread, then an additional piece of the same stock was drilled with a 29/64" thru hole. The end of that piece was milled with a 3/4" dia. end mill to mate to the first piece in a T
configuration. A 3/4" hole saw was used to cross drill a hole and another from the front to intersect it. The cross threaded piece was inserted from the side and the thru hole piece inserted from the front till it contacted the cross piece. Lengths were marked leaving 1/4" protruding from the roll bar for welding. Cut to length, everything was reinstalled and a 7/16 x 20 grade 8 bolt was put thru the belt flange, a bushing, the thru hole piece and then threaded into the cross piece. It is only mocked up right now but will be put back together later without the belt and welded. This should easily be as strong as the bung method. The center belt pieces are yet to be installed till we get buckle sleeves that keep the buckle end
rigid and upright.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The low range lever for the Quadra-Trac was next on the list of fabrication duties. The original mounting plate was totally rusted away, but leaving the lever and split nylon bushing in good shape. Made some calls and internet searches for a useable mounting plate replacement with no results. Using the old one as a pattern and taking into consideration the thicker fiberglass floor, an upper and lower plate were milled from aluminum. A hole was drilled then reamed for a snug fit for the bushing, then four holes drilled and tapped 1/4 - 20 compared the the original two for a more solid assembly. Using the original linkage rod and photos from a shop manual, a location on the floor was determined by
positioning the lever in a 1 o'clock orientation then marking a spot on the underside of the floor at the pivot point. Now the levers for the CJ's are different than on a full size Jeep and actually operate opposite. Pushing forward or counterclockwise on a CJ lever engages the low range and upward or clockwise on a full size engages the low range. A 1 1/8" hole was drilled thru the floor and then positioning the upper plate centered on that hole the four threaded holes were marked then drilled. Feeding the lever thru the bottom plate, then inserting the split bushing, then thru the floor from the underside, then the upper plate and finally threading the whole assembly together resulted
in a very solid mount. We were originally going to use swivel heim joints and our own rod, but the original was in great shape and works very well. Not seen in the photos are the washers and cotter pins, but since installing them, the low range can literally be engaged and disengaged with one finger and the position of the lever is dead on with the shop manual. The plastic handle has some wear and has lost its press fit so we will most likely make a replacement also from aluminum.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

We had always planned on frenching in the headlights because even though we liked the classic CJ look, the lights stuck out too far giving it a bug eyed look. Ever since we saw an M38A1 grille with the sunken lights we figured on trying to expand on it. We knew we would need some form of trim ring especially since we were going with the Laredo chrome grille overlay. I was trailing my wife through a kitchen supply store one day and came across these stainless steel 9" cake pans. Just so happens a stock CJ trim ring fits perfectly inside the cake pan. The clearance from the back of the grille to the
front of the radiator was the deciding factor on how deep we could go. Started by duplicating and cutting the shape in the bottom of the pan. The mounting flange in the grille was then cut out along with the flange in the chrome overlay. The overlay flange was then welded into an M38A1 bucket that was sectioned down to 1" depth. This bucket was then welded to the back of the grille in place of where the flange was removed. This has to be indexed perfectly so that the bulb is in a vertical position. The chrome overlay is put in place followed by the cake pan trim ring then finally the the
bucket assembly that holds the bulb then screwed through into the welded shortened M38A1 flange. Only then can the stock trim ring be fastened. This gives us enough clearance attaching the plug to the back of the halogen lights. These light by the way are Rampage #5089925 using H4 bulbs. 


Ok,so here is how we 
frenched the turn signals. The clearance from the back of the grille to the front of the radiator again was the deciding factor on how deep we could go. We ended up buying clear JK turn signals and along with a 5" dia. x 1 1/4" deep pie pan from the local Kitchen Supply store used as a combination trim ring and mounting pod, the bottom of the pan was cut out with a 3 1/8" hole saw in a drill press. Then 3 slots were cut in using a cut off wheel to coincide with the 3 molded in ribs on the JK housing. The 2 plastic mounting tabs were cut off the back of the JK housing and 2 holes drilled for #8 screws that

were installed from inside the housing by removing the bulb socket and secured with nuts on the outside. On the grille the original holes were cut open with a 4" hole saw by attaching a steel plate from the backside and a 1/4" center hole to guide the hole saw pilot drill. A bracket was bent up to attach the whole assembly, the same as what is commonly used for mounting many instrument gauges. But these brackets were welded to the back of the grille. The assembly can be slid through from the front with the #8 screws through the bracket and fastened with 2 nuts. So far I have not been able to find

stainless steel 5" pie pans, if I don't then these will have to be chrome plated. I can only say my wife keeps wondering my interest in kitchen supply stores. Good to keep them guessing.