Barn Door for JK factory hardtops

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I haven't been doing real expeditions this year so it's been a while since I've had the Trail Kitchen in the Jeep but lately I have been using my fridge in the Jeep without the full kitchen and I decided it was time to replace the original prototype power panel I made several years ago with something a little nicer. I made one this morning:



It's in a small plastic enclosure and it has the same capabilities as my original, what I did was swap over all of the components from the original to the new plastic box. On one side it has an ARB the screw-type fridge connector I installed a month or so ago to replace the sometimes unreliable "cigar lighter" style plug. On the other side it's got dual USB outlets and a cigar lighter style power port and on the top if a voltmeter/ammeter combo. The plastic enclosure I used has mounting ears so it could be mounted directly to some flat surface, but I also added a belt clip to the back so it can hang on a Molle grid or other convenient lip.

It hangs nicely on the battery cover I made a few months back out of used soft top fabric...





All of the components of this new panel are easily sourced and wired together so this is something a DIY-er should be able to make without too much trouble.

When the Trail Kitchen is in the Jeep I'll unplug this panel and use the power panel that's part of the Trail Kitchen but when I use just the fridge I'll use this new one.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Overland Outfitters has several products that attach to the seat back using a zipper that hangs from the headrest posts. It's a handy place to hang bags; I carry their Zip & Go bags on my seats often.



Recently I wanted to hang some Molle bags there so I sewed a quick Zip & Go/Molle adapter.





One benefit of hanging Molle bags with zippers is that they can be removed very quickly - no messing around unthreading the Molle straps on the back, just unzip them,

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Update on the JL-Style Grille for the JK project... when last I reported on this project I had received a final production candidate grille from the company that was arranging to market it. I installed it on my JKU and it fit fine, so I blessed it for production and the company was all set to schedule the first production run. That grille:





Then came the pandemic, and the production run couldn't be scheduled due to capacity limitations at the plastic molding company due to staffing constraints.

Today I heard from someone at the company and he told me that the company (which was a small startup) didn't make it through the pandemic. So at this point the production tooling is basically done so grilles can be produced, but there's no company to market them.

If some other company comes along and wants to pick up the tooling that the first company had the plastics company make then maybe these will get to market. Or maybe not.
 
Hmmmm, that really is pretty cool. I like it. I wonder if it has any positive effect on JK cooling? Might be interesting to evaluate the increase in the amount of opening space and it's resultant effect.

Fiberwerx makes a fiberglass one for $300, but you need really to also do their $600 fenders due to the "turn signal" lights. This is nicer, in my opinion.
 
Last edited:

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Hmmmm, that really is pretty cool. I like it. I wonder if it has any positive effect on JK cooling? Might be interesting to evaluate the increase in the amount of opening space and it's resultant effect.

Fiberwerx makes a fiberglass one for $300, but you need really to also do their $600 fenders due to the "turn signal" lights. This is nicer, in my opinion.
The factory JK grille has about 165 square inches of slot area. This grille has about 205 square inches of slot area, which is roughly a 25% increase in slot area over the factory JK grille. What effect that may have on cooling I don't know.

I wouldn't want the Fiberwerx grille, it has a number of flaws - for example unless they've updated the design since I last looked at it they don't provide a way to secure the bottom of the grille to the core support. My grille design mounts securely at the bottom, is a direct replacement for the factory grille and the production cost (if it were to be produced) is well under $100.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Tried Mopar?

Or maybe US Farathane (who makes most of their grilles, I think)?
I don't plan to try any companies. Like almost all of my projects, I designed and built the grille for my own enjoyment and use, not because I wanted to create a commercial product. If some company is interested in it and contacts me I'll be happy to discuss it with them, but otherwise I'm already very satisfied with the results of the project - I've got the grille(s) on my Jeep and my son's Jeep and we both love them :).

I'm also very satisfied with the results of getting it ready for production for the now defunct company that licensed it from me. We managed to get the tooling done for almost nothing and the production cost per grille would have been very low as well.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World
by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman
From $16.69
Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide
by Tom Sheppard
From $137.62
First Overland: London-Singapore by Land Rover
by Tim Slessor
From $15
Tschiffely's Ride: Ten Thousand Miles in the Saddle from ...
by Aimé Tschiffely
From $10.99

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I finished sewing the prototype compressor bag:



It has a plywood bottom for mounting the compressor and opens diagonally to provide full air flow for compressor cooling. There are outside zipper pockets on both sides of the bag, plus pockets on the inside for things like tire repair supplies (tire plug tools, etc.). There's plenty of room inside for a coiled air line and long power cords to connect it to the battery.







It's wired with a pressure shut off switch and the hoses are set up so it's plug and play to use it with an air tank.



There's wiring to support the pressure shut-off function; that's on the plywood base and is protected with a swing-up cover:



There are two pockets on the outside and two on the inside as well as elastic to hold a pressure gauge and inflator. In this photo the contents of one of the inside pockets are laid out and the elastic for the tools is also visible.

I turned the patterns, drawings and construction details for the compressor bag over to Overland Outfitters last week and they seem
to be moving quickly on it, they sent me some photos of what they call a "mock sample". A mock sample is the first work they do after receiving the design and details from me. It's a very rough sample, sometimes not made from final materials, so they can build their own production patterns and sewing workflow for the product. Sewing for the mock sample is sometimes rough, and once they finish the mock sample they'll use the patterns they've developed from it to sew a preproduction sample which is complete and final quality. They'll send the preproduction sample to me to verify and test before starting production.

This is what they've said to me about these photos:

This is a mock sample, making another final sample, pockets will be fixed, used leather piping, added shoulder pad on strap, YKK vislon zippers will be used in final one.
This mock sample is done in heavy black canvas with leather accents. I did my prototype without accents but they typically add refinements like that to the final product.

These aren't the best photos but they give some idea of what a final bag would look like in black.

 

ABoogerJeep

New member
I really wanted to make that grill when the JL was first teased. Almost picked up some fiberglass & attempted to learn but I'm glad I never did. Would have been frustrated with terrible results. It looks really good though, bummed it would be produced.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I really wanted to make that grill when the JL was first teased. Almost picked up some fiberglass & attempted to learn but I'm glad I never did. Would have been frustrated with terrible results. It looks really good though, bummed it would be produced.
Maybe just I'll offer the mold for sale to the highest bidder, I don't need it any more.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I'm posting this in case the idea may be of use to someone someday...

What do you do when you're 1300 miles from home and your significant other finds something on Craigslist that she's wanted for a long time but it's too big to easily fit in the Jeep? Of course you have to get it for her but how do you get it home? On Saturday I was challenged to fit a 6.5' tall carved room divider into the JKU so it could be brought 1300 miles home. In case you haven't measured the inside of a JKU there's less than 6.5' between the tailgate and the back of the front seats, even when the seats are slid forward.

The item in question:



The 4 sections fold together but it's still too long to easily fit inside. I could have put it on the roof rack but I wasn't sure I could wrap it in something and make it weathertight enough not to be damaged if we ran into serious rain or snow on the way home.

My solution was to hang it from the roll bars with ratchet straps. I wrapped it in a Harbor Freight movers blanket to protect it and ratcheted it up snug against the roll bars. It's over the passenger seat and she's about 5'6" so it's just above the top of her head. Not sure what I'd do if she were much taller :).

I took these photos in the garage this morning just before I took it out of the Jeep. She had no trouble sitting under it for 1300 miles.



It looks like it's resting on the headrest, but it's not, it's just above.



FWIW
 
Top