Tag: mod’s

Modification #21 (trektop rear window hold)

I was looking for an easy way to roll up and hold the rear window of my TrekTop NX up while driving. I thought about using Velcro, but that meant stitching and or gluing to the top. Then I thought of what’s shown in the pictures. It works great. The ‘hook’ just passes through the hole in the roof’s zipper pull. The ‘shaft’ on each side just inserts into the end of the tailgate bar. I put nearly an hour’s worth of highway driving time on it yesterday when Jean and I went fishing.  It was windy and the holders still worked like a charm. There was no movement or flapping of the window. For storage, the two pieces lay nice and flat under the cargo mat.

This prototype used one of the lightweight hangars. I plan on prowling the closets and finding one of the really heavy wire hangars and making a permanent model from the heavier stock. I’ll put rubber nibs over the ends or Plasti-Dip them for looks.  But the metal doesn’t touch fabric anyway so I’m not worried about wear.

Cost: One coat hangar and 5 minutes (or less) of time.

Rear Window Holder

Modification #20 (mirrors on tube doors)

I finally finished the finish 🙂  for the tube door mirrors. They came in chrome, but I sprayed them with the black ‘hammered finish’ Rust-Oleum.  Since only one bold was used to affix the mirror to the door, I used QuikSteel Steel Reinforced Epoxy Putty to reinforce the attachment.  I also cut the excess bolt material, smoothed it with the Dremel, and then painted it to match the mirror and door (depending on which side of the door).  I’m pleased with the final results.

Both mirrors are the same ‘blind spot’ mirrors from O’Reilly Auto Parts.  Each cost $18.  As they are blind spot mirrors ‘objects are closer than they appear’, even on the driver’s side.  The field of view is not extreme.  I even like it on the driver’s side, because in congested and fast moving traffic I don’t have to turn my head to check any driver’s side blind spots.  But I do need to pay attention so that I don’t cut in front of a vehicle that’s ‘closer than it appears’.  It hasn’t been an issue so far, but I may look to see if there is a flat 4.5″ x 6″ mirror that I can use to easily replace the convex mirror.  I think the biggest disadvantage of this setup will be that by using the epoxy I’ve removed the (easy) ability to fold in the mirrors for storage.  Perhaps I should have just bolted them to the window frame.  Time will tell.


Modification #19 (front grill inserts)

I’ve been wanting to add some mesh behind the front grill, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day for the DIY project.  Since I had a discount I could apply I purchased the “Perforated Mesh Grille” (sku 11401.32) from Morris 4×4 Center.  It was easy to install and looks great.


Modification #18 (tube doors)

I ended up getting the “Steinjager Front and Rear Tube Doors“, Gloss Black, Set of 4, from Morris 4×4 Center.  These are inexpensive doors and for the most part serve me well.  Following are some notes and observations you may find helpful if you are looking for tube doors for your Wrangler.

  • They are inexpensive, but the welds and finish are quite nice.  No issues there.
  • The latch is very simple.  If you are in and out of the vehicle a lot then you may want to spend more to get a latch that opens and closes quickly.
  • The latch needed modification to work.  I had to file off some of the outside edge in order for the doors to be able to shut.  I had to file out (Dremel) the hole the cotter pin fits into, as the hole was too small for the key to insert without great difficulty.  I also had to file off the raised edge of the door catch (see image) to allow the door to close.  Even with all this the mechanism does not line up perfectly with the door catch.  I need to firmly pull the door shut and on a couple doors I need to push down as I pull in.  It’s not a big deal to me.  I figure I got what I paid for.  But most others that ride in the Jeep don’t care for the door latch functionality.
  • I used a black self tapping screw and washer to hold the lanyard to the door frame plastic in front and the carpet side wall in back.
  • I wish the tubing went lower, so I could fabricate a cloth slip-over that would do more to keeping out mud when I get off road.
  • If I had it to do over, I’d spend more to get a door that has a mechanical latch and that allows for ready-made add-on accessories, such as covers, bags, etc.
  • I added a couple of blind spot mirrors from O’Reilly Auto Parts.  (See Mod’ #20.)

Tube Doors 01

Tube Doors 02

Tube Doors 03

Tube Doors 04--  Tube Doors 06

Tube doors installed, hard top off, naked and ready to head out to the OCR venue Conquer the Gauntlet.


Modification #17 (locking fuel door cover)

I finally got on the “Rugged Ridge Locking Fuel Door Cover, Steel – Black” (SKU 11229.03) from Morris 4X4 Center.  The steel is hard.  They supply four self tapping screws (not enough) with which you are to simply screw the cover over and onto the existing ring.  I don’t see how the self tapping screws would ever get through the metal.  The drill points were already dimpled, but still my new bit wandered on the hard steel; leaving a few holes slightly off center (bummer, but no one will notice unless I point it out).  The screws supplies were dark, but not black.  I substituted stainless steel screws, which I think looks better.

The cover was a smooth gloss black.  I covered it with matte black Plasti Dip, so it would more closely match the bumpers.

If you buy this cover, be sure to take a good punch and really get a point where your drill bit won’t wander.

Overall, I like the cover.

Update:  Doh!  I noted later there are four tabs inside the cover.  The four screws supplied were to have been screwed inside the cover and into the inside of the original recess., which would leave the original surrounding plastic largely unblemished should one want to remove the locking cover.  Oh well, no matter.  I like this look better anyway and have no intention of removing the locking cover.

2015-09-22 Locking Gas Cover

Modification #16 (fuse box and wiring)

More on this later…

Modification #15 (trek top)

Today I installed the “Bestop Trektop NX Soft Top with Tinted Side & Rear Windows – Black Diamond (SKU 56823-35)” that I obtained, as usual, from Morris 4X4 Center.  The installation took me longer than the quoted 2 hours.  It took me more like 4.  And then it really isn’t complete, as the fabric is too tight for me to completely close the window and the tailgate bar won’t lock into position fully.  But then again I did a lot of it in the dark.  I’m sure that added some time.  Also, it was cool and cloudy even when I did start in the daylight.  I never got the opportunity to put the top in the sun as recommended.  Also, the printed instructions pointed you to video tutorials on the Bestop web site.  There were no instructions for the “NX” on the site.  Fortunately their official tutorial was among the first to be returned in a search of YouTube.  The correct video for the NX install is here.

Update:  The pictures below are from two days later.  The fabric has stretched enough that the zippers are all fully closed and the tailgate bar snaps in properly.  The day was sunny and by the end of the day the wrinkles that show a couple places in the fabric had all stretched out.  The top is smooth, the zippers all open and close easily, and it latches into position without any difficulty.

Mod’ the Mod’:
But I do think I’m going to need to make a mod’ on this mod’.  I want to be able to roll up the rear window while it is still on the Jeep.  For this I’ll need to install some straps that will hold the rolled up window in place at the top.

2015-09-21 Bestop Trek Top NX 01 2015-09-21 Bestop Trek Top NX 02

Modification #14 (tailgate organizer)

Today I also got the Bestop RoughRider Tailgate Organizer (Black, #54136-35) installed.  As with much of my purchases I ordered through Morris 4X4 Center.  I absolutely love these bags.  The installation was simple and straight forward.  No drilling on the Jeep was required, the assembly simply replaces the plastic access panel on the tailgate.  The bags snap on easily and securely, yet they come off easily when you want to use them.  The bags are very well made with a heavy nylon and plastic inserts to help them keep their shape.  The top of the bags overlap the bottom, so if you are going about with your roof off they will protect the contents of the bags from water, mud, dirt, or whatever you throw at them.

2015-09-15 Bestop Tail Gate Bags

Modification #13 (hi-lift jack)

The 36″ Hi-Lift Jack (HL364), with the Hi-Lift Handle Keeper (HL-HKB), was installed using Rugged Ridge Off Road Jack Mounting Bracket (Textured Black, #11586.01) from Morris 4X4 Center.  The jack is, obviously, the high quality you would expect from Hi-Lift.  The Rugged Ridge (RR) mounting bracket is likewise the high quality you would expect from Rugged Ridge.  However, the instructions provided by RR stink.  They give step-by-step instructions, including pictures, that provide a great level of detail.  Yet they totally forgot to illustrate how the plastic OEM hinge guards fit into the steps.  They provide a template for drilling the proper holes in them, so they can be refitted, but neglect to say or show in any pictures how this is to be accomplished.  I spent quite a bit of time with the various bolts, washers, and spacers trying to figure out how the jack mount could be attached with the original hinge covers reinstalled.  I’m still not totally sure if I have it as it was intended.  But the door and mount are both very secure and the installation looks good.  Now I just need to get a good padlock on the mount, so the jack doesn’t grow legs and walk off.  I imagine I’ll spray the lock with matte black Plasti-Dip.

2015-09-15 Bestop Jack Mount and Hi-Lift Jack

Modification #12 (blind spot mirror)

A simple stick-on mirror from Auto Zone, but it works and gives easy visibility.  I’ve had the smaller mirror before and while it worked you had to look closely, which took more time and effort than just turning your head.  This larger mirror works with just a glance.  I like it.

2015-09-06 Blind Spot Mirror

Modification #11 (rear head rest spring removal)

Short story:  The rear head rests will lay back and out of sight unless needed.  The modification provides a tremendous increase in rearward visibility.  When there are passengers in the back seat then simply raise the head rests into position where they will lock in place and work as normal.

Details:  The video (see link to YouTube below) describes the process that allows the rear headrests in a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited to remain flipped back and out of the rear view field of vision when there are no passengers in the rear seats.  When there are passengers in the rear seat then the headrests can simply be flipped back up.  They will remain locked in proper upright position until the seats are released and flipped flat, at which point the headrests are released backwards normally.  But when the seat is raised, the headrests will remain flipped backwards until manually lifted back into the upright position.



2015-09-05 Headrest Mod', Up Position


2015-09-05 Headrest Mod', Down Position

Video Instructions and Demonstration (hosted on YouTube)

Click here to view on YouTube

Modification #10 (trailer hitch)

It’s nice that Jeep has a steel framework right behind the bumper.  It makes installing a hitch simple.  The hitch from Rugged Ridge came with the wiring harness that tapped into the nearby tail light.  Can’t beat easy.

2015-09-05 Trailer Hitch 01

2015-09-05 Trailer Hitch 02

2015-09-05 Trailer Hitch 03

Modification #9 (floor mats)

Okay, so not really a “modification”, but an addition nevertheless.  The cloth floor mats were nice, but plain.  Being black they also showed everything.  I’m not sure these will be any better, but at least I can easily take them out and spray them off after getting in all muddy.  They were about 4 inches too wide, but were designed with lines along which you can trim to make them smaller.  A minute each with a box cutter and they fit perfectly.  I got them at Auto Zone.
2015-09-05 Floor Mats

Modification #8 (door guards)

Today I placed on the edge trim on the doors.  Now if/when the doors blow or swing open into another vehicle then hopefully this will prevent any damage.  Plus, it looks nice.

I purchased the strips at Auto Zone.  It took two packages to get all four doors and the rear gate.


2015-09-05 Door Trim 01
2015-09-05 Door Trim 02r

Modifications #6 & #7 (strong box & cover)

Today I received the strong box in the mail and got it installed. The installation was straight forward and without any issues. I believe I’m going to like it.

I received the cover the other day, but didn’t give it a trial fitting. Today I got around to it. It’s fine for my purposes. Right now the fore/aft dimensions are a little too tight for it to pull completely over the rear fender, but just barely so. I’m sure it will stretch a bit. It may even stretch and fit by morning. It’s got a nice little indent and hole for the antenna, which also makes it easy to orient when placing it on the Jeep. There’s enough slack that it should accommodate accessories around the body, if they don’t stick out too far.

By-the-way, I did the turn the mirror over mod’ while the dealer was still in the car showing me the different features. He was amazed at the difference in visibility. That evening, when I took my wife for a ride, one of the first things she exclaimed was how great the visibility was through the windshield. She said it was like you were already outdoors. Very soon I’ll do the rear head rest zip tie / spring release mod’ and visibility will be as good a it can get with the doors and top still on.

2015-08-28 Strong Box 002015-08-28 Cover

Modification #3, #4, & #5 (steps, tank, undercoat)

Today I got a few more tasks completed.

  • I installed “Rugged Ridge 11591.08 Textured Black 4.25″ Round Side Tube Steps“.
    • They went on with relative ease. It was easy, but there were a lot of bolts to tighten.
  • I spray painted the muffler matte black.
    • I can’t stand nice looking vehicles that show an ugly silver, stained, and dirty muffler under the bumper.
    • I just used Rustoleum high temperature paint on it (after buffing with steel wool and cleaning).
  • I undercoated the vehicle using Rustoleum spray-on undercoat.

That’s enough for today 🙂

2015-08-27 Step Tubes2015-08-27 Gas Tank

Modification #2 (keys)

I absolutely can’t stand huge keys, so I made the following mod’ to my basic key.

  • Use an blade to make a slice through the rubber key cover, going from the base to the top.
  • Pull off the cover, using the blade to trim away some rubber that will be sticking through perforations on the inside.
  • Use a Dremel cut off wheel to cut away the extra key material on the side opposite the RFID chip.
  • Use the Dremel to cut off the plastic on the side of the RFID chip. Be careful to leave some plastic all around the chip and of course be careful not to damage the chip.
  • Optional: Use some sandpaper to smooth off the trimmed plastic just a little.
  • Dip the key into or spray it with Plasti Dip.
  • Let the Plasti Dip dry.
  • Use an X-acto knife, or similar, to cut out the key ring hole at the top.
  • Done! A crotch/pocket friendly key.


  1. This works with the “basic” key only.  This won’t work with one of the key-less entry keys.  However it does work with the “smart key”.  As I mentioned in the steps above, just be careful not to cut into the RFID chip.
  2. My Plasti Dip had thickened too much and I didn’t have any naptha to thin it, so this isn’t the smoothest finish. The nice thing about Plasti Dip is that I can remove it just like I did the original cover and then make a nicer application.

2015-08-26 Key Mod2015-08-26 Key Example

Modification #1 (mirror)

While the dealer was still in the vehicle giving me “the tour”, I turned the rear view mirror upside down.  This vastly improves visibility through the front windshield.