First look

Santa’s final gifts

The Rigid R2-46 lights about which I earlier posted arrived today, along with a Poison Spyder Customs hawse fairlead. Watch for updates, which (God willing) will come soon!

Today is the day

First look: The (never) finished product

It’s been a long time coming, but Smokey looks good with the addition of her three-inch Teraflex lift. Admittedly, the difference is less dramatic since I was removing a 1.5-inch leveling kit and taller-than-original springs and already have beefy front and rear steel bumpers, but there’s clearly room now to fit some 35s by early next year.

Here’s how the ride-height results break down by corner after letting the springs settle in over a couple of hundred miles:

img_6361-1Front left: 3.5”

Front right: 3.5”

Rear left: 2.165”

Rear right: 2.415”

All done, for now

I’d intended to film the process of removing and relocating my license plate to the spare tire. But, a phone call from family out of state just as I began the install instead led me to complete the job without recording any footage.

I’ll likely do a write-up later just to document the process for the curious, but suffice it to say my plate is moved. And, I’m now running the Off-Road Only LED plate light and third brake-light bracket. I may also have a few words for the Teraflex license plate delete panel, which proved to be of far higher construction quality than I was expecting for a simple $20 part.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll add a pair of LED cubes or a short light bar to the mix before Christmas.

Signaling change

My new trail-comms setup is about to take shape. I recently shared my plan to take the occasion of my fried radio to reevaluate my setup and make a few changes. One of those changes is my antenna mount.

CC Hi-lift MountLike many Jeep JK owners, my first antenna mount was a Teraflex-style (eBay knockoff) bracket that mounted the antenna on the rear tailgate. When I installed my Crawler Conceptz rear bumper and tire carrier, I switched to that company’s mount; essentially the same style, the CC mount moved the antenna left to the driver’s side of the tailgate. I’m still running the Crawler Conceptz mount, but as demonstrated in this company photo, it impacts the tire carrier and slightly limits the amount of tailgate travel.

Beyond this minor inconvenience, a second issue arose when I added a spring to my CB antenna. (It’s best practice to run a four-inch spring to any mobile CB antenna setup, but I’d initially run without one. After breaking the fiberglass cores of two antennas on particularly harsh bumps, though, I made a change.) With the additional movement allowed by the spring, my antenna quickly rubbed through the plastic sheathing on the antenna, as well as the powder coat on the tire carrier. This created a metal-on-metal contact situation that could cause a momentary SWR spike. It wasn’t anything a little electrical tape around the antenna couldn’t cure, but since I’m already having to make changes to my radio setup, why not move to a mount that alleviates this issue?

AZ RR Mount 2Enter the Arizona Rocky Road antenna mount. This bracket had come to my attention years before, but I’d preferred the simplicity of my earlier mount with the factory tire carrier I was running at the time.

My goal in making this change is to provide greater distance between my tire carrier and the antenna to prevent any interference from the all-steel tire carrier. I’ll investigate, too, whether the new mount raises the antenna enough to allow me to switch from a four-foot antenna to a two- or three-foot version that might fit in my garage without daily removal.

Stay tuned for an update as I prepare to get Smokey back on the airwaves.