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  • Paint / Interior / Electrical

    I've got two major projects I want to do on my Jeep. One is the axles, suspension, and steering. The other is the paint, interior, and electrical. Both projects are going to take about the same amount of money, but I can't do both at the same time, so I had to choose one.

    I just got done with some upgrades to my rear axle and I'm really pleased with how the Jeep performed last time I took it out, so I've decided to do paint, interior, and electrical first. I figure this is a big enough project to warrant a thread for it, so here goes...

    First, a quick summary of the project...

    - Complete repaint (Jeep was originally red, was poorly repainted tan at some point. I'm going to have it painted dark blue)
    - New rollcage
    - New seats
    - New safety harnesses
    - New dash and gauges
    - New steering column
    - New wiring harness
    - Bed liner in the tub
    - Heat shielding under the tub
    - Metalcloak Overline fenders
    - Comp Corners
    - New tail lights
    - New rear bumper/tire carrier
    - New sound system
    - Fuel cell install (includes body modifications)

    Yeah, it's a lot... I started with the basic idea of repainting, and the more I started "peeling back the onion" the more I realized that it made sense to go ahead and do a lot of the other stuff at the same time... e.g. the fenders, so they'll match, and the wiring harness and steering column since I'll have everything apart and it will be easier to get wires into the right places.

    So, here begins the chronicle. I figure this is going to take me nearly a year to finish, since I usually can't swing more than 5-10 hours per week of garage time. I'm planning to take the Jeep out 2-3 more times before it goes "down" for the count.

    Meanwhile, I can go ahead and get started on some of the prep/design work, and the stuff that can be done before the Jeep starts coming apart. For the past few days I've been working in the evenings on laying out the dash. I'm down to two options now:
    1. Gauges closer to the steering wheel
    2016-03-22_10-49-37 by skinnerstein, on Flickr
    2. Gadgets closer to the steering wheel
    2016-03-22_10-49-28 by skinnerstein, on Flickr

    My preference is to have my gadgets closer at hand, but my wife thinks I won't be able to see the gauges well. The other thing I like about the second layout is that it leaves some space just to the right of the steering wheel for an additional switch panel, if I need it at a later point.

    The new dash blank came in yesterday, so I'm planning to cut this weekend. I also designed and ordered my switch panel.
    2016-03-22_10-51-15 by skinnerstein, on Flickr

    So this weekend is when I plan to actually have progress and pictures to share!

  • #2
    Make all your necessary switches close to work easily.
    2000 TJ, 4.0, NV4500, Atlas 4.3, 06 Super Duty Diffs, D60/Sterling, ARBs, 5.38, 40” stickies, Weld on beadlocks, PSC full hydro steering, Vanco hydroboost, 16” King coilovers & King bumps, a radio that makes noise & a working Winch.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by wushaw View Post
      Make all your necessary switches close to work easily.
      +1. I would have the switches in the position closer to the steering wheel and on top where the radio is shown.

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      • #4
        Oh yeah, good point. That'll especially be useful while winching, so I'm not trying to steer and reach for the button at the same time.

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        • #5
          voila:
          2016-03-22_14-50-01 by skinnerstein, on Flickr

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          • #6
            I like that one. In the marine world you can even get bezels that can turn your gauges towards you a little if you just want to overdo it!

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            • #7
              Actually I think I like that a lot better,not only does it put more frequently used buttons and switches closer at hand, but it also probably helps with clearance behind the dash, since the most shallow parts will be situated highest up.

              And now that I look at it, I think I'll reorient the gauges just slightly... air pressure top left, clock top right, oil pressure bottom left, volts bottom right.

              The little button next to the air pressure gauge will be connected to a solenoid/valve so I can dump the air pressure in the tank from inside the Jeep. I figure that'll be handy in case of any issues with the horn or front locker, or if I just plan to park the Jeep for a while and don't want to leave the system pressurized.

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              • #8
                *** Dup ***

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                • #9
                  I would reconsider having the CB and radio mounted I the dash. When I rewired my old CJ, it was tough enough getting all of the bulbs plugged back into the center gauge cluster. It gets tight once the dash panels installed and there's no a lot room between the dash and fire wall. I would suggest a Tuffy console with a locking compartment for the stereo or maybe the CB.

                  I ordered my wiring harness from Street Side Auto as they had the cheapest harness at the time. I messed up and didn't buy the most complete harness so spent hours splicing and soldering alt of the bulb connectors and other connections. If you are going to soldering and using heat shrink tubing , buy the kits of tubing from Harbor Freight. It's a good kit with a variety of sizes that shrink just fine and inexpensive.
                  97 TJ, 4 squirrels and the awesome AX-5, Sunray 9" axles, 37" Toyo's.

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                  • #10
                    Also, You might want to look at the steering columns from Summit Racing. They have affordable GM columns in different lengths and configurations.
                    97 TJ, 4 squirrels and the awesome AX-5, Sunray 9" axles, 37" Toyo's.

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                    • #11
                      My only issue with mounting the CB somewhere else is that I don't have a lot of other good options for it that leave it in easy reach. I'm planning to install an A/C on the Jeep, so under the dash is out. Center hump would work, but then it's hard to get to. Center console is out because of where my twin sticks are, so I'm down to in the dash.

                      The radio should be a non-issue, clearance-wise, because it's a Digital Media Receiver only, so it's only about 3-4" deep.

                      Keep in mind, though, there shouldn't be much for me to mess with, wiring-wise, once this is done. The new gauges are LED lit, so no need to change bulbs or anything on them, and besides they'll be off to the right. The switch panel will be removable without requiring access behind it... I don't know that I'm going to need to get back there often, if at all.

                      On the steering column front, I'll give that a look see. I was looking at the ones from ididit, but they're pretty dang expensive (upgrading to tilt while I'm at it)!

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                      • #12
                        Make sure you have a switch for a future rear locker.
                        2000 TJ, 4.0, NV4500, Atlas 4.3, 06 Super Duty Diffs, D60/Sterling, ARBs, 5.38, 40” stickies, Weld on beadlocks, PSC full hydro steering, Vanco hydroboost, 16” King coilovers & King bumps, a radio that makes noise & a working Winch.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wushaw View Post
                          Make sure you have a switch for a future rear locker.
                          I'm tentatively planning to either spool or detroit the back. I don't need on-road manners, and I don't mind a little bit of reduced turning radius off-road in favor of strength and simplicity.

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                          • #14
                            And I can always have a new switch panel made if I want more switches later. This one was only $65!

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                            • #15
                              ARB is at least as strong as a Detroit.

                              Originally posted by Mogwai View Post
                              I'm tentatively planning to either spool or detroit the back. I don't need on-road manners, and I don't mind a little bit of reduced turning radius off-road in favor of strength and simplicity.

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