Halley - '17 WK2 Trailhawk Overland Build

Well done! Your attention to making everything fit cleanly and correctly is admirable. I like the idea of having both the ability to go almost anywhere, the comfort to do it for long miles, and the low-key look not to attract too much unwanted attention doing it. I'm trying to do the same thing on a budget with my old ZJ. The hidden winch is particularly nice. I'd love to have a winch but I'm not wild about wearing it driving to work every day, and the smaller bumpers on the ZJ won't fit it internally.
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
Well done! Your attention to making everything fit cleanly and correctly is admirable. I like the idea of having both the ability to go almost anywhere, the comfort to do it for long miles, and the low-key look not to attract too much unwanted attention doing it. I'm trying to do the same thing on a budget with my old ZJ. The hidden winch is particularly nice. I'd love to have a winch but I'm not wild about wearing it driving to work every day, and the smaller bumpers on the ZJ won't fit it internally.
Thanks for the kind words! I appreciate the recognition of the attention to detail... I truly love having a vehicle that's well outfitted with that clean OEM+ look. You're exactly right, the ability to go almost anywhere and still do it comfortably. There will be a few exterior changes to the WK2 this year, but all in the hopes of capability growth and armor/protection, while still looking sexy.

I totally hear you about not wanting to have a winch on the front driving the ZJ everywhere. Sounds like you've got a solid platform for a build... be sure to send me a link if you start a build thread!
 
Great platform? ehh...maybe. It's been soundly abused and I'm chasing a LOT of repairs to bring it up to my (high) reliability standards. But if I can get it running right it does fit well with my purposes. Here's a LINK to a sort-of build thread on another forum.
 
It is a great platform and has performed flawlessly on trails I thought it would have issues on. It is a completely different animal from the older ones. The updates are night and day from the 97 you have.
 
You sir have made me change from running my Tacoma for our camping/adventuring to using our 2014 GC Overland Diesel.

Also, some food for thought in the future when it comes time to replace those factory shoes you got on her. We cracked a factory 20" wheel this winter on what I can only assume was pothole. In searching for a replacement I found that the factory Sahara 18" wheels/tires fit perfect on the WK2. So after some searching the local CL I found a set of 5 wheels/tires and grabbed them up. They still have 75% tread so I had the TPMS sensors replaced and the tires flipped to blackwall by the local Discount Tire shop. All said and done it cost me $50 bucks more to get all that done and I now have a full size spare than replacing the one 20" wheel. An added bonus for me is that my wife asked me to make the Jeep look less mom-ish so she enjoys the look it has now.

Anywho. I will enjoy reading about your adventures with your TH.

Also, here's a quick pic of our girl. Quite dirty but you can see how the tires look when she is in OR2. I just ordered the roof cross bars and will be adding a Thule Adventurer 650 I scored off CL today for extra cargo space.

DSC_0461.jpg
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
It is a great platform and has performed flawlessly on trails I thought it would have issues on. It is a completely different animal from the older ones. The updates are night and day from the 97 you have.
oh, no question the new ones are. He was talking about my old one. Not sure it qualifies for great, but I won't count it out yet.
Haha guys, play nice! Clyde, I checked out the ZJ link you sent. Looks like you're doing all the right stuff to get it ready and reliable. I certainly wouldn't count it out yet!
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
You sir have made me change from running my Tacoma for our camping/adventuring to using our 2014 GC Overland Diesel.
This line made me grin. I'm genuinely glad to hear it! They're exceptionally capable for their platform, and are super comfortable throughout... I've got the Wrangler to drive over anything but the Trailhawk brings a whole other (different) level to the experience off-road.

Glad to hear about your tire swap experience. I know a lot of guys on more Grand Cherokee centered forums have mentioned it, and it's great to see it working for you. Extra points to your wife for wanting a less soccer-mom look. I've actually just taken delivery of a 5th rim & TPMS to match the OEM Trailhawk ones, and will have a post about that tomorrow I'm hoping. Wasn't a bad deal, and allows me to keep the OEM look that I've done my best to maintain throughout the build thus far. Tires are an undecided thing at this point... the Goodyears aren't terrible, they're comfortable on the highway, seem to wear well (14k in year one) and haven't truly let me down aside a snow-wheeling trip a few weeks ago up in New Hampshire.

There's a big debate in our household as to whether or not it's worth it to buy one spare tire to match the existing, or use this as a valid reason to replace them with a larger tire with a more aggressive tread. We'll see how that plays out.

Your WK2 looks great, and those tires definitely do a great job filling the space in there! Cheers to more adventures, and stay in touch, us WK2 guys have to stick together.
 
There's a big debate in our household as to whether or not it's worth it to buy one spare tire to match the existing, or use this as a valid reason to replace them with a larger tire with a more aggressive tread. We'll see how that plays out.

Your WK2 looks great, and those tires definitely do a great job filling the space in there! Cheers to more adventures, and stay in touch, us WK2 guys have to stick together.
Thanks man! I added the Brightlines roof cross bars today after finally getting all that brown stuff off the tires and finally stuffing the spare in the back. I was able to fit the new Sahara spare in the stock spot with the storage bins after deflating it all way. Just need to find a decent small compressor to re-inflate if needed. Ordered my mounting hardware for the new-to-me Thule Adventurer that's going on the roof for adventuring too. Also built my 12 LVD for my old Norcold after finding out how to switch the fuse to make the rear 12v plug always on. I'm almost set for trips just need to find a place to go and wait for the weather to get nice enough to camp in a tent!

An even better bonus is after adding the roof bars and cleaning the tires my wife likes it even more! I'm a lucky guy.

If you ever make it as far west as Minnesota let me know. I've found some good spots while dirt biking that allow dispersed camping so no noisy neighbors in a campground!

Oh and that light bar you have is freaking amazing! I want one on mine bad now. The winch looks sick as well.
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
If you ever make it as far west as Minnesota let me know. I've found some good spots while dirt biking that allow dispersed camping so no noisy neighbors in a campground!

Oh and that light bar you have is freaking amazing! I want one on mine bad now. The winch looks sick as well.
That fuse switch trick is pretty neat, isn't it? I had a friend discover it when he didn't want to hard wire his Dometic when we installed it.

I have in fact made it as far west as Minnesota... if you have a chance check out the Trip Report from our Trans-Canada Overland Expedition this past summer... 7,000 miles from Boston out to the Canadian Rockies and back. Event spent a night in Minneapolis on the way back! It'd be great to hit up some spots and do some camping - maybe even the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail or some of those million miles of Michigan backcountry roads they just opened up.

Glad you like the light bar... check out Black Oak's website - you can use the code '2180miles' at checkout for 10% off your order. The light is a lifesaver on dangerously dark nights and has saved my butt in a multitude of scenarios before. Winch is undoubtedly the best self-reliant piece of equipment we run. Chief has been amazing to work with and I'm looking forward to getting more of their products installed.
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
Fire Extinguisher Mount

A few weeks ago I was standing in a Home Depot up in Nashua, NH while a friend gathered some supplies for a project we were working on. I wandered around a bit and eventually found myself staring at the fire extinguishers they had in stock, which really got me thinking. Many years ago one of my first projects for the Wrangler was a fire extinguisher bracket for under the driver's seat, an easily accessible location in the event that I ever needed it. I stood there at Home Depot kicking myself at the realization that we did not carry one with us across Canada this past summer despite the fuel canisters in the Jeep and open gas stoves we used every night to cook around dry pine needles and the like.

With that lovely narrative, let's get to work on installing a fire extinguisher in a WK2 without it being aesthetically annoying or too much in the way:

Tools needed:
- Drill
- Small Drill Bits
- Pop Rivet Gun
- Medium-length Rivets
- Painter's Tape
- Sharpie

I bought a 3.7lb Kidde B/C (Auto/Marine) fire extinguisher in a snazzy silver color for $17 at Depot. It came with a plastic mount, but I had horrible visions of a high-speed crash where the plastic would break and the extinguisher would become a missile into the back of my skull in the driver's seat. No problem - quick trip to my local Grainger Supply and I was in possession of a $7 Kidde mount, made from metal and with a metal latching strap. I did have to do some modifications to the bracket to widen the space where the neck of the extinguisher goes in order to make it fit. When it came time to touch up the paint, I ended up painting the whole thing black to make it less visible inside.

I knew I wanted the extinguisher in the rear trunk space, as when we cook with the stove it would be the most accessible. Realistically I think the stove catching fire has a higher likelihood than the engine bay (but fingers crossed for neither), so it's located accordingly.

First off, I put some painter's tape down on the window sill space of the rear-most driver's side window. Driver's side because the fridge is on the passenger side and it seemed too crowded in there for easy access. Holding the bracket up in the space, I used a sharpie to mark through the holes I drilled out for this specific purpose. They're on the flat planes of the bracket. Once the marks were made, I drilled them out with a drill bit appropriately sized for my rivets.


Fire Extinguisher Mounting Location by 2180miles


Mount Holes Drilled by 2180miles


Once the holes were drilled I got my medium-length rivets set and fit them to the holes. Super easy - you all know how to do that.


Kidde Mount Riveted In Place by 2180miles


I had to use some dikes/diagonal wire cutters to get the rivets cut flush, and then was able to fit the extinguisher itself. I used the super scientific "wiggle" test, and the whole assembly seemed sufficiently secure. Ideally I'll never need to use this thing, but I'm glad to know it's back there now.

Final photos:



Kidde B/C Fire Extinguisher by 2180miles, on Flickr


Kidde B/C Fire Extinguisher Wide View by 2180miles


Exterior View - Kidde Extinguisher by 2180miles
 
That looks nice, but honestly, it would worry me in the event of a major front end collision. Do you think it's secure enough to keep from becoming a deadly projectile if the unthinkable happens? I haven't added one to my GC yet, partially because I worry about that scenario and all the mounting points I like are higher than the rear seat back. I knew a guy that crashed a project car and had a loose pair of dykes gash the back of his head requiring multiple stitches. I don't want to think about a 2lb extinguisher traveling 60mph.