MCJA

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2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
Last updated: 7/26/2020

First, an introduction. My name is Matt. I currently live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, but I consider Colorado my home. I’m a military brat and military veteran, so I’ve lived and traveled in many places. I love the mountains, and I can’t imagine living anywhere where I can’t be on a trail within an hour. This is where I’ll share my adventures, my projects and my dreams.

I’m an avid Jeep and Harley-Davidson enthusiast. (Unfortunately, due to some medical issues, my motorcycle days are all but over.) I fell in love with Jeeps when I was just a kid when one of my cousins restored a CJ-7. Big tires, big V-8, canary yellow, no top. Heaven. I didn’t own my first Jeep until I was in my late 20s though. But I’ve owned a YJ, two XJs, a JK, a WK2, and now my JL.

2020 JLU Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel

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In 2016 we bought an EcoDiesel Grand Cherokee for my wife. We’re both torque junkies. She test-drove the V-6 and the Hemi but loved the grunt that the diesel provides. So did I. At the time, I was driving my JKU Rubicon. It was a great rig but driving my wife’s WK2 made me start looking at really expensive (and potentially unreliable) performance modifications. I even toyed with the idea of getting a WK2 myself and modding it for overlanding.

As soon as FCA confirmed that they would be putting a diesel into the Wrangler, I dropped my JKU like a newborn giraffe. I sold it and drove an old beater while I waited for the diesels. After a years of waiting, some emissions scandals, a bunch of shenanigans from FCA and Jeep dealerships, and a global pandemic, I finally picked up my JLURD in April of 2020.

So here we are! A lifelong journey and a passion for off-roading and vehicle customization has led me here.

After owning several rock rigs in the past, there’s one important lesson I’ve learned:

Add modifications that will get you OUT of trouble BEFORE you add modifications that will get you IN to trouble!

Big tires and suspension lifts are sexy and cool – and they’re usually the first thing people do when they get a Wrangler. Yup, I’m guilty too. But after getting myself into some pretty precarious situations where I found myself wishing I had some better recovery gear, armor or other equipment, I’ve learned my lesson. Now, I take a much more deliberate (and less glamorous) approach, with some meticulous planning and research.

Below is a list of my planned and completed modifications. Consider it my trail map. I’ll have to make some adjustments as I go based on whatever obstacles I encounter. But I’ll stick to the trail and enjoy the journey! I hope you enjoy it too.

Phase 1: Creature comforts, convenience, and safety – Nearly complete

Phase 2: Garage hoist with hard top and door storage – Complete

Phase 3: Wheels – Complete

Phase 4: Electrical – Complete (main wiring harness)

Phase 5: On-board air – Complete

Phase 6: Bumpers, tire carrier and slider steps – Planned

Phase 7: Lights and Electronics – Planned

Phase 8: Steering, gears, tires and initial suspension – Planned

Phase 9: Winch and armor – Planned

Phase 10: Final suspension and driveline – Researching

Phase 11: Performance – Researching

So stay tuned as this project and adventure unfolds! Each phase has its own description below, with product links, installation photos, pros, cons, results, and what I'd do differently.

Thanks for reading!

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MCJA

MCJA

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2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
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Phase 1: Creature Comforts, Convenience and Safety

Status: Nearly complete as of 7/26/2020; fire extinguisher bracket started 8/3/2020

Jeep has done a fantastic job of adding refinement and comfort with each generation of Wrangler while maintaining its signature off-road capability. When the JKs were introduced, many die-hard enthusiasts decried its fancy gadgetry and – most appalling – the availability of a 4-door model. Heresy!

Well look at us now. The JLs are more refined than ever and yet they are even more apt for off-roading and upgrades than the previous generations.

If I were building a dedicated rock buggy, I wouldn’t care one iota about creature comforts. It would be Spartan; fully utilitarian. But this isn’t a rock buggy; it’s my daily driver. And I like to be comfortable. I ordered my Jeep with a host of packages and options to provide comfort. But even with those OEM features, there are still a few creature comforts I added. These are all pretty minor, and they’re the first things I did. Most of these don’t warrant a write-up. Below are just some photos of what I installed and a few comments about why I chose to do it.

Dash Dock

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My dash dock and accessories are the only upgrade in this section that warrant a write-up, which you can see here. I posted a write-up before I started this build journal, but it was way too wordy. I left it intact for posterity - you can see it here. Both write-ups contain links to the components I used.

:like: Dash dock review: So far, everything is working great. After swapping out my wireless charger cradle, everything is rock solid now.

Since I had my dash somewhat disassembled to run the wires for my dash accessories, I opted to change out my dash panels. I initially used some satin white vinyl wrap. It looked great, but it started to pull up and bubble around the more difficult contours of the dash. I’m definitely not a professional wrapper. So, I opted to paint it instead. I used white PlastiDip, which worked great. I like the textured finish - especially with the white - since it doesn't create a giant glaring surface right in your face.

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:like: Dash paint review: Love it! One of my favorite mods. The vinyl wrap looked great too initially, but I prefer the PlastiDip texture anyway.

Grab Handle Tray

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Nothing fancy – just a bit of added storage. Super convenient. Phone, spare change, trash, maps, whatever. (This is an older picture with the white satin vinyl wrap. If you look closely at the right side of the picture, right above the air vent, you can see one of the bubbles in the wrap.)

:like: Review: Great addition. Inexpensive, handy, easy to install/remove.

Savadicar grab handle tray

Rear Seat Recline Kit

There isn’t really a photo that can show what this does – the difference in the rear seat angle isn’t very visibly apparent. But a few degrees of extra recline in the back seat makes it a bit more comfortable.

:( Review: Meh, I could take it or leave it. I'm really not sure there's a perceptible difference to the back seat passengers, and it just makes my floor mat fit funny. It's not bad, but I wouldn't do it again.

Ohio Diesel Parts aluminum rear seat recline kit for JLU

Door Latch Covers

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Purely cosmetic, but it looks nice. Santa gave these to me for Christmas before I even had my Jeep. What a guy.

:) Review: Purely cosmetic. They fit great and look nice. They're great for exactly how I got mine - a stocking stuffer for the Jeep enthusiast in your life.

Voondonala door latch covers, 6 pack

Front and Rear Grab Handles

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These are great for when you’re playing in the rocks and need to keep yourself from falling out of where a door used to be.

:like: Review: Great addition. I like having a spot to hang my meathook when I'm driving. And your passengers will appreciate another place to brace while praying for deliverance.

MOPAR front and rear grab handles

Cargo Area Liner with Gap Hider

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I purchased the all-weather slush mats with my Wrangler, which includes a “tray” for the cargo area. It’s sufficient, but not really what I needed. I wanted some protection for the back of the rear seats, and I wanted the liner to stay in place.

Also, an important note about which kit to get. If you have cloth seats, then you don’t have the “gap hider” behind the rear seats. If you have the leather seats, then you do have the gap hider. However, if you happen to have either of the Katzkin leather seat options, then you DON’T have the gap hider. Evidently, if you upgrade from cloth to leather to fancy leather, you lose out on the gap hider. Bummer. So be sure to get the right kit.

:no: Review: After using MOPAR mats and cargo area liner for a while, I wish I'd gone with a different solution. The MOPAR versions are just wonky.

:no: In the cargo area, as long as both rear seats are either up or down, it's ok. But if you have one side up and one side down, the large mat in the back gets cock-eyed. And this is a full-commitment installation... you have to cut holes in the fabric on the back of the rear seats to install it. There's no going back.

:no: For the back seat, the floor mat is actually two pieces with a few craptastic "buttons" that hold them together. Or not. Really a poor design. I've ordered some WeatherTech mats and will update this page once I get them.

:no: MOPAR cargo area line with gap hider

Fire Extinguisher

I've tried a few different installation locations for my fire extinguisher, but none of them seem quite right. Once I figure out a solution, I'll add photos and a write-up!

Review coming soon!
 
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MCJA

MCJA

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Phase 2: Garage Hoist

Status: Complete

Like so many other Wrangler owners, I needed a way to be able to easily remove my hard top. That said, I didn’t build my own garage hoist simply to remove my hard top. My hoist has four functions:
  • Pass-through attic lift
  • Overhead storage for recovery gear
  • On-demand workbench
  • Hard top and door removal and storage
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There are far simpler and less expensive solutions for hoisting your hard top. I built my own because I needed it to do more than just hoist my top though.

Hoisting my hard top is very straightforward. I used Topsy Products hard top hoist brackets. What a great solution. Easy to install, unobtrusive, effective – the perfect solution for hoisting. If you’re considering an overhead hoist solution, I highly recommend the Topsy Products hoist brackets and a Racor lift.

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The back doors (if you have them) are about as long (front to back) as the hard top is tall. So when the rear doors are rotated 90 degrees and suspended from the bottom of the hoist, they hang down the same distance as the hard top.

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The front doors are about 7" longer front to back than the rear doors. To keep them from hanging down farther than everything else, I added some fold-up raised rails to hang them. These rails also double as drop-down workbench legs (see later in this post).

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I hang the doors by their hinge pins using some eye bolts. The doors naturally tilt out at the bottom based on how their COGs line up under the hinge pins. The doors don’t touch the hard top; they’re parallel with the glass. The only thing holding them out like that is gravity.

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I added some pipe insulation to the bottom of my hoist just to protect my hard top in case I lower the hoist too far. The hoist never actually touches my hard top though. Cheap insurance.

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I started building my hoist a year before I even owned my Jeep. I wanted to make the most of the storage space in my attic for camping gear, seasonal decorations, etc. I can also lift some of my tools and equipment, like my miter saw. I built a detachable ramp for loading heavy stuff like the saw.

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Once in the attic, I roll the saw to the other side of the attic - out of the way when I'm not using it.

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The lift platform is a double-decker. The top deck is what passes through into the attic and rests flush with the attic floor. I use the bottom deck to store my off-roading gear. My Jeep is my daily driver. I remove my recovery gear when I'm not on the trails - reduce weight, reduce weather effects, and prevent theft.

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Each end of the platform has a door hanger / leg. When the leg is lowered - as in the photo below - it raises the platform by about 7", making it a convenient work surface. I made the cables easily detachable so I could raise them up out of the way when I use the hoist as a workbench.

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The top deck is split down the middle lengthwise. My attic has a trussed roof. If you’re unfamiliar with trusses, they’re a structural (load bearing) component of a building. I originally wanted to remove the section of the joist that splits the hoist lifting surface. However, doing so would have compromised the structural integrity of the roof, which would have led to problems and expensive repairs down the road. So, I added to slot in the middle of the top deck to accommodate.

At first, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to have a single larger surface. But that turned out to be an unintended benefit. I don’t have a table saw – I simply don’t have room for one. But the slot down the middle of the hoist makes a perfect channel for my circular saw blade. The top deck of the hoist as plenty of surface area to support 4x8 sheet goods.

I used a 660 lb / 1320 lb hoist motor for the lifting duties. I designed the hoist to have a lifting capacity of 500 lbs (not including the weight of the hoist platform). I wasn’t sure if a double-line pull would be fast enough, so I chose a hoist that had the capacity to lift with a single line. Turns out, that was overkill. The hoist was fast. Too fast. I had to slow it down by converting to a double-line.

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I wanted a 4-point hoist to ensure the items on the hoist remained level regardless of how they were loaded. I intentionally made my hoist platform heavy to keep tension in the cables even if the hoist isn't loaded evenly. That ensures it always stays level.

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I used 3 pairs of 12’ garage door cable drums mounted to a solid 1” diameter keyed shaft. When the hoist is raising, the outer drums are winding, and the center drums are unwinding; and vice versa.

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Since I wasn’t using the hoist motor to lift directly, I had to use a series of pulleys to transfer vertical pull to horizontal pull. My vertical lift distance is about 10’, so I needed 10’ of unobstructed horizontal pull. My hoist is less than 10’ from the wall, so I had to do some fancy cable routing. Each of the pulleys and their respective mounting bolts are rated at over 1000 lbs each, so I’m still well within my hoisting limits.

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I also added some aluminum angle stock (“L-channel”) at each end and along the center joist of the attic opening. These act as guides for the hoist as it enters the attic. The pass-through platform only has 1/4" of clearance all the way around. These aluminum guides ensure the hoist doesn’t bind against the ceiling if there’s any horizontal movement in the platform.

As I mentioned before, I disconnect the cables from the hoist when I'm using it as a workbench. I use carabiners to suspend weights from the cables when I raise them up out of the way. This ensures there's still tension in the cables and keeps them from unwinding on their drums. The carabiners don't support the hoist platform itself.

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I added some 1/4" foam tubing around the inside of the attic opening. When the hoist is in its fully raised position, it’s solid as a rock. There’s zero movement when loading and unloading in the attic. Walking on the hoist platform feels like walking on the attic floor. This is the exact same rubber tubing that I – and many forum members here – used to fill the fender gap on my JLU. In fact, I purchased this tube long before I had my Jeep, but I got enough for my hoist and for my fenders. I like to plan ahead.

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Here are links to the main components. I purchased a lot of the materials locally, such as the lumber, plywood, hardware, aluminum L-channel, etc.

:) Hoist Motor - Does its job. I would have preferred a hoist motor with a wireless remote, but I couldn't find one at a reasonable price.

Garage door drums

Overhead pulleys

Transmission pulleys

Eye bolts

Cable

Pillow block bearings

1” solid keyed shaft

:like: Topsy hoist hardware - The brackets that mount to the rear glass hinges are what makes this so great. Finally, an integrated solution.

DISCLAIMER: This write-up is only meant to demonstrate my own solution, share ideas, and provide information on the products I used. I assume no liability or responsibility for damage, injury, or death as a result of someone else using any of this information to create their own hoist solution, or other mechanism(s).

IMPORTANT: When creating your own overhead lifting solution, ensure all components are rated for overhead lifting. Also, DO NOT use “open” style eye-bolts for any component of an overhead hoist. Unwelded eye-bolts can open under load, causing them fail. Be sure to use either welded eye bolts or cast / forged eye bolts that are rated for your weight requirements.

HINT: If you’re unsure about what components to use or need help with your design, check out JustAsk.com. It’s a great resource for accessing experts across a huge array of study – including medical, legal, mechanical, architectural, educational, etc. You can ask a licensed / certified / accredited / otherwise legitimate expert any question you need, share documents (drawings, product information, etc.) with them, and get quality advice.
 
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MCJA

MCJA

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First Name
Matthew
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Olympia, WA
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2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
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Phase 3: Wheels

Status: Complete

Hutchinson Rock Monster DOT-approved beadlocks

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Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures while I was in the process of mounting these. But, installation is really straightforward. I started by taking all five wheels and tires to a tire shop to have the tires removed from the factory wheels. Most shops won't deal with a 2-piece wheel, so I had to mount them myself. Just as well - that's what I wanted to do anyway.

After that, the included instructions are very simple:
  1. Mount the TPMS monitors to the inner cuff using the supplied brackets and hardware.
  2. Insert the inner cuff into the tire
  3. Lay the tire face down and insert the back of the wheel into the tire.
  4. Apply petroleum jelly to the O-ring and install it on the back surface of wheel face
  5. Place the tire face up
  6. Carefully place the wheel face onto the bolts on the back of the wheel
  7. Gradually tighten all of the bolts in a triangle pattern until they're all torqued to specification.
Once I had them all installed and filled to 37PSI, I drove back to the tire shop to have them balanced. Done!

A few pointers I learned as I did this:
  • Use tire lube - it helps. I used "Bull Snot". Good stuff.
  • You can use some channel-lock pliers to push the OEM valve stem and TPMS sensor out of the factory wheels. Just be careful not to damage anything.
  • The dots on the sidewall of the tires indicate the heaviest portion of the tire. Try to offset the uneven weight of the tire with the weight of the TPMS monitor and the valve stem in the wheel. It's not crucial, but it makes balancing the wheels a bit easier.
  • Have a good work surface! I tightened all of the bolts with the wheels/tires on the floor. 18 bolts per wheel x 5 wheels. That's a lot of tire wrestling. I had to kneel on the tire to keep it from moving while I tightened the bolts. It would have been much easier if I was able to strap them down to a heavy workbench. Or, even mount each wheel to the spare tire mount and do it on there. Anything would have been better than doing it on the floor.
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:) Review: I love these wheels. If I were using stars, I would give them 4 out of 5 just because of weight. But, if you want to secure both beads and you don't want your tires to leak, these are the way to go. If you want that assurance, you deal with the weight.
 
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MCJA

MCJA

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First Name
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2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
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Phase 4: Electrical

Status: Main harness complete as of 7/16/2020

In my introduction, I mentioned that I try to plan ahead a bit. That ethos – in my opinion – is most important when it comes to electrical upgrades.

To be blunt, pulling wires sucks. I used to really dislike electrical work, and I found myself removing the same trim panels and doing contortionist yoga a dozen times because I didn’t plan ahead a little bit. Plus, after adding a dozen electrical items, your engine bay starts to look like a bowl of spaghetti, with a bunch of tacky in-line fuses and relays randomly strewn everywhere. And your dash starts to look like a jigsaw puzzle, with switches and knobs placed anywhere you can find a spot to install the next one. Most importantly, poorly executed electrical upgrades are a fire hazard!

When I owned my JKUR, I turned the corner on electrical work. Before diving in to any electrical upgrades, I took some time to develop a simple list of upgrades. There are some products that helped with all of this, like the sPOD and the SP-8100. I didn’t have specific products nailed down, just general items – like winch, bumper lights, on-board air, etc. I researched power requirements, planned what gauge wire I needed, installed an SP-8100 and an auxiliary fuse box, and pre-wired everything.

Best. Upgrade. Ever.

Now I love electrical work. I’ve taken the same "do it once" approach with my JLURD. I ordered my Jeep with the factory-installed auxiliary switches (the tow package). It’s a great option, and for me it obviated the need to install my own relays or an aftermarket controller. I was able to get away with just a fuse box for a few additional accessories. Whether you have the tow package option on your Jeep or not, this principle still holds true. Plan ahead, install a secondary power distribution center (PDC) and pre-wire everything. All of my future upgrades that require juice are now “plug and play.”

Before:

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During:

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After:

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As you can see in the before and after photos above, the electrical upgrades are barely noticeable. The only indication that I did anything is the small fuse box next to the OEM PDC. (None of the wiring loom I installed is visible in any of these pictures. You really have to look hard to find them under the hood.) I really like having everything installed with an OEM look. The best part of a good electrical upgrade is that you can’t tell that it was even done. Very satisfying.

The EcoDiesel made this project more challenging than I initially anticipated. The arrangement of the engine bay is different than its gas siblings, so many of the aftermarket products I had initially planned on using simply weren’t an option. Additionally, my electrical upgrades were closely related to my on-board air system – and that project proved to be far more challenging due to the diesel differences. You can read about that in my OBA write-up below.

Here’s what I’ve installed so far, and what I plan to install in the future. Everything is wired, but not everything is installed, as noted below. My DIY electrical system uses a 10-circuit fuse box in the engine bay and a 3-circuit fuse box in the cabin.

Auxiliary Switches:
  • Not started: Forward lighting: 12” light bar (brand / model TBD), 2x Baja Designs LP6 Pro, Quadratec Stealth interior windshield lightbar
  • Not started: Rear lighting: 2x pod lights in the rear bumper (brand / model TBD)
  • Not started: Rock lights: 8x KC Hilites Cyclone and Oracle Sidetrack fender lights
  • Complete: On-board air: controls and 4-tire inflation system
Main fuse box:
Cabin fuse box and dash accessories:
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Product list and reviews:

:like: Littelfuse HWB6 (dash accessory fuse box, mounted behind the glove box)

:) 12V power adapter

:like: Littelfuse HWA20 (auxiliary fuse box, mounted under hood)

:like: Universal firewall boot (mounted in firewall opening on driver's side, below the master cylinder)

:like: Dual QC 3.0 USB outlet (one on the dash, one in the glovebox)

:like: Rechargeable flashlight with lantern mode and magnetic base

Vantrue N2 Pro dual dash cam
 
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MCJA

MCJA

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Location
Olympia, WA
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2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
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Phase 5: On-board air

Status: Complete

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I won't go into detail about the benefits of being able to air down your tires for off-roading. There's plenty of information available on that already. Bottom line: I wanted my on-board air system installed before I did any other major modifications.

These were my main design requirements:
  • Ability to air down and then re-inflate all four tires at the same time.
  • Permanently mounted compressor-based system (not a stand-alone refillable tank)
  • No loss in water fording ability
  • Ease of access to controls
  • Ability to use other air accessories if needed
This turned out to be much more of a DIY project than I originally anticipated. As I was researching products for this project, I soon realized that there are enough differences between the EcoDiesel and all of its gas siblings that many of the aftermarket parts I intended to use simply wouldn't work. Here are a few examples:
  • Hauk Off-road M.U.L.E. - This is what I originally planned to use to mount my compressor and an air tank. Turns out, the exhaust on the diesels is on the opposite side as the gas Wranglers
  • DV8 engine bay air compressor mount - Since I couldn't use the Hauk mount, I looked at this option. Too bad the washer fluid reservoir is different on the diesels! Plus, I wanted the ARB dual compressor, and this bracket only works for their single compressor.
  • UpDownAir JL and JT skid mount kit - Again, that pesky exhaust system is on the wrong side!
  • UpDownAir JL and JT engine bay control system - This would have been a great option for all of my controls, but the battery and fuse box in the diesels is different than the gas versions. Another strike!
After researching many compressors - the heart of the entire system - I opted for ARB's dual compressor system. It didn't offer the same water resistance as other compressors such as Viair and Vixen (which are IP68+ rated), which was very disappointing. But it offers almost 6 times the air flow. For low volume applications such as air suspension, the Viair or Vixen compressors would have been great. But when filling up four 37" to 40" tires from 10 PSI to 35+, it's all about flow rate.

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Mounting location - that's a tough one. I really struggled with where I wanted to mount the compressors. Under the body? No, the electric cooling fans on the ARB system aren't waterproof, just splash resistant. Under the hood? No, there's really no room. Plus, heat was a concern. Inside the cabin? Not optimal - too noisy, and they take up room. Well, as you can see in the photo above, I opted for in the cabin, under the driver's seat. This was the option with the fewest drawbacks. I didn't want to sacrifice any off-roading capability. (Otherwise, what's the point?!) I also didn't want to worry about reliability with heat issues. Plus, it's not like the compressors are running all the time - only when I'm airing up. Turns out, the compressors really aren't that loud, and the noise isn't unpleasant at all (nice low tones, nothing shrill).

I used ARB's twin compressor under-seat mount for the JL and JT. The bracket can be mounted under either front seat, but is generally intended to be mounted under the passenger seat. (That's the right-side seat for all of you folks that drive on the wrong side of the road!) Well, that pesky diesel exhaust threw a wrench in the works again! If I had installed it on the right-hand side, all of the wires and air hoses would have been too close to the exhaust. Good thing the kit is "ambidextrous."

I drilled three 3/4" holes in the floor pan for my air hoses:
  • Compressor-to-tank
  • Tank-to-control manifold
  • Control manifold-to-tire manifold
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I then used some cable glands to pass through some 3/8" OD nylon brake tubing. The glands protect the tubing from chafing or cutting, and also seal the holes to keep them waterproof. (Sorry - I forgot to get a clear picture of them.)

I wanted to have a reserve tank as well. Having a tank relieves some of the strain the the compressors, acts as an air cooler, and also allows you to do small jobs without having the run the compressors at all. I wanted an aluminum tank specifically, just for the corrosion resistance. I knew a steel tank wouldn't last long. Again I was faced with the lack of readily available aftermarket mounting solutions, so I made my own mounting brackets to mount the tank on the frame crossmembers, directly below the driver-side floor pan.

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The photo above is taken from the front driver-side tire position, looking toward the rear of the Jeep. The diesel fuel/water separator is visible in the lower-right. Just above and to the left (forward of the separator's position) you can see one of the mounting brackets. You can also see two holes I drilled in the forward-most crossmember. A second mounting bracket is sandwiched between the compressor mount and the crossmember, and is used to mount the tire system manifold. The manifold itself is difficult to see in the picture, but you can clearly see the deflation solenoid (small aluminum block), almost dead-center in the photo.

IMG_5591.JPG


The photo above is taken from the left-rear. You can see the front mounting bracket clearly in this photo, with the tire manifold (small black block) visible on the left side of the photo. The bracket wasn't necessary to mount the tank - just to mount the tire manifold. Also visible is the water and dust trap at the back of the tank, installed in-line from the compressor output line. Just above the trap, you can see the return line (with a bit of white tape on it) from the air tank to the control manifold.

IMG_5508.JPG


I drilled two holes in the ARB compressor mounting bracket to install the control manifold. The ARB bracket is designed to be used with their air locker kit. In fact, the instructions are written only from that standpoint. If you're not using their air lockers - which I wasn't - you have to do some interpretation and improvisation. But, given the bracket is designed for additional components, there was plenty of room to mount my own components.

IMG_5510.JPG


The photo above is of the compressors, bracket, manifold and other components installed. The photo is taken from the driver's footwell (from the front, pointing toward the back of the Jeep.) At the center of the photo you can see the control manifold (black rectangular block). On the passenger-side end port there's a pressure sensor. On the passenger-side face port is the inflation solenoid (rectangular aluminum block with a black plastic block and red/black wires), which is fed from the output on the regulator at the bottom of the photo. The driver-side face port is an elbow fitting (pointed down through the floor) for the output to the tire manifold, which is mounted next to the air tank on the frame. Lastly, on the driver-side end port is a 3/8" OD push-to-connect fitting (without a hose connected), which is an output to the quick-disconnect coupler mounted on the control panel (visible in the photos later).

IMG_5512.JPG


The photo above shows the control panel bracket I made out of some 16 gauge steel. Tools: cordless drill with various straight bits and step bits, angle grinder with a cutting wheel and flap sander wheel, vice-mounted brake, rotary tool (Dremel) with various bits, a 2-1/4" knockout punch (for the air gauge hole), and a file, sand paper, etc. The photo also shows one of the air tank brackets. Truth be told, this is the first version of the control panel bracket. I made a second one with a few minor tweaks, but it looks almost identical to this one. Also, instead of painting it myself, I had all of the brackets professionally powdercoated.

IMG_5516.JPG


This photo shows the bracket almost completely installed. I drilled three mounting holes in the seat bracket to mount the air system control panel bracket. I then used self-tapping screws to install it. You can see one of the screws installed at the back of the bracket, and the mounting holes in the seat bracket. From left to right: pressure regulator, electronic dual air pressure gauge (0-200 PSI), inflation/deflation control rocker switch, quick-disconnect coupler. The unused rectangular switch cut-out is for my slider steps, which I'll install later. The steps come with a kill switch, which would normally be mounted on the dash or somewhere else. But I opted to plan ahead a bit and include a place to mount it. I ran wires for it already too.

IMG_5578.JPG


IMG_5579.JPG


Installation of the compressors and tank complete! The controls are tucked away nicely, and easily accessible. I originally planned on mounting the controls under the hood. But since I decided to mount the compressors under the seat anyway, I opted to put the controls there as well. Plus, I didn't really want to have to open the hood to get to them. Not fun on a hot day after running the engine hard all day.

IMG_5580.JPG


IMG_5581.JPG


IMG_5582.JPG


IMG_5584.JPG


I mounted four Schrader valve bulkhead fittings, one at each corner. The front valves are mounted in the frame using existing holes, just behind the front bumper. (Sorry for the blurry close-up photo!) They're easily accessible from the side, or from the front of the Jeep. I mounted the rear valves in the existing fender liner holes. I had to drill out the holes in the sheet metal just slightly using a step bit and touch them up with some paint to prevent rust. Again, they're very easily accessible, but well-protected. All four valves are connected via 3/8" PTC brake tubing and some PTC T-fittings, and are routed to the tire manifold mounted next to the air tank.

IMG_5585.JPG


IMG_5586.JPG


IMG_5587.JPG


I made four connector hoses with some Schrader lock-on air chucks. One of these kids is doin' his own thing, three of these kids are kinda the same. I made one of the hoses with some QD couplers on each end (one male, one female) so I could use it with the QD coupler on the control panel bracket. That gives me a more ubiquitous fitting for uses other than deflating and inflating my tires.

IMG_5592.JPG


IMG_5593.JPG


IMG_5594.JPG


Connecting the tires is quick and easy!

IMG_5595.JPG


The photo above shows all four tires connected. As each tire is connected, the tires automatically equalize pressure. The top number / red gauge show the pressure in the air tank. The bottom number / blue gauge show the tire pressure. The control switch is in its neutral position (no LEDs illuminated), and both the deflation and the inflation solenoids are closed.

IMG_5597.JPG


IMG_5596.JPG


In the first photo above you can see the control switch down (bottom LED illuminated), and the tire pressure is dropping. (Note the pressure in the tank is the same.) The switch opens the deflation solenoid mounted to the tire manifold (mounted near the air tank, under the body of the Jeep). Air is vented through a pneumatic muffler mounted under the hood, seen in the 2nd photo above (crappy picture... sorry). I used a muffler because venting air is loud and annoying. I mounted it under the hood to keep water and grit from getting into the deflation solenoid. Also note that the wiring harness it's zip-tied to is the one I installed for the on-board air system and other accessories I have planned.

IMG_5598.JPG


Above, flipping the control switch up opens the inflation solenoid on the control manifold, which allows air to flow from the tank through the control manifold to the tire manifold and inflate all four tires. Note that the pressure in the tank is at 125 PSI and the pressure in the tire manifold is 41 PSI. The compressors automatically come on at 135 PSI as the air tank is depleted. They stay on until the tires reach the desired pressure, and then automatically shut off when the tank is refilled to 150 PSI. You know the tires are full when the compressors shut off automatically. Easy.

It takes a little over 9 minutes to fill all four tires from 15 PSI to 37 PSI. Not too shabby.

Here's a list of the main components I used. There are a lot of other small items, namely pipe fittings, that aren't listed here. Also, some of the more mundane parts don't have reviews.

:like: ARB twin high performance compressors - fantastic compressors; great volume, quiet, high quality

:) ARB twin air compressor under-seat mount - good, but could be better; some of the wiring under the driver's seat hangs up on the bolts that hold the compressors to the bracket

:) 3 gallon 24" x 5", 200 PSI seamless aluminum air tank - high quality tank; the bung for the drain petcock is recessed inside the tank - which means you'll never be able to drain all of the water. Not a big deal since it's an aluminum tank, but it still could be a bit better.

Compact air pressure regulator (no longer available from Gamut)

Compact water trap (no longer available from Gamut)

:) Digital dual air pressure gauge - really clean and OEM look; could use better instructions. Figuring out which plug goes to which gauge (red or blue) is trial and error.

SPDT lighted rocker switch

:) Solenoid valves - so far so good; they're quiet and don't get hot when engaged

Aluminum 4-port air manifolds

3/8" NPT male to 3/8" OD PTC swivel elbows

1/4" NPT male to 3/8" OD PTC swivel elbows

3/8" OD nylon brake tubing, SAE J844

:like: 3/8" OD PTC to Schrader valve bulkhead fittings - these things are great for reducing the bulk of normal air fittings

Schrader valve lock-on chucks

6-foot air hoses

Hose storage bag
 
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Phase 11: Performance – Researching

This project isn't started yet. There's not much available yet for the EcoDiesel Wranglers (as of 5/31/20). But after looking at products for previous generations of the EcoDiesel, here's what I have planned so far:

Rugged Ridge AmFib Snorkel System - hopefully they make one for the diesels!


Banks Derringer Tuner with DataMonster

Magnaflow Rock Crawler Series Cat Back Exhaust System

AFE BladeRunner InterCooler for EcoDiesel


To reiterate: none of these products are for the Wrangler EcoDiesel. These are just products that I have my eye on to see if they come out with a version for the JLs.
 
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Phase 5: On-board air

Status: Complete

IMG_5578.JPG


I won't go into detail about the benefits of being able to air down your tires for off-roading. There's plenty of information available on that already. Bottom line: I wanted my on-board air system installed before I did any other major modifications.

These were my main design requirements:
  • Ability to air down and then re-inflate all four tires at the same time.
  • Permanently mounted compressor-based system (not a stand-alone refillable tank)
  • No loss in water fording ability
  • Ease of access to controls
  • Ability to use other air accessories if needed
This turned out to be much more of a DIY project than I originally anticipated. As I was researching products for this project, I soon realized that there are enough differences between the EcoDiesel and all of its gas siblings that many of the aftermarket parts I intended to use simply wouldn't work. Here are a few examples:
  • Hauk Off-road M.U.L.E. - This is what I originally planned to use to mount my compressor and an air tank. Turns out, the exhaust on the diesels is on the opposite side as the gas Wranglers
  • DV8 engine bay air compressor mount - Since I couldn't use the Hauk mount, I looked at this option. Too bad the washer fluid reservoir is different on the diesels! Plus, I wanted the ARB dual compressor, and this bracket only works for their single compressor.
  • UpDownAir JL and JT skid mount kit - Again, that pesky exhaust system is on the wrong side!
  • UpDownAir JL and JT engine bay control system - This would have been a great option for all of my controls, but the battery and fuse box in the diesels is different than the gas versions. Another strike!
After researching many compressors - the heart of the entire system - I opted for ARB's dual compressor system. It didn't offer the same water resistance as other compressors such as Viair and Vixen (which are IP68+ rated), which was very disappointing. But it offers almost 6 times the air flow. For low volume applications such as air suspension, the Viair or Vixen compressors would have been great. But when filling up four 37" to 40" tires from 10 PSI to 35+, it's all about flow rate.

IMG_5516.JPG


Mounting location - that's a tough one. I really struggled with where I wanted to mount the compressors. Under the body? No, the electric cooling fans on the ARB system aren't waterproof, just splash resistant. Under the hood? No, there's really no room. Plus, heat was a concern. Inside the cabin? Not optimal - too noisy, and they take up room. Well, as you can see in the photo above, I opted for in the cabin, under the driver's seat. This was the option with the fewest drawbacks. I didn't want to sacrifice any off-roading capability. (Otherwise, what's the point?!) I also didn't want to worry about reliability with heat issues. Plus, it's not like the compressors are running all the time - only when I'm airing up. Turns out, the compressors really aren't that loud, and the noise isn't unpleasant at all (nice low tones, nothing shrill).

I used ARB's twin compressor under-seat mount for the JL and JT. The bracket can be mounted under either front seat, but is generally intended to be mounted under the passenger seat. (That's the right-side seat for all of you folks that drive on the wrong side of the road!) Well, that pesky diesel exhaust threw a wrench in the works again! If I had installed it on the right-hand side, all of the wires and air hoses would have been too close to the exhaust. Good thing the kit is "ambidextrous."

I drilled three 3/4" holes in the floor pan for my air hoses:
  • Compressor-to-tank
  • Tank-to-control manifold
  • Control manifold-to-tire manifold
IMG_5468.JPG


I then used some cable glands to pass through some 3/8" OD nylon brake tubing. The glands protect the tubing from chafing or cutting, and also seal the holes to keep them waterproof. (Sorry - I forgot to get a clear picture of them.)

I wanted to have a reserve tank as well. Having a tank relieves some of the strain the the compressors, acts as an air cooler, and also allows you to do small jobs without having the run the compressors at all. I wanted an aluminum tank specifically, just for the corrosion resistance. I knew a steel tank wouldn't last long. Again I was faced with the lack of readily available aftermarket mounting solutions, so I made my own mounting brackets to mount the tank on the frame crossmembers, directly below the driver-side floor pan.

IMG_5590.JPG


The photo above is taken from the front driver-side tire position, looking toward the rear of the Jeep. The diesel fuel/water separator is visible in the lower-right. Just above and to the left (forward of the separator's position) you can see one of the mounting brackets. You can also see two holes I drilled in the forward-most crossmember. A second mounting bracket is sandwiched between the compressor mount and the crossmember, and is used to mount the tire system manifold. The manifold itself is difficult to see in the picture, but you can clearly see the deflation solenoid (small aluminum block), almost dead-center in the photo.

IMG_5591.JPG


The photo above is taken from the left-rear. You can see the front mounting bracket clearly in this photo, with the tire manifold (small black block) visible on the left side of the photo. The bracket wasn't necessary to mount the tank - just to mount the tire manifold. Also visible is the water and dust trap at the back of the tank, installed in-line from the compressor output line. Just above the trap, you can see the return line (with a bit of white tape on it) from the air tank to the control manifold.

IMG_5508.JPG


I drilled two holes in the ARB compressor mounting bracket to install the control manifold. The ARB bracket is designed to be used with their air locker kit. In fact, the instructions are written only from that standpoint. If you're not using their air lockers - which I wasn't - you have to do some interpretation and improvisation. But, given the bracket is designed for additional components, there was plenty of room to mount my own components.

IMG_5510.JPG


The photo above is of the compressors, bracket, manifold and other components installed. The photo is taken from the driver's footwell (from the front, pointing toward the back of the Jeep.) At the center of the photo you can see the control manifold (black rectangular block). On the passenger-side end port there's a pressure sensor. On the passenger-side face port is the inflation solenoid (rectangular aluminum block with a black plastic block and red/black wires), which is fed from the output on the regulator at the bottom of the photo. The driver-side face port is an elbow fitting (pointed down through the floor) for the output to the tire manifold, which is mounted next to the air tank on the frame. Lastly, on the driver-side end port is a 3/8" OD push-to-connect fitting (without a hose connected), which is an output to the quick-disconnect coupler mounted on the control panel (visible in the photos later).

IMG_5512.JPG


The photo above shows the control panel bracket I made out of some 16 gauge steel. Tools: cordless drill with various straight bits and step bits, angle grinder with a cutting wheel and flap sander wheel, vice-mounted brake, rotary tool (Dremel) with various bits, a 2-1/4" knockout punch (for the air gauge hole), and a file, sand paper, etc. The photo also shows one of the air tank brackets. Truth be told, this is the first version of the control panel bracket. I made a second one with a few minor tweaks, but it looks almost identical to this one. Also, instead of painting it myself, I had all of the brackets professionally powdercoated.

IMG_5516.JPG


This photo shows the bracket almost completely installed. I drilled three mounting holes in the seat bracket to mount the air system control panel bracket. I then used self-tapping screws to install it. You can see one of the screws installed at the back of the bracket, and the mounting holes in the seat bracket. From left to right: pressure regulator, electronic dual air pressure gauge (0-200 PSI), inflation/deflation control rocker switch, quick-disconnect coupler. The unused rectangular switch cut-out is for my slider steps, which I'll install later. The steps come with a kill switch, which would normally be mounted on the dash or somewhere else. But I opted to plan ahead a bit and include a place to mount it. I ran wires for it already too.

IMG_5578.JPG


IMG_5579.JPG


Installation of the compressors and tank complete! The controls are tucked away nicely, and easily accessible. I originally planned on mounting the controls under the hood. But since I decided to mount the compressors under the seat anyway, I opted to put the controls there as well. Plus, I didn't really want to have to open the hood to get to them. Not fun on a hot day after running the engine hard all day.

IMG_5580.JPG


IMG_5581.JPG


IMG_5582.JPG


IMG_5584.JPG


I mounted four Schrader valve bulkhead fittings, one at each corner. The front valves are mounted in the frame using existing holes, just behind the front bumper. (Sorry for the blurry close-up photo!) They're easily accessible from the side, or from the front of the Jeep. I mounted the rear valves in the existing fender liner holes. I had to drill out the holes in the sheet metal just slightly using a step bit and touch them up with some paint to prevent rust. Again, they're very easily accessible, but well-protected. All four valves are connected via 3/8" PTC brake tubing and some PTC T-fittings, and are routed to the tire manifold mounted next to the air tank.

IMG_5585.JPG


IMG_5586.JPG


IMG_5587.JPG


I made four connector hoses with some Schrader lock-on air chucks. One of these kids is doin' his own thing, three of these kids are kinda the same. I made one of the hoses with some QD couplers on each end (one male, one female) so I could use it with the QD coupler on the control panel bracket. That gives me a more ubiquitous fitting for uses other than deflating and inflating my tires.

IMG_5592.JPG


IMG_5593.JPG


IMG_5594.JPG


Connecting the tires is quick and easy!

IMG_5595.JPG


The photo above shows all four tires connected. As each tire is connected, the tires automatically equalize pressure. The top number / red gauge show the pressure in the air tank. The bottom number / blue gauge show the tire pressure. The control switch is in its neutral position (no LEDs illuminated), and both the deflation and the inflation solenoids are closed.

IMG_5597.JPG


IMG_5596.JPG


In the first photo above you can see the control switch down (bottom LED illuminated), and the tire pressure is dropping. (Note the pressure in the tank is the same.) The switch opens the deflation solenoid mounted to the tire manifold (mounted near the air tank, under the body of the Jeep). Air is vented through a pneumatic muffler mounted under the hood, seen in the 2nd photo above (crappy picture... sorry). I used a muffler because venting air is loud and annoying. I mounted it under the hood to keep water and grit from getting into the deflation solenoid. Also note that the wiring harness its zip-tied to is the one I installed for the on-board air system and other accessories I have planned.

IMG_5598.JPG


Above, flipping the control switch up opens the inflation solenoid on the control manifold, which allows air to flow from the tank through the control manifold to the tire manifold and inflate all four tires. Note that the pressure in the tank is at 125 PSI and the pressure in the tire manifold is 41 PSI. The compressors automatically come on at 135 PSI as the air tank is depleted. They stay on until the tires reach the desired pressure, and then automatically shut off when the tank is refilled to 150 PSI. You know the tires are full when the compressors shut off automatically. Easy.

It takes a little over 9 minutes to fill all four tires from 15 PSI to 37 PSI. Not too shabby.

Here's a list of the main components I used. There are a lot of other small items, namely pipe fittings, that aren't listed here.
ARB twin high performance compressors
ARB twin air compressor under-seat mount
3 gallon 24" x 5", 200 PSI seamless aluminum air tank
Compact air pressure regulator (no longer available from Gamut)
Compact water trap (no longer available from Gamut)
Digital dual air pressure gauge
SPDT lighted rocker switch
Solenoid valves
Aluminum 4-port air manifolds
3/8" NPT male to 3/8" OD PTC swivel elbows
1/4" NPT male to 3/8" OD PTC swivel elbows
3/8" OD nylon brake tubing, SAE J844
3/8" OD PTC to Schrader valve bulkhead fittings
Schrader valve lock-on chucks
6-foot air hoses
Hose storage bag
Wow, and I thought I was getting fancy with my OBA set-up... lol I've got a similar thing going on, but I'm just using a simple 3/8" ball valve for deflation, and a quick air connect on each front seat frame to which I'll attach a hose with dual lock-on chucks for inflation. I'm repurposing the switch panel that came with the ARB mount you used and will instead have my pressure gauge mounted there. Parts should be here in the next couple of days so I can finally put it all together.

As for your wiring and preplanning suggestion, I'm 100% with you. I have all my future upgrades pre-wired, plug and play as I purchase them. All wire loomed, heat-shrunk, etc. to give it as much of a factory look as possible. I have a new idea pop up every now and then that requires some minor modification, but I'd say my aftermarket wiring has remained at least 90% as originally planned. I like your style...
 
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MCJA

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  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Wow, and I thought I was getting fancy with my OBA set-up... lol I've got a similar thing going on, but I'm just using a simple 3/8" ball valve for deflation, and a quick air connect on each front seat frame to which I'll attach a hose with dual lock-on chucks for inflation. I'm repurposing the switch panel that came with the ARB mount you used and will instead have my pressure gauge mounted there. Parts should be here in the next couple of days so I can finally put it all together.

As for your wiring and preplanning suggestion, I'm 100% with you. I have all my future upgrades pre-wired, plug and play as I purchase them. All wire loomed, heat-shrunk, etc. to give it as much of a factory look as possible. I have a new idea pop up every now and then that requires some minor modification, but I'd say my aftermarket wiring has remained at least 90% as originally planned. I like your style...
Thanks!

I'd love to see pictures of your installation once you get it done.
 

Fatboy97

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Phase 5: On-board air

Status: Complete

IMG_5578.JPG


I won't go into detail about the benefits of being able to air down your tires for off-roading. There's plenty of information available on that already. Bottom line: I wanted my on-board air system installed before I did any other major modifications.

These were my main design requirements:
  • Ability to air down and then re-inflate all four tires at the same time.
  • Permanently mounted compressor-based system (not a stand-alone refillable tank)
  • No loss in water fording ability
  • Ease of access to controls
  • Ability to use other air accessories if needed
This turned out to be much more of a DIY project than I originally anticipated. As I was researching products for this project, I soon realized that there are enough differences between the EcoDiesel and all of its gas siblings that many of the aftermarket parts I intended to use simply wouldn't work. Here are a few examples:
  • Hauk Off-road M.U.L.E. - This is what I originally planned to use to mount my compressor and an air tank. Turns out, the exhaust on the diesels is on the opposite side as the gas Wranglers
  • DV8 engine bay air compressor mount - Since I couldn't use the Hauk mount, I looked at this option. Too bad the washer fluid reservoir is different on the diesels! Plus, I wanted the ARB dual compressor, and this bracket only works for their single compressor.
  • UpDownAir JL and JT skid mount kit - Again, that pesky exhaust system is on the wrong side!
  • UpDownAir JL and JT engine bay control system - This would have been a great option for all of my controls, but the battery and fuse box in the diesels is different than the gas versions. Another strike!
After researching many compressors - the heart of the entire system - I opted for ARB's dual compressor system. It didn't offer the same water resistance as other compressors such as Viair and Vixen (which are IP68+ rated), which was very disappointing. But it offers almost 6 times the air flow. For low volume applications such as air suspension, the Viair or Vixen compressors would have been great. But when filling up four 37" to 40" tires from 10 PSI to 35+, it's all about flow rate.

IMG_5516.JPG


Mounting location - that's a tough one. I really struggled with where I wanted to mount the compressors. Under the body? No, the electric cooling fans on the ARB system aren't waterproof, just splash resistant. Under the hood? No, there's really no room. Plus, heat was a concern. Inside the cabin? Not optimal - too noisy, and they take up room. Well, as you can see in the photo above, I opted for in the cabin, under the driver's seat. This was the option with the fewest drawbacks. I didn't want to sacrifice any off-roading capability. (Otherwise, what's the point?!) I also didn't want to worry about reliability with heat issues. Plus, it's not like the compressors are running all the time - only when I'm airing up. Turns out, the compressors really aren't that loud, and the noise isn't unpleasant at all (nice low tones, nothing shrill).

I used ARB's twin compressor under-seat mount for the JL and JT. The bracket can be mounted under either front seat, but is generally intended to be mounted under the passenger seat. (That's the right-side seat for all of you folks that drive on the wrong side of the road!) Well, that pesky diesel exhaust threw a wrench in the works again! If I had installed it on the right-hand side, all of the wires and air hoses would have been too close to the exhaust. Good thing the kit is "ambidextrous."

I drilled three 3/4" holes in the floor pan for my air hoses:
  • Compressor-to-tank
  • Tank-to-control manifold
  • Control manifold-to-tire manifold
IMG_5468.JPG


I then used some cable glands to pass through some 3/8" OD nylon brake tubing. The glands protect the tubing from chafing or cutting, and also seal the holes to keep them waterproof. (Sorry - I forgot to get a clear picture of them.)

I wanted to have a reserve tank as well. Having a tank relieves some of the strain the the compressors, acts as an air cooler, and also allows you to do small jobs without having the run the compressors at all. I wanted an aluminum tank specifically, just for the corrosion resistance. I knew a steel tank wouldn't last long. Again I was faced with the lack of readily available aftermarket mounting solutions, so I made my own mounting brackets to mount the tank on the frame crossmembers, directly below the driver-side floor pan.

IMG_5590.JPG


The photo above is taken from the front driver-side tire position, looking toward the rear of the Jeep. The diesel fuel/water separator is visible in the lower-right. Just above and to the left (forward of the separator's position) you can see one of the mounting brackets. You can also see two holes I drilled in the forward-most crossmember. A second mounting bracket is sandwiched between the compressor mount and the crossmember, and is used to mount the tire system manifold. The manifold itself is difficult to see in the picture, but you can clearly see the deflation solenoid (small aluminum block), almost dead-center in the photo.

IMG_5591.JPG


The photo above is taken from the left-rear. You can see the front mounting bracket clearly in this photo, with the tire manifold (small black block) visible on the left side of the photo. The bracket wasn't necessary to mount the tank - just to mount the tire manifold. Also visible is the water and dust trap at the back of the tank, installed in-line from the compressor output line. Just above the trap, you can see the return line (with a bit of white tape on it) from the air tank to the control manifold.

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I drilled two holes in the ARB compressor mounting bracket to install the control manifold. The ARB bracket is designed to be used with their air locker kit. In fact, the instructions are written only from that standpoint. If you're not using their air lockers - which I wasn't - you have to do some interpretation and improvisation. But, given the bracket is designed for additional components, there was plenty of room to mount my own components.

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The photo above is of the compressors, bracket, manifold and other components installed. The photo is taken from the driver's footwell (from the front, pointing toward the back of the Jeep.) At the center of the photo you can see the control manifold (black rectangular block). On the passenger-side end port there's a pressure sensor. On the passenger-side face port is the inflation solenoid (rectangular aluminum block with a black plastic block and red/black wires), which is fed from the output on the regulator at the bottom of the photo. The driver-side face port is an elbow fitting (pointed down through the floor) for the output to the tire manifold, which is mounted next to the air tank on the frame. Lastly, on the driver-side end port is a 3/8" OD push-to-connect fitting (without a hose connected), which is an output to the quick-disconnect coupler mounted on the control panel (visible in the photos later).

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The photo above shows the control panel bracket I made out of some 16 gauge steel. Tools: cordless drill with various straight bits and step bits, angle grinder with a cutting wheel and flap sander wheel, vice-mounted brake, rotary tool (Dremel) with various bits, a 2-1/4" knockout punch (for the air gauge hole), and a file, sand paper, etc. The photo also shows one of the air tank brackets. Truth be told, this is the first version of the control panel bracket. I made a second one with a few minor tweaks, but it looks almost identical to this one. Also, instead of painting it myself, I had all of the brackets professionally powdercoated.

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This photo shows the bracket almost completely installed. I drilled three mounting holes in the seat bracket to mount the air system control panel bracket. I then used self-tapping screws to install it. You can see one of the screws installed at the back of the bracket, and the mounting holes in the seat bracket. From left to right: pressure regulator, electronic dual air pressure gauge (0-200 PSI), inflation/deflation control rocker switch, quick-disconnect coupler. The unused rectangular switch cut-out is for my slider steps, which I'll install later. The steps come with a kill switch, which would normally be mounted on the dash or somewhere else. But I opted to plan ahead a bit and include a place to mount it. I ran wires for it already too.

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Installation of the compressors and tank complete! The controls are tucked away nicely, and easily accessible. I originally planned on mounting the controls under the hood. But since I decided to mount the compressors under the seat anyway, I opted to put the controls there as well. Plus, I didn't really want to have to open the hood to get to them. Not fun on a hot day after running the engine hard all day.

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I mounted four Schrader valve bulkhead fittings, one at each corner. The front valves are mounted in the frame using existing holes, just behind the front bumper. (Sorry for the blurry close-up photo!) They're easily accessible from the side, or from the front of the Jeep. I mounted the rear valves in the existing fender liner holes. I had to drill out the holes in the sheet metal just slightly using a step bit and touch them up with some paint to prevent rust. Again, they're very easily accessible, but well-protected. All four valves are connected via 3/8" PTC brake tubing and some PTC T-fittings, and are routed to the tire manifold mounted next to the air tank.

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I made four connector hoses with some Schrader lock-on air chucks. One of these kids is doin' his own thing, three of these kids are kinda the same. I made one of the hoses with some QD couplers on each end (one male, one female) so I could use it with the QD coupler on the control panel bracket. That gives me a more ubiquitous fitting for uses other than deflating and inflating my tires.

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Connecting the tires is quick and easy!

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The photo above shows all four tires connected. As each tire is connected, the tires automatically equalize pressure. The top number / red gauge show the pressure in the air tank. The bottom number / blue gauge show the tire pressure. The control switch is in its neutral position (no LEDs illuminated), and both the deflation and the inflation solenoids are closed.

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In the first photo above you can see the control switch down (bottom LED illuminated), and the tire pressure is dropping. (Note the pressure in the tank is the same.) The switch opens the deflation solenoid mounted to the tire manifold (mounted near the air tank, under the body of the Jeep). Air is vented through a pneumatic muffler mounted under the hood, seen in the 2nd photo above (crappy picture... sorry). I used a muffler because venting air is loud and annoying. I mounted it under the hood to keep water and grit from getting into the deflation solenoid. Also note that the wiring harness its zip-tied to is the one I installed for the on-board air system and other accessories I have planned.

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Above, flipping the control switch up opens the inflation solenoid on the control manifold, which allows air to flow from the tank through the control manifold to the tire manifold and inflate all four tires. Note that the pressure in the tank is at 125 PSI and the pressure in the tire manifold is 41 PSI. The compressors automatically come on at 135 PSI as the air tank is depleted. They stay on until the tires reach the desired pressure, and then automatically shut off when the tank is refilled to 150 PSI. You know the tires are full when the compressors shut off automatically. Easy.

It takes a little over 9 minutes to fill all four tires from 15 PSI to 37 PSI. Not too shabby.

Here's a list of the main components I used. There are a lot of other small items, namely pipe fittings, that aren't listed here.
ARB twin high performance compressors
ARB twin air compressor under-seat mount
3 gallon 24" x 5", 200 PSI seamless aluminum air tank
Compact air pressure regulator (no longer available from Gamut)
Compact water trap (no longer available from Gamut)
Digital dual air pressure gauge
SPDT lighted rocker switch
Solenoid valves
Aluminum 4-port air manifolds
3/8" NPT male to 3/8" OD PTC swivel elbows
1/4" NPT male to 3/8" OD PTC swivel elbows
3/8" OD nylon brake tubing, SAE J844
3/8" OD PTC to Schrader valve bulkhead fittings
Schrader valve lock-on chucks
6-foot air hoses
Hose storage bag
Great write up, thank you. I have been stressed about where to mount the compressor. Couldn’t agree with you more on mounting options. Never thought about mounting under the drivers seat but that makes a lot more sense especially with my 2door. Also like how the controls are right there all centrally located.
 

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