DIY Corner Armor

Started woking on my corner armor. These started life as a set of AEV 2-door corners. I picked these up for a STEAL.

I would have started with 2 door builder blanks, but AEV doesn’t make them anymore. Nobody makes a 2 door corner that I like. What I like about the AEV version is they have that nice bend at the top of the armor, plus they cover the hinges as well. Rumor has it that Poison Spyder will be making something similar for a 2 door, but I am not holding my breath.

I knew I was going to modify them, so I had them media blasted to bare steel.

I had already busted a tail light on a tree, so I knew I wanted some kind of protection. I needed to figure out what to do about the tail lights. I had bounced around a few ideas, including filling in the opening in the AEV corner, but since it was a compound curve, it would have been very challenging to say the least.

Warrior Products makes a steel tail light replacement for the JK that I thought might be a good start.

I contacted the company and they agreed to let me buy a set BEFORE it went to powder coat. Saves me the hassle. And I also wanted them completely blank.

They line up pretty good with the AEV corners. I’d have to fill in a bit of a gap, depending on how these ultimately fit.

I got started by trying to see just where the steel tail light housing should meet the corner armor. Turns out my original assumption was backwards, the gap that would need filled would be on the inside and not the outside.

Once I welded in a small piece of filler and ground it smooth, I had to do some adjusting on the fitment of the tail light housing. Took my time grind away little bits here and there. When I liked how they sat, I tacked them in place.

I need more practice with the MIG welder before I feel comfortable enough to finish weld these in place. Since the welds will be as they end up, I want to be a little better.

I also intend to extend the steel down the side of the Jeep to the rear of the door. I need to find someone local that can recreate the bend at the top of the new steel.

Cage cleanup

Took advantage of some decent weather. Finally! Got up in the 60s, maybe even the 70s this afternoon.

I needed to wrap up a few things with the cage. When we first put the cage in for fitment, on BOTH the driver and passenger side uprights, the lower hole in the door seam did not line up. I can only assume that I screwed up in drilling the holes, or the upright didn’t sit in the Jeep as expected.

I contacted Rock Hard 4×4. I was a bit disappointed in their response. The suggested I make the hole bigger. Nope. That wasn’t going to work. I’d have to make it too big, plus the tapped part of the upright was so far forward that the bolt head would be in the corner.

My solution was a little more drastic, but better, in my opinion. I plug welded the original lower holes, ground it smooth and put the upright back in. This let me locate the correct position, I drilled and tapped a new hole. Success!

I also took the time to cut the corner trim to fit around the cage. I tried to follow Rock Hard’s instructions (and the video), but frankly, they suck. I did the passenger side first. But I cut out too much material. It doesn’t look bad, but there was no way I was going to be able to get it around the cage unless I cut a lot out.

Or so I thought. On the driver’s side, I tried a different approach. I took the upright out and fit the trim on the work bench. I cut out a lot less material. It’s a little harder to get around everything, but I think it looks better. I may get some kind of weather stripping to clean up the edges of the plastic.

I also trimmed the roll bar pads that go above the doors. I forgot to mention that when we did the original install, I had to trim the door surrounds to fit around the header bar. I’ll clean up the rough edges of the door surround with some sand paper next time I take the top down.

I was hoping to get a little more done. I still need to drill and tap the overhead center bar for two speakers. Then it can come out and get powder coated.

Caging a wild mule

With the help of TJ and Rob, we got the Rock Hard 4×4 Sport Cage installed, or at least fitted. Mostly. Once I get the trim and the roll bar pads and covers cut to fit, I’ll disassemble it and get it powder coated.

I still have to figure out one issue. Neither of the lower bolts on the door seam are lining up properly in the tapped holes in the uprights. I need to shoot an email to RH and see what my options are. I may have to plug weld the old hole in the upright and drill/tap a new one.

You can see in this photo where the hole isn’t lining up. I double and triple checked the location of the drilling template. Unless I did something wrong, or the template is off, or something. If the hole was in the “right” place, there wouldn’t be any way to get the button head screw in there, it will be too close to the corner.

Much more betterer

Picked up some of the parts from the powder coater. They look factory fresh! They were media blasted and then coating with a zinc rich primer first, and then top coated with a layer of textured black.

The rock sliders were the worst of the bunch. All that salty slush that sat on them last winter just ate away at them. I’m doing things differently this winter. I’ve actually considered taking the steel off again in the fall and storing it in the basement. I wish I didn’t feel like I have to resort to such measures.

They screwed up on the rear bumper and tire carrier a bit. Even though it was clearly marked in photographs, and I masked these areas with blue tape, they powder coated part of the spindle and the machined bearing races in the carrier. Ugh. They’re fixing it, which means I have to make yet another 45 minute drive each way to pick them up.

I can’t wait to get this all (and more) back on the Jeep.



Salt and steel do not mix

Removed all of the aftermarket steel off the Jeep over the last couple of weeks.

I’ll be taking it all to be media blasted, zinc plated, e-coated and then powder coated. I figure it will be my best defense against rusting. I’ll still have to do some touch up of scratches, but the NE Ohio winters are murder on these things.

Picked up a set of Sahara bumpers in the meantime. Where’s the mall?

With the rock sliders gone, it’s a little bit of a pain for the wife to get into the Jeep. Picked up some Mopar side steps.

Ugh. I feel like I am going backwards in time!

My Rock Krawler lift is awesome. But the powder coat did not hold up well at all. Took a wire brush to them and broke open the Rust Bullet with an over coat of Rustoleum.

Replace the rear tail light that some tree in Tennessee tried to hug. I still need to find a replacement clip for the lower right screw.

Without a tire carrier, my spare is in the back on top of the Tuffy deck. I added some Jeep style tie downs to the deck and have the spare ratchet strapped to the deck.

Since there’s no spare on the tailgate, I decided to ditch my broken license plate bracket. Mounted up a Poison Spyder tramp stamp with an Off Road Only third brake light and license plate light. I intend to move this to the spare with the tire carrier goes back on.


Been doing more things around the house and just haven’t had a ton of time to work on the Jeep. I’m behind on so many projects.

I did manage to get some stuff done today, with the help of my friend TJ. My stock cross member was in pretty bad shape. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but there’s some serious dents and damage there. That thing is a bit of a joke. Ordered a new one from JCR Offroad.

Not only is the JCR cross member made out of thicker material, and it’s welded all the way around, the put reinforcements on the inside of the box to give it some additional strength. It was an extremely easy install, overall. Much easier than I had expected.

Plus, I got a great deal on a JCR Offroad engine/transmission/exhaust loop skid from a JK Freaks forum member. I had to clean up the rust on it and repaint it, but I like this color better. 

I had an engine skid on it before, but the JCR design is so much sturdier. The brackets that hang from the engine mounts look like it would take a brick of C4 to bend them. 

While I was at it, I installed an aftermarket gas tank skid as well I picked up a while back. My stock “skid” was in really bad shape. I guess I need to pick better lines.

The only real issue we had during the install was getting the stock gas tank skid bolt holes to line up with the ones in the cross member. Not sure if the cross member was off, or the stock skid shifted. I only had a half tank of gas, but that might have been enough of it to shift a little. Plus, it was so bent near the front, that it mad have changed shape. Nothing a die grinder and grinding stone can’t fix. I also painted over the rust spots on the stock skid before installing the aftermarket skid.

I did cut off the ears of the stock transfer case skid so it would fit flat under the engine skid. At some point, I’ll replace it with something that covers more. I like the idea of a flat belly.

It’s too bad I almost have to driving over top of you to see these logos. 


This is what happens when you don’t was the salt-laden snow off your rock sliders. These things were looking worse and worse. Short term fix was to take a wire wheel to them and rattle can the sliders.

Eventually, all of the steel will come off the Jeep, it’ll get blasted and I’ll probably do some kind of bed liner instead of powder coat.

Black Friday is Coming!

Here are the items I hope to be getting soon for this project. I still have at least a few weeks before they can go to Ringer’s.

* Artec Front Axle Truss
* Artec Front LCA Skids
* Artec Front Track Bar Bracket

It may be that the rear LCAs are going to be OK. I’m going to take some measurements tonight. If not:

* Artec Rear LCA Mounts w/Skids
* Artec Rear Track Bar Bracket (if needed)

Once all the welding is complete, I’ll be adding these:

* Ten Factory Rear Axle Shafts (complete)
* Synergy HD Ball Joints
* Synergy HD Tie Rod

I’ve considered adding the Synergy drag link, but I’m going to stick with the EVO flip that I already have on this axle. I will eventually replace it as well as their sector shaft brace.

If I see an awesome Black Friday deal on the shafts and/or Synergy items, I’ll get them at the same time. If not, they can wait until early January.

I’m hoping my front drive shaft will be OK. I have to remove the flange adapter and have it re-balanced, plus pick up some U-Bolts to attach it to the front yoke. Adams Driveshaft is asking for some post-install pictures and they will tell me if the shaft will be long enough. If not, it’s $125 plus shipping to have it sized.

I want to avoid needing a new rear shaft – why fix it if it ain’t broke. Ideally, I need to find a stock rear flange and replace the yoke that’s on there now. Then I’ll be able to use my stock drive shaft on the rear. It’ll get replaced, just not now.

I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do for a rust preventative. I’ve been leaning toward Rust Bullet. But I will likely have to wait until I all of the welding is done. Apparently Rust Bullet has to be sanded in order to top coat it if it has been more than 6 hours. I’ve also looked at Miracle Paint and POR-15. Both are good products, but Rust Bullet is UV safe.

I’m hoping that by early February, or sooner, this will all be ready to go on the Jeep. Can’t wait!

Repainting Rings

A while back I bought 5 wheel rings from my friend Jonny. They were painted Mango Tango orange, and that wasn’t going to work for me. I had painted them once, but I did a lousy job and it peeled and some orange was coming through and I couldn’t have that. I took a grinder and a flapper and made sure all of that paint was gone.

Waiting for a coat of POR 15 to dry before I prime and paint them the RIGHT color. Again.

Front LCA Skids

My friend Andy was gracious enough to help me out once again with the welding portion of the front control arms skids. It’s amazing the quality of work you can get done for little more than a quality stout beer.