Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Installing a Dead Pedal on Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is surprisingly comfortable to drive.  Even my lifted Jeep rides smooth on the highway.  However, on long trips or when wheeling my left leg needs something to rest on.  I came across the Mountain Off Road Enterprises (M.O.R.E.) dead pedal part number DP0709 and I thought I'd give it a try.

The install is simple and there's no drilling required.  It connects to the door limit strap bracket and two ground wire studs that are on the left side just below the dash:


All you have to do is remove the two #15 torx screws from the door limit strap mount and the nuts off of the grounding studs.  Then install the dead pedal plate in the same locaiton.  The MORE pedal comes with longer nuts that replace the torx screws.  The new bolts are nice.  It makes it easier to reinstall everything since you only need a 10MM socket.  

Here's the before and after pics:



So far I love it.  The pedal is strong, stable and the perfect distance from the floor. 

Installing 2010 Sun Visors w/ Mirrors

There aren't many technological advances in a Jeep, but every now and again they improve a part.  The 2010 Jeeps are basically the same as my 2008; however, they do have new and improved sun visors.  What makes them better?  They have mirrors in both sides, they are a bit longer/taller and they have a telescoping arm.  The arm is the best part.  It actually lest you position the visor in front of the side window.

The reason Jeeps seemingly live forever is because many parts are interchangeable from one model year to the next.  I was hoping the visors would be as well, so I did a bit of research and found the 2010 part numbers.  I ordered them from ($59.58 ea). 

2010 Jeep Wrangler Visor Part Numbers:
  • Left: 1MK33XDVAC
  • Right: 1MK32XDVAC 
Installing the visors was the easiest mod I've done yet.  All you need is a torx driver and unscrew 2 screws per visor.  Here's some photos of the project:

Original visor in up position

Remove the two Torx Screws

Mounting Location

Spacer must be reused from old visor

All you have to do is reinstall in the reverse order and you're done.  The entire project took about 15 minutes.

Here's some before and after pics:

Original Visor

2010 Visor

Visor Extended

Mirror's on Both sides

Sunday, November 15, 2009

35 in Tire Upgrade

Outside of a suspension lift, the most dramatic changes you can make to a vehicle is upgrading the tires and rims.  I wanted a 35" tire, but had to do quite a bit of research to find out what the best tire/rim combo would be for me.  I live in the City of Chicago and drive the Jeep to work almost every day.  I need a tire that works well on the pavement, snow and off-road.  A new All Terran Tire hit the market earlier this year that has been receiving excellent reviews.  The tire I'm talking about is the Goodyear Duratrac.  There are many folks out there that have commented on its aggressive looks and how well it performs on and off road.  I decided the Duratrac would be the best tire for me.

The second choice was what rims to buy.  The factory rims do not have adequate backspacing to clear the suspension components when fully articulating, so you have to use add-on wheel spacers if you go with larger tires.  Wheel spacers do the job, but they require more maintenance.  The tires have to be removed to check the torque of a spacer regularly.  Many folks have actually had wheels fall off because they didn't check the torque of their spacers!  I don't want to be one of them, so I needed to find a rim that had 4.5" of backspacing or less.  I ended up with the ATX Thug.  It is a black Teflon coated rim that is strong, lightweight and cool looking.  ATX is also known for extreme off road racing and build parts that last.

The install was fairly straightforward.  Take the tires & rims to a shop and have them mounted and balanced.

Here's the Before & After pics

The 35" tires fit the Wrangler Unlimited very well. They give a 2.5"-3" lifted Jeep a balanced/aggressive appearance without being overstated.  However, there's no mistaking the fact that the Jeep has been modified.  I now tower over most cars and trucks.

my Jeep next to a Hummer H2

The Hummer H2 is one of the largest SUV's on the road and we are now about even in height.  The 315/70R17 tires lifted the Jeep an impressive 1.5".  Add in the 2.5" TeraFlex suspension lift I previously installed and my Jeep now sits 5+ inches above stock.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cobra 75 CB Install

A requirement for trail riding is that all Jeeps have a CB.  Some install them and some carry a portable.  I don't plan on using a CB very often, but I needed one for the trail and don't like portable units.  The Jeep Wrangler has minimal space.  It isn't easy to install anything -- especially a big CB.  Fortunately I found the Cobra 75, which is a full-featured CB Radio that has all of the controls in the mic handset.  The antenna and mic connects to a small box that can be mounted just about anywhere.  The Cobra 75 also has a Weather band radio built in, which is nice feature as well.

Installing the CB is straightforward.  The hardest part is mounting the Antenna and running the power cord to the battery.  The bumpers are plastic on the Wrangler, so it took a bit of research to figure out the best antenna mounting location.  I came across a company called Cool Tech.  They make a JK Rear License Plate mount that comes complete with everything needed.  When installed the antenna looks like it's stock. 

Here's some pics of the install.  It took me about an hour to complete the project.

The top picture is behind the passenger glove compartment above the speaker enclosure.  This is the location where I mounted the control unit.  Picture number two is the head unit/mic control.  You can control all of the CB features from the mic.  The final picture is what the Cool Tech antenna looks like mounted to the license plate.  I also installed a quick disconnect, so I can pull the antenna and store it in the Jeep when not in use. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jeep Trany Cooler Mod

One of the reasons I bought my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited was to pull an enclosed trailer loaded with two 1000 LBS+ Harley-Davidson's to places warmer and more scenic than Chicago.  The Jeep is technically rated to tow 3500 LBS, but in the real world the transmission will overheat when pulling a full load -- especially up hill at highway speeds.  Chrysler Corp doesn't sell an add-on Transmission Cooler for the Wrangler, so I had to improvise.

I purchased a B&M 70268 SuperCooler from Summit Racing.  The kit comes complete with most parts needed for an average install; however, I had to buy a few extra pieces to tweak it to fit into the Jeep:
  • 4 1/2" long 1/4" bots (the ones that come in the package a bit too long.  I was able to use the nuts and lock washers that came with the kit.
  • 2 3/8" to 3/8" Hose Barb Connectors purchased at Home Depot.  Similar to these with 3/8" barbs on both ends. They sell these in the pluming section of the store. 
  • 2 additional standard ring hose clamps.  The kit comes with connectors that have barbs on one end and screw connectors on the other.  They are a bit too big for the Jeep.  The couplers make the job cleaner. 
  • 1 bottle of Mopar certified Synthetic ATF-4 Transmission oil.  The cooler will take up a bit more than 1/2 of a court.  
The first step is to remove the grill and expose the radiator:

The next step is to identify the mounting location.  Jeep actually makes this job pretty easy.  Along the top of the radiator there are two plastic mounting plates that work perfectly.

As you can see, the top mounting points are a piece of cake.  The bottom is easy enough, but it does require drilling the crossbar.

Here's what it looks like after all 4 brackets are mounted:

The next step is the scary one.  I had to cut into the stock transmission oil cooler lines.  The oil lines run from the drivers side behind the radiator and then to the rear.

Using a tubing cutter I cut the top tube in the center of the hose:


I then routed the lines going to/from the Oil Cooler and tied them into the factory lines.  The critical step is to make sure the oil going into the cooler enters from the bottom hole and exits from the top.  The reason for this is so the oil completely fills the cooler to get maximum cooling efficiency.  The factory top line is the return from the stock oil cooler, so the oil is flowing from the front to the rear.  Using the 3/8" to 3/8" Barbed Couplers, I connected the bottom port to the line coming from the front of the Jeep and the top line to the side going toward the rear.  I wire tied the hoses to secure them to the Jeep:

The last step was to get the engine to operating temperature, check for leaks and add ATF-4 Transmission fluid in small amounts through the transmission dipstick hole.  It is critical to add SMALL amounts and check frequently than to add too much.  The transmission can be damaged if it is overfull and it is very difficult to remove oil.  It took me 20 minutes to do this step and I stopped before it was full.  I'm going to drive it a few days and check again to make sure.

Here's the final product: