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Old 03-03-2008, 12:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Jeep! - '95 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ Laredo
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DPoV's Jeepin' Build Thread

So I've decided to finally make a thread where I can put all of my mods together into one package. I've thought about it, and since the latest forum activity has brought many Jeeps and trucks, and I've been trying new things out for my enjoyment, I thought I'd be good to post this all together, so others with large vehicles can take Ideas and run with their own mods. Please note though, that this thread will be based around the ZJ, and more detailed towards the 93'-95' ZJ's because their front grille and bumper is slightly different, but those with 96'-98' ZJ can compensate. Note, Picture dates are incorrect.

First thing I decided to do, was to take off the roof racks. I decided that I'm never gonna use them until I get a designated driving vehicle so I can make this a weekend Project Jeep, and add a light rack for some deer blinding disaster lights... I mean lights for night riding.

Before, it looked like any SUV with roof racks... it had... well.. roof racks.


(ah, back in the day, when the headlights were slightly cloudy... summer 06')
Well, I decided since the paint was coming off of them, that I'd better take them off and repaint them for later use, and roll without the racks for a while.

What you wanna do, is get a torx screw driver bit. Jeeps tend to have a lot of these, so if you already own one, you probably have a set. Take the screws out, and remove the racks. You might have to shake the screws out of them. Taking the racks apart can be tricky, but that's mostly cause the buttons haven't moved in ages. I'd screw them back on the roof if I were you, the holes in the roof might lead to rust and water coming inside. Although I can't confirm that part.

It should look something like this...


Make sure that you get them on there nice and good, to ensure moisture doesn't get in there.

One thing to make note of, is that the paint under the racks is most likely faded. What your going to wanna do is wash that up real good, and take wax or clear coat to it. that will protect it from impending sun and mud damage.



Next, We'll look at blocking off the grille. (so that this post isn't a nightmarish long post )

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Last edited by DifferentPointofView; 03-03-2008 at 12:33 AM..
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Alright, so on to grille blocks. You wanna do one, but... what to use? how to do it?

Well, here we go. I've made a few blocks out of whatever I can find at the time. Right now, I haven't gone out and spent anything on supplies, I just find whatever is lying around the house.

From making so many and still continuing, All I can say is, MAKE MANY MANY PROTOTYPES!!! When you get to the final product, you'll know everything about how to make it perfect. If you make a prototype before making a prototype, it REALLLY helps. Lets start with the lower grille block.

I first started out with a half used roll of duct tape. Yea I know, not the best, but it worked. I don't have a good picture of the first one, but here's what it looked like after a week:



Yea, I know, it's weather torn, but you know what? it lasted 3 good months of rain, snow, and lots of mud before it finally died today *RIP grille block*. I replaced it today as well, but I haven't had the chance to take pics, cause It was dark when I finished, they should be up soon.

As you can tell, it's just duct tape screening across the lower grille, and taped at the edges to help maintain it from falling off. During it's 3 month life, I just patched the holes with more duct tape. Not much to say unless I go into REAL depth, but that's how it went.

One thing to note, is make sure you've washed it before applying, I did a quick one and didn't think of the outcome, but I'm sure if it was on a non-dusty surface, it would have lasted much longer.
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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90 day: 30.6 mpg (US)

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Next, I went and blocked off 2 of the grille slats. I blocked these because the intake is on the drivers side one, and I wanted to keep cold air from reaching that part of the bay, the other was to keep it symmetrical. I didn't have the time to block off the whole thing, so I just did those two.



This helped more than I originally thought it would, and I saw a rise in coolant temp once warmed up. Warm up time wasn't effected much, mostly cause the bottom one did more area.

Keep in mind, that I did these blocks this way to try and keep it looking stock. I didn't want a grille covered in duct tape. So I used duct tape at any time It would go with the color it's going to be on.

While driving a Jeep and/or truck, it sometimes seems as if the side of the road is more interesting than the road it's self. It often leads to VERY minor dustyness, and yellow rims. Many Jeepers don't wash their jeeps, but in fear of rust and paint removal, I washed it up. This was also in hopes that the grille block would last a little longer. This next pic is of when I first made the block. As you can see, it's not as weather torn.



That dustyness is nothing compared to what most Jeeps and trucks that are used properly go through, but salt had been building on there for a while, and it was the only warm day I could get until the weather dropped below freezing again the next day. Here's what it should look like after washing.



As you can see, washing, if done properly, does not effect the grille block. So for those considering the water and etc. Nothing should happen to it from washing if washed properly.

Waiting for some upper grille action? that's what's next.
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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The Jeep! - '95 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ Laredo
90 day: 23.75 mpg (US)

The Caliber - '07 Dodge Caliber R/T
90 day: 30.6 mpg (US)

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Ahh, so you've seen the lower grille block done, now what? your upper grille block is still cooling the engine way too much, and temps have dropped below zero. You need a full grille block? well here's where we get started. (note: copying and pasting from previous thread to save time.)

So, what will you need for your upper grille block? Well first, make a prototype. This is probably easier material to find, and gets you ready for a better designed one.

Supplies:
Clear boxing tape
Saran Wrap
Scissors
Friend that's lurking at your house
Jacket

First, I got my friend who was with me at the time to help me keep the saran wrap from folding in on itself while I got the tape ready. But even before that, I made sure that the Jacket was on nice and good.

Take friend and have him take the roll to one end, and the flat-side on the other side of the grille. Then, after you forgot about the tape , have him hold both sides. Cut some tape, then tape one end to the grille, then cut the other side off with the scissors. Tape all four corners with the tape, then at about this time your friend has to go home (cause he was leaving at the time you remembered about the grille block) so you do the rest on your own. You probably didn't make the saran wrap perfect, so you fix the problem with tape, stretching, and more tape. You might need to pop the hood to do this correctly. If you can, tape over the block heater cord (optional) so it doesn't flap around while taking a tight turn (this looks odd to viewers who wonder what exactly that cord is for).

You should end up with something like this, a testable, clear grille block that is external, so air flows most efficiently around the grille for best aero (apposed to a block on the inside of a grille.) and still looks stock-like from some distance.








Now we'll see what happens after some rigorous testing is done.
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The Jeep! - '95 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ Laredo
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So after a week and a half of rigorous testing, You wanna see some results eh? well surprisingly enough, it didn't look that bad.

I made sure I tested this thing good, so I drove through LOTS of mud, corn fields, 1 foot deep water pits doing 40 (boy that was fun, water shot 3 feet over the roof, and onto the hood and everything else), clay slip, rain, sleet, snow, and a good bit of highway speeds on this thing. Water was frozen onto it, (from the pits) along with grass, and it was subjected to heat from the engine bay when I went mudding.

So this is what it looked like after a week and a half.





Not too bad eh? the last rain took most of the mud off of it and left only coffee looking stuff, but it's not too bad for being clear tape and saran wrap.

I'm low on light at the moment, so now you'll have to wait till I can get more sunlight to take pics of the new and "improved" grille blocks! Hope that's tomorrow, but it's supposed to rain, so hopefully they won't be too weather worn by photo day!
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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yeah for jeep mods :P anyhow looks great so far, how much has it helped with your fuel econ?
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Knowing that my ZJ runs warm to begin with, the grill blocks might not work well for me in summer here in the desert...

I am wondering how to best smooth the belly out some. I'd like to find some used coroplast, like sales signs, to maybe smooth the bottom out and see how I might also smooth some and add some protection (steel plate in spots) for wheeling (though some of that protection will also add some weight).

Edit... And now that I've finished my daughter's Jeep, I get mine back and can keep better track of the mileage (as well as watch my average return to what it was before she started driving it!!!).
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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The Jeep! - '95 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ Laredo
90 day: 23.75 mpg (US)

The Caliber - '07 Dodge Caliber R/T
90 day: 30.6 mpg (US)

The 'Scort - '98 Ford Escort LX
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Quote:
yeah for jeep mods :P anyhow looks great so far, how much has it helped with your fuel econ?
Uh.. I'm not sure yet, I had a fill error last time, which is creating a fill error this time, plus I found that testing the durability meant going off road, which led me to get stuck. So next tank, we'll get some results. I've got a finished grille block out of thicker plastic, but it's raining buckets outside, and the roads are beginning to flood, so I managed only to get one pic, and it's the upper grille. The lower grille looks better than I thought, and it looks like hard plastic on there.

Here's the newest pic, and the only pic until tomorrow... that is if the rain subsides.


Quote:
Knowing that my ZJ runs warm to begin with, the grill blocks might not work well for me in summer here in the desert...
That might be true, but how cold does it ever get in the winter? if it gets only to about 70, a grille block won't overheat it (I know, I went mudding with a full grille block when it was 70, so if your just highway cruising, it won't. Maybe if you mud long enough at high rpms, but otherwise it shouldn't. I take my testing farther than I initially plan. You get impulsive while driving the back roads ) And will help a lot with aero. I'm gonna try a belly pan as soon as I can locate a sign/board shop (so that I can get non-flammable material for under the engine and near exhaust). So that you guys can have results.

But one thing I'm gonna need to get... is a vacuum gauge or overhead console. I have yet to find the overhead console, and need funds for a vacuum gauge.

What I'm trying to do is make it (mods) look like I bought it from the store and that it's OEM, which is why I've been experimenting with clear stuff.

If you guys want me to try any mods, I'll see what I can do, although I'm not drilling or pop-riveting anything. If I can get it on there with tape or something that is non-marring, that'd be suitable.

Quote:
And now that I've finished my daughter's Jeep, I get mine back and can keep better track of the mileage (as well as watch my average return to what it was before she started driving it!!!).
Sounds like when my mom borrows my car
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Old 03-04-2008, 11:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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the grill block looks nice, im considering making some for my 2 jeeps, just have to find time (writing papers for college sure does kill free time) anyhow it sounds like you dont have a heat issue when its a little warmer out (70 ish) i travel alot though and often see upper 80s and mid 90s any idea how much the block affects that? i am considering getting heat extractor hoods though so maybe they will balance each other out.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nice looking ZJ DPoV. My tech knowledge of ZJs is limited but do you have the e-fan as well as the fan clutch setup on your 4.0? Wondering if you have tried to running without the fan clutch and just the e-fan and see if you can increase the efficiency of the grille block some more. I'm sure you've noticed that the stock turbine can easily blow a cat off the ground when locked up. So by blocking off the grille your clutch might be locking up a bit more potentially converting any gains into the extra power required to turn it?

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