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Old 09-08-2019, 04:54 PM   #301 (permalink)
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I talked to Crutchfield and they sent me out four JL Audio C2-525x speakers to try and compare. I talked to them before placing the order and they fully understand and are fine that I'll be sending them back if I don't like them. Easy returns and exchanges is something that I have really enjoyed about buying from them. The JLs are constructed out of poly materials so they should be reasonably water resistant if they get splashed a little.
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:11 PM   #302 (permalink)
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The JL Audio C2-525x speakers are a night and day difference compared to the Polks. I can now hear the difference in the mounting locations and there is an audible difference in adjusting the bypasses on the amp. These speakers need to be broken in gently for 10-15 hours before being cranked up. The rears in the pods are recreating the sounds very well, if a little too warm for my taste. The fronts had to be spaced forward since these speakers are so deep they hit the HVAC ducts. I mounted them in foam baffles to better protect the back sides from dust. I did cut the bottom of the baffles to prevent the woofer from creating a vacuum. I a/b tested the baffles and I'm not convinced they help the sound although they don't seem to hurt the sound either. The rears still do overpower the fronts due to the mounting location and mess up the sound stage. Clarity across all ranges is very high. At this point I'm splitting hairs. I think the speakers are finally equally matched to my Jeep.





It's difficult for me to recommend the JL C2s as a blanket statement. If you want to replace the stock speakers with something plug and play and that's all, they're not going to work well for you. These JL C2s require nearly double the watts to put out the same sound volume as the Polks. To do that, you're going to need a fairly high capacity amplifier. Without an amp I would consider the JL C1 series to see if they provide better sound compared to the Polks in pods at a similar price point.

I'm going to wrap this up: The JL Audio C2 speakers with an amp are 5-6x the price of the Polks and they are a solid 10/10 value for money. There is no depreciating return experienced with these.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:35 AM   #303 (permalink)
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While I was installing the subwoofer, I remembered that one of the snubbers for my console lid had gone missing a few years ago. I found a perfect replacement at Ace Hardware and got one for both sides so they'd match. No more sloppy lid!

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Old 09-09-2019, 10:16 AM   #304 (permalink)
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I installed the heated seats a few years ago (part of my previous build thread) and I'm still happy with the wiring I had done. With the new fuse block under the dash I was able to shorten the lead from the battery and draw power off this new location.

Keeping the wiring tidy:

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Old 09-11-2019, 01:36 PM   #305 (permalink)
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I previously had 2 large 9" Hella lights on my front bumper in addition to aftermarket halogen headlights. The halogen technology of bulb is really not worth keeping when compared to LED and I've since upgraded the headlights to Trucklite heated LED lights (made by Rigid). Additionally I've broken the glass on the bumper mounted Hellas and replaced them several times over the years. I also think they make the front end look visually heavy. They will not be going back on.

Here's what I had:



The LED headlights provide all of the light I need on road when combined with the high/low relay mod (if the high and low beams don't turn on together with the highs). I do however want additional lighting offroad since I will now be doing difficult and extreme trails. I need to see obstacles in more detail and at longer range.

At this point I am obligated to quote @Sundowner:
Quote:
No arguments on supplementary lighting: it's often a very necessary thing, even with an excellent set of headlights. However, the overwhelming appropriation of 50" bars by the douchebag crowd in my particular corner of The Universe demands that I say "fuck that light bar" to any and all that I encounter. Even if I find myself in a situation where installing one on my own rig is a necessity, I'll still point at it and say "fuck that light bar" every time I see it...and I already talk to myself a lot, so that action probably won't attract any amount of additional attention.
So... I am going with a light bar. Yup... I'm embarrassed.

I have compared cheap/knockoff/amazon led lights such as Auxbeam and the light quality and pattern isn't as good as a name brand such as Rigid. I have Auxbeam bars on my plow ATV since 90% of my plowing is in the dark and they're acceptable for that use although they do have a hot spot in the flood. Rigid's have very even lighting across the view which is important to me offroading where I want my eyes adjusted to the light across the entire trail.

I started out by calling up Rigid. The guy I talked to was super knowledgeable. If you have any questions I suggest calling rather than struggling through specs online. With the Rigid Trucklite headlights I am running he said that I already have the driving zone lit and highly suggested the 50" spot/flood combo (part 950314) to help fill in the range. For my uses the single row was also recommended, additionally it'll create less noise compared to the double row E-series.

In order to "un-light bar" the light bar as much as possible, I wanted to go with Rigid's midnight edition. It's all black including the lens and visually blends in with the top of the windshield/black top, but that model only comes in a spot lens which will take care of distance but leave a gap with my headlight's beam. Additionally the guy I talked to said that the midnight version isn't as dark shaded as they used to make it because it'd go cloudy overtime from the light pumped through it. He suggested I stick with the normal version up front.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:57 AM   #306 (permalink)
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To mount the light bar I used the windshield mount from Rigid. I'm pretty sure the mount is manufactured by Poison Spyder for Rigid but they changed the material to stainless steel for Rigid. I painted them color matched red to my Jeep. The mount is honestly not a great design, but nobody makes a better design that I've seen and making something better myself isn't feasible without investing in special tooling. My ideal mount would be one that sits tight against the windshield frame the entire way up. I did leave off the pointless backer gasket that comes with the kit since this will only cause uneven pressure as the bolts tighten down.

I used 316 stainless steel button head phillips bolts with washers to attach the bracket. While I was at it, I replaced the stainless steel hex head bolts I previously had used on the doors with phillips head. Phillips allows more torque to be applied to the fastener before stripping out compared to the hex.



The power cable is routed at the top corner of the door frame. It's possible that I'll need to notch the plastic windshield trim slightly once the top goes on. From there the wire is hidden down the inside of the windshield trim to behind the dash.



Something I realized about the wiring for the light bar, backup lights, and the rock lights is that the hot power wire for each will be running through the interior regardless of fusing them in the engine bay. So, to prevent having to run multiple hot wires through the fire wall I added a second fuse block under the dash for these items. This allows me to keep wires as short as possible.

I stacked the second block using 1" standoffs (wrapping the one near the hot lead with electrical tape) a serrated flange head bolt on the back side to prevent the standoff from rotating when I unscrew it. I originally wanted a thumb nut holding the second block on so it'd be easy to check fuses without tools but I couldn't find any in the size I needed. A thumb nut would probably be unnecessary and overkill anyway since a screwdriver is needed to remove the under steering panel, but it's the little things like this that make the fit and finish of the build perfect imo.





The instructions for the light bar suggest using a 15a fuse, but the included wiring harness came with a 40amp fuse, however the bar is 290 watts which is closer to 25 amps on 12 volts. So, I decided on a 30 amp fuse to give a little overhead.

I'm starting to have concerns about trying to ground around 200amps through the dash between both fuse blocks (plus all factory stuff) so I put a 1/4" bolt through the dash to act as a negative stud and will be also attaching a ground wire directly from the battery to this bolt.

I added a plug between the wiring harness and the light bar so it can be replaced without cutting the wires in the future if necessary.

There is a good writeup about different style plugs and when to use each here on Pirate: https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/elec...l#post25535218

I have been using WeatherPack connectors on the interior of the Jeep since they are relatively cheap and offer good weather resistance in case things get a little wet. However they are limited to 20amps and my light bar is 25amps so I went with a Deutsch DTP connector with gold solid contacts for the light bar. This connector is rated to 25amps. By going with the gold contacts vs stamped I hope I'm able to fully reach the connectors rating and not cause any resistance in the connector especially as things age.

Outside of the Jeep I plan to use Deutsch connectors instead of WeatherPack since they offer better weather protection and I think they look cleaner.

Crimped:


Connector:


Light bar plugged in:


The light bar install is easy enough that I am tempted to remove it between trips so I don't have to look at it.


Last edited by toximus; 09-17-2019 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:32 PM   #307 (permalink)
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In back, I had previously installed 2.5" round LED reverse lights and actually had upgraded them a few months ago with some that are supposed to be brighter. I tested them the other night and they are dim at best. Combined with the tinted rear window they aren't going to work.

Here's one of my 2.5" back up lights:



I talked to my guy at Rigid and he said any of their flood diffused lights would work great even their smaller ones. I went with the midnight 3x3 flush mount (part 212513BLK). The midnight lens puts out slightly less light than clear but he mentioned that there is enough light for it's purpose and not to worry about this. I think the black will look better on the red paint. These 3x3 cubes have become a fairly universal size so I should always be able to find a replacement.

At the same time I took the picture with the 2.5" lights, I tested the Rigid D-series Pro diffused flood:



I know it's not super accurate way to show the difference between the lights since it's in a difference position, my phone camera adjusts it's settings per picture, and my garage is reflective white inside but you can see how the surrounding area is lit and the shadows aren't as hard. It was also the difference of being able to walk across my garage and not tripping on things without using a flash light.
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