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Month: April 2017

Klondike gets some roof rack cross bars!

Klondike gets some roof rack cross bars!

Our intention all along with Klondike has been to be more of an overlanding and longer exploring trip type of rig. Even so, we have found ourselves in situations that we think may put the KL Cherokee’s limited ground clearance and lower approach/departure angles to the test. A good way to help with these situations is to build ramps or bridges over things and our Maxtrax are certainly up to this task. This said, we currently only have mounts on our trailer “Ehu” and there are times we will need them on Klondike without the trailer in tow.

This is where the need for some roof rack cross bars comes in. This seems like an easy enough thing to buy, and in truth it is, but we didn’t really like any of the ones we have seen on the market so we decided to just make our own. A decision made easier by the fact we already had some DOM tube in the shop that could be put to use.

To kick off this little project, I cleaned up and cut the DOM tube to length. I also used a shape jig to get a feel for what would be needed to mount the tubes to the KL Cherokee’s factory rails.

 

Next, I got to work on the plates that I would weld to the bars to mount to the rails.

 

Because the factory rails are far from straight, I had to do a little tweaking to get them shaped for a good fit.

 

Now to mock them up on Klondike. I was pretty happy with the fit but realized the only real way to make sure everything was lined up in the end was to tack everything in place on the Jeep. I’m not going to lie, I was scared to death that a rogue spark/ember would scoot across the white paint leaving a trail of burn marks behind it. But thankfully all our masking and blankets worked out and protected everything.

 

The bars themselves were only part of what was needed to carry the Maxtrax. I needed tabs to bolt on the Maxtrax mounting posts.

 

Here is how they looked all welded. I did put some filler around the bar to plate joint just to smooth it out and make it a little more aesthetically pleasing.

 

Time to get these things painted, but first they needed to be cleaned, sanded, cleaned and primed.

 

Rather than watch paint/primer dry, I used this time to get the Riv-Nuts installed in the rails that will hold the bars. The metal here is actually pretty thick compared to other places I have used Riv-Nuts so I am confident this will be more than sufficient to hold them.

 

Once all painted, I put some 1/8″ adhesive foam on the mounting pads after bolting on the Maxtrax mounting posts. This will help seal up any gaps and hopefully prevent wind whistling on the interstate.

 

…and here they are installed and in service with one set of our Maxtrax. The posts will hold another, but I was really just testing everything out.

 

Here is a close up of the mount to the factory rail.

 

It’s funny, we know the KL Cherokee is a love hate and most “purist” Jeep enthusiasts are on the hate side of things, but this rig continues to be the one that we put more “built, not bought” parts onto. I think the tides may be turning a bit but I’m not sure this vehicle will ever be really well supported by aftermarket companies. It’s too bad too because we are certainly on the love side of the KL and think more would be if they gave them a shot.

 

Project Ehu – Ready for Adventure!

Project Ehu – Ready for Adventure!

That’s right! Our overland trailer project is coming to a close…. at least the first phase of it.

We know it’s been a long time since our last update, but frankly we struggled with stopping progress for the sake of posting what progress had been made and instead decided to keep moving forward.

With that being said, a video of where we are now was the best way to make an update.

As mentioned in the video, we did initially set out planning to do a more formal update post. So, here are a few more detail pictures of the progress.

After having the trailer weighed and tagged, I got to work on the wiring. The taillights were temporarily wired and needed to be done better as well as the exterior area lights needed done. Here is a shot of the cables coming into the storage “box” area.

 

 

…and then running from the front storage box where they will be controlled from.

 

This is the control center for the lighting and accessories. Below this panel are two batteries that will not only allow for a ton of 12V capacity, but this panel hinges up for easy access to switch them to a series connection to make 24v (required for our welder).

 

Beyond that, it was time to mount the tent and test it out. 😛

 

That’s it! There are still just a few little odds and ends to wrap up on, but we are ready for adventure and not a moment too soon.

 

We will be sure to post updates as we add things or make modifications, but for the most part Project Ehu is almost done!

Hopefully you have enjoyed following this build. If so, please leave a comment.

 

Ehu is ready to be weighed!

Ehu is ready to be weighed!

We knew the reassembly would go much faster than the process to get to that point, but even we were amazed at just how fast. In fact, so much has changed that we thought it was time for an update in spite of the fact that it hasn’t even been a full week since our last.

If you remember from our last post, we last left off with the floor being set in and sealed. If you missed that post or any of the others, you can get caught up HERE.

With the floor in, we started adding some of the other body panels after a quick pass with a dual action (DA) sander. The first to go on was the front panel which was quickly followed by the floor between the storage box and front tool box. Before any of these panels go on that are on the storage box, we are adding a small bead of silicone to seal the interior space.

 

Next, I shifted to the top which is held down by the L-tracks on the outside and some rivets in the middle. This thing was a bit too much to handle solo, so I enlisted Kegan for an assist while Alana wrapped up dinner. Thankfully we were able to get it placed and not scratch the paint on the up-rights. The L-tracks have a bolt every 4 inches so this thing is definitely not going anywhere!

We got a little ahead of ourselves after dinner and installed the passenger door and front tool box before realizing we hadn’t taken any pictures since the front panel so this picture has lots of additions. 😛

 

The following evening was spent on the rear door. If you remember, my original thought was that this door would drop open and possibly be used as a table. Once on, I realized this was a pretty bad plan so I swapped the door over and ordered some gas struts. This door hadn’t been test fitted for this new orientation, but thankfully the holes lined up top and bottom so this went pretty well.

 

….and a picture of the door closed.

 

In between panel/door installs, I had been getting the fenders painted and prepped. The inner portion is painted with the same semi-gloss black as the trailer frame but the outer is truck bed liner. This was largely chosen for aesthetic reasons. I just thought the fenders would need a little texture to match the front toolbox.

Here the fenders are all prepped and ready.

 

Before we could install the fenders, the side panels would need to go on. The majority of which is held in place with rivets. The exception being where there are fender or taillight bracket mounting points.

…. the rivets go pretty quick so, before we knew it, the driver’s side was fender ready.

 

In a slight redirection of attention, but to utilize a small window of time I had, I installed the safety chains and wrapped up the front jack. No more jack stand(s) holding up the nose!

 

In an effort to get the trailer weighed so we can get it registered, we made a late night push to wrap up several things. As you can see the passenger side is now done and we have mounted the fenders.

I have also added some reflectors that are needed. I’m not a fan of the looks of them at all, especially the rear facing ones, but many places require rearward facing reflectors on vehicles and/or trailers and since our taillights do not have them built in we had to add some.  😕

 

Here is a picture of the front of the fender. The cut not only made the fender look a little more “Jeepish” but also allowed me to bias it’s alignment toward the rear of the trailer a bit and away from the side doors.

 

Continuing with our full-court-press to have the trailer weighed, I got busy on wiring the taillights. Even if it was temporary, I wanted them working before we hit the road.

Klondike has a 7-pin trailer receptacle from the factory and we will be converting Dirty from a 4-pin to a 7. While the trailer doesn’t have brakes, I need the 12V leads to charge the batteries that will be in the trailer to power accessories and our welder.

I scored this really nice cable and distribution box that worked out perfectly.

Here you can see the cable routing from on the tongue.

 

This cable runs into the front box where I can easily access the leads. It has a cover and cord grips but I have them out for this picture.

 

Unfortunately, by the time I wrapped everything up we had just missed our window to make it to the weigh station prior to them closing. So, after we tested the lights, we are pretty much stuck and waiting until Monday to get this done.

 

 

So there she is, hooked up and ready to be weighed. Any guesses on where she will come in?