Project Built to Cruise

Page 7


Previous Update

After a few camping trips and some non-4 wheeling related trips in the Jeep I knew I ha to address one of the biggest flaws which is a lack of storage space.  TJ owners have it the worst as there is a tine shelf behind the rear seat not big enough for a standard cooler.  While my LJ has room for a good sized cooler behind the rear seat you are still faced with piling stuff in the back and then trying to secure the lump of gear.

I started searching for some sort of rear storage shelf and unfortunately most of them assume you no longer want to use your rear seat.  I ended up purchasing a Bestop Universal Rack Tray  with the intention of modifying it to work with my rear seat. The rack itself is made from plastic so it is very light and has 4 tie downs. 

Upon receiving the rack I did a quick test fit and determined I would have to narrow it by about 4" in order to keep the rear seat and close the rear hatch.  Using a skill saw I cut a section out of the center of the tray that essentially removed the center strip of holes.  Next I fabricated an aluminum bar that fit inside of the tray.  The screws you see in the above picture are threaded into the aluminum bar which nicely restored the rigidity of the tray.

Once the tray was back together I had to come up with a way to mount it.  I ended up making two sets of brackets.  The front brackets tied into one of the top mounting bolts while the rear brackets tied in to the rear sheet metal besides the tailgate via 4 new holes I drilled.

This ended up being one of those mods you whished you had done sooner.  The tray makes the rear storage area much more versatile and easier to use whether you are camping or making a trip to the grocery store.

The next mod I am considering is a set of adjustable rear shocks.  I am currently running some Bilstein shocks but feel the back end of this thing is too heavy for their valving.  Bilstein does not differentiate between a TJ and the heavier LJ which I think is part of the problem. More to come. 

Update 2-28-10 - My ARB air line deiced to break a few weeks back.  The fix was easy, cut the broken end and re-install it into the front differential fitting.  The next week at the KOH race it broke again and upon closer examination the plastic air line was really brittle.  An upgrade was in order but at nearly $90 the standard braided SS air line upgrade was a little hard to swallow. These kits used to be closer to $40. I ended up picking up essentially the same stuff by ordering a #12708-102 Russell Air Locker Adapter Kit from Quadratec for $19.99 (plus 4.99 shipping) and a 910-31895-3 48" Braided SS brake line w/90 deg end from Speedway Motors for $18.99 (plus $7.05 shipping).

The fitting with the o-ring goes into the solenoid on the compressor end to which I connected the 90 degree -3 AN fitting end on the SS line.  The other fitting threads into the differential once you pull the old plastic line and ferrule.  Hook the straight -3 AN to the new fitting and just snug it.  If you need to do the rear ARB as well you'll need two of the fitting Russell adapter kits and you may have to source a longer braided SS line from a local hose shop.  The line upgrade kits come with 10 foot lines and I could not find a 10 foot braided stainless brake line in my searching.  If you have one made just get -3 AN fittings at both ends (one of then a 90 Deg if it makes sense with your compressor mounting).

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