How would you outfit this custom LJ?

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Are any of these TJ/LJ styles going to market, via your connections?
Yesterday I emailed the photos I posted to my contact at Overland Outfitters to see if they might be interested and it sounds like they are. If they do the seat attachment I sewed yesterday, that will support Molle bags, belt clip pouches like the Husky tool belt pouch in one of the the photos, and the Overland Outfitters Backpack and their Grab & Go bags like the First Aid bag. The other things in the photos (military waist bag, Biker handlebar bag and the Walmart trash bag, as well as the modified Overland Outfitters Roll bar bag) could be done if they think there's demand for them.

BTW their Roll Bar Bag (unmodified) fits in lots of places in the LJ...

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
When Overland Outfitters picks up a design from me for production they usually send me preproduction samples for my verification and testing, so I've got a bunch of extra products sitting around here. I decided to try one of their Saddlebags in the LJ. I used one of their 2dr JK Saddlebag zipper strips to attach it, just had to make two extra holes in the strip for the LJ's hardtop bolts.

I don't have the back seat in the LJ right now so you'll have to imagine the seat in place but the bag sits between the front seat back and the rear seat back. Fits very nicely along the inner fender.





 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I've been working on a general purpose cargo system for the tailgate. I like to configure my Jeep specifically for the needs of an expedition and when using the Jeep for daily driving I don't want to have to have lots of hardware permanently installed on the Jeep. The idea is that specific carrier(s) for whatever I need to carry on the particular expedition can be installed quickly and when I get home the hardware can be quickly removed.

What's I've designed is a receiver-based system - there are two receivers that mount to the Exogate and the various cargo accessories mount in the receivers. The receivers stay on the Jeep all the time and aren't really visible because they're between the spare and the tailgate, and the accessories mount as needed in the receivers.

I designed this system so the same hardware also works with MORryde's JK tailgate reinforcement and I've been using a prototype on my JKU for a while now. I just installed a second prototype on my LJ for testing.

So far I've prototyped three cargo carriers for the system.

The first is a bicycle carrier. I do a lot of cycling and like to take my bike to interesting places to ride. And sometimes when I drive to Florida to visit family, I like to bring a bike carrier so I can borrow my brother-in-law's bike down there and take it to places like Sanibel for a nice ride on the island. I don't like the bike carriers that are on the market - the ones that install in the hitch receiver prevent opening the tailgate, and the ones that strap to the spare are awkward to install. And none of them fold small for storage when not in use, making it inconvenient to bring the carrier on my trips to Florida. This design takes care of those issues.

This new bike carrier stores in a bag and doesn't take up too much space in the Jeep:



When in the bag the carrier fits under the back seat of my JKU, and probably would fit under the back seat of my LJ although I haven't tested that yet because the back seat isn't in the LJ now.

There are two arms to the carrier; they fold for storage.



Here's the bike rack installed in the cargo receivers - forgive the Jeep being so dirty, it spends its winters with a plow on the front and I usually don't wash it until the plow comes off at the end of the season:









Since the carrier is attached to the tailgate, the tailgate can be opened when bicycles are on the carrier:



I've carried my bicycle thousands of miles on the bike carrier with the system installed on my JKU and it's worked great. The same hardware on the JKU:

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Next is a jerry can/Rotopax carrier. These can be used singly or in pairs. The design allows for mounting either a Rotopax or a jerry can tray on the arm and the arms are ambidextrous, meaning there aren't left and right versions - there's one arm and it can be configured for either side and for either a Rotopax or a jerry can.





Height is adjustable to accomodate different size spares. In these photos the jerry can is mounted a bit higher than the Rotopax because I didn't remove the hinge-mount Rotopax carrier (a production option for the Exogate) before installing the jerry mount.



Tailgate open.



BTW the Rotopax in the photos above has an insulated cover. Since Rotopax have a tendency to bulge when exposed to the sun with fuel in them, the insulation prevents the bulging. The Rotopax cover has a PALS grid so Molle stuff can be hung on it, in this next photo a matching recovery gear bag is installed. Very convenient place for the tow strap and gloves.

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I also designed a rack basket mount (the basket in the photos is an ancient YJ basket that I think was a Bestop product; the mounting arms are part of the new design). Mounted over the spare, it's a conventional over-spare basket, except that since it mounts in the receivers it can be installed/removed quickly.







The way the mounting arms are designed, the basket can be mounted above the spare as shown above, or the arms can be reversed, installed through the bottom of the receivers, and the basket mounts behind the spare.





Tailgate open:



The rack is still a work in progress; I haven't done the mounts that will attach the rack to the arms yet (notice the clamp in some of the photos). When I finish it'll be time for testing of the rack and more testing of the roto/jerry mounts (haven't done extensive testing of those yet). I've also got some other mount ideas I'll probably prototype.
 
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jscherb

Expedition Leader
Impressive design and execution
Thank you very much. I'm very happy with how the design worked out - it'll be very handy to have the same accessories for both my JKU and LJ, especially the bicycle carrier which I use a lot.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
A lot of people want to put turn signals in their TJ grille to echo the styling of the classic CJ grille. One thing that ends up being complicated for many people is removing the factory lights in the fenders - how does one fill the resulting hole in the fender other than welding in some sheet metal, doing some bodywork to smooth everything over, and repainting the fender?

I made up a prototype of a "blanking plate" idea - this is a plate that bolts in place in the factory turn signal recess in the fender. I painted this one with rattle can black to match a black fender I have here.



Installed it is visible, but since there are other seams visible on the Jeep tub I don't think it's too much out of place. This may be good enough for many people who want to blank out their fender turn signals. BTW these photos also show the new CJ/JL-style TJ grille overlay I recently designed and molded in fiberglass.





Because I've got the CJ Grille Kit on my LJ, I don't plan to use the blanking plates myself so I'm posting it as an idea starter for others.
 

Jim K in PA

Adventurer
Neat idea on the blanking plate, Jeff. What I was thinking of for that location was a mounting box for LED driving lights in the fender. But I suspect the weight would cause them to bounce a bit.
 

Presto88

Adventurer
Hey Jeff. Any updates on that house battery setup? That was in this thread, wasn't it? My apologies if I'm asking you about something that you have nothing to do with...
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Hey Jeff. Any updates on that house battery setup? That was in this thread, wasn't it? My apologies if I'm asking you about something that you have nothing to do with...
Hi Jim,
If you're asking about the power panel and the charging system for the Trail Kitchen, just waiting on MORryde to release it. I don't know the exact current status, sorry.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
The other day I ran across some photos of some YJ Sahara seat details I hadn't seen before:



I thought these were interesting and maybe something like this would be useful in the LJ, so I sewed one to try out. On the YJ seats these are permanently sewn on as part of the upholstery but I made mine so it just slides over the seat and it's a firm fit so it doesn't move around. I'm not sure what the webbing straps on the corners of the YJ seats are intended to be used for but I added them as details to this experiment too. I sewed these in colors I had on hand to more or less match the original YJ version, but for my gray seats they'd be better in gray.





The bag on the back of the YJ seat is permanently attached but instead of doing that I sewed a leather Molle strap across the back:



Molle pouches hang nicely there, and so does this Overland Outfitters Grab & Go bag.



Don't know if I'll sew a set of gray/black ones to use in this Jeep long term, I'll play with this one for a while and see if it's useful.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
A few months ago I designed a new tailgate table. I did the design so it could be installed on JK, JL, TJ and YJ tailgates and implemented the JK and JL versions (only the base plate is different between the versions) but haven't had time to install it on a TJ tailgate until now. Here it is on an early model TJ tailgate (and for this purpose the YJ tailgate is the same as the early TJ tailgate)



Swinging down the table reveals a cutlery/tool keeper. It's from Overland Outfitters, intended for a JK, but it fits just fine here (https://www.overland-outfitters.com..._the_Outback_Adventures_TRAILGATER*_JK.html#/).



In the photo above, the stuff on the Molle panel isn't easily accessible, so to make access easier so the Molle stuff is usable when the table is deployed, the Molle panel swings down too. Also in this next photo, the slide out cutting board/extension table is deployed.



A bottle opener is mounted on the side:



In operation:


The tailgate in the photos is an early model which doesn't have a way to mount things like this without drilling. Next in my plan is to make a base plate that will bolt to existing holes in the later model TJ tailgate.
 
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