The Grand. 1998 Grand Cherokee Laredo Limited Edition
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Page 2.

I figured it was time to start a second page of the ZJ stuff. To be honest, I have been neglecting not only the ZJ itself, but the supporitng web page. I will lay out a few changes I have worked on over the last 6 months or so.

Some instrumentation mods

You can call me an information freak. I like to know what is going on with the Jeep. In today's world of computer controled engines and accessories, there isn't a whole lot you have control over. All you can do is monitor what is going on. To be truthful, the ZJs come with a decent instrument cluster. Right in front of you are the Speedo, Tach, Oil Pressure, Water Temp, Fuel Level and Voltage. I was missing some things and after having to remove the tranny for an unplanned rebuild, I installed a transmission temp gage. I installed the sending unit on the rear of the oil pan. I thought about inline... but I finally felt that the temp of the tranny fluid in the pan was more accurate as what was going INTO the tranny pump.

I got a single gage a-pillar pod from AutoZone and hung up a iEquuis oil temp gage. Beautiful. That worked for a while... until I wanted to add something else. I added an O2 sensor gage which shows a real-time fuel mixture. The 4.0 (like most other modern engines) runs a bit lean. This is no exception... even with my 180* thermostat.... another iEquuis gage found its way to the pillar, and it was mounted in a dual pod along with the tranny temp. So. I had an on-board air unit and then reinstalled the single pod above it. That lasted a while... but then I wanted to add a fuel pressure gage. I got the gage... and it laid in the back of the ZJ for over a year.

So.... after a year.... I started to try and figure out the reason I had been putting it off. The fuel system is a pretty tight unit. After looking long and hard at how I was going to get a sending unit with a 1/4" pipe fitting into a system that uses a 1/4" flare... I found what I needed in a local hardware store. They had a prefabbed double female 1/4" flare set on a very short tube. I used a combination of angle fitting and viola!!!! success. I have some pics of the end result.

If you look at the layout above, this is the current arrangement and I am satisfied with it. A keen eye will note that the backlighting has bright spots around the rim. I actually slid the trim rings off of the gages and applied 35% window tint to knock down some of the brightness. These are good gages and are IN-YO-FACE BRIGHT!!!. I need to go back and add a tiny pair or tinted dots at each end of the fuel mix gage because this one uses two LEDs at each end of the arc. That makes them a tad brighter. For the time being, my air pressure gage and switch are laying on the dash. A lack of time has left me with too few hours to devote to cleaning that up.:-(

Here is a daytime shot. Note the hole where the power switch "was" for the air compressor. I had intended to put a little switch in there so if I wanted to - I could kill the backlighting all together on the pillar gages. As usual. Time got away from me.

This pic is actually and older one. I was experimenting with some LEDs in the top of the main cluster. I had gotten a set of LEDs and drilled the holes for them. The problem I found is that these LEDs were more directional than I had thought. I later went and got a LED light strip. It is now WELL lit. I have to keep the dimmer down all the way to keep from being blinded. I mounted the light strip at the top of the instrument cluster. I removed the cluster from the Jeep and popped the cover off of it. Came together real nice....

If you look above, you will see the green LEDs that I installed initially. I installed the LED strip. I comes with and adhesive backing and is REALLY sticky. I had cleaned the plastic with alcohol, so it was perfectly clean. I then used the little "try me" battery and momentary switch to confirm that my lights worked great.

Here is the final shot and is what I have now. Don't mind the shop. :-D
Note that the backlighting on the HVAC controls is pretty dim. The dimmer is actually all the way down.

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