Plasti-dipped the wheels too.


Adventures in Plasti-dip

I love playing with Plasti-dip.  There are many different brands on the market and each is slightly different in texture and spray consistency, but they all peel off relatively easily when you are ready for a change.  You can get it as cheap as $5 a can at Home Depot.  There are many other colors available online, but I like the flat black and white colors. In total I have spent about $20 on paint and have enjoyed endless hours of cheap customization.

About 50% coverage the first coat.
Once the first layer dries you can spray thicker coats.

Dipping the grill will keep the paint from getting nicked as much.

Vents accented in white.

The window bracket, and hinges.

The Grill

Since the grill is so easily removable, I decided to tackle this one Saturday morning. The whole project took about an hour from start to finish.  Plasti-dip dries to the touch in about 5 min, making 5 or 6 coats relatively go quick. It takes about 48 hours to fully cure so make sure you are careful not to nick it.  One guy reported bugs got stuck in his paint when he drove too soon after putting it on.  I drove the next day and had no issues.

Everyone has a different number of coats they say to put on.  Generally I have heard the more layers the easier it is to pull off.  I like to put on 6 coats.

I put extra coats on the wheels.  I knocked out two birds with one stone and decided to rotate my tires at the same time.  Otherwise there would be no reason to not paint them right on the vehicle.  As long as you are careful to not spray the break components.  Perhaps put a plastic bag through the wheel.  Since I was rotating my tires I had removed the wheels.  I placed some tape over the valve stems.  I also placed tape between the rim and tire on two.  This was not really such a good idea because it does not seem to matter.  The plastidip blends in with the tire and does not seem to harm it at all. When I pulled the tape on the two I did tape it caused some blemishes.

I just taped off the hinges and bracket.  Overspray is easily wiped off with a micro-fiber towel.  Cotton works too, you just have to use more elbow grease. Wipe off the overspray within an hour, or it will be harder to rub off.  Too early and it will smear.  Give it at least five minutes.

The vents are easy to remove.  You can find a video on youtube showing you, but you basically place a screwdriver in the little rectangle hole inside the vent to lock the vent.  Then rotate the entire unit a slight turn and it pulls right out. To replace it, slide it in and slightly turn it back the other way.

Side Step

Without a side-step the side looks unfinished.

Installation is a breeze. The Jeep is already threaded
for a side-step.

Now it looks more complete.

This is where I felt like my Jeep was the beginning of a kit. There were already conveniently located threaded holes ready to mount the kit. The installation went pretty smooth and I think it is a necessary addition to cover the unsightly seam plates under the doors. I would say that it only took about an hour from start to finish.  They sell for anywhere between $99 and $500.  I

Rocker Switch

Every vehicle I have needs more switches.
Very nice!
I love to install various colored LED lights. I also love switches that light up. I found this rocker switch panel on Amazon.  In my van I had more options of places to place switches, but the Jeep is more compact so I thought this option would be better. Currently the Orange switch switches on and off my amplifier. So that I don't make enemies of my neighbors or advertise my audio system in the wrong neighborhood I have the ability to shut off the bass without losing my audio. It also helps to be able to shut off the amplifier if you receive a phone call over the built in blue-tooth system.  Unless of course you enjoy peoples voices booming at you.

The red switch currently controls some red LED accent lights on the floor board. The blue switch controls blue LED accent lights on the center console and floor boards. I am not currently using the green switch for anything, but it lights up anyway if you switch it on.

Camper Insert

Sometimes when I go camping I like to sleep in my vehicle.  When I was younger I would have said that is not camping, but there is something I have come to appreciate about sleeping well at night. Although sleeping on the ground is adventurous and gets you 15 ft closer to nature, you also have additional considerations to take into account.  You will have to put your food away, or be terrorized by hungry critters in the middle of the night.  Ironically this happens more at populated camps where the critters have become brave around humans and dependent on their food.

About 12" of storage space underneath.
Attached carpet and painted
particle board. 
Finished camper insert ready for deployment.
Piano hinges were used to connect the particle board.
The front portion extends when the seats are moved forward.
6 12" 2x2s for support. 

I tested this setup at Sunset Beach. There are a few drawbacks that have made this project a prime candidate for a redesign. 
  1. You cannot close the rear gate while in the back.  The window on a Jeep must come down before closing the gate.  There is no way to grab the tailgate and close it.  If you do manage to close it, you will have to climb through one of the front doors to get out. 
  2. The flap on the passenger side was not suitably supported resulting in excessive strain on the piano hinges that caused buckling and needs repair. 
  3. The platform sits very high. This makes it awkward to take a nap during the day when every passer-by can see you. 
  4. Cannot kneel in sleeping area.  Makes dressing difficult and awkward. 

Sound System

Speakers, Amp, and lights.
Installed in camper configuration right behind the drivers seat.
This is almost a necessity for me. I enjoy the full deep sound of my music.  While I do not think it is necessarily all about the bass, without an amplifier and heavy speakers you will miss this part of the music entirely.
I made a custom speaker box taking into consideration the specifications of the speaker requirements as well as the limited space configuration. This is a downward facing box with two 10" Explode speakers. rated at 600 W RMS each, and fits nicely behind the back seat.   I purchased a cheap amplifier off Amazon for $69 with 600W RMS bridged.  At first I installed the speakers on their own channel, but bridged mode gives me the smoothest bass.  This setup will not shake your mirrors off though.  It is just enough to accent the beat of the music.

I still have the stock radio.  It seems to do the job just fine and has CD, Sirius (I don't subscribe, but have before.), AM/FM, blutooth, and USB aux.  I cannot think of any reason to upgrade this.  Especially in a Jeep I will have the top off of sometimes.

I constructed the speaker box to be able to fit behind the front seats in camper configuration, or in the very rear when the backseats are installed. 

2014 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport on the Lot.  

This seemed to be a more economical and reliable option than my previous mode of transportation. Plus I always wanted a Jeep. Years ago I thought I would purchase one after college, but they made them more narrow. There were no arm rest and I felt like a sardine. 

I was impressed with the modernization of the Jeep, but also enamored with it's classic design.The original Jeep had only 60 horse power. Today's Jeep has 260 on the six cylinder. Of course there are many other improvements such as the Freedom Top. I also really liked this new grey color.

Picture from another side with instructions on creating them.
In a discussion about crystals with my brother he showed me a very interesting crystal made out of bismuth.  The formation of the crystal resembles sacred geometry that has been written about for thousands of years.  To look at the formation of the crystal you will see a symbol that you will see everywhere. It is a symbol that even if we do not understand sticks with us.

Notice this Tibetan ceiling pattern.
Two bismuth crystal forms interlocking.
Is it a coincidence or intuitive knowledge that
 his pattern appears on a ceiling.
I have seen this same pattern in wall decorations, wood siding, and decorations from all cultures of the world. It resembles the letter G and has very fascinating metaphysical properties. The properties help with transformation, progression, and order.

Here are some properties of the element. This crystal is formed from the pure element bismuth.
Bismuth levitation experiment. 

In science, experiments are being conducted to explore bismuth in regards to levitation because of its unique magnetic properties.

Throughout history we have seen this same pattern, but usually with the patterns interlocked.

It is a hypothesis of mine that interlocking crystals of a pure element with rare magnetic properties could produce a levitating effect. Perhaps if would react to other magnetic forces by harmonizing within itself somehow.  This is only a intuitive hypothesis of course, but I think this sort of research is fascinating.

Here is a neat YouTube video on how you can make bismuth crystals in your kitchen.