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Showing posts from March, 2017

Cognitive Dissonance and Dirt

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I wouldnʼt be happy again until I stabled that 2017 Mustang GT or I accepted my current financial restrictions and suffered back to the consonance of, and really the gratitude for what dripped a bit of oil on my driveway, a 1998 Montero.
Weʼve all been there, some more regular than others, that cognitive dissonance that keeps us akimbo until weʼve reconciled with reality. I do it with suspension and lift kits, lockers and synthetic winch lines, RTTs and BFGs. And we know what it looks like when the cognitive dissonance wins; that lifted, powerstroking, mud-crawler with nary a desert pin stripe.
Itʼs persistent. Itʼs the noise in your head when sheʼs talking during commercial breaks. Itʼs tucked in the pages of that off-road magazine resting on the toilet tank. Itʼs even inundated the bookmarks on your browser. Taller, wider, stronger, higher, faster; the very desires that make us want to gear up germinate more in ego than in that place where natural germination happens – dirt.
The day w…

Hi-Lift Mount

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Necessity being the mother that it is, the Hi-Lift Jack had to go somewhere else other than on the Franklin rack. I think it soiled itself when I lifted it up for a test fit. The next more likely spot was on the brush guard.


I drilled a hole through the cross members of two u-bolts, 5/16ths, stainless, through which I inserted the bolt and mounted the assembly to the crossbar of the brush guard. I then slipped a QuickFist clamp on each bolt, fitted the Hi-Lift jack and cinched it down with stainless wing nuts. I added a strap to keep the jack handle from vibrating.



Folding Utility Shelf No.3

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One interior mod we've used the most is the folding utility table mounted on the rear door. This being the third, I thought it'd be pretty straightforward, borrowing from the Gen3's use of an off-the-shelf 1"X12"X24" plank (this one being pine) and the hardware approach from the H3. As we both know, nothing is pretty straightforward when you think it's going to be. 

The stock plank was sanded and shot with Minwax PolyShade in the oak finish. Six or seven coats, I lost count.


I added the same type of stainless marine hinges used in the H3 (had another pair knocking around for some reason), and started using stainless hardware to mount to the door through the trim plastic and to sheet metal beneath. I drilled pilot holes and set the hardware, snapping the head off one of them. At the risk of Swiss-cheesing the rear door facia, I decided to live with it.

Locating the shelf on this door was a compromise at best. I didn't want to obstruct the tool kit lo…

The Franklin Rack

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This build will have more to do on the interior than the exterior and I'm trying to apply lessons learned from previous builds, one of which for our purposes, is that we don't need a huge roof rack. This being the case, I went economy on top to put more money to the interior (drawer, stove and fridge system) and picked up a Rage Powersports low profile cargo basket for $104.99 on Amazon - the reason I'm calling it the Franklin Rack. That being said, it's an easier alternative to the GEN 3's wood roof rack

All assembled there's not much more structural integrity than an erector set, getting less than what I paid for perhaps. Its intended use, like on the H3, is to have a place for recovery gear and a three-gallon Rotopax can. It's 39.5x36 inches, allowing a little under ten square feet of space. The Garvin Sport Rack on the H3 allowed 14.4 square - feet thirty percent less room - plus this little basket won't hold an awning. But I have other plans for…

LED Conversion

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At nineteen years-old, there are some old oxidized electrical connections that don't, um, connect. Maybe conduct is a better word for it. When I started sorting out the 2.5 the only lamps that worked in the interior were the front door courtesy lights. With everything apart I cleaned contacts and wiggled switches and got all the circuits illuminated, but the interior was still pretty dark.



I ordered ten 31mm 12SMD LED lamps and replaced all the tungsten lamps and now it feels like a full moon inside.




This really improved the cargo area lighting, though I think I'll add a couple of parallel fixtures just above the sliding windows.

Reverse Light Upgrade

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The back-up lamps on the 2.5 are more of a suggestion of light than actual practical illumination, so I decided to do quick and inexpensive upgrade.

I've had good luck with CREE style LEDs previously, as long as I replaced all the hardware with stainless. I came across these NiLight 18W flush mount flood lights and thought I'd roll the dice and give them a try. Eighteen bucks, why not?

The install required trimming a bit of the opening for the stock lamps since the NiLight height is about a quarter inch taller.


Remove the housing.


Then remove the lamp from the housing. I clipped the the socket off from the wires.


Before fitting clean the area around the opening to remove the footprint from the previous housing. 

I used a jig saw with a metal cutting blade to score the bottom edge of the opening, creating "teeth" that will be pulled to match the height requirement of the new housing.


Using a pair of ViseGrips, grab a tooth and slowly move it vertically until it break…

Interior Mods Part One

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Most of the build hours so far have been dedicated to the interior, not a bad mid-winter project to do, especially without a garage. Many of the existing interior issues have been solved, from replacing instrumentation cluster lamps to installing LEDs in all the interior lighting fixtures, making a remarkable difference. Still to solve is a wiring work-around on the driver power seat - its only functions are seat tilt forward and seat height adjustments. The gremlin is in the switch so I'll trace the 12V power routing to the appropriate motors and add toggle switches to by-pass the factory switch. UPDATE: I've disassembled the switch and thoroughly cleaned all the inner switch contacts with electrical cleaner solvent and the switch works fine now. 
If you follow us on Cornering Consciousness you know that we journey with two Goldens, Ginger and Maryann. Other than these two, we're empty nesters, so as we've done in the Gen3 and the H3, the middle seat has been elimina…