Friday 13 May 2016

Daystar Upper Dash Panel

Maybe I have used 'best modification' elsewhere, I am not sure.  I do have to clarify that the one I am about to show you probably does take the cake....

I mention this already in my build log. But its to do with the upper dash panel. The stock Jeep one is just a pice of smooth plastic, which prevents the storage of small items up there.  While I thought this may have been done for passenger safety (TJ had this functionality) it also returned with the JK dash redesign in 2011.

To remedy this in the earlier Jeeps I highly recommend the Daystar dash panel, the replacement panel simply adds some places to store small items.  It has also proven to also be a great base for further modifications and tweaks. To date I have modified it in 4 unique ways.

The first thing I have done with mine was to spray it with plasti-dip (or similar product) this I feel adds a slightly grippier texture to prevent your items sliding.

The second thing I have done was add some "RAM" mounts to both sides.  This system of balls, arms, and holders etc works phenomenally and is extremely well built.  The downside is the price, I probably have over $100 of components on mine. Its nice to think that is modular and the arms and device holders can be easily transferred to another vehicle.  Another upside is I can quickly switch between two phone mounts and replace one with a go pro etc.  In the future I also plan to have a small tablet, I will then only need the new cradle or "X-mount" and I can swap it into the mix in seconds. My most common use is my phone closest to me and my old iPhone running MotionX GPS on the second.

The third modification was to add some angle aluminum and a fin to the back.  I did this to help direct more defrost air in front of the driver.  I am really disappointed that Jeep would have designed this air to come out the centre in a fan pattern. Several times each winter I will be driving in cold enough temperatures where the corners fog up and/or ice builds up when snow from the centre melts and refreezes on the edges. Unfortunately I cannot honestly say that I notice this modification has done anything to help this I will keep tweaking it trying to make it better.

The last change I made is stealthier than some of the others. I have drilled two small holes for LEDS in either corner.  I wanted to work on adding red LED interior lighting for when the passenger needs to find something or view a map while driving. This is currently the first and only place I have installed these I do have some LED strip lights that I will be mounting under the dash as well as under the different tiers of the centre stack.

 As it is installed in the Jeep.

 Unclipped and spun so you can see the backside modification detail.  Although it just uses the stock clips it mounts very securely and is rattle free. A quick twist of the on knob on the arm allows for adjustability in all directions, tightening this prevents any movement regardless of how rough the road.

Another view from the back. Here you can clearly see the second set of holes for my previous iteration which used a different ball configuration.  This latest one has two mounts originally designed to be used on a motorcycle brake or clutch master cylinder.

My future modifications may be as simple as adding a couple holes in either side to loop some black zap straps through this way I can route wires to my devices keeping it out of the drivers way.

Jeep Tailgate Table Fabrication

As the weather has been improving I have found myself working outside in the shop more and more.   Part of this time is spent fabricating new things for either the Jeep or trailer.  I find this a great way to destress after a days work, as well as it acts as an outlet for creativity.

The last few weeks one of the projects I have had in the back of my mind has been a Jeep tailgate table.  Now I did a lot of looking and you can purchase one for somewhat reasonable prices (<$200), however I wanted the challenge to build my own, while also building it exactly to what I envisioned.

Another thing I had going for me was some left over aluminum from the trailer build, the main surface of the table would come from this. What I ended up having to buy was a few lengths of aluminum angle, some cable, crimps, and a latch.  All the remaining parts I already had.  While I bought more of the supplies that I needed I figure the actual costs that went into the table are right around $40.

I should mention that a table on the tailgate is never something I found myself needing it has always been one of those overland-esque type items I have always wanted.

I'm not going to get too much into the details of the builds, and instead hope the pictures below can speak for themselves.

Picture of the near finished table with no latch

 The table closed, again without a latch. Note how much space I maximized since I had no need to clear a subwoofer.

 The stainless latch which I picked up at out new Lee Valley store. When closed and secured it is very secure and I am confident will be rattle free.

Tailgate closed on the Jeep. Check out the LED strip lighting I ran on the back glass.  This helps so much to see whats in the back at night and will provide perfect light over the table. 

Future improvements may include something to get use out of the 1 inch or so space between the table and tailgate, perhaps some cutlery/utensil storage. I may also search for cutting board to modify which I can then fabricate to slide out from under the table once lowered. 

Overall I am very happy with how this came out and hope to find some use for it.