Barn Door for JK factory hardtops


Expedition Leader
The SEMA monthly magazine arrived today, and this was on the cover:


The subtitle of the cover article was "New Juice for Vintage Iron: What Builders Need to Know" and it was about electric conversions. I like the idea of going electric, and possibly even converting a Jeep to full electric, but two things are required for an electric trail vehicle to work for me:

1. Living in upstate NY, we usually drive to Colorado/Utah or other parts west for trail time. We often do 700 miles or more in a day during a 2 1/2 day trip from home to the Rockies. The range of most electric vehicles so far is maybe half that.

2. Ensuring we can get off the trail. It wouldn't do to run out of battery 30 miles from the nearest road (and probably further from the nearest charging point). For fossil fuel vehicles, a jerry can or two will suffice. But electric vehicles aren't going to run very far on a jerry can sized spare battery.

I don't have a solution for #1 other than loading the EV Jeep on a trailer and towing it across the country. For #2, I did a little research to see what might be possible for getting off the trail. Some facts:

EV chargers are classified into three categories: Level 1, Level 2 and direct current (DC) fast charging. One distinction between these three levels is the input voltage, Level 1 uses 110/120 volts, Level 2 uses 208/240 volts and DC fast chargers use between 200 and 600 volts.

Level 1 equipment provides for charging through a common residential 120-volt (120V) AC outlet. Level 1 chargers can take 40-50 hours to charge a battery electric vehicle from empty. Not a practical "get off the trail" solution.

Level 2 equipment offers charging through 240V (in residential applications) or 208V (in commercial applications) electrical service, and is common for home, workplace, and public charging. Level 2 chargers can charge a fully electric vehicle from empty in 4-10 hours and a typical electric vehicle can gain around 10-25 miles of range per hour of charging. Might be practical for getting off the trail if one could find a Level 2 charging source.

Most electric vehicles charging on a 240-volt level 2 charger will draw about 7,200 watts or less. Idea: what about carrying a portable generator with that capacity. Here's one with almost that capacity:


That generator has a 7000-watt surge/30 amp/240 volt rating, so it would appear to be just about capable of providing a Level 2 charge.

The bad news: it weighs 263 lbs and it's roughly 28" wide, 28" high and 47" long. That's a bit more than entire cargo area of a JKU, so I guess if you have no other gear to carry and could find a way to shoehorn that in, it might work.

I guess we've got to keep looking for "get off the trail" solutions to make full electric trail vehicle practical.

In related SEMA news, this envelope arrived yesterday. In it were my and my wife's SEMA Show badges for this year. The show is November 1-4 and I plan to drive the LJ out to Las Vegas (and do a few trails along the way) to attend the show. My wife may be out of the country then so it'll probably be a solo trip :(



Well-known member
The Honda EU3200i is rated for 2600 W with a 3200 W "max". 60 pounds. Dimensions (L x W x H) 22.5 x 12.0 x 17.8 inches. Two of them can be used in parallel. Only 120 Volts. Still not quite what you want, but getting closer. :)



Well-known member
Nothing like using fossil fuels to run a generator to charge an ev. Or to build it, I guess.

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Well-known member
Nothing like using fossil fuels to run a generator to accurate an ev. Or to build it, I guess.

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How about $225000 USD for a diesel fueled charging station?

I wonder what mileage could be obtained with a well balance hybrid EV+gas/diesel that powered the vehicle from batteries, had regenerative braking in addition to friction brakes, and engaged a gas/diesel generator tuned for maximum efficiency ONLY when the batteries were depleted enough to make good use of the charging from the generator BUT before the batteries were depleted to a point where their life expectancy would be significantly shortened by repeated discharges to that point?

I think such a vehicle might be quite useful! :)

pith helmet

Well-known member
Excellent. I have a friend with an 08 commuter that’s got something close to that. Heartening numbers!
A quarter of a million miles on my JKU now. Took this photo on the highway this afternoon.


Just getting broken in :). Next goal, half a million!


Expedition Leader
I end up with a lot of preproduction prototypes to test from the companies that pick up my designs. For example, when I designed the Trail Kitchen that MORryde now markets, I ended up with 3 of them - the proof-of-concept prototype I built, a preproduction test Kitchen from MORryde and also a production Kitchen from them. I use the production one in the JKU and the LJ, the preproduction one in my trailer, and I disassembled the proof-of-concept one to make a basic fridge slide for when I don't need the full kitchen. It's pictured here in the LJ:


Similarly, I've ended up with a lot of preproduction samples from Overland Outfitters and recently a bunch of samples of their JK and JL door pockets. I disassembled a bunch of those to make standalone MOLLE and seat-back pockets. In these photos, seat-back pockets on my JKU, MOLLE pockets on a tailgate MOLLE panel, pockets attached to my LJ door to add more storage there, and a pair of pockets attached to the OO seat-back zipper/MOLLE attachment in my LJ.


I'm trying to decide if I'll recommend these ideas to OO. Personally I like the look of these a lot better than ordinary fabric MOLLE pouches, but I don't know if other people will feel the same.


Expedition Leader
About two weeks ago I received a preproduction sample of a new product from Overland Outfitters; I tested it in my JKU but it needed to be tested in a JK/JKU with a factory hardtop because my hardtop has more room between the roll bar and the inside of the hardtop than a factory does so I asked for a volunteer:

Travis ("pith helmet") volunteered so I sent him the sample. I asked him to check the general fit and usability, and specifically the installation/clearance between the roll bar and the inside of the hardtop. This is one of the photos he sent, he reports it's much easier to install if you pop off the Freedom Panels for access.


He says he likes it best with the pockets in front; it's got a MOLLE strip on the other side and he likes that on the back so he can hang larger MOLLE pouches there.



When the pockets are on the front the MOLLE strip is on the back:


But it's designed so it can be installed either way, he sent this photo with the MOLLE in front:


I'll send his full report on to OO with my comment that it looks like it's ready for production. Thank a lot to Travis for testing this and I hope he enjoys and finds the product useful (he gets to keep the sample).


Expedition Leader
The other day I posted this image:


Most of those are pockets that were part of preproduction samples of JK and JL Door Pockets from Overland Outfitters that I resewed into MOLLE and seat-back pockets. Yesterday I came across this photo of MOLLE pouches on the back of a JL seat:


Maybe some people like that but it looks like a mess to me, so I was inspired to make this one this morning:


It's a MOLLE pouch, sized to fit nicely in the recess in the JL/Gladiator seat back, but it also has a Zip & Go zipper on it so it can be used on a JK/JKU:


And a TJ/LJ:


While I was at the dealer testing the fit of this morning's sewing project I also checked out the fit of two of the smaller pockets:


I'll think pass these photos and the ones from the other day on to OO in case they might be interested in turning them into products. If they're not interested that's ok too, but in any case I'll be using these pockets in my JKU and LJ for sure.


Expedition Leader
I've had to make several round trips to NYC in the last two weeks and I decided to do some experimenting - I typically get about 18.5 mpg on the highway. Usually I'll set the cruise control at about 68 on a 65 mph highway and I don't do much aggressive passing.

There are two main routes from where I live in upstate NY to Manhattan. I did my experimenting on several trips along the least congested route to eliminate traffic as a factor - going from Elmira to Binghamton then through the Catskills down to the Palisades Parkway there's never any traffic for that 200 miles.

On the way home the other day the "miles to empty" display showed enough miles to get home from Manhattan plus 30 miles. In my experience at 68 mph, the display won't be accurate and that 30 miles would go away before I get home and I would need to gas up somewhere west of Binghamton.

I set the cruise at 61 mph and drove that speed all the way from the NY/NJ border on the Palisades Parkway and before too long the display was showing 70 miles beyond the distance Elmira to empty, and it stayed that way all the way home.

Indicated gas mileage on the display was 20.5 (I reset the display before starting the test to eliminate prior lower mileage from the calculation for the display).

I did the reverse trip this morning, Elmira to Manhattan, and achieved the same indicated 20.5 mpg.

I've read that wind resistance is a square function - resistance is proportional to the square of the speed, so I did some calculations. 68 squared is 4,624; 61 squared is 3,721. 3,721 / 4624 is 0.80, suggesting a reduction in wind resistance by 20% when slowing from 68 to 61. Maybe the math isn't precisely correct, but I'll accept it as a good enough to be in the ballpark.

I don't always have the luxury of time to driving 61 on the highway, but when I do have the time I may slow down a bit.

I'll have to try a similar test the next time I'm towing a trailer. My mileage with a loaded trailer can dip to 15 and sometimes less at high speeds.

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
I don't always have the luxury of time to driving 61 on the highway, but when I do have the time I may slow down a bit.

I'll have to try a similar test the next time I'm towing a trailer. My mileage with a loaded trailer can dip to 15 and sometimes less at high speeds.

Sounds about right to me Jeff.

Both my JK and JT will get another 20% improvement when I sit on 80km/h (50 m/h) in top gear, keeping the revs well under 2000.
That why I much prefer to stay off the interstates and use the secondary routes.



New member
A quarter of a million miles on my JKU now. Took this photo on the highway this afternoon.


Just getting broken in :). Next goal, half a million!
Damn! I thought I had the highest mileage. 235000 is just around the corner.

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