Final Touches Jeep Commander

We are finishing the last touches on well, everything, but I wanted to post the last bits about our tow vehicle.  We added a hood scoop (for looks more than anything, the hemi proves plenty of power).  It shipped to our doorstep and was easy to install as a team.  It was also a fun bonding moment for the two of us.  We didn’t use all the pieces in the second photo, because we didn’t screw down through the hood. Instead, we installed using the roll of double sided tape.

The most important thing when using double sided tape is to make sure both the hood and the underside of the scoop are clean.  That way it will hold well.  Then wipe the hood with adhesive bond enhancer. The red on the bottom of the hood is the double sided tape before we pulled the backing off.

We didn’t completely agree on where we wanted it, so we set it on the hood and moved it around until we found a compromise we both liked.  When we were ready to install, Bruce was in charge of holding the hood, while I made sure it was centered.  (He’s taller and I have a better eye for these things.) Once the tape touches, it’s game over, so we wanted to do it right the first time.  Happily, between the two of us, it ended up perfectly centered with no wonkiness.  To make sure it really stuck, we covered it with a towel and topped it with a bag of stones to weigh it down for about ten minutes.  It was rainy the day we did it and I was worried it wouldn’t really stick, but it worked out just fine.

I love the new look! The Commander looks so bad ass with the scoop and the roof rack.  It’s like driving a Tonka Truck.

We also had to have the connections for the Blue Ox connected under the front grill.  It took a day at the mechanic to get that installed.  We already had the tow connection on the back of the RV, so it was just a matter of setting the Commander up to connect in.  I really like the Blue Ox system.  It’s easy to connect and disconnect, and you almost can’t see it on front of the Jeep.  See what I mean?  You have to look SUPER close to see it!  Just love it!

Because we are planning to do some off-roading, we also bought an air jack that attaches to the exhaust pipe in case of emergency.  I read about it on another blog.  Actually, I loved his blog post so much that I really followed a LOT of his advice.  You can read his post here: How I Turned My Outback Into…

He recommended this Xjack and both Bruce and I loved the idea! It will stay in the back of the Commander along with the winch system for those “oops” moments.

Overall, I feel pretty happy with the Jeep set up.  We have a bike rack on the back, tire pressure and brakes are checked, and the dealership did a once-over for us just to be sure we are good to go.  🙂

 


Long Range Fuel Tank Jeep Commander

It’s getting close to go-time, so we are getting the last little bits finished up on our tow vehicle.  We used to tow a Jeep Wrangler, but with the length and breadth of our upcoming trip, we wanted something a little more user friendly in all weather.  Also, we want to spend some time away from the RV at remote campsites.  The Commander is enclosed, so we can crash in the back if the weather gets bad.  It also carries more than the Wrangler did, especially since we installed a rack on top.

We also purchased the black bra you see on the hood in this photo, but after a run up I95 to St. Augustine last week, I pulled it back off and sent it back for a refund.  Despite being tied down at multiple points, it flapped terribly and I don’t want the paint destroyed while we are on the road. We found a tow blanket instead that I think will be a much better solution for paint protection while towing.  Tow vehicles get really dirty if they aren’t protected.  I’ll post an update when the new blanket comes in.  For now, we’re back to nothing on the front hood.

There are two reasons for installing the roof rack.  First, we will need the extra storage for remote camping, especially if we set the back up for sleeping.  Second, Bruce had a long-range fuel tank installed underneath the Commander where the spare tire used to sit, so we needed a place to put the spare.

The choice to install the extra tank has been such a good one in so many ways.  The factory tank on a Jeep Commander holds 20 gallons.  At 14-18 mpg, that gave us a 350 mile range at best, less when I am in the drivers seat…ijs. When we were pulling a trailer behind the Jeep, we were only getting 7mpg.  This dropped our range to 140 miles, which means we were pulling over all the time to refuel.

We couldn’t find a solution to the problem at first.  Then Bruce found an Australian company that makes custom long range fuel tanks.  The tank we ordered for the Jeep Commander added 30 gallons for a total fuel capacity of 50 gallons.  This means our new range usually runs around 750 miles before we need fuel.  When we are pulling a trailer, we get about half of that…a huge improvement!  That is Bruce’s favorite part of the new tank.  For me, the biggest bonus is knowing we can head out to any remote site and have plenty of fuel to get back.

You can order one for your vehicle here =====> Long Range Automotive  (I am not an affiliate for the company, I just wanted to make it easy to find for those of you looking for a similar solution.)

All we had to do was order the tank and accessories specific to our make, model and year, and wait for it to be shipped.  Once we got our kit, our mechanic installed the system for us in a day.  The tank sits under the vehicle, so no one even knows it exists and our mechanic said the instructions were straightforward and easy to follow.  *One quick note, the fuel hose that comes with the tank got soft after about 4 months in the FL heat, so we changed it out for a braided fuel line a few weeks ago.  Now we are no longer having an issue with the fuel line collapsing as the fuel transfers.  This is why we had the new tank installed well in advance of the trip.  We wanted to work out all the kinks before we got on the road.

It is easy to fill the tanks using the dual fuel port, which can be locked to prevent unwanted siphoning.  As you are driving and the main tank starts dropping, you just push a small button and a transfer pump moves the fuel from the auxiliary tank into the main tank at a rate of one gallon every two minutes.  I can always tell it’s running properly because when the pump first comes on it is somewhat loud.  Within a minute it drops to a level that can’t be heard over normal road noise unless you listen carefully.

When the auxiliary tank gets low the gauge next to the E goes red and you need to make sure to turn off the pump so you don’t run it dry/burn it out.  The only thing I would change about the system is WHERE we put the button for running the tank.  From the drivers seat you cannot see the gauge, so it is hard to know when the back up tank is getting low. I recommend placing it somewhere you can easily see it while driving.

More about Jeep prep next post….