Sunday, June 03, 2018

We always hated prop rods for various reasons, hands were full, rod is in the way to do engine maintenance and so on. Jeffrey had eliminated that problem on his 19195 Subaru Impreza by adding rear hatch gas shocks to the hood with great results, so he wanted to do something similar for the CJ. Mainly because he didn't like laying the hood back against the windshield and didn't want to mess with a prop rod. Now we were told by several sources that gas shocks are not recommended for fiberglass hoods for the simple reason that since no mounting supports were glassed in during construction that if done later they would eventually crack and break out. Rough Country makes a nice setup for the
McMaster Carr part number 9512K98. The collar would temporarily allow us to move the location of the stud on the grille rod for optimum position. Now came the hard part. selecting a gas shock with the right length and pressure to lift the hood. I found several gas shock sights that gave formulas to calculate pressure, but the answers greatly varied due to the fact that we were also angling towards the center of the hood. So I devised a method to determine how much force was needed to keep the hood open. I took a length of 1" pipe and welded on an eye hook to fasten to the grille rod, and put several springs inside of it. Then a length of round stock that slid into the pipe with another eye hook welded to
fasten to the hood on a temporary bracket. I kept changing out springs until I got the hood to stay open at the desired position. I then scribed a line around the round stock against the shoulder of the pipe. This also gave me a length that was needed. Taking the assembly off the one end was placed on a bathroom scale and compressed until the mark lined up with the shoulder. The poundage was then read off the scale, which was 41lbs. Formulas say to add 10% bringing it up to 45lbs. I also added some weight to compensate for the weight of Line-X to the underside of the hood. Now using the marks on the hood and grille rod I was able to get a compressed length by partially closing the hood and measure
between the marks. So I ordered a gas shock from Bansbach with a 22" open length, a 10" stoke and a pressure of 58lbs. Whats nice is that you can specify the pressure that you need. I added pressure figuring I could deal with too much pressure rather than not enough. Temporarily mounting everything to the makeshift brackets to see if it all worked, adjustments were made to end link locations to finalize positions and clearances. Once done an aluminum bracket was made and mounted to the sheet metal with 1/4 - 20 flathead screws from behind. for the mount on the grille rod a 1/2" piece of round stock was pressed into the rod after milling a 1/2" counterbore then brazed.
 Then a hole was drilled into it and tapped for the 10mm. ball stud. Lifting the hood now takes very little effort and opens to a convenient position for engine maintenance and most importantly there is no stress on any of the fiberglass.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Some time ago (November 2013 to be exact) we salvaged a pair of Recaro bucket seats from our local u-pull from a mid 90's Chevrolet Lumina police car. Although these are very comfortable seats and are highly sought after, the amount of cash and time to throw at them was deemed unfeasible. Especially considering the fact that we wanted seat heaters and a total reupholstering and spring repair. These at the time were mounted along with the accompanying sliders by  using the seat of the pants method of adapting them to the stock Jeep scissor mounts by eyeballing up with the steering column by sitting in them. Looking back that was probably not a good method, because they always seemed like you were sitting on an angle. The only benefit for this build taking so long is that now cash flow is better. So the hunt was on for another pair of seats. Jeffrey settled on a pair of  Corbeau's. Item number 44901W with diamond stitched inserts and of course the mandatory
seat heaters. These seats were first spotted at York Jeep Show in 2016 installed in the Jeep Trailhawk concept. The Jeep rep said they were working with a manufacturer to possibly recreate them for production. Guess they succeeded. The Corbeau sliders were not ordered since we had the ball bearing double locking sliders of the Recaros. We started out this time by dropping a plumb bob from the center of the steering column to the floor and marked it. A measurement was taken from the inside wall to that mark and duplicated it further back then marked a straight line between them. This gave us a center line that we could use as a reference point to locate the front and back of the seats.
The seat cavity where you sit was also marked with a center line. The slider was narrowed by simply cutting and removing the required amount from the front adjusting handle and welding it back together. Two holes were drilled in the slider to match the mounting points on the bottom of the new seat. Bolted to the seat it was then set on top of the stock driver side Jeep scissor mount. A plumb bob was again used, starting from the seat mark then dropping to the floor, front and back for a perfect alignment. Holes from the sliders were then transferred to the scissor mounts, drilled and bolted in place. All this was duplicated for the passenger side with the slider eliminated. The same
measurement was marked from the inside wall as the driver side and a center line marked. Eliminating the slider had to be done because that scissor mount is higher than the drivers side and using the slider would have positioned that seat much higher than the driver side. The toggle switches that were originally mounted in the center console were replaced with the ones supplied with the seats by just opening up the holes and filing a locator notch to keep them properly clocked. The finished install is far superior than the previous and are absolutely comfortable. Jeffrey finished up the wiring by running a feed from the fuse block and tied it all together. Oh and he did say the heaters work.
Now comes the responsibility of protecting them from back pocket tools and my belt mounted measuring tape. That is gonna be a hard one for me as I don't leave home without it.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Got all the wiring done, at least everything that was absolutely needed, I'm sure there will be some additional accessories added like heated seats, dome lights and a usb port and charger in the console, but there definitely wont be any stereo system or speakers to deal with. The only two malfunctions we had with the wiring were with the wiper motor and heater blower motor. Wiper didn't work at all and was due to the fact we forgot to ground the metal windshield frame mounted to the fiberglass body, and two of the blower motor speeds were reversed. Just a matter of swapping two wires at the resistor plug. So two easy fixes and nothing burned up. So now when we go for a drive around the neighborhood the turn signals can be used. Still have to get an exhaust system on this thing. Nobody has complained yet but it's only a matter of time. Next up was a steering wheel. The one that was being used was an Oldsmobile sport wheel on loan from dear old dad. I finally bought myself a 1967 Olds 442 and put the wheel on that so a Nardi 14" Classic polished black leather was chosen. Purchased thru Ebay from Crowders Customizing. The hub adapter was also an Ebay purchase from Big Dog Interior Parts. We also had to get a horn cancel cam from Steering Column Services.

This had the required bayonet socket for the horn wire assembly. Ours did not have this. Everything went together fairly well until it came time to install the horn ring. The wheel is fastened to the hub with six 5mm. hex head bolts. The horn assembly is placed in the center of the wheel and is supposed to be held in place by the aluminum horn ring which has six spot faces on the backside two of which receive two rubber inserts that then get pressed onto the heads of two of the hex head bolts. The only problem with that is that the horn assembly pushes on

the ring and eventually works it loose. That ring is expected to stay on with just those two rubber inserts gripping the bolt heads. One would think for the quality and craftsmanship that has gone into the Nardi wheel a better way of holding the horn assembly in place would be in order. Different things were tried using washers under three of the bolts to hold the horn assembly but failed. The solution was to drill and counter bore six holes in the ring matching the pattern of the wheel and use stainless 5mm socket head cap screws.

You give up the clean look originally designed into the ring for something that at least isn't going to fall off in your lap. We are going to play around with button heads for possibly a cleaner look. A steering hub puller was fabricated using three 1/4 - 28 screws and a 1/2 - 13 nut welded into a ring that was laying around the shop for future removal of the aluminum adapter hub. All in all nice quality parts that have a nice comfortable feel when driving.

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.