Project: My crazy Jeep

sota

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
493
Location
NJ
So rather than clutter up other threads with ideas on how to do this I figure I should just make a dedicated thread.

I have a goal of modifying my jeep to perform the following tasks...
  • Daily Driver duties of hauling the kid/wife/groceries/tools for my job (I.T. guy.)
  • Track Day tow truck
  • Vehicle recovery during the winter time
  • Tree recovery service (don't ask... they keep falling down! :rofl: )
  • Plow vehicle for mine and a couple other LOCAL driveways
  • Do things in such a way that other future (unknown?) possibilties are (with any luck!) not made more difficult by the changes I make

A couple times a year I do this...

You must be registered for see images

You must be registered for see images

You must be registered for see images


Now currently that's a 20' Bri-Mar full steel deck trailer. that full setup with all my tools and parts in the back of the jeep weighed in at 10,060# recently... a bit portly I'll admit and I'm working on that (mostly in replacing the trailer with one that weighs about 1000# less.)

I want to set things up on the jeep such that I'm not having a difficult time taking things off constantly to keep the weight of the jeep down for "normal" or "mall crawling" duties, but at the same time not spend hours putting stuff back on.

I'm not even sure where to start with my requirements and parts decriptions, so expect this post to be clarified as time goes on. I guess I'll start with the winch first though.

Winch:
used for pulling the car on the trailer if it breaks, standing up trees, pulling vehicles out of ditches, dragging trees up the hill side for conversion into firewood, other possible unknown uses.
currently it's in a 2" receiver bracket, which initially I thought was really good idea. I can stick it on the trailer or attach to the rear of the jeep and eventually to the front. so far I have not bought the front mount receiver hitch for various reasons...
  • if I ever went off-roading it'd sit too low and would be very likely to get augered into something. that would be bad.
  • the front hitch would conflict with a possible plow mount, as I'm not no longer interested in a hitch mounted plow (just not useful enough.)
I'm considering the Backbone, as it puts the winch in a good place for alot of uses, and after some discussion with some people we've determined I could most likely attach a 2" receiver to the Backbone. that would allow me to hitch up the trailer to the FRONT of the jeep to stabilize it while I winch the car up on the trailer. plus it's a 2" receiver... all kinds of things could be hung off it if needed (that aluminum carrier on the trailer that tires are on maybe? put a cooler or two out there while in the bush. just as an example.) note that as of today I have not yet had to use the winch to pull any car on the trailer. however it's only a matter of time before i need to, either for my car or someone elses (parts cars for example.)
now one problem I can see with having the backbone is... can I remove the winch from it so that I'm not carrying it around all the time (like in the summer when it's not needed alot) and can I remove it easily? I have to explore that. anyone who's got a backbone if they could chime in about that I'd appreciate it. I can rather easily solve the electrical aspects of it (already have a source for the needed high current connectors) but the bolting/unbolting from the actual backbone still presents a question.
I've used the winch several times hanging off the rear of the jeep and I've determined the following...
The rear tire needs to be removed if I want the winch directly in the hitch.
Or I need to leave the tailgate door completely open which means it flops around as I'm trying to align the jeep for a pull.
I need to use 24" of extension out of the hitch to make the winch clear the spare tire.
I accomplished the latter one time the problem was it was done with a 12" extension and a 12" step/platform extension, so I had 3 pins that were potential failure points. Not to mention if the pull had been anything off-axis it would have been either impossible or disasterous.
With regards to vehicle recovery onto the trailer, I recognize that whatever changes I make to the trailer (tire rack for example) have to consider the position of the winch and the angle of the line during a pull up.

Towing:
As the pictures show I tow an open car trailer a couple times a year. Hopefully that will actually grow (was actually planning 6 track days this year, but for various reasons most got canceled) both for track days and other purposes. Due to the design of the hitch I installed the receiver is tucked very far up under the jeep. that combined with the short draw bar I have results in me needing to remove the spare tire to even get the tongue on the ball, and the bracket from the door to operate the hand crank for the trailer foot. this obviously leaves me with out a mounted spare on the jeep. while yes I can carry the spare on the trailer (in fact it usually winds up going in the trunk of the car that's on the trailer!) or in the back of the jeep itself, access to the latter is severely compromised by the design of the trailer (jack). Now I am planning on replacing this trailer with a different one and hope to explore these problems in detail with the shop I'll be purchasing it from, but for the time being it's probably safe to say there's not going to be a trailer made such that the tongue jack will be out of the way of the tailgate completely. In addition the back of the jeep is frequently filled with various tools, tents, chairs, spare parts, coolers, luggage, etc. for the event i'm attending, so attempting to package the spare back there and still have easy access to it if needed presents a challenge.
An interesting design option that I observed (zone zero) is to attached an addtional receiver to the hitch, offset to one side. Hopefully the owner of this picture doesn't mind my liberating them. :D

You must be registered for see images

You must be registered for see images


This idea greatly intrigues me, in that I could create a permanent mounting spot for the spare, design the bracket to be folded down so the tailgate can be opened fully, and free up the weight off the door itself. note my door is bent from the bracket and I suspect the previous owner backed into something, so it would allow me to clean it up.
It would also allow the trailer tongue to mate up without any issues or further efforts... just insert the draw bar and hitch up.
Another quick thought was to see if I could move the spare tire mount more to the driver's side of the door, and still be able to open it fully. If anyone has done or tried that I'd appreciate your commentary.

The other option was to roof mount the spare. While I plan to add a basket up top for other reasons (front and rear lighting, possibly side lighting, luggage carrying, things I don't want IN the jeep, etc.) the prospects of attempting to retreive the spare from the roof do not thrill me, as well as the potential negative impact on the vehicle's roll center. while I don't believe the latter is a terribly great impact, I would like to investigate it. Also does it have a marked negative impact on fuel economy. This this is already a pig to start with, no need to make it more of one at least as much as I can avoid it. :D (although to be fair, my mixed driving gets me about 18mpg on regular, while my towing that rig nets me almost 17mpg on premium if I drive nicely.)

In the end I do not want to change the receiver position on the hitch if at all possible. the close positioning of the ball to the rear axle makes towing very stable and easy. while yes the trailer will "dance" sometimes I'm more inclined to blame it ON the trailer itself, given that it's been abused over it's life. Repairs I've had to make to it so far include a complete leaf spring assembly, 2 brakes, and it needs 2 tires badly. I also suspect the front axle isn't perfectly straight. hence why I want to get rid of it and get a new one.

Basket/Lighting:
The plan is to put up a Rola roof cargo basket with extension, for the purposes of external item storage, a place to mount lights, CB antenna mount location, the possiblity of the spare (maybe a spare for the spare :paranoid: ) and other unforseen items. I'd want to make it hug the roof as much as possible, so that would probably entail custom roof bars.
On other idea was the possiblity of a pull-out/roll-up awning attached to the side of it.
Otherwise I'd have lighting up front and lighting out back. And as mentioned the CB antenna mount. the basket would probably be removed for the majority of the time since it's additions aren't always needed. I would have to say that if either the winch or the basket+ is going on the jeep for some reason, so is the other.

Suspension/Wheels/Tires:
Currently the jeep sits on bone stock suspension, which the front already appears to me to be sagging after only 35k miles. The plan right now is to replace the dampers with new Monroe units (possibly the helper spring rear ones) and install springs for a diesel since they're designed to handle more weight. Also they should give me a smidge of a lift so I can run the tires and wheels I want... MOABs on Goodyear Silent Armor 235/75R16 size.
I think that's all for now. More to follow at some point I can almost guarantee.
 
Last edited:

sota

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
493
Location
NJ
Future Parts List...

http://jeepinbyal.com/kj-front-guard.html
http://jeepinbyal.com/kj-engine-trans-guard.html
http://jeepinbyal.com/kj-front-guard-skid-plate.html
http://jeepinbyal.com/gas-tank-skid-plate-for-your-jeep-kj-liberty.html
$196, $250, $200, $356. when the time comes I'll go out and pick them up (shipping is a KILLER)

http://jeepinbyal.com/teraflex-bump-stop.html
$20ea (should have gotten them with the lift... oh well.)

http://www.solidaxle.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=156
$65 + $17sh

http://www.riddlermfg.com/products/10-daimler-chrysler-825-rear-differential
$125... shipping unknown
probably will choose this over the solid axle product.
 
Last edited:

Dave

Administrator
KJ Supporting Member
KK Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
15,567
Reaction score
10
Location
on here
Nice srt. Where are you racing?

Pretty heavy load for the KJ to tow though. That would seriously make me consider a good P/U for a tow vehicle and then you would have the bed for misc. stuff too.

I tow but not that often and the tire position can be a pain. It was ok with the stock tire size spare but with the bigger tire I need to crack the back door to hook up. Your towing looks more interesting. I have just been hauling firewood lately.

Dave
 

sota

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
493
Location
NJ
tire position is definitely the elephant in the room. it's the root cause of most if not all of the other ideas.

yea, I'm definitely overweight. The jeep pulls it without much hassle. Even startup on a hill with the stick shift I don't ride the clutch and it gets moving. people behind me might be a bit )($)#($)#$($ but I don't let them bother me. I accelerate no more slowly than a 53' OTR truck does when loaded. It'll hang out in 6th with cruise control engaged doing an indicated 70mph all day long, even with the usual grades on the roads around here. some of the steeper hills I'll drop it into 5th and still pop it back into cruise and it'll go just fine. no signs or sounds of strain coming from anything. even had the A/C going the whole time last trip! :D you spend most of your time focusing on momentum plays... a couple extra mph just before hitting the base of a hill can make a world of difference getting to the top without any drama.

now if I shed 1000# from the trailer that'll get me into the low 9000#s gross and that'll help. I thought about going aluminum but 2 things...
the cost is astronomical... 3-6x as much
they're all closed deck so their weight difference is only about 100# less than an open deck steel.
if they made an open deck aluminum that shed an extra 300# or so from a same sized open deck steel I'd look at it, but is there a limit to how light a trailer can be before it becomes a problem?
 

Ry' N Jen

Banned
Joined
Dec 26, 2006
Messages
9,242
Reaction score
8
Location
Slightly North of the 49° th. Parallel... In HongC
Hay Sota,

Have you checked out Tire Gate?
TireGate.com - The Ultimate Spare Tire Carriers!

I'm looking for something like this for the 2" receiver hitch on our Rig.
But then with dual rear spare tire carriers, Hi-LIft Jack, and room
for one 53 litre Flow & Go DuraMax* Fuel tank in between the tires.
You must be registered for see images attach


Coincidentally that red tank* on the drivers side roof basket?
It weighs in at 103 lbs. fully loaded with 14 gallons of Premium gasoline.
 

HoosierJeeper

Gold Supporter/Admin
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
20,818
Reaction score
190
Location
Western WI
I think a lift could solve your problems. It help with supporting the weight and also it would require you to run a larger drop, so that gives you more clearance. If you wanted you could also put some air bags in the back.
 

Ry' N Jen

Banned
Joined
Dec 26, 2006
Messages
9,242
Reaction score
8
Location
Slightly North of the 49° th. Parallel... In HongC
I think a lift could solve your problems. It help with supporting the weight and also it would require you to run a larger drop, so that gives you more clearance. If you wanted you could also put some air bags in the back.

Yeah I agree with HJ here as using one of those receiver extensions cut the towing capacity in half.
And considering that a manual transmission propelled KJ only has a 3500 lbs.
towing capacity, you don't want to go there!
 

sota

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
493
Location
NJ
oh i wouldn't dream of using an extension and tow the trailer. nevermind the moment arm for pulling the tail end down.
i've considered a lift but i'm not much interested in raising the jeep up. I'm at a 4" drop on the draw bar right now. I'd need what... 1 or 2 inches of lift?
 

Ry' N Jen

Banned
Joined
Dec 26, 2006
Messages
9,242
Reaction score
8
Location
Slightly North of the 49° th. Parallel... In HongC
oh i wouldn't dream of using an extension and tow the trailer. nevermind the moment arm for pulling the tail end down.
i've considered a lift but i'm not much interested in raising the jeep up. I'm at a 4" drop on the draw bar right now. I'd need what... 1 or 2 inches of lift?


If you decide on a lift just get new coil springs and shocks.
You might even consider installing a pair of air bags in the rear coil springs.
That will not only make your Liberty handle better 100% of the time but also help with towing such a heavy load.
 

sota

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
493
Location
NJ
Copying these here, since they were hell to find on LOST again...

I'm going to start detailing out some info I've been accumulating about various plow choices and stuffing it into this thread for future reference...

SnowSport HD plow...
Weight: 165# including framework (excluding 2" receiver hitch)
Price: $1300 (84") shipped (w/o front hitch)
Pros: lightest weight of all plows I've found so far
.... usable in any 2" receiver so it can be moved to any vehicle easily
.... kinder/gentle to grass/terrain and should skim over gravel driveways
Neutral: aluminum body, rubber cutting edge
Cons: manual movements only for left/center/right
.... lay-back style so you can't "drag" snow with it
.... rubber edge won't cut through ice

SnowBear plow...
(Rocky Road's house-brand plow appears to be the same unit)
Price: $1779 shipped (84" blade)
Pros: powered up/down movement so you can "drag" snow
.... replaceable steel edge, so it'll cut through ice
Cons: Heavier (SnowBear's site says 274.5# assembled plow weight, guess that means framework too)
.... obscures vehicle lights when raised so will probably need light kit @ $189
.... $83 skids will be needed for anything other than hard surfaces
.... will prevent installation of a front receiver hitch since it bolts to the same holes.

Sno-way 22 Series plow...
Price: $3650 !!!!!
Lots of features though.
Hydraulic controls
Looks pretty heavy though
(edit 2014/01/13) found a site that lists the weight as 275#, sans subframe. so probably pushing the 400#+ range?

You must be registered for see images

You must be registered for see images

You must be registered for see images

(edit 2014/01/13) looks like they stick the motor way out on the blade to give it some extra heft.
also not sure about the droop in the front.

SnowDogg plow...
Price: ???
Cons: HEAVY SUCKER!! (420# to 480# depending on model)
You must be registered for see images

You must be registered for see images


(more to come.)

My opinions so far... subject change as I collect more info. :)
If you want the cheapest answer, don't have miles to plow, or get light to semi-light snowfall the SnowSport HD is probably the choice.
If you want something more substantial without crushing your front end into the earth and allows you to drag snow away from things I'd say the SnowBear/Rocky-Road unit.
If you want all kinds of bells and whistles then the Sno-Way plow is your choice.
I can't honestly see using the SnowDogg simply because of the suspension crushing weight out front. It's just too damn heavy.

Personally, I think i'm starting to lean towards the SnowBear/Rocky-Road unit and see if later on I can't adapt/modify the mount to work with a front receiver... or rather modify the bracketry for the front receiver to accept the mount. :mrgreen: It's a bit more than the SnowSport HD (nearly 60% more) but the ability to raise/lower the blade from in cabin and to drag snow would be a plus for me.


figured I'd update this thread rather than start a new one. :D
decided to start my search for purchase early this year, rather than wait for the snows to clobber me again and be all :furious: :banghead: :dizzy:

found 2 other choices (well, 1 really...)

You must be registered for see images

You must be registered for see images

Fisher Homesteader and Western Suburbanite plows. Literally it's the same plow just different color.

Weight: 6'8" blade kit: 250# ... 7'4" blade kit: 270#
Price: 6'8 kit $3525
... 7'4" kit $3625
... shipping was included in these prices
... kit includes everything including correct vehicle specific "pecular" mount
Pros: easy on and off assembly. comes complete with everything including lights.
... blade can be set to float over surface or "locked" down for back dragging.
...... note this "locked" down position isn't the pump pushing the blade down, but they have a valving system that closes the line so that the blade can't push back up. guess you could call it a passive lock. seems to work though and it doesn't beat up the pump or rig trying to lift the front end up.
... blade can "spring" if you strike something, to lessen the chance of breaking the plow or damaging your rig.
... fully self-contained hydraulic system so no tying into things like the power steering pump.
... in-cab controller is easy to use for up/down and left/right.
... many reviewers have positive things to say to about the unit and the company behind it.
Neutral: poly blade edge.
Cons: a little portly. has many plugs you need to connect to the vehicle for things like lights, power, controls ,etc.
... a bit pricey, but is it a case of you get what you pay for?






based on reading my prior notes, it almost looks like these 2 give you the best of both the Snowaway (features, self-contained hydraulic action) and the light(er) weight of the SnowBear.


EDITED FOR PRICING QUOTES.


Meyer DP 6'8" - Meyer Drive Pro 6' 8"

41100 PKG: DP 5-7.5SP E58 DRVPRO MT
Assembled includes:
15988 Hydraulic Carton - HYD E58H PA 12V 1.5X10 PGRP
16600 Sector/A-Frame Carton - PAF DRIVE PRO 6'.8" CARTON
16601 Lift Frame - CLEVIS & LFRAME DP-16602+19944
07550 Light Carton - LIGHT SET NITE SABER 2

09274 Moldboard Part # - MB DP 6.8 STEEL DRIVE PRO

Vehicle-specific parts:
07180 Light Adapter - ADAPT HRNS GMC/CHVY/FORD/DODGE
18503 Mounting Carton - MTG JEEP LIBERTY 03 & UP DP
 
Last edited:

sota

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
493
Location
NJ
So to update this thread...
Bought the Western Suburbanite a couple weeks ago. $4141.74 complete, no install.
Picked up a new credit card to use for the purchase: $500 back on $4500 spent in the first 3 months, plus 2% on all purchases. Needless to say I met that easily, So I'm considering the plow cost at $3558.91.
Let me just say that installing it, wasn't a walk in the park. It is however, done...
You must be registered for see images

You must be registered for see images

You must be registered for see images
 
Last edited:

sota

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
493
Location
NJ
Also installed new suspension (see sig for details.)
Here are some measurements...
(f2f == fender to floor... f2h == fender to hub centerline)

Code:
[B]
       ---before---  -----after-----   -plow dn-  -plow up-[U]
wheel  f2h   f2f      f2h      f2f     f2h        f2h        [/U][/B]
LF     18"  32"      22 1/4"  36 1/4"  [B][COLOR="DeepSkyBlue"]21 3/4"    21 1/2"[/COLOR][/B]
RF     18"  32"      22 3/8"  36 3/8"
LR     19"  32 3/4"  21 1/2"  35 1/4"
RR     19"  32 3/4"  21 3/4"  35 1/2"
 

SeventyGTX

Full Access Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2014
Messages
89
Reaction score
0
Location
Fallon Nv
Glad to see you finally got it installed. But I gotta say, I'm just glad I live in a place that barely gets a foot of snow a year. I bought a 700 Kingquad that came with a plow. I never had the need to use it after 3 years, so sold the plow to a guy in Lake Tahoe where they get plenty of snow.
 

Bmxer524

Full Access Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2011
Messages
38
Reaction score
0
Location
Lindenhurst, New York
Looks good. What size tires did you end up getting? I just saw this and was going to mention that 235s will be too skinny for 8" wide. 245s would be the absolute minimum that I'd go with.
 

sota

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
493
Location
NJ
some pictures...

You must be registered for see images

Battery with "fancy" battery terminals with 3 points of connectivity.

You must be registered for see images

Big ass relay under the battery tray.

You must be registered for see images

Plow controller module on the passenger inner fender.

You must be registered for see images

Where the wires go in on the passenger side.
Grey is for the trailer, braided is for the plow.

You must be registered for see images

Shot along the passenger fender where all the wiring fishes through.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Members online

Top