Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Out there, somewhere
New(to us) toad, '03 Rubicon and mods for towing, yahoo!
After being out of the Jeepin' world for a few years, we dove back into it for two reasons. One, just general trail running and exploration and two, a different toad. We've been using our '11 GMC Sierra 4x4 for a toad and, it's worked well but, having a 30 year Jeepin' history, we got the itch to do more exploring at many of the areas we've visited.
So, we procured an '03 Jeep Rubicon with a whopping 28,000 on the clock. It's already lifted, a nice Milemarker 9,000 lb. winch, Hard top, automatic, one of those not-so-good "all in one" Cobra C/B, and a few other goodies. It HAD great condition Pro Comp mud terrains on it but, I ripped those pieces of junk off the minute we got it home. Picked up some brand new Hancook 33-12:50x15 ATs from Discount. Waaaaaaay better. You could hear me coming from miles off with those noisy a$$ mud terrains.
Had to fit a new JVC stereo in it 'cause the Alpine was junk. That new one's got AUX and USB inputs along with Blue tooth. Now, when the radio's playin' and the wife (CEO) gets a call, the radio quits and, she just sais, HELLO! How cool is that?
One of the first things I did was, install an M & G Braking system in it for toad brakes. That install is easy but, I wanted the winch control box under the hood instead of out in the open so, it had to compete for space where the Cruise control servo motor went. I had to move the cruise control for space for the M & G unit. About a day and a half's work and, that's all done.
Next, I never liked those boxy ugly looking (to me) tail lights so, I wanted something that was not only much brighter in tail/brake/turn lights but, a bit nostalgic too. So, I ended up with some Maxxima 4", 32 LED stop/turn/tail lights surrounded by Stainless steel flanges. I removed the factory tail lights and had to cut 4" holes in the body for these new flush mount tail lights.
And, since the stock tail lights incorporate stop/turn/tail, and, a backup lamp, license plate light and, side marker light, I had to come up with replacements for those. I purchased some Cree 3"x3" (6 LED) 6000K lights to be used for backup lights. Wow, those are some seriously nice back up lights. To top it all off, I got some 3/4" (3 LED) side marker lights and, those too are seriously bright. It has Alloy wheels but, they had been neglected for oh, about 12 years now so, it took me about 6 hours to machine buff them all, including the spare. They're almost like mirrors now but, I'll do a tad more later.
The Jeep was already setup for towing when we purchased it but, I had to purchase some adapter brackets for the type of off road bumper that's on there. I was all set to make some when I popped into a Hitch and welding shop and, they actually had what I needed, ALREADY MADE, for a mere $49.00. I couldn't beat that with a stick. They adapted my Blue Ox Aventa to a Warn bumper, very easily. I even got lucky with the lights. The previous owner did what I always do and that was to wire the stock tail lights for toad lights.
Well, that worked really well with my new LED tail lights since there's considerably less amp load on that system. That about takes care of most of the mechanical stuff that was needed for setup for towing.
Since we're only two, we don't need a back seat so, that came out and, got sealed up in a couple of large black plastic trash bags and is stored. We have a little Mini Schnauzer that's our traveling companion so, I built a cross shelf for the back of that Jeep and, upholstered it with some nice Winnebago factory seat cover stuff the CEO got from the factory while we were back at the GNR in '14.
Now, that little Schnauzer has complete class back there, all to herself. And, since that shelf its suspended from the rails, that gives me room for chairs etc. under it for trail lunches etc. I upholstered the aluminum box that came in the back that carries the Viair 400P compressor and tool box so, there's no noise back there while were trail exploring.
One thing the previous owner did that I really like was, fabricated a real nice housing for a 10" long, LED light bar that's mounted on the rear edge of the roof, that's used as the third brake light. That too is seriously bright and phenomenally more visible than the rinky-dink factory one.
Well, that's about it. It's ready to tow, wired, tow bar's all setup, braking, new tail lights, etc. OH, almost forgot. For those of you that own TJ jeeps, it's a known fact that the seating is a bit low for many drivers. Especially if you do any quality off roading. You really like to see where you're going.
So, there are seat riser kits at many of the on-line aftermarket Jeep suppliers but, they want an arm and a leg for them. So, I just happened to have some Honduras Mahogany hanging around. So I chopped up some 1" thick, 2"x2" blocks for all eight seat positions. I got some longer seat attachment bolts and, that project is done. Way better when you're up just a bit more.
kind-a anxious to get it out and use it.
2004 ITASCA HORIZON 36GD, 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Toad '08 GL 1800 Gold Wing
Retired-29.5 yrs, SDFD, Ham - KI6OND
Me, Karla and the Sophie character, (mini Schnauzer)