Tailgate/door edge trim, rear bumper braces.
Door edge trim as it was put on last year. Unfortunately, it faded - BADLY!
So I replaced it with this heavy duty black stuff.
Although it doesn't match the body color, its a much better grade.
Section of internal metal (inset) removed from the right end,
and still visible in the left end. Removal prevents rust, see text.
Also added it to the top of the tailgate...
Stopped short to prevent interference with the tailgate rubber...
... on both sides. Liftgate closed.
Here's the reason: now the liftgate is held closed by the tailgate (right),
in leu of it flapping in the breeze (left). Per the Jeep forum - see text.
The nice looking red door edge trim I installed last year was a problem from day one. It really wasn't made for metal this thick to start with - it fell off the driver's side pretty quickly and I was too disgusted with it to re-install it. Then the passenger's side faded badly and looked terrible. I ignored the whole thing for awhile - until I started researching why my liftgate glass wasn't being held in place by the tailgate and had a ¼" gap with the gasket rubber. The Jeep forum told me to install the above pictured style edge trim on the tailgate to solve that problem - and it does! While I was at it, I installed it on both the doors as well. A much better product, it fits correctly, it stays put, and it radiuses VERY well which the cheap red stuff didn't.
The only caution with it has to do with its internal metal segments. As can be seen in one of the above pictures, the edge of the metal can be seen when the trim is cut. The solution is to simply remove the newly exposed segment with a small pair of needle-nose pliers. As a precaution, I also glopped the end of the rubber with some RTV as I don't know if the segments are hermetically sealed from one another or not - they appear to be but I'm not sure. As the metal is apparently not stainless (Its magnetic at least), I didn't want any rust to get started.
As for the tailgate/liftgate situation, a test drive revealed that I no longer hear cars behind me like I did before - the glass is now against its sealing rubber all the way to the bottom. However, it helps to hold the liftgate glass down/in a bit when closing the main tailgate. It will still pop out if the Jeep bounces around - I think the fiberglass hardtop flexes.
About the only thing I'll criticize these Rugged Ridge door sills for, is the fact that they could be about an inch longer. They'd need to change shape if they were to cover the radiused corners, but even so, they could be an inch or so longer and still be completely on the straight/flat portion of the door sill. They are very nice, are held on with 3M double sided tape, and fit exactly. Unlike some, they're flexible rubber and do not project below the door opening.
Update: Liftgate still would come open on occasion. Found out about this stuff on the Jeep forum...
Similar to the previous trim, I needed to remove the end metal segments and glop the ends.
Soft, squelchy rubber should stop the glass from jumping over the top of the tailgate better than previously!
Time to do something about those tacky door sills...
Rugged Ridge rubber door sills installed...
... on both sides.
Cannot be seen from the outside when the door is closed.
But fit the sills exactly.
Reprised from previously: Next Venture Motorsports bumper braces.
Painted. As with the underhood brackets, I used this "Walnut Brown" paint because I had it.
Grinding off the head of one of the two bolts holding on the stock recovery hook.
3 inch hoop earrings are a minor nuisance in this kind of situation! The welded
in place nut inside the frame broke loose, so I had to grind the bolt head off.
Took awhile to grind through it...
...near the end, I was able to go "Tony Beets" on the thing and get the hook off!
Rearmost crossbrace had a bit of rust on it...
...and needed a drain hole drilled in it. Check out the "crud" inside! Flushed out with plenty of water.
Wire wheeled and chipped the worst of the rust off. See text.
Locating where to drill the third hole for the brace.
Hole drilled - needed a bit of reaming to make things line up.
Checking by inserting from the outside.
Now on the other side, hole drilled and "Red lead" primer applied.
Topcoat. Got a bit rambunctious with the rattle can - but I don't care about runs/sags here!
Ended up having to chase the threads of one of the nuts - see text.
Other side, done.
Primered much of the rearmost crossbrace after sanding and wire wheeling.
No runs or sags here!
Jeep TJs need bumper braces if you want to tow or recover with your rear bumper. There are a number of them on the market, costing between about $60 and $80. Most of them are held onto the frame with two bolts, with nuts interior to the frame which can be problematic to install. A couple of brands mount their two nuts into holders, making them vastly easier to install, and slightly stronger. The braces used here, from "New Venture Motorsports" also have holders for the nuts, but beefs things up by adding an additional nut and bolt for a total of three per side. Whether or not this is really necessary I have no idea, but it seemed like a good idea even though I had to drill an extra hole on each side. Despite this feature that nobody else has, New Venture's braces are on the cheap end of the spectrum at $59! What's not to like?
Jeeps are notorious for rust, especially frame rust - although this one is a pretty good example overall, the rearmost portion of the frame is the rustiest part, so I needed to do some cleanup and painting before installing the new braces. In addition, I drilled two new drain holes in the bottom rear as seen in the above pictures - the two bottom bolts holding the bumper were badly rusted and were quite difficult to remove. A third bolt, holding on the stock recovery hook, spun the nut inside the frame so I had to grind that bolt's head off. Replacements for these bolts were ordered, but I didn't want water to pool in this area, so I drilled the drain holes as shown then flushed everything throughly. "Should be" un-necessary as there is a large hole nearby, but obviously not quite near enough because of the crud buildup and rusty bolts - so the new drain holes will hopefully help. I also blasted "Red Lead" primer inside...
Similar to the underhood brackets, I used a "Dark Walnut" paint to paint the unpainted braces because I had purchased said paint by accident, but it looks fine as long as it doesn't have to match anything else!
After taking the rear bumper off temporarily, mounting the braces themselves was a 10 minute job per side - or should have been! I did the passenger side brace first, and it was a 2+ hour flail. Getting the triple nut holder dingus into position was problematic. I had thought I could insert it from the bottom of the frame through a large access hole therein - but that didn't work out because the only way the holder would go in would end up with it being upside down inside the frame and there wasn't enough room to rotate it once inside - the competitor's two nuts in a holder would have been easier. So I dropped the holder in through a side hole higher up (further forward) in the frame, in the correct orientation. That would have been fine, except it just would NOT slide down the inside to where I wanted it - even though it was a downhill run. Two bolts - which I temporarily removed - that hold a muffler hanger in place may have had something to do with this problem, so I took the Jeep on a drive on my favorite local rough dirt road to get the darn holder to shake down to where I needed it.
So! Now the holder was in place, and it only took a moment to bolt up the brace, right? Wrong. I could NOT get the middle bolt to thread in, it kept on wanting to cross thread. After a bunch of swearing, I took a break - ran some errands, picked up up a ½" tap, chased the threads, and then life was good. Even though I had threaded bolts in through the holder and its nuts to check fitment, I had done so from the opposite direction - the one bolt just would NOT thread in from the one side! The take home lesson is to chase threads on anything that has been welded on!
Then I did the driver's side brace - and it actually took the 10 minutes to do that I had expected all along - I chased the threads on all 3 nuts in the holder ahead of time, but for whatever reason the holder slid right down to where I wanted it when I dropped it into the frame uphill from its installation location. All three bolts went right in, boom, done. Next Venture supplied nice grade 8 bolts and flat-washers with their product, but I added lock-washers and installed with "Never-Seize".
The rear cross member wraps around the frame end as shown. Unfortunately, that is yet another rust vector. Water would still want to gather in the bottom where the metal wraps around - and there is a ⅛" gap - or trough - between the end of the frame and where the cross member fold-over goes vertical. Drilling a drain hole in the very bottom wouldn't work because the bottom bumper support would block it - so I decided I needed to get the bottom of the previously drilled rear drain hole even with the inside bottom of the fold-over. First, I tried reaming the hole. Although that helped, it didn't completely solve the problem and resulted in an ugly hole. Then I did what I should have done in the first place - used an angle grinder to make a slot. The result shouldn't hold even the tiniest bit of water, although it ended up being "as ugly as home made sin"; thank Goddess its out of sight. I had to re-rinse with plenty of water to get the new metal chips out, then blow more primer into the inside, and follow up with a top coat on the outside.
After careful thought, I decided to enlarge these two rear drain holes. See text.
Slotted the hole down to the very bottom. Here you can see how the rear cross member wraps around the frame.
Stock bumper bolted back up - temporarily. The bolts are now too short!
Replacements for the heavily rusted bottom bolts...
One of the bottom bolts in place.
A fellow jeeper on the Jeep forum had benefit of my experience, so did his at a 45° angle as shown here.
This is a much better way to do it, although he in turn suggests drilling the hole slightly more outboard
(to the right in this picture, left on the other side) of where he did to avoid hitting the nutsert.
The CarFax reported minor rear end accident - that left a slight crease in the rear bumper - also apparently tweaked the bumper slightly, one of the bottom holes didn't want to line up without a prybar and some cussing. But in the end, its back on although the main four bolts that hold the bumper are now too short because they now go through the new ¼" thick braces, and said bolts are welded onto the bumper so are not easily replaced. The nuts only thread on about 50%, but the bottom bolts will at least keep it from falling off. It'll be fine until I get the new bumper built - its not like I could use this paper thin bumper for pulling or recovery anyway.
I bought new bolts for the bottom, and recycled the heavily rusted originals. The new bumper will have recovery points, so I didn't bother re-mounting the stock recovery hook.
Read on for the next part!
Reprised from sometime last year, this picture shows the ding in the rear bumper quite clearly!
More recently, I noticed this slight bend in the bumper's bracket...
... and this distortion. No wonder the bumper was hard to re-install!
Recent picture in the rain...