>Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
At the beginning of 2021, we again had the opportunity (Corona pandemic) to do the piled-up work on our Jeep in our home workshop at our leisure.
At the top of the wish list was the modification of the rear door, where we want to change the heavy weight of the spare wheel (40 kg) and the additional rack above the spare wheel to a separate support.
We also had to carry out minor repairs and replace certain parts.
Spare wheel rack “AEV style
By chance we discovered this as a bargain at Calonder/Dietikon and compared to all other carriers this one can be screwed to the vehicle frame without another bumper. Since our Jeep is a bit longer due to the Gazell camping kit, it also requires a special solution. The alternative solution would be a corresponding rear bumper with spare wheel carrier. But this would have to be tested and registered in Switzerland. Unfortunately, for our somewhat longer Jeep, there is neither a corresponding frame extension nor a suitable rear bumper in the accessories trade.
So we decided to leave the rear of the vehicle as original as possible and to construct an extension of the vehicle frame underneath, where the spare wheel carrier can be mounted on the right side. The extension is a 1:1 copy of the original frame, is inserted into it and is screwed down accordingly. A transverse support on the left frame rail counteracts the torsional force from the carrier mounted on one side.
The two “frame ends” protruding at the rear were covered by modified bump stops (AEV), so that no law enforcement officer would get the idea that something “not quite official” was installed here; as welders we simply lack the appropriate certificates 😉
I welded an additional frame to the spare wheel carrier, where other things can be screwed on. The jack holder was also screwed directly to the carrier.
In view of later demonstration dates at the road traffic office, all additional things can be dismantled in a few easy steps.
As we are always fully loaded on tour, we loaded our vehicle up to 3,300 kg immediately after purchasing it in 2019. This increase in weight made the vehicle around 50mm (2″) higher.
Unfortunately, the rear springs kept sagging when driving over built-in thresholds and the rubber dampers on the frame stopped the respective spring deflection ungently.
So we had stronger rear springs fitted, i.e. we chose springs from the 4″ conversion kit. On the following tour through Switzerland and France, the Jeep never hit the rear on the French sleepers – they are really high and have steep uphill and downhill angles.
After 55’000 km the tread depth was still 6 mm! Enough for the road, far too little for the mud!
We donated four new tyres to our Jeep so that it can continue to plough through all kinds of swamps.
A Jeep Wrangler has a delay of up to one second when it comes to acceleration, which can often lead to critical situations in European road traffic and means a lot of stress for the driver. Why this delay is programmed by the manufacturer, only the gods know!
That’s why we had a pedal box installed and I (Tom) didn’t want to believe it for a long time; this little electronic helper is a great thing in the truest sense of the word. The throttle response is much more direct, can be adjusted individually and the acceleration is immediate.
When cruising, the Jeep also drives much differently, the automatic transmission shifts much less when the throttle is released discreetly and the diesel can pull up without any shifting. Wow!
Pop-up roof / changing the tent (awning)
On our way home from Spain (December 2020) we briefly visited the inventor of the Gazell camping kit and bought a new tent for the pop-up roof. The existing tent was showing signs of wear and tear, and in some places the coating of the fabric was so worn through that moisture penetrated the inside during heavy rainfall.
The new tent also has a different arrangement of openings (windows) and we are already looking forward to admiring the sunrise through the generously designed windows.
Due to the construction, the change was very easy and the new tent was quickly mounted from the pitching tank. Unfortunately, the diameters of the piping were different; the old piping had a diameter of 8.5 mm, the new one is only 7 mm. The supplier assured us that it would hold and withstand the storms. Let’s hope he will be right and we won’t be blown off the top floor.
Mobile awning at the rear of the vehicle
Already at our first start we used a small awning at the rear of the vehicle and the entrance door to the camping part to protect us from rain or humidity. This principle proved itself very well and gave us the necessary protection again and again. Wind and weather put a heavy strain on it and we changed to a normal rectangular tarpaulin from the DIY store. To erect it, we used 4 tent poles and stretched the tarp with ropes.
We were true masters in setting up and in a good ten minutes we managed to stretch the tarpaulin as desired at the rear of the vehicle. Unfortunately, we didn’t always have the best opportunities to hammer the necessary pegs into the ground. Pitches with hard surfaces presented us with almost unsolvable tasks time and again.
We now have two mobile supports at the rear of the vehicle where we can fix a crossbar. By means of this crossbar, which is designed as a telescopic pole, the tarpaulin can be stretched and fixed to the vehicle in this way. At the very back, we still need 2 tent poles.
This way we can continue to stretch our tarpaulin very flexibly and adapt it to the conditions; lengthwise or crosswise, no problem. Even lateral wind protection by stretching down the tarpaulin is possible.
At the B-pillar we dismantled the boxes of the sound system and the whole plastic body that connected the two B-pillars to the ceiling. Since there is no one sitting in the back of our “van”, we hardly need this sound system nor the damping material.
By removing it, we gained some more volume for our luggage.
Mounting a multiple socket system “North America”.
Various electrical devices bought in North America have a completely different type of plug and always needed an adapter.
Hopefully, the fight for the only adapter has now come to an end.
Side door right
The right 2nd door (2nd row of seats) always pressed against the interior when closing, because compared to the 2007 model year, the interior trim has been designed a bit thicker. Since nobody needs this extra padding in the back, I removed the whole interior trim and covered the inside of the door with a plastic panel. This gave extra space.
Of course, the door can still be mechanically locked/unlocked and opened from the inside.
To prevent the rear windows (2nd row of seats) from being opened by mistake via the remote opening in the cockpit and the ventilation plates from causing any problems, we changed the electrical control so that the rear windows can only be opened after they have been switched on accordingly.
Rear number plate
The rear number plate holder for EU-vehicle numbers at the side suffered a total loss in Spain during a vehicle manoeuvre and could not be repaired properly. The new spare wheel holder raised the spare wheel and the rack above it at the same time, so that the long and top-mounted vehicle number was covered. Additional material could no longer be carried on the rack.
At Calonder in Dietikon we found an appropriate number plate holder for raised rear CH vehicle numbers. Well, now we are on the road again in accordance with the law 😉
Filling up our gas bottle from America – it was equipped with a filling stop and would not be a problem from a safety point of view – caused us problems again and again with the gas station attendants; we experienced everything from helpfulness to the threat of the police and in the worst case there was no warm meal; nothing warmed up without gas!
So we replaced our gas cooker with a petrol cooker with two flames and a super heating capacity. Petrol can be found everywhere where cars are driving around in the countryside and until they are all replaced by e-cars, we should have completed our round-the-world trip 😉
At the same time, the gas bottle holder was rebuilt and there is now a small petrol can at the rear of the vehicle.
>Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator