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Idle hands: assorted projects

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Almost done and very happy about it.

Everything is seam sealed on the passenger side.



Got a couple coats of the trusty rustoleum satin black on the floor and then added some sound deadening.


And finally got started on bed lining the driver's side. just one quick coat on everything so far. It'll all get at least 2 coats (which will hopefully even it out a bit).


Now just need to finish painting everything and get the interior back together.

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In tonight's edition of "Why did I buy an XJ?" I give up on looking for my masking paper.


I sweep up what used to be an XJ.


And I take a mall rated picture to show it's out of the garage.


I have jumped ship from Rust-Oleum to krylon at least for bed liner. It is low texture like rustoleum, although not quite as low, although Rusty's black is more black. However, the krylon actually sprays worth a damn, which is not something I can say about the rustoleum bed liner. I got about 3X the coverage out of a can of krylon than rusty and I didn't have issues with running like I did before.

Beyond that I got the interior back together and took it for a test drive. On the plus side the double sided tape that is currently holding the rear flares on didn't let go on the driver, so that's cool.

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Got the xj out this weekend for some wheeling.




One of the yj's passengers wanted to find some mud, they found it alright.


took turns winching him out.


Had a fairly loud trip home after trying to climb something I shouldn't have resulted in an open header situation.

This was bound to happen consider the bolts had already rusted away to nothing. Now I'll just have to drill them out and replace with some stainless hardware. Also managed to lose my passenger rear flare and half kill my alternator, made it home, but it is pushing a max of 11.5 Volts now.

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So, I set out to replace the three rusted/broken studs in the manifold to exhaust flange....


Yeah, some redneck shit happened. Figured as long as I was in there I may as well get around to making that 2.5" exhaust I've been threatening to make for a while.





This is a pretty quick and dirty job, but it didn't cost me anything since every part used was laying around from other projects. Alternator got pushed back a day, but should have it today and hopefully it will be on tonight so I can have my daily back on the road.

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Alternator actually showed up Friday. Mounting bracket took less grinding than expected and as such I didn't get a picture of it. What I did get a pic of is the before shot of the steel support bracket, a pic that seems to be missing from all the write ups I've found.


Took maybe 15 minutes to get it all ground down to fit. Then it was just a matter of swapping pullies and turning attention to the engine side.


Sorry for the dark pics but they are what I've got. This is another pic that is hard to come by in write ups for this swap. There are two holes in the timing cover/block that have studs pass through for mounting the alt brackets. These need to be ground flush with the mount. 



The shiny bit behind the pick is the ground alt bracket. In my case the lower hump was already flush so I didn't spend much time on it.

Anyway, back on the road again. Exhaust is a tiny bit louder at idle and low load, but settles into a stock like quiet on the highway.


Speaking of mustangs, here is a sneak peak at this winter's project.



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I can slide over rocks with less worry. 


This is the tomken skid. Chose it because it is the only one I've seen that doesn't use the hitch mounting bolts. I wanted to avoid that since I already have bumper brackets and shackle brackets there. Since the skid doesn't have the cutout for the exhaust I did have to modify the exhaust a bit, not pictured.

Also not pictured but I got around to replacing the u joints in my spare axles. So far I've only been able to actually swap in the passenger side one.


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One step closer to being a proper redneck rv.



Air compressor still fits in the little nook.


Borrowed the idea for the legs from another sleeping platform build I found on the interwebz.


Front section is pretty easy to remove. It is currently screwed to a lip I mounted to the front of the rear box, but will be swapping those screws out for metal dowls at some point to make for toolless removal.

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Working on the last few things before my week trip. Tonight's version involves batteries.



Still need to notch the odd little ridge up the inner fender, and add a couple of mounts which will tie into air box mounting points. Also need to figure out where to mount my vsr (voltage sensing relay). Decided against using the extra stock battery tray since it would involve moving a lot of things in addition to modifying the mount.

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Finally got around to finishing up that second battery install. 




Blue light while running indicating that the batteries are connected and both are charging.


I'm using a VSR (voltage sensing relay) to automatically connect and disconnect my batteries. Once it senses 13.4V from the primary it will link them, then when it drops to 12.4V it disconnects them so I don't have to worry about killing my starting battery. For the peace of mind of the observant among you, the tie down for the second battery was added after these pictures were taken.

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Back from my KAT (Kentucky adventure tour)/Smoky mountain trip. This was a 5 day/night solo vehicle overlanding style trip with the exception of a day in Knoxville for city dweller things. I will definitely be doing the KAT again, next time with at least one other vehicle. We opted to forego the optional hard sections due just being the wife and I with no other vehicles to help if we got into trouble and most of the time way out of cell coverage. Sleeping in the jeep was actually pretty comfortable, we have a 3" memory foam full size mattress topper, happens to be right on width wise and a little longer, so just folded over the front which added a little extra cushion for our heads. It helps that neither of us are tall. The only time we woke up soar was the one night we stayed in a hotel.

Anyway, for the more interesting parts. We started off in Slade (Natural Bridge state park area), rolled in after dark and found a camp site.


Got up and made some breakfast before hitting the road.






Shortly after leaving pavement I learned my first lesson of the trip, I really need to make some better roof rails. The roof rack/basket went wondering a few times. After several stops to slide it back to center and crank down on the mounts I managed to get it tight enough to keep it in place for the rest of the trip.

A lot of this section of the KAT is the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway (DBBB) which is a public "road" surrounded by a combination of national/state parks and private property.

With a lot of creek crossings.

I did run into a baby tire problem at one point.

Damn tall tire people made ruts too deep for me, hung it up on the diffs.

Only other section that was really tricky on the first day was this section here which involved a short rock climb covered in some nasty mud. I was able to get over it by just dropping the front tire pressure.


Remember that part about public roads? Well, mining roads fall into that category.


Alas trails can be closed. This seems to be recent considering my month old map did not reflect this closure.

Oh well, was a nice enough spot for lunch, and being on top of a mountain we actually had cell signal.



View from the top.

Pretty common sight in this area.

Yep, more creek crossings.


Some tunnels too.

Ended day one at Turkey Foot camp ground. Very nice, rustic site and at the time of our visit nearly completely empty.


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Didn't take many pictures on days 2-3. Day two was easier than day one with more back country roads and some gravel, but no real trails. Day three we hopped off the trail and drove down to Smoky Mnts National park. The camp grounds at the national park were actually kind of disappointing, at least to us since we prefer the quiet, secluded and more primitive. National park doesn't separate primitve from RV sites, at least at the camp ground we ended up at. Our plan was to camp for the night and spend the next day hiking, but what we didn't realize since we had been without internet for 3 days at this point is that we were going to be right in the path of band of rain that started around 9pm and kept on going through mid the next day so we opted to take the most remote road we could out of the park and head back toward KY to finish the week out on the KAT.

We took Rich Mountain Rd. out of the park and while I'm sad we didn't get in any hiking it was a beautiful drive up and back down the mountain.



We spent the rest of the day/night in Knoxville which was nice, but this is a Jeep thread so I'll leave that off. Next day on the other hand we made it back up into KY and started on section 3 of the KAT which loops up and around Harlan county.

I didn't get any pictures of the real pucker spot, but this trail has several areas that are getting badly washed out. I would not take it in anything wider than an XJ as I only had about an inch cushion to ride the edge of a 2+ foot deep washout. Glad it was dry that day or it would very likely have slid in.

Even the Jeep needed a change of britches.




And here we ended our trip. 

As stated in my last post I will be back to finish the KAT and will go more prepared and not alone next time so I can see just how hard these hard sections are. For the main loop the DBBB offered the most challenging sections, but it was all fun and offered plenty of scenery.

Edited by UnderControl
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