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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, the whole reason I bought an LJ and not just a cheaper early TJ was for the added room, and better towing ability. What better to do with the capacity than build an expedition rig? I find I'm past the age where I would want to build a rig just to thrash it on the rocks - I'd rather explore BC and the rest of the country. So the plan in the next couple of years is to build it up in to an expedition rig. The eventual plan is to convert it to an AEV Brute (who needs back seats anyway?). Some people might say that a Wrangler is a bad platform for an expedition vehicle, but I intend to prove otherwise.

What does it need? Let's make a list of things I plan to add, and to tick off as I go along...
- Stereo system with iPod *check*
- Remote keyless entry with remote start, power door locks, proximity & shock sensors
- Lift to allow 35" tires (long arm if money allows)
- Integrated computer with touchscreen and GPS navigation (topo, etc)
- Floor liner (Rhino or Line-X or DIY)
- Front and rear bumpers with jerry can and other accessory attachments
- Hood-mounted rack system for lighter items (tent, tarps, some tools) *in the works*
- Interior storage system and mounting for Engel fridge, first aid, clothing, supplies etc (something removable so that the rear seats and the storage system are interchangeable)
- M101 or M105 trailer for more storage (bedding, more tools, any other supplies) *in the works*

If anyone has any suggestions, or links to similar projects or modifications, I'm all ears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Tech Entry

I've added an article to the web site for this project. It documents the installation of an aftermarket stereo. This applies to most later-model TJ/LJ models (2002 up I believe), including those with the factory subwoofer.

Stereo Install How-to

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Played around in Google SketchUp tonight. It's a great free program for anyone who hasn't tried it... check it out if you fab your own stuff. You can even put the model over top of a picture to see how it might look.

This basket is an early design but it will probably end up looking like this. Constructed of either 1/8" aluminum or possibly something more light weight, designed to hold small tools, tents, and other light stuff that wouldn't get hurt being wet or dusty. I find it very surprising that the only hood-mounted accessory is for lights or a hi-lift. Some people might say that the hood wouldn't support the weight when lifted (or even closed) but a couple of mods will fix that - make it removable easily with locking pins, and add some support blocks inside the engine bay


 

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I like the hood basket idea. I've toyed with the idea for years and have just never gotten around to trying it. It would make use of a large unused space thats otherwise useless.

I doubt it'd be hard to build strong enough to last properly. LR
 

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I find anything on the hood blocks visibility too much. Those round bars and spaces below them will also likely generate a whistling noise at speed.

Don't bother with a tire carrier that may hold one or two extra gas cans. Invest in the Gen-Right Safari tank. Holds an extra 45L and has a nice skid plate. This will free up more tire carrier choices for ones with better hinges and locking mechanisims (ie Rock-Hard)

Invest in a nice soft long arm suspension system. It will make the ride so much better, especially on longer drives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Don't bother with a tire carrier that may hold one or two extra gas cans. Invest in the Gen-Right Safari tank. Holds an extra 45L and has a nice skid plate. This will free up more tire carrier choices for ones with better hinges and locking mechanisims (ie Rock-Hard)
Hmm, that's a good point. And the added capacity for everyday driving would be nice, too. Any special spring considerations for the added weight of more fuel, as well as a tire carrier w/anything attached to it?

I've started to look around at other options and Bestop actually does make a plastic universal rack that fits the dimensions, and it's much much lighter, too. I don't plan on having anything stick up more than 6" from the rack, so it might work. But that's only if I don't have room for things elsewhere...
 

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I am running a 5.5" Clayton long arm kit. With the hard top, armour, tuffy box, tire carrier, spare tire etc and all gear, it was sagging a bit in the back. I installed a set of JKS ACOS in the rear. Starts at 2" and goes up another 1.5" from there. Seemed to do the trick and leave the option of tweaking the height later. Especially for the pass rear corner that seems to sag faster than all the rest.

For the few small things that would fit in the hook storage tray, they can easily be fit around the base of the seats and inbetween stuff in the back. There is lots of room, if you pack carefully.
 

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Before you put stuff on the hood you have to remember that this is a jeep, and you gotta have that hood accessable ;)

I was thinking about a roof mounted, light weight box that is side accessable for spare parts and things that you don't usually require constant access. Keeps the weight balanced front to rear, even though its up high..

Box would have to be something light itself, like wood or aluminum..

not talking about a safari basket, i'm talking lower and closer to the roof.
 

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- Integrated computer with touchscreen and GPS navigation (topo, etc)
I don't know if an integrated computer would be the right way to go. For me, it'd be much more useful if it were easy to move the computer around to either get better 3G / internet reception, or just so I could use it in a more comfortable setting (in a restaurant, sitting at a camp table, or in the tent). There are new netbooks coming out that have screens that fold around completely, turning them into tablet PCs. Another option would be to use a remote keyboard and LCD screen if you want to minimize how much dash space is used, allowing you to stow and run the netbook under the seat or somewhere else, while still giving you the option of moving it elsewhere to use in a different location.

...lars



 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't know if an integrated computer would be the right way to go.
I used to be a computer tech/salesman by trade, so this is something I've always wanted to do - I've used and sold pretty much every netbook on the market and none are powerful enough for what I want to do. Plus I have huge hands so I can't really type on them. I do also have a laptop, iPhone and other gadgets that would probably come along on a trip with me as well! For under $1000, I can build an 8" touchscreen, decent computer (HD video playback on a 2nd screen if desired) with solid state storage (64 or 128GB depending on how quickly prices drop) as well as SiRFStarIII GPS, back up or undercarriage camera, an input-output bus that lets the computer control relays as well as gather data like temperature and pressure (theoretically you could have winch and locker control from the touchscreen), as well as internet via an externally mounted wifi antenna or Bluetooth tethering to the iPhone when in town. Not to mention nav with full topo or even scanned pages of the Backroads Mapbook. The power supply is made for automotive use with deep cranking protection, auto shutdown, 10-24v range. I'll have to go in to detail and write a tech article when I start on the project, which might be this winter. The only thing I need to decide is if I want to mount the screen in the dash somehow (custom fiberglass bezel) or have it on some kind of articulated arm.
 

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I used to be a computer tech/salesman by trade, so this is something I've always wanted to do - I've used and sold pretty much every netbook on the market and none are powerful enough for what I want to do. Plus I have huge hands so I can't really type on them. I do also have a laptop, iPhone and other gadgets that would probably come along on a trip with me as well! For under $1000, I can build an 8" touchscreen, decent computer (HD video playback on a 2nd screen if desired) with solid state storage (64 or 128GB depending on how quickly prices drop) as well as SiRFStarIII GPS, back up or undercarriage camera, an input-output bus that lets the computer control relays as well as gather data like temperature and pressure (theoretically you could have winch and locker control from the touchscreen), as well as internet via an externally mounted wifi antenna or Bluetooth tethering to the iPhone when in town. Not to mention nav with full topo or even scanned pages of the Backroads Mapbook. The power supply is made for automotive use with deep cranking protection, auto shutdown, 10-24v range. I'll have to go in to detail and write a tech article when I start on the project, which might be this winter. The only thing I need to decide is if I want to mount the screen in the dash somehow (custom fiberglass bezel) or have it on some kind of articulated arm.

Yeah i've thought about this dozens of times..and every time I go and search up a touchscreen or some other sort of small sized screen and it's prohibitively expensive.

I looked just now and you can get a 10 inch touchscreen on ebay for about $200 which isn't TOO bad..

Being in the computer biz too I see a lot of **** float through my doors, and one thing I see a lot of is notebooks with smashed monitors - this equates to a decent computer that is basically worthless because a replacement screen costs the same as a new unit (give or take, for the average user). I think $1000 would be a little high for a solution you build yourself (your price) but it could be a reasonable re-selling price.

Good thing about a notebook is that they have an integrated battery - this acts as a battery backup (duh) as every time your turn your key from the on to start or on to acc or whatever your power flashes..this does bad things to a computer, the worst thing is that it reboots heh... having an integrated battery allows these fluctuations to roll by without notice.


Yes I think this would be an awesome addition to any expedition vehicle, or any multi-day trip vehicle
 

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I used to be a computer tech/salesman by trade, so this is something I've always wanted to do - I've used and sold pretty much every netbook on the market and none are powerful enough for what I want to do. Plus I have huge hands so I can't really type on them. I do also have a laptop, iPhone and other gadgets that would probably come along on a trip with me as well! For under $1000, I can build an 8" touchscreen, decent computer (HD video playback on a 2nd screen if desired) with solid state storage (64 or 128GB depending on how quickly prices drop) as well as SiRFStarIII GPS, back up or undercarriage camera, an input-output bus that lets the computer control relays as well as gather data like temperature and pressure (theoretically you could have winch and locker control from the touchscreen), as well as internet via an externally mounted wifi antenna or Bluetooth tethering to the iPhone when in town. Not to mention nav with full topo or even scanned pages of the Backroads Mapbook. The power supply is made for automotive use with deep cranking protection, auto shutdown, 10-24v range. I'll have to go in to detail and write a tech article when I start on the project, which might be this winter. The only thing I need to decide is if I want to mount the screen in the dash somehow (custom fiberglass bezel) or have it on some kind of articulated arm.


sounds quite interesting but with all the gadjets, will you have time to enjoy the outdoors? i dont even have am radio in my truck.
 

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sounds quite interesting but with all the gadjets, will you have time to enjoy the outdoors? i dont even have am radio in my truck.
Sounds very high tech.
If I need to check the winch or see if the hubs are locked in...........I get out and look.
That's the whole point of being out there.
Just my .02

I agree with a removeable laptop also...something not mentioned is if you break down and need to leave the vehicle.
A laptop can be stored in a pack...but kind of hard to do if it's integrated.
Get stuck in the mud or a stream and you can pack it out of harms way.

Sounds like a cool build up tho.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I agree with a removeable laptop also...something not mentioned is if you break down and need to leave the vehicle.
A laptop can be stored in a pack...but kind of hard to do if it's integrated.
Get stuck in the mud or a stream and you can pack it out of harms way.
Well if you were to order a MyGig with nav in a new JK, you'd be paying twice as much as what I'm doing, and you'd be getting essentially the same thing, just without added functions! I'll also be carrying a laptop in the car. Don't think of a built in computer as being the same thing you have at home. It's not, it's a vehicle computer - nav, and a few bells and whistles. That's just my style, and it's a convenience factor, not an integral part of the build.

And Sass... you're just... different (heck with all those projects it's any wonder you ever get out of your garage let alone on the trail!;) )
 

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or you could just get a UPS and a power inverter for under 100 bucks (total) at like..canadian tire
 

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sounds quite interesting but with all the gadjets, will you have time to enjoy the outdoors? i dont even have am radio in my truck.
Enjoy the outdoors? Pretty much everyone on this site either has a GPS or WANTS a GPS.. what's the difference between that and a GPS with a bigger screen?
 

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i guess so. i usually just hit stave or fsr's so no gps needed.
And this is why this thread is in the EXPEDI...wait.. damn


Well he labeled it 'expedition ready' at least.

I suppose for most people this isn't useful.. for the most part you can just run a laptop and a GPS if you are going on a longer more involved trip, etc.


A laptop, wireless and a GPS..and a free program.. will let you map out wireless access point locations around your area too.. y'know..if you ever wanted that information for anything:confused2
 
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