The latest addition to the Jeep is a roof platform and better off-road lights. Back in 2016, we had to drive back to Whistler at night, kilometers away on unassumed roads. Heavy rainfalls left boulders on the road too big to just roll them away (or over). That was the moment where our urge for off-road lights was born.
|Before we head east to the Maritimes this summer and then back home via Esker Lakes Provincial Park in Northern Ontario, we decided to make some upgrades.|
1. Roof Platform from KargoMaster
2. Off-Road lights from Rigid
3. Limb Lifter home made
The plan is to carry spare tires, bicycles and more on the roof. We have to get as much weight off the hitch as possible. The two Propane Gas Tanks mounted on the tongue of the trailer increased the weight by over 30kg.
All these changes are part of our master plan to travel the Dempster Highway one day soon we hope.
The Roof Platform is an addition to the KargoMaster Congo Pro rack that is already installed. It is the JK MOD-RAK EXPEDITION platform. Keep in mind that the Kargo Master Congo Pro fits the hard top, NOT the soft top. The five panels of the platform have debossed holes. The frame has a groove to slide Rope Eye Tie Downs in any position needed.
There is some weight to the platform, but we can actually stand on the platform to view the world from a different perspective.
A few minor modifications are planned to keep the parts on the roof organized. We have two 20 liter metal gas cans, a Honda Generator, spare tires for the trailer and possibly one more for the Jeep, bicycles, the High Lift Jack and a ladder to climb up.
|Jeep JK stock lights are bad|
When we bought the Jeep, the first upgrade was replacing the head lights with the PIAA XTREME WHITE PLUS, a $100 simple and quick improvement.
Now we had more time to research the expensive LED options. Eventually, we decided not to upgrade. LED lights don't produce enough heat and therefore won't melt the ice and snow on the lense in Ontarios winter conditions. You can get heated LED head lights, but the XTREME WHITE PLUS provide enough lights for a comfortable, safe drive.
Going off-road is a different beast, the head lights and fog lights provide some reasonable illumination, but a far cry from actually seeing the path ahead.
The location of the head lights are below your eyes and they cast shadows onto the trail. Gravel and boulders cast a lot of shadows. So the solution is a light source above your eyes, except when there is rain or fog.
We got the Rigid D-SS PRO Spot lights that set us back almost $400, mounting brackets NOT included. Once on the trail, we'll adjust the position and mounting location. The $3 muffler bracket is doing an outstanding job for now.
The improvement is best described with WOW !!!
For a more dramatic display, check out the YouTube video Rigid D-SS in use
The first example is on a more or less open trail.
The second example is on a trail with dense trees on both sides.
The 'Side shooter' option illuminates the trail beside the Jeep much better than any fog lights.
There is no question in our mind, this is the one light solution that fulfils all our current requirements.
|The Rigid lights come complete with harness and light switch.|
The cable is under the Cowl Panel for the Windshield Wiper Motor. The connectors are tucked behind the mounting brackets of the KargoMaster rack.
| ||The cable with the on/off switch goes into the cabin and up the A-Pillar on the drivers side. There is drilling a hole into the plastic required.||
The Limb Lifter design is based on the size and mounting location of the lights. It should protect the lights from branches and possible bumps from an upper angle.
Took some bending and adjusting, but the general setup works for now. The cable is fed into the Rope Eye Tie Downs of the rack platform. The plan is to bend a flat metal bar connecting the rack platform with the existing cable connection above the lights.
The cable is connected to the hood latch with a screw carabinier. It can be disconnected and secured to the Rope Eye Tie Downs and make them almost invisible.
Can't wait to head out and find new trails.
UPDATE August 28, 2018: Up north near Esker Lakes Provinicial Park, we picked Blueberries again this year. Every day we stopped at our secret location to add berries to our stash plus a cup for breakfast. One day we were late and had to pick at night. That's when the Rigid D-SS PRO Spot were very helpful. It made picking the berries as easy as during the day. Next time we plan to use them, I will have the tools ready to fine-adjust the lights. They did point a bit too low.
First published on June 30, 2018